Thursday, September 27, 2012

Poor Gut Health Causes Diabetes

Many of us aren't drinking enough water or eating the proper diet that supports proper gut health and as a result our body's normal balance is being thrown off course. This abnormal bacteria balance is predisposing our bodies to all different sorts of health conditions and ability to cope with the changes in our natural environment. Keep reading to hear more about how to keep you and your family's gut health in the green and  some useful tips on how to keep it balanced properly.

Your gut bacteria levels should contain high levels of a number of different lactobacillus and other normal species of bacteria, however many Americans today have high levels of E. coli and pathogenic bacteria that can lead to gut inflammation, excessive gas production, decrease nutrient absorption in the intestines, and even cause gut cell wall death. Recent research including the studies in the paragraph below, have been looking into the role of gut bacteria in the development of common health concerns including diabetes, colorectal cancer, autoimmune diseases, obesity, and also food allergies.

The University of Copenhagen's Department of Biology is now embarking on research examining these gut bacteria genes and their role in the development of diabetes. In a recently published study, a link was found between environmental factors in pathogenic gut bacteria that are speculated to contribute to the inflammation that leads to the development of diabetes. A 2011 study looked at the impact of gut flora and their role in the development of the immune system and increased rates of obesity and diabetes when that normal balance was altered.

A proper diet includes 3-5 servings of lean protein and 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. During digestion the protein is broken down into amino acids which are used for everything in your body including hormone and enzyme production and building tissue such as muscle and ligaments. This means that if your diet doesn't include the right amount of protein you may not have the building blocks necessary for tissue rebuilding needed for healing and maintenance or the amino acids used for enzymes and hormones. The fruits and vegetables are actually a carbohydrate (YES that is correct carbohydrates are not just breads and pastas) that are broken down and used for nutrient and mineral absorption as well as for feeding the healthy gut bacteria I mentioned above. The waste products from these healthy gut bacteria actually coat and protect the cells of the gut wall from damage and death. If these bacteria don't have enough of the fruits and vegetables they need, they will not produce the waste products necessary for gut wall protection and your gut wall may start to become damaged or sections of the gut wall may die. This can lead to undigested food products being released through these dead cell walls and the potential for allergies to develop at a cellular and blood level. In order to restore a healthy bacterial balance we need to alter our diet to help promote the healthy gut bacterial growth and possibly even take a probiotic supplement to help increase the levels of healthy gut bacteria in our systems.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

1) Eat a healthy diet. Make sure to get 3-5 servings of lean protein and 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Also make sure to drink plenty of water which should be about half your body weight in ounces, not just the 8-10 glasses of 8 oz of water anymore.
2) Cut down on sugars and junk foods. Sugars and junk food can cause an acidic environment in the intestines and a hostile environment for the healthy bacteria that need to be thriving in your gut. So cut out as many processed sugars as you can and try to restrict the bread and pasta sources of carbohydrates in favor of the health promoting carbohydrates present in fruits and vegetables.
3) Take a probiotic supplement. A probiotic supplement can help to restore normal gut flora and decrease the number of pathogenic bacteria in the gut. A good supplement should have numerous different strains of lactobacillus and recommend you take them multiple times a day, however children may need a probiotic with different strains of bacteria. If you're on any immune system suppressants or medication, you should talk to your doctor before beginning any supplemental regiment.
4) Get your gut bacteria tested. This will give you an in depth look at your current bacterial balance and dictate whether you need a special diet and/or dietary restrictions to control the digestive environment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Over Exercising Decreases Your Results

Many people have heard that diet and exercise are the keys to achieving your weight loss and health goals. While this statement is true, there are many differences in opinion as to how much exercise is required and what type of exercise you should be doing.

Many people tend to rely on a scale to measure their goals to achieving a healthier lifestyle, however this is a very bad indicator!! When you step on a scale (especially if you're measuring your body weight more than once a week) you are measuring the weight of your muscle, fat, and water retention as well. However many people don't realize is that muscle weighs more than fat. So in fact, if you're building muscle with your workout your weight may actually not change or it may increase if you rely on a scale. Muscle is also where your body's metabolism lies, so if you're trying to lose fat and be healthier you must build your muscles to reach your goals. This means weight lifting and using your body to perform natural movements.

People that are exercising and noticing a drop in weight may actually be losing excess water or they may actually be losing muscle mass and thus lowering their metabolism. Short term the dropping scale numbers may make you feel good, but over the long term you are decreasing your metabolism and making it much easier to put on weight later on. This is why people that tend to reduce calorie intake and cut down on eating while dieting tend to have a much easier time gaining the weight after their diet.

In a recent study from the University of Copenhagen, researchers found that in comparing exercise times and intensity it was essential to make sure that you weren't exercising for long of a period of time. They found that in comparing 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise there wasn't a significant difference, however past studies have found that exercising for longer periods of time actually tends to decrease your results and expenditures.

So what can we take from this?
1. Don't rely on a scale. Take measurements around arms, legs, hips, and waist on a weekly to bi-weekly basis if you really want to measure fat loss.
2. Don't cut your calories. Your body will decrease its metabolism and these changes may cause it to be easier to gain weight later on.
3. Make sure to build muscle while exercising. This will ensure you're effecting your metabolism in a positive light and keep bone density more stable.
4. Keep exercise around 30 minutes daily and try to vary your workout so that you're building muscle in different parts of your body rather than one area. Don't be scared to add some cardio a few times a week rather than weight lifting. Your workout will have better effects if its varied and keeps your body guessing.

If you'd like more personalized recommendations, feel free to setup a consultation in my office to get some advice on how to reach your health goals. Give us a call at (309) 689-6200!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 Ways to Improve Attention Deficit Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5.2 million children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in the United States today. In fact, the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder increased by 21.8% over the four year time span from 2003 to 2007. The growing number of diagnoses are disturbing because this condition can effect the social, academic, and even physical development of our children and may also be responsible for the decreased productivity and concentration that we've seen in the workplace due to adults that are suffering from ADD as well.

So what is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? It's a growing diagnosis that is based off a questionnaire or rating from parents and teachers and a short subjective evaluation from a doctor of child's intelligence, social, emotional, or attention function. A medical examination is not necessary and there are no definitive test to diagnose this condition. As you can tell this diagnosis is highly subjective and can be interpreted differently between practitioners and different environments.

After a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is made, parents are frequently encouraged to begin a lifetime medicine regiment in order to keep symptoms under control. Most frequently children are placed on Ritalin which is a Schedule II Controlled Substance that is in the same class as morphine and cocaine. This class of medications are highly addictive and have the greatest potential for abuse. This medication is not specific to children with ADD or ADHD and similar calming effects can be seen in normal children not suffering from the condition. In addition, many parents are not properly informed about the serious side effects or long term damage that can be caused from this medication. For example, studies on Ritalin have found that it impairs blood flow to the brain that can impair thinking, learning, and cause memory loss in addition to causing brain shrinkage and permanent physical abnormalities that can affect children and adults for the rest of their life. In addition, some studies have revealed a worsening of hyperactivity and inattention in children undergoing pharmaceutical treatment with this medication. Long term treatment with this medication will usually alter brain levels of serotonin and can lead to depression later in life that may require further medication.

So how can you improve symptoms of ADD and ADHD naturally? Recent studies on children suffering from ADD and ADHD have found many instances of nutritional deficiencies in essential fatty acids and proteins that are the essential building blocks of our brain, nerves, hormones, and muscles. Without these building blocks our bodies do not have the capacity to upkeep the nervous system function that is required for proper brain function and communication with the rest of the body. As a result, many physical symptoms such as inattentiveness, emotional withdrawl, and even clumsiness can result. An evaluation of your child's nervous system function and a nutritional assessment to check for deficiencies in these building blocks or any vital vitamins and minerals can be a large part in improving the body and brain function in your child or yourself. In addition, many of these children have alteration of their primary senses such as smell and taste that can affect their diet and contribute to food allergies and nutritional deficiencies. I have found that comprehensive allergy testing for sensitivities or intolerance can be a valuable tool in identifying underlying factors that may further complicate gut absorption of these essential nutrients and contribute to these deficiencies.

So what do I recommend?

1. Have your child's nervous system evaluated by a specialist. Chiropractors are trained to assess nervous system function and can assess not only any undetected nerve damage that can contribute to altered brain function or communication but can also identify any sensory disabilities that I have mentioned above.

2. Have your child's diet assessed for deficiencies or possible allergens that can complicate nutrient absorption. Some dieticians may be trained to perform this kind of evaluation, but I always recommend looking to a clinic that specializes in assessing children with ADD. There are certain markers and  trends in children with ADD and ADHD that can only be properly evaluated by a specialist or someone well versed in treating children with ADD and ADHD.

3. Comprehensive allergy testing is a must for children who's nutritional assessment shows abnormalities. This testing can reveal sensitivity or intolerance to many food additives, preservatives, or even main food products that can cause gut inflammation and affect nutrient absorption. Skin scratch testing may not be enough in most cases as there may be reaction at a cellular level in the body so I recommend a comprehensive test in a laboratory to check for blood reaction to allergens.

4. If you'd like more information on natural ways to improve symptoms of ADD or ADHD , I'd highly recommend attending the  Drug-Free ADD and ADHD Solutions presentation and workshop at Naturally Yours in Peoria on Saturday September 22nd at 10am.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chiropractic Care Is Mandated Before Surgery

Back pain is a common occurrence in America today due to our sedentary lifestyles, poor posture, obesity rates, and core muscle weakness. According to experts, 4 out of 5 Americans will experience low back pain at least once in their lifetime and low back pain is the second most common reason, behind the common cold, for a doctor's visit. This condition can be debilitating and lead to difficulty with every activity of daily living and can cause also contribute to lost wages and financial burdens on family members. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, pain costs put a burden of approximately 560 to 635 billion dollars in the US with a combination of medical costs and economic costs related to disability, wages, and productivity.

In May of 2012, the Pittsburgh Medical Center Health Plan released new guidelines for the management of chronic low back pain that included a mandate requiring all surgical candidates to have tried 3 months of conservative care consisting of chiropractic care, physical therapy, medication, and a low back pain health coaching program before surgery. These standard guidelines will be enforced in 15 counties in Pennsylvania, 20 hospitals, and over 400 doctors' offices and outpatient facilities. Administrators are hoping to cut down the use of costly spinal surgery which in many cases can actually cause conditions to worsen rather than a more conservative approach in care that can address and manage about 70% of low back cases. Want more information on their mandate?

This trend will be on the rise in the next few years throughout the world as more research is being put to the test in verifying the benefit of conservative care before surgery. In a recent review at ENEVE, a chiropractic college in Mexico, spinal surgery numbers were found to be reduced and back pain relieved when chiropractic care was sought out before surgery. Chiropractic is a resoundingly good resource for people suffering from low back pain, because it will focus on restoring nervous system function and also address the weakened or injured musculature and soft tissue involved in the pain and disability created from back pain. If you're suffering from back pain and are considering surgery, I'd highly recommend visiting a chiropractor for a minimum of 3 months of treatment before scheduling a surgery. Surgery in many cases is not reversible and may result in an increase of symptoms and degeneration over a period of time. Want more information?

Would you like to schedule a consultation to learn more about how chiropractic can help you achieve your health goals? Click on "Make Appointment" on the right side of the screen.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CoQ10 is Not Just for Heart Health

CoQ10 has long been known to help lower your risk of developing heart disease and protect against arterial disease as well. However new research has been exploring the many benefits of CoQ10 for hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetics, Parkinson's, and even fibromyalgia.

So what is CoQ10? Well its a naturally occurring nutrient that is responsible for producing our energy at a cellular level in our mitochondria (the cell's powerhouse for energy production) and is also responsible for reducing oxidation which is the main source of aging. Due to many dietary and genetic factors of Americans, our bodies don't have nearly enough CoQ10 because we don't eat enough in our diet and our bodies lose the ability to convert it to its usable form as we age. Recent research has shown that CoQ10 levels and conversion of ubiquinol to ubiquinone may begin to lower as early as your 20s! CoQ10 supplementation is usually supplied in ubiquinol form which must be converted to ubiquinone before being able to be used in the body, however since we lose this ability with age we need to make sure we are supplementing our diets with the usable ubiquinone formation. AlignLife has reformulated our CoQ10 supplement with the usable form of ubiquinone and will be releasing this product in the next few months.

What does it help with? CoQ10 has been shown to have a high protective effect against heart disease and has also been shown to help keep artery walls flexible. A recent study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Disease found that a combination supplementation of aged garlic extract and CoQ10 for a year showed a 4 fold protection against progression of coronary artery plaquing or atherosclerosis and also helped to lower C-reactive protein. Coronary artery plaquing is the main culprit responsible for heart attack and stroke while C-reactive protein is associated with systemic inflammation in many different diseases. Another study published in Nutrition this year found this same combination effective for artherosclerosis prevention and progression even in fire fighters with high occupational stress levels.

Another recent study looked a fibromyalgia patients and found that CoQ10 levels were lower than normal and could be responsible for mitrochondrial dysfunction. This August 2012 study was published in Nutrition and reported oral supplementation with CoQ10 showed benefits for reducing clinical symptoms of fibromyalgia, restoring mitochondrial function, decreasing oxidative stress, and increased energy production in the mitrochondria. The researchers suggested that CoQ10 supplementation could be an alternative therapy for fibromyalgia!

Parkinson's disease is associated with a progressive disorder of the brain that affects the deterioration and death of nerve cells and also decreased levels of dopamine, an essential neurotransmitter (brain hormone) that is responsible for controlling movement and gut function. Researchers have found protein clumps in the brain, brain stem, and the olfactory nerves of these patients and have been looking into oxidation as a culprit of the progression of this disease. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Neurologic Science found that CoQ10 deficiency was associated with significantly greater odds of developing Parkinson's Disease and should be explored as a potential marker for oxidative stress in patients suffering from this disease. Unfortunately not much research has been done on this interaction, however a review of current literature has  found that there was a small and significant improvement in Parkinson's patients with the use of CoQ10.

Glycemic control is an important factor for diabetics and those suffering from metabolic disorders such as Syndrome X and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). A 2012 study looking at the effects of CoQ10 supplementation has found that supplementation improves glycemic response by improving insulin secretion and there is NO adverse side effects!!

So how much should you take? Well this is a loaded question because depending on what you're using it for the research is suggesting numbers in a large range from 100mg -1200mg/day so I'd highly recommend talking to a doctor that is up to date on the research and would be able to make more personalized suggestions for prevention, protection, or alternative treatments for the above mentioned conditions. In food sources the highest levels of CoQ10 are found in fish, organ meats such as liver, kidney, and heart, and the germ of whole grains, however the content varies based on the diet of those food sources and the way those foods are prepared.

If you'd like schedule a nutritional consultation in the Peoria area to discuss recommendations for your specific needs or have further questions about CoQ10's role in your health, please feel free to call my office at 309-689-6200 to setup an appointment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Whiplash Can Cause Permanent Damage

Have you been involved in a car accident or sports injury? Have you had any stiffness or pain in your neck, upper back, or shoulders? Then you may be suffering from whiplash. Each year 1.99 million Americans are injured in whiplash accidents, so you are not alone.

Whiplash is a neck injury caused by a rapid movement of the head forward, backward, or side to side. This motion can cause brain injury, muscle spasms or tearing, ligament stretching and instability, and even fractures to the spine that can cause permanent disability. Car accidents that occur at 5mph or more can cause soft tissue damage and injury to the soft tissue even if the vehicles involved don't show any damage. The damage to your vehicle can be very misleading since most vehicles don't show damage until 10mph or more. In a recent report, most whiplash injuries occur at speeds below 12mph and symptom onset is usually delayed by a day or two. Many people incorrectly believe that if they don't have pain directly after the accident they weren't injured and may not seek treatment until serious symptoms develop which can result in permanent damage if delayed too long.

A whiplash injury can affect the structure and stability of the neck and can cause permanent and lasting damage if not healed correctly. The ligaments that run along the front and back of your spine that lend stability and support to your neck can be stretched out in a whiplash injury. In a 2012 study released by the Journal of Biomechanics, these ligaments can stretch three to five times their normal length after a whiplash injury. The stability of the neck at this point is completely compromised and comparable to a neck with ligaments that are completely torn. If you were involved in an accident and haven't been evaluated by your doctor or chiropractor you should make an appointment today.  The sooner you seek treatment for whiplash, the better your outcomes will be.

Here's a short animation video of what is going on not only in your spine, but also your brain in a rear ended car accident.
As you can see from the above video there is first a rear extension motion of the neck against the headrest causing ligament and soft tissue stretching and tearing as well as brain injury as the brain moves backward against the skull. This first phase is followed by a forward acceleration of the head which can cause further brain injury, shear forces on the spinal cord, ligament damage, and even spinal fractures. The third phase of whiplash continues with a hyper-extension motion of the head backward into the head rest which can further injure the delicate brain with concussion and possible bleeding, stretch the damaged soft tissues of the ligaments and muscles in the neck, and put the occupant at risk for spinal fracture that can lead to instant death or paralysis.

Common Symptoms of Whiplash
Below find a list of the most common whiplash symptoms as well as their rates of occurrence. If you're experiencing any of the below symptoms please call (309) 689-6200 to schedule a consultation in our office today.

Neck pain and/or stiffness 92%
Headache 57%
Fatigue 56%
Shoulder pain 49%
Anxiety 44%
Pain between the shoulder blades 42%
Low back pain 39%
Sleep disturbance 39%
Upper limb numbness/tingling 30%
Sensitivity to noise 29%
Difficulty concentrating 26%
Blurred vision 21%
Irritability 21%
Difficulty swallowing 16%
Dizziness 15%
Forgetfulness 15%
Upper limb pain 12%
Upper limb weakness 6%
Ringing in the ears 4%
Pain in the jaw or face 4%

If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, I highly recommend you see a physician to assess for damage to the brain, nervous system, muscles, ligaments, and possible fracture.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Your Diet is Causing Depression and Anxiety

According to the CDC 1 in 10 Americans reports suffering from depression. Another 40 millions Americans or approximately 2 in 10 are suffering from anxiety disorders. The anxiety disorders and the medications associated with them cost our country about 1/3 of our current mental health bill. These are serious statistics that are showing how our moods can truly affect not only our relationships but also our health care cost and our budget deficit. Something needs to be done to reduce the incidence rates and fast!

Many people suffering from anxiety and depression are given anti-depressants to help cope with symptoms and attempt to get them returning to their normal lives. However not much is known about how these anti-depressants work in helping depression or anxiety and researchers aren't looking into natural methods of helping to regulate depression and anxiety. Most of these medications including Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft work by regulating the brain hormone serotonin. This brain hormone which is actually a neurotransmitter is responsible for communication within the brain and 90% of this "hormone" is actually used in your gut!  So what does this mean? Well if your serotonin levels are low it can not only cause depression, anxiety, sexual desire, appetite, memory loss, temperature regulation troubles, insomnia, but also effect digestion and how you absorb the nutrients your body needs for everyday body functions.

Serotonin is made from amino acids which are the broken down form of the protein that you should be ingesting everyday. These amino acids are necessary for not only muscle function and energy usage but they are also used to make the proteins and enzymes we use in digestion, the hormones we need to regulate our moods and metabolism, and they are the building blocks of our brains and muscles too. So if we are not eating enough protein in our diet (3-5 servings of high quality protein such as seafood and grass fed beef) then we may not have the amino acid building blocks necessary to make the serotonin required for brain and body function. In addition, if you're living an active lifestyle or working out frequently then you're going to need more protein in order to satisfy the demands of muscle building but also serotonin needs in the body.
Scientists have shown in 2011 study that increasing the protein intake in rats from 2% to 10% had an effect on increasing serotonin production levels. Want to read this article for yourself?

So what can you do to help?
1) Make sure you're getting 3-5 servings of high quality protein daily. I recommend high quality seafood or grass fed beef for the best sources. Athletes or those leading an active lifestyle and working out need more like 5+ servings of protein, so if you're questioning if you're getting enough I recommend scheduling a nutritional consultation to discuss your diet and any modifications you should make. My office does phone consultations as well to help for those unable to find a doctor or nutritionist in their area that are trained to discuss these dietary demands with them.
2) If you're not taking a fish oil or omega 3 supplement daily, then you need to add one in. Fish oil is important because it is not only a great source of essential fatty acids but it also helps to reduce systemic inflammation, aids in healing, and increases our nerve response times. Since high quantities of fish oil can thin the blood, I recommend talking to your doctor before taking a high dosage. Standard quantities of 1000-2000mg/day are usually recommended but if your diet is lacking or you have an autoimmune or systemic inflammation it may be advisable to take up to 5000mg/day for up to 6 weeks.
3) If you're depressed or suffering from anxiety and you're currently taking an anti-depressant, I'd highly recommend talking to your doctor about reducing or monitoring your dosage of  medication if you're going to put these above steps into action. I've seen many patients recover or completely eliminate anti depressants once they've restored their dietary protein intake and thus serotonin balance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are Looking To Lose Weight and Feel Great?

Are you looking to lose weight but don't think you have time for a workout? Does it seem impossible to lose weight? Do you find yourself starving when you're trying to diet? Are you suffering from cravings and snacking when you're supposed to be on a diet? Then you need to whip your health into shape.

Sometimes the simplest things like talking to someone about your health goals and having them help hold you accountable, can make a HUGE difference in reaching those goals. If you're having trouble committing to a workout, grab a partner to workout with. If both of you can remind each other of your goals and congratulate each other on your progress you will improve much better than trying to tough it out on your own. A simple and effective workout may be as simple as a 20 minute workout at home or 3 days a week at a Crossfit gym. So grab a partner, plan your weekly workout schedule, and stick to it!

If you're having trouble with cravings or hunger, there's a chance you're not getting enough protein or calories for the workout you're doing or you may be suffering from withdrawal from those processed foods. Processed foods such as breads, pastas, and grains cause insulin spikes and literally flood your brain with serotonin (the feel good hormone in your brain) and many of us may crave these foods because not only do they make us feel good when we eat them, but they can also cause insulin resistance and sugar imbalance in the body. This can lead to binge eating, weight gain, and may lead to diabetes long term. I highly recommend looking into a lifestyle (NOT DIET!!) eating program that focuses on eating 4-5 servings of protein daily and is full of fruits and vegetables. If you cut down on the processed foods and sugars mentioned above you'll notice a total change in how your body functions and how you feel. Talk to your local AlignLife office about setting up a nutritional consultation for some tips on what to eat, when to eat, and how to deal with withdrawal symptoms from processed foods.

Well today's blog post is a short one because I am doing a BodyRock Workout at home!! Here's the link if you'd like to join in!! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paleo Diet Update

So I just wanted to send out a quick update on how my 30 Day Paleo Diet challenge went since it is now September 1st. Unfortunately (and somewhat thankfully) I do not have before and after pictures, however I can tell you that I've lost a total of 20 pounds just by changing my diet and no I did not add in an exercise program or additional activities or even go on a vacation to avoid stress over the past 30 days. I did this challenge while working 60-70 hrs per week with a family to take care of and the stress of everyday life to deal with. My 2 year old has definitely not slowed down a bit throughout the month and her birthday party along with the 25+ guests from out of town did not lower stress levels at all. In addition I am proud to say that I have lost a few inches off my waist. I didn't do measurements beforehand but I know that most of my pants are very loose or falling off and my belt no longer fits due to the fact that it is on the last hole and still not small enough to keep my pants up!

All I did was stick to a diet rich in protein 3-4 times a day and full of fresh fruits and vegetables. I admit I did cheat a few times and I did enjoy cake and ice cream at my daughter's birthday party but for the most part I stuck to a 90/10 or better diet where 90% of the time I ate Paleo and the other 10% I enjoyed some non Paleo items like coffee, processed sugars, pizza, tacos, and other things. The first 2 weeks were the worst due to the fact that my blood sugar had to level out and my body had to get used to regulating insulin levels better. I found that if I didn't eat every few hours with some protein containing snack like peanut butter and celery during that first two weeks I got headaches due to low blood sugar. It was definitely NOT pleasant, but I can tell you that 30 days was totally worth it for the changes I've seen!!

Overall I have had many changes and noticed quite a few differences in how my body is functioning. I have felt a huge difference in my energy levels and awake feeling much more refreshed and well rested. I am able to concentrate and focus on tasks and projects during the day much better. I have also noticed a huge change in my mood and have found that not only have I been happier and smiling more, but PMS symptoms have decreased, I'm less irritable (this goes for child mishaps, family disputes, and even my pet peeves), and my skin has also been much clearer. In addition, I've found that I'm snacking less and actually feeling hungry when I need to eat rather than before when I never really felt hungry and snacked frequently throughout the day. My husband, friends, coworkers, and even my patients have noticed a difference and even commented on it to me as well. (Boy does that feel great!)

I am planning on sticking to a Paleo dominant diet (again aiming for the 90/10 rule) for the month of September and will be actively exercising with aerobic and weight lifting exercise in the month of September to see how big of a difference both this diet and exercise can make for me. I'll keep everyone updated on my progress.