Walking is a simple way to increase your health and longevity with little effort. Here are five reasons you should do intentional walking at a moderate intensity (fast enough that conversation makes you a little breathless) for 30 minutes a day:
Reduces chronic diseases. Walking at a moderate pace can decrease your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. If that came in a pill form, everyone would be on it.
Enhances bone and joint health. Walking puts very little stress on joints compared to other types of exercises, and it is very hard to do wrong. Studies show it can also reduce the risk for osteoporosis. Patients often state that after they’ve been walking a while, they can’t walk fast enough to feel a moderate intensity. The easy fix? Wear a weighted vest or ankle weights.
Positively impacts mental health. Studies show walking to be just as effective, if not slightly better than some anti-depressant medications.1 Another study showed that just 10 minutes of walking (especially in nature) significantly reduces anxiety symptoms.2 My favorite mental health boost that comes from walking is that of socialization. My walks are often when I connect with friends, my husband, or my kids; whoever decides to accompany me that day. If no one is available, I use that time to listen to my favorite music, a book, or a podcast, or take the time to meditate.
Boosts your immune system. A daily walk can decrease your likelihood of coming down with colds and catching viruses.
Helps manage weight. Walking is a powerful tool for weight loss if done consistently. To boost the benefits, walk after meals, and in combination with a healthy diet. And it is pretty cheap; no gym membership required. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes.
The simple act of walking 30 minutes a day can lead to better overall health.
– Kinder Fayssoux MD
Our desert heat makes it a little difficult to get out during the day, but early morning and dusk are perfect for walking. Start with just a few minutes and work your way up to 30 minutes a day. If you don’t want to get outside, you can always hop on a treadmill. It doesn’t matter how or where, just incorporate this habit into your daily routine for better health all around.
References: 1) Netz Y. Is the Comparison between Exercise and Pharmacologic Treatment of Depression in the Clinical Practice Guideline of the American College of Physicians Evidence-Based?. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:257. ; 2) Jeffrey Conrath Miller et al. Walking facilitates positive affect (even when expecting the opposite) Emotion. 2016 Aug.
What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!
With the upcoming gift-giving season, we can remember that longevity is a gift we can give ourselves every day, not just for the holidays. We all have a genetic blueprint in our DNA, which indicates whether we might have a tendency for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, fibromyalgia, dementia, and arthritis.
The thing about it, though, is that just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future. Epigenetics, the study of genes, involves two important terms – genotype and phenotype. Very simplistic definitions of genotype and phenotype are what is in your genetics and what is actually present. So, for example, say you did genetic testing, and it shows you have the genotype for diabetes that puts you at risk for diabetes. Still, you do not have the phenotype for diabetes because your labs and testing do not indicate you have diabetes. In a nutshell, this is the concept of epigenetics: that there is more to developing disease than having a gene. There are certain environmental factors that can turn on and turn off genes resulting in a phenotype that either matches your genotype or does not.
Just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future.
This is powerful information. As I tell my patients, just because it runs in your family does not mean you will get a particular disease. To counter genetic tendencies, you can create a lifestyle to help keep those genes from turning on and becoming your phenotype. Not everyone wants to or can do genetic testing, but for many of these diseases, the interventions that make the significant effects are similar.
Here are a few things you can do to keep your chronic disease genes turned off:
Get 7-9 hours of good, quality, uninterrupted sleep a night
Eat a whole-foods, mainly plant-based diet
Get a minimum of 5 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week
Reduce sedentary activities
Walk after meals
Do a minimum 12-hour fast daily
Make sure you are getting adequate Omega 3s in your diet
Eat plenty of greens (aim for 10-12 cups a day)
Take sugar out of your diet
Take alcohol out of your diet
Socialize (responsibly) and laugh daily
Have your meals with other people
So, for the person who has everything – and everyone else on your list – feel free to give them a beautifully wrapped copy of this article.
Most of us don’t remember a time without digital technology. Cell phones, laptops, and tablets are a part of most households today. These devices have made it easier to connect with friends and family, keep up with current events, take care of financial matters, and research unlimited information.
Some of the ways that digital devices have integrated themselves into our culture in a positive way are:
Digital technology allows you to stay connected with friends and family. Apps allow users to connect through text, video, audio, and sharing media. In the digital world, anyone can find someone to talk to through online communities which helps people feel connected to other individuals.
Digital devices have revolutionized entertainment. People are having fun online playing games, watching videos and using social networks. Television media has also evolved with services like Netflix and Hulu which allow you to watch shows online from your phone, laptop or tablet anywhere you happen to be.
Banking and Finance
Technology has made banking and finance much easier as well. You can deposit money, transfer money and pay bills from your phone, computer or tablet without leaving home. Investing is fast and easy by connecting your bank account to an online broker. Through banking apps, you can even send someone money directly to their bank account with low or no cost.
The Negative Side of Digital Technology
Although technology has made our lives easier, there is also a downside to tech. We have become dependent on our devices and they often take over our lives. There are side effects of using digital devices continuously.
Research is discovering that digital technology is affecting both psychological and physical health. The largest group experiencing the most problems are children and teens.
Distraction from digital devices has become an ever-growing problem. American youth are using cell phones in the classroom as well as at home. Attention is divided between class lectures, checking texts and social media.
A study done by the Academy of Pediatrics found that American youth spent about 7.5 hours a day taking in media and toggling between multiple streams (Uncapher, et al., 2017).
Researchers at Cal State Dominguez Hills are looking deeper into the compulsive use of tech devices and what happens with students who have constant notifications on their phones. Dr. Rosen, one of the researchers at the college believes that kids feel they can do several things at once, which he refers to as Media Multitaksers (MMT) (Berdik, 2018).
Although teens feel they can do several things at once, your brain can realistically only pay attention to one thing at a time so other information such as class lessons are being ignored by the brain in favor of notifications on the phone.
Research is finding that kids who spend a great deal of time multitasking on their devices exhibit poor memory, impulsive behavior, and do poorly at school (Uncapher, et al., 2017). This phenomenon occurs in children and young adults whose minds are still developing.
MMT is not limited to the U.S. but happens globally. Research is still trying to pinpoint if the media multitasking is causing cognitive issues in youth or are youth with cognitive issues more prone to multitasking.
With the increase of children using digital devices researchers are also noticing that children who spend a lot of time with digital devices are having problems with socializing.
Studies are suggesting that although computers are beneficial for academic and cognitive skills, they harm social and psychological development (Hosokawa & Katsura, 2018).
A Japanese study found that in Japan the use of mobile devices increased from 15% to 48% when kids reached junior high level (Hosokawa & Katsura, 2018).
With teens and young adults spending so much time on mobile devices, researchers are noticing a trend between digital device usage and loneliness because teens and young adults are not having face to face interaction with their friends.
In a 2015 study, Chinese researchers found that college students who were addicted to their phones were lonelier and did not socialize (Bian & Leung, 2014). On the flip side, those who reported loneliness and shyness seemed to be more addicted to their phone.
A Korean study published in 2017 found a relationship between smartphone addiction and attachment anxiety, loneliness, and depression (Kim, Cho, & Kim, 2017).
Mounting evidence is showing an association between excessive use of mobile devices and social isolation and mental health problems in children and young adults. Too much screen time is being associated with poor grades, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression.
Psychological issues are not the only problem being noted with too much screen time. People that excessively use digital devices are also experiencing multiple health problems.
Using computers, tablets and cellphones can lead to digital eye strain. The average adult worker spends 7.5 looking at the computer screen (American Optometric Association, 2020). Adults are noticing more:
Neck and shoulder pain
Experts recommend taking breaks while working on the computer by looking away from the screen for a few minutes.
Because most people look down at their smartphones, smartphone addiction may contribute to neck and back pain due to holding the head forward in an unnatural position when looking at their phones or tablets. A small study found a clear association between smartphone addiction and neck problems (AlAbdulwahab, Kachanathu, & AlMotairi, 2017).
Another documented link to having too much screen time is obesity. Researchers attribute this to several factors.
The consumption of high calorie, low nutrient foods and beverages while using digital devices
Less time sleeping
Low activity level
Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic, and time spent on digital devices has been solidly linked to obesity. Several studies done over some time looked at outcomes of reduced screen time both with and without diet and activity changes. They found direct links between less screen time and weight. Less time spent on digital devices decreased weight in children compared to the control groups (Robinson et al., 2017).
Blue Light Effect
The body naturally releases melatonin to signal that it’s time to go to sleep. Electronic devices emit a blue light that can suppress the release of melatonin, causing you not to be sleepy. The blue light tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime. You feel alert instead of sleepy. This happens a lot with teens, however it can also affect adults and children who are addicted to their devices.
The more time you spend on your phone, tablet, or computer in the evening with social media, answering texts, or watching videos the longer it takes for their body to release melatonin. This causes challenges with falling and staying asleep. As a result, you don’t get enough sleep which can lead to symptoms of depression and contribute to their overall mood.
Overall the excessive use of digital devices is interfering with cognitive development in children, contributing to obesity and contributing to poor mental health.
Unplugging for Technology
Digital devices can have positive outcomes if you use them moderately along with a healthy lifestyle. This means balancing your time between your devices and physical, social and family activities. How then can we unplug from our devices to have that balance?
Detoxing from your digital devices may be difficult at first. Here are some tips for beginning your journey to having a more balanced lifestyle.
One Hour Rule
Set aside one hour day and turn off all your devices. If this seems impossible, you can start with 15 minutes and work your way up to an hour. The world will not come to an end if you don’t answer someone’s text, email or phone call. You can even make this a family tradition by turning off phones during dinner and having conversations.
Have a Device-Free Zone
Choose one room in your home that you don’t take your devices. This could be the bedrooms or living room, but no cell phones, tablets or computers allowed. Make a habit of putting devices somewhere before you walk into that area. The device-free zone because a relaxation area with no distractions.
Replace the Device Habit
Instead of checking social media or other media on your phone first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, find something else to take its place. You can read a book, meditate, do yoga, exercise, or write in a journal. These things replace the device checking with a positive habit that’s good for your physical or mental health.
For teens detoxing from digital devices may be a challenge. Here are some tips to help them detox.
Establish rules about screen time like how much time and where they can use their phone or computer
Encourage your teen to be social and have face to face interactions
Balance their screen time with activities
Educate your teen about media
Keep Screens Out of the Bedroom
Digital devices are consuming our lives. We use them on a daily. Although technology enhances our lives in many ways, it also has negative influences as well. Children, teens, and young adults are especially vulnerable to mental and physical health issues due to excessive use of digital devices. By unplugging and detoxing from our devices, we can live a healthier lifestyle that allows for more fulfilling activities and time with family.
AlAbdulwahab, S. S., Kachanathu, S. J., & AlMotairi, M. S. (2017). Smartphone use addiction can cause neck disability. Musculoskeletal Care.
American Optometric Association. (2020). Computer Vision Syndrome. Retrieved from American Optometric Association: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/protecting-your-vision/computer-vision-syndrome
Berdik, C. (2018, January 22). Dealing with digital distraction. Retrieved from The Hechinger Report: https://hechingerreport.org/dealing-digital-distraction/
Bian, M., & Leung, L. (2014). Linking Loneliness, Shyness, Smartphone Addiction Symptoms, and Patterns of Smartphone Use to Social Capital. Social Science Computer Review.
Hosokawa, R., & Katsura, T. (2018, July 25). Association between mobile technology use and child adjustment in early elementary school age. Retrieved from PLOS|ONE: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0199959
Kim, E., Cho, I., & Kim, E. (2017, June). Structural Equation Model of Smartphone Addiction Based on Adult Attachment Theory: Mediating Effects of Loneliness and Depression. Asian Nursing Research, pp. 92-97.
Robinson, Thomas & Banda, Jorge & Hale, Lauren & Lu, Amy & Fleming-Milici, Frances & Calvert, Sandra & Wartella, Ellen. (2017). Screen Media Exposure and Obesity in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 140. S97-S101. 10.1542/peds.2016-1758K.
Uncapher, M., Lin, L., Rosen, L., Kirkorian, H., Baron, N., Bailey, K., . . . Wagner, A. (2017, November). Media Multitasking and Cognitive, Psychological, Neural, and Learning Difference. Retrieved from American Academy of Pediatrics: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/Supplement_2/S62
The process of fasting involves abstaining, or partially abstaining from food. Prehistoric humans lived in a state of intermittent fasting, eating only when food necessary for their survival became available.1 In the last decade more and more researchers have started to study the health benefits of fasting on the human body and discovered numerous beneficial effects on health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, antioxidant stress, cognition, obesity and weight loss.1,2 It has also shown positive effects on delaying aging and promoting longevity.3
Research is available on fasting techniques like caloric restriction, dietary restriction and intermittent fasting (IF), where IF proved to have the best outcome on health and longevity.1 During intermittent fasting food is consumed within a certain time window, while refraining from eating for the remaining time.2 Some of the most popular intermittent fasting methods are:2,3
16/8 method – eating window of 8 hours and a fasting window of 16 hours
5:2 method – alternate day fasting where calories are restricted for 2 days of the week
Time restricted feeding – eating a standard number of calories within a restricted timeframe
Periodic fasting – abstaining from food and caloric beverages for continuous days
Fasting mimicking protocol – special diet developed by Prof. Longo that tricks the body into thinking that it is in fasting mode
How does fasting work?
The proposed mechanism by which fasting modulates its health effects is the possible reprogramming of metabolic and stress resistance pathways and triggering processes like ketogenesis, autophagy and lipolysis.4 When ketogenesis is triggered, the body starts producing ketones from stored fat as a source of energy when glucose has been used up. The body goes into ‘fat-burning mode’ and gives weight loss efforts a boost.2
“When I don’t eat I can’t make bad decisions about what I eat.”
– Kinder Fayssoux
The fasting mimicking protocol
Prof. Longo and colleagues investigated the effects of prolonged fasting on key markers associated with the stress resistance pathways and longevity, finding low glucose and IGF-1 and increased ketone bodies and IGFBP-1.3 They used the results of this study to identify a diet that will mimic these effects.3
The fasting mimicking protocol, also called the fasting mimicking diet (FMD), is a periodic diet followed for 5 days a week, once a month. It is plant-based, low in calories, sugars and protein and high in unsaturated fats.5,6 In the clinical trial conducted in human subjects, foods were carefully sourced according to their ability to reduce IGF-1 and glucose and to increase IGFBP-1 and ketones and provide optimal nourishment.3 Foods were included in the form of vegetable-based soups, energy bars, chamomile flower tea and chip snacks.3 Calorie consumption on the FMD is 1090 kcal on day 1, followed by 725 kcal on days 2–5 with protein content less than 10%.3
The outcome of the study on human subjects after 3 cycles of fasting mimicking showed reduced glucose and increased ketone levels during the 5-day period, reduced body weight by 3% without reducing lean body massand reduced inflammation markers like C-reactive protein that plays a role in cardiovascular disease.3
Another study performed in 2017 to further evaluate the effects of the FMD found that after 3 months the participants had reduced body weight, body fat, blood pressure, fasting glucose, and IGF-1.6 Participants who were at greater risk of chronic disease also showed a decrease in triglycerides, total and low density cholesterol and C-reactive protein.6
These studies indicate that the fasting mimicking protocol can affectively be applied to reduce certain markers and risks that play a role in aging and age-related diseases.6 Prof. Longo’s studies on mice further indicated the potential benefits of FMD on cognition, cancer, longevity, immune system, bone mineral density loss and visceral fat.3
Other clinical study results on the FMD:
May reduce inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) associated inflammation7
Modulates and promotes gut microbiota species7,8
Neuroprotective in mice with Parkinson’s disease8
May help to prevent autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis9
Can improve efficacy of cancer treatment and reduce resistance when used in combination10
ProLon® and the fasting mimicking protocol
ProLon® is the 5-day fasting mimicking diet created by Prof. Longo in physical form. It provides packaged meals with the correct ration of micro and macronutrients to mimic fasting without calorie deprevation.5
The meal plan should be followed without any additional food sources for 5 days, periodically every month to see optimal results.
On the ProLon® website the following benefits are noted, supported by clinical studies:5
Promotes weight loss through fat loss
Enhances cellular function and regeneration
Improves metabolic health for better glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation control
The effects of fasting on aging and longevity is supported by research.11 The fasting mimicking protocol, where some calories are consumed, has shown almost no side-effects compared to other types of fasting diets.3 It has proved to be an effective weight loss solution by stimulating the body to burn fat and can be considered in healthy patients and those struggling with age-related chronic conditions.
Ahmed, A., Saeed, F., Arshad, M., Afzaal, M., Imran, A., Ali, S., Niaz, B., Ahmad, A. and Imran, M. (2018). Impact of intermittent fasting on human health: an extended review of metabolic cascades. International Journal of Food Properties, [online] 21(1), pp.2700-2713. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10942912.2018.1560312 [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Brandhorst, S., Choi, I., Wei, M., Cheng, C., Sedrakyan, S., Navarrete, G., Dubeau, L., Yap, L., Park, R., Vinciguerra, M., Di Biase, S., Mirzaei, H., Mirisola, M., Childress, P., Ji, L., Groshen, S., Penna, F., Odetti, P., Perin, L., Conti, P., Ikeno, Y., Kennedy, B., Cohen, P., Morgan, T., Dorff, T. and Longo, V. (2015). A Periodic Diet that Mimics Fasting Promotes Multi-System Regeneration, Enhanced Cognitive Performance, and Healthspan. Cell Metabolism, [online] 22(1), pp.86-99. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4509734/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Longo, V. and Mattson, M. (2014). Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications. Cell Metabolism, [online] 19(2), pp.181-192. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3946160/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Wei, M., Brandhorst, S., Shelehchi, M., Mirzaei, H., Cheng, C., Budniak, J., Groshen, S., Mack, W., Guen, E., Di Biase, S., Cohen, P., Morgan, T., Dorff, T., Hong, K., Michalsen, A., Laviano, A. and Longo, V. (2017). Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Science Translational Medicine, [online] 9(377), p.eaai8700. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6816332/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Rangan, P., Choi, I., Wei, M., Navarrete, G., Guen, E., Brandhorst, S., Enyati, N., Pasia, G., Maesincee, D., Ocon, V., Abdulridha, M. and Longo, V. (2019). Fasting-Mimicking Diet Modulates Microbiota and Promotes Intestinal Regeneration to Reduce Inflammatory Bowel Disease Pathology. Cell Reports, [online] 26(10), pp.2704-2719.e6. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528490/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Zhou, Z., Jia, X., Sun, M., Zhu, Y., Qiao, C., Zhang, B., Zhao, L., Yang, Q., Cui, C., Chen, X. and Shen, Y. (2019). Neuroprotection of Fasting Mimicking Diet on MPTP-Induced Parkinson’s Disease Mice via Gut Microbiota and Metabolites. Neurotherapeutics, [online] 16(3), pp.741-760. Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13311-019-00719-2 [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Choi, I., Lee, C. and Longo, V. (2017). Nutrition and fasting mimicking diets in the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases and immunosenescence. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, [online] 455, pp.4-12. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5862044/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Nencioni, A., Caffa, I., Cortellino, S. and Longo, V. (2018). Fasting and cancer: molecular mechanisms and clinical application. Nature Reviews Cancer, [online] 18(11), pp.707-719. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6938162/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2020].
Constipation sucks. If you have ever been stuck on the toilet someplace between a rock and a hard place you know the pain. (Get it rock and hard place… LOL) Fortunately, the only time I really had a problem with it was during my pregnancies- and it was bad….. When I was pregnant with the twins, I spent half of my niece’s birthday party on the toilet with honestly very little to show for it. Oddly enough that pregnancy was literally also the the only time in my life so far that I pooped my pants – but that’s for another post.
But that is neither here nor there. So, what can you do when constipation strikes. Poop Pudding. This stuff is pretty magical, although as I am writing this I realize the name is quite misleading and quite frankly gross. However, Makes you Poop Pudding doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
So before we get to what you can do for it, I would be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t teach you why regular poops are so important for your health. In fact, I bet you didn’t know there is actually a chart to help you learn what your poop should be. This is actually so important that I discuss their poops with almost all of my functional and Integrative patients and I tell them that they should be going at least once a day and the consistency should be like soft serve- formed but easy to mash. This is equivalent to a Type 4 poop on the Bristol Stool Chart.
Regular movement of our bowels is vital to good health as it is one of the main ways we rid our bodies of toxins (the others being peeing and sweating). According to the medical dictionary poop or stool is “body waste discharged from the intestine; called also stool, excrement, and excreta. The feces are formed in the colon and pass down into the rectum by the process of peristalsis.” To get a little more technical; our stool eliminates toxic by products of our metabolism and so when we are not going regularly we are allowing the toxins a chance to do damage for longer and in some cases even get back into our bodies.
So what are some of the things I recommend to my constipated patients? So glad you asked. Besides Poop Pudding, a great way to help out kids, albeit not the healthiest- is Gummy Bears- yes the glycerin will clear them right out. Magnesium is also very important for regular bowel movement. There are different types of Magnesium, what you want is Magnesium Citrate.
As always remember to run anything you are planning to try by your own physician.
“When I eat sprinkles I make slime color green poop.”
– My Daughter
Poop Pudding – The Recipe
Oat Bran, Apple sauce, Prune Juice
Mix equal parts Oat Bran and Apple sauce in a small bowl. About 1/4 cup of each is good for one serving. Mix together and thin with Prune Juice (about 1/8 cup) and leave in fridge overnight. Eat the next am. Poop the next PM.
So glad you are here. This site is about natural cures prescribed by MD’s for multiple chronic medical problems, low energy, and weight loss. These from and Integrative and Functional Medicine viewpoint. I started this site because in my clinical practice I can only see a handful of patients, but as multiple patients, friends, colleagues, and random people that ask me medical questions because they know I’m a doctor have said to me “how come none of my other doctors ever told me that?”
I am a conventionally trained Board Certified Family Medicine Physican. I also am board certified in Integrative Medicine and have the maximum certification available through the Institute for Functional Medicine for Functional Medicine.
And full disclosure this site is also a creative outlet for me; I was a theatre minor back in College and went into medicine because when I told my parents after graduation that I wanted to go to LA and try my luck in Hollywood they told me “Good Indian girls don’t go to Hollywood- please stick to your smart plan…go to medical school.” So I also hope to entertain you as well as educate you and your families about creating lifestyles that will not only feed your bellies but your soul also.
If you want to learn a little bit more about my credentials please check out the About page- I promise I’m legit. I have been trained for more years than you care to think about and teaching it for over 10 years.
All of the information on this site is backed by data and here to educate you, but I have to remind you that I am not your doctor so please check with your physician before you start any new regimens.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”