Am I Hungry?®
By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
This deceptively simple question could be the answer to ending your struggle with weight and food without restriction, without deprivation, and without guilt.
All of us know someone who just seems to manage their weight without effort. It just seems easy and for most of us, it just does not seem fair. Think of that person you know who does this. What do you observe about them? For me, I see them eat whatever they like. They never seem to obsess with constant calorie counting and labeling food as good or bad. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. Eating just seems natural to them and food just does not seem to have any power over them and they seem happy, active and energized.
Now, consider someone you know who is a “chronic” dieter. What’s different from the people you know who just manage weight easily? Is food always on their mind? Do they obsess with calories and portions? When do they eat? I bet they are not eating what they want. Do they eat when they are bored, anxious or depressed? If they eat out of boredom for example, what happened when they stopped? They were probably still bored.
What’s the difference between these two types of people? Why can one person seemingly break every accepted rule of weight management and live a healthy, vibrant life while maintaining a healthy weight while another can diligently follow very rigid and specific guidelines and gain weight?
Could it be that the real issue is not about what they eat, but rather why they are eating in the first place? Consider that for a minute. If you find yourself eating when you’re not hungry, then why are you eating? What are you eating for if it is not for hunger?
Red Mountain Resort will soon be proudly adding the Am I Hungry? Mindful eating and vibrant living programming to our wellness offerings. This wonderful program, developed by Dr. Michelle May helps support the definition of health and wellness adopted by Red Mountain Resort, which looks to enhance the physical, social and emotional well-being of each individual. The Am I Hungry? Program will help improve on our very successful Weight Loss and Well-Being retreat. It will add another dimension to the mindfulness component of all wellness offerings. The Am I Hungry program will offer Red Mountain Resort weight loss and well-being participants the following workshops:
“In Charge, Not in Control” helps answer the question of why we eat and introduces the Mindful eating Cycle, specifically addressing the difference between the Instinctive, overeating and restrictive eating cycles and how to avoid the eat-repent-repeat cycle that so many fall into.
“Trust Your Body Wisdom” sheds light on when we eat. Understanding the physical, emotional and environmental triggers that move us to eat is crucial to us learning to eat instinctively. The workshop will introduce the hunger and fullness scale as a tool for determining when and how much to eat to provide nourishment without leaving us feeling deprived.
“It’s Not About The Food” addresses strategies that can be utilized to avoid using food as a means of addressing true needs. Whether it be boredom, stress or anger, using food will as a solution avoids the underlying need and will leave you bored, stressed and angry and will leave you feeling guilty and out of control.
“Mindful Eating” will teach you how to eat with intention, feel more satisfied and find greater enjoyment in eating as you meet your true need for nourishment and satisfaction. You will more fully understand your body’s cues for hunger and fullness and will begin to eat more instinctively.
This program will certainly enhance your experience and will more fully address the challenges that you may be experiencing around your relationship with food.Add a comment
Complete Hormone Health
By Dr. Joseph Collins, RN, ND, guest speaker September 18-21
Complete hormone health requires an optimization of how your body responds to hormones; a poor response to hormones can cause problems, even when hormone levels are “normal” based on blood, urine or saliva tests. Simply put - it’s not just hormones - it is also how your body responds to hormones. So complete hormone health means helping the body “listen” better to the message that the hormone is trying to send. Whether it’s your thyroid trying to improve metabolism, your adrenal glands trying to improve your energy or your sex hormones trying to improve your libido.
Even if you have been told you have “normal” thyroid tests, you may still have poor thyroid function, which can cause decreased metabolism with fatigue, weight gain, poor mental function and a wide array of other symptoms. It’s important to know how to properly evaluate thyroid function. Certain foods and herbs can help you achieve and maintain optimal thyroid function.
Adrenal health reflects the health of the entire body. By the time someone feels like they have adrenal fatigue, many parts of the body are distressed. Since adrenal health affects multiple systems, it can affect your energy, moods, inflammation, detoxification, blood sugar and even the function of all other hormones. Proper use of healing herbs and nutrition can restore complete adrenal health.
The symptoms that women experience in premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and even polycystic ovarian syndromes can be due to both imbalanced hormone levels as well as disturbances in how the tissues of the body respond to hormones. Improving hormone levels and tissue response as well as proper testing and assessment optimize hormone health and eliminate those imbalances and disturbances.
Perimenopause and Menopause are natural transitions that can manifest in a variety of different ways. Depending on each individual, there could be imbalances in estrogens, progesterone or testosterone, or any combination of those hormones. Discovering you unique Menopause Type® and making dietary, herbal and bioidentical hormonal therapy choices that address your specific needs frees you from the one-size-fits-all approach, and restores complete hormone health. To learn more, join me at Red Mountain Resort in September. Click to find out all the details.Add a comment
Wild or Farmed Fish?
By Dale Van Sky, Executive Chef
When planning new menus or nightly market fish specials, I mostly choose wild fish that is sustainable. A good source for researching the sustainability of seafood is the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.
However, if I choose a farmed fish, I first research the farming methods that are used. Some farms use growth hormones to increase production and food coloring pellets to achieve a more natural flesh color. I look for farms that do not use hormones and have a natural water circulatory system (pulling water from the ocean that circulates through the ponds and is then released back into the ocean).
The Monterey Bay Aquarium website will also provide you with information on how frequently you should consume seafood and mercury levels.
Interview with Mark Montgomery, Licensed Acupuncturist & Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
Q: Mark, how long have you been practicing Acupuncture and what was it that drew you to become a licensed acupuncturist?
A: As strange as it may seem, I was drawn to acupuncture because I come from a long line of Western medical doctors. My father was a surgeon as was my grandfather, his father and his grandfather. My grandfather, who practiced general medicine in rural New York from the late 1920s through the mid-1970s, was really my role model. As a young boy, back in the 60s when doctors still made house calls, I used to accompany him on trips to visit patients in the countryside. After his death many people told me that he hadn’t just been their family doctor—they had considered him part of their family. And because he’d delivered multiple generations of babies in many families throughout the county and watched those kids grow to adulthood, he had a very unique view of the intergenerational health of those families. That sense of relationship was the foundation of his practice.
When I finished college and was pondering careers I thought about going to medical school, but I frankly didn’t see that sense of community-based medicine being taught or practiced in mainstream Western medicine anymore. That led me to research other options and acupuncture struck me as offering the closest thing to that model that I could find.
Q: Acupuncture has such a long history and proven effectiveness, yet it is not fully understood by those who have never experienced its tremendous benefits. In simple terms, how would you describe Acupuncture philosophy and science and its objective?
A: Over the thousands of years since it developed in China, acupuncture has spread to dozens of countries where it evolved in different ways—so in a sense it’s inaccurate to speak of it as a single, monolithic entity. Nonetheless, there are certain principles that all schools or traditions of acupuncture have in common: the idea that good health is a function of abundant and harmonious flow of energy throughout the body; the corollary that disease, and in particular pain, is a function of a blockage of this flow; the belief that by observing nature we can learn about ourselves and how to manage our health; and the idea that harmony and health are expressed throughout nature in alternating cycles of activity and rest. This is the concept—often mocked as New Age mumbo jumbo by people who don’t understand it—of Yin/Yang theory. It is actually a powerful and beautifully elegant way of understanding health and the natural world.
Q: For those who will experience acupuncture for the first time, what can they expect during the first experience?
A: It varies from person to person. When the needles are inserted many people experience a slight prick, followed by a tugging sensation, a sense of heaviness at the point of insertion or even a dull ache. This is what the Chinese call “da qi” or the “qi sensation.” As they lie with the needles in for 30–45 minutes, many people experience either a sense of heaviness throughout their body or, conversely, a sense of lightness, as though they are floating above the table. Many also experience a sense of energy moving through their body or what I call “lighting up”—brief, intermittent intense sensations at the points of insertion. By the end of the treatment most people feel rested and refreshed and often, if they came in for relief from pain, the pain has substantially subsided.
Q: Like most alternative therapies, acupuncture seeks to bring balance and to manage the underlying causes of health issues, but are there certain issues for which people seek Acupuncture treatment?
A: Sure. A great deal of my practice centers on pain relief, either chronic or acute. I’d say 75% of the people who come to me for pain relief leave feeling significantly better. That being said, it’s also important to note that to resolve chronic or even intense acute conditions often requires an entire course of treatment. Many of the people I treat at Red Mountain have never had acupuncture before. They come to see me because they want to try it out and they trust Red Mountain to provide a safe and comfortable experience. After we’ve finished, part of my job is to recommend specifics of how to follow up at home. And because I have contacts with colleagues in many other states I can often recommend a specific practitioner.
So, pain relief is a one of the big reasons people come but remember, from an acupuncture point of view pain is an expression of blocked energy flow, so when we can help the body to resolve the underlying blockage the pain usually disappears or diminishes, along with the issue that’s causing it. Another way of looking at this is that acupuncture doesn’t actually cure or heal anything—it just gives the body a boost in doing what it already knows how to do, which is to heal itself. From that perspective it becomes clear that acupuncture can actually help with just about any condition: musculo-skeletal, hormonal, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, even emotional.
Q: I was also intrigued when we talked about the benefits of acupuncture protocols on hypothyroid or low functioning thyroid issues. This is a significant issue and one that is increasing. From a Chinese medicine approach, namely acupuncture, what approach is taken to help those dealing with low functioning thyroid?
A: Thyroid issues are another example of the way acupuncture uses Yin/Yang theory to explain pathology. From a Chinese medical perspective both hypothyroid conditions and hyperthyroid conditions such as Grave’s disease are actually a function of deficiency states even though they express in very different ways. So even though hyperthyroid conditions usually result in symptoms of sympathetic excess it’s nevertheless important to treat the underlying deficiencies that have led to those symptoms. Hypothyroid conditions are actually more straightforward in that they derive from a simpler condition of deficiency expressed as fatigue, weight gain, etc. In Chinese medicine we tonify the liver and kidneys to nudge the thyroid back to a higher level of functioning. You might think of the process as being similar to “turning up the pilot light” of a person’s metabolism. This is usually done through a combination of acupuncture and herbs.
Q: Another area that people may not associate acupuncture with is weight loss. What role does acupuncture play in weight loss?
A: In my experience weight gain has a lot to do with both systemic inflammation and with stress interfering with sympathetic/parasympathetic regulation, which of course affects hormones, digestion, sleep, immune function and the body’s general ability to repair and replenish itself. By reducing inflammation and helping the body to regulate the nervous system (i.e., helping to move the body from “fight or flight” into “rest and digest”) acupuncture can play an important role in weight loss, or, as I prefer to say, “health gain.” This often shows up as a decrease in appetite or other cravings, an increase in basal metabolic rate, greater endocrine balance and an overall greater sense of peace and relaxation.
Q: Mark, you are also a Qi Gong practitioner and have recently introduced an activity called the Qi Gong Awareness Walk. Could you speak to what the walk is and the expected benefits? By the way, our guests who have done it rave about it.
A: The Awareness Walk is an attempt to distill some of the concepts we’ve been talking about into a brief experiential exercise. Like acupuncture, qi gong is an art which through the centuries has spawned many different schools. Some of them are more focused on health cultivation, some more focused on martial arts applications But all have the goal of teaching practitioners to sense and balance their own energy—a sort of “self-acupuncture without needles,” if you like. Recent research on sympathetic vs. parasympathetic arousal and the adrenal stress reaction has indicated that these states of mind are characterized by very specific types of movement and use of the senses—“Waking the Tiger” by wildlife biologist-turned-psychologist, Peter Levine, documents this beautifully. What I’ve learned over several decades of qi gong practice is that it is possible to induce deeper, more peaceful states of consciousness by learning and practicing the movements of qi gong. But I’ve also learned that these deeper states not only trigger but are also triggered by using one’s vision in a very specific way—by learning to use one’s peripheral vision to enter what I call “the peripheral awareness state,” which is characterized by a sense of deep relaxation, trust, safety and the ability to access insight and wisdom. The activity only lasts two hours—and to really learn this skill can take up to 12 hours—but most people walk away feeling that they now understand—and know how to access—a depth of awareness that they’ve perhaps experienced at certain points in their lives but never consciously controlled.
Mark, we appreciate this wonderful and helpful information. You are a great resource for so many that have visited Red Mountain Resort and I know having spoken with so many that they have received so much from working with you. Thank you for all you do.Add a comment
What Does the Chef Cook on His Day Off?
By Dale Van Sky,
Although I do not have as much opportunity to cook at home as I would like to, one of my most favorite dinners (and most frequently requested by my wife) is Beef Stroganoff on Basmati Rice. There are many recipes for this classic dish and I will share mine with you.
Beef Stroganoff on Basmati Rice
4 Tbsp Smart Balance butter substitute (could use butter or margarine)
1 Pound Beef Sirloin (trimmed of all outer fat and sliced 1” long, 1/4” thick by 1/2” thin strips)
1/4 Cup Yellow Onions (diced 1/4”)
1/2 Cup Mushrooms (sliced 1/4”)
4 Tbsp Whole Wheat Flour (for nutritional benefits and color)
1/4 Cup Liquid Aminos (could use 2 -3 beef bouillon cubes)
1/4 Cup Red Wine (preferably one you would have with the meal)
1-1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Melt Smart Balance on high heat in large sauté pan until it starts to smoke.
- Add Beef Sirloin Strips and sauté until browned.
- Add diced Onions and sliced Mushrooms. Cook until the Onions stat to turn clear.
- Stir in Whole Wheat Flour and reduce heat to low. Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Stir in Red Wine, Water and Liquid Aminos. Turn heat up and bring to a boil (it will be very thick, the Sour Cream will thin it).
- Turn heat off and blend in Sour Cream.
- Add Salt and Pepper to taste.
Note: Use two parts Water to one part Rice.
1 Cup Basmati White Rice
2 Cups Water
- Bring Water to a boil in a 1 qt. sauce pan.
- Stir in Basmati Rice.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes (all water should be absorbed).
- Place 1/2 cup Basmati Rice in center of plate.
- Top with 1 cup Beef Stroganoff.
- Place 1 Tbsp. of Sour Cream on top and enjoy.
Connections for Happiness
By Celeste Blackman, guest speaker July 12-13
Connecting with one another is a key ingredient for happiness. One of the clearest findings to emerge from research into happiness is that we are social creatures who long for connection. We feel better just being around other people, it makes us feel happier. And when we are happier, we are more fun to be around, creating an “upward spiral” of happiness. Happiness is contagious and that too is good for your health!
According to John Cacioppo, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago, social isolation has an impact on health comparable to high blood pressure, obesity, lack of exercise or smoking. Feelings of isolation show up in measurements of stress hormones, adversely impacting both the immune and cardiovascular functions, among others. When all is said and done, the best guarantee of a long and healthy life may be the connections we have with other people.
Click to learn more about Connections for Hapiness with Celeste Blackman.Add a comment
What is the Best Sugar Substitute?
The best sugar substitute for those who want a sweetener with no calorie content is Stevia. There are many different forms of Stevia out there, including flavored liquids. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so one should tread lightly. Some people report an aftertaste, however, so a powdered form might be preferable for them. Read labels, though, as some Stevia products contain other ingredients.
For those who are less concerned with calories, agave is another option. Make sure, though, that the product is raw and organic. Some agave products have been proven to contain up to 70% fructose. High-fructose corn syrup contains 55 to 70% fructose.
By Dr. Brad Crump, Health Services Manager
There are a myriad of plans and programs that health minded individuals seek out in order to “detoxify” the body. Many are based firmly in the science of detoxification and others well, not so much. Ultimately there is one goal in mind and that is to remove foreign and potentially harmful substances from the body.
Any good detoxification program always begins with proper nutrition. There are no exceptions. The following nutritional guidelines should be part of any detoxification program:
- Whole foods. It is important to eliminate all refined and processed foods. Whole foods contain vital nutrients required for optimal liver function.
- Eliminate all foods that have the highest inflammatory or allergenic potential. An abbreviated list would include the elimination of all dairy, gluten containing foods such as wheat, rye and barley and, of course, all refined foods (which notoriously contain gluten), soy and soy containing foods, red meat, shellfish and caffeine and alcohol.
- Lots of water.
Add a comment
Anyone is a candidate for a good nutritionally based detoxification program. Given the state of our environment and our many exposures, a detoxification program should be done at least once per year and for a full month.
Care would be given with those who have health issues, but, in general, there is nothing that would preclude anyone from participation.
The benefits of detoxification are extensive. They usually include weight loss, improved sleep, increased energy and decreased hormonal symptoms seen with menopausal women. Most will see an improvement in cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Overall, a proper detoxification program will improve overall health, decreased health risks and general sense of well being.
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