Is there a connection between a healthy liver, diet, and weight loss?

You bet there is!  That’s why we’ve been looking at liver function, and how to support and maintain a healthy liver in the last two blog postings.  As stated previously – without your liver you cannot live, and without a healthy liver, you cannot be healthy.  I’ll add to that by stating that an unhealthy diet will result in an unhealthy liver – making it all the more challenging to maintain a healthy weight.

One of the major aspects of nutrition and diet that is important is the amount of fat in your diet.  Whether it is a greater portion or a lesser portion – either way it’s important to be able to efficiently process fats in order to get the proper nutrition, energy and vitamins that fats contain, and just to properly process the fats in one’s diet.  An unhealthy liver can also play a part in a number of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.  Fatty liver disease and gallstones are two of the examples of results of complications from unhealthy conditions which then ripple through to other effects on your health.

Several diets claim to not only assist with weight loss, but also address some of the symptoms of fatty liver disease – and in some cases reverse the condition.  According to the National Institutes of Health, weight loss is the generally recommended clinical management for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).  Some studies have demonsrated improvement of fatty liver disease on a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet.

In our next post we’ll begin looking into what a ketogenic diet is, and begin to explore some of the impact on your overall health from making this dietary approach part of your lifestyle.

Best way to help your liver?

This post is really about the second best way to help your liver.

As mentioned previously – your liver is one of your major organs – it is impossible for you to have excellent health if you don’t have a healthy liver.  As mentioned previously, your liver performs an array of functions that are crucial to your overall health and the proper functioning of your body; not the least of which is removing toxins from your body.  And if you have any hope of properly metabolizing fats (and the associated fat vitamins) as well as other nutrients – you need to have a healthy liver.

So what is the best way to protect your liver?  The simple answer is avoid toxins.   The not-so-simple part of that is thinking about the air, food, water, and other things you consume and that you come in contact with that add to your toxin load.  There are many substances people are now exposed to on a daily basis that our bodies were never exposed to in the past and that put a heavy toll on your body – and on the liver itself.  We’ll look at ways to avoid toxins in future posts – but given this, what can you do to help your liver?

There are a number of foods that can assist in healthy liver function – in an upcoming post I’ll detail a few of those.  However there is an herbal supplement you can take that will help with healthy liver function and can help detoxify or rebuild your liver:  milk thistle.  I recommend the her Milk Thistle as a part of a healthy lifestyle to keep your liver in good shape and help it deal with the daily load of toxins it deals with for you.

There are three reasons you should add Milk Thistle to your daily supplement regimen:

  1. Milk Thistle has a long reputation as a liver aid  For thousand of years people have used Milk Thistle to revitalize the liver, to aid in it’s detoxification, and to help with the flow of bile (crucial to the proper utilization of fats and fat based vitamins).  It has had and continues to have this reputation because it does work.
  2. Milk Thistle contains the substance Silymarin -a highly active antioxidant that contains silibinins and other related compounds.  This potent substance is known to have a very positive effect on the liver, on toxicity in the body in general, and a strong antioxidant in it’s own right.
  3. Milk Thistle has a growing reputation as having positive effects on a number of other health issues including high cholesterol, dermatitis, and a protective effect against a number of cancers.

I personally recommend Milk Thistle extract available from Life Extension.  This formulation is high quality and has a good reputation.  In addition, I hold Life Extension in high regard for their research into healthful living and ways to increase/maintain good health.

Please use the reply form below for any questions or comments –  I’d love to hear from you.


The importance of healthy liver function

It’s important to briefly touch on the liver before reviewing some of the various dietary approaches to a healthier lifestyle.  Why?  Because your liver is one of the most vital organs in your body, performing dozens of functions – only a handful of which we’ll look at here.  Without your liver you cannot live, and without a healthy liver, you cannot be healthy.

The liver is the largest organ of the body – a few of it’s most important functions are:Liver

  • Helps metabolizes nutrients
  • Detoxifies harmful substances
  • Storage of glycogen for later use
  • Production of bile
  • Helps break down insulin and other hormones
  • Production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
  • Production of ketones

While there are many other important functions of the liver – these are the ones I wanted to focus on as we look at a healthy diet as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Consider these four important facts regarding your liver:

  1. A healthy liver is important (and necessary) for daily health and living.  Impaired liver function can cause many serious diseases and conditions.
  2. Your lifestyle and diet can have a great effect on the health of your liver and it’s overall function
  3. A healthy liver is *crucial* to the proper metabolism of fats in your diet (especially if you intend to live a low-carb lifestyle)
  4. There are specific dietary and supplement approaches to assist in keeping your liver healthy

Upcoming we’ll look at

  • one specific herbal supplement to aid in healthy liver function
  • the liver’s function in low-carb and very low carb diets
  • some of the benefits of a low-carb diet as a part of a healthy lifestyle
  • some first-hand experiences with a low-carb approach to a healthy diet


Have a question or something to add?  Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.

Don’t I just need to go by the RDA?

Ask many people about vitamins supplements and they’ll tell you that they get everything they need from the food they eat.  “Besides” they’ll tell you – “I get the RDA (recommended daily allowance of everything I need.”  The unfortunate fact is that you probably don’t get everything you need just from the foods you eat (see Do you need supplements).naturevalley

It’s helpful to start by asking – What is the RDA?  If you’ve looked at the side or back of most packaged food products you’ve seen a label similar to this one:

If you’ve wondered what the RDA is or where it came from – here’s the background, and here’s why it’s probably not a good measure of what your nutrient needs are for optimum nutrition and health.

The RDA is based upon calculations made in 1941 during World War 2.    The RDA was calculated based upon Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) which were the levels estimate in order to meet the basic nutritional needs of 50% of the people  (keep in mind that this was an across-the-board calculation for soldiers, citizens, and people facing food rationing).  While the levels and amounts are reviewed every 10 years or so, even these are designed to meet an average requirement in order to avoid the diseases of deficiency, and to provide basic nutritional needs (not what I would call optimal health).

So what does all this mean to you if you’re seeking to live a healthy lifestyle?

  1. Understand and be in touch with your body and your specific needs
  2. Do your research on what are considered levels for optimum nutrition.
    One excellent source for this is Life Extension Foundation.  Their stated mission is “to help you stay younger and healthier longer … looking for new and better ways to prolong youth, health, life.”  That sounds pretty good to me – most people are interested in staying healthier longer and being able to prolong health – I know I am.
  3. Adjust your lifestyle and diet accordingly.  As I’ve pointed out many times, you should focus on a healthy diet that supports a healthy lifestyle – not on going on a diet.  Remember – diets don’t work.
  4. Add the right foods and supplements to your diet to ensure that you are setting yourself up for optimum health, not just avoiding the diseases that come from nutrient deficiency.

If you are only going by the RDA printed on your processed food packages, I think you are doing yourself a great disservice and not setting yourself up for optimum health.  Remember – these calculations which formed a basis for all this were done during a time of scarcity and in order to avoid nutritional deficiency diseases for an average person with average needs.

In future posts we’ll review so of the specific vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements I believe you should consider adding to your diet to preserve, protect and prolong your health,


What did you really eat

So what did you eat today?

Can you answer that accurately and in detail?
If you are wanting to move toward a healthier diet and healthier lifestyle you need to know the answer to these questions. Just like when using a map or GPS – the first thing you have to do in order to plot a course to get somewhere is know where you’re at – identify your location.Ciruelas rojas y amarillas.

When I coach people on improving their overall health, I find that it is crucial that they keep a food log or diary of all they consume.  It is also important that they keep track over the course of several days. By tracking over the course of several days or a week and logging *everything* you consume, you’ll get a more accurate picture or where you’re at, what items are normally found in your diet, and what you need to change. Once you’ve done this, you can begin to pick your targets for change.

Coming up – next steps:  what changes should you target and what about jumping into one of the more popular diets?

Questions, comments, or just want to chime in?  Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.

You don’t have to do it all at once

This blog is dedicated to one thing – helping you make little changes to help you move toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time. This applies to all areas of health and fitness covered here on Remember that matter how healthy or unhealthy your lifestyle is today, you didn’t get there overnight.

Keep this in mind as you read these posts about diet, lifestyle, and fitness. I receive questions from people who are just getting started at living a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes it may seem daunting or overwhelming when you read posts about running (e.g. best time of day to run, or how to do interval training, etc) and it could be disheartening if you’re just trying to get started on addressing on moving your lifestyle in a healthier direction.

It’s very important to remember that you can’t (and shouldn’t try) to change everything overnight. You might know someone who did that and changed their whole life (seemingly) overnight – diet, fitness, sleep, emotions, etc. While those all are linked and positive changes in one of these areas will help foster positive changes in other parts of your life, rare is the person who can “do it all at once” and sustain those changes.

If you keep this on mind as you read the posts on diet, fitness, and even specific areas like running, it might be easier to find small steps that you can take to incorporate these things into your life.

Coming up: posts on the best running shoes for beginners, the best way to get started with running, how to get started with weight loss, and small dietary steps you can take that can add up to big changes in terms of a healthier lifestyle.

Please keep those questions coming using the reply form below, and take advantage of the ads and partners on the special offers page as they help cover the costs of bringing this blog to you.

Does changing time have your body clock messed up?

Every year the same thing happens in the US – in the autumn people are happy for an extra hour of sleep when the clocks change and every spring it’s a pain when you lose an hour of sleep due to the time change.

The funny thing is, your body tends to still wake you up at the same time in the fall and wants you to sleep until the same time in the spring.  It’s the topic of conversation at home, work, radio and tv shows, etc.  You can do something to help with this and end up getting better sleep.

You can basically do a reset of your body clock and get better overall sleep through the use of melatonin.   This post will highlight the benefit of melatonin in general and how it can help you reset your body clock more quickly, whether it is because of a seasonal time change, or travel to another time zone.

What is melatonin?  Melatonin is a substance that your body naturally produces (in melatonin 5mgthe pineal gland in your brain) to help regulate the sleep/wake cycles.  It is inexpensive, readily available, and effective from any corner drugstore, health food store, or from online sources.  I recommend a dissolvable or sublingual lozenge.  Some people find that a time-release formula works better for through-the-night sleep.

It is best to start with a small dose and work up from there – you may not require much for it to be effective (2, 3 or 5mg).  With drastic time changes, it may take a bit more to help do the initial reset of your body clock.  Many people find that they can back down your dosage once the re-establish healthy sleep patterns.  This can also be a great benefit when traveling, especially if you have changed time zones.

Side effects – typically none, though many people report that they experience more vivid dreams than normal.  Also, make sure you don’t take melatonin during daytime hours as it will make you tired and will tend to throw off your normal body clock.  Also, keep in mind that melatonin is not able to make up for lack of or too little sleep.

For more on sleep, make sure you check out the posts on healthy sleep part1 and healthy sleep part 2.
Do you have questions about melatonin or anything related to a healthy lifestyle?  Use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you.

So how often should you run?

I love to run and have loved it for a number of years.  For those that enjoy it as much as I do (some might use the word obsessed)  going on a run more than once in the same day is not out of the question.  I’ve been know to get “my” run in early in the day and then go for a “social” run with friends later in the day.  Obsession?  Maybe – but I really do enjoy running –  not just the physical benefits I get from running; i just enjoy getting out, feeling my body move and respond, the endorphins (the so-called runner’s high – will be covered in an upcoming post) and the invigoration from feeling my muscles in use and the beat of my heart and air exchange from deep breathing.    So am I recommending that you run multiple times in a day?  No – you can, but even that is based on the same principles that answer our question of how often you should run.treadmill

So here are a few things to consider to arrive at the answer of how often you should run:

-Your fitness goals
-Your physical condition
-Your current fitness level
-Your workout intensity (HIIT, pace runs, etc.)
-Your other exercise activities
-Your current level of stress
-Your current sleep quality (or lack thereof)
-Any current precluding physical conditions or illness

Over the next few posts we’ll take a look at each one of these and unravel the answer to this question.
If you have to know right now – the most important principle is to listen to your body – it gives you feedback all the time; sometimes we either listen poorly or ignore the messages it’s sending.

Questions or comments – use the reply form below – I’d love to hear from you!



Is morning the best time of day to run?

Is there a “best” time of day to run, or a time when you can get the most benefit out of your running from a fitness standpoint?

I am asked this question frequently; people want to make sure that they are going to get the maximum gain from the effort that they put into exercise, and  I get it!  They want to get the most fitness benefit from the amount of effort that they are putting in to their exercise.

Is there a best time of day?  The answer to this that may surprise you, but makes a lot of sense (and has some good science behind it as well).  Before getting to that though, lets take a look at what is typically listed as the “best” time of day.  I’ll also tell you what is my best time of day, and the reasons for that.

Many people have heard that morning (first thing!) is the best time to exercise, and ask  about that.

There are a few reasons why morning is a good choice:

  • You will get a metabolic boost early in the day
  • By doing it first, there’s not much less opportunity to let the busy-ness of the day crowd it out of your schedule
  • If you run before eating anything, you are starting out from a fasting state, so you are more likely to get some fat burning effect from your running
  • Your running will likely curb your hunger somewhat and may help you with portion control at breakfast

There are also a few reasons why running first thing in the morning may not be the best:

  • Mornings are already rushed for most people, you may be tempted to skip your run if you’re short on timemorning alarm clock
  • Some people have motivation problems just getting up in the morning – adding running just gives them another poor excuse to hit the snooze, and then they never end up “getting to it later” in the day
  • Your body has been inactive all night, so you are not as limber and stretched as you are later in the day
  • Since you are in the process of waking up, you not run as hard or push your workout like you would later in the day


Overall, the morning is a good time to run.  Although it will not work out well for some people, and it is not what I would call “THE BEST” time to run, the morning does provide a couple of advantages and unique benefits.  For some people it is the best time to run – and they should make that their set or scheduled time to run.

In an upcoming post I’ll tell you my favorite time of day for running, and what factors affect and can change that.   If you have questions about running or anything related to a healthy lifestyle, I’d love to hear from you.  Use the form below for any feedback.

Why I run

This is the second part of a series on running – in this post I’ll cover a little background on why I run.

I like to run and it’s one of my favorite fitness activities, and I hope that by giving you some of the reasons I like to run, that it might encourage you to make running a part of your plan for a healthy lifestyle.   I want to share with you a few of the reasons why I started running for fitness as an adult, and why it’s one of the mainstays of my healthy lifestyle.

Running for weight lossKozzi-sporty_womans_back_with_tape_measure-294x441
I started running in my 20s shortly after getting married, and becoming aware of my rapidly expanding waistline.  I talked to a friend who was an avid runner and he gave some tips to get me started; almost 30 years later I still enjoy the calorie burn I get from running.  Though there are many variables, you can roughly figure that you burn 100 calories per mile that you run.  When you do that consistently  (and don’t add to your diet to make up for the exercise you’re doing), tt add up and make a difference quickly.

Running for health
Running is a great overall exercise to promote cardiovascular health.  It gives you an opportunity to exercise your heart, lungs, legs and even stimulates blood flow to the brain.  As highlighted in a Time Magazine article from a few years ago, runners tend to live longer and healthier lives.  Running is one important part of my plan for my healthy lifestyle.

Running for stress relief
Everyone has to find the best time for them to exercise based on their life and preferences and personality.  I don’t agree with the philosophy that says everyone should get out and hit the road and run first thing in the morning right after getting up.  While exercise in the morning is not a bad thing – you need to find what works best for you.  I personally prefer to run after work, when I can “run out” the stress and pressures of the day, and leave them on the running trail (though sometimes it’s nice to fit in a mid-day run on an especially nice day).   I find it’s a great way to release stress and that I’m able to leave the “stuff of the day” out on the trail so that I can enjoy my evening.freeimage-875744

Running for fun
We all run, at least at one point we all ran.  When they think back, most people have pleasant childhood memories of sunny summer days,  grassy fields or lawns, and the feeling of the grass beneath your feet as you run playing tag or just playing.   Somewhere along the way that changes for many of us, and it takes something  to remind us that running really can be fun – not just a chore to get in shape or stay healthy.  Whether running with friends enjoying some friendly competition in a race, or just being able to spend some personal time breathing fresh air – running can even be a great get-way in the middle of a busy day that just might give you what you need to make it through the rest of the day.

In the next few posts we’ll look at how running can benefit you (not just losing weight), some suggestions on how to approach running (so that you won’t give up), and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it (and not sabotage your results).

Questions or comments?  I’d love to hear from you!  Use the field’s below to leave me any feedback about this post or anything else you might find here on