What's the deal with Fluoridated Water?

TLDR: There's no benefit to drinking fluoridated water if you brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste (most toothpastes). There could even be potential harm, especially if you have hypothyroidism or are trying to have a baby.

I saw an article on fluoridated water recently, and thought to throw my hat in the ring to make sense of it for you all. There's a lot of controversy as to whether or not there should be fluoride in the water system.

My take:
-Fluoride works ON your teeth to prevent tooth decay, so drinking it doesn't do a whole lot for you unless you're swishing it around (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19772849)

-Not only does it not do a lot for you, there is some research to show that fluoride accumulates in the body (not a good thing), and can affect thyroid function by blocking iodine uptake (which is critical if you want your thyroid to work properly). (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/840873)

-Decreasing your iodine levels is also not something you want if you're trying to have a baby (http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/840056)

-If you brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste (most), you get enough fluoride in your regular toothpaste (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21701195)

This is the most surprising point:

Only 6% of the world drinks fluoridated water.
Fluoride in water is supposed to prevent tooth decay.

The 6% that drinks fluoridated water has
the SAME amount of tooth decay as the other 94%.

 

A lot of stuff to think about right?

All in all, there is very little to show that fluoride has any benefit now that toothpaste is fluoridated, and since the method action of fluoride is best when it's applied on the teeth rather than ingested, toothpaste is the best way to get your fluoride. 

If you want to de-fluoridate your water, Reverse-Osmosis filtration is the most accessible and reliable way to remove the fluoride. Standard water filters like Brita don't remove fluoride.

Check to see if your community fluoridates it's water at this site:  http://www.theregenesisproject.com/does-my-municipality-fluoridate-the-water/

Thanks for reading!

How much should I exercise each week?

We all wish there was some golden recipe, strategy, tactic, diet, or a plan to follow that would GUARANTEE results.

Sorry, but life isn't like that. Rarely can you use someone else's tactics and apply them directly to yourself and expect the same success.

Humans are not robots, and can’t just run the same code as other people to get the same results like computers do.

Finding the best lifestyle patterns for YOU is a game of trial and error. Sure, we can quote the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, and set that as a goal. However, if you're starting from 0 minutes of exercise per week, this is a HUGE step forward!

Better to set more achievable goals with incremental improvements rather than huge leaps and bounds.

When it comes to lifestyle change, the first question is to ask yourself: For how long do I want this change to last?

If the answer is that you only want the change for a short period of time, the sure, you can go on a fitness binge or restricted diet. 

If you want things to last, then it's better to go slow and steady.

 

-Be a tortoise, not a hare-

 

To answer the initial question: How much should I exercise per week?

If you're exercising under 150 minutes per week, make a goal of exercising 10 more minutes this week. Add an extra 5 minutes per week until you hit 150 minutes each week.

If you're exercising over 150 minutes per week, keep it up! Think about your health goals, and find ways to exercise that are more focused for your specific goals.

How to fit exercise into your busy day

Wake up. Get ready for Work. Go to Work. Work. Commute back home. Relax. Sleep. Repeat.

It's easy to fall into this routine. Especially if you LOVE what you do. Time slips away, you get focused on what you're doing, and then looking back, you realize that you barely moved all day.

Embedding small amounts of movement (microbursts) into your day can be an extremely easy, and straightforward way of getting you moving when larger chunks of activity seem difficult to start.

A small tree is still a tree, and will grow into a bigger one every day, just like small improvements will grow into bigger ones in time. (Bonsai's don't count.)

A small tree is still a tree, and will grow into a bigger one every day, just like small improvements will grow into bigger ones in time. (Bonsai's don't count.)

Step 1: Set a timer that goes off every 30 minutes. Each time it rings, stand up and stretch. Take a 30 second walk around your workspace. If you don't want to move around, do 10 squats or arm circles

I use something called a Pomodoro timer: you can find a free one if you click here

In lifestyle change, it’s better to succeed at a small goal, than fail at a lofty goal. We want to create a marathon of sustainable change, not sprints of success.


How to make good food decisions when you're stressed

"I'm stressing about taxes and eating horribly because of it. Any tips on how to not let stress do that?"

This is a question that came from one of my readers, and I'm so glad they asked it! If there is a health question you want answered, submit it here, and I will gladly answer it in a post.

Pre-planning meals and snacks is the best way to combat poor food choices in stressful situations.

Batch cooking healthy recipes in advance of a stressful situation will make it that much easier when that stressful situation actually happens. Everyday Paleo is my favourite website for SIMPLE recipes that are ready to freeze. You can make them ahead of time when you are thinking about your stressful time ahead, so that when you're rushed and can't make time to cook a home prepared meal: you already have some in the freezer!

Take 30 minutes out of your day, and make a large amount of a recipe that you like so there is some waiting for you in the fridge or freezer the next time you're hungry and ready to head to your favourite fast food joint.

But Andrew, how does this help me when I'm already in a stressful situation??

Timing matters when it comes to behaviour change. We only have a limited amount of willpower (and therefore potential to focus) in a day, so you can imagine that when things are already looking very stressful for you, it seems even more insurmountable for you to start making food choices that are in line with your goals.

Trying to eat better when you're already stressed is like trying to introduce a new play to the basketball team that has never been attempted, when there are 5 seconds left in the game, and you NEED to win. Maybe it's a great play. Maybe it even works out this time. But the odds certainly aren't in your favour. Better to practice that play beforehand, so that when you need it most, you know how that you can reliably achieve it.

In any situation, the first thing to assess is whether there is capacity to change, or if the attempt to change itself would be too much of stress. It's much easier to implement a lasting behaviour change when you're not in the thick of a difficult or taxing situation.

Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a great way of determining the priority of tasks that were upcoming: check out a great video on his strategy here.

To summarize: work on the important and urgent tasks first, and then move on to other less important, and less urgent activities. If you're in an important and urgent scenario, then maybe now is not the time to try and make improvements on your health...

ASk yourself: Are you just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic?

Practicing good food habits, like batch cooking and preparing food ahead of time, will enable you to perform well, and eat in line with your goals even when you're not in stress-free situation.

Get through your important and urgent goal first, and then when the urgency subsides, prepare some food for your emergency stash so that the next time a stressful situation comes up (one surely will) you'll be better prepared!

I'm interested in what you have to say: What habits do you have that keep you eating well when stressful situations come up in your life?

Does your supplement have an NPN?

Check your Supplement bottles for an NPN!

I've been seeing all kinds of supplement articles floating around the internet saying that supplements don't have the ingredients that are listed on the bottle, and that many are tainted with other ingredients. This article in particular has been shared by many of my friends and colleagues: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/…/sidebar-whats-in-those-su…/…

Luckily, as Canadians, we don't have to worry about this half as much as Americans do!

In Canada, it's mandatory that every natural health product has something called a "Natural Product Number" or NPN listed on the bottle. This means that a product has been deemed safe, effective and high quality by the government.

"The Canadian approach to regulation is often referred to as a “pre-approval” system which means that all NHPs must be approved by Health Canada BEFORE they are allowed to be legally sold to Canadians. In addition, Health Canada separates NHPs from food and uses a rigorous licensing process similar to that used to approve pharmaceutical products for sale." (Source: https://www.chfa.ca/npn/word-class-regulations/)

This is a far cry from the abysmal standard in the states:

"The United States regulates NHPs (known as “dietary supplements”) as food products and uses an approach referred to as “post market reporting.” This means that NHPs can be marketed and sold in the U.S. without government testing or approval and manufacturers are expected to report any adverse effects." (Source: https://www.chfa.ca/npn/word-class-regulations/)

The first place to start when assessing products is checking that it has an NPN. 

Without this number, the products are MUCH more likely to be tainted with other ingredients, binders, or fillers that aren't listed on the bottle.
Image source: https://www.chfa.ca/npn/

On Learning: Tesla and Elon Musk

Found a great quote that I wanted to share with you all today from the CEO of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk. He hosted a Reddit conversation that where he answered a lot of questions from fans. This was one of his responses:

"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to."

There is so much application of this in what I do!

This is why I put such a big focus on learning basic biochemistry, physiology, and biomechanics. Better to learn the foundations than simply get caught up in treatment options. This also let's me be more creative when there is no proven treatment plan for a condition or experience that you come to me to talk about.

This is why I'm so thorough in our appointments.

If I can get the right information about the causative factors (trunk + big branches) to your symptoms (leaves) then we can really understand why the symptoms are there in the first place.