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.
As I studied Asian medicine, I was reminded of a lesson I heard in a church sermon. Kintsugi is an ancient Japanese art form. The origin of Kintsugi began when a servant went to serve the emperor his morning tea and she dropped his revered tea bowl. The bowl broke into pieces and she was devastated. In a desperate attempt to salvage his prized bowl, she used gold plated glue to put it back together. With fear and Trepidation, she served his tea in the newly repaired bowl. When the emperor saw the bowl, he loved it and it became a one-of-a-kind work of art that he cherished even more than the original bowl. This became known as Kintsugi. People all over began purposefully breaking their cherished porcelain and repairing it with gold to make their own one-of-a-kind possession. What a beautiful lesson! How many times are we “broken” either emotionally or physically with pain and disease? However, if we are willing to work through it and “put it back together”, we may become something even more extraordinary. Maybe we make necessary changes to our routines, diet or priorities. If we work at it, many times the effort has great reward and our cracks become glued together stronger than ever. That is my wish for all of us….that we have the courage to put our broken pieces together in a beautiful, unique and different way that is better than we ever could have imagined!
There’s No Place Like Home
As many of you know, I was out of the office for 10 days in September. In my 25 years of practice, this was the longest time I have ever taken off. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit China and had an unforgettable experience. Throughout my tour of China, I was amazed at the freshness of the foods prepared in the restaurants…sometimes too fresh for my American ways! Live snakes, roosters, turtles and fish were available in many places for you to pick, weigh and have prepared. The emphasis of fresh vegetables at every meal, including breakfast, was incredible. Every street had vendors and markets with the day’s fresh choices. The other aspect that was enlightening was the value placed on exercise. Early every morning in the city streets and parks, large groups of people met to work out. I awoke several mornings to the sound of beautiful music coming from the streets where people were performing group Tai Chi, fan dancing and badminton. Even the very old were participating. What a beautiful memory I have and a great lesson in staying active.
At a hospital in Xian, a large city outside of Beijing, I met with Dr. Li, a Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor in the orthopedic department. It was truly a life changing experience. I learned about their version of chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion (lighting herbs on fire on the skin) and even “blood letting”. On a routine basis, their patients’ care include a combination of all of these treatment modalities. Attention is given to their diet and emphasis is placed on balancing their food choices. He taught me about their philosophy of Yin and Yang and the importance of energy, or Chi, in the healing of patients. Although the streets of China were crowded, busy and loud with the constant noise of horns blaring, the clinic was peaceful with a gentleness used in patient care. I was treated by Dr. Li and had the pleasure of treating him and assisting him with a challenging patient in the hospital. I was taught a few helpful tips for patient care along with some “ancient Chinese secrets”. Although their facility was no where near the modernized version of our hospitals or doctor’s offices, my take away was how much they value and respect the patient’s spirit and their natural healing potential. I came home with a deep appreciation of our modernized medicine and values, but also a deep respect for the natural roots of medicine and how much I love what I do every day.
It’s already back to school time! Here are a few tips to keep kids’ backs safer and brains working.
- Breakfast of Champions: Most kids tend to grab a quick bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast, but even complex grains with low fat milk just break down to sugar. In the morning, our bodies need protein! Protein is the fuel of our muscles and brain. Eggs, meat and vegetables are truly the best sources of protein. For a quick morning meal, try rolled, sliced meats, hard boiled eggs or sliced tomatoes with cheeses. Nuts, especially walnuts, are also great. My personal favorite is protein smoothies. Use any combination of leafy greens, fruit (berries are best) and liquid such as water, coconut water or milk, cow’s milk or almond milk. I love adding Standard Process Complete protein powder for an extra boost of protein. Standard Process’ vitamins are not synthetic, like most protein powders, but rather come from food sources, making it easier for our bodies to digest and use the benefits. Kids love adding peanut butter, or even a little chocolate to their smoothies. Avoid protein bars. If you look at the nutritional label, many times they are loaded with nothing but sugar, carbohydrates and artificial preservatives.
- Back Packs: Keep as light as possible. Instead of swinging the pack on one shoulder, use both shoulder straps to balance the weight evenly. Use the chest or belly strap to wrap the pack tightly against your spine and avoid it bouncing up and down against your back.
These exercises are perfect for travel, because they are all done while seated. Do ten repetitions every 30 minutes and hold each exercise for a count of five.
- Calf Stretches: Pull your foot and toes up towards the ceiling and hold.
- Seated Pelvic Tilts: Discretely tighten your abdomen and pull your belly button towards your spine. This opens the joint spaces in the lower back and strengthens your core muscles to support your spine.
- Leg Lifts: Slightly raise your knees up towards your chin, just enough for the back of your legs to come off the seat.
- Range of Motion of Ankles: Draw the alphabet, letter by letter, with each foot. Print or cursive or both.
- Chest Stretches: Stretch your chest open by pulling your shoulders back against the seat as well as pulling the shoulder blades down towards your waist.
- Hamstring Stretches: Keeping your spine straight (do not roll forward) lean forward with one leg straight out and the other knee bent. Feel the stretch in the back of your leg. Pull your foot towards you and now you will feel the back of the calf stretch as well.