Chiropractic: The Essential Element of Nerve Supply (and being healthy)

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How have chiropractic patients had miraculous recoveries from such diverse conditions as infertility, high blood pressure, hearing loss, and enuresis (bed wetting)?  By freeing the master system of the body – the nervous system – from interference, that’s how.

Chiropractors correct mechanical stress to the spine (called vertebral subluxation) that creates irritation and interference to the flow of information across the complex and sensitive nerve system.  This is the same reason why the healthiest families in the world, not to mention elite atheletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Jerry Rice, make regular chiropractic care part of their health regimen.


Air Squat

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The squat is the most fundamental movement.  Its is essential that you take the time to master this skill.  Do it properly, do it often.

  • Feet shoulder width apart with toes pointed slightly outwards.
  • Initiate squat by sticking your butt back.
  • Keep your chest up and maintain a tight low back.
  • Squat to or slightly below parallel making sure your knees stay over your toes and most of your body weight is in your heels.
  • Drive back upwards out of your heels keeping your knees pressed outwards.
  • Return to the top of the squat standing at full extension, thrusting pelvis/hips forward.
  • Ready for more? Try the Front Squat with weight
When starting out, you can squat to a medicine ball or a box.

Now just for fun, here’s a video of 100 people, doing 100 squats, on the 100th day of a challenge.

Essential Elements

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Intrinsic to The Bonfire Health Program is the premise that human beings experience their greatest health potential when exposed to the optimal environment.  Our genes have been shaped over thousands of generations to require specific elements or nutrients in order to function optimally.  These essential elements have been identified and documented by the best researchers in the fields of physiology, nutrition, psychology and genetics, among others.  When these essential elements are provided consistently by our lifestyle choices and behavior patterns, cells function optimally.

Although our gene expression determines our physiology, our environment determines the expression of our genes.  The science of Epigenetics teaches us that our genes are subordinate to their internal and external environment.  Your internal environment is determined by your behavior patterns in three domains of lifestyle choice:  how you eat, how you move, and how you think.  When lifestyles are genetically congruent, man expresses better health.  In other words, when we eat, move and think in ways that compliment, rather than contradict, our genetic requirements for optimal cell function, we experience optimal health.  Therefore, health is the natural consequence of a genetically congruent lifestyle.

Conversely, when we eat, move and/or think in ways that are contrary to our innate design, we interfere with the natural expression of cell function.  In other words, when we make choices that are at odds with our genetic design, we express sickness.

When we choose behavior patterns that are inherently toxic to our bodies, such as poor food choices, or we neglect to include elements that are innately required for health, such as exercise or adequate sleep, we interfere with the natural expression of health and get sick.

Your life is a path.  Imagine that path is lined with cobblestones.  When complete, a cobblestone path provides sure footing and a stable journey.  When stones are missing, you can expect an uneasy, bumpy ride.  If the path is free and clear of debris, your walk is sure to be smooth and straight.  If the road is littered with rubble, you will likely trip and fall.  The essential elements that you choose to provide in your deliberate approach to your way of life are the cobblestones.  Any toxic choices or behaviors that you choose to practice will clutter your path and cause you to stub your toe – or worse.

The Bonfire Health Program represents the definitive summary of the outcomes determined by the most current research on the essential elements that your cells require to express health.  The best practices and vital behaviors recommended to ensure the provision of these elements are simple, but profound.  And most importantly, the leverage of the science of social change infused throughout the program will guarantee you the greatest opportunity to get these behaviors into your life and sustain these changes.  We help you do it – AND KEEP TO IT!

Critical Concepts: Food Shopping

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Food Shopping For Health:

  • A well-stocked kitchen and pantry is a vital behavior for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Shopping at big chain grocery stores is for basics like aluminum foil, diapers, etc. – it’s not where you buy fresh, organic, quality, nutritious foods.  For that, you must find your nearest “whole food” markets (it might be closer to work versus home – take an ice chest and shop at lunch or after work).
  • Whenever possible, buy and eat ONLY organic meats, fruits, and vegetables.  Organic meat has little to no hormones and antibiotics, AND, organic meat is grass or pasture fed – this means the saturated fats are beneficial, whereas grain-fed animals contain unhealthy fats.  Not only does organically-grown produce have little to no pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc., but organically-grown crops are also grown in soils that contain vitamins, minerals and trace elements which are vital to healthy physiological function.  Commercially-grown produce is grown on depleted soil using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and petrochemical fertilizers.  And now commercially-grown produce is often genetically modified (GM) which has been proven to be a health concern.

The Master Shopping List was designed to make it simple and easy for you to save time and make your Bonfire Health Diet Style not only one of great pleasure but of great health.  Your first week’s shopping list will be more extensive in order to stock up on staples for your kitchen.  Please cross check your Menu Plan shopping lists with your pantry items.

We ask that you print out your Master Shopping List each week and review with menus and recipes before going to do your shopping.  You will probably have to shop at more than one store (i.e. Trader Joe’s, Costco and your nearest whole food or health food store).  Some healthy foods can be found at Costco and Trader Joe’s (but be careful – both stores have many, many “disease foods” on their shelves as well – don’t shop hungry).  Your best option is to go to your local farmers’ market (make sure to ask which items are organic if they aren’t labeled).

IMPORTANT:  As mentioned above, whenever possible, always buy organic fruit, vegetables and meats.  However, if this is not possible due to inconvenience or lack of availability, please do not get discouraged.  Any fruit or vegetable, even if it is non-organic, is a much healthier option than processed or packaged foods.  Do the best you can!

If you choose to consume dairy, the best choice is raw dairy products; if not available, be sure to only buy organic dairy products that do not contain rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone).

NOTE:  Many of these items are only available at a “whole foods market” or comprehensive health food store.  Some things are available at Trader Joe’s or Costco (i.e. frozen organic berries); if neither of those are conveniently available to you, do your best at your local market, farmers’ market, or – as a last resort – a supermarket.

Essential Supplementation

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Critical Thinking:  For our bodies to be healthy, the cells of our bodies need to be healthy.  For the cells to be healthy, optimal amounts of proper nutrients must be supplied – from what we eat and drink in the form of fresh, organic, whole foods and purified water, and, if necessary, by taking nutritional supplements.

Best Practices:  Take fish oil (Omega-3), probiotics, and a whole food supplement every day.

Vital Behaviors:

• Create the routine of taking supplements with breakfast (fish oil now comes lemon-flavored and makes a great addition to smoothies, either fruit smoothies or green smoothies).

• Make a rule that you cannot leave the house without taking your supplements.

• First action upon entering your kitchen each morning is to set out your supplements (yes, even before making coffee).

• Put your car keys in the fridge, next to the probiotics, so that you can’t leave the house without touching/taking your supplements.

As we eat, a balanced combination of nutrient-dense, whole foods makes it unnecessary to take a whole slew of vitamins or supplements.  As a matter of fact, as outlined in the Bonfire Health ideal diet, there are a limited number of essential supplements.  In order for a nutrient to qualify as an Essential Supplement, it must be an essential nutrient (it cannot be made by the body, and therefore it must be provided through our diets) and it must be difficult to consume adequate amounts in even the best diet.  Remember, these are supplements, not replacements!  Follow the Bonfire Health ideal diet and add the following:

1. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid (fish oil)

2. Probiotic

3. Whole Food Supplement

Supplements can fill in major gaps in your nutritional regimen; however, many people mistakenly believe that supplements can make up for poor eating habits.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Supplements are meant to supplement your whole food diet, not act as replacements.  At Bonfire Health, we have narrowed this concept down to what is called essential supplementation.  Essential supplements are those that are either impossible or nearly impossible to get through the foods you eat.

Traditionally or historically, “vitamins” have been formulated from bulk pharmaceutical chemicals such as vitamin A, vitamin B, etc.  Unfortunately this has resulted in very few nutrients being identified, labeled or included as critical nutrients or “vitamins.”  We now know though that all fresh, whole foods contain dozens, if not hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of nutrients.  That’s why it’s so critical to take a supplement made from whole foods, not over-the-counter “vitamin formulas” like Centrum or “One-A-Day” brands, which are made from bulk pharmaceutical chemicals.

What we now know is that there are literally thousands of compounds or nutrients that exist in food, in nature.  An apple, for example, may contain perhaps a thousand or more “phytonutrients,” none of which have been isolated or named, per se as a “vitamin” (see side bar on right).  This is why it’s critical to only put into your body food, or things made of food; this includes your “vitamins” or supplements.

1)  Essential Fatty Acids (EFA):  There are a group of critical nutrients called essential fatty acids (commonly known as “omega fatty acids”).  They play a role in virtually every cellular function within the body:

“The dietary fatty acids of the omega-3 series are rapidly incorporated into cell membranes and profoundly influence biological responses. In well-controlled clinical studies, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has resulted in reduction of cardiovascular diseases including arrhythmias and hypertension, protection from renal disease, improvement in rheumatoid arthritis, improvement in inflammatory bowel diseases, reduced episodes of rejection, and protection from infection.”

[Alexander, JW, Immunonutrition: the role of omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrition July 1998, 14 (7): pp. 627-633 view abstract]

Modern man in general, and Americans in particular, are severely deficient in this group of critically essential nutrients called fatty acids.  Not only are we deficient, but what fatty acids we do take in through our diet are dangerously imbalanced.  Fatty acid balance is one of the “seven fundamentally altered nutritional characteristics of our ancestral (genetically congruent) diet.” [Mann NJ, Paleolithic Nutrition: What can we learn from the past? Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004; 13 (suppl.): S17] view article

To simplify, there are two primary essential fatty acids:  Omega-6 and Omega-3 EFA.  Within the body, they should exist in an approximate ratio of 2:1 (Omega-6 to Omega-3).  Current estimates show a severely disproportionate amount of Omega-6 from the modern diet, now creating a ratio between 15:1 and 22:1.  What makes this even worse is the modern diet is now toxic with unhealthy forms of Omega-6 EFA found in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, and fried foods.

Again, to simplify this discussion, the focus is really on deficiencies in Omega-3 EFAcombined with an overabundance of Omega-6 EFA.

So What’s The Answer?
Take an Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplement; meaning purified fish oil.  The good news is that fish oil now comes lemon-flavored, so it’s tasty by itself or as an excellent ingredient in smoothies.  It also must be said at this juncture that it’s equally critical to minimize your intake of grains because one of the primary causes of an imbalance in Omega-6 comes from an excessive dietary intake of all grains, especially refined grains (i.e. wheat flour products like bread, cereals, pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, etc.), as well as grain-fed meats.

2) Probiotics:  Probiotics are the natural “friendly” bacteria living within our bodies which play a critical role in immunity (current science has estimated that 80% of your immune system is located in the digestive system), digestion and nutrient synthesis and delivery.  Our bodies should have trillions of healthy probiotic bacteria present mainly in our large intestine, and to a lesser degree the stomach, small intestine, mouth, and vagina.  The problem is that today, modern man has deviated so far from eating fresh, high fiber fruits and vegetables, that “the daily present-age consumption of bacteria is a million times less than what was consumed by our Stone Age (Paleolithic) ancestors.” [Bengmark S, Immunonutrition: Role of biosurfactants, fiber, and probiotic bacteria. Nutrition Journal1998: 14:585-594]. The important fact here is that we are genetically identical to the Stone Age ancestors that Bengmark is referring to.

The Functions of Probiotic Bacteria:

• Eliminate harmful viruses, bacteria and yeast
• Reduce inflammation
• Fermentation and digestion of fiber
• Promote proper digestion, absorption and elimination
• Prevent diarrhea, bloating, gas, and constipation
• Protect mucosal lining of the stomach, small and large intestines, and vagina
• Support healthy immune function
• Increase resistance to infection
• Help keep skin healthy
• Assist in the production and delivery of vitamins

The critical functions of probiotics include:  digestion (especially the digestion of fiber), the synthesis and delivery of several vitamins (thiamine, folic acid, nicotinic acid, pyridoxine, and B12), as well as enzyme production, and inflammatory and immune response.

3)  Whole Food Supplements:  Most people know they should take a “vitamin.”  Any nutrient we put into our bodies should be made from food, not chemicals made to resemble what’s found in nature or what’s been isolated and fractionated from the “real thing.”  Brands such as One-A-Day or Centrum are NOT the answer.  These types of “vitamins” are made from bulk pharmaceutical chemicals.  The only supplements we should ever take MUST be made from whole foods, not isolated chemicals.

When formulating a whole food supplement, various plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables, sea vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, and grains are either juiced and dried, and/or ground up to be formulated into capsules or a powdered drink.  The obvious limitation to any supplement, even whole food supplements, is that it’s not the real thing (meaning fresh, whole food); that being said, the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements that are found in whole food supplements are significant and can go a long way in augmenting one’s nutritional status and health.