PFTL News November 2017


Take Walk in Nature

Walking in the woods is healthier than walking in an urban area.  Scientists at Stanford University asked people to walk 90 minutes in either a woodsy area or an urban one. Those who strolled in nature had less activity in an area of the brain linked to depression. That supports earlier studies that showed that people who live in cities tend to have more mental health issues, like anxiety and mood disorders, than people who live in the country.

Joints Need Lubrication

Got achy, creaky knees or hips? You have good reason to get walking then. For starters, your joint fluid moves around when you do, and that gets oxygen and nutrients to your joints and cartilage and helps prevent friction. It also strengthens your leg and core muscles. When your muscles do more of the work, your joints hurt less. A regular walk may also help you slim down, and a thinner body means less pressure on your joints.

Walking for Chronic Low Back Pain

Most doctors recommend physical therapy for people who have chronic lower back pain. While that can help, walking can be just as effective. And it’s free and a great stress reliever — and you can do it anytime without a referral from your doctor


Do you start to feel rundown or a bit groggy by the middle of the afternoon?  You think, let me get that shot of caffeine or an energy drink and I will be on my way to recovery.  But experts say that is not correct.  The University of Georgia found, by studying sleep-deprived students, that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs is more likely to reenergize you than one of those drinks.  They found there was not much change in how the students felt from ingesting the drink, but they did feel more energetic after a little exercise.  So, put down that drink, get off your butt and walk a little.  You will feel better, so say the experts.



Protein is essential for your health for many reasons: People who are trying to lose weight usually follow a low-carb, high-protein diet. Protein helps keep you feeling full and satisfied after a meal and provides the fuel for your workouts. But have you ever wondered whether you can eat too much protein?

The answer to that isn’t quite so cut-and-dried: The amount of protein that’s right for you depends on many factors, such as age, sex, weight, activity level and health goals.

The Institute of Medicine recommends 46 grams of protein per day for the average adult woman and 56 grams per day for the average adult male. Athletes, seniors, people recovering from injuries or illness and pregnant or lactating women need about 25 percent more protein. But most Americans eat about 100 grams of protein per day.

Signs That You’re Eating Too Much Protein:

  1. You’re Gaining Weight

If you increase your protein intake without decreasing other foods in your diet, you’ll have an excess of protein and calories. And if you have a sedentary lifestyle and eat excess protein — or excess anything — you will gain weight.

  1. You’re Dehydrated

Excess protein is filtered out of your body by your kidneys. A by-product of protein metabolism is nitrogen. The kidneys use water to flush out the nitrogen, which creates a dehydrating effect. When you decrease carbs, your body retains less fluid as well.

  1. You’re Having Digestive Issues

Have nausea, indigestion, diverticulitis or constipation? When you increase meat, fish, chicken, cheese and other dairy on a high-protein diet and don’t eat enough fiber, the kidneys use excess water to rid your body of nitrogen and you can develop constipation. Too much protein also puts a strain on your digestive enzymes, which can lead to digestive issues.

  1. You’ve Got Bad Breath and Headaches

In a diet low in carbs with increased protein and fat, your body may go into a state of ketosis. In ketosis your body is burning fat for fuel instead of carbs. Bad breath and headaches are a side effect of ketosis. The biggest potential problem with following a high-protein diet is that you may not be getting enough fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, all of which are found in grains, vegetables and fruits.

So what can you do? Switch some of your protein sources to plant-based proteins, which will then provide you with these other needed nutrients.

Keep in mind that all plant-based sources of protein don’t have all of the essential amino acids your body needs like animal proteins do. But if you eat a variety of whole foods throughout the day, you’ll likely get all the amino acids that you need.

As always, moderation is key: For a healthy, balanced diet, eat a combination of plant and animal sources of protein and a good amount of vegetables with some whole grains and low-glycemic fruits.


DM Note: November is the month to formulate your winter exercise plan, prepare for the holidays and smile whenever you can.  Enjoy the month and have a good Thanksgiving holiday.

PFTL News October 2017

HEALTHY BRAIN FOOD (from ACE Health eTips, 9/21/17)

The brain is a remarkable organ. It is responsible for your ability to think, problem solve, process emotions, make memories, your five senses (sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing) and physical movement. With so many things to do, your brain requires a lot of energy. Proper nourishment will keep your brain happy now and prevent diseases typically associated with aging.

The basic working unit of the brain is the neuron. It is a specialized cell that transmits information to other nerve cells, muscles or glands via chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. There are approximately 100 billion neurons in your brain that rely on a steady stream of energy to function. The right foods will take care of your brain and keep it functioning properly. Conversely, the wrong foods will not nourish your brain and can speed up age-related brain diseases and disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cognitive decline and impaired memory.

The good news is that we are seeing more and more studies that highlight which foods are best for a healthy brain.

THE MIND DIET – This diet is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, both of which are revered for their ability to lower blood pressure, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and decrease risk of diabetes. Participants who adhered to the diet lowered the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 53%. It is thought that the diet works by lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can be quite detrimental to the brain. This diet is full of antioxidant-rich berries and vegetables, lean proteins, wild-caught fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil, all of which decrease inflammation. The more you can control inflammation, the healthier your brain will be.

VITAMIN D – Known as the “sunshine” vitamin, vitamin D has long been known for its role in the development of strong bones. More recent findings have linked vitamin D deficiency to non-skeletal conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, cognitive impairment and dementia. The best source of vitamin D is the sun (UVB rays), but most people are cautious about sun exposure and increasing their risk of skin cancer. Plus, wearing sunscreen blocks the absorption of the rays that allow for the vitamin D to enter the body. There are limited foods that are rich in vitamin D, so supplementing with Vitamin D3 is often recommended. Consider getting your blood vitamin D levels checked to determine how much vitamin D you will need to supplement. According to the Vitamin D Council, your recommended intake could range from 1,000-5,000 IUs.

PREBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS – Good health begins in the gut. The bacteria that live in your gut number in the trillions and it is both the diversity and the ratio of good bugs to bad bugs that impact the health of your body, including your brain. We know that the gut bacteria directly communicate with your brain, influencing the production and function of neurotransmitters. Probiotics—the good bugs—can be found in fermented foods, such as kimchi, miso, kefir, yogurt and sauerkraut. Prebiotics—the indigestible fibers found in plant foods—keep the probiotics alive and kicking. Onions, garlic, asparagus, oats, jicama and Jerusalem artichokes are some of the richest source of prebiotics. Including these foods in most of your meals will help cultivate a diverse and robust gut microbiome.

OMEGA-3 FATS – Approximately 8% of your brain is made up of omega-3 fats, which serve as the building blocks for your neurons. The two most important omega-3s—DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)—play a role in brain development and function, protecting it from oxidative damage and inflammation. Omega-3-rich foods include wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel, sardines, wild Pacific halibut and algae. Plant-based omega-3 fat comes in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which can be converted to EPA and DHA, but is done so poorly. That’s not to say that these foods (ground flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts) aren’t helpful; they are important for their fiber and other inflammation-lowering properties.

TURMERIC – Turmeric is a root widely used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking, usually as part of a curry recipe. Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric that can decrease inflammation and increase brain-derived neurotropic factor (BNF), which amplifies growth of new brain cells, enhances memory and increases the size of the memory center (hippocampus) of the brain. Best absorption of curcumin takes place when turmeric is combined with black pepper in a recipe.

THE FOODS TO AVOID The list of foods that promote inflammation, hasten cognitive decline and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease should come as no surprise. While it is almost impossible to totally avoid these foods, it is best to try to avoid them when can.  Being mindful of food choices can go a long way to maintaining a healthy brain.


PFTL NEWS August 2017


You have probably heard that you have more microbes (bacteria, fungi, etc.) in and on your body than you have actual human cells. It is shocking to most people, but when you consider the sheer number of microbes, collectively called the microbiota, you realize they must have an impact on your health.

The standard American diet and other Western industrialized diets, high in animal protein and refined carbohydrates, are associated with significantly different and less diverse populations of gut microbes than diets higher in unrefined foods and plants (Graf et al. 2015; Yatsunenko et al. 2012). Western diets are also associated with higher rates of inflammatory diseases, metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers. A different and less diverse microbiota explains some of the difference in disease rates.

To increase and maintain diversity in our microbiota, we need to feed them. What do they eat? Researchers call it “microbiota-accessible carbohydrate” or MAC (Sonnenburg & Sonnenburg 2014). Mostly, that means fiber from plants. We nourish our microbiota with fiber or prebiotics from a variety of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, which also provide phytochemicals and essential vitamins and minerals. It has been known for decades that low-fiber diets are associated with diabetes, heart disease and colorectal cancer. Another way to diversify your gut is to eat fermented foods containing live microorganisms. These foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, cheese, kombucha and miso (Marco et al. 2017).

Keep in mind that we still have a lot to learn about the microbiota, and we may never know if there is an optimal distribution of gut microbes for everyone, much less the foods that create it. Genetics, birth, childhood diet, medications and environment also help to determine what lives in your gut.



Your Hearing Will be Affected – Women and children naturally have higher-pitched voices. These types of sounds are often the first to go. Over time, the hair cells inside your ear that send sound waves to the brain become less sensitive. That makes it hard, for example, to distinguish “P” from “T.” The condition, called presbycusis, is sometimes passed down in families, but it can also be caused by loud noise, smoking, or illness. Sometimes it’s a side effect of antibiotics or aspirin.

Your Vision Will Be affected – You may first notice it while trying to read a menu. Almost all adults get a vision problem called presbyopia, which means you have trouble seeing close up. It often starts in your early 40s.

Non-prescription reading glasses usually help. Their lenses magnify things, and you can find an inexpensive pair at your local drugstore. If you already wear glasses or contacts for distance, consider getting bifocals or “no-line” progressive lenses.

Your Joints Do NOT Necessarily Need to Get Stiffer – Not everyone will have stiff, sore joints, but your chance of getting arthritis does go up as you age. Half of people 65 and older have it, and most of them have osteoarthritis. It happens when the tissue that protects bones in your joints starts to wear away. When there’s none left, the bones rub against each other. You’re most likely to have pain or stiffness in your hands, neck, back, knees, or hips. (DM Note – Exercise helps to maintain good posture, alignment and joint lubrication.)

You Will Probably Lose Height – Between ages 30 and 70, men can lose an inch of height. Women sometimes lose as much as 2 inches. After age 80, both groups might shrink even more. Why? The cartilage between your joints wears out and pushes your spine together. Your muscles get weaker and don’t hold you up as well. Thinning bones are often a culprit, too. (DM Note:  Maintaining good posture will slow this process.)

Getting shorter too quickly can be a warning sign that you’re at a greater risk for hip and spine fractures, so talk to your doctor if you notice a big or sudden change.

DM Note:  While these changes might not be welcome in your life, it is best to understand them, deal with them, do what you can to delay them, but do not ignore or deny them.


Offered to our clients and the public – We meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact for information.


Did you know that mammograms miss 20%-60% of tumors?  Dense breast tissue (present in 40% of women) limits the accuracy of mammograms. Additionally, limited training of technicians, HRT, breast implants and rapidly growing tumors are all good reasons for women to do monthly exams themselves.

We have acquired two breast palpitation models from . Their mission is to teach women how to check their breasts for possible abnormalities These breast models come with simulated tumors and complete instructions to take home and learn what tumors feel like.

There is no charge for the models; you may sign them out and bring them back for others to use.

Contact Julie to borrow a model to take home.

PFTL News July 2017


Offered to our clients and the public – We meet Mondays and Thursdays, from 5:30-6:30pm, at the Wallace Bowl in Gillson Park, Wilmette.  Includes warm-up, stretching, intervals, stair climbing, core strengthening and a great way to get some extra exercise.  Contact for information.


Did you know that mammograms miss 20%-60% of tumors?  Dense breast tissue (present in 40% of women) limits the accuracy of mammograms. Additionally, limited training of technicians, HRT, breast implants and rapidly growing tumors are all good reasons for women to do monthly exams themselves.

We have acquired two breast palpitation models from . Their mission is to teach women how to check their breasts for possible abnormalities These breast models come with simulated tumors and complete instructions to take home and learn what tumors feel like.

There is no charge for the models; you may sign them out and bring them back for others to use.  Although not necessary, if you find the models helpful, you can visit to donate to this initiative.  Contact Julie to borrow a model to take home.

WHERE CALORIE COUNTING GOES WRONG (excerpted from IDEA Food & Nutrition May 2017)

While calories do count, it has become clear that counting them won’t help most people over the long term. However, we should still want to be aware of how much we eat each day.

Counting calories, however, can be tedious  frustrating and inaccurate.  When eating becomes overcomplicated, people are more likely to give up and fall back on old habits. That’s simply human nature.  And research has repeatedly shown that being able to stick with a dietary approach is the ONLY factor strongly associated with weight loss, regardless of dietary ideology or approach used.

Don’t Count Calories – A Better Way to Control Portions

All you need is the ability to count to 2, and your own hand.  Here how it works:

    • Your palm determines your protein portions.
    • Your fist determines your veggie portions.
    • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
    • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

Hand-based dietary recommendations equal about 2300-3000 kilocalories per day for men and 1500-2100 kcal per day for women.  If they eat an assortment of proteins, veggies, carbs and healthy fats.  A simple and flexible guide for meal planning would look like this.


Daily Totals

6-8 palms of protein

6-8 fists of veggies

6-8 cupped hands of carbs

6-8 entire thumbs of fat


Daily Totals

4-6 palms of  protein

4-6 fists of veggies

4-6 cupped hands of carbs

4-6 entire thumbs of fat


Per Meal

2 palms of protein

2 fists of vegetables

2 cupped hands of carbs

2 entire thumbs of fat

Per Meal

1 palm of protein

1 fist of vegetables

1 cupped hand of carbs

1 entire thumb of fat

How Much Protein Do We Need? – For protein-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, use a palm-sized serving. This means a serving has the same thickness and diameter as your palm. Each palm-sized serving provides approximately 20–30 grams of protein.

How Much Vegtables – For non-starchy colorful vegetables (think broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc.), use a fist-sized serving. Again, a fist-sized portion has the same thickness and diameter as your fist.

How Much Carb? – For carbohydrate-dense foods—like grains, starches or fruits—use a cupped hand to determine your serving size. Each cupped handful provides approximately 20–30 g of carbohydrate.

How Much Fat? – For fat-dense foods like oils, butters, nut butters and nuts/seeds, use your entire thumb to determine your serving size. 
A thumb-sized portion is the thickness and entire length of your thumb, and each serving provides approximately 7–12 g of fat.

Weight loss does not have to be complicated. Most people  can become lean and healthy without following a prescribed meal plan, making themselves miserable in the gym or even counting calories.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Fat loss—like any life change—often requires trying new things, getting out of comfort zones and swapping old habits for new ones. All you need is your hand. And the willingness to try something new.

PFTL News March 2017

Apologies for the late posting of this newsletter.

GUT BACTERIA AND SWEETENERS (Idea Fitness Journal 2015)

A new study shows that the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in drinks and food may cause certain gut bacteria to induce glucose intolerance and metabolic disease, both significant markers for obesity and diabetes.

Long promoted as aids to weight loss and diabetes prevention, artificial sweeteners may actually affect the composition and function of your gut’s microorganisms, disturbing their balance and hastening metabolic changes.

Researchers have long puzzled over why noncaloric artificial sweeteners do not seem to assist in weight loss, and some studies have suggested they may even have an opposite effect. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science, were able to show that artificial sweeteners, even though sugar-free, have a direct effect on the body’s ability to utilize glucose. Glucose intolerance—generally thought to occur when the body cannot cope with large amounts of sugar in the diet—is the first step on the path to metabolic syndrome and adult-onset diabetes.

Research testing with human subjects involved looking at data collected from the Personalized Nutrition Project, the largest human trial to date to look at the connection between nutrition and microbiota. Here, they uncovered a significant association linking self-reported consumption of artificial sweeteners, personal configurations of gut bacteria and the propensity for glucose intolerance. They next conducted a controlled experiment, asking a group of volunteers who did not generally eat or drink artificially sweetened foods to consume them for a week and then undergo tests of their glucose levels as well as their gut microbiota composition.

The findings showed that many—but not all—of the volunteers had begun to develop glucose intolerance after just 1 week of artificial-sweetener consumption. The composition of their gut microbiota explained the difference: The researchers discovered two different populations of human gut bacteria: one that induced glucose intolerance when exposed to the sweeteners, the second that had no effect.  It is believed certain bacteria in the guts of those who developed glucose intolerance reacted to the chemical sweeteners by secreting substances that then provoked an inflammatory response similar to sugar overdose, promoting changes in the body’s ability to utilize sugar.

“Our relationship with our own individual mix of gut bacteria is a huge factor in determining how the food we eat affects us. Especially intriguing is the link between use of artificial sweeteners—through the bacteria in our guts—to a tendency to develop the very disorders they were designed to prevent.

Note from DM: It is important to know that any processed food that tastes sweet will contain either some form of sugar or artificial sweeteners, both of which should be avoided.  Read product labels carefully; you will be surprised at how frequently sweeteners are used in almost all processed foods, even those that do not taste sweet (i.e. ketchup, mustard, beef jerky, salad dressing, cold cuts).


HIP PAIN  (from ACE Certified 2016)

Hip pain is a common problem for sedentary and non-sedentary individuals. Chronic pain is a sign that there is irritation or injury at a site. There are a multitude of conditions that can cause hip pain, from trochanteric bursitis to osteoarthritis. The great news is that movement is the panacea for many of these conditions.

Get a Medical Diagnosis – Though chronic hip pain is frequently improved through movement training, other causes of hip pain can be caused by serious injury or unassociated with musculoskeletal tissue. A doctor’s visit can rule out conditions that require medical intervention. If the diagnosis is musculoskeletal, you and your trainer can proceed with movement training and appropriate corrective exercise. Here are three common causes of hip pain:

  1. Chronic Sitting – The average American sits 13 hours a day. This staggering amount of inactivity causes an imbalance of the hip musculature. The hip flexors remain in a shortened position, while the glutes and deep hip rotators remain elongated. Add to that chronic dehydration and the result is tissue that more closely resembles beef jerky than healthy muscle tissue. This tissue lacks the necessary flexibility and elasticity to allow for smooth and efficient movement. It tears more easily and becomes overstressed more easily.
  2. Strength Imbalance – A strength imbalance is not the same as tightness or inelasticity. A strength imbalance occurs most often when one’s exercise regimen is consistent and unvaried. Runners are an excellent example of this type of athlete. The repetition of the same movement without variation builds strength in some muscles, while neglecting others. This imbalance puts an unnatural amount of strain on those muscles, resulting in overuse injury. This type of injury is often found in the pelvic complex.


  1. Skeletal Imbalance – Here, skeletal imbalance refers to the uneven stature or movement pattern that many clients demonstrate, which can be caused by so many things, including old injuries and leg-length discrepancies. When movements are not even or balanced bilaterally, one side will be the victim of added pressure, tissue friction or workload. These clients often fall victim to conditions such as bursitis or piriformis syndrome.

Fortunately, the fix for many of these hip issues can be found in movement training.