Diet and Exercise

Herby-small-new hair

Recovery Coach, Heal Thyself

By | Addiction Recovery, Diet and Exercise, Recovery Coaching | 2 Comments

My name is Dr. Herby Bell and I’ve been a practicing chiropractor for over 30 years. My interest in chemical dependency treatment and being a certified Recovery Coach, stems from my own recovery in now my 20th year of sobriety. Addiction has affected my family in profound ways and I know that my story is all too common as we are all directly connected to addiction issues in one way or another.

My academic qualifications include being board eligible for diplomat certification by The American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders, (D.A.C.A.C.D.(c)) and I have received advanced training as an Ontological Coach through Newfield Networks and the International Coaches Federation.

My practice is exclusive to Recovery Coaching, and I am dedicated to assisting as many chemically dependent people as I can to help them experience the balanced, healthy and productive life I know is possible.

What I have found in the course of my studies and experience is that there are striking similarities with the natural, healthy lifestyles shared in chiropractic, the Paleo/Primal Lifestyles and chemical dependency recovery.

All of the above lifestyles focus on getting and staying healthy by resourcing the natural recuperative powers of the body by using best practices that are consistent with how our bodies–including our minds–perform at their best.

These practices boil down to just three things that all of us must learn to do well and hence my mantra in practice is, Move, Eat and Think Well: The Blueprint for Optimal Health.


Move Well:

Very often, because of a history of substance misuse, people in early recovery are experiencing the aches and pains of not having their natural brain and body chemicals–their endorphins–quite up to speed. This can be complicated by being out of shape and sedentary.

We all want to feel well and not doing so can trigger relapse. What took often many years to develop can take months to a year or two to reverse and that’s where chiropractic can really help.

Chiropractic seeks to optimize the way people move by being the all important beginning part of the process. What we know is that our ancestors moved, A LOT and shaped our current genetic requirements for daily exercise. This kind of full body, functional movement drives all of the healthy systems in the body. Brain science has revealed that when we practice a sedentary lifestyle with minimal or no movement, our whole “mind-body” suffers and this adds to the relapse phenomenon so prevalent in chemically dependent people.

I use chiropractic to speed up the natural endorphin producing process and help people to begin to understand their own bodies again–or maybe for the first time! Chiropractic does this by first getting the core of our body’s movement, the spine, to move as it was designed to move with symmetry and full range of motion.

Then, simple and practical exercises are added as individuals begin to trust their own abilities to move well and feel great. Practices are added slowly, surely and in a sustainable way. Practice makes progress and progress, not perfection.


Eat Well:

What we know is that recovering people are very often also addicted to the Standard American Diet of roller coaster carbohydrate and processed foods highs and lows–another part of the recipe for relapse.

After many years of research and trial and error in my own life, I enthusiastically use the common sense of ancestral health principles and the Paleo Diet, which complements and aligns with the recovery lifestyle seamlessly. The Paleo Diet is widely accepted now as the most, “genetically sound” nutritional lifestyle on the planet.

Eating in this more genetically congruent, balanced way allows people to feel more “even” emotionally, while naturally returning to their optimal body weight complementing the “move well” exercise program beautifully.

80% of how are bodies look and feel has to do with the food we ingest.

Slowly but surely we move toward eating foods that don’t trigger the craving mechanism leading to relapse. Inflammation and insulin producing foods (processed and refined carbohydrates) are replaced with nutritious and recovery friendly foods like clean protein, healthy fats, (Really!) fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits.

The transitional process may take 90-days to take hold, but again, sustainable, relapse preventing practices are well worth the effort as the payoff is feeling better than ever before.


Think Well:

The third “leg” of stability and good health is thinking well.

Thinking well requires engagement in a regular cognitive/emotional intelligence practice for the recovering individual. I like to refer to it as, “Taking a look at how we’re taking a look at things.”

I recommend working concurrently with a mental health professional through a psychological process in the form of individual or group therapy, mindfulness and meditation practices and/or 12-Step–or a host of other meetings, formats or processes. The key is to find a “thinking well” process to practice–and practice it just like anything else you do to get better at.

Just as our mind-bodies are constantly communicating with one another, with your permission, I’ll communicate with your other health care providers in a team approach to long-term addiction management. It’s a “we” thing…

Frankly and personally, I didn’t get sober to feel lousy and lifeless and I’ve found a way, an evidenced based way to feel great in a sustainable way. I can help you to find more balance in mind, body and soul in your life by getting the life your were born to live. If you’re not healthy and staying healthy, you “can’t get there from here” without taking a new look at things. Recruiting a coach to commit to some accountability is a great place to start.

Call me at 650 474 9411 or send me a note through a secure contact form. We’ll set up a mutually agreeable time to discuss how it works. I look forward to speaking with you because all great and healthy things begin with a conversation.

Healthiest Regards,



Diet and Exercise in Sobriety: A Check List

By | Addiction Recovery, Diet and Exercise, Health Care | 15 Comments

If you’re anything like me and I’ll bet you are, just the words diet and exercise bring up a whole bunch of confusion. If we were to only pay attention to what consumer media says about these things it’s quite clear, confusion is reasonable.

Often people will ask me why I got so interested in these topics and the answer is always: Because I had to. I had to find a way of life that supported my long-term sobriety and my left handed, right brained approach to life–and I have. A way of life in the diet and exercise departments that continues to evolve and improve and one that keeps me passionate and thriving.

Through the years via trial and error and relentless research I have found some basic, common ground truths about diet and exercise that anyone interested can apply–especially recovering folks, (and practice members at Recovery Health Care DO apply these principles very successfully).

An interesting twist is that these practices turn out to be anchored–and continue to be validated and supported by the cutting edge, evidence based journals. Why? Because our genetic blueprint is programmed for health and my own genetic makeup found its way back toward optimal expression. Wisdom of the mind-body? You bet.

Certainly, “your mileage may vary” and each of us needs to find our own, fine-tuned balance in these areas.

So how about a check list where the bottom line is, keep it super simple? Let’s start with food.

Diet – Minimize inflammation and insulin producing foods and maximize nutrient dense, energy efficient and immune system strengthening foods. Strive toward organic or–pesticide, hormone, antibiotic free foods–and it looks like this:

  • Grains: minimize to none, difficult at first, but HUGE payoffs – got chronic symptoms? lose ‘em slowly, but surely
  • Sugar: minimize to none, sugar is 4 times more addictive than cocaine and awful for our bodies
  • Processed foods: minimize to none – I just try to avoid poison these days…
  • No kiddin': and the above three take care of 80% of the problem, so easy-does-it because: You Can Do It
  • Meat: grass fed, not grain fed
  • Foul: chicken, turkey, duck, hen
  • Fish: wild, not farm raised
  • Vegetables: in abundance, preferably raw and not fried
  • Legumes: minimize – difficult to digest and by-products not so hot
  • Dairy: maybe – grass fed if tolerable
  • Fruit: seasonal, local and fruit has a high sugar content, so easy-does-it
  • Oils: olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil – lose the rest
  • Nuts: macadamia, almonds – sparingly
  • Tubers: sweet potatoes and yams
  • Coffee: maybe and look into Bullet Proof Coffee…do some experimenting if you’re a coffee drinker with no intention of quitting
  • Water: pure and plentiful - and filtered if tap water
  • Supplements: da basics – fish oil, multivitamin, multimineral, antioxidant, vitamin D, probiotics

Tips – You can “up regulate” your genes to enjoy these very often, life saving changes. It will take time. You’ll see/feel significant changes in 30 days, but give it 90–days minimally and of course, one day at a time. Add what’s good and let the not-so-good fall away. Eat when you’re hungry to a place just before you feel, “full” and don’t eat when you’re not hungry. Duh, that. Try it, you’ll like it. Added bonus: Your ideal weight will normalize naturally–this, I guarantee.

Exercise More good news: Research reveals “less is more” however, our bodies were built to move. Moving improves everything including brain function. Great news for those of us with the brain disorder of addiction. Bottom line is spending hours in the gym is no longer necessary or healthy, but doing something most days is the ticket. Here are the basics:

  • Move frequently at a slow pace – walking is great – every day if you’re able and the dog will dig it
  • Lift something heavier than usual 2 or 3 times per week – from dumb bells to kettle bells to just your own body weight (that’d be Herby Bells in my case…) – all good
  • Every 7 to 10 days do a higher intensity workout – look into Tabata Training – brisk walking, running, biking, swimming, jumping rope, etc. Crank it up once in awhile
  • Avoid “chronic cardio” or working out hours on end. Research shows more harm than good and remember, less is more
  • Find a day of rest to be a human-just-being (E.G., walk barefoot on the wet grass…) and honor it – every week
  • Stretching? Yoga? Dance? You-name-it? Yes. Mix and match keeping in mind the first three on the above check list

Alright, I said keep it super simple and that’s enough to try on for size. Let me leave you with a couple more observations and suggestions. I’m in the gym most mornings somewhere between the hours of 5 to 7am, (30 to 45 minutes). It works for me and I suggest you find a time of day that you will devote to your exercise, whatever shape it takes. I do it because I LOVE IT and you will too when you find the right mix of movement, perhaps music and time of day that’s all yours. Ask yourself, “How do I look, how do I feel and how am I functioning” to know if your “mix” is working. Add and subtract things accordingly.

Side Notes If you’re not sleeping well 8 to 10 hours every night, (yes, that’s right) none of this matters. Sleep deprivation can be physiologically worse than being perpetually hung over–especially if chronic. So look into it if good sleep is not in your wheelhouse. Also, if you’re looking for appearance and body tone changes, 80% of how our bodies look has to do with what we’re eating and only 20% has to do with how we’re exercising. But remember–diet and exercise go hand-in-hand, that is, exercise is also doing other essential things for our bodies–especially mind-bodies in recovery. One cannot compensate for the other. Treat them both–diet and exercisewith equal interest and importance.

Finally, send me a note or call: 650 474 9411 if you have questions or concerns about any or all of the above. What I have outlined here is a thumbnail sketch of the diet and exercise portions of the Blueprint for Recovery I use when when working with recovering people in my office. I also work with people all over the country via email, phone or Skype. Most of us can use a coach and all great and healthy things begin with a conversation.

Diet and exercise are essential to master a long-term sobriety lifestyle. Personal mastery is what it takes, so start your personal mastery practice today. You didn’t come all this way for nothin’ and…you deserve it.


When Diet and Exercise Are Not Enough: Really?

By | Addiction Recovery, Diet and Exercise | 2 Comments

If you’re like me, you’ve kinna haddit with the actor-playing-doctor on T.V. ads casting doubt about whether, “diet and exercise alone are enough” to deal with ill health caused BTW, by our stressful lifestyles, poor diet and lack of exercise.

Kinna haddit because s/he’s lying in an effort to get people to sign up for a lifetime prescription to a drug that has more side effects–some of them more deadly than what they’re supposed to be “curing”–than I had pimples as a kid.

Now it doesn’t really matter what specific drug or adaptive lifestyle disorder we’re talking about here because they ALL come about in large part due to a toxic environment, crappy diet and exercise regimen. What about mental disorders you might be wondering? Yeah, same deal: Conservatively, 80% of these disorders and illnesses clear up when people clean up their diets/environments and begin to exercise–each and every day.

Well, what about the other 20% and HEY! what about genetics? For the remaining 20% a little more digging and experimentation is required. That’s the, “taking responsibility” part.

And when that’s done?…Yeah–and again–80% respond beautifully as well. 97% of a genetic “predisposition” to any specific condition requires–you guessed it: A crappy diet, toxic environment and poor exercise habits to activate those genes.

So what am I saying, that we can’t trust doctors and the drugs that seem to be everywhere we look? No…I’m saying that we all need to begin to trust the wisdom of our own bodies and feed them with clean, sufficient, nutrient dense and pure foods while doing our personal bests to clean up our micro-environments and participating in reasonable mindfulness and exercise practices on a regular basis. That’s enough.

This is a capitalistic culture. It’s about supply and demand. When more people discover that clean environments, diet and exercise along with good cognitive skills are enough, the lying actors and dangerous drugs they push will join the ranks of commercials for things like cigarettes–we will no longer allow it.

And as a result, present day doctors of all stripes will first and foremost do what Thomas Edison’s doctor of the future will do:

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of [dis-ease and] disease.”



Exercise the New Miracle Drug?: It’s All I Can Stands!

By | Diet and Exercise | No Comments

I get regular emails from Kaiser Permanente as my family has used the crisis medical care company, when in crisis, for many years happily and with good results. The headline of today’s email read, Is Exercise the New Miracle Drug?

Okay, gag me with a tongue depressor, will ya?

For 30 + years I have watched Kaiser and conventional sick care institutions follow the age old practice of first, denying and attacking holistic health care common sense, then begrudgingly acquiescing as patients begin to ask for it, and finally, behaving as if it were always self-evident and part of the program.

End of rant…well I’m almost finished.

I always considered the designation of HMO, Health Maintenance Organization, a misnomer. It has been my experience through the years that these organizations–and to their, better-late-than-never credit–have up until very recently, been more like Death Prevention Organizations. Thrive, indeed.

Now I’m done.

Here’s what we know: The innate, genetic intelligence of each of our mind-body-spirits as it interfaces with the environment, needs three things to maintain what the bodymind is always moving toward: Homeostasis or stable equilibrium. For this innate intelligence to thrive, it needs for us to, as James Chestnut, D.C. says eloquently, “Eat well, move well and think well all of the time and for some time.”

Each of these pillars or nutrients of true health requires diligence and practice, as stated. 75% of chronic illnesses in the U.S. are due to lifestyle choices and toxic environmental considerations. In other words, these illnesses are preventable.

Dr. Chestnut goes on to say, “We don’t get sick because of bad luck, bad germs or bad genes, we get sick because of bad choices.”

While standing in line to pick up end-of-life meds for my mother’s end-of-life crisis care a few years ago, I would marvel in watching deconditioned, grossly overweight, sickly looking individuals of all ages carrying away shopping bags full of pharmaceuticals from Kaiser’s drug store. It saddens me to think how we’ve been duped by a sick care super system that is driven by profit before principle.

No, and as Popeye says, “It’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands no more!”, exercise is not the “new miracle drug.” It is a nutrient our species has required from the dawn of our hunting and gathering, remarkably successful history.

A miracle can be defined as, “A new perception.” Thanks, Kaiser, for coming up to speed albeit in that deeply disturbing, calculated, mechanical way.

Everyone needs to exercise, every day–it’s common sense. But then, common sense is not so common.

Now gittyup.