12 Step Guide To Re-Starting Your New Year’s Resolution Today

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 10.08.06 CSTLots of folks make a new year’s resolution and then quickly break it.  I’ve done this over and over and if you have as well, we’re in good company.  The statistics confirm that the vast majority of those who make resolutions break them in the first weeks of January.

Even if you made a resolution that you didn’t keep, it is not too late to retake 2016 by making a sustainable resolution.  There are nine months left in 2016: 304 days, 7,296 hours, 437,760 minutes and 26,265,600 seconds left in which to take back some aspect of your life.   That’s a lot of time to effectuate positive change and to empower others by example.   It’s also a lot of time to engage in negative behaviors  and suffer the consequences.  However, if you are reading the Spiritual Adrenaline blog, likely you are committed to moving forward in a positive way.

We posted a list of recommended sustainable recovery resolutions at spiritualadrenaline.me. To receive the download, simply provide us with your first name and email below and we will send it to your inbox right away.  

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it a try.  We have one idea for each of the areas we cover at Spiritual Adrenaline:  Recovery Exercise; Recovery Nutrition; Recovery Hormones, Vitamins and Minerals; Spirituality; and Smoking Cessation.   Given that quitting smoking is so incredibly difficult, I have a number of suggestions so that you can find one that works best for you.

It may just be the first step in reaching a recovery goal that has eluded you in the past.

We hope you’ll go to spiritualadrenaline.me, download the guide and keep in touch to let us know how it works for you.

That’s what “Life Powered by You” is all about.

Tom

 

Why Controlling Your Carb Intake Will Reduce Your Chance of Cancer

shutterstock_367972454Studies increasingly confirm the link between eating carbohydrates and cancer.

There are also two types of carbs: simple and complex.  The easiest way to remember which is which, is that for the most part, simple carbs are processed and created by man.  Complex carbs grew out of the earth naturally.

Different types of carbs deliver different amounts of sugar and the time it takes the body to break down that sugar varies.   Low-glycemic load carbs break down slowly in the body, releasing nutrients at a consistent rate.  High-glycemic load carbs deliver a large amount of sugar and the sugar breaks down almost immediately.   These foods deliver what is commonly known as a “sugar rush.”   The studies involved in this blog looked at foods that have both a low-glycemic load and high-glycemic load in relation to cancer.

The foods most related to the increased cancer risk are high-glycemic load foods, which are mostly manufactured.  The notable exceptions are certain fruits which also carry a high-glycemic load.

Dr. Oz

I was going to write about this topic in a couple of months but just last week watched an episode on Dr. Oz and really wanted to share the information as soon as possible.   The episode really rattled me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  It addressed a recent study which found high-glycemic foods may be a major risk factor for lung cancer and a number of other cancers, including, breast, prostate and colon.

Dr. Mark Hyman was Dr. Oz’s guest and is one of the leading researchers on this topic.  You can watch the episode at: www.doctoroz.com/article/high-and-low-glycemic-foods.

Given the number of hyperglycemics and diabetics in recovery, some studies have the number as high as 93% in early recovery, this information is critically important.  I myself am fully familiar with the carb-heavy diets at rehab facilities and in the diets of so many people I know and love, both in and out, of recovery.   The fact that the study focused on lung cancer also gives it extra relevance to people in recovery given the disproportionate number of smokers.

For people in recovery, it is almost always the case that they come with a history of poor nutrition, abuse of other substances, including prescription medications, and often a history of smoking.   Those folks, like me, come with an already increased risk factor for heart disease, lung disease and other serious illness, including cancer.

By arming ourselves with knowledge on how to develop a present positive lifestyle, we can mitigate damage arising from past bad habits, lowering our risk factor for disease.

It is not an understatement to say that this knowledge may just save your life.

Background

 Everyone, including me, has cancer cells in our body right now.  The question is not do we have them, but whether they activate and begin to grow in an uncontrollable manner.   To grow, cancer cells need glucose or sugar or in other words, carbs.  They cannot grow without this and the growth hormone released by the body when carbs are eaten.  That growth hormone is insulin.

By eating large amounts of simple carbs, notably sugary soft drinks and candies, we spike our blood sugar and the body then releases insulin.  Those consistently eating diets rich in simple carbs and whose blood sugar is constantly spiking up and down, release substantial amounts of insulin.  Some people will lose the ability to produce insulin naturally over time based upon diet and/or genes.  To compensate, those folks will begin to inject it.

In a nutshell, the study found insulin provides the cancer cells with the energy needed to activate and grow. 

 In other words, a diet high in high glycemic load carbs creates an environment that permits cancer to grow and spread.

 That’s the bad news.

 So what’s the good news: You Can Reduce Your Risk Immediately

 Like so many things, diet can mitigate risk factors and help undo some of the damage caused to the body from past lifestyle choices.    By modifying diet, you can avoid so many of the diseases that are reaching epidemic numbers in society generally, and even more so in recovery.

On his website, Dr. Oz recommends eating, and avoiding, the following foods:

 

EAT THESE OFTEN                                     

Low-Glycemic Foods:

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Vegetables

  • Steel-cut Oatmeal

  • Farrow

  • Quinoa

  • Legumes

  • Ezekiel Bread

  • Skim Milk

  • Reduced-fat yogurt

  • Sesame seed, peanuts, flax seeds

AVOID OR EAT IN MODERATION

High-Glycemic Foods:

  •   Refined Sugar

  •    Flour

  •   White Rice

  •   Bananas, grapes, cherries, watermelon

  •   Raisins

  •    Many breakfast cereals

  •    White potatoes

  •    Bread

  •    Soda

  •    Cookies and Crackers

So there you have it.   When I looked at the study I was surprised just how well documented the link between carbs and certain cancers is.   Knowledge is power, and the good news is we can mitigate our risk just by making changes to our diet.

No one is saying we cannot have foods we like that may have a high-glycemic index.  Moderation is key.   As Buddha would say, take the middle path.  I know for me, I cannot have one Dorito, I will eat the whole bag.  The same is true of chocolate, Reese’s peanut butter cups and Oreo cookies.   I will finish the whole thing.  Sugar was my first addiction and that remains true.

That’s why I have made the decision to avoid almost all the high-glycemic foods almost entirely. The only exception is fruit and in moderation.

That was the best decision for me.  You need to think about what is best for you.

 

Share Your Feedback or Experience With Us

What do you think?  Do you have any experience or opinion about the issues in this blog or any others posted at Spiritual Adrenaline.  If so, I would love to hear from you.  Email me at tom@spiritualadrenaline.me.

What is the Easy Way to Stop Smoking

Today I speak with native New Yorker David Skeist, a North American representative for Allen Carr‘s Easyway To Stop Smoking, a book which has sold over 13 million copies worldwide.

David talks about his struggles and some of the main principles that enabled him to stop smoking that are key principles in the book.

I hope you find great value from the video and, as always, please let me know what you learned, any experiences you have had or may be having, and how I can help!

Have a great day and remember to live a life powered by YOU! – Tom

4 B-Vitamins That Can Shield Your Body From Years of Stress and Abuse

vitamin bThis is part two of our look at B vitamins.   For people in recovery all eight B vitamins are critical because they are necessary for the breakdown of sugar in the blood and conversion of sugar to energy.

In part one we laid out the consequences of inadequate B vitamins in the diet so we won’t revisit those here.  The good news is you can obtain all the B vitamins you need just by eating right.  By making even minor changes to your daily diet you can see substantial improvement in how you look and feel and in your energy levels.

A Little History of B Vitamins, Bill W. and Recovery

Almost from the beginning, the founders of AA recognized that certain foods helped reduce cravings and provide energy.    They did not understand exactly why but they knew that certain foods seemed to help.  Those foods included: baking soda, hot dogs, sauerkraut, certain juices, ketchup and honey.

Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, became very interested in the biochemical basis of alcoholism and the inter-relationship between food and supplements and how they could enhance recovery and relapse prevention.  He researched this area extensively, especially in the last few years before his death in 1971.   Throughout his life, Bill W. suffered from hypoglycemia and chronic, sometimes, clinical depression.    In his book The Soul of Sponsorship, Robert Fitzgerald, wrote that from 1944 to almost 1955, Bill W. experienced debilitating depression that at times made him suicidal.   Bill W. never stopped searching for a cure to his depression.

Bill W., wrote: “It was Dr. [William} Silkworth who introduced the idea to me that alcoholism had a physical component—something he called an ‘allergy.’ He knew this was a misnomer; he used it to express his intuition that something was physically wrong with most of us, a factor perhaps causative and certainly an aggravation of the alcoholic’s condition.”

Bill W. later learned of the work of Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Humphry Osmond.   These doctors introduced Bill W. to their work as pioneers in what was then known as “megavitamin therapy”.   Bill W. was known to consume a lot of caffeine and sugar and was a chain smoker until the time of his death.  He agreed to modify his diet and went on a megadose of niacin.  Dr. Hoffer later wrote, “I met Bill in New York in 1960…[he] was very curious about it and began to take niacin 3,000 mg daily.  Within a few weeks, fatigue and depression that had plagued him for years, were gone.  He gave [niacin] to 30 of his close friends in AA.  Of the thirty, 10 were free of anxiety, tension and depression in one month.   Another ten were well in two months.”

These experiences led Bill W. to author multiple pamphlets on “Vitamin B3 Therapy” and to personally distribute them to AA-affiliated physicians.    Bill W. self-published two pamphlets, First and Second Communication to Alcoholics Anonymous Physicians (1965) and (1968.)After Bill’s death in 1971, Lois, his wife and founder of Alanon, published a pamphlet, The Vitamin B-3 Therapy: A 3rd Communication to AA’s Physicians, which stated that her husband, Bill, had become convinced that there was a biochemical connection with alcoholism and addiction.

This is a nutshell history of Bill W.’s pioneering work.  The point is, he was onto something a long time before most others accepted that proposition that vitamin deficiency and diet could exacerbate underlying medical conditions, more specifically addiction and related illnesses.  Fast-forward fifty years, and there is substantial scientific evidence to confirm the work of early pioneers such as Dr.’s Hoffer and Osmond and advocates like Bill W.

So the question is, why don’t we hear more about this in recovery circles?  I won’t speculate, but I thought it was so important that I created Spiritual Adrenaline as a mechanism to carry this message to as many people as possible.

Here is our look at the last four B vitamins.

B7 also known as Biotin

Biotin helps enhance metabolic function.   Deficiencies manifest in skin inflammation. Foods that are rich in Biotin include: organ meats (liver, kidney), swiss chard, carrots, almonds, walnuts, strawberries, raspberries, onions and cucumbers.

B3 also known as Niacin

Niacin assists with carbohydrate breakdown as part of our metabolic function and with oxidation of the blood.  Deficiencies include irritated skin, diarrhea and improper function of the central nervous system. Foods that are rich in Niacin include: meats, milk, whole grain products, passion fruit, peanuts, avocado, potatoes and mushrooms.

There is no credible scientific research that I am aware of that confirms that niacin taken in isolation, even in large doses, can in-and-of-itself cure depression or any other condition.  Moreover, mega doses of any supplement can cause substantial stress to organs, which may have already been subjected to years of stress and abuse.  I do not recommend that folks self-prescribe mega doses of anything without first speaking to their physician and having the appropriate blood work done.

There is substantial credible and scientific evidence that sufficient intake of B vitamins and other nutrients can impact the aforementioned conditions.

B9 also known as Folic Acid

Folic Acid is needed for the maturation of red blood cells and for critical body function on the cellular level, which are too complex to explain in a short blog post.  Deficiencies manifest in the following ways: anemia, red blood cell imbalance, and can result in birth defects in babies born to mothers who are deficient in Folic Acid.   Studies have shown a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke for men who have sufficient folic acid intake.  Foods that are rich in Folic Acid include: oranges, beans, whole grain rice, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, asparagus, broccoli and meats (organ meat such as liver and kidney).

B5 also known as Pantothenic Acid

B5 is necessary for the breakdown of fats and carbohydrates.  Deficiencies manifest in: Anemia, depression and other psychological disorders and convulsions.   Foods rich in B5 include: sunflower seeds, salmon, avocado, corn, broccoli, mushrooms, meat, dairy, and dairy products.

Bill W. was right.   For people in recovery, the B Vitamins are a critically important component in the quest for what he called “emotional sobriety.”  Emotional sobriety is defined as a sense of happiness and fulfillment in sobriety, beyond simply abstaining from alcohol and other substances.

Recommended reading: Food for Recovery, Dr. Joseph Beasley and Susan Knightly, Crown Trade Publishing, 1993; Nutritional Supplements, Joe Canon, MS, Infinity Publishing, 2008; The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Basic Health Publications, 2008.

We would love your feedback on this and other blog posts as well as questions.  Shoot us an email or video at: blog@spiritualadrenaline.me.

 

 

Why Water is Critical in Restoring Your Body’s Full Health

shutterstock_388702258Hydration is critically important for people in general, but even more so for people in recovery. Sixty-five percent of our body is comprised of water. In the book, You’re Not Sick, Your Thirsty, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj writes about being a political prisoner in post-Revolutionary Iran and how he provided medical treatment to himself and other inmates. Often, Dr. B had very little medicine or other basic necessities to treat fellow inmates. He did the best he could and came to realize that many of the prison-related “sicknesses” had a similar underlying cause: lack of hydration. The prisoners’ did not have access to sufficient water, and were unable to provide their bodies with what was required to fuel almost all major bodily functions. Dr. B explains how a lack of hydration led to internal dysfunction, which then manifested in disease. The book is an interesting read and highly recommended for anyone who doubts just how important water is to the body.

For people in recovery, proper hydration is especially critical because we are attempting to restore the body to equilibrium after years of substance or other abuse. Alcohol is a diuretic and dehydrates the body. Caffeine and nicotine also cause dehydration. Organs, most notably the liver and kidneys, cannot function properly when dehydrated. They need water to filter the toxins out of the body and without it they simply cannot perform their roles. By hydrating, we are relieving the stress on these critical organs, permitting them to heal and ensuring that in the present our body is functioning as it is meant to.

My Experience

I suffered from extreme anxiety and panic attacks for many years. Lots of others in recovery do as well. After reading Dr. B’s book, I started to notice that when an anxiety attack starts, it is often after drinking too much coffee. I always knew that too much caffeine could do that, this is also true of cocaine, but I never really thought about how dehydration played a role. Now, when I feel an anxiety attack coming on, I find that drinking 6 to 8 ounces of water helps significantly. Along with hydration, I focus on calming my breath using meditation and Buddhist techniques. You can learn more about breath and meditation techniques on the Spirituality page.

I also began to pay attention to how hydration impacted my mood and energy levels. I noticed that hydrating made me feel better when I was down or “depressed.” In early recovery I would often feel that way. Back then I was also smoking two packs a day and drinking coffee and diet coke almost all day. I never thought that might have something to do with my mood. Now I try to stay well hydrated throughout the day; I no longer smoke, and I usually limit myself to two cups of coffee a day. Along with exercise and eating right, I am able to control my anxiety without medication and my mood is almost always stable and positive.

The government recommends the “8×8 rule” for daily water intake. This means eight 8-ounce glasses of water throughout the day or about a half-gallon (2 liters.)  I drink as much as possible even when I am not thirsty, as I find it helps. Given my high levels of activity and high-protein diet, I try to properly hydrate in order to help my kidneys, which are functioning with the stress of long-term damage, to process all the protein I eat.

Share your experiences with us. Email us or shoot us a video at: blog@spiritualadrenaline.me.

A SIMPLE YET POWERFUL MEDITATION TO CONQUER YOUR DAY

One of the early forms of meditation I started to practice was to turn my cell phone off at 9 p.m., and not turn it back on until after my morning self care program. It was difficult at first but incredibly liberating. It’s a simple yet powerful meditation that you can try. See if you experience the same benefits that I did or maybe some new ones. Either way, I hope you enjoy this blog and look forward to your feedback. Tom

WHY B VITAMINS ARE CRITICAL IN BOOSTING YOUR ENERGY

shutterstock_375941815It’s important to know each of the vitamins and the role each plays in our body.  Let’s make sure we are clear on what a vitamin is and isn’t. A vitamin is “any of a group of organic compounds that are essential for normal growth and nutrition and are required in small quantities in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the body.” Given the body cannot produce vitamins on its own, we have to get them from somewhere.

It is critical to know where to get these vitamins in the way nature intended: Through our food. Supplements work, but they’re manufactured, and not as potent as the real deal.   There is no better way to get your nutrients than through real food that either grew in the earth or walked on it (apologies to vegetarians).

Going over Vitamin B is much more complicated than going over others, as there are eight B Vitamins in total. We will deal with four in this blog post, and four more in Part Two.

Why Should People in Recovery Care?

For people in recovery, all eight B Vitamins are critical because they all are necessary for the breakdown of sugar in the blood, and conversion of sugar to energy.   We focus on sugar so much in Spiritual Adrenaline because, according to many studies, as many as 93% of people in early recovery have blood sugar imbalances.   So it’s critical to understand how B Vitamins impact their body’s ability to convert sugar into energy.

Without ingesting the appropriate amount of B Vitamins, even those eating large amounts of sugar complain of sluggishness, anxiety and depression, as their body may lack the capacity to synthesize the sugar into energy.     The question then becomes, is a genetic predisposition towards these conditions or is diet to blame, or a little bit of both. If it is behavior, that’s something that can be addressed.

It’s my opinion that too many medical professionals go right to the prescription pad to address these conditions without first evaluating nutritional intake and the role, if any, that diet may be playing. Being honest about your health history with your doctor will make it much easier for a medical professional to determine if diet is playing a role in some condition you are experiencing.

So what’s the good news?

The good news is that the body has an amazing capacity to repair the damage if you focus on a balanced and nutritious diet. For most folks, simple changes to diet can undo years of substance abuse and poor diet in a relatively short period of time. Until such time as you are able to modify your diet, I highly recommend you take a multi-vitamin supplement in consultation with your doctor.

My Experience

My primary energy source while active and using, and in early recovery, was sugar and caffeine. Nicotine was also something I perceived as an energy source both while active and in early recovery. None of these energy sources are sustainable over time and all of them, when abused, have very serious consequences.   I often thought I was exhausted, anxious and/or depressed, but never gave thought to how my diet, along with other bad habits, could be impacting my mood.

One month after leaving rehab, I had a full spectrum blood analysis and among the issues raised by my blood test, was being Vitamin B deficient. This surprised me and was not something I had previously been aware of. I began to take supplements and over time, improved my diet.   The result, along with exercise and other lifestyle modifications, for me has been incredible. I have abundant energy almost all of the time, rarely get anxious and almost never feel depressed or down.

I look at what I am putting in my mouth to eat as medicine and try and remember the reason for eating is to enjoy, but also provide my body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.   My blood work today confirms that my diet is providing the appropriate amount of B Vitamins across the spectrum, which may play a major role in explaining why I feel so good.

Give it a try and see if it makes a positive difference in your life

Here is a look at our first four B Vitamins:

Vitamin B1 otherwise known as Thiamine

 B1 assists in the breakdown of carbohydrates, and proper nerve and heart function.   Deficiencies manifest in the most serious of ways: nerve damage, cardiac issues up to and including heart failure, and brain damage. It is relatively easy to get B1 from diet.   Foods that are rich in B1 include whole grains, nuts, potatoes and most meat. Pork is exceptionally rich in B1.

Vitamin B2 otherwise known as Riboflavin

 B2 assists in breaking down sugar and converting sugar to energy.   B2 is critical to get the metabolism functioning optimally. B2 also helps with health on the cellular level as a building block needed to maintain cell membranes.   Deficiencies manifest in the following ways: lack of energy, depression, irritability, dry skin, splitting of the lips and gums (cold sores), and skin inflammation.   Foods that are rich in B2 include: milk, diary products, eggs, and meat. For vegetarians, try Soy Milk and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B6 otherwise known as Pyridoxine

B6 is absolutely critical (I know, you have heard that before).   B6 is crucial to almost all metabolic functions in the body.   Moreover, it helps convert other substances into tryptophan, an amino acid that is essential for the production of protein, along with other B vitamins such as Niacin.   Deficiencies manifest in the following ways: anemia, skin lesions, convulsions, and lack of energy and depression.   Foods rich in B6 include: Fish, meat (especially the organs such as liver and kidneys), and whole grains. . For vegetarians, try Soy Milk and fortified cereals.

Vitamin B12 otherwise known as Cobalamin

B12 assists with the manufacture of red blood cells, nerve function, and DNA synthesis.   Deficiencies manifest in the following ways: anemia, depression and other psychological disorders and convulsions.   Foods rich in B12 include meat, dairy, and dairy products.  . For vegetarians, try Soy Milk and fortified cereals.

In Part Two of the B Vitamins, we will look at Biotin, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid, and Folic Acid.

Recommended reading: Food for Recovery, Dr. Joseph Beasley and Susan Knightly, Crown Trade Publishing, 1993, Nutritional Supplements, Joe Canon, MS, Infinity Publishing, 2008, The Vitamin Cure for Alcoholism, Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Andrew W. Saul, Basic Health Publications, 2008.

 

We would love your feedback on this and other blog posts as well as questions. Shoot us an email or video at: blog@spiritualadrenaline.me.