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I’m going to get right to the point, I’d hope you could use this as a print out on the fridge or cupboard, so it will be straight to the point: 

10 Action Steps for Wellness Nutrition:

  1. Add, don’t take away.  People often associate change with terrible loss, and that doesn’t have to be the case.  First things first –  let’s focus on being sufficient in getting enough pure foods, and not focus on what bad stuff is in your diet.  You can’t get to a positive by running from a negative…you must run toward a positive (for example, you won’t ever be rich by trying not to be poor)!  Create the life you deserve!
  2. Fruits and veggies first:  Eat a fruit or a veggie before every meal.  This ensures that you will get the nutrients your innate genetics need to produce health and homeostasis in your body!  Plus, it will take up some of the room in your stomach, so hopefully you won’t be able to fit as much of the bad stuff in.
  3. Always shop on a full stomach:  The battle is won or lost at the point of purchase.  It is much easier to make logical decisions about what to purchase at the grocery store when you are not hungry.  We all know that if a food makes its way into the basket, it is going to be eaten.
  4. Stay on the periphery of the store: That is where the live and healthy foods reside.
  5. Real food goes bad; if it doesn’t go bad, it isn’t good for you:

    I go bad because I have nutritive value

    1. The more nutrients and health in a food, the more organisms want it.  If bacteria doesn’t want your food, chances are, it isn’t food, and you should toss it.
    2. Store food has been created to be stored, not to give you health, so try and avoid foods with labels or packaging.
  6. Understand the ingredientsReal food has real, natural ingredients like blueberries and almonds.  Fake food has “natural flavorings” to trick our tongues, and chemicals to preserve them.  Usually these ingredients read something like “monosodiumdiaoxylglutamicfuranicmethylwhattheheck???”   By the way – what the heck is a “natural flavoring??”  Last time I checked, “natural” isn’t a flavor.
  7. Keep the ingredients list to 5 or fewer:  The more ingredients, the more man/woman has messed with the food, and therefore, the less likely it is a real food.
  8. If it has a health claim, it probably is NOT healthy:

    what part of bleached rice puffs, sugar and chocolate boost immunity?

    Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, explains that the loudest foods in the store (cereal boxes, dairy and juices) are often the most toxic, and the quietest foods in the store (fruits and veggies) are often the healthiest.

  9. Evaluate food choices by thinking about how you will feel post-consumption:  It is absurd when you think about the 23 hours 57 minutes of pain, suffering and guilt you get when eating a donut/Big Mac/pizza, etc. for the 3 min of joy you get while eating it.  Think about what you would want to eat post-workout (for example, after you’ve just finished a really great workout, would you rather have a Big Mac or a smoothie?).
  10. There are NO failures – only feedbackDo not waste time or stress hormones on feeling guilty – look at what you eat in terms of choices, with a goal of becoming healthier.  This is not a diet (destination), it is a way of life (journey).



Your Health Buddy

another great shopping guide:




Of course it is not that simple nowadays, but if you think about it during the course of human history, it was only until recently that not all food was organic and very very local.  Picture that, all food local and organic! Just imagine fresh, ripe strawberries, apples and broccoli, all ready for the picking and grown by the hand of Mother Nature without any pesticides, herbicides or toxic petroleum-based fertilizers.  You’d think that having food a food supply completely separate from fossile fuels isn’t too much to ask, right?!

Keep the chemicles and white suits in the lab, not on my food.

How is this ok?!

Today we have a lot more to think about on top of cost when making food purchases.  If you are at all concerned with these things as I am, I don’t have to tell you that while it’s definitely the healthiest option, buying organic can be financially painful.  This is especially true if you are eating HGS (Hunter Gatherer Style) and sucking fruits and veggies down by the truckload.  So, this week my post is here to help with your decisions on when to buy organic.

First I want everyone to understand that LOCAL AND ORGANIC IS THE BEST for our health.  Local is the absolute best, and is crucial when available because plants’ infuse many of the nutrients into your foods during the last few days of vine ripening.  So, if it is picked weeks before ripening (in order to ship it 12,000 miles to get to you), it will not contain the same amounts of life-giving nutrients.  Ripening post picking would be better termed “rotting.”  If you happen to be one of the lucky (and I would guess less than 1% of us are) Americans who know the farmers that you buy from, ask them their farming methods, because often they actually are organic, but haven’t paid the government for the label.  When you have a relationship with the people who grow the food you eat, and that food is local, fresh and healthy, labels are not necessarily that important.  Plus, it gives you a warm fuzzy feeling to know exactly how and where your food came from.

Warm fuzzies ;-p

Outside of buying locally, you want to focus your efforts on buying organic produce especially if it is found in the DIRTY DOZEN.  This is a list that EWG (Environmental Working Group) (an awesome organization) came up with after doing much research.  They found that some fruits and veggies when industrially grown are heavily dosed with any number of toxic chemicals in order to get them from ground to shopper using industrial farming methods, and those are the ones you want to avoid if not grown organically.  They also found that other types of produce grow just fine without pesticides, so they aren’t absolutely an organic necessity.  For an awesome wallet/purse sized cut out describing each the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 click here.

Personally, I can never remember the difference, so I printed this picture out and it goes everywhere that I go, stashed in my wallet, because I never know when it will be time to gather. 

The best is again to by local, so below are two awesome websites that will help you in your health cause.  Best of luck.


Your Health Buddy

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

My Father.

My Hero

I have only been on this planet for 29 years, and I have not yet created a family of my own, but from what I understand, there aren’t many things in this world more difficult, more selfless or more intensely demanding than raising a family.  Plenty of people have families, and great ones at that, but to do it well, to raise kids and to have a relationship with them where they can trust you, be honest with you, have fun with you, while also look to you for discipline, guidance, leadership and love seems to be the trickiest juggling act I can imagine.  Not to mention do the same thing with a member of the opposite sex as well as have a job/run a business to support not only yourself but these people who are, as I can only imagine, extremely expensive and often self centered.  Not to mention to always be there for them no matter what they are going through even if you do or don’t agree, but to always offer unconditional love and suppport.  That is a DAD. That is my dad. I know that if I can be even close to as good of a father as my Dad was to me, I will have succeeded in my life.

For those of you who are lucky enought to know him, know that he has been and always will be a pillar of strength in my life, one I lean on often when times are good for challenging mental debate and plenty of laughs, and for support and advice when I struggle.  He is always there and I feel comfort in knowing that although we haven’t lived in the same state for about 10 years, he is always with me and only a phone call away.

Truely though, I live much of my life by many of the codes my father taught me.  “Jackerisms” as I have coined for him. the advice and keys to life come often and often come on repete ;-p So often in fact that I was surprised to hear that repitition was the Mother of all learning?  Because dad could fill in in a heartbeat.

Just kidding dad, it’s your repetiive nature that has really helped stick your gold nuggets inside my dome for a life infanitely better off. 

So, Dad, to give tribute to you on this Father’s day, I give the world (my blog readers) some insight into the pure nuggets of gold wisdom that you have gathered and given to me and Andrew, which has helped shap our lives and decisions….and not to toot your horn too much, but you raised some pretty amazing sons ;-p

Araza Men

I love you Dad!

Here goes: Words of Wisdom from Jack Araza:

“Don’t make your problems my problems.”  This is beautiful, have you ever noticed how oftem people what to make there problems your problems, so if you follow this and everybody else does, we only have to deal with our own problmes, and that is more than enough. 

“Risk vs Reward” Probably the most influential peice of advice I have ever heard from anybody.  LIfe is full of risks and rewards, evaluate everything based on the amount of relative risk vs the amount of relative reward and go from there.  Always strive for lowest risk value to highest reward value.

“Trust but Verify” – Can mean different things for different people, but I always use this in the beginning of a relationship, whether friend, romantic, work..etc it allows some guard rails in the real world.

“Always Decrease the # of Transactions.”  Do this and your life will get tremendously easier.  If you tell someone you will be somewhere at 8, just be there, don’t call when you get in the car, and when you are almost there, and have them text you when they are there…etc, simplify and let your stress drift away.

Meet them where they live” Understanding where people come from will help you tremendously in dealing with them.  It will save you time and frustration.  These words go hand in hand with…

Some people can’t leave the neighborhood.”  Meaning where people come from can often be who they are no matter what their current position in life.  Mike Tyson may be a good example  of this.

Code Talking” This describes understanding than many people say stuff for other stuff.

and lastly but not leastly

there’s the story, and then there’s the rest of the story” – You often need both to understand everything, and especially in politics the rest of the story can be left out.

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I love and appreciate you!

Your son,




















No Matter What You Believe,

Your Living Body IS a MIRACLE.


Sometimes we forget.

Sometimes we are misled.

Sometimes we think that our body is not brilliant, magnificent or miraculous.

We can all easily get caught up in pain/discomfort and forget or even question this.

But if your really stop and think how truly amazing YOUR BODY is, you will be amazed at how everything works so well.  I mean, think about it – you pump 2,000 gallons of blood through your body every single day and don’t think about a drop.  You breath 20,000 times every day and do not think about it once.  We all go through amazing changes in our bodies from birth to adult, everyone goes through puberty at roughly the same time, and all of this happens with out any oversight, no meds, nothing – it just happens.  And we don’t question it.  Our bodies are so smart that even slightly before we start exercising, our blood pressure goes up; and if we get a cut on our finger, it heals.  HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!  On a normal day, you don’t think about even 1 of the trillions of chemical reactions that take place in your body every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day of every single year of every single life time… Just stop and think about that and how incredible your body and this life is.

You see, you are intelligent, you are amazing, you carry inside of you an intelligence that runs your body and all of those trillions of reactions discussed above.  Chiropractors call this intelligence “Innate Intelligence.”  It is what separates the living from the dead even though all the same parts are there…It is Innate because it is inborn – you don’t have to learn how to use it, it was there from the second the sperm and egg met that miraculously created you, and actually even before that (somehow, the sperm knew to go toward the egg).  That intelligence is carried through your nervous system, which in coordination with your endocrine system is the master regulator/communicator in your body.  Your brain, spinal cord, nerve roots and peripheral nerves make up your nervous system, and that is the big cheese, the CEO, the General, el Jefe.  All information about what is happening in the body is sent to the brain through the spinal cord, and that information is used to properly run your body.

The central nerve system is the ONLY organ system in your body to be entirely encased in BONE.

The purpose of your spine and skull areis to support and protect your nervous system, while giving shape to your body.  A solid tube of bone would have been the safest way to protect our nerve system, but that wouldn’t have been conducive to movement or life, so we have joints.  Made of much softer tissue, these joints are the inherently the weak spots in the skeletal system.  So, if a spinal bone gets jarred from its healthy position (through acute or sustained postural trauma), it causes damage to the joints of the spine.  Damage to these joints irritates the nerve system, decreasing your body’s ability to communicate within or to itself, which blocks or disrupts Innate Intelligence.  Chiropractic is so simple, it is brilliant.  Chiropractic understands that the body is brilliant, and works with it through specific chiropractic adjustments on specifically damaged joints to return proper function to the spine, as well as to remove the irritation to the nervous system, unblocking your body’s life force.

This is why chiropractors do not claim to treat any specific disease, but get tremendously amazing results with many.  We restore proper communication to the body, making it healthier, and  HEALTHY BODIES DO NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS.  Symptoms are signals telling us that there is something wrong that needs our attention.  Not alarms to be turned off with medications that dampen alarms.  You get hungry and thirsty because you are getting low on fuel and water that is essential to run your body.  What if there was a medication you could take when you felt hungry or thirsty, so you wouldn’t have to be bothered with eating or drinking?  How long do you think that would work for?  It is the same thing with other symptoms!  A headache, sciatic pain, breathing problems, poor digestion,etc., are not just bothersome symptoms that need to be quieted with medication – they are telling you that something is wrong and needs to be dealt with by finding the cause, not just eliminating the symptom.

The body is amazing and I have always been fascinated with it, which is why I began studying it 12 years ago.  I have been led down a path to chiropractic by asking this question:  “How can I make my body as healthy as possible?”  I was open-minded the whole time, and have found out a few times that what I had learned was wrong.  As of now, through much trial and error, I understand that everyone must have a chiropractor on their health team, just as I understand everyone requires good, natural, from-the-earth foods, plenty of exercise and positive self talk and gratitude with a support group or tribe.  This is what I do for myself, and it is what I recommend to my family, friends and patients – because this is what all of the research points to when I ask “How to be the healthiest person?”  This may change, but for now this is my best recommendation as a health coach.

I hope you get your spine checked soon.


Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

The practice I work @ had its first MOVIE NIGHT (a big shout out to D-vo for the idea), and it was awesome.  Great company and a great movie Super Size Me the 2004 documentary of a man named Morgan Spurlock and his insane challenge (to himself) to eat nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days.

Below is the gist along with some commentary by yours truly ;-p

His STATS: At the beginning of the 30 days, Morgan was evaluated, weighed, measured, poked and prodded by a registered dietitian (RD), exercise physiologist and three separate MD’s (GP, cardiologist & internist). The RD expressed concern with what Morgan was about to do, but none of the other specialists thought that the diet change would have any extreme effects on his health! One MD said that because he had a family history that didn’t include many lifestyle diseases, he had “great genes.” The cardiologist thought his TG’s (triglycerides) might go up a little.

Morgan appeared fairly healthy @ 6’2″ tall / 11% body fat / 185 lbs / blood panel including liver enzymes, cholesterol (~160) and TG’s all within normal limits. Again, one MD was quoted saying “you have great genes.”

The Rules:

  • He must fully eat three McDonald’s meals per day (at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time).
  • He must try every item on the McDonald’s menu at least once over the course of the 30 days (he managed this in nine days).
  • He must only ingest items that are offered on the McDonald’s menu. This includes bottled water. Any and all outside consumption of food is prohibited.
  • He must SuperSize the meal when asked, but only when asked. He is not able to SuperSize by his own accord.
  • He will attempt to walk about as much as a typical U.S citizen, based on a suggested figure of 5,000 standardized distance steps per day,[5] but he did not closely adhere to this, as he walked more while in New York than Houston. (Wikipedia)

The movie takes us through not only Morgan’s journey through McDonald’s madness, but also through America’s (and the world’s) journey through fast food history. He goes over many shocking statistics about the fast food industry as well as a lot into details of school lunch programs and the health of our nation and our food supply.

Interesting movie stats:

  • McDonald’s feeds roughly 40 million people each day, and outnumbers other fast food companies by 2 to 1 in many areas.
  • McDonald’s is mentioned during the movie to have two classes of users of their restaurants: There are the “Heavy Users” (about 72% of customers, who eat at their restaurants once or twice a week), and the “SUPER Heavy Users” (about 22% of customers, who eat McDonald’s three or more times a week). But no one was found who ate at McDonald’s three times a day. Spurlock said that he was eating in thirty days the amount of fast food most nutritionists suggest someone should eat in eight years.[14]
  • Morgan’s average intake of calories over the month was roughly 5,000 per day (double his requirements)
  • Many prominent junk food CEO’s die of cardiovascular disease.
  • The size of a McDonalds drink/fries in the 50’s is now either the small or kids size, and the large is often 3-4x as big now (including the Super Sized soda coming in at over 42oz and Super Sized Fries coming in at over 500 calories).

Would you like 500 calories with that?

  • The movie starts off with some terrible Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s song being sung by some preteens at summer camp?!

The Results:

“After five days Spurlock has gained 9.5 pounds (4.5 kg) (from 185.5 to about 195 pounds). It is not long before he finds himself with a feeling of depression, and he claims that his bouts of depression, lethargy, and headaches are relieved by a McDonald’s. His general practitioner describes him as being “addicted.” He has soon gained another 8 pounds (3.5 kg), putting his weight at 203.5 lb (92 kg). By the end of the month he weighs about 210 pounds (95.5 kg), an increase of about 24.5 pounds (about 11 kg). Because he could only eat McDonald’s food for a month, Spurlock refused to take any medication at all” (although his internist recommended a daily aspirin at one point, which drives home the message to me that our medical system is designed to treat our unhealthy disease producing lifestyles rather than get to the root cause and help people change how they eat, move and think for health). “At one weigh-in Morgan lost 1 lb. from the previous weigh-in, but it was hypothesized by a nutritionist that he had lost muscle mass, which weighs more than an identical volume of fat.

Spurlock’s girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson, attests to the fact that Spurlock has lost much of his energy and sex drive during his experiment. It was not clear at the time if Spurlock would be able to complete the full month of the high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet, and friends and family began to express concern.

In Day 21, Spurlock has heart
palpitations. His internist, Dr. Daryl Isaacs, advises him to stop what he is doing immediately to avoid any serious health problems. He compares Spurlock with the protagonist played by Nicolas Cage in the movie Leaving Las Vegas who intentionally drinks himself to death in a matter of weeks. Despite this warning, Spurlock decides to continue the experiment.

Spurlock makes it to day 30 and achieves his goal. In thirty days, he “Supersized” his meals nine times along the way (five of which were in Texas, three in New York City). His doctors are surprised at the degree of deterioration in Spurlock’s health. He notes that he has eaten as many McDonald’s meals as most nutritionists say the ordinary person should eat in 8 years (he ate 90 meals, which is close to 8 years of eating it once a month).” Wikipedia.

My take: We literally are what we eat, our magnificent body has no alternative than to build our eyes, brain, blood vessels, hormone receptors, skin..etc with what we eat. So if you eat toxic and deficient food (Fast Food by definition, not mine, theirs: During the movie, we are shown that it is actually written in McDonald’s operations manual something to the extent that their food is not healthy) your body will be toxic and deficient. Try building a home out of tin and sticks vs steel, bricks and lumber!

So, I expected to see some seriously deleterious changes to Morgan’s health, but I was even surprised to see how much Morgan’s health deteriorated in just one month. His cholesterol shot up to 230 and his liver enzymes measured similar to an alcoholic (his liver was dying, and when it goes, you go), his doctors told him to stop the experiment just over 3 weeks because they thought he could seriously or permanently injure himself. I’m going to repeat this: in roughly 3 weeks of consuming an all McDonald’s diet Morgan went from a healthy guy with “great genes” to a man with blood chemistry and liver damage of that of an alcoholic who was advised if he did not stop this eating pattern he could seriously injure himself or die. Hmmm where were his great genes now? Does this support that our genes really are a blueprint and it is our environment (food, exercise and thoughts choices) that provides the building supplies or what!!?

I was surprised at many of the stats in the movie because I kind of live in this wellness bubble and surround myself with healthy people and people who are in the process of becoming healthier, so seeing how much of America eats and lives was eye opening (we have a lot of work to do).

The Movie Night Participants had about a 30 min discussion afterward about genetics, the health of our country, weight gain and loss and why it is simple, but not always easy (it took Morgan 14 months to lose the weight he gained in the McDonald’s Month) and what it means to eat for health.

What we didn’t get a chance to discuss at Movie Night was the empowering principle that every dollar we spend is a vote for the types of food in grocery stores and restaurants, and that is one of the great things about capitalism. The mighty dollar has powerful voice, and the market will listen, so if we keep spending our money on organic and the healthiest options there will be more and more of them as time goes on. Voting with purchases will also affect the cost of those items in a positive way, so keep on voting for your health by buying and eating healthy organic veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils and meats.

Shop (and don’t eat crap) 4 Health,

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

Should we run, should we hide or should we grab a few sombreros and hit the beach?

SPF # Sombrero

I know what your thinking, “get that man some shorts and some sunscreen STAT!”  I won’t debate the shorts, but if it was a choice between the other two, I’d opt to keep the sombreros and ditch the sunscreen.  That’s right, I said it!  The latest literature (and there is a lot of it) is saying sunscreen does more harm than good when it comes to cancer as well as a host of other chronic diseases, autoimmune and emotional disorders such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, the flu, depression and much more.

But how can this be?? The sun burns, and burns cannot be good, right?

As always the wellness answer is multifactorial, but here is the gist:

1.  Sunshine is GREAT

Sun directly responsible for all life on our planet (big shoes eh?).

Sun Improves our mood (ask anyone in New England)

Sunshine on our skin (UV-B rays) makes the precursor to Vit D.

2.  Vitamin D is GREAT

Vit D is used by our bodies to absorb calcium and, along with exercise, make

strong bones (major treatment of rickets = sunshine (less side effects than drugs).

Vit D also has cell normalizing (anti proliferation) properties, and because

cancer is cell proliferation gone mad, it protects against many cancers.

Vit D plays a vital role in our immune system and its ability to fight off pathogens

(in early 1900 the only treatment of merit for tuberculosis was sunshine).

3.  Sunscreen is ok?!

Sunscreens block UVB rays which keeps us from making hardly any Vit D.

This one is a biggie, it turns out that although sunscreen can limit sunburns, which are linked to skin damage and some cancers; the trade off is no Vit D, which is just not worth it because Vit D has such a vital role in our physiology.  (between 200-1000 genes in our body are turned on or off by the big D)

Many Sunscreens do not block UVA rays which causes much of the skin damage.

Many Sunscreens have harsh chemicals that your skin absorbs readily into your bloodstream.

4.  My Recommendations

If you are light skinned and don’t have a tan, (which is a very difficult thing to have in the north east) then build one up gradually by spending a few minutes in the sun when possible.  If you know you are going to be out for a long time in the sun, soak it up for long enough not to burn, and then apply sunscreen. To determine which sunscreens are best, check, they have done a ton of research on 1000’s of types and narrowed it down to their top 10 healthiest and most effective.

Spending 2-3 x a week for 15-30 min in the mid day sun should ensure you enough Vit D if you are light skinned.  You want to get out of the sun or apply sunscreen after you turn slightly pink, that will ensure enough Vit D, and past that stage results in skin damage.  Those with a darker complexion need to spend a considerable amount more in the sun to obtain enough Vit D (I’m unsure on time but I have read that very dark skin is similar to an SPF of 30, so they will need to spend roughly 3x longer 1-3hrs, 2-3xWk).  If you are unable to spend enough time in the sun or live above 35 degrees Latitude during the winter (Boston is sadly 42 degrees) you should take an oral supplement to get enough D.

Current Recommended Daily Allowance for Vit D is a measly 200 International Units (IU’s) which is absurd considering that a light skinned person can easily make 10-20,000 IU’s in 15-30min in the mid-day summer sun. (But RDA’s were never based on optimum levels of health; they were based on minimum amounts required to avoid symptoms in the short term…that is a blog for another day).

Based on what I’ve read average adults should take about 2,000 IU’s daily if not getting enough sunshine to keep their Vit D at a healthy level.

5. My Real (wellness revised) Recommendations:

Get into sunshine as much as possible without burning.





Get Tan 4 Health!

Your Health Buddy,

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

For More on this Topic and Action Steps:

16 Shocking Vitamin D Facts

10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Vit D: Sun Exposure, Supplementation & Doses

Where is the life they deserve? Where are the pastures and the sunshine?

No to soy & no to dairy, then what can we use as an alternative?

That is an awesome question that I got from a few buddies over the last few weeks, but before I can help with that we must first ask what are we using the soy or dairy for?  Most people use dairy or soy as I once did, as a drink, as a supplement, as a condiment (cheese) or as a liquid to pour over cereal grains.

If this is you, get ready for some info that will help you change.  But what if you don’t want to change?  Well, if dairy, soy or grains are staples in your diet, your body is begging you to change & probably giving you signs/symptoms too.  (Eczema, acne and other skin issues, irritable bowl, poor digestion, headaches, weight gain, muscle cramps, constipation, trouble focusing, poor energy, mood swings, anger issues…etc are often earlier signs (late are cancer, diabetes, dementia, heart disease, and early death) that you’re eating things that your body hates whether or not your tongue or your emotions feel differently).  But don’t worry, we’ll go over the why, and when there is a big enough WHY, the “how to change” figures itself out.  

1st let’s discuss dairy.  Dairy as a pasteurized, homogenized product you buy on the shelves of your typical grocery store with a shelf/fridge life of a month or more is an incredibly unnatural, processed (dead) food that is a far far cry from the dairy your grandparents consumed from a healthy happy grass-fed cow.  Dairy now is typically not a great food because of the inhumane treatment & the incongruent diets that are associated with industrial dairy farming.  The average lifespan of an industrial dairy cow is between 3-5 years compared to around 30 when fed a healthy diet and treated well.  (remember you are what you eat, and what they eat too)  Think about the differences:  back in your grandparents’ time, the milk man came around weekly if not daily because dairy back then was a “live” food that had real nutritive value.  It was rich with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, carbs, fats, proteins & other stuff that we haven’t identified yet that was very nourishing not only to us but to bacteria as well.  That is why real food goes bad so quickly, it has value that other organisms are interested in too.  Be wary of “foods” that don’t spoil quickly because they aren’t real “live” foods, but more “food-like (Michael Pollan coined, and has some awesome rules to eating)” man-made processed pieces of junk that will spoil your health in the long run. 

Even if you can get the dairy that your grandparents’ consumed (and you can if you look hard), it shouldn’t be a staple because dairy is acidic meaning it drives your body’s pH balance (the balance between acid and base) toward acidic.  Your body hates being acidic, so much so that it will pull calcium from your bones to balance your chemistry.  This leaves your body with weakened & brittle bones, much more susceptible to fracture, which is the loose definition of osteoporosis.  Yep that’s right, DAIRY IS ASSOCIATED WITH OSTEOPOROSIS!!  I know this is ironic because the dairy industry (lobby) advertises heavily & will have you believe that milk is good for strong bones; however, the calcium that it delivers is used to balance its acidity in the body and you end up with a net negative calcium absorption rate, meaning more comes out of your bones than goes in.  Other animals don’t drink or eat dairy throughout their lives and don’t have osteoporosis (humans do).  The best way to absorb and assimilate the most calcium from your diet is actually from dark green veggies like spinach and broccoli.  They have less total calcium than dairy; however, veggies are alkaline (basic) so you can actually use the calcium in your bones. 

Dairy also causes quite a large insulin spike, which is linked to insulin resistance (diabetes), the release of stress hormones, weight gain, and mitogenic properties (increased aging & cancer) all of which pushes you away from homeostasis (balance) and toward lifestyle disease.   

Dairy is also linked to autoimmune disorders because as an infant, you have what is called a leaky gut.  That means your intestines are porous letting big proteins into your blood stream.  This is brilliant because as an infant you really don’t have much of an immune system, so you rely on your mother’s breast milk (what humans are designed/evolved to consume for the first 2-3 years of life) for immune globulins and antibodies that protect you.  These are really big proteins that fight bacteria and viruses, too big in fact to get through the intestinal wall normally, so the leaky gut allows the passage of these incredibly important proteins that your mother made especially and  specifically for you.  ONCE AGAIN THE BODY IS FREAKING INCREDIBLE EH?!!   Here’s the rub, a person/child with a leaky gut is vulnerable to other huge proteins if eating an unnatural diet (ie if given cow’s milk during that time (or formula), unnatural proteins can get into your blood stream, which your body can confuse with itself and end up attacking both you and the foreign protein.  The same thing can happen with you irritate your guts with grains (gluten especially) later in life causing the leaky gut to return. 

We talked about soy last week, and I’ll post something on grains later this month, so lets get down to alternatives.

Really the only alternative to dairy and soy that I use and feel is the healthiest alternative is almond milk.  The best would be if you made it yourself (home made almond milk, please disregard the chocolate and cereal references). But I feel that Pacific

Good for paleo-cereal & smoothies

is the best with Blue Diamond is pretty good and tastes good too.  The switch can be made gradually or all at once, the vanilla flavored has a bit more sugar but can be an easier switch to do, and then after you are used to it then go for original.  If you can acquire traditional fresh, grass-fed & unpasteurized cows or goats milk, then I say have at it.  It really isn’t that bad, however, it still should not be a staple (once or twice a week) and never for infants, its’ just too risky for possible auto-immune issues later in life.  Other alternatives are eating what humans were designed to eat (fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts & meat) at what may now seem to be odd times of the day.  But who says you can’t have lean grass-fed steak and veggies for breakfast, (cereal has only had a strong hold on the American breakfast since the 70’s to 80’s….hmmm right around the time that we started getting really fat?!)

If you aren’t eating cereal grains (which you shouldn’t be!!,  (awesome alternative PALEO-CEREAL)), then you probably won’t need much alternative, except maybe yogurt, but I haven’t found much to replace yogurt, so I just don’t eat it because again its acidic and if from industrial farmed dairy, pretty terrible stuff.  Better than pop tarts, but remember you are building your amazing body with every bite you take, so build it with heavy duty materials like timber and steel not balsa wood and tin.


Your Health Buddy

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC

stay tuned for the healthiest alternative to breast milk (which is the best) for your baby

Choice is YOUR Weapon

Everybody knows that we are what we eat; it isn’t too big of a leap to also understand that the foods we chose to put into our mouths eventually become us (our hearts, brains, legs, skin & eyes). It should also make sense that the quality of the foods we eat is important, and differences in not only what we eat but the quality of it will causes different genes to be expressed, changing not only our phenotype (appearance) but also our physiology (the way we function). But did you know that your thoughts shape you in a very similar way. Depending on how you think, you can actually turn on & off genes in your body, causing a completely different expression of your appearance and function. That’s right, you can, in a sense think yourself healthy (and the side effects of being healthy contain but are not limited to: increased energy, better mood, better looks, better digestion, healthy skin, happier, faster, stronger, no inflammation, decreased sensitivity to pain (tissue damage)…and on and on.)

To your nervous system, thoughts are very much like movements, the more often you think a certain way, the better you get at thinking that way. It’s similar to becoming coordinated in a specific movement like shooting a basketball, the more you practice the better you get. This is because of a process called neurosensitization, nerves that fire (are used) often get bigger and require less stimulus to fire. It is a lot like carving a trail through a dense forest, after the first time through there is still much brush left and the trail probably isn’t clear, but after thousands of people have used it, the trail is there, and it is much easier to use. This analogy will also help you understand why you cannot change your thoughts by trying NOT to think of something. Your brain is very good at creating new paths, but it cannot get rid of old ones, just like with the forest, you can create new trails, but only time will cause that original trail to fade.

Why is this important? If you continuously think negative, harsh, contemptuous & hurtful thoughts, those thoughts not only become easier to think, they actually cause stress & trigger the amygdala (stress & anxiety center in your brain) to release stress hormones. Stress hormones are released in response to a stressor (whether negative thoughts, a hungry tiger, angry boss, nutrient deficient lunch, emotionally deficient relationship…etc). Those stress hormones cause breakdown in body tissues to provide ample energy and other changes to promote surviving that stressor, so that you can get back to a restful state. This is an amazing & life-saving system for acute (short term) stress (hungry tiger, deer to hunt..etc); however, this is a terrible & life-taking system for chronic (long term) stress. We now live in a modern world that is void of most acute stressors, and is FULL of chronic stressors, and this is why 75% of the deaths in North America are from lifestyle disease each year.

The good news: knowledge is power, and you can actually think yourself healthier, thoughts that are positive, healthy, happy, affirming, confident…etc (thoughts that are pure and sufficient and that go along with our innate values) have a calming (normalizing) effect because they cause the release of certain neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that block stress and normalize our physiology. How awesome is that?!

“The left prefrontal cortex can inhibit the stress response by releasing GABA at the amygdala in response to a positive (homeostatic) emotion. This is profound! What this means is that we, as humans can consciously choose to react differently to stimuli and thus control our stress levels.” –Innate State of Mind P28

“Under normal conditions SEROTONIN is released to inhibit the activity of the noradrenergic (stress) cells of the locus cerleus (anxiety relay center) that lead to anxiety. However, under chronic stress serotonin production cannot keep up and the result is that serotonin levels drop. The result of chronic increased noradrenaline and decreased serotonin levels is that people get depressed, feel irritable, tired, and listless, have problems sleeping, get tension headaches…etc.” –Innate State of Mind P30

What this means is that depression is a symptom of chronic stress and unhappy/negative thoughts and not the other way around. It is often specifically related to the chronic stress from habitually negative thought patterns that have been engraved in the nervous system. This is why drugs like SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) treat the symptom by changing brain chemistry, but do not address the cause (a drug will never create a healthy thought pattern).

We must create sufficiency and purity with our thoughts just as we must with our diets and exercise/movement patterns.  It can be a slow process, just like going from a 300 # extremely unfit person to a shredded 175 # fitness guru, but you can do it!  Focus one step at a time, one meal, one work out, one thought at a time.

I believe in you, it’s worth it and you can do it!

Action steps:

Own the consequences: Understand that thinking negatively (you’re stupid, ugly…etc) has a very harmful effect on your health, while thinking positively (you’re smart, beautiful…etc) has a very helpful effect on your health.

Write down in detail how the person you want to be would act, what they would do, how they would think, and what choices they would make, and then start acting, doing, thinking and choosing like they would.

Practice accessing happy memories when you are not in crisis. THIS IS HUGE! Get neurosensitization going on positive thoughts, so that if you find yourself in crisis you can access positive thoughts much easier & break the cycle much faster.

When you catch yourself thinking negative, don’t feel bad or guilty, just focus on something else, what you are thankful for (best & easiest one), your breathing, counting telephone poles, think of a happy memory or place.

Exercise – “relieves muscle tension and increases serotonin and GABA – and (↓) the trait of anxiety. Exercise gives neurons everything they need to connect…” –Spark p 95 Ratey

Get Adjusted – Chiropractic Adjustments improve reduces stress, and less stress = more health!!  Reducing your stress anywhere helps your overall health everywhere.  Get your spine checked ASAP!!

Choose 4 Health,


Your Health Buddy

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP

On May 26th of this month (Wed @ 645pm) I will be teaching a power workshop in Room 221E of the Cummings Center on the all important topic of Mastering Our Stress.  I will be covering 3 major topics, one of them is controlling our re-actions, which allows us to control our physiology & our hormones, making our lives easier.  Who wouldn’t go for some of that?  Since none of my far away buddies can make it, I will be reposting the 3 main topics here on my blog for you all.  This blog has been repurposed for this reason.  Enjoy

ANGRY DRIVERS Angry Drivers…

Don’t let it them get you.

 You know the one thing these two rage-filled drivers have in common?

 They probably don’t know each other and most likely will never see each other again.

 Think about it – so often in our lives, we let total strangers dictate our physiology (our function, the state of our being).  People who have NO business having any control over us whatsoever are given the power to change our physiologies. And I want to be clear here, we give them that power. Only you have the power to choose how you react to a situation. Most people like to feel like they have control over what is going on in their lives, but in reality the only control we ever have lies within our ability to control the way we react to life. This is why when two different people get in the same auto accident, one person will be angry, upset, and have his day ruined, while another person in the same accident will be thankful that he is alive and grateful for another chance.

 How we react has a much larger impact on our life than we think.  It actually affects our biochemistry and can lead us down a path to disease. You see, our body reacts to stress in the same way, whether the stress is physical (tissue damage), chemical (toxic food or any drugs), or emotional (negative thoughts, fear, anger).

 We release certain stress hormones (fight or flight) in our body to deal with these stressors and these hormones are basically the same no matter the type of stressor. So the hormones released when you see a wild hungry tiger in your bathroom are the same hormones released in your body when some bonehead (stressed out father who had an argument with his wife, feels bad about missing his kid’s baseball game, and is late for work)  gives you the finger. Sure, there will be a different amount of hormones released based on the imposed threat or aggravation, but the chemical reaction is the same. Let’s keep in mind we were designed for those types of rare but intensely stressful events (ie tigers) where we would expend a ton of energy (usually in order to keep living) to deal with those hormones.  Now we rarely have those intensely stressful events, but chronically have the small anxiety-inducing events such as:

 Work, money, kids, siblings, spouses, junk food, supplements, prescription drugs, recreational drugs, accidents, exercise, subluxations, girlfriends, boyfriends, the guy who flipped you off on way to work, traffic, the copier, bills, computers, technology in general, death, illness, friends, enemies, travel, dinner, the gym, smog, school, mom, dad, fashion, thinking about that guy who flipped you off earlier that day, politics, religion, taxes, email, pollution, etc.

 Unlike the tiger example, most of us today deal with these stressors with no huge output of energy – instead, we are left with the consequences of stress hormones wreaking havoc on our bodies. Lucky us.

 But wait, I thought the fight or flight response is a good thing…what’s the deal?

 If there is a tiger to run from or a wooly mammoth to hunt, it’s a GREAT THING, but if it is your housemate forgetting to do the dishes or the drive to work bringing you to a boil, it is a BAD THING.

 The Deal: Stress hormones (cortisol and catecholamines) are released to deal with stress, and what they do is basically break down our bodies in order to put huge amounts of energy molecules, wound repair substrates, and a host of other immediately life-saving chemicals into our blood stream.

 The Catch: long term use of this short term system KILLS YOU.

 CONSEQUENCES OF STRESS (fight or flight):

 Increased LDL and Decreased HDL (that’s “the bad” and “the good” cholesterol)

Increased Insulin Resistance (that’s diabetes)

 Increased Inflammation (that’s pain, arthritis, blocked arteries, heart attacks, skin and allergy issues, etc.)

 Decreased Immune System Function (let’s talk about this for a minute…your immune system is incredibly costly in terms of energy required to run, so during a stressful event, your brilliant body does what it needs to in order to survive and turns down/off that system. That is perfect, hoping you get away from the tiger into a rest and recovery situation where it can then be reinstated. That is not perfect in today’s world, where we rarely get away from our stress, and our immune system stays off or down.  This is why STRESSED PEOPLE GET SICK MORE OFTEN…it’s not that they encounter more germs!

 Increased Excretion of Calcium and Magnesium (that’s muscle and organ cramps, fatigue and increased blood pressure)

Increased Heart Rate and Blood Vessel Constriction (that’s high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, macular degeneration, circulation problems, etc.)
ADD IT ALL UP…it SOUNDS LIKE LIFESTYLE DISEASES TO ME!  And lifestyle diseases are what’s killing 75% of all Americans.
THE BEST METHOD OF CORRECTION IS TO ADDRESS THE CAUSE  (I.E. DEAL WITH THE INCONGRUENT (STRESSFUL) LIFESTYLES), NOT TO MASK THE SYPMTOMS WITH DRUGS.  Forcing our hearts to beat less forcefully (high blood pressure) with drugs will never make a system thirsting for energy any healthier – it will only add the stress of the toxic drug and make it work harder to get that energy (more stress).  This is why mortality rates do not decrease with blood pressure drugs (they actually increase!!).
 I want to now focus on the red underlined part of one of the previous paragraphs because besides what mom says, this is what really makes humans so special. That’s right – we are so dang smart that we can actually think back on past stressful events and relive them.  Yep, the same hormones will be released in response to thinking about stressful events as they were during the actual events themselves.

 Negative self talk (and emotional stress) stimulates the amygdala (stress and anxiety center in the brain) and causes the eventual (like seconds) release of stress hormones from your adrenals.  The net result over time is lifestyle disease.  However… we can stop it.  Positive self talk, adjustments, and exercise halt this stress express in its tracks. Movement in the joints causes positive stimulation to your brain and hinders the negative.   The net result over time is a healthier, stronger, sleeker, and better you!

ACTION STEPS: The best part of this system is that we have control over it.  It isn’t easy, but it is simple.

1.  Positive self talk is key, and realizing the ridiculousness of the situation you are in and what good that can come out of it also helps (I now get more agitated at myself for getting agitated at other drivers than I do at the other drivers!….this is a slow process).   I often think about how I don’t know the other person, and ask myself why I would let them have this kind of control over my life/thoughts, etc.

2.  Don’t focus on it, get your thoughts on something you are thankful for, and the agitation will slip away.  Also try not to talk about it (much) later that day because that just feeds into the negative energy.

3. Ask yourself whether you will even remember this next week , in a month from now, a year?  If the answer is no, it’s probably not that big of a deal and you should let it go.  Thinking about it in that way makes this process easier (this one helps me personally in a HUGE way).

4.  Take a deep breath and count to ten.  My dad has been telling me to do this since I was able to understand words, and now I know why that helps.  Diaphragmatic (deep) breathing is how we breathe during rest and repair, so it helps shift our physiology back to one of healing.

5. Smile. It really does make you happier.  Look in a mirror and smile your face off, and you will feel better.  I thought this was bogus, then last week I went into the bathroom to try it out and came out laughing it was such a good time.  Seriously though, I was smiling so big I think some of our patients must have thought I was crazy.

6.  GET ADJUSTED.  Subluxations (improper joint motion compromising nerve function) cause stress (amongst a whole host of other things), and correcting subluxations removes stress.  It’s so simple – just go do it!

7.  EXERCISE.  Exercising moves joints, which leads to decreased stress… and there are about a zillion other reasons to do it, including one of my favorites:  you become dead sexy.  Enough already – just go get it done!  I’m serious – get up right now and go run, squat, swim, play tennis, throw a Frisbee, move around like a kid, play in the grass.  Just go do it…get out of here!  Go GO GO!   WOOOOOHOOOOO!

Love you guys!

Control Your Physiology 4 Health

Dr. Nicholas Araza DC  CCWP

Wish I could make them for you Mom!!

Well, not these pancakes, come on, if you know me at all, you know that I would never condone your typical pancakes. Back in the day I used to eat me some mean pancakes, even held tri-annual breakfast parties at my different apartments back in college, so I could get together with buddies and eat pancakes, two of my favorite things. Alas, now I am a wellness doctor and health coach, who understands that the phytic acid and gliadin in traditional pancakes wreaks havoc on our digestive system and along with the refined processed grains cause huge insulin spikes speeding us toward old age, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and other lifestyle diseases.

That being said, one thing hasn’t changed since my flapjack flipping days of college, and that is my love for my Mother. I know there are many of you out there that will dispute this, but my mom really is the best mom on earth. She is understanding, empathetic, caring and selfless. She always seems to put everyone else in the family before her and has always made me feel special and loved every single day. She is the best period, and I still love her immensely. So for mother’s day this year I sent her a small bottle of Pure Vermont Maple Syrup (from a recent & awesome trip to Vermont) and a recipe for one of my favorite treats, Blueberry, Walnut & Almond-Flour Pancakes. Unfortunately I will not get to be with my mom this mother’s day, but through the magic of technology and the internet, we will have an awesome Skype session, which if well-timed, may have us eating blueberry flapjacks together.

Happy Mothers Day!

I love you Mom,

-Your Son Nicholas

PS Here’s the receipee:

Almond Flour Pancakes:

1.5 cups almond meal/flour

½ cup ground flaxseeds

2 eggs

1.5 cups almond milk

2 Tble sp olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

Dash salt

Optional: ½ cup crushed walnuts, pecans or macs & ½ cup frozen blueberries.

Mix all ingredients together in big bowl and cook like regular pancakes.