Infinity Spine Center Blog

Your Thanksgiving Day Survival Guide

Your Thanksgiving morning

1. Eat a big, awesome breakfast with plenty of protein and fat, but go lighter on the carbs. You’re going to get plenty of carbs at the feast later unless you’re one of the hardcore paleoketovegans looking to extend your streak of no cheats from 4 years and 6 months straight. Protein at breakfast will help your hormones like insulin and leptin be more stable throughout the day preventing you from getting hangry. You can’t be stopping at Circle K for lunch–you already know how that goes down! Front load your protein to the beginning of the day will help prevent the huge energy crash from taking down 1/2 of a Costco pumpkin pie.

A little something like this at breakfast. Eggs, bacon, and sausage all from our friends at Arcadia Meat Market.

2. If your celebration meal is closer to dinner time, avoid crushing too much pie and desserts at this time. Carbs after sunset and during winter will jack up your GI and circadian rhythm. If you want the pie, crush it earlier in the day. Shoot for carb loading before 2 pm.

3. Get that morning workout in! Preferably with weights or bodyweight exercises. You’re going to pound some food the rest of the day so doing resistance training to burn some glycogen (carbs stored in your body) will provide you some damage control. Your workout can be done at a park or backyard and as quickly and simply as:

  1. Air squats x 15, rest 30 seconds
  2. Push-ups x 12, rest 30 seconds
  3. Jog 50 meters, then jog back 50 meters, rest 30 seconds
  4. Pull-ups x 8, rest 30 seconds
  5. Walking lunge x 10 each leg, rest 30 seconds, go back to #1 and repeat for 3 rounds
Take 4 seconds on the downward phase of each rep. You’ll get a nice pump.Make appropriate modifications where you see fit such as using a band to assist with pull-ups or just hang from the monkey bars for a great modification if you’re not quite ready for pull-ups.Keep your jog/run intensity at a level appropriate for you. If you are waking up with stiffness in your joints and tendons, be sure to keep this chill. Also, if you are playing football in a Turkey Bowl or playing a game of hoops, WARM UP! We can’t have you out for the season with a busted Achilles like Dez Bryant.

A little something like this for round 1.
Thoma tip: if you use cinnamon for any of your recipes, try Vietnamese cinnamon. It’s next level. Throw a couple handfuls of it in your sweet potato casserole with 4th and Heart ghee and your taste buds will be jammin’.
What should you do post-Thanksgiving feast?1. Rest. Chill out. After that huge feast, you want your blood in your GI, not in your muscles. If you work out blood flow in the muscles increases robbing your stomach and intestines. Expose yourself to cold by going outside with a minimal amount of clothes like a tank and shorts. When your body is exposed to cold, your blood is shunted from your muscles into your organs. This helps with digestion and absorption of nutrients from the food you just devoured. If you have GI issues (fungal, yeast, parasite, bacterial infection), overeating pie feeds the fungus farm in your intestines. Add all the holiday stress, lack of light, and sleep to this equation and you’ll be more prone to getting sick especially as we continue into winter.
One of my favorite supplements for digestion. If you binge at Thanksgiving like me, get on the Dipan-9.
2. Take a hike. Or a walk. But be sure to do #1 first for at least 2-3 hours. After you’ve chilled for 2-3 hours, allowing your GI to digest and absorb your food, get in some slow-paced hiking or walking outside for 20-60 minutes. For this hike/walk, keep it aerobic and parasympathetic (think: feed and breed) dominant. A quick and dirty way to know that you are staying parasympathetic dominant is you’re able to breathe through your nose easily and your mouth doesn’t get dry.  Being outside under the sun improves the function of your mitochondria. You have to help these little guys as much as you can. The photons of the sun help pull energy from all the food you just ate.3. Avoid stressful, non-productive conversations with your mother-in-law or Uncle Bob. And stay off the Gram.

Thanksgiving day picks: yea or nah?
The best ways to combat Thanksgiving and holiday stress: YOU time1. Think about the last time that you were most chill. Think back to the specific time? What were you doing? You probably weren’t on a tight schedule and had some freedom with your time. This holiday season, avoid overplanning and take/make downtime for YOU. You may have to tell some people in your life “no.” Learn to say “no” and watch how much time you gain and how much stress leaves your life. Put your oxygen mask on first.2. Along with #1, have zen time, read a book, do reflection writing, paint a picture, or take a creative class. Go to The Collaboratory in Mesa, AZ and make a tree or dragon out of recycled metal with rockstar teacher, Ceri! She’s the talented artist that’s showered our office with several dope art sculptures. These activites have a great way of bringing you to the present moment, or the “now.” Challenge yourself this holiday season to learn or create something. And you already know an easy way for your zen time. Get that breathwork in daily. 3 seconds in and 10-30 seconds out. Pump that oxygen into your cells! It’ll force you to be present with YOU.

Any pie the size of Saquon’s quads for $6, you have to question what’s in it
Most important: pumpkin, apple, or pecan pie?Any pie that grandma made from scratch: get down with it! I’d throw on some of that Van Leeuwen vanilla bean if I were you.If it’s from Costco, Whole Foods, or Fry’s, it’s crap. There’s a good chance the crust has a bunch of enriched grains and the filling has gums, dyes, and artificial flavors. This also applies to the gluten-free pies and desserts. They’re junk and they’ll destroy your GI and eventually cause autoimmune disease.

If you’re in a pinch and it isn’t grandma’s turn to make pie, roll over to Sugar Jam Bake Shop. They are at Redfield and Hayden close to our office. They do good work of leaving out a lot of the crappy ingredients that Costco use in their pies.

Autoimmune diseases are like playing Fortnite and you get killed by one of your own dudes. One of your own dudes mistakes you for a toxin and blows you up.
Thanksgiving Day: Actionable Steps (quick and dirty)
1. Eat a big breakfast with plenty of protein and fat.
2. Get in a morning workout with weights or bodyweight exercises.
3. Veg out after your meal for 2-3 hours.
4. Take a hike or walk after your veg out session.
5. Have some YOU time. Plan nothing. Do no-thing.
Have an awesome weekend and get that YOU time in!Your cornerman with love,
Dr. Thoma

Can One Simple Trick Really Heal Your Brain and Increase Your Sex Drive?

When was the last time you had a dream? If you can’t remember, it’s time to listen up before it’s too late. When you dream you’re likely to be in REM sleep.  And REM is one of the BEST things for your health that’s free. It’s your drug of choice for depression, anxiety, shitty mood, low energy, Alzheimer’s, concussion, low T, Parkinson’s, autoimmune disease this and that, and even better sex. If you don’t remember your dream, but you wake up with an erection, there’s a good chance you got that deep REM sleep. Even though females lack the visual evidence compared to men, ladies can also get erections during the dreaming state of sleep. If REM sleep can do that for your situation downstairs, just imagine what it’s going to do for your goods upstairs.
Aging and REM Sleep
What sucks is as we age we get less REM sleep. I believe many of the diseases (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia) that we see in older people can be reversed when you begin to prioritize sleep and start dreaming. I’ve seen this happen with an 86 year young lady that works with us. She came in complaining of always being tired and chronic lower back pain. Last January, after only days of prioritizing her sleep, she sent us this message:

Prep Your Brain and Body for REM 
REM sleep doesn’t happen by accident. If you think you’re going to pull a JaMarcus Russell (see below) by not preparing your body and brain for REM sleep you’re kidding yourself.

The Short and Sweet of Sleep

The Two Stages of Sleep: 
1. NREM-non-dream state, slowed breathing and heart rate
2. REM- the dreaming state, with rapid eye movement, increased breathing and heart rate

The NREM and REM cycle through the night in 90-minute intervals. At the beginning of the night the 90-minute intervals are rich with NREM but as you sleep through the night, there’s a greater amount of REM.

In the picture above, you can see the normal spike of cortisol (black line) in the morning–that’s the signal to your brain to wake up and find food. As the day progresses your cortisol levels should drop and if not, good luck sleeping.  The white line represents the levels growth hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Growth hormones are set into motion by melatonin. Booom! That’s why your T levels are in the dumps and you got no visual evidence downstairs of REM sleep if you know what I’m talking about!

Timing of Physical and Psychological Repairs During Sleep
In the early part of the night when you’re having more NREM, your body is doing a lot of physical repairs. As your sleep progresses and REM sleep increases, you begin to do more psychological repairs.

Females and REM Sleep
Ladies, REM sleep is more challenging for you during pre-menstruation due to a sudden drop in progesterone levels in the first 1/2 of your cycle. Decreased progesterone levels cause lower body temperature making REM sleep more challenging. So if you find yourself waking up like a zombie half of the month, you’re going to want to do everything that you can to decrease stressors (see below for steps) in your life. Make you a priority.

Things you need to do to get more REM Sleep:

1. Take a cold shower in the morning and a warm shower before you go to bed. Along with your warm shower before bed, meditate or have downtime 30 minutes before bed. One of the easiest ways to meditate is doing breathwork. Do short inhales (2-3 seconds), long, full exhales (9-30 seconds).

2. Get rid of crappy lights and sleep in complete darkness. Wear the swag reds after sunset when you have lights on or you’re using a crappy piece of technology (as covered in “Your Best Night’s Sleep”). Be sure to take care of that light creeping in past your curtains. Artificial light in the winter time is one of the worst things for your health. This is Cornerman 101 stuff.

3. Instead of crushing your body all the time with high-intensity workouts, do a casual low-intensity hike outside in the morning or before sunset.

4. If going to sleep or staying asleep is a challenge and you do weight training, try 3 things:
-decrease your volume (sets and reps) per workout
– have bro sesh rest periods (instead of 0 or 30 seconds of rest, try 2-3 minutes of        rest)
-avoid training in the evening.

5. If you wake at 1, 2, or 3 am and can’t fall back asleep, it’s time to take a look at your stressors. A careful look at your symptoms will help you narrow down the causes of restless nights of sleep. First, look at your psychological stressors (your relationships, finances, job, “why” and mindset).

These toes need more than a pedi. There’s a good chance
this person is growing a fungus farm in their gut too.

6. Do #5 then immediately to your GI.  Symptoms such as excessive gas, cramping, bloating, constipation, loose poop or you do the green apple quick step frequently is a sure sign your GI is jacked. If this is you, there’s a good chance you may have a fungal infection. Itchiness or skin conditions like acne, energy highs and lows, restlessness, irritability, brain fog, cracking/noisy joints and toenails that need more help than a pedi can offer, are your signs that you’re growing a small animal farm inside of you that wants to turn you into minerals to feed the plants of the world. “What do you mean? I eat healthy! I had a salad for lunch!” Pay attention to the 3 hours post salad for any of the above symptoms.

7. As you are doing #5 and 6, become aware of your body. According to the CDC, 20% of us have chronic pain. I’m calling BS on that! It’s more like 90%. Be real. Neck pain? Back pain? Knee pain? Shoulder pain? All of these will crush your sleep and soul. Take care of all the toxic shit.

8. Avoid technology and “work” for your job after sunset. I know, technology is a modern day reality and you “have to get work done.” Divorce yourself from this crap and get your health back. Hangout with your family or friends or read a real book (not on your phone or tech device) after dinner. This is Cornerman 101 stuff too.

9. Avoid waking up to an alarm. This is probably as challenging as staying off your phone and not doing work after sunset, but you have to do it if you want to regain your health. Waking up to an alarm during REM sleep can crush the magic of REM sleep and even leave you a little pissy when you wake up. Who wants to be woken up by a loud ass beeping noise when juices are flowing?!

The aggressive bearhug cuddle technique
10. Have sex. Sex helps with sleep and sleep helps with sex. Sex decreases cortisol and increases oxytocin, prolactin, and dopamine. All of these help you chill out.  For women, sex boosts estrogen which helps with REM sleep. And for men, you get that le petit mort that’ll have you out in no time. After all the excitement and release of all the feel-good hormones, you know you’re gettin’ those cuddles!

Try it for 2 weeks straight. Make REM sleep a priority and you’ll feel like a champ!

Your cornerman with love,
Dr. Thoma


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