Drinking adequate water is so easy to forget. The recommended amount of water we should intake per day is 50% of our body weight in ounces. If you weigh 180 pounds, you should consume 90 ounces of water per day. If you sweat excessively due to work or exercise, drink even more. This recommendation is for pure water, not any liquid such as juice or tea. Adding electrolytes to your water, in the form of sports drinks, can be beneficial during heavy exercise. When we don’t hydrate enough, we can suffer from dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration include: headaches, brain fog or unclear thinking, fatigue, chills and heart palpitations. Be aware that dehydration can be life threatening if untreated.
Meditation is such a buzz word these days. I personally find it extremely helpful to quiet my busy, overactive mind. After a short trip into “emptiness”, I gain a broader perspective on a situation and can understand things much more clearly. It helps me gain control on the reality and scope of a situation versus getting twisted into part of the whole.
Ideally, experts recommend meditation for at least 15 minutes a day. I agree, but also use meditation for smaller moments of time throughout my day. First, find a place that is quiet and free from distractions such as TV, kids, pets and cell phones. Next, sit on the floor with your spine straight. Cross your legs and get as comfortable as possible. I like to use a small pillow under my buttocks. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Fill up your belly and feel your stomach get fuller. Exhale, first squeezing the belly and eventually squeezing the air out of your chest. Repeat at your own pace. If you try too hard, you will get light headed. Don’t force this. Rather, allow the breath to lead you, instead of you leading it. Some people benefit by placing a hand on their belly to feel it swell with the inhale and sink in with the exhale. Relax your body. When you focus on the breath, your mind will not be able to focus on other issues. As this breathing style becomes more comfortable, you may find your mind wandering to other issues and losing your “emptiness”. Simply come back to the breath and you will be back on track.
Stay present. Stay in the NOW. Keep coming back when you wander. Make your presence present! That which we place our attention on becomes our attention. Therefore, a place of emptiness is a great place to empty the problems, difficulties and challenges that are upsetting us. A good meditation session may help uncover answers to issues you’ve been searching for. It’s amazing that from the quietness, answers flow. Some people use meditation as a tool to go deeper into themselves. It can give direction to your life.
Join me and my staff as we tweak our health to THRIVE NOT SURVIVE. Enroll online or in our office for this series of classes that will begin in January. Class topics include:
- Muscle and Joint Health: Foods and supplements to decrease inflammation and muscle spasms and improve hydration and flexibility.
- Better Gut Health: Better food choices and the most expensive supplements won’t matter if your body is not absorbing them from the inside out.
- Use It or Lose It: Why exercise is a critical anti-aging tool and how to safely incorporate it into your busy lifestyle.
- The Nutritious Kitchen: How to read labels and make better choices in the grocery store.
- Organic Foods: Hype, Fad or Lifesaving?
- Improve your body and mind with breathing, meditation and yoga.
- Hormone Function: How hormones work and how to improve them naturally.
The most common excuse I hear from patients is “I don’t have time to exercise”. I am about to make you feel very guilty, because here is a one minute exercise that will leave you refreshed and relaxed.
Take a deep breath in. Feel your belly swell and get larger as you inhale. Don’t worry about a flat stomach. Your belly should rise with your in breath. Put your hand on your stomach and feel it move back towards your spine with the exhale. Follow this rhythm a few slow times. Once you’re comfortable with this rhythm, try the inhale for a slow count of 5 with the exhale also for a slow count of 5. As this gets easier, try to lengthen the breath for counts of 10. If you’re really focusing on this, your mind will not be able to wander to your “to do” list. You won’t be able to vent and hit replay on any troubles you are going through. As the title of a country song says, JUST BREATHE. After a few cycles, start holding your breath for 5-10 second counts between the inhale and exhale. You will not get dizzy if you do this routine slowly.
This exercise can having amazing healthy benefits and literally takes a minute or two. You can physically decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. It can be done anywhere and no one will even know you are exercising. You can even do this in bed, right before sleep. When you get really comfortable with this practice, truly add the sense of smelling roses with the inhale. You will be amazed at the good feeling this simple and quick exercise will leave you with.
Why do we need vitamins and supplements? I am asked this question many times in the course of a week. The answer is so simple. The soil is depleted. If traditional farming methods are used, the same crop is planted in the same field, season after season. Along with overuse and not rotating crops, we use chemicals to kill weeds and bugs. These same chemicals kill the necessary microbes that form the beneficial nutrients that are taken up by the plants roots and transferred to the crop. What we eat then becomes an “empty harvest”, void of the life giving nutrients the plants were meant to provide. Even organic produce does not guarantee soil richness and quality.
The sun is just as important as the soil. Greenhouses may utilize artificial light to make the plants grow. Only real sunlight can create photosynthesis. You can taste the difference in a home grown tomato versus a hot house one. And taste is not the only deficiency. The nutrients are deficient as well. Buying organic, although very important, does not mean that your produce was picked at its peak of nutritional value. If you look on the label. Many organic produce comes from California or Mexico, where it was picked well before its peak in order to survive the long trip from its home to yours. Produce picked before its time is deficient in nutrients.
To maximize the amounts of nutrients in your produce, buy local and buy in season. When buying strawberries in January, be mindful of where they came from. In the winter, look for crops that survive cooler temperatures to be the freshest. This includes root vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes.
Beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, are the first line of defense in our gut to protect us from harmful ingested bacteria, pathogens and fungus. These probiotics deny the harmful bacteria from surviving or flourishing and thereby poisoning our bodies. Probiotics also help the breakdown of life giving nutrients for proper absorption. What good is a vitamin if our body cannot absorb it?
I prefer Standard Process ProSynbiotic, because it is well tested live cultures and packaged in amber colored glass bottles. This protects the live cultures from sun and oxygen, which can kill good bacteria. It also contains an amino acid called Glutamine, which is very healing on the GI tract. So along with giving you the good bacteria, it also helps to heal the inner lining of the stomach and intestines.
You can also get probiotics and good bacteria from certain foods. The highest amounts of probiotics are contained in fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut, raw beet juice, Kimchi, Miso Soup, Kefir and Kombucha. Yogurt, which is high in only one strain of probiotics, is also high in sugar which decreases its helpfulness.
Coming January 1, 2016!
In reviewing several “detox” programs, I personally endorse the Standard Process 21 Day Purification Program. This detoxification includes a combination of a whole food, nonprocessed diet, along with eliminating the two most common food irritants, dairy and gluten. Along with a completely clean eating program, it includes whole food nutrition to help flush your kidneys, liver and intestines. For 21 days you will clean yourself from the inside out.
This program, offered through my office, will also include details on foods and recipes to make this journey as easy as possible. My husband and I have personally completed this program several times. The most important decision for you to make is are you willing to really make changes and sacrifices for 21 days? If you are, the results are amazing!
We are offering classes in our office to learn more about this detox program. They are available at 6:15pm on Monday, December 7th and 28th. You can also find more information at www.standardprocess.com.
Join me and my staff at Florence Chiropractic Center as we embark on our journey for a NEW YEAR TO A NEW YOU! Please call the office to reserve your place for the free informational class.
What do you do when your car dashboard is showing you a warning light? Do you ignore it and continue driving or do you fix the problem? If the gas tank is empty, do you fill the tank or wait for the inevitable and eventually run out of gas? If your oil light comes on, do you dig deeper to fix the problem or just keep putting more oil in? If the answers seem obvious, then ask yourself this, why are you treating your car better than your body?
I see this happen all the time with my patients. They get many warning signs, or what I call “check engine signs”. Unfortunately, many just don’t do anything about them and consider them to be normal or part of aging. Whether it be back pain, joint stiffness, headaches, indigestion, constipation, weight gain or high blood pressure, these are all warning signs that something is out of balance. These are NOT normal symptoms. Look at these as yellow lights warning you before the red light comes on. These symptoms can be key to making life saving changes. Many of these signs simply mean eat better, balance your poor choices with nutritional supplements, drink more water or spend a few short moments per day exercising or doing breathing and relaxation techniques. I’ve witnessed even the smallest changes making huge life improvements.
We’ve heard it before…you can’t buy good health. All the money in the world doesn’t matter if you are sick. The more I study and learn about nutrition, the more I realize that we have a huge responsibility to our own health and the health of our families. What we eat, and especially what we don’t eat, really does matter. As the holidays approach, please reflect back through the year and look forward to the beginning of next year. What have we done well and what improvements can we make? Be honest and realistic. Can we make better choices with how we feed ourselves? Contrary to popular belief, it truly does not take more time or cost more money to eat better. Choosing fruits, vegetables, salads and nuts is just as fast and probably costs less. Whether we eat out or cook at home, better choices are just about priorities. Is your health important to you?
Patients come to my office to get well, but my deepest desire is to help keep you well. Through my 25 years in practice, I absolutely believe in the amazing benefits of chiropractic. However, chiropractic is not just something that I do to you. It is a system of physical movements of the spine along with supporting our bodies with great nutrition and maintaining physical flexibility and strength. This can only really be achieved by eating well, hydrating, exercising and stress management. When any of these pieces fall, sickness usually occurs.
Traditional medicine, although absolutely lifesaving in many cases, is mostly about eliminating symptoms, not getting healthy. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or acid indigestion and your doctor puts you on medication to “improve your numbers”, have you really become healthy? Maybe your high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart burn is your body’s way of trying to tell you something. Maybe it’s a warning sign to look at what you are eating and drinking and change something. Are you exercising to strengthen your cardiovascular system? Are you practicing some form of stress management through quiet time, prayer or yoga? Do you carve any moments throughout your day for “you time”? Or, do you just take a pill (or many of them) and assume that you are okay?
Please stop and reassess. Make the upcoming new year a time to reflect and improve. Make small and doable changes to get healthier. We are combining our November and December newsletters into a motivating source of information. Please use it as a guide and don’t hesitate to ask any questions or schedule a private nutrition counseling session.
After being forced to use “squatty potties” in China, I am reminded how important our leg and core muscles are as we age. What is a “squatty potty”? Use your imagination…but truthfully, it is a hole in the ground in place of a toilet. I was told about this prior to traveling to China, however, I thought it would be rare and only in rural areas. Not so much! They are the norm at large airports, restaurants and pretty much all public places. I now know why they use the term toilet, instead of restroom. A “squatty potty” leaves a lot to be desired in terms of “rest”. Thankfully, I have been in yoga teacher training for several months now and have gotten rather good at the chair pose. The chair pose is where you stand, squat down to mimic being in a chair and raise your arms above your head. It sounds rather easy, doesn’t it? It is, for about three seconds, but try to hold this pose longer. If you are like me, your legs will start to shake and quiver sooner than you ever imagined. It requires a great deal of balance as well. Trust me, you did not want to fall around the “squatty potty”. As a chiropractor, it amazed me how the elderly handled this situation, because many of my older patients really struggle to get out of the chairs in my office. But again, exercise is so important to the elderly in China. What muscles do you use to get out of a chair, out of the car or out of bed….your legs and core! These activities are absolutely necessary to stay independent and without assistance as we age. Practice the chair pose and try this exercise two times per day. Challenge yourself to improve your time in the chair position weekly. Can you work up to one full minute? Simply stand with your arms reaching overhead, close to your ears. Sit back just a few inches with your buttocks pushed slightly behind you and lower down. Hold this position as long as you can. Once you can hold this position for one minute, go lower in your squat. Go as low as you can to make the chair pose more challenging.