This is actually a very common complaint that we hear in our Clinic.
In fact, I hear this nearly on a day-to-day basis.
The client, perhaps this is you, has tried seemingly every treatment option and protocol available and still feels terrible.
It could be diet plans that have failed, workout systems that just haven’t cut the fat, or perhaps low back pain that just seems to come up three to four times a year despite all types of interventions.
I’ve seen this with seemingly healthy people, but most often patients with a health history that consists of a binder where, ”please list all medications you are taking” is a handout sheet that has been copied because there are way too many to remember.
Rather than me ranting on in a never ending Looping debate about problems with the healthcare industry, with incompetence, with lack of drive and willpower, or with the evil empire that is the food industry or the us versus them attitude – let me take a different perspective. I want to give you an outsider’s look.
HOW SECURITY TRAINING TAUGHT ME ABOUT HEALTHCARE
Aside from healthy living and lifestyle, I spend a lot of time researching and diving into personal safety. Everything from classes on survival to how to shoot a gun better to how to teach my own kids personal safety at their schools- it’s just a topic I really enjoy.
No matter what opinions are being taught, and believe me there are as many opinions in the safety/tactical/security world, as there are in the medical/health/fitness world, there is one overlying rule that every single instructor states prior to any learning.
“Personal security is MY own responsibility.”
When asked what led Andy Murphy of the popular “THE SECURE DAD” podcast into a life of thinking, writing and discussing personal security, he answered it like that.
He says, “After Columbine it became evident, even for me as a high school kid that Personal security is MY own responsibility.”
He has parlayed this lifestyle into a fantastic website, top podcast, social media and amazon top-seller. Andy’s actually given me a lot of perspective about a lot of topics not related to his intended objective.
So for him and me and other like-minded people, It doesn’t matter if this entails you having “ situational awareness” while walking through the parking lot at Walmart, being a certain length behind the car in front of you at a stoplight, to having flashlights in Prime positions around your house should you encounter The Boogeyman.
The fact that personal security is your own responsibility empowers YOU to act on your behalf.
Of course we still have policemen, firefighters, military super ninjas, video cameras and weapons as well as routinely get our brakes checked in our car and put new batteries in our fire alarms. Even with an arsenal of people and ideas and technology to help us, when security becomes an issue it happens too fast to rely on someone or something else to help us. It’s up to you!
Maybe the first and most powerful tip in the security world is to avoid the things that get us into a dangerous situation in the first place.
So how does that relate to your health?
Because Healthcare has to be like this. Exactly like this. You and only you are responsible for your body and your health.
You can use outside sources such as your doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, dietitians, celebrity weight loss sources… the list goes on and on.
You can use these pros for ideas and opinions, for help. They have the triple T – great tips, tricks and tools.
But until you decide it is time to fix your body nothing is going to happen.
If what I take 45 minutes to fix in my clinic, you take the next 10 hours undoing, its a net loss and an eventual breakdown and fail.
Your doctors aren’t failing you. Your trainers aren’t failing you. You are failing yourself.
It may not be your fault, you may have been led down the wrong path to begin with. You may have a huge emotional component tied up into your health that needs to be dealt with first.
There is a list as long as the internet and a never ending self-help category on Amazon into the “why.” The why is what you control. And that is the fix. That’s the turning point.
What I’m telling you is that you need to make your health your responsibility. There is no magic diet, magic pill, workout program, or secret Voodoo Chiropractic Shaman adjustment that is going to radically change your path.
Use the experts in the health field for their opinions and their ideas. They have shortcuts and the triple T. But ultimately, the realization that your body and your health are your responsibility will be the most important step you ever take towards feeling GREAT again.
Picture a Boy Scout campfire. That’s my working image for today’s learning lesson.
Feel free to join in today’s weenie roast – gather around, find a nice log to set yourself on and listen up as camp director Dr.Chad uses his deep slow scary voice and a flashlight to the face to scare the bejeezus out of you in an attempt to relate-
what may be the world’s biggest epidemics of modern times..
Look, I know I’ve explained inflammation a million times but I’ll tell you now, this time its new and improved – I’m better – and there’s new information and a new way of thinking. It’s superior information and application than what I was doing a week ago and I promise to give you a better perspective and the ammo to make a decision that will dramatically affect your life.
I speak on inflammation more than any other topic in my clinic.
Every time you hear an athlete or celebrity talk about this new and improved diet or go vegan or go lectin free or ANY OTHER DIET – this is the basis In the last decade – so has every doctor worth their salt.
Inflammation is THE cause of your problem. I don’t even know what you specifically have but Whatever you have, I’ll take the over bet that there is an inflammatory component.
Let’s start this conversation with the basics – this is a lecture for 5th grade campers after all..so how about a 5th grade level thought process for you, I’d say think about a Sprained Ankle? It is easy to imagine this injury, obviously it is inflamed. EVERYONE KNOWS you treat this issue with ice or R.I.C.E.
The analogy for this is
“Pour some water on that fire, campers! – it’s too damn hot for S’mores”
OK, how about deeper stuff – let’s say high school level learning – things like osteo and rheumatoid arthritis? Psoriatic, Lupus and all the others. How about Bursitis and Tendinitis. Arthritis, any itisis are exactly this – simple, straight up inflammation. “ itis “ is nothing more than the medical 50 cent word for inflammation. Add arthro meaning joint, bursa meaning bursa or tendon meaning tendon in front of it and you have the modern-day-Latin for your condition. This is great news! Dude you don’t have THE disease arthritis you have an inflamed joint.
“Campers, did anyone think to put a pit of stones around this fire?? There’s a lot of dried leaves sitting in the tall grass here…that can’t be safe!”
Which gets me to the next part – if it’s not a disease state it means you can recover from this – it’s fixable! You can fix arthritis and Bursitis and Tendinitis – Hallelujah!
“Thanks Chad, I never knew! And now there’s hope!”
Now lets graduate and move on to the undergrad or college level of issues, this will require a little thinking. Hang with me here. Itis simply means inflamed -how about things such as colitis, Crones, diverticulitis IBS etc.
Gut and intestine inflammation right? Yes – it is – a little more deep thinking but at the cellular level it’s just inflamed – you can fix this too. As well as all the irritable bowel and gas and disaster pants – these issues suck, but still – it’s inflammation here guys, nothing more.
Even with deep metabolic conditions such as gout and Eczema – ittis the inflammatory response, that’s causing all the pain and redness.
“Uh Campers, the fire seems to be a bit out of control. Who threw a pallet and gas on the fire?”
The problem is that inflammation is part of the natural healing process – doesn’t sound like a natural process should cause a problem? Well yours is. Mostly, because your body went on crazy overproduction and emergency mode –
It tried to put out the scouts campfire by building a dam and flooding the valley. Too much and overkill.
Diving deeper – Next we’re going to move to the grad school level, where the cutting edge research and the lecture circuit on inflammation is happening. To where it’s looking like most issues, ( think ALL ) – have a major impact coming from the inflammatory response – things like Alzheimer’s, Type II diabetes (even thoughts on type 1 being at the first stages) and even ADHD? Pretty much every and all Autoimmune diseases to name a few…dozens.
Hopefully I have your attention!
Well maybe that’s just not your thing – all this science on chronic disease and stuff… Not interested.
Well how about a fat ass?
Now we’re talking. Wake up!
Yep the last 10 pounds keeping you from being ripped or the freshman 50 you put on and cant take off.
See? It’s a part of everything and it affects everyone – even you.
So let’s get to that fat belly –
“Chad, you’re telling me it’s the inflammation NOT the triple bacon mac cheeseburger chocolate ice cream diet coke float”
Yes! Well sort of.
Your diet is the culprit, causing the inflammation. Your gut isn’t working right because of all the crappy food choices (even a lot you were told were smart choices) and now you cant even get the good stuff in and too much bad stuff is coming in and your body is using the river to put out a campfire all over again.
Its repeatedly using a river to put out a kid’s tiny campfire. Over and over again the kids build a fire up and the river puts it out. Eventually someone up in command central just says”forget it” and decides to use napalm to just strip and defoliate the entire campsite so no-one can camp here anymore and the area will just get a chance to reset and return to a baseline – it will never be the 100 year old woods again with the incredible variety of flora and fauna that took decades to establish because of all the campfires and rivers running the wrong way and brush fires and most of the logs have been used up. BUT, with a complete reset, in time, it will become beautiful and quite functional again. It COULD THRIVE AGAIN. But day in and day out little campers keep showing up with minivans full of wood and kindling and THESE LITTLE BUGGERS keep setting up these damn camp fires all over the scorched earth. They are relentless! Who the hell keeps showing up to camp on a napalmed campsite, that’s insane – everyone can see its been destroyed and isn’t functioning like a campsite. Still, they just keep showing up. And it’s not just on weekends anymore either – there is a line of campers waiting to get in!
Yes – it seems inflammatory conditions are becoming serious business for doctors and consequently for the drug and supplement suppliers working to help.
The WORLD is rushing to find new treatments, drugs, food products, diet books and oils creams, shakes and exercise programs to try and treat your inflammatory conditions and over all they are doing pretty good – there’s lots of progress in all these categories.
Then why do we all as a society just keep getting worse?!
Back to the analogy. I think everyone – doctors, drug companies, Trump, me, nutritionists etc – we’re all missing something. We’re basically firefighters trying to control the burn with:
Omegas fatty acids
Cherry juice (think gout and other metabolic issues)
Active ROM exercises
Glucosamine chondroitin etc
Designer drugs built to target individual issues
Exercise (think to reduce arthritic conditions and create lubrication etc)
How about WD40 and olive Oil (because that’s what Jesus used!
OK the last two are totally fake and wont work – but I seriously heard these both in the last 2 weeks from patients…
Anyway – there’s this list…a handful collection of things you TAKE to blunt the Inflammation complex.
You’ve tried many of these for sure.They work.
Back to the campfire –
For this example let’s use a classic treatment – an NSAID such as an over the counter ibuprofen or naproxen – these are like bringing a 20 oz water bottle to the fire. Pour it right on those hot coals and wa-la it helps – the fire fizzles out on that log and the flames are reduced.
But given time, the fire will return to the area that we just doused because a fire is hot. This is my idea of why if you take an anti inflammatory only when it hurts, you’re missing a better treatment window. The fire has re-flamed.
This kind of treatment, via creams and pills seem to work better if they are used 2-3 times a day. it’s like constantly pouring the water on – for a better effect.
Not the best situation but man, sometimes even a little bit of taking the edge off is worth it.
But now you keep doing dumb stuff such as a hot tub or hot shower or a long deep stretch.
That’s more blood to the area, which feels good initially because blood is like that, but 20 minutes later BAM! The body is inflamed – the fire is stoked and the alarms go off! You just went PRO Inflammatory, not ANTI Inflammatory.
This is the same lecture I always do. I’ve got that scenario mentioned on this site and my clinic’s site a dozen different ways. I’m OK with some anti inflammatories!
But let’s dive deeper here because this is Drchadpeters and we enjoy getting smarter every day.
What if you like eating sugars and carbs or foods you’re reactive to? That’s every bit as detrimental to inflammation.
That’s throwing kindling on the fire! Wow! It just flared back up – bigger than before – But oh! its OK – you’re eating 5-6 small meals per day. Great – you just threw a pack of fireworks on that camp fire.
In fact – depending on what you eat or do at home – you could just be adding perfectly cured hickory logs to your fire and man, those babies burn fantastically – long and hot. As in, “my knee has hurt for 2 weeks” or the all time classic, “my arthritis has FLARED UP” –
yep Truly -It has.
This goes for every its and complex previously mentioned- the initial plan was to make the campfire smaller and less heat – less inflammation. What can we take or do to lessen the burn?
Now – just for a minute, look at this from a different angle. This was brought to my attention today and blew my mind and gave me a concise fifth grader’s understanding of body works.
What if it’s not what you INGEST and ADD but instead what you ELIMINATE from the fire as the treatment?
What I’m suggesting is what if we just pulled the logs out of the campfire?
Look, I know this stuff is deep but your body is constantly taking in stuff – good stuff and bad stuff and often good stuff that for whatever reason is now being attacked by the body as IS TREATED as if it is bad. It’s confusing…I know. But this time I’m speaking literally – your body is confused.
Hang on here for just a second. I’m going to give you an example to deepen your understanding.
Eggs are good for you – the protein and fats make it nearly nature’s perfect food.
The proteins, of course, should be all ground up in your guts into tiny amino acids before they get into the blood.
Let’s say I had pneumonia a few weeks ago and had to take antibiotics for a two weeks session and now my gut bacteria is basically gone and the proteins are now not ground up properly and some of these full proteins get through the gut wall and directly into the blood system.
Well, what happens it that all the magic in the blood senses these proteins as foreign invaders and starts the attack – keeping you healthy and preserved. But – and it’s a huge BUT – over day by day of egg protein sneaking in my system the body actually makes antibodies for these proteins and just basically says – “eggs are bad, they’re invaders!” and the attack continues on and on to the point that the guts may even begin to implement early warning air raid sirens when eggs are introduced.
Now the eggs that are supposedly good for you, just aren’t anymore. They are the kids campfire and the body sends the flooding to quelch the problem. Now multiply this by every day because damn dude, you love yourself some eggs in the morning and multiply that by the other 100’s of proteins that over the last decade the body has made a defense system for and you can see how it seems like we’re reactive to damn near everything. It’s because in reality we most like ARE!
This is why our sprained ankle still hurts and seems to never be healing, why our knees are always sore and why you run to the bathroom like you’ve got dysentery every time you have your morning coffee.
I think its a bigger player in aging than your number of trips around the sun. You’re not getting older, your body is starting to reject more and more stuff and eventually gets confused about all the proteins such as those in joint tissue, skin, hair etc. This is the definition of Autoimmune disease – the body is attacking itself.
One more thought – it’s now pretty much known that long term anti inflammatory use as NSAIDS and sometimes even short term use directly affect and in essence punch holes into the gut wall allowing for these food particles to be attacked. The very ammo we were using for short term inflammation control now allows for more long term and chronic inflammation. AGH! Its like you can’t win.
But you can – it takes work and patience and being true to yourself and could take outside help and blood work but you can treat the entire body with a better anti inflammation diet. It’s all the rage in the NFL – just give it about 6 weeks to really show up – it’s all you’ll hear about.
Yes, an anti Inflammation diet is tough – it will be hard and it’s mind numbing because it just goes so deep – I can go WAAAAAY deeper on this guys – (see Lectin article coming out soon) but this is a good start.
I also think we as American Humans need a reset sometimes and I feel this is a HUGE reason why keto/paleo and intermittent fasting work so well – the food choices are just less. Less things to be reactive and consequently less of an inflammation cascade.
I think this is why the body feels so incredible during a true fast (after a bit of hunger discomfort) and why so many in Functional Health, the guys that actually care about healing and causes, suggest fasting and diet resets and cleanses for everything from acne to fat loss to cancer treatments .
Conversely, it’s the reason WHY there are so many misconceptions and poor advice and why simple advice like, “go Gluten Free” just doesn’t even cover it and actually is most likely leading you down the wrong rabbit hole.
(warning: another analogy) Gluten is THE rock start right now, but honestly – Gluten is just a guy in a band that has become the poster boy. He’s truly not special at all and there are a ton of similar rockers and many of them rock even harder than gluten.
It’s also why I can’t offer you a fix – This stuff is deep and it’s personal and there is a multi prong approach that is totally doable but tough if you don’t have a reason.
It’s why I can get away with having a beer and pizza and really aside from feeling bloated and foggy I’m not nearly as bad as my brother who couldn’t walk the next day his body is so reactive with rheumatoid.
But, it’s also why, the same brother knows he is playing a different game than me with different stakes and doesn’t want the pizza and beer – he wants to feel good.
And really, over time, the foods that the body attacks can be reintroduced and most likely he’ll be fine.
Again, I don’t have a solution for all of you but I would like to call a wake up and shout out to look at ELIMINATING the cause vs ADDING buffers. Cause vs treatment vs ELIMINATION. It’s not a two player game.
Remove the logs, hell, remove the entire fire pit and camp site and plant a garden of wonderfulness there instead and reap the benefits for the rest of your life.
As Dr. Steven Gundry of the “Plant Paradox” says, “What you DON’T eat is more important than what you DO eat.”
All these crazy guys eating and preaching ideas like this are actually the leaders in the next change in the diet revolution. These guys are attacked as nuts, New age and hippies but they will go down in history as the innovators, researching and understanding the inner workings of our body and responses to what we put in it.
We have come such a long way from calories in/calories out. I want you to Get in the game!
aka 18/6 – OMD (one Meal Daily), and a million other ideas.
Although not really a revolution in nutrition or eating pattern, Intermittent Fasting has been gaining major publicity lately and a HUGE following on social media, celebrity mentions and with a lot of the heavy weights in the health and nutrition game.
So what’s all the hype about and is this idea for you?
At its roots, it is exactly what it sounds like – a mini fast – you’re going to skip a meal or two. (Spoiler alert, you’ll live through it)
(Spoiler alert number 2 – you won’t waste away and burn all your hard earned muscle up either)
The following is the best example I can give you: After dinner one night, you go to bed and wake up and skip breakfast, possibly skip lunch too and then have a dinner. Rinse, recycle and repeat as needed.
That’s Intermittent fasting – hope you have a nice day.
Wait, you want more info? Well – lets get some details in then.
The above example may very easily be done and the health benefits are a mix of both the obvious and subliminal.
First the obvious – you’ll eat less. You’ll lose weight most likely just because of the difference in daily calories. It’s very tough to cram 2200 Calories into one dinner meal and it doesn’t feel good to do so even if you can. So there’s that. It’s cheap, you’ll save money – you’ll save time as you’re not thinking about nor preparing 3 to 6 meals a day. It’s simple.
But rich celebrities and health guru’s don’t need to save money or time, they have a dudes for that –
Surprisingly, yes, there’s actually a lot more to it. There’s real science and some extraordinary benefits to both intermittent and even on the more extreme actual fasting.
Intermittent fasting is also known as a “reduced window eating program” which fits. If my first meal was lunch after my workout, say 2 pm and I had dinner eaten and dishes washed by 8 pm – I have a 6 hour eating window – essentially an 18 hour fast.
For what you ask? Why?….Because the jacked dude at the gym does it of course…
Because your wife’s friends are thinking about swearing by it.
Because its tending and cool and that hot celebrity from Hollywood does it.
You know I need a why? a real why…
How about some hormone optimization Holmes, that do anything for you? No, how about gut reset and autophagy – the cleaning out of bad and potentially dangerous cells and the proliferation on new healthy cells, particularly stem cells. (yep you have them) -also decreased Insulin and the reset of insulin resistance which is every day becoming THE BIG DEAL – as in – it seems insulin just screws up everything. Add to that a HUGE reduction in the variety of foods you eat thereby reducing potential reactive foods.
How about because you need to try something different – what you’re doing isn’t working and you feel like crap.
Now after all this “known entity” stuff, the whole idea of a definition or “what exactly is Intermittent fasting” gets a little blurry as different people classify their version differently.
Many proponents of Intermittent fasting actually are working their eating window similar to above (16 hour, 18 hour fast) but are more than happy to add high quality fats such as coconut oils , MCT’s, and Ghee (often to their coffee) for the keto like effects. Proponents of both Keto, paleo style and Lectin reduction diets all seem to find the Intermittent fasting done this way, as in a lack of solid foods or a whole meal, as their go -to diet. So is it really fasting if you’re having the fats? What if you take supplements and vitamins? Coffee OK? tea? This is where the lines blur and different people say different things. My take is to find out if ANY of these versions seem to work for you.
When done like this, over a certain time frame, say a couple of weeks, it seems to really jump start fat loss or better yet, fat utilization. (aka true keto…Where you actually start to burn fat (see ketosis article and lectin article coming soon.)
This is my version of intermittent fasting – I love this style – I try it often usually for a few days or weeks. I’m not opposed to breakfast at times as long as it’s not sugary goop and cereals so on a day Bacon and eggs sounds right I’m not fasting anymore – but I will share with you my experience which is echoed by the players in the industry.
My brain works better – my guts reset – I feel super strong at workouts, I drop fat (not just weight) but fat – quickly and can see a difference in the mirror in just a couple days – my joints don’t ache and I get over soreness soon. My ideas on why? Because a lot of food we eat in America is crap and you’ve just excised a significant portion of crap out of your system.
I am quite confident I will try an extended fast for 36-48 hours in the next few weeks as an experiment because I have seen real world result from the intermittent. Note: extended fast seem to work much more quickly, especially with true keto type results after you’ve prepped the system with intermittent fasting for a couple weeks – the idea is that the insulin is low and resistance has reset so you are already a few biological steps ahead on where you are trying to get to.
Recap – I know it’s kind of new and trendy over the last year but there is a feeling I get when trying intermittent fasting and there is something to it. I would push all of you to at least try a version of this is the near future and just to “look into it.”
Understand there are multiple versions and that your social media friends may not be doing the same version as you – it’s not a one size fits all deal nor is fasting as a whole, nor keto, nor low carb – none of the internet sensation magic bullets. It’s all personal. There is something to the whole “what we are eating is causing issues” however and although, much like global warming, a lot of famous spokespeople and trolls will just deny and these new trends until they are all but forced to see reality – it is happening now and it is all real. You need to see what works for you and react to changes you see and feel and start to become your own best doctor, your own best nutritionist and your own best trainer.
I understand all this directly opposed to the “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” dogma that your mom and PE coach were adamant about.
Seems like all those kids on the filmstrips of my youth weren’t actually tired at school because they were too poor to eat, it was actually because they had a really shitty home life and most likely were up all night with problems we don’t want to even dive into. Alright that was crappy, no kid should go hungry – I’m just trying to make a point that our diets are the solution – to all of it – the fat gain, the diseases, the feeling crappy, the sleep problems. The answer isn’t anti inflammatories, antacids and more caffeine – those are the treatments and band aids – it’s time to start playing with real solutions and changes, not treatments Causes vs treatments – We all need to experiment with what works for us and look for a “better way.”
I swear, everyone I know is either doing keto or interested in keto or swears it works or doesn’t. Everyone has an opinion. Keto is no longer a NEW FAD system. It’s a part of health and nutrition and a billion dollar industry that brings out the worst (and occasionally the best) in marketing and sales and slimy sales pitch expertise..
There are literally 100’s of books for sale right now on Amazon and Bookstores across the land on going Keto, being Keto or Keto diet systems.
This article is a no-holds barred summary. It’s sure to upset a few people. For whatever reason, this whole “keto-system” has more emotion and personal belief involved with it than any diet program I’ve ever seen. That’s not a puny statement either guys – I’m a cross fit guy. Cross fitters lived and died by Paleo and Primal living. They literally would hold you down and pile 5 Paleo eaters on top of you until you submitted. Ok maybe not literally but they were some serious Caveman style eaters. (Insert joke about cavemen eating Paleo chocolate chip cookie and coconut muffins)
Keto has 100x the emotional attachment of Paleo and seems to spark arguments every time I bring it up. “Nope, Dr. Peters, you’re wrong…Keto is bad – my doctor says you’ll get cholesterol and die.” “It’s good, my brother’s ex girlfriend was ripped and ketoed.” “NONONO! Keto is mixing these shakes and then crushing it in the gym while all the time selling your elixirs in a multilevel marketing jackpot…duh!”
Let me help you cut through the fat…anyone anyone? And hopefully help you with decision making on this idea.
First thing first. I think Keto is a great idea for most.
That’s right – no hate here. It’s a system that could change your entire world of eating and nutrition.
I play with it on and off all the time – I’m in the middle of a keto day right now and love the way I feel. I sell a Keto book in my clinic. it’s from Mark Sisson, It’s for sale in my shop on the affiliates page.
That stated it’s not for everyone. You have to play with it and see what works and what doesn’t for you.
But you need to understand it…
Understanding keto seems to not even enter the picture for the majority of people on both sides of the keto fence.
What ketosis should be:
Your body uses fats, not carbs as THE primary fuel source.
This is accomplished by utilizing a high fat and very carb restricted diet, particularly sugars – they’ve got to go.
The rub here is that, when the scientists have their own personal beliefs and agendas, they will debate “should carbs OR fats or Protein” be the primary fuel source for Humans.
I can get all technical and deep but seriously, this information is out there, go as deep as you want with it on your own research OR read the book I recommend below.
What bastardized ketosis has become due to it being a billion dollar industry:
If I pee on a pee stick built to detect ketones in my urine and it turns purple, I’m in keto.
Ketones are the by product of stored fats in the body being turned into fuel the body can use for energy.
If you did ketosis correctly, yes- you may have ketones detected via a pee stick. In fact, that’s the main tool used in studies and at home testing as it is cheap and easy.
Here’s the problem…you could just ingest a ton of ketones into your diet, typically in an exogenous salts shake and you’ll show purple on the pee stick.
It’s a different process same that gets the same pee stick result. I’d argue one is true ketosis and one is false ketosis.
Cue the billion dollar industry selling garbage you don’t need but your sister in law sells.
Here’s the thing. If you want to try burning fats as your fuel source here’s a few things to consider:
You need the machinery in your body that allows for fat processing. If you’re like me you’ve spent your life using carbs as fuel and the machinery is dormant. It takes a month or so to re-activate these nearly obsolete never utilized powerplants. (this in my opinion is TRUE ketosis)
You may need to fast, as in actually not eating anything, for a day or so to really jump-start this process.
Sugars and any simple carb will immediately jump you out of fat burning mode.
You most likely won’t stay in fat for fuel mode long stretches at a time unless you get really serious– most amatuer ketosis fans use it on and off in stages. Most use it for quick weight loss – The idea is to have it when you need it. So you cant take these on and off guys (like me) as your source of real information… Unless they podcast a whole article explaining it a little deeper.
Your friends don’t know what the hell they’re talking about – nor do the facebook ads, nor your supplement store – do yourself a favor and learn the process yourself.
Ok – let’s say you aren’t into “true keto.” You just stopped eating all the carbs and sugars and call it keto. That’s not a bad thing– that’s called “low carbs” and it’s absolutely fine and healthy – you’ll drop body weight and feel great.
This is also often called “Modified Adkins” or the “Dude I don’t eat sugar anymore and everything is sugar plan.”
I’m all for low carbs and even more into no sugars, more than at any time in my life – it is good for you. It’s just that it’s not true keto until you are actually using fats as a true fuel source…as the preferred source.
Look at this scientifically for just a second here. If you truly are a fat burning machine, it makes sense that you maybe wouldn’t pee so many ketones out as you’d be burning them up as fuel – thereby not spilling them over into your urine.
Regardless, if you want THE BEST information on this stuff and it interests you – I would strongly recommend Mark Sisson and his new book. Mark’s is the Keto Reset Diet (the reset being 21 days, as in, it takes 21 days or so to truly have the machinery working for you.) I would start here before anyone else. The first 50 pages or so just explains it so easily and interestingly. Mark also has some incredible podcasts on keto and what I feel is the real deal approach.
He is the epitome of eating well and basically thought he had created THE SINGLE BEST way to eat for health and longevity with his Primal eating series which was revolutionary and best sellers….and then he and his writer Brad Kearnes started experimenting with Keto and it was better!
Keto is interesting as there may be fantastic application with cancer treatments, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, inflammation and a lot of chronic diseases. It’s catching fire for performance – wait until you start hearing about the NFL’s anti-inflammatory diet.
What I notice more than anything else is brain power. I’m certain I’ve never been into true keto (although I am playing with this) but I just notice my brain working so much better and clicking at a faster rate. My brain is turned on. This is most likely a byproduct of no sugars more than the increased fats however.
Like I said, I don’t care which Keto you like and how you apply it in your life – Sugars are bad and getting rid of them drops weight and makes you feel ridiculous in a good way. I just wanted to clear the air and get you headed in the right direction if you’re interested.
Like all my advice. I’d try it – put it to the test and experiment. That’s what I push on this site all the time.
I want you guys to learn so be sure to check out other nutrition articles I’ve done such as:
Another classic in the “how do I hack my eating” – the term Macros is getting a lot of play in the diet world again so I wanted a record of it on my site.
Perhaps you have heard of Macros and are interested or perhaps you’re confused or maybe you’re just looking to get more information of what’s out there so you can make better decisions.
Well…It’s not new. It’s basically been around since the very first dieting or changes in diet – like 100 years or so.
So why now? Didn’t macros just die like a decade ago with all the new stuff: the keto’s, the intermittent fastings and the reactive foods stuff?
The short answer is they never went anywhere. Macros are science. It’s the definition of your food.
“Macros” stands for macro nutrients.
Macro nutrients are Carbs, Fats and Protein. Sometimes water will be grouped up in there. That’s it.
See you already know this stuff.
Micro nutrients are vitamins and co enzymes and BCAAS and many of the extras in supplements etc. They are not a part of this. This is macros baby.
Macros work differently depending on the ratio you organize them in your daily diet. No matter what diet you do you are jacking with macros. You like keto? That’s a high fat, low carb diet Holmes. Keto is macros. They all are.
Are you fat? Well I’m guessing your macro ratio is pretty high fat and high carbs. That’s the combo that creates that.
Want to get jacked? PROTEIN (monster voice) More PROTEIN.
It’s this easy- Change your ratio, change your body or performance or brain chemistry or life.
“Macros” as the term, is all about nailing your ratios of how much of each category leads you to your results.
So you track them. You measure and calculate and plan and dial in your exact levels to get the results you want. Maybe you need more carbs because you work out like a beast and have been really low because you’re following a keto plan. Maybe your protein is way lower than it should be and you can’t put on the muscle you are working so hard for.
Maybe all your carbs come from sugar and your turning into a type 2 diabetic.
So what is it and why does it seem so difficult. Because it’s not hard. It’s not – there’s an ap, My Fitness Plan, for one – that makes it so simple it even becomes fun. A little fun. OK, not fun but doable.
Track it, plan it and change it. Get what you want. Science. Energy. Science energy. Proteins, carbohydrates fats, more energy than your body has room for Run faster, lift more, impress your friends!
Does it work?
Yes, it works. That being said – damn near EVERY diet plan and program work. The problem isn’t finding a plan that works. The problem is time.
Jeff Olsen from the greatest book of all time “the Slight Edge” explains it best…time is the missing ingredient. Everything in life is based about the decisions you make each and every day and compounded over time-
weeks, months and years – doing anything, over time, gives you incredible results.
So yes, it works over time.
Eating better foods over time makes you lose fat.
Eating more food combined with increased activity, especially muscles, gets you jacked and tan.
Eating precisely to maximize performance works to increase your productivity and ability.
It’s a good plan.
Every bodybuilder on the planet becomes an absolute expert on manipulating and controlling macros – they have to, because that’s the ONLY way to become shredded!
Oh wow, Chad, so you love this style of eating? You love “macros?”
Not so fast….
Here’s my take. Love me or hate me for it, please start a debate in the comments section, I could use the traffic.
Me? I don’t like Macros And I’ll say it in the exact voice and hand gesture as Sam I Am up there in the picture. I DO NOT LIKE Macros. I would not eat them with a fox, I will not eat them in a box.
It’s just so…so Bro.
Recall I’m a cross fitter. I love the whole cornucopia of workouts and experiments and plans that accompanies cross fit. I like the fast forward evolution. I love the silliness of it all too. The silly socks and crazy patterned shorts and yelling out a scream like I’m at a college football game just to be funny. Most gyms frown on that type of behavior and my gym giggles like the rest of us.
Cross fit has a very distinct “lifestyle.” Much like other high school style “cliques” such as Goth, rockers, and Jocks you can sense a cross fitter from a mile away.
My point is, cross fitters stole and 100% adopted “macros” from bodybuilders as an eating plan of choice about 5 years ago and well…collectively they got RIPPED. A no brainier..the eating plan of bodybuilders made cross fitters look more like bodybuilders. Yep, science. It works.
But I wanted to puke every time I heard my fellow cross fitter buddies talking about their macros and how the hit their mark and were on point today. And when I had an off workout or a slight headache immediately asked me, “Where you at?” as in “where are you currently sitting on your macro ratios today?”
I HATED it. OK not hated but just got sick of it.
Macros is an eye rolling, meh, birthday gift of socks type of excitement for me. It’s boring.
But it’s vanilla. It takes a conscientious effort and you have to pay attention.
IT SHOULD BE MY DREAM LIFESTYLE OF EATING… I constantly harp on this page about paying better attention to yourself, to make yourself better. Awareness, track it, pay attention, experiment… And Personally, I do. In almost every category in life…Except food.
MY Problem with Macros…I just want someone to do it all for me. Just get it all together and I’ll eat whatever when you tell me to. It just seems so cyborg and disconnected. For me personally, It’s just such a disconnect from food. I want my food to be more than just the components of nutrition. I want more than the macros.
So…as I’ll preach with workouts, lifestyle, clothing, music, life…food included.
Heck, what this entire website is built to personify:
Whatever you’re looking into – It has to work for YOU or it just doesn’t work.
This style of eating takes work and takes a conscious effort, something we, as Americans, typically lack the patience for. It might be YOUR absolute BEST plan and it is well worth the time and effort to play with.
I have played with it. I have the AP and have tracked my calories of each macro and see results.
It should be my dream system, it’s just not. but…Now you know what it’s all about, so you can make an educated decision and hey man, if it fits for you, I’ll be seeing you and those rock chiseled abs at a beach sometime soon!
While talking to my father yesterday on the phone, we started discussing modern diets and how he was going to attack the next few months as he is looking for a change.
He is looking at getting into some of the new stuff, specifically keto and zero sugar hoping for a fat utilization reboot.
The more questions he asked the more I realized I wasn’t getting through. At one point he stopped me and said, “you are assuming I know which and how much of any given food is made up of carbs, protein and /or fat…and I don’t.”
“But dad”, I stated, “you taught me all of this.”
“No I didn’t.” he said, “I planted the seed of your nutrition interest by teaching you how to use diet to lose weight, taper before wrestling matches and increase muscle…I don’t know details and specifics…”
Bang! Just like that another great life lesson at the hands of a great master.
Assume makes an ASS of U and ME.
I’ve been writing all of this stuff over the last 2 years. I’ve tried to get a lot of nutrition stuff to you lately and at least a part of it, is in hieroglyphics.
So here you go – the incredibly abridged crash course of nutrition. In the old days we’d say the lesson with all the fat cut out but guys…fats are good nowadays, not bad. Keep the fat baby!
Prior to my diatribe into nutrition, I think its only fair to give you a brief course syllabus.
Most of what we were all taught isn’t exactly correct any more – it seems 100 years of research has shined some light onto dogma that has been relayed as facts. So try to keep an open mind as I relate the “new rules.”
There is by no means a “definitive” Rule of Nutrition. Every one is going to have things that work and things that don’t – everyone responds to food differently. What I am offering is a way to grasp basics so you can better experiment.
There is no super foods, wonder drugs and/or good and bad foods. Certain foods react different to different people so use your head. packaging labels, advertisements, books, magazine articles are all written with an objective in mind. Typically $. Labels telling you “how healthy stuff is” are put on food packaging by market research and evil spectacled, goatee twisting, red BMW convertible driving frat dudes you hated in college. Form your own opinions.
This is going to start simple.. and then just like sophomore year pre-calculus, just when you think you’ve got it -I’m going to throw in a slew of parabolas and mix all of it up. (“2 types of carbs…puh”)
These are the basics, so concepts like reactive foods and lectins and ideas about what makes foods good or bad are not going to be used. That’s deep, next level stuff that you can find on my links.
This is why everyone in kinesiology and pre-med, at one time in their studies, decide they are going to major in Nutrition. Because it’s a ton of impressive sounding words that is a blast to dive into and has set rules like math – you can figure it out in the classroom and it’s just grand..until you put in into real life and it all goes to hell. Nutrition is chock full of “yeah buts.” As in last night when my dad asks, “A potato is a vegetable right?” uhhhh sort of. ”yeah…..but.” Peanuts are good right? ugh.
Basics – there is three general categories of food.
All food, breaks down into these 3 categories. Lately, they are called “Macros” as in macro nutrients, a term you’ll come to just HATE if you’ve even been cornered by a friendly cross fitter, bodybuilder and new to paleo/primal diet experimenter. These guys are obsessed with discussing each specific gram of Marcos they ingest each meal and ratios and blah blah blah – the macros…
The 3 Macros are:
Your foods are made up of these – in different ratios. They provide the calories the body burns to live, run, work, think etc. Carbs, proteins and Fats are the ENERGY sources for the body.
It’s important to understand the differences in these because they all act differently when adjusted in your diet. They all do different stuff when eaten.
So where are these then?
Carbs are anything bready, sugary, starchy, and grainy. Pasta, cereal, bread, rice, oats, cookies, syrups, potatoes, rice.
They also are the primary energy in fruits and vegetables – apples, oranges, papaya, asparagus and lettuce.
Carbs as a term, is often interchanged with sugars when speaking about diet. This is because when you eat carbs, the saliva in your spit and the acids in your stomach break down these carbs into sugars – Carb molecules are big and big molecules can’t get past the gut lining so they break down into little components: sugars and pass into the blood.
Your body can then use these sugars to top off levels in the muscles and store a little bit more for later.
Your body makes insulin to allow this transportation and storage. Think of Diabetics here – this is why they need to stay away from a lot of carbs and away from sugars – they don’t make insulin so there is no way to haul it away and sugary blood is “No Bueno.”
Carbs are neither good nor bad – they’re needed. BUT…not nearly as much as previously taught in the 1990’s and prior, with “carb loading” and giant spaghetti dinners before competition.
In fact, hang with me here, because the body is a miraculous machine: If you have too many floating carbs, the muscles cant take it all in, so it starts dumping it off on the liver. The liver fills up quickly and says, “screw this – there’s way too much sugar floating around. Turn the extra into fat and store it for the days when we’re starving (as in body fat, love handles, fat ass, flabby triceps) – we can use it then.”
Seems our ancestors didn’t have 70,000 square foot grocery stores down the street and occasionally had to go hungry at times. Hence fat storage which is simply saving energy for a later date. (psst. Guys…you don’t need to do this anymore)
OK that’s deep enough for this article – the main point is start to “get” what foods have carbs in them.
There will be a Quiz later!
Think Meats primarily – muscle baby. Actually, the muscle from other animals. Now before Vegans start throwing bean burritos and tofu burgers at me – yes, there is protein in some plants, I get it. I teach it, but this is Nutrition basics, 101.. and I want a basic understanding here. There is also some protein in milk etc. But for the most part animal products.
Proteins can also be used for fuel and similar to how the carb craze of the 1980’s and 1990’s kicked in, the protein craze of the 2000’s and 20 teens exploded for basically the same reason the carb kick decades earlier did. There’s a lot of protein in muscle – so the scientists…wait, that’s not fair. The journalist’s reporting what the scientists found, said – “eat a ton more protein, it’ll go to the muscles!”
Hopefully its pretty easy to imagine protein as muscle because that’s what muscle is made up of.
Your steak, your burger, eggs, fish, tofu (the protein from soy), chicken and sausage is high protein.
Just like sugars, proteins shouldn’t get into the blood – if your gut is working perfectly, they will break down into small parts called amino acids. The AA’s are what get’s into the blood and travel via the highway system of the body to organs, muscles and skin and repair damage.
Caveat: too many proteins can also end up being stored as body fat. You better truly need that 75g protein blast shake after your 12 minute “workout” there champ!
Fats are the trickiest to explain. Back in the WWII era it was easy – fat was fat – the fat on the steak was fat – the meat was protein with a fine marbling of fat.
Milk was milk and 2% had 2% of the natural milk-fat still present. Whole had the whole amount of fat (about 4-5%) and skim milk was basically milk without the fat – the fat was skimmed off because anyone from the 1930’s with a butter churn worth a damn would tell you that when you let milk set for a while, the fat rises to the top (as crème) – you can then skim it off – a la butter. Or crème. The fat part.
Wow! Chad that’s not too hard. Well, the mad scientists in the food industry can basically do magic with fats and carbs and turn it into anything. Think “double stuff.”
Both the cookie part and the cremey goo – Fats started getting a really bad rap in the late 70’s and 80’s because all the chemical shit that was coming out of the mad scientist’s labs was making people sick and cancerous and actually physically fat. But it can’t be the scientists – PhD’s are doctors and doctors are our friends – it must be the fat. Yep too much fat!…
Scientist 1: (Bob)
“Fat might be bad Earl”
Scientist 2 (Earl)
“OK, then Let’s substitute fat in food for transG-glutimate-1K-3G-polymersaccharidelactorglutimthionecarbonate. “
and…. “Damn Earl, that tastes like shit.”
2: “OK. add 32 Grams of sugar, how is it now?”
1: “Well it’s doable…actually the 5th time I tried it I kind of crave it”
2: “Well…Hell, technically we can call it fat free now – wonder if the guys at marketing can sell it?”
1: “Phew that was close. Despite millions of years of getting by, we avoided a fat-pocolypse”
2: “Good, work Earl, want a Diet Coke?”
They were lab chemicals – an amazingly incredible blend of carbs, fats and carbon chains replaced in ways nature never intended. These blends resulted in some of the most crazy, technologically advanced products in the world – some of which were deemed ok to eat and further altered to make them tasty over repeated exposure. Cheese puff dust on pringles as an example.
Well, science food blending has all grown up. Cheesy chemicals are now just called cheese. It’s not actual cheese. Cheese doesn’t do what Valveeta does, but its called cheese just the same.
For this article – don’t think of chemicals as fats here – its just soooo deep it’ll melt your mind and I just am not great at explaining organic chem. easily.
Let’s get modern. No strike that… let’s go ancient! and think of fats as God intended. Fats come either as a semi solid or liquid at normal temperatures so think of things cremey and slippery. Butter, Oils (avocado oil, olive oil etc), Avacado itself is a high fat veg/fruit. Nuts are high in fat. The fat part of meat – such as bacon – ½ fat, ½ protein and now we’re dancing everyone:
Time for a quiz.
Dissect a Whopper for me.
The bun is carbs, the meat is protein and a little fat, the sauce is chemical crap, the tomato, lettuce and onion is carbs, the ketchup is chemical crap that your brain will so desperately try to convince you is tomato, the cheese is basically fat.
Review… and this is where is gets sooo difficult because at the “billion served forces” like fast food joints, food just isn’t what it appears. The buns are modified, so is the sauce, the meat was until a few years ago and I still have a hard time thinking there’s not something more added to it to give it a unique taste and make it last longer via shipping routes, shelf life etc. Cheese, we talked about already and…you know what? – I have an easier way.
Grab whatever food you want and just look at the ingredient list. Go ahead.
I mean if I bake bread its flour (carbs), small amount of sugar, (carbs), water, salt and yeast. It’s basically all carbs.
Now go to the pantry and look at the ingredient list on bread for me. I’ll wait here for a minute.
Holey, schemoley Batman…what’s all of that? Exactly. That’s why we’re all confused. The bread in the package has about 37 ingredients!
Yet education on all of this nutrition stuff is at the 1900’s level. AND that’s just not how food is made anymore.
That’s why the revolution in caveman type eating and diet plans called Paleo, Primitive, Caveman, Carnivore and hunting/foraging is here to stay. Kill it or pick it and you can probably eat it right with not too many problems.
Wait? Your food doesn’t have an ingredient list? Well then, it’s probably real food!
OK hang with me here as we get to the diet revolution.
Let’s just say that you’re a, I don’t know, 20 to 70 year old man and decades of eating crap and confusing diets have left you in sub-par health.
If you decide to try keto, let’s say in an effort to reset insulin resistance (huge killer in our country), that means basically no carbs. You need a reset…There is a reason for you. As I said earlier, carbs are neither good nor bad but there are people that a low carb diet would greatly benefit – such as diabetics and people trying to starve off cancer cells and people looking to reset a chronically inflamed body. These guys are going for keto –
The body is a miracle see.. you can still make fuels for your muscles and brain from fats – so in keto you sub in good fats as a replacement for carbs.
Good fats are non scientist altered – coconut, avocado, olives, nuts, and oils – and for God’s sake be careful because there a million poser’s out there- Margarine is not butter. Coconut and olive oil comes as “virgin” or “processed.” Guacamole can be quite fair game but if it’s in a package it’ll have 100 ingredients. It’s not the same as an Avocado, salt and pepper – So know this – Look for it.
This leads us to why in some diet plans – some Carbs, even fruits are out- until the results you need are seen – in some cases long term or even life long.
In fact the term keto is actually ketosis – which is “burning fats for energy rather than carbs” and not to be substituted for keto acidosis which is basically a by product and over-spill of fats.
Oh man we can get deep with this…my brain is whirling right now with body miracles and how to explain this all.
Lets step back a second here. Those big 3 were the Macros, remember?
There are also micros – these are the vitamins and nutrients the body needs to make the miracles happen… There that’s it – that’s as far as I’m willing to go with this.
But get this – if a fruit is deemed a “super food” or “miracle” food, you need a context before you jump on board. Is it a huge boost of a micro nutrient (say vitamin A which is a great micro nutrient for your eyes) but surrounded by a gazillion carbs (as a fruit is likely to be) . Because that jacks with a guy with diverticulitis or a guy on a low carb diet because he’s attacking a prostate cancer?
This is the amazing difficultly with writing a nutrition 101 paper – because this stuff is intertwined like a spiderweb. Everything is connected. And there is a profound amount of dogma and old wives tales – such as..”this is good or this is bad”
Don’t despair however yo! Keep it simple and experiment.
But at the same time, see why the newest trends like Intermittent fasting, Keto and heck even Adkins from 2 decades ago do so well. You just simply have a lot less variables to add to the equation because you are eating less ingredients.
If you just simply start to eat PURE, you’ve just taken the difficulty of nutrition from senior year calculous back to 7th grade algebra…still a little crazy but do-able. OK take a Deep breath. Actually take 6 deep breaths – the studies for mind reset and immediate blood pressure drop is 6 deep breaths.
Quiz question #2 –
Why are people such as myself adding coconut oil and some ghee (clarified butter) to their coffee in the morning?
It’s a way to add a little good fats to their morning usually in an effort to get the body some macros but ensure there isn’t any carbs in their early routine.
If I am doing that with a stack of pancakes (carbs) with syrup (carbs) and powdered sugar sprinkles (carbs) I’m basically doing it because I’m uniformed OR feel a prolonged state of fasting is coming up and want to increase my fat storage (as in love handles) because I fear an impending ice age. Extra fats added to your diet while keeping high carbs in a bad idea!
OK – quickly – which macro am I primarily?
Macadamia nut? Both fats. Good Fats.
Water? Nothing, as much as you want.
Apple Juice? T erribly high in sugars, not healthy for any. Juice itself really. It’s like powerslamming 7 apples into your gullet and blood with no digestion which just ins’t really very healthy.
Peanut Butter? A wicked twist engineered to make your brain hurt….answer? read the label, there’s a million different types and concoctions of peanut butter.
Spinach? Healthy veg yes, but it’s macro Carbs – (see stage 2 below)
Honey? Pure sugar. Carb
Potato? Carb (not a vegetable at all – it’s a starch)
Broccoli? Carb – but mixed with a lot of fiber….hmm)
An this is how we get to stage 2 in my article –Carbs from vegetables and some fruits are different.
Yep – too bad – you have to learn this – there are actually 2 carbs:
Simple and complex.
Simple Carbs go straight into sugars in your gut – apple juice – its sugar people. Similar to drinking a coke. (trivia – you can use apple juice in place of oral Glucose when testing for diabetes it has so much sugar!)
But an apple – has a lot of fiber and form to it – a little more complexity. It’s a mix of complex and simple carbs (tastes pretty sweet still so you know its got a lot of sugar)
Move over to veggies like Broccoli and you have a much higher ratio of complex carbs and a way way lower amount of simple sugars.
Not very sweet is it dad?
Same goes for spinach, arugula and leafy salad ingredients – These “complex carbs” are what all of us should be injecting in our diets as they basically have a nil amount of insulin requirement and help shunt in good fats into your system.
So a big green salad with olive oil and a sprinkling of nuts may be a bang up incredible meal even for those trying to stay with a high fat diet.
A glass of orange juice however is akin to speed eating 4 oranges in 7 seconds – your body is in shock mode!
Oh my gosh guys, I’m sorry – I now this is long and I know it is complicated – the idea was to make it easier to process so you can make better decisions. Not sure I have.
How about I leave you with this.
Get your carbs to the complex variety – leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli etc.
Get in good fats – if you’re 27 to 85 year old, don’t be scared of fats anymore – it wasn’t them that was to fear, it was the chemicals and sugars used to replace them! “Fat free” labeled food is out! It’s no good.
Protein – you need some – maybe not as much as you thought though.
Start to look at labels – it explains the ratio right there: Fats, Carb (with a breakdown into sugars) and Proteins right on the label. Hey, and while you’re browsing the label just look at ingredients. Is there is a lot of 50 cent, tough to pronounce words? Well then, yeah, those are chemicals. That “food like Substance” came from a lab somewhere.
Lastly – don’t make this miserable – I have tons of articles about just substituting a word to change your mindset. Diet is the word in question here. If that means the food you eat, well then no problem. If “diet” means restrictive misery, change your word. Real Food is delicious and should be enjoyed, loved and fun. Food should make us happy!
You can create – cook, learn to love food, REAL food again – that means not concocted sauces, chemicals and packaged drivel.
Your tastes will change – I’ve mentioned before on an article how absolutely terrible a Pringle tastes when you haven’t had one for a few months. Yet, how incredible the 14th Pringle tastes when you chow em down. It takes time but I’m telling you …Its amazing to have your real-world taste buds open up and explore the world again when the chemicals clear out.
My dad constantly tells me how he’ll never eat Broccoli, as a fist pounding fact. But as his taste buds naturalize to what nature intended I’m thinking maybe it won’t taste so horrible…Roasted to perfection with a great butter dollop, dash of salt and spritz of orange splash could change his mind…well probably not – but I guess we’ll see huh?
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.”
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!”
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.
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
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.
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.
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!