Monday, January 30, 2017

WATER: 20-1-7 CHALLENGE Week #5

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
WATER: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #5

WATER. Okay, confession time- the one simple health advice that I give but do not consistently follow very well is drinking enough water. Conventional wisdom (and virtually every diet plan) says we should consume 8 glasses of water (8 oz each) daily. However, there is no evidence-based specific "recommended daily allowance" for water, partly because there are so many individual variables (from kidney function to environment to sensible and insensible water losses). That being said, I would still argue that most of us could benefit from increasing our water intake, especially if doing so helps us to decrease other beverage choices (laden with calories, caffeine, sugar or artificial sweeteners.) Increased water intake helps curb appetites, prevent kidney stones, 

My health challenge this week, therefore, is to drink at least 4 glasses (8oz each) per day by drinking one at each meal, plus one with my afternoon snack. I am not going to restrict myself from drinking other beverages as well, but I anticipate my gatorade, juice and Coke consumption will automatically come down...

When I am trying to entice myself to drink more water, I stock up on lemons, limes and "Cutie" oranges, because I love the visual appeal of sliced fruit in water- an instant SPA treat in my own kitchen.

BOTTOM LINE: While there is no set answer for exactly how much water we should drink, increasing your daily intake has multiple potential benefits. 

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser

20-1-7 Challenge Week #4: Meditation FEEDBACK:  I committed to a Kirtan Kriya 12 minute daily meditation. This was my first experience with a chanting-style meditation, and I found it so relaxing that I literally fell asleep each time during the silent sections- so I ended up doing this at bedtime. Not sure this is the best type of meditation for me, but I will definitely use this any time I am having insomnia! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

BRAIN RECHARGE: 20-1-7 Challenge: Week #4

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
BRAIN RECHARGE: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #4

MEDITATION. This is something I think about and INTEND to add to my daily routine every year, but have honestly never managed. This week, I will do a 12 minute meditation every day.

Last week, the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease published an interesting study, which is what is pushing me: 

Meditation and Music Improve Memory and Cognitive Function in Adults with Subjective Cognitive Decline: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial.

In short, 60 people with "Subjective Cognitive Decline" (think of this as likely pre-Alzheimer's) committed to a six month study. They were randomly assigned to either a daily 12 minute Kirtan Kriya meditation or a 12 minute music listening session for the first three months, and then they could choose to continue that practice or not during the second three months (roughly 70% chose to continue the daily intervention.) Memory and cognitive testing showed "marked and significant improvements" at three months (compared with their baseline) and these improvements were maintained or improved after six months! 

My first question was "what is Kirtan Kriya meditation"? A quick youtube search yielded multiple helpful instructional videos that revealed this is that classic yoga-style meditation where you chant four syllables: "Sa Ta Na Ma".  I'll admit, I had trouble staying focused on the first few instructional videos that I watched, but  after I understood the basics, I connected with Nirinjan Kaur's video, which  beautifully combines the chant with background music and harmony that I find almost hypnotizing. 

Does it have to be Kirtan Kriya meditation? No. For example, this study demonstrated listening to music provided the same cognitive improvement as this type of meditation. 

BOTTOM LINE: We know that meditation may provide many benefits, including improvement in blood pressure, sleep, anxiety, irritable bowel and many other chronic illnesses. Why not give some form of meditation a try for a week? And yes...there's an app (or two or twenty) for that.  

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer

20-1-7 Challenge Week #3: Medication Dispenser FEEDBACK: using this dispenser for my prescription and recommended supplements worked like a charm, though interestingly I still missed my sublingual B12 one day, because I had just brushed my teeth and thought I would take it "later". This is a no-brainer to keep going long term!

Monday, January 16, 2017

MEDICATION DISPENSER: 20-1-7 Challenge: Week 3

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 
  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.
MEDICATION DISPENSER: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #3
Time to practice what I preach, and get back to using my own weekly medication box!  This week's 20-1-7 challenge is to fill and use my dispenser. 

As a doctor, you would think I could manage to take my ONE prescription medication plus or minus a couple vitamins ...yet I find on many days that I literally cannot remember whether or not I took them. Like everyone else, I'm in a hurry in the morning, barely paying attention as I brush my teeth (which is when I grab my medication). I tell patients all the time that this is exactly why birth control pills come in a day-labeled package! Truly, if you take ANY medication on a daily basis (even OTC antihistamines or vitamins), please try using a weekly pill dispenser. Special note to parents of teens- have THEM start using one, including the weekly pill dispensing, so when they head to college, they are very comfortable with this system- especially if they take ADD medications. 

BOTTOM LINE: Improve your medication compliance by using a weekly pill box- they are NOT just for "seniors"!

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: Veggie Spiralizer  This week, I put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store) and replaced pasta and rice all week with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash.
FEEDBACK: Honestly, we ate out more than in this week, so I give myself at best a B- on this one; I used the spiralizer enough to master it, but had very few meals with this new tool. On the plus side, I am going strong continuing my push for extra veggies/fruit at every meal! For example, I added shredded carrots to my standard caprese salad of tomatoes and cheese.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

NEW SHAPES: 20-1-7 Challenge: Week 2

Dr. Grimes' 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 

  • For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,
  • Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and
  • Commit to that change for SEVEN days.

20-1-7 Challenge Week #2: 

This week, I will put a new "twist" on my vegetables by using a new veggie spiralizer ($6 at the grocery store) and I will replace pasta and rice all week with spiraled zucchini or yellow squash. 

I love my GF pasta and rice so much that I have one or the other at a minimum of one meal per day. Replacing them with a vegetable should be another big leg-up for my overall nutrition. This week will be a challenge, but who doesn't love a new inexpensive kitchen gadget? I used an apple spiralizer (that cored, peeled and spiraled, see image below) for many years- always a favorite with my girl scout troops for snacks. It's amazing how simply changing the SHAPE of foods can make them more appealing. Try the apple one for your kid's lunch! Then pack one for you, too.

BOTTOM LINE: For week #2 of the 20-1-7 challenge, try a new cooking gadget that will help you find fruits/veggies more appealing! Consider trying a veggie spiralizer...

20-1-7 Challenge Week #1: COLOR
At EVERY meal, I added one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

FEEDBACK: I realized I had been eating well, but filling up more on the "extras" (like my gluten-free pasta or bread) than on more nutrient-dense vegetables. I like that this forced me to expand my fruit/veg choices beyond my usual comfort zone, and had me looking for new things to try in the produce aisle. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Master Supreme Cleansing 3 Day Detox Diet 2017!!

Are the toxins piling up in your body, clogging up your gut and choking your life force, leaving you with crippling fatigue? If you are ever sucked in to late night tv infomercials, you will likely see pictures of "colons" with fatty-looking deposits stuck to all the walls, narrowing the lumen so only a tiny amount of stool could pass through. This image is so set in our collective consciousness that I would estimate at least a third to half of my patients believe if they complete a "cleanse" they will not only permanently drop ten pounds, but they will cure their constipation, bloating and gas, as well as significantly improve their energy level. As such, I am routinely asked not whether or not TO cleanse, but WHICH cleanse I recommend.

To be honest, for the first decade of my private practice, I would launch into my standard speech about how ridiculous the whole concept of "cleansing" was. Let's look at the facts. We know that when you truly "cleanse" a colon with a bowel prep (the solutions you drink before a colonoscopy that cause diarrhea to the point of clear liquid stool) the colon will be sparkling clean for the GI doctor. While the owner of that clean colon will have temporary weight loss from that loss of stool and fluid, within two to three days, their weight is right back to where it began. Established bowel patterns (chronic constipation, bloating, pain, etc) are not eliminated and frequently not improved (or transiently worsened) from this medical cleanse. So why bother with an "optional" cleanse if we know it won't change the outcome?

Good question, Dr. Grimes. (thanks, lol). My second decade of practice, I figured out the answer and created my own special cleanse recipe for those who inquired. I still make sure that my patients understand the purpose of a "cleanse" is not to do a roto-rooter job on your colon, arteries or liver, and that, by itself, the cleanse is not magical. However, taking a dietary step backwards (and yes, giving our bodies a break from the zillion preservatives, colorings, and extra products within our standard daily fare) can be a positive health choice. Additionally, my three day "cleanse" can be a wonderful jump start to healthy eating and, if needed, weight loss. So, without further ado:

Dr. Grimes' Master Supreme Cleansing 3-Day Detox Diet:

In one sentence: Drink water, and eat fruits, vegetables, and a protein source at every meal.

Yep, that's it. Processed foods are eliminated. This cleanse is automatically gluten-free and dairy-free (which helps those with undiagnosed celiac disease or lactose intolerance).  Skip everything with high fructose corn syrup and additives or chemicals you can't pronounce. Skip carbonation, caffeine and alcohol. Yes. Those are extras our body does not need. If you are going to get a caffeine-withdrawal headache, keep one cup of coffee but drink it plain- no sugar, cream, etc. Feel free to add a lemon, lime or orange wedge to your water if you want flavor. Please skip sugar substitutes (aspartame, etc.) We are going for a "cleanse" here!

What counts as a protein source?

  •  Eggs, fish, nuts, beans or lean meat
Can you cook them?
  • Absolutely! This is not a "raw food" diet, but a simplified diet. Feel free to use olive oil (one to two tablespoons should be enough per meal), salt, pepper, or herbs to season and cook the protein or veggies. 

How much should you eat?

  • Limit your protein to a serving roughly the size of your expanded, cupped hand (at each meal)
  • Fruits and vegetables? No maximum, but a minimum of two servings per meal (a handful is one serving.)

How often?

  •  Eat four meals: (essentially breakfast, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner.)
  •  Make sure your first meal is within an hour of waking up.

How much water?

  • One large glass at each meal, and any time you are thirsty (no maximum)
Despite the tongue-in-cheek Master cleanse name, there is nothing special or magical about this recipe. Does it work? Well, yes- it does. It "works" to help you realize what your body needs, versus what your mouth, eyes or mind want. For those with lactose intolerance or celiac disease, this often "works" to improve bowel/abdominal bloating and discomfort. For those trying to focus on better nutrition and weight loss, this frequently "works" as a great jump start. Can you modify this and use yogurt as a protein source? Certainly! The point here is to spend a few days with simple eating and no extra..."extras". Wishing you good luck and great health in 2017!

Bottom Line: If you're looking to "cleanse" your body, make it simple and stick to water, fruits, veggies, and simple proteins (eggs, beans or meat) for a healthy jump start!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

COLOR: Week #1: Ready for the 20-1-7 Challenge?

Happy 2017!
Are you New Year's RESOLVING to improve your health? As a family physician, I hope the answer is YES! All of us have room for improvement, even if we are going from good to GREAT. Regardless of your starting point, I'd like to offer a new health strategy.

Here is my 20-1-7 CHALLENGE: 

      For the first TWENTY weeks of this year,

      Pick ONE healthy change every Sunday, and

      Commit to that change for SEVEN days.

Simple enough, right? Obviously, feel free to KEEP that new healthy habit if it is working for you. Even if only half of your twenty new health changes end up sticking, think how far ahead you will be! Trying something new each week will help you stay motivated, and knowing you only "have" to keep up the new change for seven days gives you bite-sized improvements that should encourage success.

I will post my personal health improvement goal each week, which will keep me accountable. Feel free to share my suggestions or create your own. I'm going to start with dietary changes, but my 20-1-7 challenge will not be limited to the traditional "diet and exercise"- let's shake it up!

COLOR: 20-1-7 Challenge Week #1

At EVERY meal, I will add one more COLOR (translation, one more serving of fruit or vegetable that is a different color than whatever I started with on my plate.)   

(Example: My breakfast is typically a yogurt and a banana, so I will keep that, but add in a serving of berries. If dinner is spaghetti and a green salad with tomatoes, I will add in carrots or yellow squash.)

BOTTOM LINE: Join me in the 20-1-7 CHALLENGE and let's improve our health!