Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trying to Decide Between A Vitamix, Blendtec, Ninja or Nutrabullet? Here Are My Thoughts

As a health advocate and teacher (one of the definitions of the word ‘Doctor’ means a learned or authoritative teacher) patients, friends and friends of friends approach me regularly regarding nutrition. What should I eat? What shouldn't I eat? Is this or that  good for me? And inevitably, when it comes to nutrition I’m often asked about juicing, smoothies and what’s the best blender or juicer I should get.

My Machine-The Vitamix 5200
Over the past year or so I’ve been watching infomercials pop up on television purporting the virtues of XYZ blender and ALWAYS comparing it to the Vitamix.  Now, I’m gonna tell you straight up, I’m biased. After I got married in over 20 years ago, one of the things we purchased was a Vitamix. Why? Because I always believed whole foods were better to eat than foods that had the juices extracted from them.

As I studied nutrition, turns out I was right. Not that there isn’t a place for fresh juice, but with juice as opposed to blended whole foods, you’re missing out on some valuable nutrition.  As such, Vitamix was my choice. Because a couple of my food experiments were a bit harsh (maybe a lot harsh) on the Vitamix, after 18 years, we purchased a second Vitamix. Yes, I’m a big fan. To be able to take veggies and frozen berries and blend them into a smooth liquid is the fastest way for me to get some incredibly dense nutrition into my body and absorbed.
That being said, I’ve had some recent encounters with the Nutribullet, Blendtec and Ninja Turbo blenders that prompted me to write this post. Why? Because they’re all lying to you about the Vitamix.

The reason why the Vitamix is such a great blender is because of the ultra-high blade speed. In an infomercial promoting the Ninja to the Vitamix, they kept stating the Ninja has the same blade speed as the Vitamix. 24,000 rpm. But here’s the thing about the Ninja. That’s all it has. Yes, the motor is a bit more powerful in watts, but the Vitamix has higher amperage.  Oh, one other very important thing (sit back, I’m about to expose the Ninja infomercial’s cover-up . All you have to do on the Vitamix is flip the switch to the high speed setting and the Vitamix trounces the Ninja’s palrty 24, 000 and raising them to 37,000 rpms. Along with the Ninja, the Vitamix also trounces the Blendtec’s 28,000 rpms, the Omega blender’s 27,500 rpms and the New Nutrabullet 900’s 25,000 rpms.

And here’s why the added blade speed is important. Skins and seeds. If you’ve tried making smoothies with berries, kale, chard, broccoli, ginger, turmeric, black radish and beets like I do, you’ll need the higher blade speed to pulverize the skins, seeds and dense fiber. Otherwise, as I’ve experience with the Blendtec, Ninja and Nutribullet, you’ll end up doing the drinking-chew with your smoothie. 

The added blade speed on the Vitamix makes it the king of all smoothie makers because it takes skins, seeds and dense fibrous veggies and blends them into a smooth liquid. No chewing necessary.

And for all those infomercial clowns that find it so awkward to use the tamper stick, how the hell do you drive a car or use a cell phone? It’s a stick for crying out loud? Seriosly? I make nut butters in my Vitamix and do so with much less oil and end up with a much smoother end product than any of the other machines can because of the tamper.
So if you’re on the fence about which high speed blender to get, the others may have a more powerful motor or funny infomercial, but the people at Vitamix have engineered a more efficient motor that delivers what you need to pulverize the fruits and veggies to get to the vital nutrients-blade speed.  Until another blender exceeds the Vitamix’s 37,000 rpms, don’t even bother telling me about it. I'm tired of wasting my time. 

If you want a “chewy”, get the Nutribullet, Blendtec or Ninja. If you want to blend seriously dense fruit and veggies into a real smooth smoothie, there’s no choice-The Vitamix is the hands down king of all smoothies.

You shouldn't have to chew your smoothie... Get a Vitamix!

Yours in Health




Dr. Todd Narson

Monday, November 24, 2014

Naturally Sweet Cranberry Sauce

Naturally Sweet Cranberry Sauce

Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 25 mins | Total time: 35 mins

A homemade alternative to store bought cranberry
sauce with delicious hints of pineapple and orangeto complement the flavor!

Serves: 8

Ingredients
•2 bags of fresh cranberries (usually a 12 ounce bag)
•1 cup pineapple juice
• 2 large apples, quartered, then blended into apple sauce (add pineapple juice & water, blend together)
•½ cup of water
•juice and zest of one orange
•3-4 Tablespoons of honey or to taste (optional) - or use equivalent of stevia.
• 1 (non-heaping) teaspoon Cinnamon

Instructions
1. Put cranberries, pineapple juice, applesauce and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

2. Keep on medium heat, stirring constantly until the cranberries start to explode (about 10-15 minutes).

3. Reduce to a simmer and pour the orange juice and zest over the cranberry mixture.

4. Simmer 20 minutes, stir throughout and remove from heat.

5. Cool completely and store in fridge at least 4 hours but preferably overnight before serving.

6. NOTE: This is not as sweet as store versions! Taste at the end of cooking. It is naturally sweet from the fruit juice and applesauce but you can add more honey or stevia to taste if needed.


Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Narson & Staff

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

Friday, June 6, 2014

LeBron James, The Heat & The Temperature-My thoughts on Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals

As Channel 10’s Will Manso said last night, the NBA should be embarrassed. To have the best of the best playing in an arena where the temperature was at least 90 degrees (and humid) was absolutely-ridiculously-insane and honestly put the player’s health at risk.

The players from both teams should be applauded for not throwing in the towel early on and refusing to play. They all deserve a great deal of respect and admiration. Being a known “cramper” LeBron displayed obvious signs of heat exhaustion. The close up shots of him showed a puffiness in his face around his eyes, he was flush, profusely sweating and of course, the muscle cramping. Although I think everyone had the profuse sweating thing happening, players, fans and anyone else in the AT&T sauna last night.

Commentators, player and coaches alike stated the heat had nothing to do with the Miami Heat’s loss. I’m gonna tell you, it absolutely did. With The Heat & LeBron’s M.O. of turning up the Heat in the last few minutes, LeBron being a cramper, the gas tank was just empty.

 Now, don’t get me wrong, all of the guys, the Spurs and our Heat played in the same hot and humid environment. The Spurs played outstanding basketball and kicked our butts in the last 5 minutes and we lost. But to someone that cramps, the hot humid environment brings fatigue into play much earlier. How do I know? First, I’m a cramper. After cramping in several triathlons and being in extreme pain s I ran my 10k, I began doing some research on cramping and most of the superficial stuff I read blamed it on electrolyte imbalance. People take various types of sports drinks to help and to some degree it can be a factor. I tired the electrolyte drinks and still cramps. So, I knew there was something else involved.

Sifting through all that “common knowledge” of electrolyte imbalance are studies by Schwellnus, et.al., done on Ironman triathlon finishers that reported higher intensity training leads to premature muscle fatigue. Another study by Laursen PB et.al, reported rapid loss of Na+ (sodium) concentration in the blood along with increased core body temperature that lead to hyperthermic fatigue. However while this may be a factor in some cases, this is disputed by another study by Schwellnus titled: Serum electrolytes in Ironman triathletes with exercise-associated muscle cramping that disputes the association of electrolyte loss, stating in their conclusions: Acute EAMC in Ironman triathletes is not associated with a greater percent body mass loss or clinically significant differences in serum electrolyte concentrations. The increased EMG activity of cramping muscles may reflect increased neuromuscular activity.

So, neuromuscular fatigue is the likely common denominator here. This means, it all comes down to the athletes level of conditioning. Working out in a “normal” environment gets you ready for competition in that environment. With some athletes vulnerable to exercise associated muscle cramping, turn up the temperature and now this “X” factor can really make a difference.

The bottom line is that in order to perform in an extreme environment, you need to train in that extreme environment. What’s happening is neuromuscular fatigue brought on by the extreme environment and dehydration. How do we as triathletes prevent this? It’s called “Heat Training”. Part of your training must be in the same environment that you expect to be racing in. In Triathlon, the “X” factor is always the weather. We don’t know if we’re gonna be swimming in calm seas or a chop of 3-5 foot seas. We don’t know if there’s gonna be a head wind, a cross wind, a tail wind (love the tail wind by the way…I’ll take that anytime!) when running or biking and we don’t’ know if it’s gonna be a torrential downpour or the sun is going to be baking us at 95 degrees as we run on a hot roadway, all of which happened in the 2013 Escape to Miami (sans the 3-5 ft seas). So, “Heat training” is a part of the triathletes training regimen for a reason. Expect the unexpected and be prepared for the extreme.

Perhaps Heat training is in order for someone like LeBron in order to take him to the next level? There’s really not much more King James can do to improve his basketball skills, but playing in a hot-humid environment certainly brought out his Achilles’ heel. Just as the Nautica and Escape to Miami triathlons brought out mine.

So, yes, with the history of being a “cramper”, heat training is a must so you can train to overcome the early muscle fatigue factor. Learning how to properly hydrate in an extreme hot-humid environment , knowing electrolyte replacement may be needed earlier rather than later AND training for the X-factor must all be considered when you know you have the Achilles’ heel of Exercise Associated Muscle Cramping. I have my ideas on how LeBron can overcome this. But I’ll save that for a private conversation with coach Spoelstra. Was the extreme temperature a factor in game 1, absolutely. Was it embarrassing for the NBA? Absolutely. But, all the players suffered the same environment, so I’d have to say it was absolutely fair. Game one goes to the Spurs and deservingly so. Let’s hope for some air-conditioning in game two.

Although we like it HOT here in Miami, we do love our AC. Trust me, we’ll be the first ones to get into our swim suits when it’s hot. But let’s save that for the beach.

Oh, and to all those that say a great champion can turn it off and ignore it. Please go look up some case studies on people who’ve suffered heat stroke. This isn’t one of those things you can just “walk it off”. Heat stroke is deadly. LeBron returned to the game knowing full well his legs would seize up. But that’s the heart of a champion.

Now, it’s time for some extreme training.

‘nuff said. On to game 2.

Dr. T



Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Is What You’re Eating Killing Your Performance?
The more I read about athletic performance and work with athletes as well as Type-A personality business men and women, the more I realize good nutrition is vital physical performance and mental performance. Both your body AND your brain need to be in the game, literally. Even if your game is business. Unfortunately, good nutrition is quite hard to get in this country. You can’t depend on the government for nutritional advice and there are so many opinions and philosophies out there that it’s difficult to make sense of it all.

The more I read about good nutrition, the more I realize your health depends on the health of the food you eat. The more I read and the more I train for triathlon the better feel and perform when getting back to a human’s basic diet. 

You spend all this time training then resting (the rest cycle is just as important as the exercise. Exercise targets specific muscle groups for improved performance, but those performance gains and strength occur during the rest phase that follows the exercise…..don’t forget to get appropriate rest!!).  Each time you go out there you want to exceed your previous performance. But what if the food you’re eating is killing your performance?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and questioning what I (think I) know is healthy and have been quite intrigued by the answers I’ve come up with. The most common answer is typically “it depends” 

For example.

Is Salmon healthy? Yes and No. It Depends.

Here’s why.

If you’re talking about Wild salmon, the answers is yes, it’s definitely healthy. It has spent it’s life living in its natural environment, eating its natural diet which give you all the nutritional benefits you’ve come to expect when you sit down to eat salmon.

But, it you’re talking about farm raised salmon the answer is no.

Why? Because the farm raised salmon is in a confined environment (which means it lives in a high stress environment without being able to exercise as it swims thousands of miles throughout its life. The Salmon lives in a chemically toxic water (would you want to dine where you and your room mates urinate or defecate?). The farmed salmon is fed a grain diet, sometimes supplemented with fish or fish flakes, much different than the natural diet of a wild salmon. 

Why is everyone Wild about salmon anyway? Simply put.... It's The Omega-3 Fish Oils. The DHA and EPA our physiology needs. Salmon are naturally carnivores. They eat mackerel, sardines, herring, krill, shrimp and other fish. When they eat their natural diet, they are chock full of those very healthful Omega-3s. As Jonny Bowden, PhD puts it in his book: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, wild salmon is the “Best Source of Omega-3s on the Planet”


Omega-3 oils are natural anti-inflammatory Cox-2 inhibitors (like some of the anti-inflammatory medicines your medical physician would prescribe).  Now you should also know that Wild Salmon also contains Omega-6s. A very low dose dosage when compared to Omega-3s. Hence, there is a natural balance of the anti-inflammatory Omega-3s to the pro-inflammatory Omega-6s. Suffice it to say there are much more Omega-3s in Wild Salmon than Omega-6s, which means, it’s good for you. Very good. It helps increase brain performance, fights inflammation as it occurs and as a result, helps you heal and recovery from training and from injuries. 

BUT…That’s NOT true in farm raised salmon.

Not only is it not true, it’s the opposite.

There are much more Omega-6s in farmed salmon than omega 3s. So, not only is farm raised salmon not good for you, it’s actually unhealthy for you.

Sorry sushi lovers, most of your salmon is farmed. Not wild. But you’ll have to ask the sushi chef or restaurant owner to know for sure.

So, if you’re trying to perform your best, recover from your last workout or prevent your next heart attack and stroke, farm raised salmon isn’t helping even a “wee” bit. It’s probably actually hurting you.


I stopped eating beef 14 1/2 years ago because of the Mad Cow scare going on. And, it wasn't from Oprah's show of that year, it was a news magazine story that I saw and it just didn't sit well with me. Too much of my food was coming from people simply trying to make a buck and not caring how they made it. Cow farmers grinding up dead diseased cows and mixing them back into their vegetarian feed just didn't make sense to me. Forget the fact they were diseased, a cow is a vegan and a mono-crop vegan at that!. They only eat the flowering tops of grass. What what conventional farmer are doing is plain wrong!  

Turns out I was right. Not only do most of our beef cattle today not eat their natural food (grass), they are fed a diet of genetically modified corn (which is 100% of the corn on the commercial market today including the stuff YOU eat), but it's mixed with soy, sorghum and other stuff (stuff being animal byproducts) as well. I’ve been in some pretty fancy restaurants where the menu proclaims “100% corn fed”. To that I say, so freaking what! Corn isn't a cow's natural diet, grass is!! Therefore the wonderfully marbleized meat produced corn-fed cattle is pure crap. They should be grazing in a field getting fat over the course of 4-5 years. Instead, they feed them corn and they get fat in 16-18 months. So, with some rare logical thinking, I hit the nail on the head with my reasoning.


Do you want to eat beef? There really are some wonderful health benefits to 100% Natural Grass Fed Grazing Beef. Did you know this kind of beef actually has quite a lot of beneficial Omega-3s??? Just like wild salmon, grass fed beef contains a good amount of DHA and EPA Omega-3 as well.  When you cook the beef, some of the saturated fat turns into CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), another healthy fat that has been shown to get rid of your belly. Additionaly, CLA has been shown in some studies to combat cancer at all 4 stages... BUT THOSE HEATLHFUL BENEFITS AREN'T IN the mass produced cows that you find represented at your favorite steak house or in your local grocery store. So, buyer beware (If you want to know more about how your food goes from the farm/field to your plate, read The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan). Although to find it, you'll have to go to a Whole Foods or find a 100% Natural Organic cattle farm (which you can find on the internet). Remember, 100% is the key. Not just organic, not just natural. (You can thank your government for screwing up the terms natural and organic to where you have to now look for "100%" grassfed)

Remember the phrase: “You Are What You Eat” ??? You’ve probably heard it growing up and a few times since… But, I’m gonna change that phrase for you (you can thank me later) because it’s not nearly complete. It should be: You are What THEY Eat.

Because what your food eats, drinks and absorbs, makes a HUGE difference in your health. Here’s the question you need to ask……Is your food eating it’s natural diet?

Not is it eating “A” natural diet….is your food eating “IT’S” natural diet.

If you remember nothing else about nutrition or health, remember that. Your health, your athletic performance depends on the health of the food that your food eats. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved as part of a food chain. Luckily we’re on the top of that chain (except for the occasional surfer or SCUBA diver). So logic tells you when you mess with the food chain and try to circumvent it, you mess with your health.

If you continue to eat a diet that’s not native for the species you're eating, not only will your performance suffer, but eventually, disease will follow. Ad grains, sugar, BPA and other toxins that make their way into your foods and now you get an idea of what your health is up against..

Bottom Line: Your health and your performance depends on the food that your food eats.

‘nuff said

DocT


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Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

With Celiac’s Disease Ruled Out, Have You Been Told It’s All In Your Head?
....They May Be Right!
The common misconception is that if you have gluten intolerance, you must have Celiac’s disease. And, if you don’t have Celiac’s disease, then you don’t have a gluten problem. However according to Dr. Datis Kharrazian latest book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? The classic test for Celiac’s disease tests only for an immune reaction against TG-2 (transglutaminase-2) an enzyme that helps bind proteins together and are involved in the digestion of wheat. 
However when it comes to brain health, you need to be aware of TG-6 (transglutaminase-6) which is found throughout the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Gluten can trigger an immune reactivity response to TG-6, leading to autoimmune destruction of brain and nervous tissue AND IT WILL NEVER SHOW UP ON A TEST FOR CELIAC’S DISEASE!!! (click here to read the rest of the article)
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Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Food Addiction or Drug Addiction - It All Starts In Your Brain

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition identified areas of the brain that are effected by drugs, by sugar and refined carbs to be one in the same. Furthermore, it's responsible for spikes and crashes that toy around with your hunger mechanism and seem to be the driving force driving obesity. Click here for the rest of the story


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Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Europe Says No To Monsanto's GMO

In an on-line article reported at Investigative Reporting Denmark, it looks like Monsanto loses out as Europe says no to Monsanto's GMO. Although Spain and Portugal were blinded by the GMO light, the rest of Europe rejected their genetically modified corn.

As someone who has been studying nutrition for quite some time now, I only wish this wisdom would come to the USA. I assure you that it will be one of those things that in years to come, we will get some bureaucratic apology that says somethings like "well, we just didn't have the technology to know it would have these adverse effects".


We humans are creatures of evolution. If you want healthy food, look back and study the foods we ate as we evolved and before we started getting involved in influencing our foods. Go back and watch the movie The Butterfly Effect and tell me you think it's a good idea to make genetic modifications to something so intimate as our food? For more on the Monsanto Bad European vacation, click here. Then, pass is on.

'nuff said

Dr. Todd Narson
Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians


Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine.