Doctor James on Health and Wellness

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Archive for the ‘Weight Loss’ Category

Degenerative Disease, “IT IS YOUR CHOICE!”

Posted by doctorjames on September 24, 2008

Everyday I have patients coming into my office suffering from this or that. Symptoms that just don’t let them live the life they have dreamed of. They need this medication for that, and this medication to treat the side effect of the other one! They live a life full of pollution simply because they are not willing to make a change.

Don’t get me wrong, I do know the value of medicine especially in acute bacterial and viral infections and life saving cases. What we absolutely need to get rid of is medicating the nation for life. We have done this to ourselves folks! By following our very rich western diet, we have brought degenerative changes on! This should come as no surprise. If you don’t take control of your own health, who will?

It should not take a rocket scientist to understand that all the degenerative disorders we suffer from today are because of our dietary decisions we have made for the past 20, 30, 40, 50 years! All degenerative conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, syndrome X, fibromyalgia, obesity, hypothyroid, high blood pressure, and arthritis all respond to the very same dietary change! In fact, cancer has been shown to also respond to this diet by preventing the genes from “turning on.” Here is the problem all of us are NUTRIENT DEFICIENT!

In fact, this diet has been shown time and time again to reverse the horrible affects that these degenerative changes can have on your body. For example, Dr. Dean Ornish is one of the pioneers in reversing cardiovascular disease with a very simple dietary change. Dr Neal Barnard is another doctor who comes to mind who has done the same with type II diabetes. Dr. McDougall, yet another pioneer in lifestyle medicine who works with many patients to reverse these degenerative diseases.

You may be asking yourself, well what is it that can change the health of our nation so greatly. Staying out of the aisles at the grocery store! Basically, you need to be on what is called a whole food plant based diet that is well published in the new book that has just come out called The China Study. Now, I tend to agree almost completely with the China Study, but I do believe that clean, lean protein is also good for us if it is organic free range and grass fed.

It should be no secret that the more organic fruits and vegetables, lean, clean, organic grass fed protein, and gluten free containing grains you take in, the more your health flourishes. Also, the more you get rid of GMO foods (genetically modified), pasteurized dairy in any form, non-organic foods, and plastic filled bisphenol A, the more your health flourishes everyday in everyway! The more grain fed beef, chicken, and pork a person takes in is directly related to diminishing health. Did you know that the animals on our planet consume 70% of the antibiotics in the world? This is because they are in feed lots and are so sick they have to be in order to live! And, guess what…we turn around and eat it at almost every restaurant and grocery store we go to!

You see, all of these degenerative diseases that have been mentioned all are one in the same with a different name! It is a label applied to a subset of symptoms or clinical values. Guess what…WHO CARES! Personally, I think labels are the absolute worse thing you can have. Labels allow enabling! Then, what is the next step, a medication designed just for you for the rest of your life, or until you body gets used to it and you have to take something stronger. I don’t think this is HEALTH CARE, this is SICK CARE! It does absolutely nothing to make you healthier. Sure, it may lower your blood pressure, decrease your pain, change your cholesterol level, and on and on, but really what has it done for you if you have not changed your diet, started exercising, and found a way to reduce your stress?

I believe most medicine, except in the case of cancer and lifesaving medical emergencies, is here to be a crutch…not a pill you take for life! The pharmaceutical companies will love it if you do take it for life, but that should not be the intent of your doctor and you should be very worried if this is your plan. I can promise you without a change in your lifestyle one med will lead to two, and two to four, and four to eight and so on.

This is my medicine…FOOD and increased nutrients through vitamins and supplements! Just think, on a whole food plant based diet you can eat as much as you want. It is not a diet, but a lifestyle. The more you follow an organic diet with clean water and good lean organic grass fed protein the more your labels will go away. Food is your medicine and your jump start is medical foods, supplements, and vitamins. Everyone on the planet must be taking a multi, something to clean your toxins out everyday, an omega 3 that is guaranteed to be pure and potent, and plant based nutrients in the form of fruits and vegetables. If you simply do this and get rid of the “crap” in your diet, your weight reduces and your immunity and your health gets better one bite at a time!

I believe some day they will find out that type II diabetes and fibromyalgia are directly related. They are a condition where the cell is insulin insensitive and where the mitochondria are deficient and are not working as well as they could be because the cell is full of lipids. The lack of mitochondria causes us to use less sugar, and also produces more pain due to lack of energy production and corresponding ischemia. Ischemia creates pain folks! WOW! I hope some of you take this information and run with it.

Health is not about taking 10-30 supplements every day neither. It is about taking certain nutrients, but not about taking a pill for this condition or that just like you would take a medication. I can see some, but some patients that come into my office honestly have one for every ache and symptom. This folks is practicing medicine but using a supplement. Keep in mind, medicine and plants are not very far apart. Medicine in most cases is a plant derived molecule that has been made more potent. Aspirin is from white willow bark, and Tamoxifen is a cancer drug from the Yew tree. I am sure there are a ton more examples, but I do not want to belabor the point. To be honest with you, if you are having to treat yourself for a condition through massive amounts of supplements or vitamins, chances are your diet is deficient and is poor. The cause is the diet! We need to stop beating around the bush and treating effects.

A whole food plant based diet is more simple to follow than you would think. You constantly can eat and you constantly feel satisfied. Doesn’t that sound like enough to try it. Once you start feeling so good, you can’t go back to eating the “crap” and allow it like once a week. This would be like someone smoking and they quit for a year and now you allow them to have a cigarette once a week. I have to believe that one cigarette will turn into two, then four, and then eight. You go back to the old ways once again. That is why this is for life…just like exercise. On a whole food plant based diet you are expected to lose one pound per week! Add in a bit of exercise and now you lose a bit more. But, the really neat thing is that you don’t have to beat yourself up with exercise because the diet alone will bring you back to health. So, I recommend 20-30 minutes of exercise three times per week…again, for the rest of your life!

The studies have been done, and the literature has been cited about whole food plant based diets. In fact, in rural China, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are rare because this is what they eat! The fact is your body is constantly in a state of change and repair to maintain homeostasis. But, if you constantly beat it up, poor health will result. For example, you take the cigarettes away from a 20 year smoker and in 1-5 years his lungs will become close to normal! Why, cause the stress is taken away and now the body has a chance to heal and reproduce brand new tissue!

I see diet the same way. It is a constant stress to the body producing poor health. In fact, I think a poor western diet is worse than someone smoking a few cigarettes every day! All the food companies making all these processed foods and marketing to us are no better than the pharmaceutical companies. They are all about the same thing…PROFIT! They are loading us up with toxins everyday that disrupt the function of our endocrine system. Not a good thing!

We have to start thinking more about how important our diet is and look at the studies to show people how poor health can be reversed by simply making a lifestyle change. This is how we save lives and let grandchildren grow up with their grandparents, or in some cases children grow up with their parents. We cannot continue to go down this same road. Start today by making a decision to change the way you eat.

At our clinic, when we make a dietary change, clean the toxins out, and nourish the body with clean, pure, and potent vitamins, minerals, and supplements, you won’t believe what goes away and stays away. I manage all my patients with literally the same diet. ADHD, autism, colitis, intestinal disorders such as IBS and Crohns, all can be helped greatly by following a whole food plant based diet too! That is why every patient with some crazy label that enters my office is put on this diet and we get tremendous results.

Please let me know if you have any questions I can answer for you.

Your Health and Wellness Advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson


Posted in Health Care vs. Sick Care, High Blood Pressure, Nutrition, Weight Loss | Leave a Comment »

How to Obtain Extraordinary Wellness

Posted by doctorjames on July 21, 2008

It seems so hard for us to hear the words change. Change is something that requires discipline, acceptance, faith, and a paradigm shift from previously held emotions and perceptions. Perceptions are key to any type of change, and actually precede emotions. Our perception actually tells us how we will react to a situation. It is what our senses perceive and remember that make up our emotions. When it comes to weight loss, we have to make sure our mind is ready to accomplish the task. If these items are not in place, failure is eminent. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

The truth is, getting in shape and staying in shape through healthy weight loss is a lifestyle. It does take 45-60 days to make this habit stick. If you do not stick with it, you will be frustrated and not willing to accept change. After 60 days, exercise becomes commonplace and dietary choices become much easier. So, lets get into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to achieve your best physique ever! Not only will this program make you toned and have your best body ever, but it will also enhance the beauty of your skin. Essentially, you become more beautiful from the inside out!

So many people are so confused when it comes to simple exercise and conditioning of the body. Exercise boils down to one thing…your cardiovascular intensity. What is intense for you may be simple for someone else. Don’t worry about it! Make it as intense as you can handle. I will promise you one thing though…aerobic exercise will produce an aerobic physique, and anaeorbic exercise will produce and anaerobic physique…simple…isn’t it?

This is the difference between the physique of a sprinter’s body and a marathon runner’s body. The only difference is the training. The body will adapt to the forces, pressures, and intensities it is faced with. Adapt yourself to what you want to be! The body responds to intensity, frequency, timing, and duration. By switching these 4 items…tweaking them…you can have the best training ever in as little as 3 days per week and 12 minutes per session.

For the average earthling, fitness has absolutely nothing to do with which exercises you pick and choose. It does not matter if you do legs one day and arms the other. It does not matter if you do legs and arms on the same day. The only thing that matters is that you go all out for 12 minutes straight! That is it! Three days per week (or more if you would like) can get you your physique you have been looking for. The most important factor is the intensity…not the time of the rep or the time of the session.

For example, try doing 100 yard sprints on a football field for 12 minutes straight with minimal rest. I can guarantee you, unless you are incredibly fit that you can not do 24 in 12 minutes! This is the type of intensity I am talking about. A person can get fit by simply doing sprints. Here is the absolute truth…muscles are their…we just need to uncover them by decreasing the size and number of our fat cells that are insulating them! You do not need to do ab work to get six pick abs…isn’t that exciting? Simply eat better, exercise your rear off with high intensity exercise, and watch it come about!

The other truth is that your diet is number one when it comes to weight loss. I can guarantee you that a western diet (trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified food, preservatives, additives, fast foods, hybridized foods, cooked foods..etc.) will not produce the success in physique that you are looking for. For you to obtain your best body ever, at least 80% of your diet must be organic RAW foods. This means that 80% of your diet must be uncooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grasses, and oils! A 80% raw diet can happen overnight and is not as hard as you are thinking. Just do not ever go past the produce aisle in your grocery store! You should only be eating foods that can spoil if given the appropriate number of days. Fresh is best! From your garden is even better! Simple…right??? More on this later, but for now lets get back to your physique and training.

Your physique is not dependent on if you work out 3 hours per day in the gym or not! Actually, working out to long puts you into a catabolic state. Catabolism is the body’s way of using its own proteins from muscle to produce energy…not really a good thing when it comes to building your perfect physique! Body builders work out for longer periods of time because they are constantly fueling their bodies with some type of protein drink to keep them in an anabolic state…or then may be using some illegal substances that causes them to have to work out that long to get rid of their excess energy.

The moral of the story is don’t worry about what exercises you are doing and how much weight you can lift if you want a lean, tone, and ripped body. That will do it, but you will tend to get more bulky than you will lean and trim. Keep in mind, the more bulk you have, the harder your heart has to work because the more capillaries you have. This puts too much stress on the heart and can lead to heart failure. This is the reason body builders do not live long lives!

Your goal is to keep your intensity up and do more from week to week in that 12 minute time frame. A good rule of thumb is to increase your workout by 1% from week to week. If you could do 8 total exercises the first week in 12 minutes, shoot for 9 the next week…and on and on. Your goal overtime is to be able to fit as much exercise into a 12 minute workout as you possibly can.

The reason this type of exercise works so well is because you are increasing EPOC, which stands for excess post oxygen consumption…in lay man terms…means you burn more calories over time because your metabolism stays elevated above its normal everyday baseline. You increase this EPOC for the next 24-48 hours. This is why if you can handle the rigours of intense exercise you can see such dramatic results. The person that works out next to you jogging on the treadmill for an hour may burn 800 calories…GREAT!!! Guess what, during your workout you only burn 300…boo hoo!!! Here is the kicker…they don’t stimulate EPOC and you do! When they leave the gym their metabolism will come back down, but yours stays elevated! You burn for the next 24-48 hours. It is after you leave the gym that you crush the competition in calorie consumption!

If you are training this way, your diet is key to this process. Instead of dieting, you have to think about fueling your body for optimal recovery and lean mass gains. This does not mean that you have to go hog wild on the food that you take in or that you have to consume massive amounts of protein. You just need enough protein to stay in a positive nitrogen balance which would be anywhere between 1g/kg of body weight or upwards to 1.5g/kg of body weight.  This means if you weight 220 pounds, you would have to consume about 100-150 grams of protein per day. If you weigh 100 pounds, you would have to consume 45- 67 grams of protein per day.

You must eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. There is no other option. In fact, you should be snacking all day long on Organic RAW fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, greens, and oils such as avocado, coconut, hemp, and olive. If you do not, you can kill the “fire” that you lit inside your body. You will suppress your weight loss and lean muscle gains. Your body will burn muscle for protein and become catabolic. This will effectively negate your workout.  You absolutely must avoid refined sugar, grains, dairy (unless raw), white flour, trans fats, and alcohol if you really want to change your physique. Do pick one day out of the week to eat whatever, but you will soon notice it will not appeal to you anymore when your body starts to change. The most cool thing about going 100% RAW is you no longer have to worry about counting calories. Naturally, you feel better on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, greens, seeds, nuts, and oils…that is the simple truth. When food is not cooked, the enzyme content is still intact. When the enzymes are intact, the breakdown without any extra effort coming from your bodies metabolic or digestive enzymes.

Enzymes are catalysts. They make the body run! Without proper minerals and vitamins, our enzymes don’t work. Organic plant based raw foods supply us with all of our minerals, enzymes, and vitamins for us to achieve optimum physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Don’t worry about getting enough protein if you decide to go RAW with your diet. By eating more often and more food, you will get more than enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Your best bet is to add superfoods into your diet to make sure you are getting your requirements met. One superfood I would highly recommend for protein would be RAW hempseeds. They are rich in protein and fats, and are an amazing superfood. I would suggest that you buy David Wolfe’s book on superfoods and start incorporating them into your diet.

I don’t recommend eating animal tissue if you are looking for you most brilliant beauty and physique ever. By eating a RAW plant based diet, you will feel better than you have ever felt. The abundance in raw foods is extraordinary. In fact, you could try a new fruit or vegetable every day and never try everything on this planet in a lifetime! So, this diet is about inclusivity, not exclusivity. Take the jump from the old ways…shift your paradigm with hope and faith and start going RAW with your diet. I would highly recommend purchasing David Wolfe’s book The Sunfood Diet Success System for a further understanding on how to eat Raw with his RAW food pyramid that emphasizes the three categories…cholorophyll, fats, and sweet fruits.

When you eat more RAW foods, you will find you need to drink less water. This is because the water in plant foods is structured and is able to be better absorbed. You will find that you may need to drink only your weight divided by four in ounces of water. Having the traditional eight glasses of water a day will no longer apply to you the more RAW you go with your diet!

A word of caution…This type of cardiovascular intensity training is not for the faint of heart. Make sure you get an OK by your M.D. before starting anything this intense. Pick any exercises you want and just do them all out. I prefer sprints, pushups, pullups, and burpees,…but you can choose whatever you would like. Mix it up, throw some lunges in, bear crawls, jumps, hops, etc…

The goal is to get through it barely. You should feel exhausted by the time this workout is complete. You will want to and have to catch your breath. For those who are well conditioned, it depends on how hard you work out. Give it your best everytime.

Please get creative and go out and change your health outlook this week. You will be amazed at what one month of this type of exercise and eating will do for your body. My goal for you is to use this program to your advantage. Their is not another program out there that speaks the truth about what you have to do to make you body function at the best it has ever been. This plan alone is simple…a bit of exercise, and as close to 80-100% RAW diet as you can handle. You will find yourself using less doctor visits, medications, alternative therapies for pain…etc…you essentially will have more money to spend on food and RAW food supplements.

I would recommend that you buy the highest quality of food you can afford and use the highest quality of supplements you can afford from or These are very reputable companies with a focus on raw foods and supplements. These are vitamins, minerals, and enzymes your body can use right away to boost immunity, energy and overall happiness.

In my next book I will be discussing supplementation and how it relates to this plan. For now, get out there and do the best you can on eating more RAW and exercising according to the plan. Remember, 20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results. Get out there and just do it…as NIKE says!

Posted in Weight Loss | 1 Comment »

Lose Weight the Easy Way

Posted by doctorjames on March 7, 2008

If your reading this article obviously you are interested in weight loss and think how the heck could this be…crushing weight loss without dieting…sounds too good to be true, but folks I am going to introduce you to a program that is going to blow dieting out of this world.

Lets make this short and sweet. This program is based on the simple training methods used by sprinters versus endurance runners. I understand, most of you have friends who are training for the big marathon. They are in great shape and maybe even lose a few pounds. Here in lies the problem…Can you prepare for a marathon every year for the rest of your life…I didn’t think so! On top of this, most novice runners prepare for one marathon, do it, and then never run more than 3 miles again anyway. Do you get it? For most people it is a goal accomplished. Most of them won’t ever run again until they train for their next big race. This is not ok if you are looking for true health.

Have you ever stopped to look at what a sprinter looks like vs. a marathon runner. Your typical sprinter is built like an NFL running back. A marathon runner is skinny, lanky, and lacks the big thick muscles.

As you may already know, the muscles in our bodies are key to weight loss because they use so much energy. For every pound of muscle we gain, our metabolism increases resulting in more calories burned!

You see, to have crushing weight loss and amazing muscle gains, one does not need to diet, count calories, eat low fat, watch the carbs, etc…but, you have to work out three times per week for 20 minutes! A total of 60 minutes per every 6 days! Do you think you could do this. Let me explain further how this works.

My office is built on lifestyle change. We do not accept a patient if they are not ready for change and do not commit to a program at 100%. Granted, these lifestyle changes usually take an average about one year because we work with the patient over the year to develop new habits and leave the old ones behind. We find most of our patients really start kicking in new habits about five months into their program…and that is OK.

You see, we don’t want deal with the person that views weight loss and health as a monthly fad. We want to design and implement a program that a person can follow for the rest of their life…yes, you heard me…for the rest of their life! You can still do this program when you are eighty because it is based on your individuality by developing an intensity score. On a scale of one to ten, the exercise should always be in the range of somewhere between 8 to 10. Ten meaning all out…something you can only keep up for about 4-5 seconds. Nine, would be more like 10 seconds, and 8 more like 20-30 seconds.

Here is the program in a nutshell. It is simple, like a said before, and only requires three days a week of working out and only 60 minutes per week. You alternate every other day between weights and cardio. This program is not designed to make you into a body builder, but is designed to keep your health and increase your health. On lifting days, you choose whatever muscles you want to work out for 20 minutes. IT DOESN’T MATTER which muscles you work out, what matters is how intensely you work out! You could do arms one day and legs the other, but in all honesty it does not matter one bit…like I said before, we want to keep this simple. On cardio days, you are either on a bike, tread mill, elliptical, stair climber, rower, etc. for 20 minutes.

On lifting days, your goal is to lift a certain number of pounds and increase it throughout the plan until you plateau. How many pounds you lift is based on how many pounds you actually moved over time. So, if you did 10 sets of 10 reps in 20 minutes with 10 pounds, your total weight lifted in a 20 minute time period would be 1000 pounds! That is what you would record as your “record” for the day. How did I get this number? I simply took 10 pounds times 10 reps which equals 100. Then, since you did 10 sets…10 different times…I multiplied 100 times 10 to get 1000 pounds.

The reason pounds lifted over time is so important is because this is intensity! The more intense your workout is, the more weight you will push during it. The more sets you can get in, the more pounds you lift. This program is strictly designed to do as much work as possible in a 20 minute period of time. You should be leaving it all out on the floor and you should want to be done at 20 minutes! Do you get it? You need to work out hard enough that you don’t want to workout one minute passed 20…this is where true health, weight loss, and muscle gain happens. If you feel you can work out for another 20 minutes than your intensity needs to go up. Over time, what you are looking for is an increase in pounds lifted per workout. The more weight you move, the more fit you are! It really is that simple. So, you need to record the sets you do, or plan your workout before hand to reach a certain number of pounds lifted. If you plan before hand, make sure you over sell it. By over selling it, I mean put in a few extra sets that you know you may not get to because over time you will get to them.

The cardio portion is just as simple…more work over time without worrying about calories being burnt…I will get to that in a moment, but first let me explain your cardio workout. Whatever machine you choose is fine, so switch it up every once in a while so that your workout does not become stagnant. You need to fool your body and shock it every once in a while…so switch it up…the body loves when you shock it with something new…in fact, it craves it! The 20 minute work out is simple. You go hard and then rest, go hard and then rest. You want to focus on short bursts of activity followed by a period of rest. Your heart loves this and so do your muscles. In the beginning, you may do something like 4 minutes of higher paced running, biking, stair climbing etc. The important part of this is that you are doing something followed by rest. Knowing you are going to rest for three minutes to catch your breath makes your four minutes of activity more intense. You can’t keep a 20 minute constant run to intense because your body can’t keep up with demand. So, you go 4 minutes as hard as you can and you recover for three or four minutes…then you go hard again for 4 minutes and you recover again…all the way to 20 minutes! SIMPLE!!! Don’t over analyze this…it works!

Over time, just like pounds lifted, you want to decrease the time of your intensity and rest. We want this to become a sprint workout. Trust me, the day you can do an all out sprint for 10 seconds with a 30 second recovery and go again repeatedly for 20 minutes…you will look like an NFL running back….this is similar to doing about a 60 to 90 yard dash every 30 seconds for 20 minutes in a row…YEAH…not very easy!!! Do you get my drift…intensity will always blow away endurance type of cardio. So, mix it up and try to to short bursts of intensity followed by periods of rest. Your heart loves it!

I know what you are saying now because I am already one step ahead of you. But how at my age of ____ can I do that intense of activity…answer…you can’t by looking at it that way, but your 10 is different than my 10. You may huff and puff going up a flight of stairs and that is ok…if you are 90 years old…that would be a workout for a 90 year old…and guess what, they would be pretty healthy by doing that for 20 minutes straight. You have to ease into this and find what works for you…but, again, you have to leave it out there. When 20 minutes passes, you should not be able to go any longer than 20 minutes…if you can, you are not working hard enough…trust me, I could make you work so hard you couldn’t get passed 10 minutes!

Why does this work? How can you produce outstanding results without dieting. The answer is simple. YOUR WEIGHT LOSS DOES NOT OCCUR IN THE GYM OR DURING YOUR WORKOUT!!!! Read this statement again…in fact…read it three times, repeat it out loud three times, and then write it down on paper three times…then you will own this statement. You will begin to laugh at all of your buddies spending hours per day in the gym, while you blow them away with your results you get in 20 minutes…3 days per week!

Weight loss occurs outside of the gym because of what is called EPOC. EPOC stands for excess post oxygen consumption. To keep things simple, it basically means your metabolism stays elevated and burns more calories over time for the next 24-48 hours. Here is the kicker and the thing you need to understand. The individual who spends an hour running on the treadmill at a jogging pace will only burn calories on the treadmill…so, maybe he or she burns 1000 calories…GREAT!!! But, here is where they lose every time…jogging does not increase EPOC a great deal. EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts…I repeat, EPOC is increased by high intensity workouts! You have to own this. This program is designed around this exact principle. You see, when you are done working out is when your calories are being burnt…in fact, you will increase your burning of calories for the next 24-48 hours. Don’t you think that is better than burning them for the measly hour spent on a treadmill running? You will blow your buddy away. Sure, he burns a lot more than you at the gym, but he doesn’t understand you don’t need to burn a lot of calories because your burning of calories occurs outside the gym due to EPOC…isn’t that great.

Here is the kicker though. You have to feed your muscles. This program has nothing to do with dieting. Now, you can’t eat big macs and fries every day and have great health. What I am saying is that you have to make sure and add fuel to the fire every two to two and a half hours. Think of your metabolism as a bon-fire. If you don’t constantly give it more wood to burn, it just turns into a bunch of hot red coals and eventually goes out. You have to keep adding fuel to the fire so it can keep burning hotter and hotter. If you suppress the fire by not adding “fuel” to it, you are killing your weight loss potential. You have stopped it for that day. You have to understand that it is crucial that you eat every two hours or so. No, not candy neither…I am talking about eating something with high quality macronutrients that are balanced…something that has a decent amount of protein, carbs, and fat…don’t forget the fat…you need it!

When you begin to understand this plan, which usually takes our patients about 3 months…give or take…you begin to see that you are no longer dieting. YOU ARE FEEDING YOUR MUSCLES INSTEAD! What an interesting concept! You don’t feel deprived because you are not on a diet! Not to deflate your balloon, but alcohol will supress your fire very quickly, so just be warned on the nights you want to indulge…you have put out the fire…don’t worry about it because you will be working out either the next day or the day after that again! You see, don’t get caught up in the details. You can’t be perfect! In fact, you never will be so stop trying to live up to a false sense of self! Instead, strive for excellence! Excellence means you give your best and know that you have given it. As soon as you strive for excellence in life, trust me, your stress goes way down. Never, ever, try for perfection after reading this…write it down and speak it aloud…I WILL STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE FROM THIS DAY FORWARD!!! Type A people, you need to own this. This will save your life and I truly mean that! I will explain that in another blog at a later time.

This really is a simple program to follow and one that you could adapt for life. Anybody can use this program to their advantage because we all have different intensity levels. A 20 year olds picture of intensity is going to be different than a 60 year olds…and guess what??? That is OK because they are both getting the same workout for their heart. The 60 year olds heart and lungs will work just as hard as the 20 year olds heart and lungs if they are both doing a “9” on an intensity scale. Do you get it…a “9” is a “9” is a “9.” What maybe a 8 for you, may be a 10 for me. We all have different fitness levels. The key is to find out what your different levels are and keep improving on them.

This is absolutely the best possible program for a time crunched world and a overweight world. It is simple and to the point and produces dramatic results. But, here is what I want the take home message to be. This program is designed to be used for LIFE!!! This program is not a fad to be used or “tried” for the next 3 weeks, two months, six months etc. It is for life! You have to get it through your head that you have to workout at minimum 3 days per week for the rest of your life. As soon as you own that, which usually takes between three and six months in our clinic, you are well on your way to achieving the health and weight loss you have always dreamed about.

You really can’t get bored with this program because it is all up to you. I recommend that you plan your workouts and your food for superior results, but do what is comfortable for you. I am a huge believer in the fact that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Definitely if you have a busy job or home life, you have to schedule your workouts…no ifs ands or buts…your spouse should see on the schedule a half hour blocked off three times per week for your HEALTH!!! They should understand this completely. But, if you don’t plan it that way, you will have problems. So put it down on the calender every week when your workout time is, and don’t stand around the gym and talk for an hour after your workout. Your family needs you at home. A half hour is a half hour. Get the workout done and leave the gym. Trust me, your spouse will love you for it. Not to mention the fact that when you do get in better shape your bedroom life will get better…enough said!

You now have no excuses. Get to work and after 3 months email me at I would love to hear your story of how you are doing and how freeing it is to own this plan and only have workout three times per week. It is about working out smarter to produce the desired result…not longer…who really does have 2 hours everyday to spend in the gym…I know I don’t…GOOD LUCK…and GO GET ‘EM!!!

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Always take January off without exception…this is not optional. You need time for renewal…and your body needs a rest. Plus, you don’t want to go to a full gym and weight in line with all the new fad dieters that won’t make it till February!

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Why Stress Ruins Your Health and Packs on the Pounds!

Posted by doctorjames on February 26, 2008

When we are born, we encounter stress with our first big breath. It is stress on our body for oxygen that actually makes us take a breath and open up those lungs for the first time. It is an amazing and beautiful moment as we here those first wonderful cries.Some stress is required for us in order to live. We need the stress of oxygen to make us breathe. We need the stress in the form of exercise to make our bodies stay healthy. The problem comes into play when we are exposed to stress day in and day out with no ability to relax.

Stress can present itself in many ways like physical, chemical, and emotional stress. First, lets talk about a more common type of physical stress.

Repeated physical stress causes microtraumas to the area most stressed. Let’s take the back for example. When we have repeated stress to our back we become prone to a back problem such as a disc bulge or herniaton due to microtears in the structure of the disc over time. When an individual develops a disc bulge or herniation, it is not an overnight thing. It is the result of repeated microtraumas. Microtraumas cause degeneration of the disc material causing it to bulge or herniate. Bulges and herniations occur with trivial traumas. For example, a person bends over to pick up a pen or a piece of paper, and know they cannot stand back up due to tremendous pain. The individual did not lifting anything heavy, he simply bent over! This is typical of a disc problem and is what is known as a trivial trauma. It was the last straw that broke the camels back per se. It was going to happen any day, it just chose that Monday morning as the day for it to occur.

Chemical stress comes in all kinds of forms including food, medications, vaccinations, tap water, pools, air pollution, hair dyes, shampoos, dry cleaning, make-ups, etc. Chemical stress stresses out our bodies by making organs and glands overwork to try to get rid of the toxins. Case in point, if you don’t have enough magnesium in an area of your brain, aluminum will compete for that spot. The aluminum attaches instead of the magnesium, which changes cell to cell communication. With food, we are bombarded by the stress of trans fats, nitrates, msg, dyes, and other additives and preservatives. Trans fats make the cell wall more rigid causing a break down in cell to cell communication. Nitrates turn into nitrites and nitrosamines which are cancer causing. MSG has been linked to changes in brainchemistry, and food dyes have been linked to perpetuating ADD and ADHD.

Emotional stress comes from many forms. Financial, marital, job, and relationship stress all produce emotional stress. Basically, most parts of our life stress us out at one time or another. We worry about this or that, even though we can’t control this or that, to the point that it begins to take over our body and our mind.

The problem with emotional stress is that it usually causes us to be hungry! The reason it causes us to be hungry is because of the release of a steroidal hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is released from a gland on top of our kidneys called an adrenal gland. In the days of the saber tooth tiger, cortisol was released to put sugar into our blood as a survival mechanism in times of increased stress from fear or famine. It is an ancient survival mechanism that goes against us in times of plenty that we have today.

Here is how it works, you get stressed so you grab your bag of doritos and some dip. You begin eating the chips one by one, and pretty soon without knowing it half the bag is gone! Just like that, in a measly half hour period of time, tons of calories, chemicals, carbohydrates, fat, and minimal protein hit the stomach and small intestine. Since we don’t have room for all this excess, the body takes all of it and converts it to be stored as belly fat! We start to see our belly increasing in size and hop on the scale only to see that week to week we put on a few pounds. Our clothes begin not to fit as well, our face begins to show a second chin. I think we all know the rest of the story.

The reason we do this is because when we can’t use the sugar immediately from any type of food, it is converted to fat. The body converts sugar to fat because this is stored energy for later. Instead of just getting rid of it, our body holds on to it in case a tragedy hits us and we are faced with a limited food supply. Not likely to happen today in our world, but did happen 1000’s of years ago.

When we store our fat in our belly, we begin to create insulin resistance. Cells actually do not respond to insulin like it used to. Insulin is supposed to shuttle sugar into a cell from the bloodstream. Since the cells already have enough sugar, they turn off their receptors, and the sugar stays in the blood stream. So, the pancreas begins to think maybe it just hasn’t secreted enough insulin. More insulin gets secreted, and the sugar still stays in the blood stream causing high blood sugar. The pancreas keeps working harder and harder because it thinks if it secretes more somehow the sugar will go into the muscle cells. After a period of time, the pancreas wears out because of the cells being less sensitive to it. Now, at this point you are TYPE 2 Diabetic! Not a good thing at all, and something that was preventable through a simple lifestyle change.

Type 2 diabetes puts us at an increased rate of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity. Obesity puts us at risk for increased cancer, sleep apnea, gastric reflux disease, osteoarthritis in the knees, hip, and back, various gastrointestinal issues, infertility, and impotence…just to name a few! Type 2 diabletes makes us age one and a half times as much compared to someone without the problem. Instead of aging 20 years, we age 30 in that same time limit! Not something any one wants to have happen to them in the age of beauty and glamourous looks.

As if increased blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides were not enough, our arteries become inflamed from tears and nicks in the lining of the artery. These little damages take place to the arterial wall ultimately leading to areas of scarring called plaques. These plaques lead to a “scarring” or the arterial wall. The scarring creates a bump due to inflammation of the arterial wall, which causes a narrowing of the artery.

When the artery narrows enough due to plaque formation it is called atherosclerosis or ateriosclerosis depending on the location. When this happens, blood can no longer flow through and it becomes blocked with a clot. When the artery becomes blocked, the tissue fed by that artery starts to die because of lack of oxygen. If this happens in your heart, it is called a heart attack, if it happens in your brain it is called a stroke.

The moral of the story is simple stress can end up creating a ton of health expenses and decreased quality of life. We need stress reduction techniques now more than ever. Take five minutes for yourself everyday to meditate or sit in a quiet room without worrying about anything! I know it is tough to do, but it can go a long ways to improve your health. Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and Pilates are very good stress reducing techniques. Also, progressive relaxation can help you adapt to stress better so your body does not “tighten” up so much.

Now you know how emotional stress can lead to bad eating habits and fat deposition ultimately leading to blood sugar problems and the impending doom of stroke or heart attack. Is it worth it to you to spend a few dollars on yourself every year in the name of organic food, a healthy diet, good water, exercise, stress reduction, and health education?

I will let you decide your very own future, but don’t ever let me tell you I told you so! If you need help because you are suffering with anything that I mentioned above, we can help you. Please feel free to email me at with any questions. We can help you with your dieting, supplementing, and exercising needs.

Your health and wellness advocate,

Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Remember that what you eat your children do too! We are in a childhood obesity epidemic. Please think about your children’s health and not if they will like this or that. Introduce fruits in vegetables by making it fun through the presentation…shapes, designs, etc. It will go a long way to improve their health!

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Stay lean, eat fat!!!

Posted by doctorjames on February 12, 2008

As I awake this morning at 3:45 am, I have this burning topic in my head that I need to get out to all of you. I have always been told when you have an idea that hits you in your sleep to wake up and start writing (typing).

There seems to be a fad still existing that low fat foods are good for you! This could not be further from the truth, fat is needed by our bodies to survive. In fact, if we do not eat fat we can even die. Fat makes up 60% of our brain by weight, makes up our cell walls, our nerve sheaths, and our heart actually uses fat as its primary energy source because it burns more efficiently then sugar! So, reduce your fat to a minimum and health problems will occur.

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see women (not that men don’t do this, but women usually buy the groceries, trust me, I don’t mean to be sexist) loading the carts full of low fat items and no fat items and I just want to cringe! And, to top it off there is a 12 pack or 2 or 3 twelve packs of diet soda in their cart! Check out this link if you think diet soda will help you lose weight…

Here is the problem with reduced fat anything…they just add sugar to make it still taste good! Fat, most of the time is what makes a product taste good. I know some of you cook breakfast in the morning (all of you should), and are afraid to use a bit of butter in the pan to make your eggs, so you use that very unhealthy cooking spray with who knows what kind of chemicals in it. But, don’t you notice that your eggs always taste better cooked in a little bit of butter? Adding that natural fat in the form of butter or lard, just gives it that added flavor. On top of this, studies have shown that fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K are minimally absorbed by the body without some kind of fat. Case in point, a salad…how many people do you know who order a “healthy” salad, and put low fat or non fat dressing on it? We probably are all guilty, thinking it will benefit us in some way. It has no benefit. It is full of sugar and has no fat. You end up spiking your insulin levels, and not absorbing the great fat soluble vitamins in that salad. Do you think that salad is that “healthy” now? My suggestion, take the fat and leave out the sugar…

We were sold on this myth in the eighties that if we just would reduce our fat in our diets then everyone would be healthy…WRONG! Don’t you love when the food industry and science does a mass study like this on the general public? To this day we are still suffering from the effects. Heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and obesity has went through the roof since this fad started, and not to even mention the risen health care costs this “study” has caused.

People wonder why they keep putting on weight. Sorry to be upfront and kind of in your face, but it is our lifestyle.It has nothing to do with an underactive thyroid that your doctor can prescribe some thyroid med for. It is simple, it is our diet and lack of exercise! Now, in some cases this may be true, but most cases your thyroid levels are low because your body is overloaded with junk….sugar…disrupting your hormonal balance throughout your body, and creating you to be overweight and suffer all the maladies that come with obesity or being overweight. I have seen many cases of hypothyroid conditions resolve under the correct diet and exercise routine.

The truth is sugar damages our bodies in whatever form you use it in. It also lowers our immunity! So, if you are sick or your kids are sick you have to stay away from unnatural, processed or refined sugars like the plague! You will get over your sickness much faster.

All carbohydrates break down to glucose…I will say this again, all carbohydrates that our body uses breaks down to glucose in our body…hence the blood glucose test for sugar handling issues. When we eat a bunch of refined sugars…chips, sodas, crackers, bread (yes, even wheat bread, rye bread, etc ), donuts, fruit juice, energy drinks, etc., we take in too much sugar for our liver to store. When this happens our body stores the sugar as fat, which starts a downward spiral of weight gain, rises in cholesterol, and triglycerides. My friends, if there is anything you learn from this topic is that fat will not cause you to be fat. Please, please remember this…it will save you so much money in the long run.

Time and time again it has been shown, most notably through Dr. Atkin’s diet, that people can eat fat and protein and produce dramatic weight loss results, cholesterol point drops, and blood pressure normalization (as long as their is no kidney disease).

It seems almost counterintuitive. Eat more fat and protein and lose weight just by staying away from sugar? Yeah, but here lies the problem…Recent studies suggest that sugar is a more powerful addiction than cocaine in laboratory animals. So, I ask you again, is it that simple to subsist on a high fat and protein diet and stay away from unnatural, processed, or refined sugars? The people who do stick with it see dramatic results within one month in their blood chemistry. If you are ever diagnosed with high cholesterol or high blood pressure, please try this diet for one month, avoiding all sugars, and you will watch your cholesterol and blood pressure drop significantly (of course if it is serious, you need to be on a medication, but if it is borderline, why not fix it with diet and exercise!) I have helped many people resolve these conditions with diet alone!

The reason this diet works is because all sugar as I said above gets stored as fat. People are amazed when I tell them they can eat all the steak the want to if they cut out their carbs! It is fine to eat green beans and other vegetables with your steak, but not potatoes. Potatoes are very starchy and immediately cause a rise in blood sugar and fat storage. You cannot eat a steak that is fatty all the time and put a bunch of high sugary foods with it because then your health will deteriorate. You see, there is a fine line to this diet stuff. You either follow it completely and strive for excellence or you fail! It really is that simple. It is a lifestyle change, stay away from bad foods, eat right, exercise, and practice stress reduction. If you need more evidence, see this article just published…

Striving for excellence is different from being perfect. I like to look at my diet and my exercise on a yearly basis. This allows me to strive for excellence because I know life is life, and that I will be tempted by that sugary this or that. So, I eat it here or there, but that is my point, here or there, not everywhere and everyday. Imagine if your diet was good 300 days out of the year. Would you think that is pretty good? That is excellent!!! I would be very happy with myself, but people get caught up in the day to day diet world, and trying to live up to this false perceived sense of self and notion that perfection is the key! Perfection always leads to failure due to emotional upset! You have to get this…there is no magic bullet for weight loss or some magical cure or diet for that matter…it is a lifestyle…LIFESTYLE…which does not mean I am going to follow this for one month, three months, or six months…it is for life! As soon as you realize that you are going to exercise for the rest of your life and eat sensible for the rest of your life…that is when your weight will normalize and your health will be abundant!

Now, I have told you all of that to tell you this, not everyone can be healthy on a low sugar diet. Most people can be, but there are a few of us out there that needmore carbs than protein. And, some of us out there have to have a balanced diet with carbs and protein. It really takes trial and error to figure this out. You have to listen to your body and really feel when your body feels at its best and fully energized. You should not be crashing in the middle of the day and suffering from fatigue. Most people crash during the day due to their high carb breakfast…cereal and toast…it sets your insulin levels and blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. You are doomed from the moment you ate that morning…just think of our poor kids going to school after eating a sugary breakfast…is it any wonder why they act out in class? I would act out too if my blood sugar crashed. I can’t maintain an attention span if I am tired and fatigued…can you? I am sure you know the rest of the story, the teacher calls the parent, says the kid is acting up, and suggests seeing a pediatrician for something to calm the student. Now, do you realize that when these kids go on Ritalin that it is class 2 controlled substance…it is a narcotic and you are willing to put your child on it before you try to change his/or her diet? This is a serious issue and one that I will debate later, but back on to the subject at hand…After you crash from your sugary breakfast, you add coffee because it gives you a good false sense of energy because of the caffeine, and now you start on a whole new thing…caffeine…an excitotoxin! (Russell Blaylock’s book entitled excitotoxins talks more in depth about this). A whole new rollercoaster!

Here are some clues to help you figure out if you are more a protein or carb type. If you feel fatigued and bloated by eating more fat and protein, you are probably not a protein type. If you feel more fatigued and bloated by eating carbs, then you are probably not a carb type. Try it and find out what you are and start following it.

Please understand, fat will never lead to weight gain, and cholesterol laden natural foods(not processed foods)…like eggs, will never raise your blood cholesterol. It cannot happen! So, start eating your egg yolks that are jam packed with nutrients. Your body produces anywhere from 90-95% of its own cholesterol because your body needs cholesterol to function. It makes all of your steroid hormones, cell walls, and helps to make up nerves in you brain! Cholesterol is one of the most important chemicals in our bodies! Now, do you really think you want to take a drug to bring your cholesterol down 100 points? This can wreak havoc on all of your cells, your steroid hormones, and your BRAIN! Out of sudden, the quick fix does not sound so great anymore, does it! And people wonder why it causes muscle cramps…

So, my challenge to you is to shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Anything not on the perimeter is sugar ladened. Also, do not by anything that is low in fat or non fat because they just add more sugar. You are way better off eating the fat! Make fat your friend and you will see you won’t have fat left on your body! Also, buy free range or grass fed meats. Grass fed meats have a better ratio of omega 3 fats to omega 6 fats because they are not fed grain! Grain fattens the cow. Now, if it fattens a cow, what do you think it does to us? As it stands today, our omega 6 to 3 ratio is anywhere from 20:1 to 50:1. Why is this important…because omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory and omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory. The more your ratio is out of balance, the more inflammation in your body…not only do you hurt from arthritis pain or muscle problems, but the real problem is that heart disease is always traced back to inflammation. Inflammation is the start, and all the pathologies of the heart are the end. Now, don’t you think it is worth it for you to spend a bit more on your groceries and a quality omega 3 supplement of pharmaceutical grade (not one from a store shelf)?

One more caveat, there is no gene for longevity, but what they are finding in laboratory animals is one common link…those animals who subsist on a fat only diet…lard…live the longest! Isn’t that crazy…that is what I though too, but the reason they live the longest is due to no increase in insulin levels and what are called leptin levels! So, limiting your sugars can produce a longer life! Isn’t that reason in itself to stay away from these things.

Remember, all sugar is not bad, it is only the form that it is in and if it acts slow or fast in your body. You have to find what works for you. I will be glad to help you with this. Processed grains and sugars will always cause us adverse health problems because it is processed. Keep it simple and only eat things from nature. If it could not have been eaten 100 years ago, chances are it is not good for you! Live by that rule and you will do great! A good book for any of you readers out there on this subject is a book called Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston Price. It is one of the most important nutrition books ever produced. You can also check out a book called Pottenger’s Cats by Dr. Pottenger.

Now, there is still alot to cover on this issue…like why people have so much trouble with certain carbs such as wheat, and why soy is not a health food, but I will leave you all in suspense till the next time! Whatever you do, don’t increase your protein with soy. That will cause even more health problems. I will write on that at a later time. Remember, I am here to help you be as healthy as you can be. If you have any questions, please email me back and I will answer them, or come in for an appointment and I will help you. I even can help your friends and family that do not live here through the internet or phone consultations. Technology is great because it allows me to help more people without actually coming to my office! So, any referrals you want to give to us, wherever they live, I would be honored to help.

Hope you enjoyed this post, and more to come…

Your health and wellness advocate,
Dr. James R. Haakenson

P.S. Thank you again for allowing me to be your doctor

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