Summer is gone, and now Labor Day is a memory. With the kids back in school, it’s time for all of us to get back to a healthier routine. No kids? Perhaps it’s a good time to make your health a priority. While the children are learning it’s time for you to acquire some valuable knowledge that will enhance your health and improve your cognitive skills. It can happen fast and it’s easier than you think.
If you continue doing what you’ve been doing for the next year, how would that make you look and feel? Need some motivation to make a change? Think about your why. What's the reason you want to make a change? Once you know that, let's take it back to the basics of the Zone.
Refresh Of The Zone Diet
Consuming colorful non-starchy vegetables with a small portion of lean protein may not be too motivating or exciting until you understand what is happening at the cellular level.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is not complicated. There are 2 types of inflammation. The first is classical inflammation associated with pain, that’s why you go to the doctor. The second type is chronic silent inflammation that lies below the perception of pain and goes unnoticed until you experience a chronic condition or end up in the emergency room.
Silent or Cellular Inflammation is Caused by Your Diet
Unfortunately, most of us have followed the government’s advice (USDA My Pyramid) that is high in carbohydrates (grains, pasta, high glycemic fruits; bananas, grapes, etc.) creating chronic inflammation reducing your lifespan.
If you had a visual image of how these foods injure your cells and blood vessels through silent inflammation you might think twice about consuming that donut, pizza, nacho platter, pasta, ice cream and processed food on a regular basis. This repeated injury at every meal is causing cellular inflammation that leads to chronic disease.
Limit Your Carbohydrate Consumption
Consuming too many carbs increases blood sugars that attach to certain proteins injuring the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury sets off the cycle of inflammation.Here’s a visual image of what happens at the cellular level when we consume too many carbohydrates or processed foods loaded with pro-inflammatory omega 6’s (vegetable oils, including organic cold-pressed soybean oil) instead of natural whole foods.
A diseased artery looks like someone rubbed it repeatedly using rough sandpaper over the skin several times a day until it becomes red, irritated and a blister or pimple begins to form. If you don’t change your diet those inflamed pimples begin to pop and your arteries form clots to heal the site. The artery becomes smaller and smaller and the final pimple bursts closing off the entire artery, and you slump over at your desk. Think of Tim Russert, the television journalist and moderator of Meet the Press, who collapsed at his desk at 1:30 pm and was pronounced dead at 2:33 pm.
Consider the Teachings of The Zone
As we savor that processed high carb meal we increase blood sugars and insulin levels that initiate inflammation causing disease. The solution - follow an anti-inflammatory diet like the Zone consuming lean proteins and 8 – 12 servings of colorful non-starchy vegetables. Reduce or eliminate processed foods and vegetable oils and supplement with a high-quality omega 3 and polyphenol such as OmegaRx 2 and MaquiRx.
5 Steps to Fall Back into the Zone
|1. Have a Zone breakfast within 1 hour of waking.
Why? Most of us have just come off an 8 hour fast. Therefore, stabilizing blood sugars first thing in the morning helps you avoid the hormonal roller coaster, i.e. fluctuations in energy, mood, and hunger. Don’t have time to prepare a Zone breakfast? Try Greek yogurt and mixed berries or Apricot Ricotta Delight made the night before with Dr. Sears Zone PastaRx. You just need to plan ahead. Can’t plan ahead or still don’t have time? Have a Chocolate ZoneRx bar. For more recipe ideas visit the breakfast section of our recipes.
|2. Do some form of physical activity daily.
Have you heard the phrase: “Sitting is the new smoking,” attributed to Dr. James Levine who goes on to say “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
The solution is simple: stand up, avoid sitting down, and move! You don’t have to join a gym or hire a trainer. Purchase an exercise DVD (there are hundreds to choose from) and follow along. To difficult? Take a 30-minute walk every day.
When was the last time you finished your meal and reached for seconds? Or ordered that 20oz porterhouse special with the family style fried onion rings? Hopefully, it’s once a year and you took a doggie bag home. Another key to falling back into the Zone…
|3. Practice portion control.
When you prepare a Zone meal that’s balanced with lean protein (no bigger than a deck of playing cards) surrounded with colorful non- starchy veggies) there’s a good chance you won’t be stuffed when you’re done. And that’s a good thing. Clean up and go for a walk. It takes about 20 minutes for satiety signals in your gut to reach your brain. By then you’ll be satisfied rather than stuffed for the next 4-5 hours. If you become hungry within 4 hours ask yourself the following question; am I hungry with good mental focus or am I hungry with poor mental focus, am I tired, foggy and would I like to take a nap? If you’re hungry with good mental focus then next time consume a few more carbohydrates; a quarter cup of lentils, hummus, or more colorful non-starchy veggies. If you’re hungry with poor mental focus next time decrease carbohydrates by one serving or eliminate the “bad” carbs such as potatoes, rice, grains and starchy vegetables. What’s it like to have 5 hours of appetite suppression? Try Dr. Sears patented Zone PastaRx. For more information visit our pasta page.
Of course, if you have no hunger 4 hours after a meal, congratulations! It was hormonally correct.
|4. Zone your kitchen.
Discard or give away all of those canned, boxed, or frozen foods that you know are a problem. Ditch the cereals (yes, those with the heart-healthy seal), the protein pasta (still too many carbs), frozen French fries, low-fat frozen yogurt (it’s “worse” than premium ice cream), and that package of cookies you’ve got hidden in the mixing bowls. Zone PastaRx is fine, it’s balanced and low in carbs. Okay, no one’s perfect as long as your blood test results fall within normal ranges. If you don’t know where you’re going, then how do you know when you’re there? Same could be said about your health and related weight. How in the world did you get to this point? Are you waiting for your doctor to tell you the bad news so you will change your lifestyle before it’s too late? To get back into the Zone (or get there for the first time) you’ve got to have a plan…
|5. Get organized.
Stock your kitchen with the Zone essentials. We did a blog post on that. Help yourself get started with a few of Dr. Sears’ food products. OmegaRx 2 should be at the top of your list. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids helps support the heart health, brain function, behavior and mood regulation, cellular rejuvenation, athletic performance and recovery, and vision. MaquiRx is also essential as it helps activate the enzyme that optimizes metabolism, helps support the composition of beneficial bacteria, and activates the body’s anti-aging and anti-inflammatory genes, thereby improving overall wellness.
Now is the time to get back to a healthier routine and make nutrition a priority. Start your day off on the right foot and give this recipe a try!
For more recipe ideas check out our recipe section.