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Halloween= Candy?!

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With Halloween approaching I can’t stop myself from questioning the way we celebrate some of our holidays.  Halloween, Easter, Valentines, Christmas, etc. are all focused around treats, sugar, and candy.

First let me get my little rant over with before talking about how we can make changes in our household.  Sugar has been proven to be 7x more addictive than cocaine.  So then shouldn’t we treat it as a drug if it has such addictive properties to it?!  Most children and adults are consuming too much sugar as it is in our regular day to day diet.  Then when these candy-filled holidays come around it’s even more of a free for all to binge on SUGAR.

Although most people understand that candy may lead to obesity and dental cavities you may not realize it may lead to various forms of cancer, hypersensitivity, or hyperactivity.  This over consumption of sugar comes with many consequences including systemic inflammation within our bodies and reducing our immune system’s strength.  Also, while I’m talking about sugar, did you know that Alzheimer’s is being called Type III diabetes?  Sugar is a neurotoxin and it is destroying our brain and our bodies.  When we know sugar can be a fuel source for cancer I think it’s important for us to be highly aware of what we are putting in our bodies as well as our children.

I think I need to mention that in addition to candy being filled with sugar there are also other harmful ingredients in a lot of popular candies.  These may include; high fructose corn syrup, chemical based preservatives, artificial flavoring, artificial colorings, etc.

Sorry about the rant, as you can tell I’m passionate about the health of people, especially our young generation of children.

Moving on.  What can we do to make this holiday less focused on treats?

If you are handing out treats – Here is a list I have compiled that you can buy in bulk for inexpensive cost.

-Stickers                      -Bubbles                     -Glow sticks
-Pencils                       -Fake plastic bugs       -Pencil toppers
-Temporary Tattoo     -Character bandaids   -Mini Play-doh (Costco)
-Hair bows                   -Erasers                      -Bouncy balls
-Spider rings                -Matchbox cars           -Mini bottles of water
-Fake jewelry              -Mini coloring books   -Mini rubber stamps

-Organic fruit leather (currently at Costco)

The list could go on but I hope this sparks some creativity, also please share if you have any other ideas as I’d love to add to my list!

There are more people opting out of trick or treating in general, in that case here are a few ideas you may do instead.

  1. Ignore Halloween completely – yes it’s totally acceptable, especially when the kids are too young to want to dress up for Halloween
  2. Go bowling as a family
  3. Watch a movie as a family
  4. Family craft night
  5. Pumpkin carving

If your child is going out trick or treating and comes home with loads of candy, here are a couple of ideas to get rid of it.

  1. Throw all candy in the garbage. 😉
  2. hallowe1Switch Witch or the Candy Fairy. Your child has the option to leave all his or her candy out on the kitchen table, etc. and overnight a ‘witch’ or ‘fairy’ etc. will come and switch the candy with a small gift.  The gifts may include whatever you feel appropriate such as a small gift mentioned above, movie, pajamas, money, etc.

As you can see I am not against Halloween itself but more about finding a balance for a health-conscious Mom.  I hope some day the holiday isn’t focused upon candy but until then I hope these ideas help.

Please share any ideas or traditions you do during this time of year!

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Detoxification

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I think the term ‘Detox’ is thrown out too much and often in the wrong context.  Here’s something you will find out about me, I’m a huge advocate for regular support of the body’s detoxification systems.  Why?  Over the course of a lifetime, we will be exposed to thousands of foreign compounds that can enter our bodies through food we eat, air we breathe, water we drink, and directly through our skin.  On top of this, many have substituted healthy meals with a poor, nutritionally-void diet.  All of this impacts the body’s detoxifying capacity and can contribute to an accumulation of toxins, or toxicity.

Toxins come from various places such as from chemical pollutants, heavy metals, pesticides, drugs, alcohol, cigarette smoking (active or passive), food additives, etc.  Your day to day normal metabolism, leaky gut, or an imbalance of unhealthy bacteria can also produce toxins that can produce symptoms.  There are a number of symptoms associated with possible exposure to toxins or toxicity, including: headaches, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chemical sensitivity, etc.  If you experience any of these it may be a good idea to see a functional medicine provider to address this.

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Your body is very intelligent and is always trying to protect you from harm.  It has the ability to remove toxins and/or store them.  Analogy time: think of filling a bottle using a funnel.  The funnel typically transfers the liquid substance slower than you would like.  This makes it important for you to not pour too much too fast otherwise you run the risk of overflowing the funnel.  With your body, you want to remove toxins first and foremost, however if your liver cannot keep up, it’s going to overflow and store those toxins, typically as fatty molecules in your fat cells. This is your body protecting itself from letting toxins roam freely inside, thus damaging your body.

As mentioned, your body can remove toxins.  The term detoxification (detox for short) refers to our body’s natural ability to transfer and eliminate toxins.  Majority of detoxification occurs in the liver.  There are 3 important phases a toxin needs to go through in order to be removed from the body including; Phase I and Phase II detox (liver functions) and excretion.  I’m going to keep this in as simple of terms as possible when explaining what these phases involve.

Phase I (occurs in the liver): This phase involves transforming toxins into an intermediate substance, which can be more harmful and reactive before going to phase II.

*Therefore it is important to have both Phase I and Phase II working properly since the

reactive intermediates can attack healthy tissues and cause damage

Phase II (occurs in the liver):  Reactive intermediates from Phase I now form with water-soluble molecules to make them harmless and ready to be excreted out of the body.

Excretion:  The now water-soluble toxins are removed from the body via:

  • Urine via the kidneys
  • Bile/Feces through the intestines

Other ways of removing toxins

  • Sweating through the skin
  • Breathe through the lungs

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The detoxification process itself is heavily nutrient-dependent.  It requires a lot of energy to work properly.  Each phase requires very specific key nutrients to fuel the process through vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, and other food components.

I’m a stickler when I hear people saying they are doing a ‘detox’ because most marketing product claims out there aren’t supporting Phase I and Phase II detox pathways.  Once again if Phase II isn’t working optimally and Phase I is being pushed too fast, you can cause more harm than good.  There is also a difference between a detoxification (actually supporting your liver to remove toxins) versus a cleanse (rid the body of waste).  I think of people sitting on the toilet while on a cleanse, which has its benefits, but it’s not supporting your liver to remove toxins from the body.

What can you do to help support your body’s detoxification systems?  I recommend you work with a provider who is well versed in the detoxification pathways to support you through it.  Personally, I would be leery and cautious when someone is advertising a product or program geared towards detoxing.  If you’re not detoxing properly you can feel worse when mobilizing toxins out of the tissues and you can disrupt other systems and hormones.

Practical lifestyle changes you can implement now to decrease your toxic load:

  • Eat clean and healthy foods
    • Eat organically grown produce
      • Check out EWG’s website to see what foods are more ‘dirty’ than others
    • Eliminate food sensitivities
    • Avoid processed foods, foods high in additives and preservatives
    • Drink filtered/purified water
    • Take probiotics
    • Reduce sugar intake
  • Use natural skincare products
    • Shampoo, cosmetics, detergent, soaps, deodorant (aluminum free!), etc.
  • Use natural household cleaning products
  • Keep your air clean
    • Use an effective air purification system
    • Replace furnace and air conditioning filters regularly
    • Stop using air fresheners and/or candles that are dirtying up your air with chemical scents
  • Wear protective clothing and/or apparatus when working with toxic materials
  • Make sure you’re having regular and daily bowel movements
  • Get sweaty!
    • Exercise
    • Sauna
    • Epsom Salt baths

A great place to start is to eliminate exposures to toxins as much as possible to reduce your livers burden.  Find a provider to get you on track to support your liver because without optimal detoxification, your body will not efficiently remove harmful toxins.

I will be posting more on this subject in the future!

In good health,
Dr. Stephanie

Epigenetics – Are you destined to your genetic fate?

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I know enough people who believe they are destined to live with their chronic pain, disease, depression, heart disease, obesity, etc.  But what if that wasn’t true?  What if you could influence your health and your genes are NOT your destiny?

The process of turning your genes on and off is known as epigenetics.  What does this mean?  This means that you can influence your genes and your health!  How you ask?  We can influence and change our genetic destiny through a combination of diet, supplements, stress relief, sleep, and reduced exposure to environmental toxins.  How cool is that?!

That means genetics is just a piece to our health puzzle and we need to invest more into our personal diet and lifestyle.  The human genome is very complex so I’m just going to touch on a few points regarding this topic.  Your genes can have a type of variation known as a SNP (pronounced “snip”) which is short for single-nucleotide polymorphism.  These represent a slight variation or abnormality in various genes.  We all have them.  Some SNPs don’t affect us as much as others, however some can make a huge difference in our health – and even in our personality!

Here are some examples from Dr. Benjamin Lynch, the go-to guy on genetics, that I may or may not have a nerd crush on.  Just joking, but I look up to this man and his work in genetic research and his passion for helping others, especially those of unborn children.  People with SNPs in the MTHFR gene can create a host of health problems – everything from irritability and obsessiveness to birth defects and cancer.  The key word here is can create, because if you remember you can influence your genes through diet and lifestyle. As said by Dr. Lynch, “SNPs in the COMT gene can lead to workaholism, sleep issues, PMS, problems with menopause, and again, cancer, along with boundless energy, enthusiasm, and good spirits.”  Here’s a good time to point out that many SNPs have an upside as well as a downside.

After having my genetics tested and seeing my specific SNPs, I’ll admit it was overwhelming and quite honestly, I don’t recommend it for everyone.  Why?  Because once again, you can have SNPs that you are born with however they may not be causing you any symptoms because your diet and lifestyle are supporting them.  Or you could have been born with clean genes that your diet and lifestyle are ‘dirtying’ and causing symptoms that wouldn’t show up on a genetic test.

Personally, identifying my SNPs was an aha moment. It explained why during college I would get super focused and could study for hours on end (almost obsessive), become irritable and frustrated without warning, and had troubles falling asleep.  I felt less patient but also more determined.  It also explains why I am very sensitive to chemicals and fumes.  I cannot walk past Bath and Body without getting a headache from the smell.   It is nice to understand how my genetics have the potential to make me feel a certain way but know that I have the tools to influence them in other ways.  In hindsight, college influenced my dirty genes with high stress, little sleep, and eating cheap and fast food.  No wonder my symptoms were heightened during that time.  With the knowledge I have now, I am empowered to take charge of my health.  I may have times where I start feeling those things again – when my genes get dirty – but I’m in tune with it and am able to clean them up as soon as it starts.

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Are your genes making you sick?  As Dr. Lynch would ask, are your genes dirty?  Do you need to clean them up?  Symptoms can vary greatly and maybe some of you have even been offered drugs to medicate the symptoms such as antibiotics, painkillers, antacids, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications – without much attention to the underlying issues that are causing those symptoms.  The root cause of most of the conditions people struggle with are from their dirty genes.

I would love to help guide you in the right direction and address your specific symptoms to tailor a unique treatment plan for you.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

 

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Health is an Investment

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How do you treat your health?  What are you doing now to shape your health?  Are you doing things that are going to push you for the better or are they going to slow you down and push you more towards disease?  Most people don’t want to spend money on buying healthy food, exercising, having laboratory tests run, etc. because it’s “expensive.”  The issue here is that it’s expensive to be SICK – not to mention living with decreased quality of life.  Unfortunately, insurance typically does not pay for preventative or proactive care, rather it will help cover costs when someone is already sick.  Personally, this is completely backwards and makes absolutely no sense to me if we are looking out for the well-being of someone.

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My clients have heard me say this before, but you NEED to be your own health advocate.  You know your body more than anyone else.  You know when something is “off.”  I have had clients come in knowing that their thyroid wasn’t right however were only tested for their TSH with their other provider which showed “normal” values.  After running a full thyroid panel in the office, we were able to see that other thyroid markers were off thus ultimately causing their symptoms.  The point is, sometimes you need to shop around to find the right provider for you.  In the last example, if this person continued to live the way she was and waited until her TSH values were out of the normal range, she could have gone years living life less than her best!

Disease can be described as a deviation from the normal structure or functional state of an organism.  Most times disease starts happening a long time before someone has signs and symptoms.  For instance, someone may consider themselves healthy until one day they are diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, etc.  Let’s think about that – it’s not that you didn’t have cancer the day prior to your diagnosis and then wake up with it the next morning – it’s a process and has probably been going on for some time.  I’m not trying to be a Debbie-downer or to scare you but rather make you think about your health differently.  You can’t continue to eat junk food, have a sedentary lifestyle, bombard your body with exposure to toxins from diet and lifestyle with the expectation that you are going to stay healthy.  I’m sorry that’s not how this works.

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What are some proactive steps to better your health?
Clean up your diet
-Avoid processed foods
-Buy organic
-Go gluten-free
Heal your Gut
Exercise
Reduce Stress
-Yoga, meditation, etc.
Limit your exposure to toxins from:
-Cosmetics, household cleaning supplies, deodorant, etc.
Chiropractic
-Makes sure your nervous system is working optimally
Test for Food Sensitivities
-This is to make sure you aren’t eating foods that your immune system is responding           to and causing inflammation to your whole body.
Test for Deficiencies
-Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, etc.
Have your hormones tested, look for underlying infections, etc. (when warranted)
Thermography
-A great way to screen for early changes in the breast!

Health is an investment, not an expense.  Please do not wait until your body starts breaking down before you pay attention to it.  It is never too late to start investing in your health and it’s an investment well worth the benefits.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

What is Health?

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What is your definition of health and what does it mean to be healthy?

Health is not a certain number on the scale or a size jean you want to be in.  It’s unfortunate but the media makes us believe that we have to fit into a size 0 pant to be skinny and beautiful.  Skinny and beautiful is healthy right?!  I know plenty of people who have lost weight thinking they were ‘healthier’ for losing those pounds but get this – they felt crummier than when they weighed more.  Do you think that person is truly healthier in that circumstance?  I would say not.

Health is not simply the absence of a disease.  To me, one needs to look at the whole self of physical, mental, and social well-being.  We need the ability to adapt and self-manage when faced with challenges whether it be physical, mental or social.  It may seem that mental health and physical health are two different entities but really, it’s hard to separate the two because they help influence one another.

 

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These days we live in a fast-paced, high stressed lifestyle. How does one manage or adapt to this?  Life is about balance.  I’m going to say this word a lot because balance is very important in all aspects of life.  A well-balanced life is essential for living well.  One cannot focus all their time and energy into strictly one area of their life without neglecting the other areas.  Have you ever heard of “burning the candle from both ends?”  Most of us think we can do this, eat junk food, get little exercise, and still function adequately.  You may do okay with this lifestyle short term or when you’re younger, but the reality is that at some point it’s going to catch up with you.

Start first with deciding what your values are and what’s most important.  After you have that then you need to set your boundaries.  For instance, if someone is very career driven and puts all their energy into that aspect of their life and puts nothing towards their health and family – you can see how their health and relationships may deteriorate.  Make sure there is time set aside each day for an activity you enjoy, such as walking, working out, listening to music, reading, meditating, taking a nice hot bath, etc.

Try to stay organized and plan ahead.  If you want to eat healthier, then take time during the week to plan and prep your food so that when you’re busy or hungry you can stay on track and avoid grabbing for fast or processed foods.  Reach out to your support system, if you have friends who are also wanting to optimize their health, eat well, and exercise regularly – keep each other motivated.  Be sure to have time set aside for recreation and quality time for yourself and family.  Time spent connecting with family and friends will recharge your batteries and make you more efficient in the long run.

Don’t take short cuts.  Don’t do the fad diet because you want to lose a ridiculous amount of weight in a short and unrealistic time frame because that is not healthy, especially in the long run.  Balance is ever-changing and you need to give yourself some grace.  Don’t be too hard on yourself, you deserve self-love.  Another thing, quit comparing your life, your body, your job, your home, your family, etc. to other people.  Comparison is the thief of all joy.

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If you notice an area of your life that is being neglected currently, I challenge you to start putting a little energy towards that each day.  You may be surprised how that helps you get closer towards your health potential.

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

You are what you digest

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You’ve probably heard, “You are what you eat,” and I’m going to challenge that even further and say, “You are what you digest.”  You need to digest the foods you eat and absorb the nutrients in these foods so it doesn’t just pass right through you.  I see clients who don’t feel themselves, complain of brain fog, fatigue, anxiety/depression, etc., regardless of the clean diet they are following.  A clean diet is going to be good for you however, if you aren’t getting the nutrition from these foods due to an underlying cause, it’s going to inhibit you from your health potential.

What are some reasons for this?  There are many factors that can affect your digestion and ultimately absorption.  If you have GI inflammation, food sensitivities, infection, decreased enzyme activity, medication use, imbalance of microbiome, bad diet, etc. – this can affect your gut and your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.  For example, if you’re eating gluten (which is one of the top causes of leaky gut) that’s damaging the lining of your gut leading to leaky gut, thus causing GI inflammation and affecting your body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients.  Some people may have an underlying gut infection such as candida (yeast), parasite, or SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth).

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Another factor potentially affecting your ability to absorb nutrients is your stomach acid/digestive enzymes.  Your stomach acid (or HCL) and digestive enzymes work to break down food to help you properly absorb it.  It will break down proteins into amino acids – amino acids are building blocks used to make neurotransmitters which are the chemicals in your brain to control mood.  If you ask me, that’s important for more reasons than one to have proper stomach acid and digestive enzymes!

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If you’re having difficulty with your gut, there’s a good chance you aren’t absorbing all the nutrients you’re eating.  With that, you probably have some deficiencies to address.  I think it’s important for you to know your micronutrient status because I see a lot of deficiencies in people regardless of how ‘healthy’ they are.  Your nutrient status is important.  Deficiencies can create the potential for long-term chronic disease, inflammation, and illness therefore affecting your mental and physical health and ultimately, your quality of life.

What to do?  First and foremost, eliminate foods you are reacting to and intolerant to (check out my post on food sensitivities) and remove gluten from your diet.  Next and very crucial, heal your gut through diet and supplementation.  After you’ve healed your gut from infections and eliminated food sensitivities/gluten from your diet, you may still notice symptoms.  You may benefit from supplementing with digestive enzymes and stomach acid (HCL).  Keep in mind that everyone is different and sometimes there is more going on that needs to be addressed so don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or are interested in any testing, such as a micronutrient panel.

 

In good health,

Dr. Stephanie

Kids Meals (Part 2)

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What we feed our children greatly matters to their physical, mental, and emotional health.  With the rise of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes rates in kids that appear younger and younger – it’s time we start really paying attention to what they’re eating.  Unfortunately, not all food is created equal and you can’t trust that they’re getting nutrient dense foods at school anymore.  With our busy lifestyles these days I understand why it’s easier to justify quick food but hopefully we can help pick

What to feed your child. 

I’m going to start with what NOT to eat

First off, determine that a given substance is truly a food.  If the substance will not decompose for over a year, do you think that it’s fit for consumption? I would argue not.  What ‘foods’ have we basically eliminated from consumption; fast food, microwaveable food, food bars, etc.

Other substances to eliminate:

-hydrogenated oils

-high fructose corn syrup

-artificial sweeteners

– processed grains

-MSG

Avoid high sugary drinks or beverages.  Next time you’re in the store check out what is in a Gatorade, vitamin water or other drinks that are perceived as ‘healthy.’  You may be surprised how much sugar is truly in there!  Also, how do some of those sport drinks get such bright colors – yes, artificial food dyes.  Water is always a good choice as most of us are chronically dehydrated as it is.  If you want any healthier options for beverages there are plenty, just ask and I would be happy to share ideas.  An option is powdered greens that you can add to water to enhance the flavor as well as help to get your servings of fruits and veggies.

(Most of the foods to avoid are in the middle isles of the grocery store.  That is because these foods are typically foods that can sit on the shelf for long periods of time.)

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What to eat

I promise there are lots of good healthy foods left to eat!  Foods to give your child to give them the necessary sources of nutrition on a regular basis are as follows:

  • Protein (from good sources)
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy Fats
  • Fruits

Protein

Proteins are vital for all of us and are especially important for kids who are still developing bones and muscles.  Healthy meats offer complete proteins for growth.  Also, vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods so it’s important to get it from animal sources.

Great sources of protein include:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Free-range chicken or poultry
  • Wild caught fish
  • Organic organ meats
  • Free range eggs
  • Wild game
  • Bacon (make sure it’s nitrate or nitrite-free)

Protein sources to avoid: processed meat, meats with nitrates, commercially or farm raised beef, fish or poultry, and non-meat alternatives such as soy.

Vegetables

Most children don’t eat enough vegetables and the top consumed veggies for Americans are potatoes and tomatoes.  You can guess what sources those are likely from…French fries and ketchup maybe?

Great sources of vegetables:

  • Organic leafy greens
    • Spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, turnip, mixed greens, etc.)
  • Colored veggies
    • Peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbages, squashes, cucumbers, avocados
  • Other veggies
    • Brussel sprouts, olives, artichoke, beets, asparagus, kohlrabi, radishes, leeks, bok choy, fennel, parsnips

Avoid vegetables that are fried like French fries, potato chips, onion rings, chicken nuggets, etc.

It’s best to have veggies come first before fruits.  More on that when I get to fruits…

Healthy Fats

Fat, yes, fat!  We NEED good healthy fats in our diets!  Our brains are made up of   % of fat!  It makes sense why it’s important for brain health then isn’t it?  Dietary fats carry the important and necessary fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  I hope people are realizing the low-fat trend that happened in America did not make us healthier.

Great sources of Fat:

  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter/Ghee (organic/grass-fed)
  • Fish
    • Fermented Cod Liver Oil
  • Organ Meat
  • Eggs
  • Coconut
  • Nuts/Seeds

Avoid fats that are pro-inflammatory such as polyunsaturated oils (soy, canola, vegetable, etc.), hydrogenated oils and trans fats.

Fruits

As I mentioned in my previous post; ancestrally, sugar was available a few months of the year.  Fruit is good just make sure it’s in moderation because it still contains sugar.  A great rule of thumb would be to eat fruits sparingly and ones that are naturally in season.

Great sources of fruit:

  • Berries (organic as most are on the dirty dozen list)
  • Apples (organic as high on the dirty dozen list)
  • Melons
  • Citrus fruits

Avoid conventional fruits that are high on the dirty dozen list – always buy those organic if possible.  Here is a link to the dirty dozen list: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/dirty_dozen_list.php#.WnjfWExFycw Also be aware that some fruits are higher on the glycemic index (which means that they will spike blood sugar fast) such as pineapple, mango, watermelon, etc.

Start making meals at home. 

This is something that is simple yet is being lost these day.  I’m thankful that my parents did and still do make majority of meals at home.  When making meals at home, don’t make a second meal specially for your children, but instead have your children eat what the rest of the family is eating.  By making food at your home you can teach your children how to help make meals as well as have the ability to know exactly what is in your food.  This can ultimately cut back on highly processed foods with inflammatory oils, preservatives, hidden sugars, etc.  Now some of you may already be in the habit of making ‘special’ meals for your children however it’s never too late to make changes.  I’m not saying that it’s going to be an easy transition, but it won’t take long before your child knows he/she needs to eat what is prepared.  Call me old fashioned but I remember my parents making food and if I didn’t want it then I had the option of going to bed without supper.  I never had the expectation of them making a separate meal just for me.

Along with preparing and eating meals at home, it’s another way to have time set aside for bonding over food shared.  With how busy most of our lives are it’s a wonderful opportunity to just “be” with one another and have great conversation while enjoying your meal.  I challenge everyone to put away their phones, turn off the television and allow your meal times to be free from all distractions.  You may be surprised how invigorating it feels to be ‘disconnected’ from technology and completely present with your family.

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Meal Prep

It may sound intimidating at first but meal prepping and planning for the week ahead makes things SO much easier to stay on track and avoid going for the fast junk foods.  If you do need something fast on the run, have veggies, fruits, or easy, fast proteins on hand to grab and run.

Baby Steps

Once you’ve made up your mind to incorporate these changes into you and your families lives, it’s okay to do so gradually but be diligent.  Make trying new foods exciting!  Your kids may test you on this initially however you’ll probably be surprised how much easier your kids will adapt to these dietary changes!  A large and important step is to model healthy eating yourself.  If they see you enjoying veggies regularly, they are more likely to choose it themselves.  Children are going to learn behavior more on what they see versus what they are told.

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Good eating habits start at home.  I’m not saying one should never eat out or enjoy a treat but as the saying goes, “everything in moderation.”  Your children will thank you in the future!

Dr. Stephanie

Kids Meals (Part 1)

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A child grows tremendously in just one short year and that’s a big reason why it’s important for them to get a well-balanced diet.  For some parents, mealtimes can be especially stressful with ‘picky eaters,’ busy schedules, and the hustle and bustle of life. How do we get our children to eat nutrient dense foods then?  This can especially be difficult with today’s standard American diet.  And don’t get me started on all the food marketing ploys that are targeted towards our young.

I started to question why we have a different menu’s designated to children when I was planning our wedding years ago.  When I looked at the options for our child guests, what did it consist of?  For a lack of a better term, junk.  The options were: mac n’ cheese, deep fried chicken tenders, or a cheeseburger – all while my other adult guests were given the option of broiled fish, steak or gluten free vegetarian option.  Does this sound fair?  I must admit, even though I didn’t have a child at that time, it really bothered me that there was such a drastic difference in the quality of foods offered between adults and children.  Now being a mother, it bothers me even more.

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Children grow exponentially in a short period of years.  They are growing and being made from the nutrients they are fed, from the foods that they eat.  If I were building a house – I would want to make sure that the structure and foundation of my home was strong.  Right?  Well the same goes for growing and building your child.  So that leads me to question the foods that are targeted towards our children.

It’s the beginning of the year and most people have made resolutions – most revolving around being healthy.   I think I can say that most people who are dedicating their year to eating healthy would not be choosing to eat hot dogs, cheese pretzels, macaroni and cheese, deep fried nuggets, French fries, pizza, etc. all which are classic items on the kid’s menus.  These foods are highly processed, are pro-inflammatory, and lack nutrients needed for our bodies.

Let’s talk about how our young are being targeted towards choosing unhealthy foods.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports: marketing toward children puts their long-term health at risk by enticing them to eat foods that are low in nutrition.  Fast food restaurants invest billions of dollars a year to attract children to eat at their establishments.  What about the candy companies?  Why do you think candy is so brightly colored with artificial food dyes?  Why is the candy sitting right at the checkout isle at your grocery store?  These are all ploys targeted toward your child to get them to ask and beg for that product.

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As a mother and healthcare provider this scares me.  These foods are void of nutrients, addictive and can lead to health complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem, depression and more.  We know sugar is addictive, it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine according to Dr. Hyman.  (I recommend watching the documentary ‘Fed Up’ to learn more about sugar.)

Let’s not ignore the negative health effects of sugar so that we don’t become victims to it.  Remember at one point, tobacco claimed that it was okay.  Ancestrally, sugar was available a few months of the year (fruit, honey).  Dr. Lustig says, “Nature made sugar hard to get; man made it easy.”

Dr. Mercola states, “for the first time in history, “lifestyle” diseases – diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers – are killing more people than communicable diseases.”

Let’s raise our future leaders in this world with wholesome foods.  Let’s limit the amount of sugar that our young are getting so that they don’t acquire an increased desire for it.

Stay tuned for the next post on ways to help make healthier choices and how to help avoid ‘picky eaters.’

-Dr. Stephanie

Chiropractic & Pregnancy

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To piggy back off the last post on chiropractic and relate it to the importance of chiropractic care during pregnancy – lets first get a mental image of the anatomy.  Think of your uterus as a deflated balloon sitting in your pelvic cavity.  You have two ligaments that attach to the front of your uterus that also attach to your pubic bone (round ligaments) as well as two ligaments that connect to the back of your uterus to your sacral bone (uterosacral ligaments).  Now, when you are pregnant, and your uterus starts to grow and expand with your developing baby, imagine how that deflated balloon is going to start filling up.  This is where I use the analogy of your uterus being a hot air balloon and the 4 ligaments as the ropes that tether the hot air balloon down (in the case of your ligaments they attach to your bony pelvis).

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The importance of this is for you to imagine if your pelvis is out of alignment how that is going to pull the ligaments thus ultimately pulling on the uterus and causing torsion within the structure.

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The uterine tension may decrease the ability of the baby to move into a desirable position for birth.  Remember that balloon analogy?  Think of the pull and the uterine tension that will happen if a ligament is pulling on the uterus due to a misalignment of the sacrum/pelvis.  The Webster chiropractic adjustment begins the process of realigning the sacrum/pelvis.  This then helps to relieve the pull that created the uterine tension and once that tension is removed, your baby may be free to assume its best possible position for birth.  The Webster technique is a natural approach that focuses on balancing the pelvis and helps to facilitate normal function throughout pregnancy.  I think we can all agree that it’s important for your joints to be moving in preparation for labor and delivery so that your pelvis open up and baby can make its way through the birth canal.

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What does that mean?  It means labor progresses easier and faster because the Mother’s body is in the best possible alignment for the “big launch!”   If you want to move the baby, you need to move the mother.

Getting adjusted consistently during pregnancy can decrease labor time.

° First time Mom’s labor goes from an average of 14 hours down to 9 hours

° Second time Mom’s labor goes from an average time of 9 hours to 7 hours

The best time to start getting adjusted is BEFORE you are pregnant (prepared parenting) but it is never too late to start taking better care of yourself and your family.

-Dr. Stephanie

Chiropractic

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It is no surprise I feel the need to write about chiropractic as it’s what I do and LOVE!  I have found there can be misconceptions and questions regarding what chiropractic is and what we do so I will briefly explain this in my terms.

First and foremost, answer me this… what controls everything in your body?  Your brain.  Now how is your brain connected to the rest of your body – this is via the spinal cord.  Now from your spinal cord you have nerves that branch off and go to different areas of your body.  This is how your brain communicates with your body and how your body communicates with your brain.  Are you following me yet?  Here is a picture to show you what I am talking about.

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Your nervous system is very important and is housed and protected by your vertebral spine.  However, think of how a misalignment of the spine can put pressure on the nerve that is exiting that region and how it is going to affect the signals to and from the brain and body.  Most people think there is always pain associated with this but majority of the time that is not the case.  Only a small portion of the nerve deals with the pain pathway so for a lot of circumstances you can have a misalignment of the spine that is putting pressure on the nerve exiting that region, ultimately affecting the signals or messages to and from your body without you even knowing it because there isn’t pain associated with it.  This is important to understand because it explains why chiropractic is so much more than just pain management.

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Chiropractic care benefits all aspects of your body’s ability to be healthy.  This is accomplished by working with the nervous system – the communication system between your brain and body.  Those nerves that I mentioned go to every single muscle, organ, and tissue in the body.  It is no wonder that it’s important to be free of any interference so that your body can communicate to one another.  Doctors of Chiropractic work to correct spinal, pelvic, and cranial misalignments (subluxations).  When misaligned, these structures create an imbalance in surrounding muscles and ligaments.  Additionally, the resulting nerve system stress may affect the body’s ability to function optimally.

“The nervous system holds the key to the body’s incredible potential to heal itself.”

To relate this to the gut, your gut has its own network of neurons, called the enteric nervous system that links your digestive system to your nervous system.  If you refer to my post on the “second brain” you will see why a healthy functioning gut is important.  Your nervous system has complete control over various aspects of your digestive function, especially the nerves from the lower levels of your spinal cord.  When the spine is aligned improperly, stress and strain are put on these nerves, making it difficult for the signals to your digestive organs to work properly.  As a result, ailments such as constipation, acid reflux, etc. may arise.  A chiropractor can safely, gently and non-invasively correct these misalignments in your spine by gently guiding your vertebrae back into their proper position.  This will take the strain off your nervous system and allow it to function at its optimum level.

If you are wondering how chiropractic care may help you, feel free to contact our office at 920-243-7140 to set up a consultation.

Dr. Stephanie