Dear New Year’s Resolution–it was nice while it lasted.

 

 

Dear New Year’s Resolutions,

 

It was nice while it lasted.

 

Sincerely,

 

February

 

Now that we are 31 days and counting into 2017, many of us are admitting defeat in our list of resolutions.   Excuses are as varied as the initial intentions.  The dryer shrunk my jeans, there’s no time to exercise, but at least the cookies were gluten free.  As I scan through Facebook entries and personal blogs, the recurring theme is one of self-deprecation.  So, what’s the point?

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Tis the Season for Lighting up Your Nucleus Accumbens

 

It is estimated that Americans consume 22 teaspoons of sugar a day.  Studies have shown that sugary, processed foods trigger a special region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens.  This is the pleasure center which when activated can lead to addictions.   In other words, once this pathway is stimulated, the intoxication from the sugar high, makes you feel as if you can never get enough.

 

Take for example, a 20 ounce bottle of soda with 65 grams of sugar.  Your gut quickly absorbs the liquid sugar which causes a domino effect of high blood sugar leading to high insulin levels.  Insulin increases storage of belly fat and inflammation.  Insulin blocks your appetite –control hormone, leptin.  Now the brain never gets the message that you are full.  Instead it thinks you are starving.  This lights up your nucleus accumbens driving you to crave more sugar and processed foods.

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Embracing the “C” word (no, not that one)

 

Sometimes Nurse Practitioners who practice wellness get a personal wake up call.  After a recent phone call, I was immediately transported back 20 years ago when I received an almost identical call.  Both times, I understood the information.  Both times, I instantly denied the information.  But each time, reality seeped into every adrenaline soaked brain cell.  The biopsy report was positive for cancer.

 

My initial prognosis had mixed reviews.  The surgeon was hopeful – the specialist not so much.  The days and weeks that followed were full of opportunities to choose between fear or courage.  I became a student of the many promises from God that I had taken for granted.   I found myself more acutely aware of fellow sufferers in this “cancer club” and began praying for them with a new zeal.

 

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Testosterone Quagmire

“Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”

—John Gray PhD

 

Women and men are very different.  The concept seems fairly easy to grasp.  Most get it.  It seems obvious.  Even the science supports it.  However, this point seems to escape most in Medicine today.

 

The perfect example of this biochemical difference is found in Testosterone.  The effects and risks of Testosterone in women stand in stark contrast to men.   Low Testosterone is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease risk in men.  Yet, elevated Testosterone is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease risk in women.  A recent publication highlights the different Testosterone picture in women with obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (elevated Testosterone) and men with obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (low Testosterone).

 

Join Nan Sprouse as she discusses the quagmire of Testosterone in women in her latest video blog.  No opinion here, just science.

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An Apple a Day? Healthy Choices vs. Inflammation

My pre-60th birthday journey to improve my previous test results from Seasons of Farragut continues! This month I decided to focus on the first tenet in our Seasons wellness regimen – nutrition!

About two years ago I took the ALCAT test and was astonished at my lengthy list of reactive foods! The ALCAT is a fascinating food sensitivity test in which white blood cells are introduced to a variety of foods, chemicals, and herbs. The severity of the reaction determines if a substance is mild, moderate, severe, or normal within my body. Since knowledge is power, I decided to receive the news that gluten and dairy were on my “severe list” as a positive indicator rather than “buyers’ remorse” for having performed the test!

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