Reactive Foods and the tie to CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

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Hold onto your menu everybody and start to look closer. A new type of diet is in town and it’s all the rage. You are about to hear about it at barbecues, at the gym, and your doctor’s office andy will see it nonstop in every magazines you subscribe to.

The hot new buzzword for health and longevity with nutrition is elimination diets. Sometimes referred to as “Reactive Foods” 

The above was my headline for a lecture I presented back in 2014.  

Fast forward today – this idea is NO longer revolutionary, no longer cutting edge and no longer controversial.

Hopefully you’ve heard of it and have either tried to play with it or wanting to learn more. If not, well…that’s exactly why I write this stuff.

OK, so what are these, what does it mean and how does this affect you? Do you need it?

Short answer – Yes, It is something you should be familiar with. There will be success in eliminating bad stuff out of your diet and out of your body immediately – in all aspects of your life. You will lose weight, feel better, lift more, run faster, have better sex, think more clearly – life as you know it -will be better. 

But the people who really NEED this – like desperately HAVE to figure this crap out, those are the people with real deal medical conditions. Fatigue, rashes, joint pain, fibromyalgia, sleep pattern issues and seriously, damn near everything. If you have anything “weird” going on – chances are the diet is a HUGE part of the issue.

This idea has and will continue to change the medical treatment for people with long-term inflammatory issues and the implementation of this is WAY BIGGER than what you think.

My own brother had a lot of success treating his rheumatoid issues that took him from a “peak of life high school wrestling coach” to some days needing a cane just to get around. 

So what are we talking about here? 

Many of these plans, and there are thousands of them out right now, focus on a new way of looking at health by “eliminating” foods that your body treats basically like an allergen. Now look, allergy and reactive foods are not the exact same thing. However, the line that the common media and subsequently a lot of doctors use to differentiate these two terms is blurring. The terms are thrown around sort of interchangeably and really, the treatment – which is simply  the elimination of these from your system, is the same – so get the gist here… You eat X and your body reacts poorly.

It sounds a lot like an allergen right? Well it’s not exactly – an epi pen wont be needed nor will it even help. The proper term is reactive food and it is a bit different than a common allergic reaction such as a bee sting or cedar oils. But…It is a really easy concept if you think of it similarly.

Typical food reactions will show increased water retention, so a short term weight gain. The extra water is part of the response to try and process the food through your guts. You’ll also notice, if you’re paying attention, an instant histamine reaction. (stuffy nose, light congestion).

Sometimes it is the amount and frequency of the foods. For instance steak might be fine for a person, but have it two days in a row and you get the reaction. Sound crazy? Actually it’s fairly common. Your body just doesn’t like a certain product at certain levels and it bugs out. Probably, at some level, you’ve already been flirting with some version of a reactive food plan already. It’s not obscure anymore and the whole Gluten Free thing has got HUGE – Your supermarket has an entire row dedicated to it!

I have shared ideas on Lectins, Keto, intermittent fasting on this site even – and the article reads about the same . Dr. Gundry and his Lectins diet and book, takes this whole thing deeper – from reactive foods, to the actual cause – so if you want more info – click on all the links I’ve posted above –

I wrote this article to basically water it down a bit, make the pieces easier to digest and understand.

Small proteins traveling through the gut wall due to cell wall barriers working incorrectly or being hijacked is tough. Reactive food? That’s easy…

Grog eat X. Grog feel Bad. Grog no eat X.

I’m sure you or a friend has heard of grains, especially gluten causing problems? Lactose Intolerant? Dairy, sugars, Paleo, RAW, Vegan – all of these, minus a few basic ethical food choices are types of elimination plans. These plans aren’t new, just newly packaged and marketed. And lately, researched and advanced.

And I will tell you, they aren’t bunk. This idea of reactive foods is quite real and backed by real science. I have tried a 20-30 day trial myself and learned a ton about my body. I have taken a new style reactive foods blood test. I constantly test and experiment. I make better decisions  because of the knowledge I have about what reacts with my body and in what volume and have become fairly acute in understanding when something that has been ok for me for a long time, or even a “healthy food” is now a reactive food – and obviously, not healthy for me anymore.

How do I know when I’m reactive? Clues…such as a 3-4 lb weight gain the next day, a feeling of bloatiness, soft(er) abs {I’m not a six pack guy on normal days by any stretch} and usually within fifteen minutes of eating something I’m reactive to- just a little more snappy and jumpy than normal – Stuff my kids do that usually makes me chuckle now makes me agitated. Give me 7 Pringles and have my kids get all the pets out and play…It’ll drive me nuts! And this is after just a small amount – can you imagine 3-4 potato chips causing a 3-4 lb weight gain? I couldn’t – but it does!

A single granola bar or bowl of oatmeal, yep…for me it does – Potatoes and oatmeal were my first Reactive foods! The removal of these from my diet basically jump started my entire “re-look” into what I was taught in school and what most of us in the health field regurgitate about Nutrition but is basically 20-50 year old science that is wrong. I sat and ate lunch with my 5th grader today – it was very eye opening to see what these kids think about Nutrition by 5th grade. – much of it is terrible advice and poor science. More old wives tales than solid  nutritional foundations at this point in time. It’s turned into bad and good. Only – either/or. Food isn’t a pass/fail test. It is a relationship with lots of moving parts.

Back to potatoes and oats – “whoa Chad – does this mean oats and potatoes are out?” well no, not really. Potatoes and oats aren’t bad foods, (well maybe oats (see Lectins) -heck sweet  potatoes and oatmeal are supposed Superfoods right?…but not for me. For you? Who knows…you have to test it to find out.

As I’ve stated, reactive foods are not allegies. Many times, reactive foods are reversible, not a true allergy, just something that’s not wanted in your system at this time… weird yes, but I make better choices for me because of this info.

The problem with the way foods react is inflammation. Yes! The biggest HEADLINE word for health in the last 2 years and sure to be the main issue treated worldwide over the next 2 decades. Look, it’s not that a little inflammation will kill you, but with food, and especially without knowing what is causing it, is chronic inflammation (the next biggest buzz word in medicine.)

Your body, in basic terms, just doesn’t function while it’s fighting inflammation. Nothing works like it should – not energy creation, fat removal, cancer fighting cells, muscle growth, healing capabilities, hormones, sleep pattern, pain regulation…NOTHING! You have to get rid of inflammation to let the body heal correctly. This is why real diseases like rheumatoid, psoriasis, cholesterol problems, diabetes and Cancer are all jumping on the inflammation bandwagon for treatment options.

AND THIS IS WHY there is a million new drugs, ads, diets and trainers focusing on it. Because it’s worth Million$$.

Like I stated earlier, I like the idea, I like the plans but ladies and gentlemen, if I come off preachy sometimes, I’m sorry but I’ll say it again, “USE YOUR HEADS!!!”

Do you have to give up all wheat, all potatoes, oatmeal? – NO! “Wait Dr. Peters, did you say Dairy was BAD?, NO wait, Just ALL GRAINS?” NO NO NO! Please don’t throw a hand grenade at a problem that needs a hammer and nail.

Again, as I’ve said over and over in the healthfield, it’s not the idea that’s wrong, it’s the practical application (ex: removing all grains when it’s a gluten or rice meal. Or all dairy and all meat, when it may be just one form or too much at once.)

You need to take the time and figure out what works for you and you only. Quit jumping on the fads and use the information to make a better decision. If a gluten free, Paleo diet that a caveman would be proud of and it works for you, fine, but c’mon, BJ’s Pizza tastes really good! sometimes I can handle a pizza and beer sometimes because I’m not fighting a disease state. If you ARE in fact treating Cancer, diabetes, colitis or anything like this then DUDE, the pizza isn’t worth it right now. Fix your body. Help your body fix itself!

This chronic inflammation and elim diets deal is going to just get bigger and bigger. It has already – its already better than when I wrote this article the first time 4 years ago. Look at my site. We have evolved! Play with what works for you and believe me you can. I started this morning differently than I do nearly every other morning and felt like crap all day long. Its real, and by paying attention to just how junky you feel after eating junk you’re on your first part of the journey. We’re all built differently, so what works for you won’t work for me. You can make your body healthier, feel better and find those hidden abs with the right approach and decision making while still enjoying some of the great foods and drinks that work with your system.

The article is pretty much over but I have a couple tools I like to help with this idea.

The book the Plan was a revolution and the one that started me on the journey of reactive foods but its tough – it takes 30 days plus and has a lot of prep. This is the future and now…

The company Everlywell has an incredible blood test that is about $200 you can do at home – I sell these in my clinic and you can get them on Amazon. It changed my world! This is so much easier than a 30 day test!

There is a company called 1 Step – where you fill out a food journal and the company has a dude that looks over all your stuff and systematically removes just 1 food at a time that is a likely candidate of crap your eating. Genius, for those a little less motivated and stubborn – but even without the website – the idea itself is powerful – remove just 1 thing at a time that’s crushing your day. Do it for a month – now find another.

Running Hacks

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Running is hard.

Nobody ever said it was easy. It can be addictive and Fun and is obviously incredibly challenging and enjoyable. It’s popular.

Millions more people are running Half marathons, 10 & 5K’s since even a decade ago and that is millions more than in 2000.  

Running is HUGE and I think, at this point in our lives,  most everyone can agree it is good for us.

We’re Humans. We are built to run, climb and lift heavy things.

But like everything I do in life I want to know…”Is there a better and perhaps easier way?”

At one time I was a 240 lb Linebacker. In my era, college football players didn’t run much.  We had our 40’s (that’s 40 yards!) and occasionally a full length field, but we did NOT run.  In my mid 30’s I decided to change my life and my fitness world. I knew a BIG part of overall fitness is the ability to run so I made it my quest. Over the years I feel like I’ve got pretty good at running.

It’s certainly not something that makes me anxious anymore. It’s simple, dude! It’s just a run!

I’m not really training for anything specific but more want to have it in my bag of tricks. My desire was to be able to run at the drop of a hat. For instance if you said, “Hey Chad, i have an extra ticket to a tough mudder and it’s a ten miler.” I wouldn’t have to think about it. I could do it.

I could run 3 -5 miles if my life depended on it (Are You Healthy Enough To Survive?) and even if I felt the whim over a lunch break.

I could run a leg of Beach to Bay with no formal training.  I’m there already, (typically the announcer at the beginning) so I just go if I feel like it. Running is by no means intimidating to me anymore.

 Where a three mile run used to look like an all afternoon affair that would probably include a sack lunch and be brutal, it’s just not anymore.  

I can get you there.  And honestly, you should be able to do this.

Hence the article – How do I make running easier, better and possibly…fun??!    

First thing to know…It will still be hard. Running is Hard. But so is your job, yet- you do it everyday and go back for more. So is raising kids and yet…that’s a huge part of WHY it is so rewarding.

2nd thing –  My ideas you’ll see and hear in this article  won’t win you the race.

It’s not for the elite and honed in athletes.  It’s for the newbies and people that have struggled and are fearful. It’s for the guys and girls that just “gut it out” and as much as I love strong willpower, It’s for those looking for a better way!

This entire site is looking for a better way…In everything.  

And YES, there is a better way to run.

Here’s my list of things to play with and experiment with to make running easier and more efficient:

Galloway Method

Shorter strides with a quicker pace

Glute and Hamstring contractions 

Recovery

Sprints and up-tempo runs

Galloway Method

The Galloway method is based on Jeff Galloway’s best seller’s and his method of a run-walk combo.

I have played with this for years and it is typically the VERY FIRST THING I RECOMMEND to anyone that wants to improve their running.

In my opinion it is mandatory for people that hate running. When I take people for a run I do this 100% and nearly 100% of the time I hear, “That was the easiest run I’ve ever done.”

That’s right.

I can go deep into all the physiology etc and the burning and sparing of glycogen versus lactates etc but I think for this article, let’s not. Look up his stuff if you want to dive deeper. I’ll just give you my take.

First off it’s a run/walk meaning you run for a set amount of time and walk for a set amount of time.

One of the marathoners in my clinic that has done all 50 states and over 110 marathons stated he thinks MORE THAN 50% of marathoners use Galloway method for their RACES!

It works.

Here’s how I would have you start.

Run for 2:30  comfortable pace, your pace. Not trying to move faster or anything, just your pace.

At the 2:30 mark walk for 30 seconds. That’s right. Walk. No need to try and walk super fast or crazy, just walk. recover.

Repeat. For however long you want to go.

We’ve just turned running into sets and reps. If you are like me – that already makes a run easier.

Here’s how you adjust as you get better.

Once 2:30 becomes easy, repetitively easy -add to the run interval. Try 2:45 – still with a 30 walk. And I’m big into the 30 second walk. That’s the ideal amount of rest.  

Here’s how you pick your run time. As you progress and complete a few runs and the pace was good, increase it ten seconds and try it out. I still like the 30 sec rest.

You should never look down at your watch to see how much time is left because you’re tired. My personal example is this:

I am at about a 3:30 run/:30 rest. I constantly try to get that run up to 4 minutes but I find I am dying on the last 20 sec. I look down at my watch thinking, “OHHH LORD! How much more!?”

That’s your clue – the run is too long – your run pace should consistently be about 5-10 sec less than what you could run.  It always stays comfortable!

Be aware that the most common marathoner’s time ratio is a 4/1 meaning 4 minute run with a 1 minute walk but I think the walk is too long and there are a factor or two physiologically that make me prefer a 30 sec rest.

But, this is about you. You do you, I’m just here to drop the science.

If you just absolutely are getting your butt kicked halfway through, take the rest to a minute for one interval and then hop back on board – no biggie.

Galloway has many benefits: like rest for one. But if that’s not doing it for you try out: sparing muscles, increased fat loss, psychological (effort perception), and pace maintenance.

Meaning -You won’t get consistently slower as you go along. Typically for new to moderate runners you might start out at a 8 min pace. By mile 3 it’s a 9 minute pace. By the end of a 10K it’s maybe an 11 or 12 min pace. With Galloway, there is a lot of muscle sparing and You’ll almost always maintain the same pace race long. If not, your run interval it too long. Modify this.

Shorter Strides with a quicker pace.

For you guys that have been in a race before – especially a ½ or a full marathon. You know those guys that just look goofy when they run? I call them the jumping bunnies. These hyper-energetic bouncy weird people that just seem to hop around the race course with their quick short little strides. Yeah those guys…I’m one of them now.

That came from a protocol called POSE running technique and it is a HUGE energy saver by utilizing the energy your muscles produce coupled with elastic recoil. Like a rubber band and piston ½ the work is done with no additional energy.   

You’ll feel super lame. SUPER Lame.

But lets look at some evidence here. The jumping bunnies are constantly the ones that spring their way through the finish line with a smile and bounce on over to their friends for a chat, yapping a mile a minute and then bounce on over to the beer keg for a quick one to celebrate another fantastic life affirming run they just had. Yeah! Life!   

Meanwhile, the Sloggers, the guys with the big long strides – the putting every freaking ounce of effort into this technique of pain – basically start/stop/start/stop the entire race are dying and look like extras from the walking dead series as they cross the finish line. Gas break gas break 

The perfect POSE tempo is 180 strides per minute! Crazy fast! Your fast tempo music is most likely at 128 bpm – which is WAY slower and you’ll match that to your stride.  Now a 180 tempo for me is just too fast, I’m not there but I do mimic the bunnies as much as I can and it has helped my running so much. Plus it only feels strange – it actually doesn’t look that strange if you just get that smile off your face that shows you know a secret others don’t.

Glute and hamstring contractions.

Not stretches. Really.

I’ve only spouted on about this for close to 20 articles on this website – suggesting the same thing over and over for a number of conditions. Look, a warm up is not what it was when we were in grade school PE. You are heading out asking your muscles to contract over and over again for miles. Why would I start by taking them the wrong way. You’ll feel like a nerd, I don’t care. Contract those Glutes and Hammies prior to a run and see what happens.. You’ll run faster I’m sure.

Recovery

Look dude, You cant just go out and run as a amateur every single day and just expect to get better. Your body needs to recover and adapt and beating it too hell every day doesn’t do this. There is a level of what is good and detrimental in any sports conditioning. Football training is nothing like it was in my day and especially in my dad’s era. Recovery, rest, cross training are brought up every single seminar and book because it is real. You will only get better through adaptation. Allow recovery for this! My suggestion – and this has leeway depending on what your race distance is – forming a base is only 3-4 runs per week, and I lean towards three.   With one of them being a speed run (see below).   

So yes – to get ready for even marathon’s I might suggest only 2 REAL distance runs per week. The rest of the time is for growth! This goes counter to most programs out there but most programs out there are written by famous /elite runners, they like to use their techniques. This isn’t the article for those guys. I’m not a famous runner. I’m just a guy that wanted to get slightly better than average by utilizing a smarter system. I don’t win races. I finish slightly better than average with a smile on my face and can go for a run at the drop of a dime. I don’t fear runs.   

Repetitive long slow distance (LSD)  is great for injuries, that’s it – I know there are still tons of marathon systems that emphasize lots of LSD but there are testing your will power and pain adaptation and most end up in my clinic missing weeks of training and sabotaging their efforts. Train smarter not Harder! ‘

Especially when your goal isn’t to win but to finish.  Or to look better naked. Or to get slightly above average. The game changes and my coaching changes if you’re looking to qualify for Boston or MAKE THE OLYMPICS – for most of us – it isn’t.

Don’t like a day off?  great , me either – hit the gym.  Get some muscle on that machine. You wouldn’t put a Ferrari engine on a VW chassis would you? A run pace of under 6 min/mile with no muscle and no strength training is another recipe for guys that want to end up being a chiropractic client of mine..they’ll get hurt.

More muscle equals better running.   

Speed day

What’s the golden egg in all of this?  The one tip that will change it all? Well I’m split – I think the muscle is a huge missing factor for a lot of runners but if not that it certainly has a lot to do with speed day.

Have a sprints day or an uptempo day to not only prep your body for a faster tempo but shock the system and up regulate your hormones. This is so important and so good for your body and brain and system. Hormones are the secret. Use them for shortcuts and lifelong health.

8 x 200 is my favorite speed day – sort up.  8 x 200 sucks. It doesn’t look like much on paper or over the airwaves but this is a bad ass workout. It ramps up your entire system with much less stress on your body than a five miler. But given the choice of what I’d pick for perceived effort level I’d take the 5 any day. 8 x 200, 4 x 600, 1 mile repeats at a 30 sec faster per mile tempo are MAN MAKERS! And a fantastic way to see results quickly.

You’ll naturally change your turnover and pace and keep it fresh at the same time as well as dumping all kinds of beneficial hormones into your body – you need ‘em!

So this is what you do Chad?

Yeah, all the above. I do. During the super hot summers here I actually run much less.  I save running for the better weather but yeah, I do these.

If you want to dig deeper check out the master of this stuff – Brian MacKenzie and  TJ MURPHY and the book The Unbreakable Runner – I have a review link right here conveniently enough – he’ll tell you the same stuff I do but in a more clinical setting with all kinds of premade protocols to follow etc. he’s the best in the game – 

That’s it – you can get good at this, I want you to get good with less pain, less injury and more fun, that’s what life is like over here – Drchadpeters

See you on the road guys.

Therapy Vs Therapeutic…And Why You’re Screwed.

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  • There is a difference between what feels good and what works.

Deciding you don’t care… you just want what feels good isn’t helping you.

Please allow yourself to be a fly on the wall for a repetitive daily conversation in my clinic.

Me: “OK Ms. Jones, after your exam and evaluation, I feel confident this is what you have and I feel comfortable that is the correct diagnosis. And here is what you can do at home to take care of this issue. Kind of an “at home rehab idea” that will speed your issue and speedily FIX it.

Patient:  “But I don’t like to do that. I do this instead, ____” …example: use a hot shower, massage, hot tub, stretch, etc)

Me: “Yes, I understand that feels good but that approach is incorrect, in this case, it’s actually bad for you and is a big part of why you are not getting better.  It’s sabotaging your recovery…Here is what you should do instead.”

Patient:   “But it just feels good.”

Me: “agh”, pull my hair out (old days, I now have no hair!)

Every. Single. Day. Forever.

Hopefully this will clear things up quickly. 2 words, similar in nature but different in application.

Therapy = treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder

Therapeutic (or soothing) = feels good

These ideas and terms are similar and at times overlap but they are not the same thing and odds are SEVERELY against your understanding the difference and how to apply it.

This is because we all tend to just follow our ‘chocolate lab brains’. Our chocolate lab brains are non stop pleasure seeking and affirmation based.  You cant tell a lab anything.   It knows what it wants.

Feels good triumphs over better advice.

It is your fault but I won’t blame you – because I know why. Because it really does feel sooo good.

The problem is that you’ll never get better – you are working against your ability to get better.   What I spend 30 minutes to an hour fixing, you spend 10-12 hours undoing.

Therapy vs. Comforting vs. soothing vs it feels good is an easy concept to understand but hard to implement. Let me give you a few examples I see in my clinic daily. Over and over and over.

– Heck guys,

This whole concept of you doing what feels good vs. what is appropriate treatment is the reason I started the whole damn website.

I do this lecture 5-10x a day – one person at a time. The hope is that an online following will help me reach more people, a shotgun type approach to health.

Examples:

Ice vs. Heat – I’ve absolutely chiropractic napalmed this topic to death – you’ll see this come up on https://www.sportsdocdc.com/ a million times..I won’t make you read it again. If you are inflamed… don’t use heat – that’s the opposite of anti-inflammatory – that called pro-inflammatory.

“But how can I tell if I’m inflamed?”   There are some tricks to the trade I can do clinically but an easy way is to just ask yourself – does ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) help take the edge off? Yes?   Those are anti-inflammatories.  It says so on the box – there’s no pain relieving drugs in there, just anti-inflammatory. So don’t pro – inflammatory treat it.

“But it just feels so good to take a hot shower.” I know. I know. But 15 minutes later it hurts again…yeah – it certainly does feel good.

Sorry, I told you I wouldn’t rant but it’s seriously our most discussed and played out things and one of the only few true negatives I have at work. I HATE this lecture and I do it clinically  100x a week!

Stretching  – as in “I don’t stretch enough” or “I stretch all the time, I have an hour routine I’ve been doing for three years now”

(see the 4 Reasons Why You Have Tight Muscles and What To Do About It on this site with a Batman picture included)

There are many reasons for tight muscles – Step into the future and get away from the old adage of you need to stretch more.   You sound like my PE teacher in the 90’s.  Get with the modern take on “tightness”

Oh what’s that? But it feels good? Great. 

Stop reading this immediately and start it again next year when you’re still messed up.

The answer is – know what you have first …

here’s a clue…For the most part – the entire back side of your body is over stretched and overlong already.   It’s over elongated  because we all sit too long.  (and.. Just stretching a tight muscle is lame and most likely is slowing down your recovery. Contracting the Posterior Chain (aka “UnWinding” the Seated Position)

Rest for an injury –

An acute issue probably needs a little rest – emphasis on LITTLE.

“I sprained my ankle 4 mo. ago and rested it (the entire time) and yesterday on my first run it came right back.  You think I should rest it more?”

Guess what? You didn’t rest – you just did nothing. Dude! We’re talking like atrophy, weakness-induced-level time off. You forgot to do something and anything. You were not pro-active. Rest by itself is by no means therapy. Ever.

Massage –

I love massage – I have three awesome LMT’s in my clinic. But, it is not for every issue – every time. If you have difficulty getting out of bed each morning because your back is killing you and if you sneeze,cough or fart you’d collapse in pain – then why on Earth would you figure lying face down for an hour would HELP?!  You won’t be able to get up off the table!

advice I’ve given already…you need to know what you have.

Second example – you want to use massage as a therapy – as in a FIX for a condition. “Oh man, I hold all my stress right here!” (imagine my mom pointing to her shoulders)

But you’ve been getting massages every week for the last two years. Guess what? It’s not working. If it was what you needed, it would have fixed you by now.

“But doc, it feels so good”

On this example I’ll throw you a bone here…If you are getting a massage for the sole reason that it feels good, personally I’m OK with that. It’s your money – use it however you want to. It does feel good and hands-on therapy has some seriously great side effects emotionally and mentally. BUT – you can’t complain when it doesn’t work as a therapy. As a fix. I don’t want to hear, “Oh I tried massage for about 2 years, it never worked for me.”

Give your poor Therapist a chance – don’t ask a massage therapist for miracles….”But my tight muscles, what about them?” Read 4 Reasons Why You Have Tight Muscles and What To Do About It one more time please.  you didn’t “get it” the first time.

My last example is the guys that are the polar opposite – the “no pain- no gain” crowd. Basically, most of my friends:   cross fitters, wrestlers, marathoners, power lifters …the type A crowd. 

The guys and girls that think if it doesn’t hurt like crazy it’s not doing anything. These guys will take a foam roller idea and in 3 weeks be using a metal weight bar to really get in and crush the muscles. “DUDE IT HURTS LIKE HELL TO CRUSH MY MUSCLES AND ROLL MY SHOULDERS OUT WITH A SHOT PUT, BUT IT’S LIKE A GOOD HURT ….BRO!”

C’mon.

I don’t even want to get into this right now. If you are serious about fixing an issue, and want to go it alone, I’m cool with that – get to know your body.

My advice would be to try your therapy of choice out for 4 sessions. 4 trys.

If you haven’t got serious results in 4 sessions, my bet is that you are doing something wrong – try a different approach.

Learn. Get smarter with your health. Maybe you’ve heard the quote, “First, Don’t fool yourself and…You’re the easiest person to fool.”

Quit fooling yourself – Quit lying to yourself with lame justification of “feels good” and FIX your body.

Why We’re Not The Experts For Our Kids

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I’m in the middle of soccer, baseball, softball and Ninja Warrior season right now. Both as a dad and as a coach – I’m involved! I have a career as a sports based chiropractor but spend a significant amount of my time and energy on human performance. I love helping adults and kids at becoming faster, stronger and more energetic. It is a passion of mine and after 4 or 5 generations of coaching I feel like coaches and teaching is in my genes –  especially for the age of my kids right now and their sports teams.

I often hear parents say, “It’s nice to have you coach because we can tell our kids what to do but they won’t listen.” That’s true. It’s difficult to be experts to your own kids.   Watch my teams.10 kids paying attention and fired up and ready to work and my two girls doing cartwheels 20 feet away. I’m no expert for them. I’m the dad – not the expert. Barely the coach.

The other kids might think I invented the sport and what I say is GOLD – but let’s get real..to my kids I’m just dad.

This may happen to you as well. Especially the young parents that have their oldest in sports for the first time –  “why won’t she listen to me??!! I played college ball for crying out loud!”

Don’t be discouraged. I have figured it out, and I can help you. I use my friends (whom are coaches) as the experts for my kids. I used to have issue with this but I’ve seen the light and learned from my mistakes.. I’ve done dozens of Tough Mudders and obstacle courses, hell, I built the stuff in our back yard they play on, but still – NO advice from dad please.

Guys it’s no big deal. Stop worrying and see it from the kids’ perspective and you’ll see why – for millennia, parents have RARELY been the experts. Even the best coaches in the world use outside help.

Little known fact – little Vito Columbus, Chris’ kid, learned to sail from one of his friends.  Not his dad.  It was pretty much peer pressure alone that made his, although lesser known – equal in longevity, sailing career profitable and secure.

Here’s why.

They’ve seen you in your underwear.

Pretty much sums it up. How can you be an expert when the kids know you like that.

They’ve seen you in the shower, swearing while tripping on Legos, in the morning before the coffee has kicked in, hungover, swearing after you stubbed your toe, Irrate over some little insignificant thing like clothes on the floor, swearing again about another thing not picked up that you stepped on – whining, begging for them to just. Go. To. Bed. Please. Basically everything that entails being a parent.

We are intimately tied to our kids and this is a GOOD thing, but it does lend itself to familiarity and comfort– both traits that keep you from being the end all –be all expert of the universe. And let’s get real, the real job of parents is in the comfort and familiarity department. That’s social development homey. The real stuff.  . Confidence and Security. That’s OUR job #1 and something to be proud of. Our kid hitting the slider can take a back seat for a while.

Have you ever noticed how your kids get when they see their teacher at the grocery?  That’s because Teachers haven’t been thought of as actual real people with real lives. They don’t just live at the school and think of nothing but furthering the human race by the education of the youth?

Use this information. Be OK with it – you still are the person they trust and love the most and they will always come back to you. Be the one that supports what the coach says and help reiterate the lessons they need. Ask the coaches to bring up something you want to instill.

Your kids’ universe is different than yours. Their perspective is different than yours and the same information coming in different ways helps reinforce the lessons they need for sports, life, love family and development. These little guys and girls are observant and when they see others listening to your advice and ideas, they’ll eventually get the point and understand that you actually do know whatever it is you’re yammering on about over there. No matter how they act – you’re still mom and dad..the smartest, strongest, kindest and most specialist person in the whole world.  Even in your underwear.

You Have A Choice

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In this hand, I have the fix for your problems. A TOTAL fix!

You will live better, feel amazing and life as you know it will improve beyond comprehension.  Your struggles, your weight gain, your illnesses will vanish and life as you now know it will cease to exist. You CAN truly make a change!

In the other hand, I have a blue pill. It’s a placebo. You’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be exactly like it is right now.

I’ve written about the enormity of ‘the system” and the problems that are dangerous rip currents in healthcare. (“Why are doctors so…)

You don’t have to read that article – it’s actually more of a rant than anything educational anyway – The gist is just to “be better” in society as a whole. Each of us but especially all of us in healthcare need to be better and hold ourselves to a higher standard.  It’s Just good advice for anyone, anytime.

But often…OK more often than not, in my particular brand of healthcare, ie “feeling better, therapy type treatments, rehab and performance enhancement” –

 It is the patient that is the problem, not the system!

Yeah, you don’t want to hear this

If you are indeed the patient, it is indeed a tough pill – but too bad, it is Captain Obvious time.

During such a disregard for any act of effort I feel a ‘call out’ is in need.  Maybe this helps you become a better patient and in part helps the relationship you have with your doctor so when you pay this hard-earned money to someone like me you get what you really want.

As is my norm..

I’ll preface this article with a story or two – entertaining while enlightening, I’m trying to get you to laugh.

A found laugh is like finding a dollar bill on the curb – Nothing that will change your life but still feels like you’re one up on the rest of the world.  Let’s see what I can do.

Today I had a client who wanted worked on after a massage.  Routine chiro stuff and typically its easy peesy, this workup’s cheesy.

Today however the client looked me in the eyes and said, “Hey doc – I know all this feels good, but I want a fix.”

Seriously?! You do? YES!!!

I love to fix things and although I’m happy to let you spend your money however you see fit, I want to FIX you girl! I was pumped. And dammit…I had the fix all lined up.

This was a rather common issue – she has had constant upper back tightness along her shoulders -she feels all her stress “here” (grab her shoulders and neck move) and although chiro, PT and massage all seem to help, she just feels like it all comes back 2 days later.   Sound familiar?  I hear this daily. Repeat  Daily – probably sounds like you huh?  Yeah its aggravating, but far from unique.

Remember that video I posted a month or so ago with the purple ball and the idea of how there are muscles that are movers and muscles that are “stabalizers” and on and on…No? but I made a video guys. I posted it to this page even. Here’s a link for it. Neck Stabilization Video.  

Well exactly. That’s what happens.

I went through it piece by piece – full on tilt awesome therapy delivered to your face. Aaaand nothing.

She loved the little song and dance and nodded appropriately and asked appropriate questions and even had a few insights.. I could tell she “got it.”  Although this rehab is insanely low brow, low tech AND cheap  – it is incredibly effective.  Cameron, my therapist commented -, “it’s a life changing tool that nobody wants.”

Yep it is – despite being a semi flat ball and hokey and cheap it is an incredible new look into the human body and functional kinesiology rehab work. Minds should be blown!   But.  Alas, they are not. It’s like the gong show every time I get all worked up. BONG!!!! Exit, stage Left.

Don’t laugh – that video has been viewed all of 8 times since being posted with zero likes and only one comment. Even my mom didn’t “thumbs up”

Over lunch I discussed this with my staff and they concluded its just a lack of effort.   Yeah, that’s an easy answer -lack of effort.   But you see the work required for this particular life altering, headache reducing, sleep affecting rehab tool is 30 seconds of leaning on a damn ball. Leaning….It CANT be lack of effort as it is next to zero effort!

So, after my 10 minute soapbox rant, I asked her…“Or you could just have me pop your neck?”

“Yeah, that’s all I want.”

“But..But that’s not the fix, that’s just a pop – you’ll feel like crap again 2 days later”

“Yeah, well..OK – it feels pretty good – you want me face up or face down?

OK so what is this? What do I call this phenomenon?

Instant gratification? Close. Wanting a pill for a problem? Yes close. It’s a real world problem that affects many aspects of our life and we are ALL guilty of it.

I see this idea reflected in nearly ALL aspects of human behavior.

In the health fields, nutrition diet fields and with personal training field we, in the industry, often say, “people just want a pill.”

Look, we all know the dangers of antibiotics overuse at this point in the game.They don’t help viruses guys, different bug – you’re just basically killing all your good gut bacteria for no reason, which affects your ability to get well and counteracts, actually increasing your chances to just get sick again greatly – but hell, we still want it – AND, strangely we feel better when we do have a pill to pop. But let’s get real, its not helping us – we just feel like we have a fix – when in fact we don’t.

I want to change this. But I’m not sure I have the ammo for this battle.

Anyway, my take on this article is to just become aware. Wake up and seek out the actual fix not the bandaid here. Increase awareness, look for clues (It’s called a CLUE.) and dammit, care about yourself enough to want to experiment!

I write on the diet stuff often. Right?  It works. But not many try it – many claim to – remember Adkin’s diet? A million people lost a crazy amount of weight on it but if you ask people now they’ll say it was a failure – no one even read his stuff, they just cut out bread and cookies and ate crap – not at all Dr. Adkins idea. And I see this same response happening for the new trends (new and improved by the way)

Keto? Yeah mention that in public – you’ll be loved or hated and 12 different people do it differently. I mean guys, there are dudes out there preaching they have CURES! For diabetes, cancers, PAIN! And no one even looks up a correct application. What I’m saying is I need an effort here people – you need to experiment with your body.  You have to try new things! We’re humans! Our DNA is the same as everything on planet EARTH – the difference is we are incredibly adaptive and implementive. We thrive because we can make changes more rapid than the other species. Yet –  we have lost the ability to figure out what even makes us feel good. This isn’t the article telling you to try Keto by the way – it’s the article telling you to try something.  For Yourself.

Many of my patients just don’t have the energy/willpower/effort to just try something, even with the problems that cause them the most discomfort, time wasted and money.

I have one more amazing story on this. I’m going to relate it to you because it blew my mind last week.  I’ve never seen it up close and personal like this before and although it’s maybe a common psychology deal – it affects our health and entire being. I’m still shaking my head in awe.  Wow!

I had another patient, the same morning as the decade of neck pain girl from above. Let’s call him Gary, as really, I just don’t think there are many Gary’s in any of my tales.

So Gary has been coming to me for years. He always tells me he’s “getting ready.”   Getting ready to start working out. Getting ready to start eating better. Getting ready to just get his life back. Annnnd, he just moved back in with his mom for the 8th time this decade. He’ll start soon enough he just needs to get it all squared away and I guess he’s waiting for the planets to align and an eclipse to tell him the universe is FINALLY READY for him to just take that first step.

As I was working on him, he mentioned an accident he had that was the cause of all his misery. He had a major issue that I’m sure was both painful and traumatic and was the onset of all his sloth.

Casually I asked him when that was. “oh, at 7 years old he answered.” Seven?

Wait. You’re a grown ass man!  I thought, not said.

He continued…”I think the layer upon layer of scar tissue and bone destruction from the accident is the reason for a lot of this low grade pain and hesitation I always feel.

As I work on him with my hands, I just started kind of moving him around…”you know, Gary, I don’t feel ANY scar tissue or problems here man. I’ve been working on you for years, you’re good.  Seriously, you’re fine, you just need to go already. Start that workout, Start that diet you’ve been thinking about, read that book you’ve been telling me about. Dude, You’re perfect.  In fact  -There’s not even really a single cell left in your body from back in the days of that accident. Your body has remade itself a thousand times over – it’s not your body keeping you from any of this stuff – you’re good to go. As a professional in healthcare AND physical Fitness I am TELLING YOU, NOW! Is the time – You’ve got this, you can remake yourself into the image you see in your mind’s eye!

I got all fired up, basically, I became a tornado of motivation and positive quips and Ansel Adams pictures of inspirational quotes, Icebergs with giant mountain sunder the sea out of view and mountain climbers at a peak rah rah feel good, Pinterist, Artsy, Etsy motivational confetti throwing high school coach fire up incredibleness. My GOD! This is what I got into healthcare for everybody!  To Fix people to give them back their lives and Win the day!

As I disengaged my brother like grasp and  removed my arm from off his shoulders I looked deep into his eyes after wiping the sweat from my brow and saw…

Well?…

I saw nothing.

He wasn’t there.

Totally disconnected and offline. Like a robot that has lost his charge.

Blankness.

And then I saw it – a whirring in the back of his mind, his eyes more like windows at this point. A spark and a reboot.   Like restarting a computer –  he just came back online.

“OK”, he stated, “I’ll see you next time.”

He never even heard me – He honestly just went 100% offline, his brain not even registering any of the positivity I was spewing, 100% ZERO.

I mean what is that? He physically and mentally just couldn’t digest the wares I was peddling. It didn’t fit into his life plan.

It was Keanu Reeves in the Matrix amazing to me. To be there and witness it firsthand. That’s real y’all. A human reboot!

Later that weekend I was talking to my wife about this.

Her gift in this world is the ability to summarize. If she ran this website, each article would be 47 seconds long and Buddhism simple.

She put it as an analogy –

See its like this. When you Chad take your pickup into the mechanic and have them look at it, you give the mechanic your perceived basic symptoms.   “Hey Joe, my truck seems to be running weird and I’m having a hard time slowing down for stop signs and red lights and hobos.”

Joe the mechanic starts to exam and diagnose and then, like you, explain the changes that need to be made on the truck, and the brakes and tires and racks and pinions I just nod off and say, “yeah just do whatever it takes to get this fixed.”

I don’t understand mechanics much and although I love to occasionally try, it seems like voodoo and science fiction. It’s just foreign.

I just glaze over and don’t care about what Joe is yammering on about over there – I have articles to write on his back and diet and exercise routine and can’t wait to tell him how much I know if he would only shut up for a minute about my truck.

You see the irony on this yes? It is similar no doubt. So now I’m a hypocrite and a moron for spouting my faith at you but not listening to your reply.

Maybe a bit

BUT…

Now, after witnessing the life changing neck pain girl not caring and the mental reboot from Gary over there, I think I will be a better human for it. If nothing else, I can learn from expert’s advice and just…I don’t know…try harder?

I guess the worst case scenario is that I will know I have surrounded myself with people that care.  And if they are going to make the effort to care, I suppose, I owe it to the universe to care a little myself.

Be aware. Instant gratification, the pop a pill mentality is out there in all aspects of life and most likely rarely works. I know when dealing with changing the body – like cellular level reconstruction of your body, your fat %’s, your gut bacteria, your sore shoulder and hip, and muscle development – it just takes time. And effort. It’s a road and guys, it all works – all workouts, all diets, all treatments…it’s just that some work better. More efficiency and fun and enjoyment is what I’m after here.

Find out what you need changed in your life. Right now. Write down the top three things that would impact your life right now and spend just a few minutes each day improving these three things.

Example:

  • My knee is sore
  • I want to play with no sugars for a week
  • I want to see my kids hoop it up

Now work on these three things. When one of them is no longer one of the big three add a new one to the list.

Plan on having a lifetime big 3 list and what you’ll find is that these three things keep becoming smaller and smaller issues.   You’ll whittle it down to minor changes that maybe just take seconds…maybe just take awareness and you will reap the benefits in life.

Realize you are not the person you were 5 years ago. Your cellular structure is remade constantly and you can literally become whomever you want to be. If we took the time frame off of anything…fixing a shoulder, losing 100 pounds, creating kiss butt eating habits so you look amazing walking out of the shower, learning a language and on and on and on – make the effort, give it time and you can change anything!

Be aware of your blind spots and brain computer reboots and fix this stuff.

OK, this article just took on a life of its own and went all directions, sorry guys – the moral of the story is

Care about yourself and be willing to work a bit. You’ve got this!

Your Goals Suck

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How about a little counter intuitive advice to jolt your brain cells awake today soldier?!

Here’s the problem with goals – they are obtainable…and then what?

Look, I get it, every self- help guru and motivator preaches the power of goals and they’ve worked for eons and eons.

I get what they’re aiming for but they are using the wrong term.   Words are amazing  and powerful. One small shift can change an entire emotion, perception and outcome.

The entire chiropractic profession was almost destroyed over a simple mistake in terms. One word.

There is a simple shift you can do, we all should do, right now that makes a greater imprint on your mind and while seemingly benign it will radically change the way you approach your health, business and life plans.

Substitute the word

GOALS

For

HABITS

Example: “I want to drop 30 lbs.” That’s a Great goal.  But there are a million unhealthy ways to be successful. You could starve. You could join a Siberian Labor Camp – You could lose a leg. These, my friends are terrible ideas.

You’re not that strange – you’re going to just eat better and work out?  Seems a much better choice – BUT – I’ve seen this scenario play out.  You drop the 30 lbs for the 20th class reunion and then what? –you decide to reward yourself with a couple beers while listening to Thunderstruck with your Homies and the next day 8-9 of those lbs found their way back onto your midsection. After all that hard work and grueling gym sessions? “Screw it, I’m never going to the gym again.”

What if you developed a habit to eat right and work out. This is rather underwhelmingly similar right? But it has a different focal point. There’s no 30 pound end-point. No false pot of gold goal that brings you nothing.

The 30 lbs will still come off– it’s natural. But that’s not the point of it all. You have created a habit – (takes about 30 days to click in your brain) – you can still rock out to ACDC at the party and the next morning you’re immediately back on track. The scale makes no difference because the weight itself  was NEVER part of the equation.    Within 2 days “cheat and fun day” gain is negated and you’re back on track.

You get the idea.  I don’t need to beat this to death do I?    (my short and sweet articles are much more popular) OK… 2 more examples:

The habit is to develop a consistent golf swing. The reward is a consistently decreasing score that you can actually work with self correct.

The goal is to shoot sub 80 and you probably obtain it once in your lifetime… if you don’t count that one foot wedge and a gimme or two on the back 9.

The habit is to start to learn your way around the kitchen and try a new spice or two. To create something and play with cooking.  It’s fun.   It leads you to eventually creating real confidence and skill allowing you to amaze your friends and family with your culinary prowess.

The goal is to present one blowout  5 course meal to impress your date. (insert cartoon “Wah-wah.”)

These terms goals and habits are used nearly interchangeably in our lives, and they are similar and there is overlap but the ramifications of using them differently is life altering. Habits can and should be fun, exploratory and freeing – learning and trying new things, experimenting with life and creating.

Goals are laser beam focused and often riddled with pressure and guilt.

Change your words and change your life!

Sports Nutrition For Parents Of Young Athletes

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This article is written in response to questions we got from coaches and parents of our own kids sport’s teams   Thanks for all questions, comments and advice – we all get better when we discuss ideas. I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate feedback on this site but I will stress how little I do actually receive –

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 – My sons and daughters are now old enough to be full throttle into athletics.  I’m packed with kid’s sports all the way from grade school to Middle school competitive leagues.  They play everything – and play them all, all year long.

5:45 am cross country to school all day and soccer, gymnastics in the evenings.  The sports change each season but one thing we do is push our bodies in our family.  Try everything, have fun…PLAY!

They needs fuel.  They needs the right fuel to keep the “kid machine” going all day long.

They also needs that fuel to keep from breaking down.   From glycogen, that allows for bursts of speed and power to key vitamins and minerals that act as neurotransmitters to keep his brain functioning during geography class.  Proteins to rebuild muscle tissue and fats to optimize the entire system and keep their brains bursting with new ideas.

Add to all this – Their nutrition speeds up or wreaks havoc on their ability to recovery from injuries.  And then there’s some of the new “bio-hacking” info to maximize performance and we have a thousand ways that…

What our kids put into their bodies makes a difference.

Read the last sentence again. With Bolded Imprints in your brain!

With all changes the first step is awareness.  No more denial, or excuses, live this already.

I think growing up in our family, my kids just kind of “get” nutrition.  I hear them sharing a lot of information to teammates. My wife and I, as the parents as well as  former and current athletes AND sports based chiropractors focus a lot of time and energy towards clients involved in sports and sports med.  We field a lot of questions on nutrition all year long.

So in an effort to help spread good information about nutrition, here’s a little run down Nikki and I put together for you parents. 

This is the basics.

Specific cases, such as allergies, diabetes, metabolic conditions, supplementation for high school and college athletes are a case by case workup and won’t be discussed in this article.

Nor will specialized diets such as keto, intermittent fasting and new trends like reactive foods and lectin problems.    But I do write and podcast on these topics and have included links if you’re looking to dive deeper.

I just want to lay a good foundation for you as parents so you can offer your kids the best opportunities to excel at sports and life!

Rule 1 – and if you read nothing else UNDERSTAND THIS!

At this point in the game we all KNOW what are good foods and what aren’t. If you’re one of those that just don’t seem to understand I would say you are either living under a rock or are in denial.   

As Carter the intern just said, 

“The hard part isn’t the food.  The hard part is getting your kids to care.   It’s easy vs effort.”  

A little info goes a long way, so here we go.  I love parents to know the game, here’s your “Know the game- Nutrition 101”

There are 3 main categories of “macro nutrients” you should know.   The foods you eat are made up of these building blocks.

Carbs

Fats

Protein

You and your kids need all three.

The RATIO of these building blocks as well as the QUALITY of these make a difference in how we all look, feel and function.   Better quality foods such as vegetables and lean meats and ‘good fats’ make our bodies work better. Crappy foods like sugar laden cereals and 20 oz sodas don’t work as well.   I’ve often used the analogy with kids: “If you were going to build a skyscraper would you rather use steel and concrete for your structure or popsicle sticks and school glue?” What you eat matters!

Carbohydrates

Don’t be scared off of carbs just because the keto diet is hot right now!  

You need these, your kids need these – carbs turn into glycogen which equals muscle power! Vegetables especially. Just like your grandma used to tell you – “Vegetables are SUPER FOODS” AND PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO overeat.  Love it or hate it, Broccoli is a fantastic POWER food for growing kids. 

Carbs are also what breads, cereals and pasta is made up of but these kind of carbs aren’t nearly as powerful and functional as the veggie kind.  These “fast burn” carbs are also usually much more sugar packed/frosted/blended and although some sugars are usable as fuel, more so in your kids, the odds are they’re ingesting way too much. 

Especially sodas. Drinkable sugars are just plain bad for our athletes. Eliminate these and you’ve made a big impact immediately.

The question always comes up about Gatorade and other sports drinks.  Because they have sugars in them. Personally, I’m OK with these during activity, especially in athletes. Our bodies do USE sugars as fuel when we are engaged in athletics so I’m not one to preach the evils of Gatorade.   They are a terrible option however as substitute for sodas to be used 5-7x a day. Your kid drinking a 32 oz. Gatorade as he’s playing FORTNITE isn’t beneficial for him. At all. Save it for the field and court.

Protein

The king – make sure your kids get this in, especially immediately after activity.   

Depending on your kid’s ages I’m OK with an occasional protein shake etc.  Truly though, food sources – lean meats, eggs, chicken and fish, tofu etc work much better and are better for you.

Fats

Are not bad, in fact good fats (ex: avocado, coconut oils, fish and nuts) are serious brain power and tissue recovery foods.   Eat healthy fat!

Now onto the special players.  The extras:

Electrolytes

Are a great supplemental food and something I give my kids all the time.  They are great to maximize hydration but even more important, they are neurotransmitters – (see my article for more information). My guess is you parents need this too. 

Vitamins and Minerals 

I think these are a good idea. Unless your kid is really eating well and has a huge spectrum of multiple colors on their plate, they need it.    

I occasionally use the gummy vitamins but truthfully, these probably aren’t much better than candy gummies – there’s probably not a real amount of vitamins working on this stuff.

I’d suggest a “greens” powder you add to a smoothie-

The kids like it and it’s a better more absorb-able source.  

Tips:

1)  You know what’s crappy food and what’s not – if your kids main meals are corn dogs and Doritos, they aren’t getting the best fuel they can.

(my kid’s are by no means perfect – we’re still a pizza party family so I won’t be a hypocrite but I will stress that my kid’s know nutrition and when it’s brought to their attention they tend make smart decisions.  You can create healthy habits AND AT THE SAME TIME foster good life long decision making if you get them involved in their own nutrition.)

Them: “Dad, can I have a Coke?”

Me:  “Man, you worked really hard today, don’t you think a water or a fizzy would be better for you?”

Them, “Is a Bubbly OK or a HINT water?”

Me:  “bingo!”

2)  After activity, get them some protein.  As much as I am getting more and more into a low or no sugar guy myself, I like chocolate milk for my kids.   It’s a pretty good ratio of fats, protein and carbs – and an occasional peanut butter/protein shake for my 6th grader makes him feel like (and play like) a boss.

3)  Electrolytes are getting to be a bigger deal each year.   Be on the cutting edge – get them some of this.

Soreness after activity – that’s called DOMS – it’s normal.  But there are ways to deal with it faster – 

Electrolytes, water, movement (yoga type stuff or lots of outdoor play like hide and seek or ninja warrior), limit processed foods and soda.   

We also have a really fantastic product from hammer brand nutrition called tissue rejuvenator  that is a natural, no drug anti-inflammatory and joint health capsule that I use frequently with my kids and use nearly daily myself. 

If you or your kids have more specific needs or feel the need to increase supplementation in the form of shakes, creating or specialized diets – that is more of a one on one scenario and I would be happy to help out on any of that, but it takes a professional, with a real exam and decision making and testing –

I’m not going to put that kind of stuff on a generalized article.

Return to Play Criteria (For Coaches, ATC’s and YOU!)

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There is an issue that we have been seeing with Return to Play after Injury in high school aged athletes. It’s a small issue, more bureaucracy – not actual treatment issue.

It’s the problem of athletes/patients seeking treatment outside of the school.

As in, the high school softball player coming to my sports based chiropractic clinic for treatment for her sprained ankle.

I have presented this idea at high school in-services and have had great feedback and great implementation of plan improvement with a minimal effort and next to no expense.

My proposed idea gets the athletes, coaches, athletic trainer and ancillary staff on the same page and makes discussion of injury much more thorough with a huge addition of information. This, in my opinion, allows for better treatment of injured athletes, better compliance from the athlete and an improved ability to evaluate progress while returning from an injury.  

The above idea is what we all kind of have in our heads as the right way to work athletes.  It’s EXACTLY what the parents think happens. That the coaches and AT’s and the docs and the personal trainers all get together and discuss each case and nail out a full proof recovery action plan for every sprained ankle and tweaked muscle.   

The problem lies in reality.  

I don’t have your number and possibly even the time to go through every case.  My own kid’s practice is right after work and many of us in every field – aren’t getting home until 9 pm some nights!

If a patient is seeing another doctor, outside of the athletic trainer’s room, the buck passes to the MD, Pediatrician, chiropractor, PT etc rather the the athletic trainer and coach to make treatment, rehab and return to play recommendations.

While this may seem like a great idea for administration and liability issues, it creates room for problems.

Although I think the diagnosis and occasionally rehab/treatment for some athletic injuries and definitely for illnesses can best be managed by an adjunct doctor… 

The athletic trainer in conjunction with coaches is best suited to assess the athlete’s day to day recovery and return to play and practice.

The doctor is hampered in this regard as we just don’t get to monitor day to day function and have to rely on standard and structured testing to secure our diagnosis. Our job, as ancillary staff, is in the diagnosis. Further x-rays, testing, recommendations for surgery, ruling in/out major illness etc is our job and where our expertise is best utilized.

How long a basic sport injury keeps an athlete out of activity is not our strong suit.  

In this article I will explain this idea in more depth with a proposed idea on how to implement a BASIC but possibly improved “return to play criteria” for your athletes.

Let’s use an ankle sprain, in a high school track athlete, as an example.

A junior in high school 400 m track athlete sprains her ankle while playing pick up basketball one day after practice.   

Because the injury happened “after hours” – the parents take her to a minor ER clinic just down the road from their house.

The doctor makes the easy diagnosis of a grade 1 to 2 ankle sprain and recommends rest, ice, compression and elevation. Common Injury, Standard treatment.

The athlete then gets a note for time away from activity as it’s needed for the sports participation/ athletics period etc. as well as a courtesy for the coaches and training staff.

In some instances, this athlete may not even be able to receive additional treatment from the Athletic trainer due to the issue happening outside of the school. That’s a shame. Most of the athletic trainers I know would still treat the athlete… however their hands may be tied due to policy.

Before this athlete can return to play and practice, the MD that saw her must sign a note for release.   

Typically, the parents call the clinic and say, “Can I get a note for my kid to get back to competition?”    

That’s a fair enough request and this is how the system works on paper. It seems uncomplicated and proper policy. The MD wrote the note and decided, based on their expertise, the treatment plan.

And here is where the bureaucracy train starts the locomotive of inadequacy.

The doctor, in all good conscious, cannot sign a letter for return to play or practice without first running the athlete through a set of tests again to see if the ligaments are in fact strong enough, as in enough healing has occurred, to allow for resistance and activity.  To protect the athlete from further injury.

Is there a set standard – what should be done? This is in a clinic remember, not on the field of play – this is at the doctor’s office and even this is assuming the same doctor is in the same stand alone minor ER setting. It could be weeks before the athlete’s and doctor’s schedules even match up. Anyway, what should the doctor do in this situation?

Just call it in?  Have the receptionist just write a note after the suggested time frame?  That’s poor doctoring, I don’t think you’ll get much of that anymore…so what else?   Feel it? Have the athlete stand on it? Run up and down the hallway a time or two? Or more commonly – just go by the standard 6 weeks! rest and no activity.   I mean, that’s safe right?   (NOTE: recovery for this injury should not take 6 weeks.)

Is this doctor even qualified to make these decisions? A license as a chiropractor, MD, DO, dentist, PA, NP etc don’t necessarily make you expert level at sports injuries.  Diagnoses? Yes. Treatments and Return to Play, not necessarily. That kind of stuff takes experience even if you did have a sports specialization – which most don’t have – not to the degree an Athletic Trainer does.

Even if the athlete looks strong through the clinical exam and testing – Does that correlate well with the sports field, the track and the court?  The demands are completely different and maximal ‘game play’ exertion is unobtainable in the clinical setting.

So let’s assume this athlete waited 6 weeks for the ankle sprain and then has been cleared medically…ahhh finally. Well half the season has passed and now the athlete has not only been deconditioned and is behind the curve competitively but I would make a strong argument that 6 weeks of rest has in fact, not helped the sprain heal well but mostly just decreased pain. The initial sprain has need of a progressive resistance return and strengthening program and usually sooner rather than later.

Stated differently- Rest may have in fact, weakened the entire joint complex at the expense of rest and pain control.    

Again, the most qualified person to perform these treatments and exercises are an athletic trainer although I’ll allow the argument of a sports based physical therapist/ rehab specialist such as some chiropractors and even personal trainers work as.   There are qualified people, I’m just suggesting, most athletes at the middle school/high school level aren’t getting this.

Communication is the key to any and all patient recovery. It speeds up everything. But let’s not forget reality. This isn’t the NFL and there is not an infinite resource of trained staff and doctors and athletic trainer in a one on one setting out in the field. 

The athletic trainer ratio to athlete is not 1 to 1. More like 1 to 150, especially in the high school setting.

The athlete needs help – the Athletic Trainers need help too!

Using coaches in decision making.

Coaches are the ones out there. Despite not having as extensive of background to make complex medical decisions, they intimately understand body mechanics, gait, pain levels, wimpiness as well as just “knowing their athlete.”

Coaches can tell how hard to push an athlete and any ethical coach will not want to push an athlete too far. They need that competitor on their team!

Coaches and Athletic trainers have much more immediate communication with both the athlete and the injury. The athletic trainer with coaches input ARE THE BEST at the evaluation of the injury itself with regard to recovery.

Is the athlete going to make themselves worse? Do they need further consultation? Are they OK to move?

Ancillary staff – chiropractors, PT’s, pediatricians, team doc, surgeons etc can work one on one to help mitigate serious risk and allow for more direct work in a one on one setting and help get through the injury itself.

Again, my argument is that the ancillary staff is not qualified for return to play criteria. We aren’t on the field and don’t get to see the athlete in movement and sports specific situation.

Athletic trainers and coaches are together, the best qualified and should work together with input from the athlete on any and all return to play.

If “passing the buck” to ancillary medical staff, plan on a generic 6 weeks rest.

Basic return to play criteria

Use “pennies”

In the upper level sports teams..college and professional – the use of different colored jerseys or “pennies” are extremely common.

These pennies allow for immediate recognition to the coaches and staff both in live practice and video that the athlete is not 100%.

They allow for the athlete to still be present, play in correct positions, see in-play decision making for game day corrections, have movement and be participating with the team.

Teammates can easily recognize the injured athlete is not 100% – so contact, speed etc should be appropriately controlled so as to allow for recovery.

Coaches can evaluate practices with the understanding that the athlete is understanding week by week adjustments and is engaged mentally with the ability to digest that the athlete may not be fully functional in practice but with the understanding that by game day they may. Reps, even at a reduced speed,contact and ability is infinitely better than no reps and I think in 2019 everyone can agree rest alone is almost never the best recovery option.

My suggestion: use pennies in nearly every practice. Get the athlete on the field.

I utilize a 6 day recovery to 100% model for low grade injuries.

Day 1 : 50%

Day 2 : 65%

Day 3 : 75%

Day 4 : 85%

Day 5 : 95%

Day 6 :100%

The athlete can not go past his assigned percentage for each day.   

If the athlete passes the day with no setbacks or recurrences he is moved up the chart to the next percentage.

If there is a re exacerbation, the athlete stays at the same percentage for the following day or a reduction in percentage based on the Athletic Trainer’s and coach’s discretion.   

Further therapies, rehab techniques, clinical work etc is done IN ADDITION to practice, not in substitution of.    

Certain max ability drills such as sprints, gassers, max out weight room workouts etc are not done until the athlete can tolerate them. The additional therapies required for maximal recovery may work into these time slots.

By game day, the AT and the coach will have a good “working idea” of the athlete’s ability and chance of exacerbation and re-injury.

The reality is in all sports, the athlete may not be 100% in each case. I’m not suggesting 100% before competition as I think that’s another “on paper” reality that isn’t a realistic in the sports world.  By 6 games in to a typical high school football season, I would argue, no one is 100%. I bring this up because I had conversation with an athletic trainer that didn’t want his athlete’s seeking out my care as a sports based chiropractor because he had a policy of “100% healthy or No Play.”   This meant that if they were seeing me for a pre-game “tune-up” , it equated to being injured and he threatened to sit athletes out of competition that week.

The reality of this is that athletes rarely would seek out treatment form the athletic trainer for fear of being benched for little tweaks or tight muscles. They knew that if they had any reported “complaints” it was viewed as injury.

This is a double kill situation where the athletic trainer saw very few athletes. He could go about his day blissfully unaware of basic, simple care his teams would benefit from – completely confident that his teams were perfect with no complaints.  The actuality was no one dared seek their team’s “professional.” The coaches wouldn’t use him as they knew he would sideline their players, the parents used outside staff exclusively for the same idea and the athlete’s themselves had no confidence or even worse were scared to talk to the athletic trainer about injury or sports performance. The best qualified member of the staff was “out of the loop.”

Back to return to play…

The alternative to doing what I feel is correct, is rest. Wait for a release from a doctor that doesn’t have any way to make a decision other than allotted time, and I feel, a significant chance of re-injury, as the athlete has had no ability to re adapt and prepare for the demands of competition.

I understand there needs to be policy. I understand that policy at certain districts are at odds to my proposed ideas. Understand this is a very generic, very vanilla return to play criteria offering an improvement in the current status quo with minimal effort level.   It benefits the athlete, the team, the coach and the training staff. It isn’t created to circumvent policy but to focus on the fact that the sports arena as a whole has a lot of gray areas and a one policy for all is a dangerous concept and often not in the athlete’s best interest.  

Obviously, any criteria for an injury and return to play is a case by case scenario and should be adapted for each individual case to best match the needs.

My points…

We are having the return to play being either negated or done sub par in cases.

Often it is by the wrong provider based on circumstance and perhaps policy.

Policy should reflect what is best for the athlete, not be based on the degree of the practitioner.   

I argue that the Athletic Trainer with help from the coaches is THE BEST qualified people to create and implement return to play criteria, not a note from an ancillary provider.

Communication helps. Use the information from the ancillary staff to help make better informed decision in certain cases. A text or quick call makes a huge difference.

Return to Play can be fairly simplistic and done in a way that benefits…EVERYONE.

Be The Detective. Solve The Mystery Of Your Health

I did a fairly cheesy seminar at the university last week for the athletic trainers and a few of the team docs. I feel the addition of these simple analogies helped a lot with the understanding of how and why my decision making is done.

I use analogies in my clinic all the time as it just helps to visualize a lot of information. The problem with analogies for medical use is they get over simplified to the point that they often offer little value. Cute Quips like, “Your knees are like car tires and only have 50,000 miles in their lifetime.”

and “you can never run again after surgery.” – “I hold all my tension up here.” “slipped discs”

These analogies straight up stink and are just plain misleading.

My cheesy analogies however, are different! Why? Because I made these up, so obviously they are legit..

Cheesy but effective Analogy #1

Be like a detective with your health.  

Seriously, Imagine yourself as a two brim hat wearing, huge magnifying glass holding, British accent , aloof silly detective. It’s called a CLUE.   

I will take this approach as a doctor often. I think all good doctors should.

So should you.

Look for clues. What can you use to help yourself with decisions in your health?

If doing “X” seemed to make the pain 50% better for 3 days? – wow, that’s a good clue, pay attention.

Running seems to make it worse? – now we’re on a path, get out the magnifying glass and ask why… was it the distance, poor mechanics, could it have been a 50 mph gale and freezing rain in your face and not actually have anything to do with the running.   

You need to push the envelope here and be smarter –

Eating the #8 at the drive thru left you feeling like you ate a shoe and you were on the toilet 5-6x the following day? That’s a clue – this tells you stuff so pay attention here – you are Sherlock Holmes here a classically trained, highly intelligent world class detective. You’re not Mr. Magoo.

Now look, you can’t use…”it just feels good” – that’s a misleading clue.  In Agatha Christie novels, often a creepy, evil tempered guy with perhaps a questionable past is one of the neighbors – this guy is always implicated and looked on with the stink eye…but his character is  written in the novel to throw you off the trail. Don’t buy it!

We use crappy clues all the time in our health and follow the wrong footsteps in the mystery.   Pain is often misleading. “Feel good” is often misleading. Eating a gallon of cookies and creme to drown your sorrows in sugar laden chocolateyness is just not helping.

Absolutely stretching the hell out of your IT band and lying on a shot-put to roll-out your quads on your sore legs….agh.

Which brings me to cheesy but effective Analogy #2 –

Healthcare Therapy and treatment should often be looked upon as a little kids bike lock.

The example meaning:  You can do all the right stuff but if it’s in the wrong order it won’t work/open.   Just like you can put in all the right numbers and the lock still won’t open.

It needs to be in the correct order.

I use the bike lock analogy often.  

In the clinic and in lectures I occasionally take flak for not offering a bunch of exercises and rehab on the initial couple treatments.This ‘bike lock’ idea is why.

Because despite doing all the workup and treatment options, if it’s done in the wrong sequence it doesn’t work – or doesn’t work as well as it could.

Routine real life examples: For a lot of injuries, the inflammatory complex needs to be taken care of first.   Nothing really heals or starts on the healing process while inflamed.

This is why I don’t offer exercises right away and typically tell my clients NOT to stretch and roll and exercise a lot immediately on low back pain injuries.

“Doc, do have any exercises I can do?”

“Not yet, you’re going to have to get the fire put out first. – You’re just not THERE yet.”

As a patient, if you are at the inflammatory, “put the fire out” stage, why would I then offer you exercises that just irritates the whole area again?

The cart is in front of the horses. Do this, THEN, this, THEN this – often it may come on the same visit, but in the right order.

It’s the application of the ideas – the application, the “why” is even more valuable than the idea itself.

And the One thing I will always have is a “why.”

It drives my wife nuts, but I have a reason for most everything I do. If I didn’t have a ‘why’, then for what reason am I doing it?

Because some dude on You Tube told me too?

Because it’s what my PE teacher told me back in High School?

Because your friends told you that what to do?

It’s just not good enough for me.

So now we go full circle to the Sherlock Holmes idea again.

You can often create your own clues or reactions by trying something the guy on YouTube says. You have to have experience to get the ideas for what works and what doesn’t.

If YOU TUBE ANDY tells you to roll your quads out and stretch the hell out of your IT band with a ball.  Try it. But be true to yourself…

Did it help, hurt or no change? Look for clues!

Remember you can’t use:

“It felt good.” – that’s a poor choice and a liar.   

Also, You can’t choose, “well it hurt so bad it must be doing something.”

Aside from that being straight up crazy that’s a poor clue.        

You can’t use – “I just do the same stuff over and over for months without ever looking up out of the sand because that’s YOU TUBE ANDY and my girlfriends said to do – maybe eventually it will do something.”  

that’s an actual definition of insanity.

You can’t use, “that’s what I did back in 97” – well wait a second, you can.

You tried something that worked before?  For sure, try it again. But beware, it could be a different issue this go around, so pay attention.  Did it work this time?

“Oh Chad, This is just all so confusing, you have a DRCHADPETERS site, just tell me what to do.”

That’s just lazy doctoring and terrible self treatment and dammit…it’s not good enough – I may not know exactly what you have AND aside from that, you know your own body WAY better than any outside doctor, therapist or well meaning friend.

I’ll tell you some ideas I have – doctor advice to be viewed as “some ways to make clues.”

“OK, how long should all this take? I’ve been stretching for 3 months now and no help….”

3 months? Sigh

How about 4 applications?  say 4x in a week. Yep, for most non surgical, injury type issues, 4 treatments should give you a clue.  It should be promising and give you a direction if you are headed in the right path.

Looking for clues and creating scenarios where you can gather information to make better decisions lets you take control over your own health.   

Just WANTING to get better isn’t enough.  You need to do something, make a decision based on the response and act accordingly. You need to try stuff and try stuff in a logical order.

If it doesn’t work, try the opposite.  

Have you noticed how many of my articles suggest contracting tight muscles, not stretching?  How many use ice not heat on a spasm?

The “why” is…because I learned from experience. I stopped doing the same thing over and over because some professor in my past told me that’s what to do.  I paid attention to what worked clinically and what didn’t. Now I even focus on, with nearly as much attention, to what works better.

I advertise most injuries take 3-4 visits in my clinic. For resolution. The norm is 3-4 visits per week for 6 weeks.    

Dude! There’s a reason!

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a classic definition of insanity!

I don’t see patients and go immediately to a preconceived treatment plan.  Not only do I not treat every client exactly the same, I rarely do the same treatment on back to back visits.    Maybe I’m not a better doctor. Maybe I’m just a better “body detective.” Or maybe I pay attention to the clues better. Maybe I put treatment applications in a better order. What I’m certain of is that it’s an ongoing experiment – All I care about is the end result. Get your life back!

There’s a chance that this article was just all over the place – maybe the Sherlock Holmes and the Bike Lock analogies would have fit better into two separate articles.  I’m not sure – I’m just all about maximum effect with quick results.

So I’ll just go ahead and press “publish” on this article as is and then pay attention to the feedback -knowing I’ll be better the next time!  

Just Pay For The Skittles

This place is paradise. Palm trees, coconut drinks, 5 star accommodations, water slides, snorkeling, sun tanned beautiful people, all you can eat buffets and families having a blast together.

So why am I walking around with the sour puss face on and feel like I’m internally com-busting and ready to explode?

It’s because despite the beauty, the family trip, the dream coming true; my kids are crying and punching each other in the adjoining room. They are fighting –

The cause – skittles

Freaking skittles.

You see, the mini fridge only has 2 packs of skittles and I have 4 kids. In my room.. That’s right player, we booked two rooms for this adventure, mom and dad need a trip to paradise as well. Anyway, my fridge has M&M’s.

So regardless of paradise right outside of the sliding door, there is a battle raging over who gets skittles.

Now I’m mad. “Kids, stop crying and fighting…quit bitching!!” I stammered – “We just got here and you guys aren’t worried about the water slides and turtles, you’re worried about who gets goddamn skittles!!”

“Worry about what’s important!!”

I was so mad I had to leave the room.

Not 100 feet from my room was a little corner market – More skittles were there for purchase of course.  A solution to my woes.  But at $4.35 a pack (tourist prices) I was hesitant to buy them. I mentally added up the cost of the trip, the rooms, the water passes and all incidentals and I’ll be damned if I’m going to tack on an additional $8.70 for a bunch of whiny kids that have no respect for their parents or any gratefulness for parents that are so cool, they’d book a trip to enjoy as a family. It’s not about the money… it’s about the principal   –   a teaching lesson if you will. My kids will learn and understand there are consequences and it’s important to have priorities in life and not just live for instant gratification. It’s what’s wrong with the whole generation and the reason for the fall of America.These kind of decision by parents are WHY kids eat tide pods for likes on YouTube.

I know full well, they could share – hell they won’t even eat 10 of them anyway –  it’s just the fact that they don’t want to share – MINE MINE MINE.

So I didn’t buy them.

And I was miserable all day. Me. I am at paradise and pissy and moany. A ruined day one.

Over skittles.

As I walked around the resort (10 steps ahead of my family) and just a grumpy old man, I noticed a lot of dad’s behaving the same way. Why are all the dads at Atlantis pissed off I wondered???

Or a better question, “Why won’t these kids value what I value?” The rest of the week was some of the same. I enjoyed myself of course and there were great memories but I returned home stressed, poor and strung out –  and needing a real vacation. When it wasn’t skittles is was the GOOMBAY punch, conch fritters or something else. Look, Atlantis is fabulous, I HIGHLY recommend it. It just wasn’t all it should have been or all I imagined it was going to be despite some amazing moments.

Now fast forward to last night.

My parents had just arrived in town. We were celebrating my youngest son’s pre-K graduation at a restaurant on the water. A typical fantastically amazing Corpus Christi sunset was going on and all was good in the world.

Until 3 of my kids noticed that one of the kids had Root Beer.

The others had ordered lemonade.

This immediately set off a whining pouting fit, in front of my parents, during a sunset at paradise at a restaurant.

I was all ready to instantly switch mode from relaxed and tranquil to “high alert” and “pissed” and the fight or flight surge was coursing through my veins. Instantaneous visions of how spoiled these little brats are and how I have done so much wrong as a parent that these kids can pout and moan and complain about such small issues flooded my inner eye.

And then as if spoken from GOD HIMSELF…A BOOM and tremble of deep BASS sound, a grumble of primordial gravel –  a tremendous earthquake of a voice spoke from within my head.

“CHAD..JUST BUY THE DAMN SKITTLES.”  Period. I believe, at the point I even spoke it aloud.

This “experience” I had last night would have profound effects on me and will affect me for the rest of my life, despite what little and minuscule the voice said.

I honestly felt as if the Almighty Himself, or my ancient soul, or some divine being created to slap our stupid asses on the face with reality when were so blinded by human-ism to see clearly – spoke directly into my soul. Honestly, I truly wish the voice would have said something to me a little more profound than that. A book title that would net me millions or something ..but hey, who am I to question the inner workings of the universe.

“Buy the damn skittles!”

I went back up to the counter,as if transfixed like a robot –  gave Larry $9.00 for three root beers and came back. The kids popped the tops took a sip and were all fixed. Done. That’s all they had.They didn’t even drink it!  All my inner argumentative dialogue about 47 grams of sugar and spoiling kids and tooth decay etc were for naught. They didn’t even drink it, I wasted money yes. But going a step beyond the actual product, the $9 was the best therapy, most relaxation, possibly BEST money I’ve ever spent.

I had dreams last night about how much different the trip to Atlantis could have been.

Look guys, judge me if you want – decide I’m a pushover as a parent and by caving I will indeed enable my kids to become street punks with needles hanging out of their arms and lead an unfulfilled life by never reaching satisfaction in little thing or any of the other scenarios I tend to play over and over in my head when I think about future consequences. Go ahead – judge –

But I’m guessing that the end result of me buying the root beer and the skittles is nothing more than that. It’s just skittles. Nothing more than satisfying a little kid’s wants for that immediate second and there is ZERO actual repercussions.

All I know is I had a miracle experience and my evening turned out way better than it could have. My blood pressure and heart and wife and kids and parents and all those around me are better off for a few over-priced root beers and under priced decision making.