• Cloth Diapers: Helping Your Baby and the Environment

    Cloth diapers are not what our grandmothers once used- a cloth towel held together by pins. Gone are the days of hand-washing and line drying cloth diapers, too. (Unless of course, you choose to do so.)

    We are entering a more environmentally friendly generational wave right now, and one trend is coming back with a new style. Keeping disposable diapers out of landfills can help to lessen your carbon footprint, and it can have significant health benefits for your baby. Choosing cloth diapers over conventional diapers is an easy decision when you understand just what it can mean for your baby.

    The Benefits of Cloth Diapering 

    Baby’s Health:

    Keeping the chemicals from disposable diapers off of your baby’s skin should be a priority. Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl Tin, Phthalates, and Dioxin are only a few of the most common chemicals found in disposable diapers. These are all linked to lifelong health risks such as endocrine disruption, obesity, and cancer.

    By choosing cloth diapers, you also lower the risk of diaper rashes and UTI’s because you will be changing your baby more frequently.

    Environment:

    9 in every 10 American babies use disposable diapers. This adds up to 27.4 billion diapers in landfills each year. 

    • Just for the disposable diapers U.S. babies will wear, over 200,000 trees are cut down every year.
    • In one year, 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil will be used to manufacture disposable diapers.
    • Disposables generate over 3.5 million tons of waste each year.
    • Those diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose.

    Earlier Potty Training: 

    Because cloth diapered babies can feel when they are wet, they want to potty train earlier than those in disposable diapers. They tend to have less bed wetting issues as they potty train and grow, too. It is easier to notice your baby’s bathroom cues when wearing cloth diapers, making the transition to underwear smooth and easy.

    Your Bank Account:

    Purchasing disposable diapers will cost you over $800 a year per child, but (depending on how many cloth diapers you purchase) cloth diapers can be bought for $5-20 a piece. You can survive with about 25-30 diapers, easily. (It’s even cheaper if you use prefolds and a cover!) These diapers can be reused on siblings, too.

     

    The Selection of Cloth Diapers

    It is an overwhelming world to jump into these days! You can choose between:

    • Prefolds
    • Flats
    • Fitteds
    • Contours
    • Hybrids
    • Pockets
    • Sleeved
    • All-in-Ones
    • All-in-Twos

    But don’t shy away because of the choices, you’ll find your favorites as you start trying them out. The easiest will always be an all-in-one, hybrid, or pocket diaper. They require the least amount of work, but all cloth diapers are pretty easy! 

    Perhaps the pattern options may sway your choice, too. Whales, monkeys, plaid, stripes, ice-cream cones, you name it and you can find it on a cloth diaper. Ruffles and bows? No problem. An attachable dragon tail? Yep. You may just find yourself starting a new obsessive collection!

    How to Clean Cloth Diapers

    If you are breastfeeding, there is literally nothing to do but toss your diapers directly into a diaper bag, and then wash the contents of the bag every other day (empty and toss the bag in, too). You’ll rinse the diapers on a cold cycle, wash them on a hot cycle with minimal soap, and then rinse them again on cold. You can hang them to dry or toss them in the dryer for convenience.

    If you are using formula, or after solid foods enter the picture, you can knock the poop into your toilet before throwing the diapers into the wash. 

    Learn More About the Risks of Disposable Diapers:

    Parents are also not aware of the adverse effects of disposable diapers being in contact with their baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for more than two years and the long-term effects it causes. 

    Disposable diapers have been implicated by diapering proponents like leak proof polymers, super absorbent polymers, and some scented chemicals which are the key factors for everything from chronic diaper rash, respiratory problems like asthma, liver damage, skin diseases, infertility, and even to cancer.

     

    Continue the research:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27580878 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18648080 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27172304

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24749209 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2305737

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3045780

    https://momlovesbest.com/diapering/cloth-diapers/benefits-cloth-diapers 

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  • Loneliness and the Lack of Human Touch

    5 June 2019
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    In a recent article on USA Today, it was announced that “young people are far more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and in poor health.” After a study including 20,000 Americans was published, the results are causing quite the stir.

    “The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with nearly 39 for those 72 and older.”

    This is predicted to effect overall mortality rates, as loneliness impacts health and increases suicide risks. Loneliness is tied to chronic stress and depression, which both trigger chronic inflammation and risks to numerous diseases. It is a sad and disheartening truth that needs to be talked about.

    We want to place blame on social media and technology, which does play a large role. Although, this study discovered that all young Americans felt lonely – not just those attached to screens and online relationships. What if I told you that the root problem was far deeper than this?

    The truth is that our society is lacking human touch. 

    It starts at infancy when parents utilize products to hold or soothe their babies instead of wearing them skin-to-skin or feeding them on demand. From there, the human touch factor continues to dwindle. Throughout childhood, families have the weight of the world on them to keep up with Jones’. There are countless sports, camps, clubs, and activities to somehow schedule into daily life. There is too much homework, not enough sleep, and expectations that are too high. This all leads to very small intervals of actual family time. The constant struggle of going and going restricts the amount of time children receive emotional and comforting interaction. 

    This trend continues throughout the teenage years and with the pressures of college applications, financial aid worries, and lack of true friendships due to the impending doom that is social media, young adults enter college and the real world as alone as ever. 

    When was the last time friends hugged one another, or teachers patted students on the back, or coaches high-fived their players? We live in a world where adults are scared to be seen using physical contact on minors and parents are too busy to get more than a handful of hugs in over an extended period of time, and in turn, this world has produced a generation full of under-touched humans. 

    Why We Need Human Touch

    Human Touch Promotes Confidence. One study discovered that students are 3 times more likely to participate in class discussions after a teacher proudly pats their shoulder during class. 

    Physical connection through touch produces oxytocin.  Oxytocin promotes happiness and health.

    Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood as well as help the body relieve stress and anxiety.

    Physical touch is known to improve the function of your immune system as well as reduce diseases such as those associated with the heart and blood. One study found that receiving more hugs from partners led to lower heart rates and blood pressure.

    Less touch as a child leads to greater chances of violence later in life.

    Touch helps to bond people together, creating and fostering trust and happiness.

    Economic benefits can be linked to physical touch because of the connections and trust it forms. (An example: professional sports teams whose players touch more often -hugs, holding hands in prayer, touching arms, pats on the back- win more games than teams who do not practice such actions.)

    Interpersonal touch has a powerful impact on emotions, and it can increase chances of love, connection, and happiness.

    How To Increase Physical Touch

    See Your Chiropractor. No other doctor connects with patients in such a ‘hands-on’ way. It is one of the reasons there is such a high success rate that comes with included chiropractic care in your life. Physical touch can lead to happiness, but it can also be the key to wellness.

    Hug. Hug friends and family and even a stranger if the opportune moment presents itself. (Aim for 8-12 hugs a day, especially with your children!)

    Shake Hands. When you meet someone, shake their hand. When greeting someone, shake their hand!

    Slap on the Back. Don’t be afraid to do the work-version of a hug and motivate a coworker with a ‘Good Job!’ Pat on the back.

    Current research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and both physical and mental health. Take time to reach out and physically connect with those around you. 

     

    Resources:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15740822

    https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/hands_on_research

    https://www.khca.org/files/2015/10/8-Reasons-Why-We-Need-Human-Touch-More-Than-Ever.pdf

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  • Your Daily Dose of Apple Cider Vinegar

    1 May 2019
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    Apple Cider Vinegar is among the most healthy things you can drink daily to support your body and help with your overall health. While it makes for a great salad dressing, it’s uses reach far passed the kitchen. If you aren’t currently ingesting 1-2 tablespoons of an organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar each day, you may want to start.  Research worldwide supports the amazing properties of this natural vinegar.

    I was working with a patient awhile ago when the topic of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) came up. It has been around for centuries and was used to treat illnesses like Croup well before our days. We talked about why ACV is not a more well-known remedy or household supplement anymore. Over the years, new and expensive medicines stepped in and brainwashed our society against all the natural home remedies that had been working wonderfully to that point. ACV then became a secret of the grandmothers. 

    However, tides are changing, and people of all ages and stages of life are looking to better their lives through diet and natural supplements. Apple Cider Vinegar is reentering the spotlight, and with great reasons.

    The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider – with the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria included in the end result. The resulting liquid has converted the sugars first to alcohol then to acetic acid. The fermentation process means that apple cider vinegar ends up full of health-promoting probiotics and enzymes. It contains pectin, acetic acid, malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids, and many other beneficial nutrients.

    Healthy Weight/Belly Fat

    One of the compounds found in ACV is acetic acid, which helps suppress the buildup of body fat, keeping the stomach from feeling and looking bloated. This can also help you feel fuller, causing you to eat fewer calories and lower your overall Body Mass Index (BMI).

    Healthy Gut/Happy Stomach

    Organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar retains the ‘mother’ which makes the vinegar have a cloudy appearance. The mother is the natural occurring pectins and proteins which aid in helping break down food in the digestive tract by stimulating the natural gut enzymes. The high acetic acid content of ACV balances pH within the body.

    Many gastrointestinal symptoms including gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea can be lessened with the help of the antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties of ACV. These same properties have also been proven to combat food poisoning.

    Diabetes (Type 1 and 2)

    Hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar levels) is a common symptom of diabetes. The anti-glycemic effect of acetic acid decreases blood sugar levels. One study found ACV improved fluctuation of insulin levels in people with both type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance. 

    Autoimmune Disease

    If you suffer from a known autoimmune disease, ACV may help you reclaim your daily life. While there is no known cure for AI Diseases, reducing inflammation is key to reduce the pain and symptoms, and ACV contains antioxidants that can do just that.

    Sore Throat and Illness

    Most germs can’t survive in the environment ACV creates. A simple mix of 1/4 cup ACV with 1/4 cup warm water can be gargled every hour or so to fight off a sore throat.

    Consuming ACV daily boosts the immune system, too.

    Skin 

    Acetic acid can be used as an alternative to antibiotic cream. Bacterial infections have been shown to be fought off by ACV in a healthier manner than utilizing antibiotics. 

    ACV has the ability to reduce acne. Using it as a toner will allow the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to cleanse the skin and prevent future breakouts.

     

    Ways to Utilize Apple Cider Vinegar

    Drink 1-2 tablespoons a day. Diluting your ACV with water will help cut the acidity and prevent any ware on your enamel. 

    Using a cotton ball, apply ACV topically twice a day. To prevent irritation, use an oil with the ACV— such as coconut oil or olive oil — and massage it into your skin whenever needed.

    Add ACV to your bath before bed. Add one cup of the vinegar to your evening bath and sit in the warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the skin to absorb the solution.

     

    References:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661687

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16696665

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25648676

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25219289

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7796781

    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/27/1/281.full

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8355236

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  • Swimming Pools, Chlorine Dangers, and the Need to Detox

    4 April 2019
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    Chlorine is a necessary evil; it is a needed chemical to keep swimming pools ‘clean.’ But at what costs?

    It is basically unavoidable this time of year, and with months of heat left, the pools will still beckon us.

    Summer is upon us, and I am seeing more and more families come in for adjustments in their swim gear, either to or home from the pool. I have also had several patients complain of more frequent headaches, body aches, fatigue or a summer cough that they can’t shake. I immediately assume it’s dehydration and recommend increase water intake, more sleep, and less time in the sun. But then I started thinking a bit more. The lingering smell of chlorine on my own child, and within my office sent me researching. The results: Chlorine could be doing more damage than we ever realized.

    We know that chlorine is toxic. It is a poison. I preach about drinking and cooking with filtered water, and no one I know would ever purposely drink chlorinated water. But yet, we swim in it without a second thought. What is a parent to do?

    Obviously, we cannot ensure that all pools we enter are saltwater pools, although that would be ideal. We also cannot avoid the pool altogether. Children are drawn to water, and it is a hot summer out there. But that chlorine smell that seems to overwhelm the nose and sting the eyes, it is linked to quite a few scary things:

    • Asthma
    • Breathing Problems
    • Skin Rashes
    • Eye Irritation
    • Nausea/Upset Stomach
    • Sinus Problems
    • Fatigue
    • Dehydaration
    • Coughing
    • Dry Skin/Hair
    • Cancer* (rectal and bladder cancers): The heightened risk is linked to exposure to a contaminant found in chlorinated water called Trihalomethanes (THMs) which forms when chlorine reacts with organic material. THMs are a widely recognized carcinogen.

    *After 40 minutes of swimming, swimmers show an increase in markers of DNA damage that can lead to cancer.

    Sunscreen, sweat, and urine, along with other fluids mix with the chlorine to cause over 100 different types of chemical byproducts (known as chloramines), many of which are extremely toxic. Chlorine’s chemical byproducts can get into the body through the skin. Exposure also comes from breathing air at the surface of the water, where chemicals become volatile. While swimming, individuals breathe faster and harder ending up with even more exposure to the chemicals and toxins.

    Chloramines can be breathed from outside of the water too, especially at an indoor swimming pool.

    The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recognize the dangers that come from chlorine and chloramine exposure. It has been found that children with chronic health issues, such as asthma, autism, adhd, and other daily struggles, tend to feel the effects of the chloramines faster and more intense than those without these struggles, but absolutely anyone can be affected.

    BUT IT IS SUMMER!  IT IS HOT!  THE KIDS NEED TO SWIM!

    I hear you loud and clear. I am not saying to avoid the pool. There are ways to help neutralize the effects of chlorine on the body and detox from exposure:

    • Vitamin C Powder/Tabs: Vitamin C is proven to neutralize and undo the damage of chlorine and chloramine exposure. Mixing a high quality powder version of the vitamin into a glass of water to drink will help the body detox from the inside out, while adding the powder to a spray bottle of water and applying to the skin immediately after swimming neutralizes the toxins and encourages the body to detox them quickly.
    • Vitamin C Powder is Sunscreen: While sunscreen will not protect from chlorine, it can act as a slight barrier. With Vitamin C mixed into it, sunscreen can act as a protectant. This can be an important step if swimming is happening often!
    • Epsom Salt Bath: Filling a bath tub with warm water and adding Epsom salts help to relax the muscles and pull toxins from the body. Sitting in the water for 15-30 minutes is all the body needs to feel like itself again.
    • Take a Supplement:  Take 1 capsule of a high-quality Taurine (I recommend Thorne brand) the morning before swimming. As an amino acid, taurine helps to bind and detoxify chlorine. Taurine should remain in your system for 48 hours.

     

    Enjoy your summer!

     

    Resources:

    http://oem.bmj.com/content/58/6/399.short

    http://journals.lww.com/corneajrnl/Abstract/2008/01000/Deleterious_Effects_of_Swimming_Pool_Chlorine_on.6.aspx

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/4/1110.short

    http://erj.ersjournals.com/content/32/4/979.short

    http://rc.rcjournal.com/content/49/3/291.short

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0043135412001200

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1438463907001253

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/4/1110?sso=1&sso_redirect_count=5&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3A%20No%20local%20token&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

    https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/05/how-to-reduce-the-risk-from-swimming-in-chlorinated-pools-and-drinking-chlorinated-water/

     

     

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  • The Powerful Benefits of Orgasms

    1 February 2019
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    Sex.

    It’s a powerful word, and one you may be surprised to read about on my blog. But the truth is that with Valentine’s Day coming up, I wanted to remind everyone to jump into bed with a significant other (or yourself!) and let the good times roll.

    All laughter aside, I really do want to discuss the benefits of regularly experiencing orgasms. In the busiest stage of life, couples tend to forego their own pleasure in lieu of a Netflix binge. But this behavior may be playing a larger pole in the overall declining health of our society. (Along with the medical, food, and exercise – or lack there of – choices, of course.)  

    We all know that sex can feel amazing. Orgasms can be mind-blowing. However, it may also just be so-so some of the time. That latter feeling is the one that typically tells you to just skip the sex and opt for a glass of wine instead. However, if you can get yourself out of the rut and back into the sack, your mind, body, and soul will thank you!

    The Benefits of Regular Orgasms

    Natural chemicals such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released during an orgasm, making us feel happy, flushed, warm, or sleepy. The hormone Oxytocin is also released during an orgasm. This hormone increases your happiness and relieves your stress by fighting against hormones like cortisol that can make you feel tired, old, and overall unwell. Oxytocin travels from the brain to the heart and throughout the entire body, triggering, or modifying a full range of physiological functions and emotions: happiness, attraction, love, affection, and even hatred after being stressed. It also plays a role in a wide variety of other physiological and pathological functions. 

    Orgasms Can Boost the Immune System

    Regular sex modifies and improves your immune system. Oxytocin lowers stress levels which means fewer colds and illnesses. Chronic stressors are associated with suppression of both cellular and humoral measures, meaning that unresolved stress can cause your immune system to stop fighting even the smallest of colds. Having sex twice a week is enough to increase your overall health. 

    Orgasms Can Fight Migraines and Headaches

    Orgasms can relieve migraine pain or cluster headaches, according to a 2013 study – however, achieving a full orgasm is necessary in alleviating the pain. This can be done by masturbating or with a partner, depending on what makes you feel the most comfortable during your pain.

    Orgasms Can Lower Blood Pressure

    There is a direct correlation between achieving orgasm and lowering blood pressure, in a positive manner. 

    Orgasms Can Increase Heart Health

    Not only does sex calm the mind, but it calms the body and reduces the work efforts put forth by your heart. Stress, anxiety, anger, and loneliness constrict your blood vessels and speed up your heart rate, increasing your risk for heart attack. Let Oxytocin lower your heart attack risks by having sex regularly.

    Orgasms Can Lower Anxiety

    In the high-stress world most moms (and all adults) are living in, anti-anxiety medications are being used at an all-time high. A 2010 study found that Oxytocin impacts your anxiety level in a positive manner, lowering anxiety immediately upon release. Perhaps sex may help lower our current statistics relating to stress and anxiety.

    Orgasms Can Improve Circulation

    Having sex improves circulation to organs in the pelvic cavity, delivering nutrients to the growing healthy tissue. 

    Orgasms Can Reduce Signs of Aging

    With every orgasm (and every time you are ‘turned on’) the body releases dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA is an anti-aging hormone that improves muscle strength, bone density, body fat, sexual satisfaction, and overall well-being. It tends to decrease in your twenties, but sex can help increase your levels.

    Orgasms Can Improve Sleep

    Oxytocin reduces cortisol levels, calming your mind so you can sleep better. Orgasms also release vasopressin, which accompanies the release of your neuroprotective hormone melatonin.

    Orgasms For Women

    Orgasms can regulate and keep your menstrual cycle healthy, even lessening the pain of your cramps.

    Orgasms For Men

    Research shows that men who regularly experience orgasms twice a week (or more) live longer than men who do not.

    Perhaps a little bit of sex each day can keep the doctor away?

     

    Resources:

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0333102413476374

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239

    https://www.bmj.com/content/315/7123/1641?goto=reply

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15053243

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25022952

    https://www.nature.com/articles/npp2010123?foxtrotcallback=true

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/#ref37

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1361287/

    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0333102413476374

    https://www.athenainstitute.com/sciencelinks/sexualbehaviorfrequency1979.html

    https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2653704/patterns-sedentary-behavior-mortality-u-s-middle-aged-older-adults

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151005132740.htm

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  • The Science and Benefits of Gratitude

    15 January 2019
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    You were raised to show gratitude, right? We all were, but yet, we all typically struggle with this seemingly easy task. We get caught up in the expectations and the business of life. As the new year gets underway, though, it is a wonderful time to truly understand the importance and benefits of gratitude.

    What is gratitude?

    Gratitude is the quality of being thankful, with readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude is not an attitude in our mind. Feeling grateful is an internal experience of fullness and expansion in the heart, an expansion that spontaneously arises from the recognition of love, of goodness, and of grace. 

    When you accept gratitude into your lifestyle and let it become a true part of who you are at your core – which happens over time and with awareness of practicing gratitude – it actually will rewire your brain and provide unexpected benefits to your body. 

    Everyone has a gracious side. A 2009 study discovered that the hypothalamus (the part of our brain that regulates multiple bodily functions including our appetites, sleep, temperature, metabolism and growth) activates when we feel gratitude, or display acts of kindness. Leading a kinder life evokes a happier, higher functioning body. As we feel gratitude, the chemical dopamine is released in our brain. It doesn’t matter if we are grateful for a person, an item, or an experience, we are granted a ‘high’ similar to what people label a ‘runner’s high.’ This high is addicting and will pull us toward this feeling over and over again. This release of dopamine may also be responsible to reducing pain levels. Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal throughout a painful (physically, mentally, or emotionally) time can reduce the overall symptoms.

    As your brain is the first place that experiences the affects of gratitude, research confirms that appreciation effectively increases happiness and reduces stress and depression. The benefits to your body are not far behind those that impact the brain. Research shows that performing acts of kindness and being grateful may contribute to a longer and healthier life. Grateful people tend to be happier and exercise more than those who are more anxious or reclusive. 

    Gratitude also improves your sleep cycles and increases your self-esteem, leaving you feeling less aggression and anxiety. You will form stronger connections to friends, strangers, or family members as your heart becomes more empathetic through learning gratitude. Research also shows that gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma. 

    One study showed that people are more likely to feel gratitude towards: 

    • acts done by strangers than family members
    • larger acts than smaller acts
    • more inconvenient acts
    • acts that confer benefits which themselves are not necessary because of a situation caused by the benefactor
    • people with higher status
    • people who were generally nicer. 

    People were also significantly more likely to feel gratitude when their declaration of gratitude would be public. While this all may be true, it is not gratitude at the core. Take the time to notice and respond to the smaller acts. Your head, heart, and body will thank you. 

    My goal for you in 2019 is to exchange self-pity for gratitude. You can choose to write a few sentences in a gratitude journal or notes for a gratitude jar, or simply take a moment to silently acknowledge all that you have, but any way you do it, giving thanks can impact your life for the better.

    If you are wondering how to lead your children down the path of a grateful heart, start by saying, “Thank you” to them whenever possible. Leading by example, squatting down to eye level, placing a hand on their shoulder, and simply being grateful towards your child will open their world to accept and give appreciation.

     

    Resources: 

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2733324/

    http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/Is%20Gratitude%20a%20Moral%20Affect.pdf

    http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/Emmons_McCullough_2003_JPSP.pdf 

    http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Papers/The%20Grateful%20Disposition_JPSP.pdf

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  • 8 Tips for a Successful Elimination Diet

    27 June 2018
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    Now that you have decided to embark on an elimination diet for yourself or your child, there are a few things that I would like to cover. Remember why you are doing this and what you hope to gain. This isn’t a fad diet.

    8 Tips for a Successful Elimination Diet

    Clean Out the Kitchen and Prepare Wisely

    This means to research why you are choosing this elimination diet and to take the time to understand and commit to it. If your head is not truly in the game, your chances of successes are minimal. Your health is at stake, educate yourself on why the foods you have been consuming may be the root (or aid in symptoms) of chronic issues. Clean out your pantry and refrigerator and start from scratch. Many seasonings and packaged items that you may think to be harmless are full of flavorings and other products not allowed on your elimination diet.

    Meal Prep is Key

    Find a few easy to prepare, easy to cook, and easy to clean up after recipes as your staples. The key is not to replace your current diet’s unhealthy foods with a diet-friendly version, but instead, try new foods or learn how to prepare things in new ways. If eating out was a go-to, preparing lunches for the week ahead of time will keep you on track. If dinners are always a last-minute thought, utilizing a slow cooker or pressure cooker may help you out. You can wash, chop, and portion foods after your grocery trip to make them easier to grab for meals throughout the week.

    Keep a Food Journal

    You need to write down your food consumption times and ingredients. You should also include your mood, sleep patterns, and ailments. You will be able to start seeing a pattern throughout your elimination diet that will help you to decide what foods are safe and which are trigger items.

    Have a Support System

    Are you entering this elimination diet alone? If a friend or family member is also on board, it will be a bit easier to stay motivated. But it’s completely doable to sail these seas solo, too. It is, however, important to have support. This means that your spouse or family should avoid eating your biggest non-diet foods in front of you. They can help you choose meals, talk with you about your experience, or simply cheer you on. Talking with others who have been through an elimination diet is also extremely helpful (and motivating).

    Never Have an Empty Kitchen

    When hunger strikes, food needs to be available. Keep high protein, diet-safe snacks premade and portioned and ready to grab. Toss some in your bag and pack a few for work (or school for a child). Visit the grocery store when needed to replenish fresh produce and other daily staples but stick only to what is on your list and avoid aisles filled with foods you are avoiding.

    Do Not Cheat

    Remember that this is not a weight-loss diet. If you cheat early on in an elimination diet, you will have to start from day 1 again. You will have to give the body time to detox from the consumed items. An elimination diet is done to learn the foods that trigger your ailments. Once you hit ‘baseline’ for a few weeks, you will be allowed to add back in items one at a time. From that point, you will know what triggers your body. Then it is up to you to either limit or permanently eliminate them from your daily life.

    The Two-Week Detox Period

    The first two weeks will be hard. I am not lying here. The body will go through a detox with headaches, mood swings, and exhaustion, especially if your previous diet consisted of highly-processed foods and lots of sugar. Push through and stay strong. Your body needs to be cleaned out so you can become the healthiest you possible.

    Feeling Better

    The detox period does end, and you will feel better. You should even start feeling great. Your energy should increase, sleep should be easier, and your mood should improve. Some people feel so good that they become scared to reintroduce foods at the end of their elimination diets, but remember that you want to learn exactly what’s negatively affecting you. Knowledge is power, don’t be afraid to gain this knowledge.

    Bonus Thoughts

    Your Diet is Your Business:

    You do not have to explain your choice to anyone, but if someone genuinely is interested in learning about your journey, you can share whatever you choose with them. That being said, you have the right to tell others to worry about what’s on their plate not what’s on yours.

    For a school-aged child:

    Talk to his teacher prior to beginning the diet. Let her know why you are doing this and ask her to please follow your food guidelines while he is under her watch. This goes for any childcare provider, including family members.

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  • Himalayan Salt: Lamps, Stones, and Your New Food Salt

    10 November 2017
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    It started off as a pink trend. Grocery stores started stocking their shelves, and customers started buying up the pretty pink salt, but other than a few ‘it’s good for you’ rumors, no one really knew anything about this aesthetically pleasing salt substance. It comes in cooking form, slab form, stone form, and lamp form. But what is ‘IT’ and where does it come from?

    True Himalayan salt is mined from within the Himalayan mountains that stretch through Asia, China, and India. Crystalized sea salt beds that formed within these mountains were covered in lava millions of years ago. This lava protected the sea salt from millions of years of pollution, bacteria, and ruins. It basically kept it in pristine condition. Now the red, pink, and white salt can be found just about everywhere.

    Let me be clear before I start informing you on the benefits of Himalayan salt, cooking with or on this salt, utilizing the stones, and places the lamps in your home will not be a cure all to anything. We tend to be a society driven by quick fixes, and this is not one of them. The benefits to Himalayan salt are real, but (like any and all-natural solutions) it takes multiple interventions, therapies, and lifestyle changes to truly impact your life. I absolutely enjoy having salt lamps around my home and office, and I believe that you should invest in a few as well, but please take the time to dig deeper into your health and mental state of mind to find other ideas to pair with the salt. Himalayan salt is only a small addition with great benefits that should be made to your life.

    Himalayan salt is the purest form of sea salt available. It contains varying amounts of minerals and iron-rich content. Nothing is added into this salt, as it naturally contains iodine and everything needed to benefit the body. It contains:

    • sodium chloride
    • sulphate
    • magnesium
    • calcium
    • potassium
    • bicarbonate
    • bromide
    • borate
    • strontium and more

    Together these elements and minerals are linked to:

    • Electrolyte balance
    • Mood stabilization
    • Aiding in adrenal fatigue
    • Increased hydration
    • Balanced pH (alkaline/acidity)
    • Reduce acid reflux
    • Muscle cramping prevention
    • Proper metabolism functioning
    • Strengthening of bones
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Increased absorption of nutrients in intestines
    • Improved circulation
    • Removal of toxins and metals
    • Libido support

    You will find many blogs and articles saying these benefits are tied to the minerals but not the salt itself. I beg to differ, as most natural remedies are often described in this manner. Again, depending on your main complaints, you should include healthy lifestyle changes in combination with the Himalayan salt.

    Ways to utilize Himalayan Salt:

    Bathing: The skin soaks minerals through the bath water; this can be more effective than ingesting them! Using Himalayan salt in the bath tub allows the body to absorb the nutrients in the best way possible.

    Salt Lamps: While a single salt lamp will not purify your home, paired with an air purifier, the lamp should effectively help send negative ions into your air, impacting your focus, mood and health. Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules from the air. These microscopic compounds remain on the salt and not floating in the air where you would have been breathing. The heat also dries these particles and rereleases water into the air with negative ions. Every few weeks, it’s good to turn off your salt lamp for an hour, let it cool and then gently rub it with a damp cloth to clean away trapped dust and particles. The rest of the time just leave it on and let it work to clean the air in your home.

    Salt Slab: These can be used hot, warmed, room temperature, chilled, or frozen. You can serve any and all food types on the slab, as it enhances taste and mineral content within the food. It is naturally anti-microbial, so clean up is easy.

    Cooking: Himalayan salt is used just as table salt is – it’s an even substitution.

    Neti Pot: A salt water rinse of the sinuses can help with allergies and illnesses. Using Himalayan salt kills bacteria and bonds to many contaminants that may be stuck in your nasal cavities due to breathing polluted air.

     

    References:

    http://datupaglas.com/articles_health/himalayan-crystal-salt.pdf
    https://doi.org/10.1089/act.2010.16302
    http://www.thresholdenterprises.com/publications/controlled/101909.pdf
    http://heatherdane.com/wp-content/uploads/Overcome-Adrenal-Fatigue-by-Heather-Dane.pdf
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18514747?ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    Study suggests salt might be ‘nature’s antidepressant’

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  • The Power of Manuka Honey

    23 May 2017
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    I am not about to start a food blog here! (Although, Manuka Honey is absolutely delish!) I want to introduce you to the amazing powers and benefits of having Manuka Honey in your medicine cabinet (or kitchen) at home.
    Long before the days of Neosporin, there were natural solutions to most scraps, burns, wounds, sore throats, and infections. Over the decades, we have drifted away from these solutions looking in favor of man-made, chemical-filled, toxic answers. Why? Because doctors tell us we should. But times are changing, and our society is beginning to question more, research deeper, and demand healthier options.

    Manuka Honey

    As with most products on shelves, there are several options to choose from, and most of the time, you get what you pay for. This is no exception. The highest quality, most beneficial Manuka Honey will cost more, but it will last you quite a while.

    What is Manuka Honey?
    Manuka Honey is one of nature’s most powerful medicines. It comes from New Zealand, made from bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Only those specific bees in this specific region of New Zealand can create this powerful honey. It is then tested and verified by independent labs for its properties and exported all over the world.

    Manuka Honey consists of:

    • Hydrogen peroxide (found in all honey)
    • Methylglyoxal (MG) (A powerful antibiotic compound)

    It is the Methylglyoxal (MG) compound that sets Manuka honey apart from other types of honey. MG is much more stable than hydrogen peroxide and doesn’t lose its antibacterial properties. It is this element that provides the benefits listed below, but not all Manuka Honey is created equal. There is a UMF number found on each brand and jar of the honey. This is the Unique Manuka Factor, and it is extremely important when purchasing your honey. It tells you the antibacterial power found within that honey; the higher the number, the more powerful the honey. While UMF 1+ to 10+ holds benefits, they are not more beneficial than your average local honeys. Looking at a UMF of 10+ to 15+ is better, and will provide benefits, a Manuka Honey of UMF 16+ or higher is what you want to find.
    How can Manuka Honey benefit you?

    Antibacterial Properties

    Research shows Manuka to be effective against over 60 species of bacteria, and can be used topically on wounds and infections. It is quite effective as a wound dressing to promote fast, improved healing.

    MRSA

    Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is more commonly known as the ‘Super Bug.’ Due to the antibiotic overuse and drug ineffectiveness within our society, we have caused certain strains of Staph to become so powerful that the only option is surgery or other ultra-invasive solutions and medications. Research has found the Manuka Honey can combat the strongest, most threatening genes of the MRSA bacteria. When a higher concentration of Manuka honey is used, it is able to effectively treat the major wound-infecting types of bacteria. If antibiotics are used, Manuka honey can help them be more effective and even reverse antibiotic resistance.

    Strep Throat

    Research shows that Manuka Honey can actually cure a sore throat as it can inhibit the bacteria causing a Strep Throat. More recently, it has even been approved by the National Cancer Institute to be used to heal inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.

    Low Stomach Acid and Acid Reflux

    Clostidium Difficult is a dangerous bacteria related to intestinal imbalances. Manuka Honey is an effective way to defeat this bacteria. Taking Manuka Honey can reduce reflux and rebalance the digestive system as a whole, healing stomach issues.

    Cancer

    Clinical trials have also shown that Manuka honey has a positive effect in the treatment of various cancer tumors. The honey was effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and also proved to increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.

    Acne and Eczema

    While no studies have been performed yet, the testimonies speak for themselves. Topical use of Manuka Honey seems to cure acne and eczema; leave the homey on for 10 minutes and then wipe off – repeat daily until healed.

    Burns

    Research shows that Manuka Honey drastically reduces the pain from a burn, speeds healing, and can prevent infection from occurring.

    Ulcers

    The rich anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties of Manuka Honey can prevent infection in people with venous ulcers.

    Tooth Decay and Gingivitis

    This powerful honey has been shown to improve oral health and prevent gingivitis. One study showed that chewing on Manuka Honey for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, can reduce tooth plaque and bleeding gums.

    Shingles

    Because Manuka honey is an effective antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory topical treatment for skin problems, it is also excellent for treating shingles. One study showed that Manuka Honey was able to treat the virus that causes shingles.

    Irritable Bowel Syndrome

    IBS and IBD plague many in our society without medical reasoning to support why. I believe it to be an unbalanced gut, as the gut health is what controls most bodily issues. No studies have been performed involving IBS and Manuka Honey, but in clinical trials involving IBD, researchers found that Manuka Honey reduced inflammation in the colon. It is safe to believe the testimonies about the positive relationship between Manuka and IBS as well.

    Nutritional Supplement

    Manuka Honey is naturally 4x stronger than any other honey, and is rich in fructose, amino acids, enzymes and B-complex vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and B6. Its mineral content includes calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese in various amounts.

    Manuka Honey has also been found to fight:
    • Allergies
    • Coughs
    • Colds
    • Rosacea
    • Hives
    • Ringworm
    • Athlete’s Foot
    • Dandruff
    • Hair Loss
    • Tonsillitis
    • Flu

    Resources:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3567021/

    http://www.nhs.uk/news/2011/04April/Pages/manuka-honey-mrsa-superbug-bacteria.aspx

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/

    http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/15125017

    http://www.bjoms.com/article/S0266-4356(06)00186-0/fulltext

    http://jrs.sagepub.com/content/87/1/9.short

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2672.1992.tb04993.x/full

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12439453/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16099322/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25057231

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15125017

    https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01262560

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19627212

    http://bmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1756-0500-6-188

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  • Homeopathic and Natural Remedies to Have on Hand

    8 March 2017
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    Even when you lead a healthy lifestyle, sickness happens. Of course, it is best for our bodies to be prepared to fight off any bad bacteria, but sometimes we need help. It is so easy to pull into to the drug store and grab the most promising over-the-counter product, but is it the best option? What about for our children?

    I cannot explain how often people ask me about my home ‘medicine cabinet.’ They want to know if I secretly have a stash of some cure-all product. They want to know what to have on hand when sickness invades their home so that they can avoid the dye and chemical-filled medicines down the street. With a world of homeopathies and natural remedies, what works? What items are helpful for what ailments? What is worth keeping on hand? Oils? Pellets? Foods? The list is never-ending, and no one seems to just give you a list of what to use and when.

    While these natural items are things that I recommend, or have used, it is not an exhaustive list. I wanted to take the most common ailments that patients ask about and offer natural remedies to at least explore before grabbing the Motrin or Ibuprofen. Yes, I do keep dye-free children’s Motrin on hand as a ‘last resort.’ I use it when a fever is above my comfort zone within my own child, and when she is beyond comfort. Please read about why you should NEVER resort to Tylenol on my blog HERE. (Also note that the AAP does NOT recommend to EVER alternate the use of Tylenol and Motrin. Learn about recommendations https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Issues-Advice-on-Managing-Fevers-in-Children.aspx)

    A list of natural remedies to have for basic ‘First Aid’ and Sickness:

    *Remember that with homeopathies and natural items, they can be taken in combination with one another, but it is not necessary. You can alternate these throughout the illness or stick to only 1-2 of them. I want to give you options to find locally or order within your budget.

    Flu (Preventative and Remedy):

    • Celletech’s Winter Balance (remedy) and Winter Tonic (prevention) taken weekly and then continuously at the onset of flu symptoms (These products are wonderful and worth researching to add to your medicine cabinet – read more http://celletech.com/about-us.html ).
    • Oscillococcinum – pellets can be dissolved in water for fastest relief.
    • Bioron Gelsemium Sempervirens 200C – 3-4 pellets dissolved in water repeated until symptoms subside.
    • Elderberry Syrup
    • Increased Probiotics
    • Vitamin D3
    • Aloe Vera Juice
    • Triguard: If you feel one coming on take 30 drops in orange or grapefruit juice 3 times a day until symptoms subside. (Learn more http://anaturalhealingcenter.com/Products/tri_guard.html)

    Cough, Cold and Nasal Discharge:

    Depending on type of cough (dry, croupy cough. Wet, deep cough. Dry, hacking cough) and color/thickness of discharge, there are specific hemopathies that are meant to be used. I keep the following on hand, as recommended by the National Center for Homeopathy. (Learn more http://www.homeopathycenter.org/coughs-and-colds )

    • Aconite: watery runny nose, sneezing, headache; early stages of croup.
    • Arsenicum: profuse watery nasal discharge, nose feels stopped up, frequent and violent sneezing; nasal discharge may be thick and yellow; dull throbbing frontal headache; cough from deep in chest.
    • Bryonia: dry, painful, spasmodic cough, worse with deep breathing, eating, drinking, in warm rooms and during the day; better from the open air.
    • Hepar sulphur: rarely used in the beginning stages; cold may have started with watery, runny nose, but now nasal discharge is thick, yellow and may be bad smelling; sneezing at the slightest exposure to cold.
    • Kali bichromicum: used during later stages of cold; discharge thick, yellow or greenish, and stringy, difficult to remove from nose; thick post-nasal drip; sinus headache.
    • Nux vomica: illness after exposure to cold or cold dry weather; onset not sudden; dry, tickling and scraping sensations in nose; nose stuffy and dry at first, then develops a watery and often irritating discharge with sneezing; nose may alternate between stuffed up and runny.
    • Pulsatilla: bland yellow to yellow-green nasal discharge, with stuffiness alternating with fluent discharge; nose may run in the open air and the evening, and stuff up in a warm room; lips are chapped and peeling; dry mouth with a lack of thirst; both dry and loose coughs,
    • Spongia: loud, dry, barking cough and hoarse, rasping respirations; breathing sounds like saw being driven through a board.

    Bellyache:

    • Activated Charcoal Powder: This is amazing and has multiple uses, but for upset stomach, diarrhea, food poisoning, vomiting, etc it cannot be beat.
    • Increased Probiotics

    Items I always have on hand:

    • Belladonna: Sudden High Fever
    • Coconut Oil: The uses are endless.
    • Magnesium: Cramping, growing pains, and so much more. Research shows that magnesium (Epsom salt) in the bath can help the body fight illness.
    • Manuka Honey UMF16 or above (and goldenseal mixed as a paste on wounds): Acne, burns, sore throat, allergies… This can even work on an early staph infection! Talk about powerful.
    • Colloidal Silver: Any sign of infection can be battled with Colloidal Silver. It can be used on open cuts, ingested, as eye drops for pink eye, etc.
    • Raw Garlic: Nature’s antibiotic, consuming this can fight off illnesses.
    • Arnica Gel (not to be used on open wounds): ‘Growing Pains,’ bruises, unopened ‘boo-boos’ and sore muscles
    • Arnica Pellets: stiffness, sore muscles, light pain from injury
    • Milican Oil: Ear ache or swimmer’s ear
    • C Salts: My first line of defense for sudden constipation.
    • Bone Broth: Keep a batch in the freezer to pull out whenever needed.

    As I said, this is not an exhaustive list, but one that covers the most common illnesses that strike our homes. There are many other options out there that may also work, but these are the short list that have made it to my personal ‘Non-Medicine Cabinet.’

    Make sure to follow proper dosing and consult your primary doctor with questions.

     

     

     

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