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With a New Year approaching, now is the perfect time to look back over the past year and consider where you feel positive about the forward motion you've made, as well as assess the areas you'd like to focus on more to make changes. For now, let’s focus specifically on your health. I want to encourage you to take the time and make a serious assessment of your health. As the year draws to a close, just how happy and healthy are you feeling? Please, no judgments, shame, or blame — simply take note:
Consider these questions, and see what comes to mind:
- How is your weight, or body composition, compared to a year ago? Are you happy with where you’re at?
- Are you eating fewer inflammatory foods — processed and refined foods — and more fresh fruits, vegetables, and wholegrain foods?
- Are you preparing some of your own meals in order to control the quality of the food you consume rather than regularly eating out or having food delivered to your door? If eating out, be sure to choose healthy whole food options. This generally means staying away from fast food outlets.
- Are you managing your fluids well, avoiding dehydration with a healthy water intake? Are you drinking more coffee or alcohol than is recommended? If you’re not sure, you probably are!
- Are you allocating some time every day to exercise? Your body needs to move to be well. If you are having trouble being motivated, walk with a friend, join a gym, or take a yoga or Pilates class. Classes are also a great way to socially connect and make new friends!
- How is your energy level? Do you feel healthy and happy with your energy level or are you feeling sluggish and tired much of the time? If you’re tired, a simple lab test may give you information on why you are feeling this way. Most of the time a dietary change and a few good supplements can shift your energy in a big way.
- Are you spending some time each week connecting to nature? Do not underestimate the healing qualities of Mother Nature. Get out in the fresh air, connect with the earth and trees, and breath!
- Are you getting enough sleep and waking refreshed, or do you need to review your sleep hygiene?
- How is you mental/emotional state of being? Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed much of the time? Do you need to explore and practice stress reduction practices that can so readily be incorporated into your daily routine? Do not underestimate the value of simple breathing practices and short stretch or mindfulness breaks. You cannot have a healthy physical body if you are not caring for these other aspects of your being.
- Are you practicing gratitude? Try it for a few days and see what a difference it makes to your energy level! For an extra boost, try practicing random acts of kindness! You may be surprised at the lift to your energy — and your health.
- Are you smoking or chewing tobacco? If so, please make an appointment with me, and let’s see how we can support you.
For those of you participating in the APO E Gene Online Program:
Those of you who are following — or have completed — the APO E Gene Online Program, you have access to a wealth of information and resources for optimizing not only your physical health, but your mental and emotional wellbeing. Simple, but powerful and practical tools, are available in the program, and they can change your life in a big way.
Are you following your customized APO E Gene recommendations or have other matters taken priority? Almost without exception, those who follow their APO E Program recommendations find they feel so much better, that this alone is sufficient motivation for continuing with their program. We all get knocked off course at times and can lose our initial enthusiasm. The past doesn’t matter. We have a new year and all the energies of this season to support us in renewing our intentions and getting back on course.
Have you taken advantage of the incredible content that is offered in the APO E Gene Online Program to support behavior change, or do you still need to check out some of the great videos and tools? It’s a great time to review all the content and welcome new insights into your life as well as commend yourselves on the progress you have made.
With respect to your nutritional intake, are you following your dietary recommendations? Do you need to review your diet and get an updated Servings Worksheet? If you feel it would be helpful, make an appointment to connect with Pam or one of our registered dieticians to get an update.
Are you following your APO E Exercise Recommendations, or do you need to take another look at how you manage your time to be sure you take time to exercise each day?
Have you incorporated a good selection of the self-care, stress reduction, and mental health practices into your daily self-care program? Do you need to review some of these?
Do you need some additional support? Sometimes a checkup, phone call, or an update on your blood work is all you need to shift a behavior and get back on track. A checkup is not only to discuss what is not going well, but also to see what is going well and review the situation or re-evaluate your customized recommendations and supplements. Perhaps you simply need to get back on track with your support person — or to get one.
If you are NOT on the APO E Gene Program, the New Year is the perfect time to join! Check it out! Our comprehensive Program addresses not just your physical but your mental and emotional health.
Into the New Year: Move Your Body!
The number of people participating in regular exercise has exploded over the past few decades. This is good news! I believe this is because people now understand that in order to maintain a healthy human body — this incredible mechanism of ours — we need to move. Don’t worry, movement doesn’t mean going out and running a marathon! But, if you tend to be sedentary, moving only as required to get out of bed and shower and to the car to drive to work or do the shopping, I urge you to decide that you will get up and out of your routine and begin to move more. If you are following the APO E Gene Online Program, you will be working with your customized exercise program. If you’re not exercising, consider setting small exercise goals and increasing them as you feeling stronger. Here’s some ideas:
- A short walk after a meal
- A hike in the woods
- A bike ride with your buddies
- Swim laps in the ocean, lake or pool
- An early morning run
- Joining a health club, gym, or Pilates class can be a lot of fun, great exercise, and a nice way to make new friends
We all have our days of not wanting to exercise, and an occasional change from our exercise routine is fine. I sure have my days where I say, “Nope, no exercise today.” What’s important is that these days are the exceptions, not the norm. We don’t want to find ourselves back living the sedentary life and feeling miserable. Really understanding what a good exercise program entails and how it can improve your health allows you to experience what it can do to increase your health and fuels the drive that supports you in sustaining your practice.
Exercise and Brain Chemistry
If you are following a customized APO Exercise Plan, you are informed as to the many benefits of exercising. Exercise:
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Helps control depression
- Eases anxiety
- Helps to ease arthritis pain and stiffness
- Develops muscle strength to improve balance and protect your joings
- Promotes better sleep.
These are just a few of the benefits of exercise, but don’t they sound like enough?
I’d like to emphasize that exercise literally changes brain chemistry. I see many patients, especially women, fearing memory loss and taking medication without seeing improvement. In fact, many have found their condition deteriorating. In my practice, after a full evaluation, including testing for genotype, we create a comprehensive treatment plan built for our patients' specific genotype. Almost without exception patients’ memory improves.
Exercise is a vital element in the treatment plan. Exercise helps the brain to develop new neurons that support cognition — the process involved in knowing, learning, thinking and reasoning. We are just one big chemical soup, if the brain gets the wrong chemicals, it will become sick. With the right chemicals, the brain stays healthy. Exercise provides chemicals that support brain health and it can be a great social activity. A walk can be a healthy and pleasant way to hang out with friends and connect with new friends.
If you know you have an abnormal APO E 2 or APO E 4 gene, you should know that exercise, along with diet, is especially important for your genotype in protecting and improving brain health.
While all and any exercise is supportive if performed correctly — not over doing it, or under doing it — the following exercises are extremely helpful to prevent not only brain health, but your overall physical condition, perhaps especially cardiovascular health.
- Brisk Walking
- Constant rope jumping
- Cross training
- Nordic track
If you are already following an exercise plan which includes an aerobic workout, perhaps consider any of these exercises as an alternative to the workout you are presently doing. If you have been doing the brisk walking, consider adding biking or rope jumping as alternatives on occasion.
The Importance of a Diet and Exercise Program Suited to Your APO E Geneotype
For over two decades I’ve worked with patients to implement diet and exercise programs tailored to their personal genotype. This vast experience allows me to say with authority and conviction that the combination of diet and exercise are incredible tools to regain and sustain health. An exercise program can prevent and even reverse disease.
Today, many people are aware of the powerful connections between diet and good health. Of course, being aware, does not mean that you are actively engaged in monitoring and improving your health!
Here, I want to look at just a few of the specific connections between the APO E 2 and APO E 4 genotype, diet, and health. If you haven't already done so, I want to encourage you to have your genotype tested. I have repeatedly found the solution to most disease states and the prevention of most chronic disease, is following the correct diet and exercise program for your APO E genotype. If you have been tested and you are following your dietary recommendations, you will feel the benefits! And, yes, if you are being a little lax, the New Year is the perfect time to renew your focus to optimize your health.
The APO E 2
The APO E 2 is prone to a serious cholesterol disorder called Type 111 Hyperlipoproteinemia and Parkinson’s Disease. Looking more deeply into the reasons contributing to Parkinson’s or Type 111 Hyperlipoproteinemia is very important. These conditions develop when an APO E 2 type individual is not following a gene supportive diet — if they are not consuming the correct diet for their APO E genotype. These individuals tend to develop heart disease earlier in their life, the hallmark of the disease being very high triglycerides levels and much lower total screening cholesterol levels than normal. Typical total cholesterol levels average 180 - 220. APO E 2s have very low total cholesterol levels, typically between 100 - 120.
I request patients do an advanced cholesterol test, which will show an abnormal genetic pattern with a small dense LDL high level of cholesterol in APO E 2s. Chronically high triglycerides and a whole host of abnormal chemistries that go along with high triglycerides can irritate the neurological system and cause the body to become very sick. While diet is, without question, part of the problem, exercise plays a significant role in correcting this condition and preventing heart attacks.
With respect to Parkinson’s Disease, I occasionally see a patient with an APO E 4 gene with Parkinson’s, but mostly it is APO E 2 genotypes. We find that these patients’ exercise and dietary habit lifestyles are inevitably at odds with the requirements of their genotype.
The APO E 4
The APO E Gene 4 has a more difficult time than all other genotype of clearing toxins from the body. This means that cholesterol transport is more of an issue and APO E 4s have a higher risk for inflammatory diseases, the primary ones being heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s Disease is an inflammatory disease and perhaps the most feared disease in America today. While some genotypes are more able to handle the highly inflammatory standard American diet, this can be disastrous for an APO E 4. An APO E anti-inflammatory diet coupled with the appropriate exercise routine, can prevent the disease from ever developing. There is a large body of research supporting my experience with anti-inflammatory diets and Alzheimer's prevention.
Thousands of patients have come to my practice in the last 20 years to gain information to help them prevent Alzheimer’s and heart disease. What I have seen is nothing short of amazing. The body can heal, given the correct diet and exercise plan tailored to their genotype. I cannot tell you have many times I have seen this happen and every time it happens I pinch myself because I am overjoyed that it has worked yet again.
Supplements that Heal
If you are on the APO E Gene Online Program, you will be taking the supplements that have been customized to meet your personal needs. For others, the following supplements can further support the prevention of the diseases we have been discussing. These supplements are available in our marketplace store.
- True Curcumin: A natural anti-inflammatory that crosses the blood-brain barrier and improves cognitive health.
- B 12 supplements: Preferred liquid B12 for optimal absorption: Works to sustain optimal blood levels.
- Zyflamend Whole Body: Effective and powerful anti-inflamatory. Use Whole body in the morning.
- Zyflamend Nighttime: Effective and powerful anti inflammatory. Us Zyflamend Nighttime before bed.
- True Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant. Your health and immune system can not be strong without a high quality Vitamin C level.
- Vitamin D: An important supplement that helps support heart and bone health
- Omega 3 s – Essential for optimal health, omegas can help decrease inflammation in the body - each genotype requires an optimal type of omega 3 and dose.
If you would like more information please call us (925) 736-9510. Or email us at apoegene234 [at] me.com
Recipes for a Healthy New Year
Granola and Fresh Fruit
Begin the new year with a wonderful bowl of APO E Gene Granola, fresh berries, and your favorite plant-based milk — I love unsweetened soymilk. This is quick and easy to prepare and looks and tastes delicious. If you don’t know your APO E type, choose a healthy granola from your local health food store or better still, try our organic APO E 3/3 granola – this granola is for a moderate fat diet and is the best choice until you know your APO E genotype.
Lunch or a Light Dinner
Baked Wild Halibut, a nutritious Quinoa Side Dish, and a simple Green Salad.
Baked Wild Halibut
4 oz. piece of wild halibut (1 x 4 oz. piece for each person)
2 tsp. Organic Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400°F
Rub olive oil onto fish. Be aware that olive oil is a fat and adds calories to the overall content.
Lightly salt and pepper.
Squeeze some lemon on fish if you like lemon.
Place in a lined pan.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes.
You can also marinate it in a little olive oil and lemon juice and add a salsa to the top one it is cooked.
APO E Gene Quinoa Side Dish with Champagne Balsamic Dressing
2 ½ cups of cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup of small yellow and red cherry tomatoes
8 kalamata olives -pitted and cut in half
1 cup of peeled cucumber, chopped into small pieces
1 cup red and yellow pepper, chopped into small pieces
Gently combine all ingredients.
Prepare Balsamic dressing (below)
Nutritional information/serving: carbohydrate—vegetable 3, Grain -1 ½, fat 1
APO E Quinoa Salad Dressing
Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk for 2 minutes.
Leave dressing to stand on the counter until ready to use.
Spoon dressing onto the quinoa salad and mix well.
Can be served warm or cold.
Nutritional information/serving: fat ½
APO E Fresh Green Salad
2 cups mixed green lettuce
1 cup of arugula
2 cups spinach leaves
½ cup chopped red pepper
¼ cup chopped cilantro, do not chop too finely
1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
3 large, (1 ½ cup) vine-ripened, chopped tomatoes
¼ tsp. fresh ground white pepper
1 oz. Follow Your Heart Feta Crumbles or Kite Hill Almond Milk Ricotta
Sprinkle of salt to taste
Combine lettuce, arugula, spinach, cilantro, cucumber, tomatoes, and red pepper.
Add dressing and toss to evenly cover all ingredients.
Add feta crumbles or ricotta to each serving if desired.
Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Nutritional information/serving: carbohydrate—vegetable 3 fat 2
APO E Simple Salad Dressing
⅛ cup APO E Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup APO E Gene Champagne Balsamic Vinegar (coming soon to the APO E Pantry)
1 tsp. sesame seeds
¼ tsp of chili peppers (optional if you like it spicy)
Juice of 1 lime or small lemon
1 tsp. low-sodium Tamari
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger or 1 tbsp. ginger juice
¼ tsp. white pepper
Salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a glass salad dressing container and mix well.
For best results, let stand in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Nutritional information/serving: fat 1 ½
Enjoy the recipes! I have received many thank you cards and emails from patients all over the world, letting me know how delicious these recipes are - I hope you love them as well.
Happy New Year.
This New Year let’s exercise, enjoy delicious food, and take care of ourselves—together.
Pam McDonald FNP
Integrative Medicine Family Nurse Practitioner