Kick-Start Your Life – Optimize Your Routine & Health Based on 5 Pillars of Health & Wellness!

Having a routine and optimizing it can greatly improve your health and wellness. Everyone is unique.  Make routines that work for you, knowing they’ll only make you healthier and more efficient with your time.  


Ways that Routine, Structure and Organization can help:

  • Better stress levels lead to improved mental health, more time to relax and less anxiety. 
  • Better sleep will leave you refreshed with increased mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being, and energy levels.
  • Better health is a result of just a little extra planning. Set the alarm a little earlier and you’ll have time to exercise and eat breakfast, fueling your body for the day.
  • Good Example setting will encourage others to try a routine as well. You demonstrate its importance and the positive effect it has on health, motivation, and self-esteem.

Many people who don’t have any type of routine suffer from:

  • Stress. No routine often means having the constant worry of “when will I get it all done.”
  • Poor sleep. Without a daily routine at work and/or home, you may find yourself playing catch-up with yesterday’s to-do list. If you’re always behind on what should have been done the day before, you’re likely also staying awake worrying about what didn’t.
  • Poor eating. Unhealthy diets (like eating lots of fast food) become the norm if there isn’t time scheduled for grocery shopping. Quick, unhealthy substitutes become the next best food option.
  • Poor physical condition. Working out usually requires some advance planning.
  • Ineffective use of time. Often, no routine means you simply run out of time, leaving things undone and not making the most of your time.

Pillar 1: Sleep

Amount – The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends that adults need 8-9 hours of sleep per night; older adults (65+) need 7-8 hours. These are minimums–if you exercise consistently, you might need more. Because high-intensity physical activity (such as Tabata or HIIT workouts) require longer recovery time, people who do this regularly need to compensate with quality sleep to allow their bodies to recharge.  The good news is that regular exercise promotes more restorative rest.[1]

Catch up with Power Naps

How Long it Takes to Fall Asleep – Most healthy adults fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes after turning off the lights and lying down for the night. Falling asleep faster or slower than that range might indicate that something is affecting your sleep, such as an underlying sleep disorder, a health problem, or something you have consumed.[2]

How Long to NapNaps lasting 10 to 20 minutes are considered the ideal length. They are sometimes referred to as “power naps” because they provide recovery benefits without leaving the napper feeling sleepy afterward.[3]  All we’d really need is a solid 10minute power nap to boost our focus and productivity.[4]  Napping for longer than an hour is linked to higher risk of heart disease and death.[5]

Time of Day Most sleep experts recommend napping no later than 2 pm. As discussed above, napping prior to the mid-afternoon results in a combination of light and REM sleep, whereas napping after 2 pm results in more slow-wave sleep. This may affect your ability to fall asleep at a reasonable time later that night, potentially disrupting your nocturnal sleep cycle.[6]

Pillar 2: Exercise

“Cardio training improves endurance, oxygen utilization efficiency, and cardiac and respiratory function.

Cardio exercise works to improve cardiovascular adaptations that increase oxygen consumption. Strength training increases muscle size and strength, enhances coordination, and is used for preventing and rehabilitating from injury.”

Each type of exercise has been shown to be beneficial for managing, treating, and preventing a range of health conditions including:

Diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, and depression, just to name a few.

The combination of both types of exercise may enhance these benefits.

Dr. Christopher McMullen, a sports medicine doctor at Harborview Medical Center and The Sports Medicine Clinic at South Lake Union

Cardio Training

Jog 15 Minutes a Day, Extend Your Life by 5 Years or More.  Don’t worry about going fast or exhausting yourself. Mortality is lower in people reporting moderate jogging, than in non-joggers or those undertaking extreme levels of exercise.[7]  – Peter Schnor,, chief cardiologist of the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

Running just seven minutes a day cuts risk of dying from heart disease.  Researchers from Iowa State University also found running at slow speeds has potentially life-saving benefits.[8]  – US lead scientist Dr Duck-Chul Lee, from Iowa State University

Strength Training

For decades, bodybuilding orthodoxy has consisted of blasting each muscle group with a punishing amount of volume once per week.  This can work if you have outstanding genetics and even better steroids, but for the rest of us, research shows this approach is misguided

In reality, the ideal training frequency for you depends on how much total volume (sets) you do each week for each major muscle group.[9]

The weight of the scientific evidence indicates these are good…

Guidelines for Balancing Volume and Intensity to Build Muscle and to Maximize Muscle and Strength Gain:[10][11]

How Many Sets p/Muscle Group per WeekDo 10-to-20 sets per muscle group per week:

  • Beginner – Do 10-to-12 sets per muscle group per week.[12]
  • How to Divide: All 10-12 in one workout or divide it in the week if fits your schedule.*
  • Intermediate/Advanced – 15-20 sets p/week.

How to Divide: Keep to 10-12 sets 1st workout then 8-10 sets 2nd workout.

How much Weight

  • Use 60-to-95% of your one-rep max (between 2-to-15 reps) for most of your sets.

How many Reps

  • Take all sets 1-to-3 sets shy of failure (1-to-3 RIR)
  • Dr. Eric Helms recommends that you get about ⅔ to ¾ of your total sets in the 6-to-12-rep range and the remaining sets in the 1-to-6 and 12-to-15-rep ranges .

– Eric Helms, AUT Research Fellow at the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand

*You’ve probably experienced firsthand that you can only do so many productive sets in a workout before fatigue sets in and performance plummets.

For example, if you tried to do 20 sets of chest training in a single workout, you’d probably feel good for the first 6 to 8 sets. After 8 sets, you’d begin to feel fatigued but you can keep going. After another four or five sets, however, you’re gassed and grinding every rep, and you still have 8 sets to go.

At this point, the only way to finish the workout is to reduce your weight or reps or take every set to absolute failure, all of which will hamper your strength and muscle gain over time.

A better approach, then, is to do 10 to 12 sets in one workout, let your chest recover for a couple days, and then do another 8 to 10 sets in another workout.

Pillar 3: Nutrition

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” ~Michael Pollan, food writer

What to Invest in: Buy portion-control plates/bowls and variety frozen vegetables

Pillar 4: Cold and Hot Therapy

The 3 Pillars of the Wim Hof Method[13]

  • Breathing
  • Commitment/mind-set
  • Exposure to cold (water/weather)

Cold water therapy – The practice of using water that’s around 59°F (15°C) to treat health conditions or stimulate health benefits. It’s also known as cold hydrotherapy.

The practice has been around for a couple of millennia. But recent adaptations include ice baths, brisk daily showers, outdoor swims, and cold-water immersion therapy sessions.

Cold water therapy does, however, have some benefits that are proven by science. Let’s take a closer look at what these benefits are:[14]

  • Less muscle soreness
  • Faster cooldown if you’re overheated
  • May ease symptoms of depression
  • May boost your immune system
  • May increase metabolism/basal metabolic rate (brief immersion-5 min of less than 59°F water)

Benefits of taking a cold shower include[15]:

  • Improves/Increases circulation
  • Calming itchy skin
  • Wakes you up (increased endorphins, alertness, focus, clarity, energy levels)
  • Reduced muscle soreness post-workout
  • Potentially boosts weight loss
  • Glowing hair and skin

Benefits of taking a hot shower include:[16]

  • Helps to ease stress of the day
  • Provides relief from respiratory symptoms
  • Helps with blemishes
  • Helps with muscle relaxation

The cons of cold showers:[17][18]

  • Cold showers might not be a good idea if you’re already cold, since the cooler temperature isn’t going to help warm you up by any means. It could actually make you even colder and increase the amount of time it will take for your body to warm back up.
  • They may not be a good idea if you’re sick, either. Initially, the cold temperature might be too hard on your immune system, so it’s best to ease into the cooler temperatures.
  • If you have heart disease, resist the urge to adopt a cold shower routine. Your body’s reaction to cold water puts added stress on your heart and could lead to an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia.

Methods of taking Cold Shower:

The ideal way to take a cold shower is to ease into the habit.

Start by slowly lowering the temperature at the end of a usual shower. Get the water cold enough that you start to feel uncomfortable. Then, stay underneath the water for 2 or 3 minutes. Breathing deeply will help decrease your discomfort in your mind.

The next time you try this exercise, make the water slightly colder. Try to last for another minute or two in the colder water. After performing this activity 7 to 10 times, you’ll find that you might even look forward to turning the hot water down.[19]

For best results, you will want to work up to a five- or 10-minute cold shower. But extreme athlete – and Tony Robbins speaker – Wim Hof, who is known for his cold-water swims, recommends starting slow.

First add 30 seconds of cold water at the end of your hot shower, then work your way up from there. Even a one- to two-minute cold shower can have invigorating effects.

Dr. Michael Mosley asked what the bare minimum is a person can get away with, to which professor Tipton answered: “A lot of it relates to the cold shock response and it’s the first minute of immersion where you have sudden cooling of the skin that relates to gasping and hyperventilation, increased heart rate and cardiac output but also the release of a whole range of stress related hormones.

This is part of the fight or flight response that we have evolved as a tropical animal, so I think around one or two minutes.”

Dutch research stated that 30 seconds was enough, but a person should try and build that up to a minute.

Professor Tipton discussed how the most important aspect is when you get your breathing back in control and that could be for some 45 seconds but the general advice, he gives people is to stay still for one minute to 90 seconds until you get your breathing under control.

It may feel uncomfortable to immerse our bodies in cold water, but it can also be invigorating.

This is because water that’s colder than our natural body temperature causes the body to work slightly harder to maintain its core temperature.

When taken regularly, cold showers can make our circulatory system more efficient.

Over time, the body becomes more used to this sudden shock to the system and the health benefits begin.[20] Mike Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at the extreme environmental laboratory at Portsmouth University

Best Time of Day for Cold Water Exposure:

Businessman and best-selling author Tim Ferriss worked his way up to a 10-minute ice bath three times a week in addition to starting his day with a cold shower. It all depends onhow committed you are to gaining the most cold shower benefits.[21]

“I take a cold shower when I roll outta bed to get my day rollin’, a warm shower after my workout before work, and a hot shower after I get home from work. I don’t take freezing showers in the morning but it’s chilly and has a great ‘morning bite’ to wake me up, clear cobwebs and get rollin’ with my day.”[22] -Dwayne Johnson

When it comes to the best time of the day to immerse yourself in cold water, health experts advise in the morning. A cold shower in the morning does more than wake a person up and improve their circulation.

The cold and warm stimuli constrict and dilate your blood vessels, which strengthens the immune system.[23] – Mike Tipton, professor of human and applied physiology at the extreme environmental laboratory at Portsmouth University

HOT/COLD Water – Which type is Better?

There are obvious benefits to both hot and cold showers, so what should you do?

Well, in an ideal world, you should take a lukewarm shower — so it’s tolerable — and apply a moisturizer to damp skin after bathing. – Adam Friedman, MD

Another approach to try is what Gerrit Keferstein, MD describes as a contrast shower, which is an age-old technique Dr. Sebastian Kneipp developed.

Basically, you get the water as cold as possible and stand in it for one minute. When the minute is up, you then change the water to as hot as you can handle for an additional minute.

Alternate between one minute each of cold and hot for three to five cycles.

In the morning, I take a cold shower for 3 minutes and then I turn to hot water for 1 minute and return to cold water for an additional minute making my tile shower time 5 minutes. At night I take a shower with only hot water

Using this technique allows me to reap the benefits of cold water, the benefits of a contrast shower, and then at night, the benefits of hot water.

The Pomodoro Technique: An Effective Time Management Tool

The Pomodoro technique is a simple yet effective tool for focused work with planned breaks in between.[24]

Francesco Cirillo coined the term “pomodoro,” which translates to tomato, in the late 1980s after the tomato-shaped timer he used as a university student. So, how does it work? Let’s break down a pomodoro interval step by step:

  1. Choose your assignment/work to do
  2. Set the timer to 25 minutes
  3. Work until the timer rings
  4. Take a five-minute break
  5. Take longer breaks (15 to 30 minutes) for every four pomodoro intervals

Regular breaks are important to do efficient work.

The Pomodoro technique can help anyone who feels distracted or overwhelmed to focus on what matters. Considering the onslaught of distractions we all face at work, that’s a superpower.[25] -Bryan Collins, Irish author who covers topics like productivity and leadership.

Habits, routines, rituals

Shades of consciousness

Both habits and routines are regular and repeated actions. The main difference between habits and routines is how much aware and intentional you are.

A HABIT usually manifests itself as an automatic urge (with little or no conscious thought) to do something, often triggered by a particular cue. The stronger the connection between the trigger and the habit, the more ingrained the habit.[26]

Waking up, commuting, walking past a particular store, starting a meeting at work are all common cues that can trigger actions such as drinking coffee, buying a croissant, or smoking a cigarette.

In contrast, ROUTINES require deliberate practice (a higher degree of intention and effort). Making your bed in the morning, going to the gym, going for a hike every Sunday, meditating are all routines that require to keep on consciously practicing them or they eventually die out. Your brain will not go into automatic mode and walk you to the gym for your weekly HIIT class.

With enough time and the right techniques, routines can turn into habits, but it is not an automatic, unconscious process. One needs to want to turn a routine into a habit for the process to happen.

Pillar 5: From Routine to Ritual

The difference between a routine and a RITUAL is the attitude behind the action. While routines can be actions that just need to be done—such as making your bed or taking a shower—rituals are viewed as more meaningful practices which have a real sense of purpose.

The research that has been done on prayer shows it may have similar benefits to meditation: It can calm your nervous system, shutting down your fight or flight response. It can make you less reactive to negative emotions and less angry.

– David H. Rosmarin, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Spirituality and Mental Health Program at McLean Hospital, in Belmont, Mass.

A 2005 study in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine comparing secular and spiritual forms of meditation found spiritual meditation to be more calming. Spiritual meditation group was less anxious and more positive than the other groups.  

In secular meditation, you focus on something such as your breath or a nonspiritual word or texts of self-affirmation. In spiritual meditation, you focus on a spiritual word or text that described the loving nature of God.

Participants were divided into groups, with some being taught how to meditate using words of self-affirmation (“I am love”) and others taught how to meditate with words that described a higher power (“God is love”). They then meditated for 20 minutes a day for four weeks.

Researchers found that the group that practiced spiritual meditation showed greater decreases in anxiety and stress and more positive mood. They also tolerated pain almost twice as long when asked to put their hand in an ice water bath.[27]

Make time to pray and meditate daily!




























Protein Powder for Building Muscles and Unwanted heavy metals, and bisphenol A (BPA)?


  • Get your protein intake from food – not supplements!
  • A safe protein requirement calculation is achieved by multiplying your lean body mass in KG by 1.9 (if an athlete) or 0.8 (non-athlete) grams of protein.
  • A reasonable estimate for where protein toxicity begins is between 150 to 200 g/day.

Protein powder can be a helpful and harmful supplement.  In this article, I will explain how to satisfy the adequate amount of daily protein intake while avoiding unwanted heavy metals and bisphenol A (BPA) that can be harmful to your body.


The protein requirements for your body largely depend on your fitness goals and your lean body mass.  The average person (non-athlete) will need a moderate-protein diet (15% of total daily calorie intake or 0.5 – 1 lb of animal protein-rich foods a day) which can easily be obtained from a combination of eggs, dairy, poultry, meat, fish, or pork.  An athlete, on the other hand, could benefit from a slightly higher protein intake as referenced below [1]:


Alternatively, Jaminet in a piece dated in 2011 writes:

“Those who are content with maintaining an ordinary person’s muscle mass can get by with relatively low protein intakes of 0.8 g/kg/day or less. But muscle-building athletes need high protein intakes, around 1.9 g/kg/day, to maximize the rate of muscle gain. If they eat low-carb, they may need even more protein. Such high protein intakes are likely to exceed the threshold of toxicity.” [2]

Dr. Mercola recommends “about one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass [and] if you’re aggressively exercising or competing, or pregnant (or lactating), your daily protein requirement may be 25 to 50 percent higher.” [2A]

Combining both Jaminet and Mercola’s recommendations would, therefore, give us a range of about 0.5 – 0.8 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass which seems reasonable since Mercola, a D.O. and Jaminet, a Ph.D. seem to share the valid concern of protein toxicity based on thorough research. [3, 4]

Let’s assess my personal protein requirements (for muscle-building) as an example:

I will need to figure out my lean body mass first in order to figure out what how much protein I need per pound of lean body mass; I recommend visiting your local Walmart or another nearby supermarket where you can find a blood pressure machine that often includes a comprehensive assessment including a weight and body fat reading.

The easiest way to uncover your lean body mass is by simply entering your body fat percentage into the lean body mass calculator at,

At 17% body fat, my lean body mass is 131 LBS.  One serving of protein powder (ideally post-workout) will give me anywhere between 25 – 35 grams of protein.

Using Jaminet’s suggestion to consume protein mainly from fatty meats, let’s take a closer examination of protein in the following sources:

  • You will get between 29 and 36 grams of protein from 4 ounces of cooked beef round or chuck roast. [5]
  • A 4-ounce roasted chicken breast gives you just over 25 grams of protein. [6]
  • You’ll get about 36 grams of protein from five ounces of cooked salmon. [7]
  • 4 ounces of cooked pork tenderloin provides about 30 grams of protein. [8]

Here’s an example of what an ideal day of protein intake may look like for me to build muscle:

  • Jaminet’s suggestion (2014): 131 LBS x 0.8 = 104.8 grams protein
  • Jaminet’s alternative suggestion (2011): 59.42 KG (131 lbs. lean body mass) x 1.9 grams of protein = 113 grams protein
  • Mercola’s suggestion: 131 x 0.5 = 65.5 + 25% = 82 grams protein  or 65.5 + 50% = 98.25 grams protein

– 30 grams of protein from eggs

– 45 grams of ground beef (6 oz.)

– 37 grams of chicken (6 oz.)


112 Grams of total protein intake

Reaching the required protein intake for muscle-building individuals is easy and even easier for average (non-athletic) individuals!


During my previous bodybuilding days, the advise consuming 1 gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass was not only erroneous but, destructive!  The scientific community is certain that excess protein destroys healthiness.

Jaminet notes [9]:

“At a protein intake of 230 g/day (920 calories), the body’s ability to convert ammonia to urea is saturated. This means the nitrogen from every additional gram of protein lingers in the body as ammonia, a toxin.  Clearly marginal dietary protein is toxic, via ammonia poisoning, at this intake level. A reasonable estimate for where toxicity begins is between 150 to 200 g/day.[Emphasis mine]

According to a recent article from Harvard Health Publishing [10]:


The advice from Harvard seems to go right along with Jaminet’s alternative suggestion to use 1.9 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight; therefore, I would use either Jaminet’s alternative suggestion or Mercola’s suggestion shown above since both approaches seem to be credible and reasonable.


After hours of research, I have decided that it is more reasonable to side-step any kind of protein powder in place of food.

Jaminet notes: [11]


Dr. Weil notes: [12]

“I do not recommend whey protein powder, or any protein powder, for vegetarians or anyone else. It is just not necessary…The main protein source I recommend for vegetarians is whole soy. Whole soy foods, including tempeh and tofu, are excellent sources of protein that are nutritionally equivalent to the protein you would get from meat, chicken, fish or eggs. My favorite ways to consume soy include snacking on edamame (green soybeans), adding tofu to stir-fries, and using smoked tempeh strips as an alternative to bacon. Substituting soy protein for animal protein is a healthy change I would like to see more people make, although you should use only organic, whole soy foods and avoid soy isolates and supplements.”

Harvard Health notes several risk factors when using protein powders: [13]

  • A protein powder is a dietary supplement. There’s no way to know if a protein powder contains what manufacturers claim.
  • We don’t know the long-term effects. “There are limited data on the possible side effects of high protein intake from supplements,” McManus says.
  • It may cause digestive distress. “People with dairy allergies or trouble digesting lactose [milk sugar] can experience gastrointestinal discomfort if they use a milk-based protein powder,” McManus points out.
  • It may be high in added sugars and calories. Some protein powders have little-added sugar, and others have a lot (as much as 23 grams per scoop). Some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories. The risk: weight gain and an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 24 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men.
  • Toxins in protein powders. Earlier this year, a nonprofit group called the Clean Label Project released a report about toxins in protein powders. Researchers screened 134 products for 130 types of toxins and found that many protein powders contained heavy metals (lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury), bisphenol-A (BPA, which is used to make plastic), pesticides, or other contaminants with links to cancer and other health conditions.

WebMD notes: [14]

“In 2010, Consumer Reports tested 15 protein drinks for heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury. Three of them had potentially harmful amounts of contaminants, based on federal safety guidelines.

That same year, ConsumerLab, which independently tests supplements, said nearly a third of 24 protein supplements they tested for quality assurance failed. Two of them had a potentially risky amount of lead. Others had more cholesterol or sodium than was listed on the label.”

Let’s face it, if you’re using the suggested protein consumption calculations from Jaminet and Mercola, I believe it is realistic to consume enough protein from food during 3 -4 daily meals. 

Protein powders seem to carry too much uncertainty when it comes to transparent and consistent manufacturing and labeling along with other concerns. 

Instead of relying on reports (in this case, from Consumer Labs or more recently from the Clean Label Project) regarding the safety of protein supplements, I’d rather depend on what humans have long lived on for thousands of years – a wide variety of animal and plant-based foods!



 [1] Jaminet, P., 2014. The Case of the Killer Protein. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[2] Jaminet, P., 2011. Protein for Athletes. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[2A] Mercola, J., 2016. Precision Matters When It Comes to Protein. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[3] Jaminet, P., n.d. Category Archives: Protein. [Online]
Available at:…0.1131j306391j7..1ac.1.2
[4] Mercola, J., n.d. Health Articles Tab. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[5] Anne, M., 2018. How Much Protein Is in 4 Oz of Beef?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[6] Anne, M., 2018. How Much Protein Is in 4 Ounces of Chicken?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[7] Anne, M., 2018. How Much Protein Is in Five Ounces of Salmon?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[8] Anne, M., 2018. How Much Protein is in Pork?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[9] Jaminet, P., 2011. Protein for Athletes. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[10] Anon., 2018. When it comes to protein, how much is too much?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[11] Jaminet, P., 2017. Q & A. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[12] Weil, A., 2013. Whey Better Protein?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[13] Anon., 2018. When it comes to protein, how much is too much?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].
[14] McMillen, M., 2017. Protein Powder Can Provide Boost But At What Cost?. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 13 Sept. 2018].

The Mighty Battle: Food & Life

Image result for food temptation      ARTICLE AT-A-GLANCE

  • Eat less of the unhealthy foods and more of the healthy foods during most of your meals and on most days.
  • Unchanged destructive food choices and eating patterns are behaviors that lead to illness and premature death.
  • Intermittent fasting is a good strategy to consider for weight loss and maintenance of ideal body weight.



The Incompatible Mindset: Aspirations V.S. Actions

Many of us adopt a behavior I coin, “The Precipice Principle” – the taking of action to promote your health only when you are already clinically diagnosed with an illness or are experiencing bothersome symptoms.

Given the choice to be free of illness or to live with an illness is really a no-brainer yet, it is well-established that many people suffer from becoming overweight or obese. Our aspirations to live healthy typically oppose actions needed to become healthy in the first place.

Living a healthy life is challenging but, we must address the challenge if we are to overcome obstacles that allow us opportunities to lead healthy lives.

Each of our bodies is unique and complex. The state of our healthiness is influenced by proper diet, exercise, rest, fresh air, sunlight and social relationships – all of which affect our thoughts and emotions.  We must seek to maintain a balance between all the elements that influence our health.

You might have already noticed that I promote the Perfect Health Diet in my blog. I think the fundamental prescribed strategies outlined within the book are balanced and reasonable, and should be adhered to however, we don’t need to eat “perfectly” all the time to achieve healthiness – instead, we need to recognize and refine our lifelong habits.

One common thread will always remain true when it comes to your health: your decision to learn, adapt and evolve to the state of your health comes from within – something only you can control.

Aspirations can translate into actions only by learning first to value yourself enough; a willingness to accept the necessity to become a better version of yourself translates into new courses of action which stems from listening to ideas different from your own.

My hope for you is that I can influence you before you too, adopt “The Precipice Principle.”

Let’s begin with a simple principle:

Eat less of the unhealthy foods and more of the healthy foods during most of your meals and on most days; this is an imperfect but realistic plan!


Healthy Food Healthy Body

A habit making healthy food choices will give your body what it needs while helping to prevent disease and promote sustained energy. Concisely, nutrient-dense foods will help promote human health.

For instance, eating portions of salmon with rice and a vegetable shake (with only ¼ cup of fruit) will:

  • Salmon: improve cardiovascular health, improve mood and cognition, join protection, decreased risk of macular degeneration and chronic dry eyes, and decreased risk of cancers (prostate, breast, colorectal).
  • Rice: help with blood pressure management, brain protection against Alzheimer’s disease, health y body metabolism, immune health, promotion of organ system health and cardiovascular health.
  • Vegetables:   lower risks of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke, confer protection against certain cancers, obesity and other disease, lowers blood pressure and promotes healthy bones.

Balanced and nutrient-dense diets help to bring about ideal physiological function.

In this view, the increased consumption of healthy foods is a source of cleansing partly responsible for the advancement of our health whereas the increased consumption of unhealthy foods is a source of contamination responsible for the deterioration of our health.


Food: The Love – Hate Relationship

We all have cravings for foods we know are bad for us. There is great power in how food affects human behavior. 

Many people are under constant pressure to live healthy in a world filled with delicious appetizing but not so healthy food.  The last time I went to a party with friends and family where cakes, cookies, soda or other unhealthy foods were missing was never!

I’ve seen family and friends with borderline diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure gorge on unhealthy foods during parties. As their conditions worsened, they felt guilty and stressed about their enticingly passionate love for unhealthy foods.

Unfortunately, unchanged destructive food choices and eating patterns are behaviors that lead to illness and premature death; funerals of my family and friends’ deaths are attributed to such illnesses including cancer, dementia and heart disease.

I also know loved ones living with cancer, obesity, heart issues (blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides), Kidney issues (Dialysis), and blood sugar issues (diabetes and prediabetes).

Since food can be both an enemy and a friend, then we must learn to balance how we handle the “enemy” and the “friend” we call, “food:”

  • Don’t be overly vigilant: Don’t become obsessed with eating only healthy foods; instead, eat more of what’s good for you and a whole lot less of what’s bad for you.  For example, some days I satisfy my sweet tooth by eating a palm size amount of a junk food (i.e. 1 or 2 Oreo Cookies, or Reese’s Pieces). Other days, I have healthier sweets like a ¼ of fruit or a teaspoon of peanut butter with jelly on top. The main idea is to be vigilant of the amount of sugar you consume per day (which should be anywhere around 15 – 30 grams).
  • Don’t black-list foods: I teach that obsession with only proper food choices is an unhealthy behavior. Depriving yourself of the foods you love is not only unhealthy but, it’s unfair to you; it’s also a strategy for failure as it can lead to a binge eating disorder.  My advice: eat what you love but drink a whole lot of water (carry a water bottle with you) before to avoid eating excessive amounts.
  • Don’t try to become “Perfect”: Like sleep, food is a necessity and a balance that must be achieved for healthiness. Regaining a healthy relationship with the food you eat is about living within the boundaries of your “friends” (healthy foods) and “enemies” (unhealthy foods); therefore, cling to your “friends” and distance yourself from your “enemies;” most importantly, love your “enemies” when they confront you!


Eat Reasonably – Not Perfect

If you’re overweight or unhealthy in other ways, you’ll need to start your journey by eating the right foods; I think the food proportions and vitamin recommendations outlined within the Perfect Health Diet are an excellent place to start but, not an end to all means (no diet plan is).

A well-balanced nutritious diet is vital for good health.  The problem for many people is a failure to establish a basic understanding of what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.

My prescription for good health includes the following: 

Main Foods

  • Protein (eggs, Wild Alaskan Salmon, sardines, anchovies, scallops, shrimp, beef, lamb, chicken, pork)
    • Portion size: Moderate – Moderately high (for muscle-building) (1 -2 handful per day up to 1 lb.)
  • Vegetables
    • Portion size: High (2 handful serving or more)
  • Carbs
    • Portion size: Low – Moderate (1 palm – 1 handful per day)
  • Oils (coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, macadamia oil, butter)
    • Portion size: Use sparingly during cooking
  • Healthy Snacks (dairy, fruit and nuts)
    • Portion size: Low (1 handful of nuts and about 1 cup of yoghurt or 8 – 12 oz. of milk, preferably goat milk).


  • Drink mostly water
  • Organic Tea (I suggest Rooibos, Matcha, and Chamomile) and coffee is fine.

  ‘Junk Foods’

  • Consume on Occasion or VERY SMALL portion sizes daily (if you are disciplined)


Each category listed above contains unique benefits that promote your overall healthiness. For example, sardines are a source omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, B12, Vitamin D, and of course, protein.  Vegetables don’t include EPA and DHA or protein but, include folate, fiber, and a host of important vitamins including: A, C, B2, B6 and so on.

Each food group – including ‘Junk Foods’ which help enhance enjoyment during social events (an important aspect of psychological health) – serves a purpose in the advancement of overall healthiness.


Eating Large Meals too Soon at Bedtime is a Bad Idea

 Cinderella’s lovely coach turns into a pumpkin at midnight and so do we. Eating heavy meals close to bed time is never a good idea as our body is likely to store calories as fat instead of burning the calories as energy; the body best digests food when you are seated or standing – not laying down. 

Too much stored fat contributes to obesity and a cluster of other diseases such as insulin and leptin resistance, and high LDL cholesterol markers.

It’s also important to note the digestion of food requires your body to expend energy. When you lay on a full stomach, metabolic organs like your liver and kidneys remain active rather than relaxed which can reduce quality of sleep; lack of sleep causes stress which in turn promotes weight gain.

If you are generally healthy and wish to maintain a state of healthiness, the best time to finish eating your last meal is about two – three hours before bedtime.

If you are overweight, the time to finish eating your last meal is double: about 4 – 6 hours before bedtime.  If you must eat before bedtime, ensure it’s a healthy 50 – 100 calorie snack.


Eat On a Fixed Schedule — “Open” to “Close”

 The body does best when it’s fed during your hours of operation – that is calories to help supply you with energy you expend throughout the day. This is a relatively easy but difficult concept for many to adopt.

Everyone’s eating windows and calorie needs differ because everyone has a different daily regimen and work demand. If you have a physically demanding job where your work shifts constantly change, you will have to constantly adjust and balance the time you eat and the amount of calories you consume.

Work shifts that change often requires flexible and consistent feeding times to help reduce or eliminate possibilities of becoming overweight or worse, obese.


Intermittent Fasting: A Strategy to Consider

I typically eat two full meals a day and sometimes snack between meals. Practicing the habit helped reduce my LDL total cholesterol levels and improved my glucose levels. 

Intermittent fasting can help overweight and obese individuals lose weight thereby, protecting against cardiovascular disease and diseases associated with high glucose levels.

Intermittent fasting is a good strategy to consider to maintain ideal body weight or to lose weight.  Below are my favorite types of Intermittent Fasting strategies: 

1.  16 – 18 Hour Fast: With this plan, you have 6 to 8 hours to eat.  You will skip a meal — breakfast or dinner — and eat within a six to eight hour window each day.  High calorie meals should be consumed during daylight hours and low calorie snacks / meals (50 – 100 calories) should be consumed within  3 – 5 hours before bedtime.

This plan helps me to maintain ideal weight and it works “okay” with weight loss. My wife tried an 18 hour fast however, she only lost about 1 pound a week.

2.  The 5:2 Fast: Men will eat about 600 calories and women will eat about 500. Like any other fast, you will drink plenty of water and zero calorie drinks. You eat normally on the other five days of the week.

3.  Alternate Day Fasting: This is my favorite fasting type for weight loss as it has shown incredible results.  This plan helps my dad and wife lose about 2 – 3 pounds a week.  My dad lost over 20 pounds and my wife lost 10 pounds.  I highly recommend the book for details on implementing the plan.


The Big Picture: Eat Balanced!

Although there are various opinions on the proportion of food groups, one thing will never change:

Balanced meals help maximize the amount nutrients your body needs.

The old saying remains true: “Too much of a good thing is bad.” It’s bad not only because your dietary regimen can grow really boring really fast but, because you can harm your body. 

Years ago, when I started learning about good fats, I supplemented coconut oil in everything from eggs, coffee, meats, and yes – even into my vegetable shakes!  Over-consuming coconut oil eventually led me to elevated LDL cholesterol markers. 

Thank goodness I routinely attend my Periodic Health Assessments otherwise, I never would have reassessed my understanding of dietary strategies!   

Walking down grocery store isles, I see a variety of labels (i.e. organic, Non-GMO, No additives or food colors, gluten-free) that attract health-conscious consumers.

While such movements in the food industry are good, it can overshadow the bigger picture:

Eat less of the unhealthy foods and more of the healthy foods during most of your meals and on most days, and practice healthy eating patterns including the avoidance of eating too much too soon before bedtime.

You Might be Inviting Breast Cancer into Your Life

Breast Cancer is a dreadful diagnosis. It’s the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women with one in eight women receiving diagnosis of the disease. [1] There is no doubt breast cancer afflicts women of all ethnicities.

While science offers little insight about the precise causes of breast cancer in any person, there is sufficient information on what might contribute to the manifestation of the disease.

Let’s begin with a brief understanding of breast cancer before exploring how neglecting a healthy diet contributes to its occurrence and recurrence.


Breast cancer can be separated into two groups: Non-invasive and Invasive.

Non-invasive Breast Cancer
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) exists when abnormal cells remain inside the breast milk duct lining; therefore, the surrounding breast tissue is unaffected. Carcinoma means “cancer” and in situ means “in its original place.”

Here is a picture of what DCIS looks like:

IDC & ILC: Two Types of Invasive Breast Cancer

General/ Not Otherwise Specified ‘NOS’ Invasive (or infiltrating) ductal carcinoma (IDC) penetrates through the milk duct lining into the surrounding fatty breast tissue; the cancer cells are then able to spread to other parts of the body including, the lymph nodes — small, bean-shaped glands connected to the lymphatic system (LS); the LS carries fluid, nutrients, and foreign material between the blood stream and body tissue (made from joined cells which then form organs).

Lymph nodes filter and trap bacteria, viruses, and other waste material found in the lymph fluid for white blood cells (called “lymphocytes” which is displayed within your CBC blood tests) to destroy.

Here is what the lymphatic system and lymph nodes look like:

NOS IDC can also spread into the bones between the ribs and into the liver, and lungs. Generic IDC represents 80% of all breast cancer, making it the most common form of breast cancer. Generally speaking, the closer to stage 0 NOS IDC is detected determines your likelihood of achieving the approximate survival rate of around 84% from NOS IDC.

Less common forms of IDC with distinct characteristics include: Tubular, Medullary, Mucinous, and Papillary. The special subtypes of IDC generally have a positive predicted course and outcome (prognosis). Below includes a brief summary of each subtype of IDC:

Tubular: Tubular Ductal Carcinomas (TBC) is comprised of slow-growing tube shaped tumor cells (these “tubules” resemble normal healthy cells) the size of 1 cm or less. TC represents less than 2% of all breast cancer.

Medullary: Medullary Ductal Carcinomas (MDC) is comprised of tumor cells that resemble a gray colored soft tissue in the medulla oblongata – a code shaped nerve cell found in the brainstem. MC represents less than 5% of all breast cancer. Unlike TC, MC tumor cells spread rapidly and appear distinctly different than the normal healthy cells.

Mucinous: Mucinous Ductal Carcinomas (MUDC) is comprised of tumor cells with an excessive amount of mucous. MCC represents less than 2% of all breast cancer. MCC tumor cells divide slowly and appear to look normal.

Papillary: Papillary (‘nipple-like’) Ductal Carcinomas (PDC) is comprised of tumor cells that resemble nipples or tiny lumps. PPC represents less than 1% of all breast cancer. Most PDC tumor cells are benign but, like any other invasive breast cancer, malignancy is very much common. PPC therefore, includes in in situ (confined to the site of origin) and invasive tumor cells.

Invasive (or infiltrating) lobular carcinoma (ILC) is the second most common form of breast cancer representing 10 – 15% of all breast cancer. In ILC, the cancer cells develop in the lobules which are the glands where milk is produced (see picture above).

Below are very rare forms of breast cancer:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is characterized by reddening and swelling of the breast which is caused by cancerous cells blocking the lymph vessels in your lymphatic system. IBC is an aggressive form of cancer; the tumor cells grow and spread quickly. IBC represents 1% of all breast cancer.

Paget Disease of the Nipple is characterized by cancer cells that accumulate in or around the nipple.

Metaplastic Breast Cancer (MBC) is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of your body and not the same or opposite breast.


Performing monthly breast self-exams and leaning what warning signs of breast cancer to watch for can help lead to early diagnosis by a healthcare professional thereby, increasing the odds of positive prognosis. According to the American Cancer Society [2], the most common signs and symptom of breast cancer include the following:

• New lump or mass
• Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
• Skin irritation or dimpling
• Breast or nipple pain
• Nipple retraction (turning inward)
• Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
• A nipple discharge other than breast milk

While the signs and symptoms do not undeniably suggest the occurrence of breast cancer, it is critical to visit your healthcare provider immediately if you notice odd changes to your breasts.



In my initial article I classify Mammograms as a “questionable test.” False-positives that lead to unnecessarily risky procedures and intense radiation (exposure directly to the breasts) are enough drawbacks that compel me to question the safety and accuracy of Mammograms.

False-positives lead to Unnecessarily Risky Procedures

A 2014 Canadian National Breast Screening Study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) compared the rate of breast cancer and mortality for up to 25 years in 89,835 women aged 40-59 who underwent or did not undergo mammography screening.

The studies showed no reduction in breast cancer deaths (beyond that of breast physical examinations alone) from five yearly mammography screenings in women aged 40-49, nor in women aged 50-59. [3] In other words, breast cancer death rates remained the same between women who underwent mammograms and women who didn’t undergo mammograms.

There is still no solid scientific evidence that suggest mammograms save lives instead, the opposite is true: the over-diagnosis (false-positives) in breast cancer exposes patients to unnecessarily risky procedures; mammography therefore, is unsafe and does not save lives (at least for now).

A Caution on Radiation Exposure

Mammography was designed with a good intention however, so far the current data lacks that it helps to prevent cancer. In fact, low doses of ionizing radiation may increase cancer risks over time for the following high-risk women [4, 5]

• Women with genetic mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
• Women with a strong family history of breast cancer despite no known genetic mutations.

Researchers – for their analysis – chose six out of 47 studies on the subject of breast cancer risks from mammography among high-risk women. Four studies included women with breast cancer gene mutation carriers and two studies included women with a family history of breast cancer. Based on data from the six studies, the researchers provided the following estimated breast cancer risks associated with radiation exposure:

“The results showed that among all high-risk women in the study, average increased risk of breast cancer due to low-dose radiation exposure [after age 20] was 1.5 times greater than that of high-risk women not exposed to low-dose radiation. High-risk women exposed before age 20 or with five or more exposures were 2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer than high-risk women not exposed to low-dose radiation.”

Based on the findings, one of the researchers, Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology and Radiology at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands states that careful approach is warranted when considering mammography for screening young women, particularly under age 30; Dr. Jansen-van der Weide therefore, recommends that young high-risk women have mammograms every other year starting at age 30 if no alternative screening methods exist. [6, 7]

Notice the study does not include average women who follow recommendations for yearly mammograms starting at age 40; nevertheless, we know radiation exposure increases the risk of breast cancer, especially for young women.  It’s also important to note that the studies discuss the topic of radiation not specific from one source (i.e. mammography). For instance, young girls undergoing radiation treatment for lymphoma have a risk of up to 50 percent in developing breast cancer later in life. Concisely, the chances of developing breast cancer from radiation exposure decreases at older ages and increases at younger ages.


Your diet plays a very important role in the prevention and battle with breast cancer; Dr. Jaminet’s, “The Perfect Health Diet” (PHD) provides us with the most ideal diet plan using scientific research.  I’ll discuss dietary strategies later; for now, let’s discuss how various bad habits contribute to the increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Food additives & Xenoestrogens

Estrogen in women is the hormone responsible for female characteristics like the development of breasts and regulation of menstrual cycles. While estrogen is good, too much estrogen (estrogen dominance) may be responsible for the development of breast cancer and many other cancers.

Compounds are added to food mainly to emulsify (thicken), preserve, add nutritional content, flavor or color, and to balance acid and alkaline; additives however, don’t come without health risks. Estrogenic food additives (EFA) in particular have estrogen-mimicking properties called, “xenoestrogens” (endocrine disruptors) – synthetic chemicals that might potentially affect the epithelial cells of the human breast [8] by binding to and activating estrogen receptors (proteins in and on cells) in our bodies; [9]

Epithelial cells come in layers that line the ducts and lobes of breasts (and other organs and glands) and also produce breast milk (see picture of breast above); breast cancer arises from epithelial cells. Altered epithelial breast cells influence radiological breast density [10, 11] – one of the strongest indicators in assessing risk factors for breast cancer. [12]

Xenoestrogens are everywhere: processed food, skincare, plastics, building supplies, and insecticides. [13] In my blog, I teach balance; therefore, there is no need to be obsessed with avoiding exposure to xenoestrogens entirely rather, simply look for ways to reduce your exposure.

Neglecting a healthy diet likely means you are frequently eating processed foods that increase your exposure to xenoestrogens and hence, your probable risk of developing breast cancer or other cancers and diseases in your lifetime. Processed foods will commonly include:

Preservatives (i.e. sodium benzoate, sodium nitrite, BHA, BHT, Propyl Paraben, 4-hexylresorcinol, Propyl gallate etc.), artificial sweeteners, flavor enhancers (i.e. fructose, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), etc.), and artificial colors (FD&C Blue Nos. 1 and 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red Nos. 3 and 40, FD&C Yellow Nos. 5 and 6, Orange B, Citrus Red No. 2, etc.). Within the additives, xenoestrogens are found in BHA, FD&C Red No. 3, propyl gallate, propyl paraben, and 4-hexylresorcinol.

Milk Does a Body Good?

While meat, poultry and dairy treated with hormonal substances (i.e. estradiol, progesterone) have a negligible impact on human health, [14] more studies are required in order to gain a better understanding of the possible impact of hormones in dairy foods. Our cumulative exposure to xenoestrogens may influence the level of risk of developing breast cancer and other endocrine related cancers. [15]

Since estrogen (mainly in the form of estrone sulfate or E1S) in dairy consumption might disrupt our endocrine system, [16] limiting dairy to help prevent risks of breast cancer (or other cancers) is therefore, a cautious approach worthy of consideration.

Here is what the endocrine system looks like:

There is conflicting information on whether or not ingesting endogenous estrogens from milk by cows milked in late pregnancy increases the likelihood of developing different types of cancer including breast cancer. Several studies show how estrogen in cow milk (and other dairy products) affects the human body:

One study suggests commercial cow’s milk from pregnant cows containing large amounts of estrogens and progesterone is absorbed in all adults and children. [17] The results showed a decrease in testosterone and gonadotropin (hormones from the pituitary gland that stimulate the testis in men and the ovaries in women) production.

Another study suggests that commercial 1% cow milk contained biologically significant levels of estrogen as evidenced by the uterotrophic activity on the uteri in rats. [18] The results showed that rats given commercial cow milk had a heavier uterus and an increased uterine epithelial cell height.

One more study including a 26-year follow-up (from 1980 – 2006) on the role of milk (and other dairy products) and endometrial cancer suggests high intakes of milk and other dairy products have a moderate potential to cause endometrial cancer among postmenopausal women not using estrogen-containing hormones. [19]

Here is a picture of what the endometrium looks like:

In contrast, one study showed there was insignificant biological estrogenic activity in female rats given commercial cow milk. [20] The results of a two- week study showed no difference in uterine weight between female rats given milk ad libitum (‘ad lib’ is Latin for ‘all they want’ or ‘as much and as often as desired’) and the negative control (rats observed in their natural state).

The evidence showing unwanted effects associated with habitual consumption of cow milk seem to trounce evidence suggesting the safety of consuming cow milk. And as for organic milk: Organic milk might be better than conventional milk but, may still contain endogenous estrogens.

In the grand scheme, compelling scientific evidence can tempt us to completely avoid milk at all costs however, we must remember that milk contains beneficial nutrients like calcium and vitamin D that should never be dismissed.

If you seek to limit estrogen intake, consider goat milk which has lower combined concentration levels of estrone E(1) and estradiol E(2) compared to regular and organic cow milk. [21]

Estrone (the least abundant estrogen) estradiol (the primary female sex hormone that regulates menstrual cycles) and estriol (abundant during pregnancy) are three of seven (that I will only mention) naturally occurring estrogens in men and women; the two major estrogens include estrone and estradiol.

Estrone can convert to estrone sulfate (which lives for a long time in the body) which can then convert as needed into estradiol – the estrogen responsible for increasing risks of developing breast cancer. [22]

Nutrient Deficiencies in a Processed Food Diet

Our propensity to choose unhealthy processed foods leads to obesity from a nutritionally deficient diet [23] that can later promote breast cancer. [24] Worst of all, avoiding healthful foods can create a deficiency in breast cancer-fighting vitamins like, A, C, and D. [25, 26, 27, 28]

What’s also missing from most processed food diets are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which have inflammation-resolving properties and favorable effects on oncogenic proteins [29] – proteins coded by genes that can potentially mutate normal cells into cancerous cells. It’s easy to make unhealthy food choices in our rushed environment.

The consequences in not giving your body the proper nutrients it needs are dire. Make healthy choices now and avoid the unnecessary risks of developing breast cancer later.


Breast cancer prevention starts by developing healthy habits that include a healthful balanced diet, vitamin supplementation, physical activity, sun exposure and a happy social life. If you are already diagnosed with breast cancer, take hope and seek support from family and friends.

There are many survivors of breast cancer – seek with all your heart, mind, body and soul to be one of those survivors. I hope this article gives you broad overview of what potentially causes the occurrence and recurrence of breast cancer.

Stay tuned for my next blog piece where I plan to discuss dietary strategies I use to keep me and my family healthy; the strategies may also help for those of you who already have breast cancer.



[1] 2015. Breast Cancer Facts. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[2] 2015. Signs and symptoms of breast cancer. 10 09. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[3] Miller, Anthony B. 2014. Twenty-five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence. 01 16. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[4] Andrew Weil, M.D. 2010. Mammograms: Too Much Radiation? 01 12. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[5] Pijpe, Anouk. 2012. Exposure to diagnostic radiation and risk of breast cancer among carriers of BRCA1/2 mutations: retrospective cohort study (GENE-RAD-RISK). 08 10. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[6] Marijke C. Jansen-van der Weide, Ph.D. 2009. Mammography May Increase Breast Cancer Risk in Some High-Risk Women. 12 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[7] Laino, Charlene. 2009. Study: Mammograms May Raise Breast Cancer Risk. 12 02. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[8] Fernandez, S.V. 2010. Estrogen and Xenoestrogens in Breast Cancer. 07 21. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[9] Rosa, Piergiorgio La. 2014. Xenoestrogens Alter Estrogen Receptor (ER) α Intracellular Levels. 02 20. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[10] Sprague, Brian L. 2013. Circulating serum xenoestrogens and mammographic breast density. 05 27. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[11] Boyd, Norman F. 2010. Breast Tissue Composition and Susceptibility to Breast Cancer. 08 18. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[12] 2010. Breast Tissue Composition and Susceptibility to Breast Cancer. 05 28. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[13] ND, Amy LaRue. 2012. Xenoestrogens – What are they? How to avoid them. 09 06. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[14] Jeong, Sang-Hee. 2010. Risk Assessment of Growth Hormones and Antimicrobial Residues in Meat. 12 26. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[15] Fucic, Aleksandra. 2012. Environmental exposure to xenoestrogens and oestrogen related cancers: reproductive system, breast, lung, kidney, pancreas, and brain. 06 28. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[16] MALEKINEJAD, Hassan. 2015. Hormones in Dairy Foods and Their Impact on Public Health – A Narrative Review Article. 06 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[17] K, Maruyama. 2009. Exposure to exogenous estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. 05 22. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[18] D, Ganmaa. 2006. Commercial cows’ milk has uterotrophic activity on the uteri of young ovariectomized rats and immature rats. 05 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[19] Ganmaa, Davaasambuu. 2011. Milk, dairy intake and risk of endometrial cancer: a twenty six-year follow-up. 09 17. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[20] C, Furnari. 2012. Lack of biologically active estrogens in commercial cow milk. 01 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[21] DW, Farlow. 2012. Comparison of estrone and 17β-estradiol levels in commercial goat and cow milk. 08 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[22] M, Kabuto. 2000. A prospective study of estradiol and breast cancer in Japanese women. 06 09. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[23] n.d. How Our Surroundings Influence What We Eat. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[24] Pergola, Giovanni De. 2013. Obesity as a Major Risk Factor for Cancer. 08 29. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[25] Zhang, Shumin. 1998. Dietary Carotenoids and Vitamins A, C, and E and Risk of Breast Cancer. 12 31. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[26] Bakker, Marije F. 2015. Plasma carotenoids, vitamin C, tocopherols, and retinol and the risk of breast cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. 11 30. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[27] Garland, Cedric F. 2006. The Role of Vitamin D in Cancer Prevention. 02 01. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[28] MOHR, SHARIF B. 2014. Meta-analysis of Vitamin D Sufficiency for Improving Survival of Patients with Breast Cancer. 01 09. Accessed 05 21, 2016.
[29] Fabian, Carol J. 2015. Omega-3 fatty acids for breast cancer prevention and survivorship. 05 04. Accessed 05 21, 2016.

Help! I Don’t Know what Tests to Complete: A Guide on Recommended Blood Tests

In America, the most common health issues include: cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and respiratory infections. It’s important to prevent diseases from occurring;  one of the best ways to stay healthy is by going to your Periodic Health Assessments (PHA).  PHA’s are an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  PHA’s allow your doctor to recommend lifestyle changes while paving way for an enriched relationship between you and your doctor; PHA’s also allow your doctor to detect diseases that may present no symptoms and to prevent health concerns from surfacing in the first place.

Valuable Discussions and Relationship with your Doctor 

Living a healthy lifestyle is tremendously important; doctors are a valuable resource in making recommendations to your lifestyle; this is especially true when your lab reference ranges return inadequate or abnormal.  Bad lifestyle habits not only affect your risk for disease but, it also impedes on your ability to feel well throughout your life.  Understanding what changes to make and how to make them will help ward off potential diseases today and in the future.

Doctors understand how the human body works and they also understand that we live in a quick-fix society; we all want instant results with minimal pain and effort (just ask people who want to lose weight). By speaking with your doctor, you can learn about strategies to help you quit smoking, lose weight, become more physically active, develop good sleeping habits, and manage stress. 

Your health is a joint responsibility between you and your doctor.  A good relationship with your doctor influences how engaged you will be to ask questions and to participate during visits; the goal of every doctor visit is to help keep you healthy and to address your medical issues.  The doctor–patient relationship is a keystone of healthcare worthy of our serious attention therefore, we must be willing to seek meaningful relationships with our doctors.

Prevent Health Concerns from Surfacing

Screening to check for the presence of disease prior to signs of clinical symptoms is important however, running blood tests to help prevent diseases from occurring in the first place is just as important.   Many people with a serious aliment (i.e. cancer, stroke, etc.) endure a range of emotions: disbelief, fear, anxiety, guilt, sadness, grief, anger, and depression.  They feel a loss of control over life as thoughts race to answer critical questions like:  “What if I could have avoided the manifestation of my disease?” or “What are all available treatments that exist to help cure or manage my disease?”

Blood testing is one of the most important steps we can all do to help protect our health and to prevent serious diseases from striking.  While blood tests can help you discover valuable information about the status of your health, it’s important to understand the difference between adequate lab reference range results (ALR) versus optimal lab reference range results (OLR).  Time after time, I have met many people with blood work results that fall within the adequate lab reference range yet, instead of feeling relief, they feel unhealthy.   This is a very frustrating experience to endure! 

ALR equates to “normal” whereas OLR equates to “healthy.”  ALR ranges are much too broad to help doctors identify if you are living outside your optimal physiological function.  For example, an ALR for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D Test ranges from 20 – 100 ng/mL. [1]  Although 20 ng/mL is considered “normal” or “adequate,” many experts recommend blood levels to be closer to 40ng/mL in order to decrease your risk of cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and so on. [2]  

Your doctor reads tests not to help you prevent disease but, to diagnose disease when disease is present.  That’s right, your doctor’s primary concern is when your blood results fall outside the ALR (as if falling outside OLR is not harmful enough); by this time, illness is developed.  If you don’t want to become a part of the majority of sick Americans – if you want to take action to help prevent disease from striking, then I strongly suggest making every effort to restore your health status to optimal lab reference range values.

We live in a time where many physicians can barely crunch in a 15-minute doctor visit. Remember, most physicians can only share what they believe are critical at the time of your visit because they often don’t have the time to go into details.  The charts at the bottom will help guide give you a better understanding so that you don’t feel confused and alone when you complete and receive your lab work results.

Tests to Complete

  • Eye exams
  • Dental exams
  • Full body skin exams
  • Fasting blood lipid panel
  • Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)
  • Complete blood cell count (CBC) and differential
  • Vitamin D
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Free T4 and Free T3
  • Thyroid Antibody (Ab) Testing: Thyroid Peroxidase (TPOAb) & Antithyroglobulin (TgAb)
  • Reverse T3 (optional)
  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • Blood Pressure
  • Fasting insulin and glucose
  • Urinalysis
  • Ferritin

Tests Depending on Age & Condition

  • C-Reactive protein levels
    • This test is good to locate inflammation that might exist associated with heart disease and cancer.
  • Annual EKG
    • For high-risk patients and patients with symptoms of heart disease (i.e. chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat).
  • Colonoscopy
    • Complete this test every 10 years beginning at age 50 for early signs of colon cancer. Test earlier if there is a family history.
  • Uric acid
    • Uric Acid is a byproduct of uncontrolled fructose metabolism found in the blood.  It is a marker for fructose toxicity and gout – a painful form of arthritis.  Dr. Richard Johnson  estimates the ideal range of uric acid to fall within 3-5.5 mg/dl or 4 mg/dl for men, and 3.5 mg/dl for women. [3
  • PAP smears (women)
    • Some women need Pap smears every 1-3 years to detect abnormalities that might be present before cervical cancer emerges.    

Questionable Tests:

  • Mammogram (women)
    • This is a discussion to have with your doctor. Understand your risk of breast cancer and your level of comfort with the benefits and risks of having the procedure.
  • Prostate Cancer Screening (men)
    • Discuss conventional prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests or digital rectal exams and alternative methods (i.e. PCA3 and a 4K panels, 3D-color Doppler, ultrasound/MRI) with your physician. False positive readings in conventional PSA tests are very common and lead to over-diagnosis of mostly benign prostate tumors, and unnecessary prostate cancer treatments that harm patients.   


Ideal Levels for Cardiovascular Disease Markers [4]:

Total Cholesterol


Ideal Range = 180 to 200 mg/dL if less than age 70 Ideal Range = Up to 300 if older than age 70
HDL Cholesterol Ideal level = Above 50 mg/dL
LDL Cholesterol Ideal level = Below 100 mg/dL
HDL % or Ratios Ideal levels = See table below
Triglycerides(TG) Ideal level = Below 100 mg/dL
C-Reactive Protein(CRP) Ideal level = Below 1 mg/L (0.1 mg/dL)
Homocysteine Ideal level = Below 8.0 micromoles/L
Lipoprotein(a)ieLp(a) Ideal level = Below 10 mg/dL
Ferritin Ideal range = 20-50 ng/ml (Above 80 is trouble)
Fibrinogen Ideal range = 150-300 mg/dL
Blood glucose(8hr fast) Ideal range = 60-85 mg/dL Pre-diabetic = 95-110 mg/dL Diabetic = Above 110 mg/dL Hypoglycemic = Below 60 mg/dL Critical levels = Below 40 or Above 450 mg/dL
Insulin (8 hr fasting) Good level = Below 5 microUnits/ml Best level = 2-3 microUnits/ml High risk Diabetes= Above 10 microUnits/ml
Hemoglobin A1C Ideal range = Below 6% of total hemoglobin


Ideal Levels for Comprehensive Thyroid Panel  [5, 6]:    

TSH Ideal Range = 1 to 1.5 mIU/L (milli-international units per liter) or 1 to 2 mU/L (milliunits per litre).
Free T4 (FT4) and Free T3 (FT3) FT4 Normal range = 0.9 to 1.8 ng/dL (nanograms per deciliter). FT4 Ideal range = > 1.1 mU/L

FT3 should be between 240 and 450 pg/dl (picograms per deciliter) or > 3.2 mU/L.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPOAb) & Antithyroglobulin Antibody (TgAb) Negative or <4
Reverse T3 (RT3) < than a 10:1 ratio RT3:FT3


Ideal Levels for Vitamin D 25(OH)D range [7]:  

Vitamin D 25(OH)D Ideal Level = 50 ng/ml

Ideal range = 40-80 ng/ml



[1] QuestAssureD™ 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. 2016. (accessed April 29, 2016).
[2] Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D. The Vitamin D Solution. New York: Penguin Group, 2010.
[3] Joseph Mercola, D.O. Fruit Juice May Be Almost as Hazardous to Your Health as Soda. June 19, 2010. (accessed April 29, 2016).
[4] Brian Vonk, M.D. How to Determine Your Cardiovascular Health . January 04, 2003. (accessed April 29, 2016)
[5] Joseph Mercola, D.O. 2015. How to Diagnose and Treat Thyroid Disease . 10 28. Accessed 05 31, 2016.
[6] Aviva Romm, M.D. 2014. Hypothyroid Testing: What You Need To Know and Ask For. 10 28. Accessed 05 31, 2016.
[7] John J. Cannell, M.D. Testing for vitamin D. n.d. (accessed 06 29, 2016).

Better Health Through Discipline

There are those who suggest the study of Nutrition Science, dietetics, medicine, or other related field in science at colleges and universities are the only way to learn how food, supplements and exercise can work for your benefit. Others will say that you must become a personal trainer.  Then there are those who simply tell you that your recovery to good health is unachievable because of the irresistible day to day temptations that surround us.

This is not what champions of health and hope represent. Instead, the spirit of what helps us evolve is rooted by our curiosity and our unrelenting search for answers.  Because whether it’s being overweight, struggling with some sort of disease, or being in a state of emotional instability, we all have an opportunity to organize our lives in order to realize areas where we are unhealthy; then we have an obligation and a responsibility to figure out how we can unlock our path to better health.

At times we are told “no” and while it’s true that society can influence our decisions, we must remember that outcomes in our lives are a direct result of our day to day decisions. In the context of health, many people suffer from a host of unfortunate aliments: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, back pain, joint pain, anxiety, depression and a host of other diseases and disorders.  Our parents, friends, and other loved ones are sadly amongst the millions of sick Americans.  This is why I encourage you to travel another path; one that will seek faith and hope rather than fear and doubt.  A path that will pursue answers instead of despair; a path that will lead to results and not failure!  This is the path we should travel and travel well.

If there is anyone out there who doubts that self discipline and resourcefulness pay off just ask the millions of healthy people who have discovered a diet and exercise regime that works for them. Every day more and more sick people find answers on how to manage their health better.  I invite you to use OrganizeandRealize as an added source of information in your journey to healthiness!