“The most important thing to remember about food labels is that you should avoid foods that have labels” - Dr. Joel Fuhrman
Micro-nutrients are what we know as vitamins and minerals. I am passionate about micro nutrients because by incorporating more of them into my diet, I am losing fat, feeling energized and experiencing dramatically less cravings for processed foods that once controlled my life. Focusing on micro-nutrients for weight loss instead of calorie counting is a relatively new concept for me and feels more sustainable.
Micro-nutrients get inside the cells and are largely responsible for many of our body's functions, like immunity, growth and repair. There are lots and lots of vitamins and minerals in existence in foods and new ones are still being discovered. Some of the most common vitamins are Vitamin A, C and E and some common minerals are Iron and Sodium. vitamins and minerals have an influence on how our genes express themselves and how our cells behave.
In his book 'Eat to Live', Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends focusing on eating more nutrient-dense food for health and weight loss. Nutrient density is a reference to the ratio of nutrients to calories a food has. In studies that compare the amount of over 20 different nutrients in the same portion of common foods, green vegetables like Kale, Chard and Broccoli rank the highest. It doesn't take a science degree to know that 500 calories of cabbage has more nutritional value than 500 calories of French fries. Nutrient diversity is also important, which is why we must eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods to ensure that our bodies are getting all the components they need to function optimally.
Looking back at my experiences, the hunger and cravings I felt controlled my life in many ways, was not coming from my stomach as I had thought, but from my cells. The mini organs within each cell that perform all the biological functions of my body, organelles as they’re called, depend upon a steady influx of different vitamins and minerals. Eating foods in their whole state, raw or close to raw, gives the body the micro nutrients in the proportions nature intended them to be eaten.
When we mill grain into a flour or remove the oil from olives, for example, we speed up the way they are absorbed and used by the body. A bowl of whole oats and bananas, due to its intact fiber and complexity, it digests at a rate suitable for our bodies to use steadily. In contrast, a banana muffin, for example, in addition to the added sugar, it has been refined and is less complex, unloading its digestible components in a relatively short time, 'spiking' our system. The body can't use all this fuel so quickly, and triggers fat production to 'save' it for later use. This process artificiality boosts our energy at first, but shortly after, leaves us feeling depleted.
When we synthesize plants to extract certain vitamins and minerals to use as supplements, we also miss the benefit of eating the whole nutrient rich food intact, getting all the aspects working in synergy with one another for maximum digestion and absorption.
The word appestat, is a combination of the words appetite and thermostat. It refers to a built-in biological feed back loop mechanism, like a thermostat, that regulates feelings of hunger and satiation. The dangers of refined foods, salt and other additives, is that they mess with our internal appestat and stimulate our brains and taste buds to want more, without actually giving our body sufficient components required for repair and regeneration. This is the viscous cycle of food addiction, eating more refined foods in attempts to fuel up, but only depleting our bodies reserves further.
Eating more nutrient dense foods, in their whole form, gives our appestat a chance to recalibrate and to stimulate cravings for a diversity of nutrient rich foods that keep us feeling full and deeply nourished. I put leafy greens into fruit smoothies to mask their bitterness. Lemon juice and ground pepper makes a delicious topping for steamed greens and vegetables. Fruit makes for a convenient breakfast, snack or pureed for a salad dressings. Adopting a more nutrient rich diet will support you in feeling nourished, fit and healthy!
Receiving a Deep Tissue massage can be a highly pleasurable experience as well as an effective method for reducing pain and improving quality of life for people of any age or circumstance.
Unfortunately, many people have had a bad experience with deep tissue massage, wincing because an unaware therapist was using too much pressure.
Safety and client consideration are top priority with deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage should never induce pain, rather, a healing, “hurt so good” sensation or a “therapeutic discomfort”.
It is important for therapists to check-in with clients a few times throughout a session because preferences may change. I encourage everyone receiving massage to be outspoken about their preferences, its our time to be taken care of the way we want!
Deep tissue massage is different from a general spa massage.
Deep Tissue massage has the aim to identify root cause(s) of a client's specific imbalance and apply various techniques on deep layers of the body to alleviate pain. Deep Tissue addresses health beyond just a feeling of relaxation felt during a session.
Deep tissue massage can be applied on bones, muscles or most importantly fascia.
Fascia is a special type of tissue that connects and encases almost the entire body in sections. Each muscle cell, bundles of muscle cells, tendons, ligaments, organs and skin are all connected by fascia.
'Knots' or sensitive strands of tight muscles are hyper stagnant areas. Nerve signals to and from these area are faint where circulation is cramped, further restring cellular waste to get out and fresh blood to get in, bringing relief. “Knots” often form where multiple muscles intersect, like the shoulder blade for example that has 17 different muscles that attach to it.
When fascia gets dehydrated, due to stress, lack of fluid or movement, it gets thick and sticky. It binds to itself and neighboring areas of muscles causing restricted movement. Physical discomfort may be a request from the body to notice inflexibility or imbalance somewhere.
Deep tissue massage re hydrates fascia by stimulating waste nutrients out of the cells for excretion and brings fresh blood into an area to heal. The manipulation of the body with massage, melts sticky fascia, bringing relief to an entire area and stimulates a chain reaction of healing.
Focusing on a few target areas per visit, allows time to more effectively address an issue by working on the adjoining and opposing muscles that contribute to an imbalance.
With a slow and gradual application of pressure, clients feel safer to relax, let go of their tension and bring a new depth of body awareness. A therapist should never 'muscle' their way into a muscle. With patience and slow deep tissue massage, muscles soften at their own pace and 'invite' the increased pressure.
Fascia is linked to the nervous system. Touch in one area can ease movement in another. Fascia encases all our muscles, skin and contains deeply proprioceptors, deeply embedded sensors that relay critical information about our bodies movement, positioning and our perception in space.
A deep tissue massage in not solely a passive experience. When a client is more actively participating in letting go of their tension, their shifts are more impact full. Similar to a Physical Therapist or a personal trainer, a deep tissue practitioner will help client's identify habitual posture or behaviors that contribute to their complaints. By sharing information and support, clients are encouraged to practice making regular lifestyle choices for their wellness and preventative care. A few specific Deep Tissue modalities to experience or research further are: Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release and Structural Integration.
Please leave a comment about this article or your experience with Deep Tissue Massage
My experience learning about racism and white privilege has been a gradual process of learning the severity and unquantifiable injustice and pain racism perpetuates in the world. Awareness of systemic oppression such as racism and sexism for example, had a snowball effect of on me leading me to the conclusion that racism and sexism is everywhere today, perpetuated by societal and cultural institutions currently and for a long time. Group think, manufactured popular norms and fear of scarcity drive racist ideologies that go largely unchecked. Racial awareness is something people of color in the United States and other places learn intimately from early on in life. It is white privilege that I can learn about racial injustice at my discretion and as an intellectual pursuit vs a matter of safety and success. I believe one major obstacle to justice is many white people's denial of racism, their privilege and their to attempts to minimize its impacts. One definition of 'privilege' that resonates with me is; thinking something is not a problem because it's not a problem for you. This definition combined with the Martin Luther King Jr. quote "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere", inspires me to practice extending compassion to others for their life experiences, even if they're drastically different than mine. I believe if more white people understood the distinction between being a racist person and having a racist thought, maybe they would be less self defensive protecting their personal character and morale, and more willing to look from a different perspective. I imagine when we replace white guilt, with awareness and actions to restore justice and equality, we will make significant societal progress. Openly identifying as a racist white person, to me is an acknowledgement that my culture ( the tv i grew up wathing, media I still see, things I learned in school, etc...) is racist and influences me beyond my cognitive comprehension. I am racist because I am undeniably a product of a racist culture and environment, not because I actively hate or harbor disdain for people of color. It is a pledge for me to do my best to educate myself about racism, its sources, forms, implications and how I benefit at the expense of others due to my privilege. I try to talk to my white friends about race and systemic injustices. I also practice lovingly confronting people when I hear them say something racist or sexist for example.
Some systemic racism and sexism i see in our country is the disproportionate wealth and influence disparity. A specific example is the large lack of women and people of color in politics and business. The currency we use and value in America has pictures to glorify men of significance, George Washington for example who by some estimates owned more than 300 slave; an obvious contradiction to me, for a country that supposedly represents and promote freedom. Many schools and roads are also named after these men. Slavery has not been officially acknowledged by our government nor has any efforts been made to pay reparations, even despite the evidence linking many specific companies still in operation that have profited hugely from human slavery.
Here is a trailer for a Documentary about modern day slavery in American inmates that is legal and effects men of color at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.
So anytime I get pulled over by the police for a traffic violation for example, and they leave me with either or a warning or a ticket, I know I have my white privilege to thank. I try to acknowledge all of the extra graces in life I receive due to being a white man, and pass them on to others in hopes to tip the scales of inequality a tiny bit towards balance and ease my white guilt. If you don't know about the many innocent people of color that have been shot dead by police for nothing, without any accountability or reprimand, it's time you wake up!
I would love any and all comments and feedback and opinions. I invite critique and criticism so I may become more aware and sensitive. More ruminations on racism to come.
1. Selekta Faya Gong - Pull it Up Reggae Show