Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buyer Beware

This is a topic I have been meaning to write about for some time now.  When you go to the grocery store, if you're like me, you try to buy things that are as healthy as possible.  However, when you're looking at a package that says "All Natural", you still need to be wary.

Ideally, "All Natural" would mean that the product would be healthy for you.  Sometimes, that's not the case.  Typically, "All Natural" means that there are no food products that don't exist in nature.  However, "All Natural" products could still contain items that have been modified, sprayed, changed, or created in a lab somewhere. 

For instance, I've commented on how High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for you, but it would be considered "All Natural" since it comes from corn.  Another example that I've written about would be with Genetically Modified (GMO) products.  All these products are still grown in a farm or greenhouse somewhere, but have pesticides put into their genes.

Another reason that "All Natural" foods may not be such a great choice is their nutritional value.  Something that is "All Natural" can still be high in sugar, fat, salt, simple carbs, etc.  In fact, that goes for organic products as well.  No matter if it's "All Natural", organic, or not, you still need to look at the nutrition facts.  You need to be very mindful about what you're buying, and not just trusting that the product is good for you because the manufacturer put a fancy decal on the box.

So, what's the best way to avoid all of this trouble?  Buy as many fresh products and try to avoid anything in a package.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Soy you Think it's Good for your Body?

These days, it seems like more and more people are realizing that milk doesn't sit too well with them.  So what to put in that glass or pour over your cereal?  Many people are turning to soy.  But, is soy such a good alternative?  I think you can probably guess where I'm going with this one.

I have a couple of issues with soy, the first being a good replacement for milk.  First of all, soy isn't the complete food that it's cracked up to be.  For something to be a complete food, it needs to be a food that you could survive on without eating anything else.  Soy is not a complete food for a number of different reasons.  It does NOT have a complete and full spectrum of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  Also, the protein in soy may be a decent protein, but it is highly indigestible by the human digestive system.  (In fact, the most digestible soy products are fermented soy products such as miso.)  You will NOT be getting the required nutrients that your body needs and craves from being on a strict soy diet.  It could even lead to serious malnutrition diseases by being on a strictly soy diet.

The second big reason that I'm not much of a fan of soy is because of what are called phytoestrogens (I'll call them PEs cause it's easier to type).  PEs are structures naturally within the soybean.  PEs are exactly what they sound like, estrogen compounds.  Now, most people know that women have higher estrogen and men have higher testosterone.  But men also have estrogen.  When you increase soy intake, you are also increasing your estrogen intake with PEs.  In men, this could lead to hormonal changes that give higher levels of estrogen.  Not only that, but higher estrogen levels in women can be a big deal as well.  Higher estrogen can lead to things such as an increased risk for breast cancer or infertility.  Not to mention that if you give your baby soy formula, you will be exposing them to much higher levels of estrogen in the form of PEs before their little body can handle it.

Finally, the last big issue that I have with soy is actually with US soy.  Any soy that you buy that was grown in the US is going to be GMO (genetically modified), unless it is certified organic.  If you want to read why GMO foods are such a detriment, just re-read my blog titled The Breakdown on GMOs.

So the next time you decide to swap out your milk for soymilk or baby formula for soy formula, just remember, there are better options out their.  Try coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk, or even try to get away from the milk dependence that we were brought up with.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just a Reminder

I would just like to take this opportunity to give a reminder to anyone who follows my blog:

Your questions and comments are always welcome.

Whether you agree, disagree, have a quandary, or simply have something to say, I look forward to people commenting on my blog.  It means that the information is getting out there.

I will do my best to respond to your comments as swiftly as possible and make a solid effort on further explaining myself or answering any questions that may have been posed.  Even if the comments are to blog posts from last year.

One of the points of this blog is to start discussions and there's no better place to hold or continue a discussion than in the comment section.

I hope that everyone's health continues to reap life's benefits.  Especially with Halloween coming up!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are You on Schedule?

I decided that I wanted to give a sneak peak of my upcoming Vaccination Education Class being held at the office on Wednesday, October 26th at 6pm.  So, my blog topic for this week is going to deal with the ever expanding vaccination schedule that we are to adhere to.

Ever since the first vaccines arrived way back in the late 18th century, there have been more and more vaccines added to the mandated list from our Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Back in the mid 20th century, it didn't seem like such a big deal.  You'd just get a couple shots and call it good.  Today, that's a whole different story.  Here's a look at how that vaccination schedule has changed over the years:

1980 - 20 vaccines

1995 - 40 vaccines

2011 - 68 vaccines

Now, I do need to state that these numbers may not be accurate.  The reason is, these numbers are the number of vaccines that someone is recommended to receive by the time they turn 18.  These numbers don't even accout for voluntary vaccines such as the HPV vaccine or Gardasil (future topic).  They also don't account for the adult vaccines that are recommended (flu vaccine, shingles vaccine, etc.)

As you can see, the number of vaccines that are recommended has skyrocketed over recent years.  I was able to do a little calculation, and by the year 2020, at this rate, our children will be required/recommended to receive 80 vaccines before the age of 18!

Now. if you don't think that's an issue, consider all of the stuff that gets put into vaccines and how much is getting put into your infant / child over that 68 vaccines time period.  Ingredients such as:

Phenoxyethanol (ingredient in antifreeze)
Peanut oil
Human and animal cells

So if you'd like to find out more about vaccines, the vaccine schedule, or the new WA State Vaccine Laws, stop by the clinic if you're in the area on the 26th at 6pm to learn more and to join in on a hearty discussion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chronic Ear Infections - Just a Phase?

This past Sunday, I was sitting in church with the family and there was a prayer request for a little girl who would be going through surgery to put tubes in her ears because she had been suffering from chronic, multiple ear infections.  I have to say that my heart went out to her even though I had never met her before and wished that I had met her previously.  The reason is simple.  I believe that no child should have to get tubes put in their ears.

Even though the surgery seems relatively simple and harmless, you're always going to be messing with the body's natural state.  You have a barrier (ear drum) between your outer and inner ear for a reason.  One reason is so that you can hear, the other is to prevent things from getting into your inner ear.  Most of the time, tubes are put in the ears to prevent build up in the inner ear.  But why is there buildup in the first place?

What I would have told these parents to try (assuming they hadn't already) would be to get rid of the cause of the buildup.  Like so many other western medicine remedies, you treat the symptom, not the cause.  As a chiropractor, I like to treat the cause of the problem, preferably with minimally invasive procedures. 

So, what could be the cause of the buildup and chronic infections?  3 Things:

1)  Diet.  Most food that we and our children eat (mainly store bought dairy and foods with gluten) are high in sugar and cause general inflammation in our bodies.  The bacteria that are responsible for many ear infections like this.  They feed off of the excess sugar, multiply and cause our body to react by sending inflammation and mucus to the area to stop the bacteria.  many times, this inflammation, mucus, bacteria mixture travels up a tube in the back of the throat called the Eustachian Tube to the inner ear.  The tube gets blocked, more gunk builds up, and you get an inner ear infection.  So, if you get rid of the offending bacteria, no more infections right?  If only that were the case.

2)  Over Prescription of Antibiotics.  So when you take an antibiotic to kill the "bad" bacteria, it's all good right?  Wrong, you're also killing off the millions of good bacteria in your body that we referenced in an earlier post.  These good bacteria (probiotics) help fend off further infections.  When you take an antibiotic, it is ESSENTIAL to build the good bacteria back up by taking a probiotic to help fend off future infections.  Also, when you take an antibiotic, some of the bad bacteria are going to survive.  They stick around and multiply and can cause future ear infections unless further steps are taken.  When this happens, many pediatricians prescribe another and another round of antibiotics.  The circle continues until the last resort is tubes.  Or is it?

3)  Spinal Subluxation.  In the upper portion of the spine, there are nerves that travel into the ears and throat.  If there is some sort of irritation to those nerves, the area that the nerves go to will also be irritated.  This means that the ear, throat, or Eustachian Tube can be more easily irritated and more prone to ear infection.  I don't think that it's a coincidence that Dr. Stemp (the other chiropractor at Cascade Chiropractic & Massage) never had an ear infection growing up with both parents being chiropractors.

So, what would I have told the parents of this little girl?
#1)  Stop all dairy and gluten intake for your daughter for at least 6 months and supplement probiotics.
#2)  Let me take a look at her spine and ears.

At worst, it would do nothing and we would look into some other, more natural remedies.  At best, she wouldn't get ear infections anymore.  Just the thought that this might work over needing to put your child under anesthesia to have surgery would make me try it as a parent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ice or Heat? Which is Better?

I get a lot of questions as a chiropractor about what to do when you get hurt, what exercises to do, what's the best posture, etc.  Probably one of the most frequent questions that I get is whether to put heat or ice on an area.  And I have to say, it's a very good question, and it basically boils down to one thing:

When in doubt, use ice.

In fact, I rarely tell my patients to put heat on an area unless it is a chronically tight muscle that needs a little coaxing into relaxation.  I know, heat usually feels better than ice, but the problem that I have with heating a general area is the effect that it has on swelling.

Now, don't get me wrong, swelling is an essential part of the healing process.  Without some swelling, your body would not be able to repair the damaged structure.  However, when you put heat on an area that is already swollen, it causes more fluid to go to that area which can increase the pressure and pain in the painful area.

If a patient and I find that ice is not working for the area, I usually tell them to do both.  You can put heat on the area (best form would be a hot bath or hot tub) but then put the ice on afterward, and always end with ice.  You will still get the relaxing feeling from the heat, but also the anti-swelling effect of the ice.  This alternating of heat and ice can actually help the flow of the fluid that is bringing healing components to the damaged area.

So why err on the side of ice?

It has to do with the swelling in the area.  When your body gets injured, it needs to send fluid (swelling) to that area to help it heal.  The issue with that is most people don't move correctly when hurt.  When this happens, that swelling stagnates in the area and can cause issues such as an increase in pain, irritation to nerves, and/or decreased mobility.  And correct mobility in an injured area has been shown to help in the healing process and help prevent issues down the road

It also helps that ice dumbs down and numbs the pain a little bit.

It boils down to this.  Anytime you injure your body, it's essentially like spraining your ankle.  I guarantee you will not see a coach or an athletic trainer put heat on that sprained ankle.  They put ice on it to keep the swelling at a manageable level so that they are able to prevent immobility to the injured joint.

So, the next time you get an injury, put some ice on it.  Just remember that 20 minutes should be plenty of time, but you will need to do it more than once.  Give yourself at  least a 40 minute break before you put the ice on again.  An BE SURE to have some sort of barrier between your skin and the ice.  For instance, a t-shirt works really well. 

And if you want to do a little gentle massage of the injured area while icing, fill up a little Dixie cup with water, freeze it, rip the bottom of the cup off so that the ice is exposed, and rub the hurt area with the exposed ice for about 10 minutes making sure to keep the ice moving at all times. 

(In this picture, they ripped off the top.  I find it easier to rip off the bottom, that way, the ice won't fall out, and you can put the leftover ice cup inside another Dixie cup and place in the freezer for later)

And as always, questions and comments are always welcome.  (If you have a question that you don't want seen by other people, feel free to e-mail Dr. Mike at mjenstaddc@gmail.com)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why So Many Allergies to Peanuts?

I was reading an article last week by Dr. Tim O'Shea, a chiropractor who's big on educating people about vaccinations (you can find his website here), and I thought that I would share some of the main points.


Dr. O'Shea goes into detail on his theory about why there are so many allergies these days to peanuts.  I won't go into all of the specifics, but he points out that peanut allergies, anaphylaxis, and death from peanut allergies has significantly risen since the mid 1900s.  His theory; the use of what is called excipients in vaccinations.

The thinking of the drug world is as follows: in order to get the best response from a vaccination, there needs to be a strong allergic response to the vaccine, which in their minds means a stronger immunity to whatever is being administered via the vaccine.  One way to get that stronger allergic response is to add an excipient, a molecule to increase the immune response.  The preferred excipient today; peanut oils.

Now, if you're a parent and have done any research on what to feed and what not to feed your baby, you'll know that you shouldn't feed peanuts to your child until they are at least 1 year old.  The main reason is that the digestive system of a baby is still being formed and small proteins can pass from the gut to the bloodstream.  Peanut proteins are capable of causing a higher immune response, which means that babies shouldn't eat peanuts due to the possibility of getting these inflammatory proteins into their bloodstream.

But what about the peanut oils in the vaccines?  It's been shown that even the most refined peanut oils contain inflammatory peanut proteins.  However, we all know that vaccines don't get ingested with the possibility of the peanut proteins getting blocked by the gut, vaccines are directly injected.  That means that the inflammtory peanut proteins go straight to the blood stream.

Now this isn't just the theory of a man trying to rid the world of vaccines, it's a shared theory by people in the medical community as well.  Helen Fraser, a researcher, agrees with Dr. O'Shea and even goes on to say, "The peanut allergy epidemic in children was precipitated by childhood injections" (her book can be found at Barnes & Noble). 

Children these days are getting an exorbitant number off vaccines by the time they turn 18.  And most of these vaccines contain peanut oils to increase the immune response, not to mention other poisonous chemicals.  For example, in 1980, a child was to receive 20 vaccines from birth to 18 years of age, today, that number has increased to 68!  And that doesn't even include the flu vaccine!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is this: Is it just coinicidental that there has been an increase in allergies and deaths due to peanuts at the same time as there has been an increase in vaccines?  I don't think it's coincidence.  But if you want to find out for yourself, more power to you.

(If you would like to read Dr. Tim O'Shea's full article, you can find it on his website here)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Chiropractic Sports Physical

As a kid, I remember going in to see the family doctor to get the "OK" to play school sports.  I remember that he would check my blood pressure, listen to my heart and lungs, do a few quick tests, and say that I was good to go.  I remember it being not such a big deal, but he was checking for some important information.  I do, however, remember that he didn't do so much with my posture or spine.  I'm guessing the reason would be that he wasn't qualified to to so. 

Being in the chiropractic field as I am currently, I realize how important it is for kids to get their posture and spine evaluated prior to engaging in any sports.  The sad thing is that most kids don't get their spine evaluated.  I believe that if more parents were to bring in their children for a spinal evaluation, some injuries could be prevented.

If a child's skeletal system is not properly aligned, there is going to be an undue amount of stress on areas that aren't used to having as much stress from sports.  For instance, baseball players typically bat from one side of the plate, which means swinging and twisting only one way constantly.  If there is a misalignment of the pelvis or spine, the body won't be able to move like it's supposed to.  That can lead to a higher propensity for injury.  Or, for a sport with a lot of running like soccer, any misalignment of the spine or the legs can possibly lead to hip, knee, or ankle injuries.

Many professional, and even college, sports teams have their own personal chiropractor on staff or at least within reach.  This tells you that the best of the best know how important it is to keep the spine and body in line when performing physical activities such as sports.

So, if you're bringing your child in for their yearly sports physical with their family doctor, I would highly recommend and even urge you to bring them in to the chiropractor.  It is important to make sure the body's organs are funtioning correctly, but it's equally important to have their spine functioning correctly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Your Sunscreen May Be More Harm than Good

A few weeks ago, I had blogged about the importance of getting unimpeded sun to up your Vitamin D levels.  And, if you remember, I mentioned that it's all about moderation.  You don't want to bake in the sun for 3 hours without any protection.  However, a lot of the protection (sunscreen) on the market may be more detrimental to your health than beneficial.

In the beginning of July, there was a research article released by a Washington-based non-profit organization called the Environmental Working Group that pointed to a health-hazard possibility of many sunscreens.  In their research, they determined that 4 of 5 national brands of sunscreen do NOT adequately protect from "harmful" UVA and UVB rays and that the sunscreens actually may contain harmful chemicals.

Some of those harmful chemicals are:

Oxybenzone (aka: Benzophenone-3)  - linked to allergic reactions when exposed to sunlight; hormone disruptions; cancer

Ensulizole (aka: Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid) - known to produce free-radicals (cancer causing agents) when exposed to sunlight

Padimate O (aka: PABA) - research has shown this chemical to cause DNA damage, estrogenic activity (increased estrogen levels), and allergic reactions

Octinoxate (aka: Octyl Methoxycinnamate) - most widely used sunscreen ingredient; estrogenic effects, disruption of thyroid hormone and brain signals

As you can see, many of these ingredients may even cause that from which you are trying to protect yourself, skin cancer.  These are just some of the chemicals that are placed in sunscreen to help "protect" yourself from the "harmful" rays of the sun.

I you do need to use suncreen and you want to avoid any potentially harmful chemicals, try to find ones without the four chemicals listed above.  A good way to do so is to go to a health foods store or supplement store.  One other great source is to use a natural or organic baby sunscreen.  My wife, son, and I use an organic sunscreen that we bought at Babies R Us.  It's a little more expensive, but at least we're not contaminating our bodies with chemicals that may actually cause cancer when exposed to sunlight.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why do Chiropractors use X-rays?

Chiropractors have been making use of x-rays for a number of years.  In fact, the advent of x-rays and chiropractic were in the same year, 1895.  In chiropractic school, one of the first set of courses that we get started on is how to read x-rays.  But why do so many chiropractors use x-rays?  Do all chiropractors use x-rays?  And is it safe?

First of all, not all chiropractors take x-rays and some chiropractors take a lot of x-rays.  Now, I can only speak for myself, but I fall somewhere in the middle.  My main reasons for taking x-rays on a patient is to rule out any serious condition that may need treatment from another professional, and also to get a physical picture of the alignment of the spine.  In some cases, just doing the consultation and examination may not give me all of the information I need, so I take x-rays.  This allows me to help the patient better visualize what their spine looks like as well.

Some chiropractors practice techniques that require them to take more x-rays than I do.  Some even like to take x-rays before an adjustment and after an adjustment.  This, for their technique, may allow them to see the changes that have happened following the treatment.  Personally, I don't use techniques that require that many x-rays because of safety issues that may be present.

With the advent of the new body scanners in the airports (which you can opt out of, by the way), there has been more focus on the amount of radiation that a person receives.  It is true that x-rays use waves of energy that penetrate your body using minimal radiation.  The waves that pass through your body show up as the darker areas on the x-ray and the whiter areas are where the waves didn't pass through the body as well. 

When I am x-raying a patient, I will maybe take two sets of x-rays, which equates to a couple normal days of radiation.  You see, when you are just walking about, living life, your body is soaking up radiation from our daily environment.  One set of x-rays is equivolent to about a day's worth of normal radiation.  So you see, it's really quite minimal.  The problem is when you are getting multiple sets of x-rays or going through the body scanners often at an airport.  That little bit adds up and may lead to problems in the future.

So what I'm really trying to say is this:  I use x-rays in my practice on a minimal basis to 1) rule out any serious conditions, 2) visualize the alignment of the spine more specifically, and 3) allow the patient to physically see their spine.  Since chiropractors mainly work with the spine, it sometimes helps to see the spine and give the patient a little input as to what their spine looks like.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Beat the Heat

For those of you up in the Pacific Northwest, you may be thinking "what heat?"  That's a legitimate question.  However, it does seem that the rest of the country is experiencing not only a summer, but a blistering one at that.  Don't worry, I'm sure we'll get some up in the PNW sooner or later.  And when we do, I want you to be informed on the best ways to keep your healthy body healthy during the hot summer.

First of all, you don't need to avoid the outdoors.  Getting outside to get some fresh air and soak up the rays to increase your body's Vitamin D levels is always essential.  But when it's hot out, it's a little harder to do so.  What you can do is sit outside in the shade or go to a more breezy area (like the beach) so you can still get your outdoor time.  You also don't need to lather on the sunblock (future topic!).  Get 10 minutes of sun before putting on the block.  You can still get outside when it's hot out without roasting.

Try to keep the house cool.  One of the best ways to do so is to limit cooking in the house as much as possible.  Using a grill or having chilled or room temperature meals will help keep the heat levels down.

Don't be afraid to sweat.  Just like every other process that your body undertakes, sweating is a natural and good thing.  Yes, it may look unappealing and cause olfactory tingling odors, but sweating is your body's natural way of cooling yourself down.  Try to avoid using anti-perspirants which typically use chemicals or substances to either stop the sweat glands from producing sweat or even clog them up.  Embrace your sweat, don't try to hide it. 

Finally, stay hydrated.  When people overheat, it's more than likely due to the fact that their body has lost too much fluid.  When your body is optimally hydrated, it is able to perform all of the necessary, health-oriented functions possible, including keeping itself cool.  A good rule of thumb for water consumption is to drink half of your body's weight in ounces per day (ie: 150 lb person should drink 75 ounces of water per day).  However, if you've been sweating a lot of that water off, been out in the sun for a while, or done some travelling lately, you can always up the intake.

So instead of running and hiding from the heat, embrace it and find ways to beat the heat and stay healthy while doing it.  Of course, when all else fails, you can stop by the clinic for an adjustment.  We have air conditioning.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Germaphobic Lifestyle

So this topic may be a little controversial, but I'm OK with that.  I firmly believe that this topic is necessary to be addressed.  And that topic is the fact that we, in general, are so afraid of any germs that we try to kill all of them without even thinking about it.

Because of what we've been told by western medicine, we need to kill the germs to stay healthy.  Use hand sanitizer religiously, wash your hands before and after you eat, don't eat that off the floor, etc. is what we hear all the time.  The fact of the matter is that germs are actually good for you.  If you remember my previous blog about probiotics or gut bacteria, this isn't the first time that I've preached pro bugs.  With these germs though, it's a little bit different.

At any given point in time, a healthy person actually has thousands to millions of germs living on or in them.  Most of the time though, they're not sick.  Why?  Because your immune system is working.  When your immune system is subjected to germs, it can build up a natural immunity to those germs, thus, making you healthier.  You can ask my wife.  One of my favorite things to say is that "It's building your immune system".  That's why I don't care if my apple slice just fell on the floor, it's still good.  That's also why I don't mind if my 14 month old son sticks dirt or bugs in his mouth.  It will build up his immune system.

However, possibly the most important reason to not be so germaphobic is because of something called "super bugs".  You see, whenever you use something minor like hand sanitizer or some heavy hitter like a broad spectrum antibiotic, you're killing most of the germs.  Most, not all.  That's the kicker.  Some of those bugs are genetically resistant to the sanitizer or antibiotic.  These "super bugs" live, multiply, and spread.  That's why we have been having trouble getting newer, better, more powerful antibiotics and why there are thing like MRSA.  It's because we are so germaphobic and try to kill off every little germ.  And these "super bugs" are very serious and life-threatening.

Of course, I'm not telling you to sneeze into your hands when you're sick then shake as many hands as you can or don't wash your hands after using the rest room.  Just don't reach for the hand sanitizer every time you walk by someone who coughed or don't go running to the pediatrician for amoxycillin every time you think your child might have an ear infection.  Germs are good for you.  They build up your immune system.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Work on Those Too?

When most people think of chiropractors, they think of the back and neck, or spine.  And that's true.  Chiropractors specialize in treatment of the nervous system.  And a great deal of the nervous system is protected by the spinal column.  And it is essential to have your spine checked by a chiropractor, especially if you are experiencing any symptoms.  However, most chiropractors also have a great deal of training in what are called the extremities.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term extremities, it basically means your arms and legs.  When chiropractors are adjusting the spine, we are making sure that the joints of the spine are moving correctly.  And we all know that we don't only have joints in our spine.  You have joints in your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, feet, toes, jaw, and skull.  And yes, most chiropractors have the knowledge to treat and adjust any misaligned joints of the extremities.

Before going to chiropractic school, I didn't even realize that some of the joints in your extremities can affect nerves that travel into those extremities.  For instance, part of the nervous system that travels from your neck down to your fingertips runs right behind the collarbone close to your shoulder.  If your collarbone or shoulder are out of alignment, it can cause symptoms and even mimic carpal tunnel syndrome.  Another problem that plagues many people is what is known as TMJ.  Many times, a simple misalignment of the jaw can cause excruciating pain when talking, chewing, or yawning.  And at the school that I attended, we had a pretty extensive course on adjusting the jaw.

So, if you are having arm or leg pain, tweak your ankle, or have carpal tunnel syndrome, it wouldn't be a bad idea for your chiropractor to take a look.  A lot of times it's cheaper than seeing an MD or you could even avoid surgery.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Your Gut is Leaking!

So, I fully intended to write about this topic during our Healthy Eating Month in June, but didn't get around to it.  That's OK, because every month should really be healthy eating month anyway.

Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS).  I know, it sounds made up, but you can look it up, it's a real syndrome.  Now the official, medical  version of LGS is a very serious and possibly life-threatening state.  However, I argue that most Americans have some sort of LGS going on.  It all begins with our diet.

The foods that we are constantly surrounded with in our society (starches, sugar, lab made fats and chemicals) are constantly trying to be digested by our digestive system.  The problem is that most of this junk is very difficult to digest, if not impossible to digest.  It does help if you get the natural enzymes and bacteria to aid in the digestive process, but most of us are lacking in those as well.  So what happens when you can't digest those foods?

It turns into sludge.  That undigested, rotting "food" just sits and sits in your large intestine waiting to get passed out.  But it takes too long to pass through because it is sludge.  Sludge doesn't move very well, so it kind of just sits there.  And when it sits in one position for too long, it can irritate and even perforate, or bore holes, through your digestive tract.  No too bad of a thing right?

Wrong.  That sludge is essentially toxic to your blood stream and right on the opposite side of your intestinal wall, is your blood stream.  The smaller particles of the sludge leak (LGS) out of your gut into your blood stream and wreak all kinds of havoc.  It has been proven to lead to plaque build up in arteries, chronic general inflammation, and acidosis among other things.  So essentially, LGS can lead to almost any disease that plagues your body (Diabetes, fibromyalgia, hyperlipidemia, heart disease,etc.).  In my opinion, it is one of the main causes of the exponential increase in the chronic diseases that we see these days.

So, how do you prevent LGS?  It's as simple as eating healthier.  More whole fruits and veggies, fewer simple carbohydrates (cookies, breads, potatoes), healthier fats (fish oil, lean, grass fed red meat and poultry), and more water help promote a healthy gut and better movement of food through our gut so we don't get that rotting sludge building up and infecting our blood.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our Plastic Society

This week's Healthy Eating Month post isn't going to focus so much on food, but what we keep our food in.  The Tupperware, Rubbermaid, and plastic food container business makes millions each year.  They are cheap to make, affordable, reusable, and do their job.  The only problem is that they are not good for your health.

Plastic containers of all sorts contain cancer-causing chemicals.  It's actually been proven since 1987 that some plastics have cancer causing agents when breast cancer cells were being cultured in plastic test tubes.  The researchers noticed that the cells grew like gangbusters and finally found the cause; chemicals being leached from the test tubes were "feeding" the cancer cells.

Since 1987, there have been numerous studies showing the link between plastics and cancer.  The sad thing is that the word hasn't really gotten out until recently.  If you recall, over the past few years, there has been an insurgence in the effort to remove the chemical BPA from plastics.  If you especially look at baby food storage containers, if they are plastic, most will say "BPA Free".  However, that doesn't mean that all plastics are BPA free and free of other cancer causing chemicals.  One good way to tell is to look at the recycling number on the bottom.

BPA containers (avoid at all costs):  #3, 6, or 7
"Generally safe" containers:  #4 or 5
"Safest":  #1 or 2

With that said, you should never heat anything up, or put something hot, in a plastic container.  Anytime you add heat to plastic, it WILL leach some chemicals out of the plastic into the food or drink.  It doesn't matter if that chemical has been linked to cancer or not.  Any lab produced chemical is a foreign substance to your body and should be avoided.

So what should you use?

Glass and ceramic containers are a far better option as opposed to plastic containers.  So if you need to use the microwave to heat up your left over frittata, take it out of the Rubbermaid, put it on a glass or ceramic plate, then nuke it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Food Substitutions

At Cascade Chiropractic and Massage, we are celebrating Healthy Eating Month all throughout the month of June.  To go along with that, all of my blog topics for the month will deal with healthy eating of some sort.  This week, I'll be focusing on some easy, healthier food substitutions that you can do to cut down on the junk and increase the healthy factor.

Over the past fifty years or so, Americans have gotten used to eating traditional foods such as mashed potatoes, white bread, milk, and other "staples".  The problem is that most of these traditional foods aren't that great for you, especially when you consider the fact that most nutritional value has been processed out of the food.  So, here are some suggestions for substitutions for those foods that offer a higher nutrient load.

Mashed Potatoes:
White mashed potatoes have little nutritional value and usually get high calorie fillers added to them.  Instead of using potatoes, try blanched pureed cauliflower with greek yogurt and some seasoning.  Or, you can use sweet potatoes / yams instead of the traditional Russet or Yukon Gold.  Both substitutions pack more vitamins and minerals into them.

Bleached all-purpose flour has arguably no nutritional value whatsoever.  So when baking, try substituting ground millet, spelt, or almonds for the flour.  You may need to do a few test runs before you get the ratio correct.  Or, if that's just a little too crazy for you, stay away from the bleached junk.  Use unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour.

If you're making an omelet, frittata, or quiche, there's almost always cheese involved.  Cheese does have some nutritional value, but its hard to digest.  Try using cubed extra firm tofu.  It won't melt like the other stuff but has a similar texture to a softer cheese and is much easier to digest.

Rice is another one of those foods that has some nutritional value (ie: calories and few vitamins) but it's typically eaten as a filler.  If you want to bulk up on protein especially, try using quinoa.  It's a superfood grain that is chuck full of protein and other essential nutrients.

The milk that you buy in today's grocery store is a far cry from the stuff from the milk man or straight from the udder.  The process of pasteurization does kill off any potentially harmful microbes, but it also kills the good ones and completely changes the enzymes within the milk.  That's one of the reasons so many people these days are either lactose intolerant or lactose sensitive.  So here are some dairy-free alternatives (listed in order of my favorite to least favorite): Almond milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, rice milk, hemp milk, and soy milk.

Feel free to add any other substitutions in the comments area!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Beef with BMI

I was reading an article yesterday about overweight America that was talking about the issues that Americans face and the poor food choices that we are surrounded with.  It was a really good article until I got to the section that explained how to tell if you, or someone you love, is overweight.  They suggested using the BMI calculation, or Body Mass Index calculation, to tell if you are overweight.  And, as you can tell by the title of this post, I have some issues with that.  But first, I should probably explain what BMI is and how you calculate BMI.

BMI, as I said earlier, stands for Body Mass Index and is a standard way of coming up with a number that tells you if you are underweight, overweight, obese, or at your ideal weight.  BMI takes two factors into account; height and weight.  What happens is that your take your weight (in pounds) and divide it by your height (in inches) squared then multiply that number by 703.  Here's the standard rundown for BMI for a Male and female adult:

Male and Female Adult
0 - 18.5:  Underweight
18.5 - 24.9:  Normal
25 - 30:  Overweight
> 30:  Obese

If you're interested in your own BMI you can go to calculate-bmi.com to see where you come out instead of doing the calculation on your own.

But why do I have a beef with BMI?

One reason. It's far too generic.  Taking into account only the two factors of height and weight is borderline irresponsible.  For example, I had a classmate in chiropractic school who was "ripped" for lack of a better term.  And since muscle weighs quite a bit, he was a little heavier, but by no means unhealthy or overweight.  In fact, he was probably one of the healthiest in our class.  However, according to the BMI calculation, he was almost obese!

If you also don't take into account what your gender is, you're making a big mistake.  Science tells us that women are supposed to have more fat in their bodies than men.  The reason is that women go through much more stress than men in everyday life.  Constant hormonal changes due to menstrual cycles needs slightly more fat stores and it's vital to have more fat stores for pregnancy. 

So what's a better way to tell if you are overweight or in your ideal range?

One slightly better method is called the Waist-to-Hip Ratio.  It is slightly better able to take into account body shape and distribution of weight, which are much better indicators of health.  Click here to calculate your Waist-to-Hip Ratio.

However, possibly the best calculation is to determine your percent of body fat.  Now to get a very good estimation of your percent, it can take quite a few tests and money.  Therefore, it's not the most feasible method.

But, probably the best way to determine if you are of a healthy weight, is to look in the mirror and also to examine your lifestyle.  By leading a life that focuses on healthy eating and regular exercise, you will be hard pressed to get into that obese range.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What's that Noise?

One of the most frequent questions that I get as a chiropractor is what the popping sound is when we do an adjustment.  No, it's not actually "popcorn" like we tell many kids.  There is a physiological explanation to the "pop" or "crack" of a chiropractic adjustment.

First of all, when I explained what a subluxation is in "What is a Subluxation Anyway?", you may recall that, with a chiropractic adjustment, we are basically moving a misaligned bone back into place.  When bones are misaligned like that and "stuck" out of position, they need a little coaxing to get back in place.  And that takes years of training and continual learning to get down pat.  That's called the chiropractic adjustment.

With a chiropractic adjustment, in order to move the bone back in place, the joint that joins the two bones needs to slightly gap apart.  When that happens, little air/gas bubbles rush into the space that has just been opened a little bit and that is when you get the "pop" or "crack" sound.  It's a lot less scary than most people think.  The bones aren't crunching together or grinding against each other.  There isn't any breaking or fracturing happening.  It's simply air rushing into a newly opened space.  When that happens, the bone is more easily able to get back into alignment.

As you can see, it's a pretty simple and gentle occurrence.  The sound is usually what catches people off guard and gives that bit of a fear factor.  And, if you were wondering, why a neck adjustment is so much louder than one in your midback or low back, it's simply an issue of proximity.  Your neck is just simply much closer to your ears.  So it's not that the "pop" in your neck is louder, it's just perceived as louder because your neck vertebrae are right by your ears.

So if you've ever been a little apprehensive about that sound, it's just air/gas bubbles moving around.  Simple as that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One Key to Perfect Posture

So my topic for this month's Blog Talk at the clinic (on Wednesday the 18th at 6pm) is "The Power of Perfect Posture".  And I thought it would be the ideal time to talk about a much overlooked and essential anatomical feature that has a great deal to do with our posture.  Our feet.

Even though our society as a whole is getting more and more sedentary, we still spend a great deal of time on our feet.  And, our feet play a very vital role in our posture.  I especially think this is an appropriate topic given the fact that it is now flip-flop season in much of the country.  First, a little anatomy.

Did you know that there are not one, not two, but actually three arches in your feet?  It's true.  We not only have the main arch along the inside of the foot, but also one along the outside, and one along the ball of the foot. 
The bad part is that most shoes do NOT provide support of any kind to the former two arches.  Some are very good at giving ample inside arch support but there are few flip-flops that do so.

Since we typically do not get enough support for our multiple arches, most people will have decreased or even collapsed arches.  When this happens, we typically get pronated feet.  It basically means that your flat feet cause your foot to lean toward the middle of your gait.  When this happens, it can have other ramifications.

Anytime that you are on your feet, your body's weight is being supported by your feet and the arches in your feet, or at least the arches that should be there.  So if your feet are pronated, for example, it can put more stress on your ankles, knees, hips, and spine all the way up to the base of your skull.  It's a lot like a building.  It could be perfectly level in the beginning but then ground settling and changes in the earth may cause the building to sit crookedly and over time, even the smallest beams can become warped and cracked.  Therefore, if the base of your body is out of alignment, your spine is more susceptible to imbalances such as subluxations.

So, the moral of the story is, if you have chronic knee, hip, low back, or even neck pain and nothing seems to be helping, it's worth getting your feet looked at.  Because a sturdy foundation can only be good for the weight it supports.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's the Difference?

Alright.  It's time for some Chiropractic Philosophy.  This time I'll be addressing a topic that's kind of a heated topic within the chiropractic realm.  That is the difference between an adjustment and a manipulation.

I just want to state right off the bat that the two terms, in my view, are NOT interchangeable.  There is a difference and a rather large difference I believe.  However, when it comes to insurance companies, there is no such difference. 

A manipulation of a joint is not what I do.  A manipulation is basically making a joint, or area, move for the sake of getting motion into that area.  There is no specific force, direction, or necessarily even specific intention involved.  You just get the area moving.  It's kind of like when you crack your knuckles.  You're not studying where exactly the joint is fixated, or stuck, which way it needs to move,and how much force to use.  You just crack your knuckles.

An adjustment of a joint is completely different.  Yes, with an adjustment, you get the joint moving again, but that's about where the similarity with a manipulation ends.  A chiropractic adjustment has years of book learning and physical training behind it.  There's a reason that I went to undergraduate college for three years then got my Bachelor's and Doctorate at chiropractic school during a rigorous three and one third years of year round schooling.  That's because there is a LOT to be learned about the human body, how it works, and how to fix it when it's "broken".

In chiropractic school we are taught to perform chiropractic adjustments, not manipulations to just get an area moving.  With every chiropractic adjustment that I do, I take into consideration which joint I am trying to move, why it needs to move, which direction it needs to move into, how much force to use based on the joint, body type, and fixation, and I have the intention of moving the joint to remove any irritation from the surrounding structures (ie: nerves).  As you can see, there's actually quite a big difference.

So if you've been hearing the two terms being used interchangeably, especially if you follow chiropractic laws or insurance jargon, just remember that there is a difference.  And, if you see a chiropractor who says that he/she uses manipulation, don't hesitate to ask why they don't call it an adjustment.  It's what chiropractors have been calling it for the past 125+ years.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

UPDATE: WA State Vaccine Fight

As some of you may have seen, I posted about an issue in the State of Washington where there was a bill trying to restrict the personal decisions of parents and require them to get their children vaccinated without the choice of religious or philosophical exemption.  Since then, there have been some changes.

First of all, the Senate Bill (ESB 5005) passed on March 25th.  That means, 90 after the adjournment of the session, the bill becomes law.  Now if the session adjourned that day, the new law would take effect on approximately June 23rd.

Secondly, the bill was slightly changed since my last posting on the topic.  The philosophical exemption is still gone.  The religious exemption was left on the books, it's just been changed.  You need to prove membership in a church that does not allow medical care.  Also, the medical exemption is still on the books.  For both the religious and medical exemption, you will be required to visit a medical practitioner (eg: MD, DO, ND, NP), get a signed piece of paper stating that you have been informed and educated on vaccines (not necessarily the detriments of vaccines), then meet the religious exemption requirement or prove that your son or daughter's health is in danger when receiving a vaccine.

However, for those of us who do not belong to a church that prohibits medical care, myself included, that creates a bit of an issue.  Forget about the right to choose what you deem necessary for your children for a second.  You will be required to pay for an office visit to a medical practitioner to maybe get a piece of paper signed saying you are exempt for a medical reason.  Not to mention, they typically give vaccines while at the hospital after the baby is born.  And if you have time to get that separate office visit done in the couple minutes between the birth and the administration of the Hep B vaccine, more power to you. 

The only way to fully get around the new law is to home school your children.

Finally, I've had a few people ask what we can do in the meantime.  Sadly, there's not much.  As I've been told by higher ups, there will be litigation in the court system against the Constitutionality of the bill.  One way to help support is to join the Yahoo group Fundamental Rights Coalition of WA to stay up to date with what is going on.  You can also contact your legislator on the issue.  At the end of the post, I will list which legislators voted for restricting our rights and which voted against restricting vaccination exemption.

The best way to help fight what has happened is the good old grass roots movement.  Spread the word.  Let your friends and family know what's happened in WA State.  Of course, if anyone has comments or questions, please feel free to comment below.

Yea Votes (voted to restrict vaccination exemption):
Representatives Alexander, Anderson, Bailey, Billig, Blake, Carlyle, Chandler, Clibborn, Cody, Dahlquist, Dammeier, Darneille, Dickerson, Dunshee, Eddy, Finn, Fitzgibbon, Frockt, Goodman, Green, Haigh, Haler, Hasegawa, Hope, Hudgins, Hunt, Hunter, Hurst, Jinkins, Johnson, Kagi, Kelley, Kenney, Ladenburg, Liias, Lytton, Maxwell, McCoy, Miloscia, Moeller, Moscoso, Nealey, Ormsby, Orwall, Pedersen, Pettigrew, Probst, Reykdal, Roberts, Rodne, Rolfes, Ryu, Santos, Seaquist, Sells, Smith, Springer, Stanford, Sullivan, Takko, Tharinger, Upthegrove, Van De Wege, Walsh, Wilcox, and Mr. Speaker

Nay Votes (voted to keep philosophical, religious, and medical exemptions as they were):
Representatives Ahern, Angel, Armstrong, Asay, Buys, Condotta, Crouse, DeBolt, Fagan, Hargrove, Harris, Hinkle, Kirby, Klippert, Kretz, Kristiansen, McCune, Orcutt, Overstreet, Parker, Pearson, Rivers, Ross, Shea, Schmick, Short, Taylor, Warnick, and Zeiger

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Fad Diet Frenzy

It seems like every couple months, there's a newer, more effective diet that's the rage of Hollywood.  The diet gets really popular because of the star power and press it receives, hangs around for a few years, then flickers until no one even thinks twice about doing the diet again.  These are known as Fad Diets. 

Just like anything else (Pogs, Furbies, Pet Rocks, etc.), most diets that use some product or service fall into the fad category.  Most of these Fad Diets are loosely based on science, if they're even science based at all.  The problem is that most of the time, these diets are such a drastic change in your normal dietary patterns that they will make a difference, but it is commonly short lived.

For example, one of the biggest diets on the scene right now is the HCG Diet.  The HCG diet is loosely based on the premise that getting a regular supplement, or even injection, of HCG, aka Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (a normal physiological hormome most prominent in pregnant women, it's actually the hormone that's tested when a pregnancy test is performed), will help someone in their quest for weight loss.  However, when you actually start looking into the diet portion of the HCG Diet, the daily caloric intake (how many calories you eat) is severely restricted.  And if anyone severely restricts the amount of food they eat, they're at least going to lose some weight.  Not to mention that severely restricting how much you eat is unhealthy.  Your body needs food.

On the unhealthy note, some fad diets are just plain dangerous.  Remember the Atkins Diet.  Basically you wouldn't eat any carbs and then load up on proteins.  It didn't matter if the protein was bacon or quinoa.  But of course more poeple are going to eat bacon and other "unhealthy" meats instead of quinoa.  These unhealthy proteins can lead to severe problems like atherosclerosis (plaque in the blood vessels) and other diseases.  In fact, Mr Atkins himself died from complications typically linked to a diet rich in high fat foods.

So the next time that you hear that Scarlett Johansson used the X Diet to lose 15 pounds for her next role or Ryan Reynolds tried the Y Diet to beef up for his next gig, just pass it off as another one of those tricky Fad Diets.  After all, you know what you should and shouldn't be eating.  Just listen to that little voice in your head and reach for a handful of sugar snap peas instead of a handful of Cheetos.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sit Up Straight!

With me hosting my 2nd blog based class tomorrow about the American Sedentary Lifestyle, I figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to address one of the aspects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, sitting at work.

As most people know, there are far more jobs that require people to sit at work than there used to be.  With the advent of technological advances in computers and robotics, our jobs require us to sit a lot more than before.  We are able to communicate and calculate using our work computers instead to getting up and physically going somewhere.  There have also been robots taking over jobs that have long been held by people, and then of course we need people to use computers to control the robots, which means more sitting.

And all this sitting is not so great on our bodies because it decreases our mobility and can lead to chronic problems.  The good news is even if you do need to sit all day, there is a proper way to do so.

First thing first, make sure you have a good chair.  One that changes heights, back angles, has adjustable arm rests, and a back that goes up to at least your shoulders is a good start.  Even better would be a chair that has an adjustable lumbar support.  If your chair doesn't have a lumbar support, you can easily add one by taking a towel, rolling it up, and placing it right in the small of your back.

You also need to make sure eveything's is ergonomically set up.  Having your screen at eye level prevents you from looking down and forward the whole day.  Make sure that your keyboard is set up so that you are not straining to use it.  Make it sit at a comforatble angle for you shoulders, elbows, and wrists.  Just make sure that it's not sitting too low that you have to hunch over to type comfortably.

Finally, and the previous two go hand in hand with this, make sure that you have proper posture.  By having everything in the correct place, you should be sitting tall with your shoulders back and your head directly over your shoulders.  Most people will be slumped forward with no lumbar curve, their shoulders rounded forward, and their head way in front of their shoulders.  This position only leads to trouble.  Take a look at the picture for a good reference:

Of course, you should always get up and move around whenever possible.  Stretch, go for a walk on your break, take the stairs, etc.  It's pretty easy to add that tiny bit of exercise and you'll be doing your body a world of good by adding that little bit.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fight for What you Believe In

If there's one blog that I want you to read, it's this one.  The reason is that there is a serious issue going on in the State of Washington right now.  Our governor, Chris Gregoire, has initiated a bill to the state House and Senate that would abolish a right of choice of it's citizens.  House Bill 1015 and Senate Bill 5005, if passed, would do away with the right of the parents of a child to choose whether or not to have their child vaccinated for religious or philosophical reasons.

Now, I'm not going to argue that I want these bills to be shot down because my son isn't vaccinated or because of the potential harm that vaccines pose to people, especially infants with a developing immune system, that can be found in my previous blog.  This blog topic is going to focus on the principle of the presented bills.

First, these bills would take away the right that parents do currently, and should always have, to make a decision on what they deem best for their child.  Whether it is because of religious views or philosophical views, you should never be forced to do something to your child that is potentially harmful. 

Secondly, if these bills are passed, the governement is saying that they know what's best for your child and that your child needs to be protected via vaccination which has been proven to be harmful.  I don't know about you, but I think I know a little bit better what is best for my child than a group of politicians being lobbied by pharmaceutical companies.

Thirdly, the proposed bills, if passed, would be in contradiction to the 1st and 14th amendments.  Whether you are religious or not, you know that we have the right to religious veiws, and if your religious views go against vaccination, the governtment isn't able to usurp those views (1st Amandment).  Also, "no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" is directly from the 14th Amendment.  It sounds like if these bills are passed and become law, then the law would be in violation of the US Constitution. 

I know this blog sounds very political.  However, whether you are liberal or conservative or somewhere in between, whether you are against vaccination or for it, the principle is that we should never be forced to do something that is potentially harmful to ourselves or our children.

If anyone would ilke some more information on what you can do to help defeat these bills and keep the law the way it is, please feel free to e-mail me and request more info at menstad@nwhealth.edu.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Runnin' On Empty

I know that during these dreary, cold winter days, it's more difficult to keep those energy levels up.  But, if you're not careful, you could be on the slippery slope to chronic fatigue.

Fatigue is an ailment that affects most, if not all people, at some point in their lives.  The key is to not let it stay for a prolonged period of time.  The reason that fatigue is so damaging to you health is because it is a negative stressor on your body. It does things such as release cortisol, the stress hormone, decrease metabolism, cause dehydration, headaches, anxiety, and a whole lot of other unhealthy things.  When your body gets into a rut of chronic fatigue, you will not only feel crummy and tired all the time, but your body will be running at a sub-optimal level.  And this sub-optimal level could actually lead to stress related diseases such at Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and others.

So what can you do to fuel up your tank?  Here's a couple easy, everyday changes that you can make to your routine to help boost your energy levels.  Now, they may be difficult at first, but once you do them for a while, it will be like second nature, and before you know it, you'll be able to feel the extra energy.

1- Get more & regular sleep.  Our bodies function on what's called a Circadian Rhythm.  When you get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep by going to bed and waking at the same time, your body will be able to get into a groove and you will feel more rested and energized.

2 - Exercise.  It kind of sounds counter productive.  Use energy to get more energy?  But it's true.  When you exercise regularly, you increase specific hormones which in turn can increase your metabolism and you also get more oxygen into your system for better cellular recovery and energy levels.  The key is to not overdo it and give yourself some recuperation time.

3 - Drink!  Just water though.  Anytime that you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that you are at least mildly dehydrated.  And even mild dehydration can lead to stressors such as anxiety, depression, aggravation, and other energy suckers.  So make sure you're drinking at least 64 ounces or water per day.

4 - Chow down.  Food is energy.  And your body needs the right kind of food to keep up your energy levels.  You should be eating a large breakfast (Breakfast like a King) with foods that have a low glycemic index.  This essentially means that the food will be digested and broken down for a longer period of time.  It's like a time-release capsule, you'll be getting the energy (calories-yes you need calories) for a longer period of time instead of all at once like if you were to eat a 3 Musketeers.  In general, low glycemic index foods include proteins, fats, and complex carbs.

So you can try all four right away or just try one of the suggestions and see how you feel after a week, then a month, then a year and I'm sure you'll be able to tell the difference.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poppin' Pills

So here's a little fact to get started.  Did you know that in 1970, there were 2 Billion pills prescribed in the US? Seems like quite a bit right?  But, in 2007, there were 113 Billion pills prescribed!  So, that must mean as a society as a whole, we're getting healthier right?  Not quite.

Chronic diseases (Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, heart disease, etc.) have been on an exponential rise for the past few decades.  We've also seem a new epidemic never witnessed before in the event of Childhood Obesity.  And, of course, these problems aren't just due to the over-prescription of medication, it also has to do with poor diet, lack of exercise, environmental toxins, and the like, but I think that the Rx meds have a little to do with it as well.

If you watch even only half an hour of TV per day, chances are you see at least one commercial for a new prescription medication.  What I want you to do next times is block out all the fancy "benefits", catchy music, and bright colors aimed at making you want to try the new drug.  Just listen for the boring drone of the side effects voice and see how "good" of a thing those drugs can be.  In fact, most drugs have serious side effects that need another drug prscribed with it to counter-effect the acts of the first drug.  Also, most of the time, many of the side effects of drugs sound like symptoms of chronic diseases.

So, you tell me, do you think there might be a slight connection between the two?  The fact is, the American society as a whole is a reactionary society when it comes to health.  If something's broke, fix it.  Don't worry about trying to prevent something bad from happening.  Prevention is what Chiropractic is all about.  Maintaining health is what Chiropractic is all about.  Eating what's good for your body, exercising, and keeping a positive mental outlook will help prevent most, if not all' of these chronic diseases from happening in the first place.

All the information you need is actually already there.  It's inborn into your brain.  All lot of the time, if you sit down and use common sense about what your body needs, you'll be able to make the right choice.

If anyone's interested in a good book to look into, check out Overdosed America.  It delves way more in to the topic than I can in the blog.

Disclaimer:  This should in no way be a recommendation to stop taking any of your prescribed medicine.  There is a time and place for some.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Breakdown on GMOs

This week's blogpost brings awareness to another acronym that doesn't get much press but is most likely a part of all Americans' life.  GMO.  GMO stands for genetically modified organism.  There's also GEO, or genetically engineered organism, which is essentially the same thing.  The reason that I wanted to talk about GMOs today is because we consume a lot of them in our diet without even knowing it.

Many food products and additives today are made from plants that are GMOs.  Now, this doesn't sound so harmful in and of itself, until you to start to look into what a GMO plant is.  If you look into the side that supports GMOs, they will say that they are able to produce bigger and better yields of the crop.  This is true about the bigger crop, but not necessarily the better part. 

You see, when you genetically modify or engineer a plant you are changing the basic properties of that plant at the genetic level.  In most cases today, especially corn and soy, these GMO plants are chemically changed to have anti-microbial / pesticidal qualities bred into them.  They are typically known as "Round-Up Ready" versions.  That means that if you are trying to avoid harmful chemicals such as pesticides, you won't be able to get away from them in GMOs, they are genetically bred into the plant.

Now, there are many different problems with this, the main one being that these chemicals are literally part of the plant now.  That means that most corn, and other products, that we eat today are completely different from what our forefathers ate even 50 years ago. 

Also, the companies that own these GMO seeds have a patent on them.  And if, per chance, some of the GMO seed were to end up in an organic farmer's crop, the organic farmer probably won't know it until the GMO company tests their crops then can sue the farmer for "illegally" using the GMO seeds without paying for them.  And these GMO companies are huge with lots of connections, so they typically win out.  If this sounds like a conspiracy theory, there's a lot of evidence that shows these facts.  Movies like Food, Inc. and The Future of Food have addressed these issues and there are a plethora of court cases dealing with this fact.

There are also health implications when you eat GMO foods.  Anytime your body eats something that is not a food (pesticides, food coloring, preservatives, fake sugars, etc.) your detoxification systems (liver and kidneys) need to get rid of it.  And in most cases, they can't get rid of all of that junk, so it builds up in your body.  There have been studies that have linked these chemicals to serious disease processes like Diabetes, Infertility, and Alzheimer's to name a few.  In fact, some countries, mostly in Europe, have banned these GMOs simply because there have been too many detrimental health implications.

So if you really want to make an effort to not eat as many GMO products as possible, read the label before you buy it.  Most products will say that they are GMO or GEO free.  Also, organic products should be GMO free.  Finally, just a little tip, my wife found out that all of Trader Joe's named products are GMO free.

Here's another link to the Future of Food video on Hulu that I posted earlier.  I'm posting again just because I think everyone should watch this.  This is a feature length documentary so plan to set some time aside to watch the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The American Sedentary Lifestyle

With the innovation of TV, computers, and video games, it's no argument that the American society has become more of a sedentary society.  Most people sit at their jobs or in school, come home and sit in front of the TV, then go to bed.  Of course this means that we aren't getting enough exercise when we are stationary all day long.  However, there are other detriments to sitting for a majority of your awake time.

When you're sitting in front of the TV or computer, most people tend to snack more.  Now, this wouldn't be too big of an issue if people snacked healthily and in moderation.  But that's typically not the case.  Most snackable foods are stuffed with simple carbs, fat, salt, and sugar.  And when you sit around and eat these types of food that are supposed to be converted into energy, your body stores them as fat.  Not only fat in the beer belly or thighs, but more dangerous fat that surrounds and can restrict our vital organs.  One way to help get rid of that fat is to get up and move around.

When you're sitting, you're not moving and not getting the essential exercise that your body needs.  Exercise helps keep your blood flowing, increases your metabolism, releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and enkephalins, reduces body fat, and has many other benefits.  There are companies, schools, and programs that have realized that when people exercise, they are generally more productive and happy.  Programs like the NFL's Play 60 have really made an effort to promote kids getting up and moving around for at least 60 minutes per day.  There are a plethora of other programs by schools, businesses, and organizations that are helping to fight the sedentary lifestyle that most Americans have become accustomed to.

Finally, there's actually recent research that suggests that sitting too long during leisure time can increase your risk of premature death.  They studied two different groups of people; those who sat for more than 6 hours per day and those who sat for less than 3 in their leisure time.  And the surprising fact about the study was that it showed that the increased risk for premature death had nothing to do with exercise.  It was purely if you sat for more than six hours, even if you exercised.

So even if you don't want to miss that favorite show of yours, you can do some crunches or lunges while watching, or make sure that you go for a half hour walk outside before or after the show.  Just getting started is half the battle, and once you do, it will become second nature before you know it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The 33 Chiropractic Principles

This week, I decided to present a little more education about chiropractic as a whole.  Last year, I did a series in our office newsletters listing the 33 Chiropractic Principles.  I decided that I would post all 33 in this blogpost.  So feel free to read them all in one sitting or split it up.  And, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

The original 33 Chiropractic Principles were originally penned by a chiropractor named Ralph W. Stephenson in 1927.  His work has inspired chiropractors to reach beyond merely treating back pain, to look at the infinite possibilities of a well-adjusted spine and nervous system.

1. THE MAJOR PREMISE. A Universal Intelligence is in all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.

2. THE CHIROPRACTIC MEANING OF LIFE. The expression of this intelligence through matter is the Chiropractic meaning of life.

3. THE UNION OF INTELLIGENCE AND MATTER. Life is necessarily the union of intelligence and matter.

4. THE TRIUNE OF LIFE. Life is a triune having three necessary united factors, namely Intelligence, Force, and Matter.

5. THE PERFECTION OF THE TRIUNE. In order to have 100% Life, there must be 100% Intelligence, 100% Force, 100% Matter.

6. THE PRINCIPLE OF TIME. There is no process that does not require time.

7. THE AMOUNT OF INTELLIGENCE IN MATTER. The amount of intelligence for any given amount of matter is 100%, and is always proportional to its requirements.

8. THE FUNCTION OF INTELLIGENCE. The function of intelligence is to express force.

9. THE AMOUNT OF FORCE CREATED BY INTELLIGENCE. The amount of force created by intelligence is always 100%.

10. THE FUNCTION OF FORCE. The function of force is to unite intelligence and matter.

11. THE CHARACTER OF UNIVERSAL FORCES. The forces of Universal Intelligence are manifested by physical laws; are unswerving and unadapted, and have no solicitude for the structures in which they work.

12. INTERFERENCE WITH THE TRANSMISSION OF UNIVERSAL FORCES. There can be interference with transmission of universal forces.

13. THE FUNCTION OF MATTER. The function of matter is to express force.

14. UNIVERSAL LIFE. Force is manifested by motion in matter; all matter has motion, therefore there is universal life in all matter.

15. NO MOTION WITHOUT THE EFFORT OF FORCE. Matter can have no motion without the application of force by intelligence.

16. INTELLIGENCE IN BOTH ORGANIC AND INORGANIC MATTER. Universal Intelligence gives force to both organic and inorganic matter.

17. CAUSE AND EFFECT. Every effect has a cause and every cause has effects.

18. EVIDENCE OF LIFE. The signs of life are evidence of the intelligence of life.

19. ORGANIC MATTER. The material of the body of a "living thing" is organized matter.

20. INNATE INTELLIGENCE. A "living thing" has an inborn intelligence within its body, called Innate Intelligence.

21. THE MISSION OF INNATE INTELLIGENCE. The mission of Innate Intelligence is to maintain the material of the body of a "living thing" in active organization.

22. THE AMOUNT OF INNATE INTELLIGENCE. There is 100% of Innate Intelligence in every "living thing," the requisite amount, proportional to its organization.

23. THE FUNCTION OF INNATE INTELLIGENCE. The function of Innate Intelligence is to adapt universal forces and matter for use in the body, so that all parts of the body will have coordinated action for mutual benefit.

24. THE LIMITS OF ADAPTATION. Innate Intelligence adapts forces and matter for the body as long as it can do so without breaking a universal law, or Innate Intelligence is limited by the limitations of matter.

25. THE CHARACTER OF INNATE FORCES. The forces of Innate Intelligence never injure or destroy the structures in which they work.

26. COMPARISON OF UNIVERSAL AND INNATE FORCES. In order to carry on the universal cycle of life, Universal forces are destructive, and Innate forces constructive, as regards structural matter.

27. THE NORMALITY OF INNATE INTELLIGENCE. Innate Intelligence is always normal and its function is always normal.

28. THE CONDUCTORS OF INNATE FORCES. The forces of Innate Intelligence operate through or over the nervous system in animal bodies.

29. INTERFERENCE WITH THE TRANSMISSION OF INNATE FORCES. There can be interference with the transmission of Innate Forces.

30. THE CAUSE OF DIS-EASE. Interference with the transmission of Innate forces causes incoordination or dis-ease.

31. SUBLUXATIONS. Interference with the transmission in the body is always directly or indirectly due to subluxations in the spinal column.

32. THE PRINCIPLE OF COORDINATION. Coordination is the principle of harmonious action of all the parts of an organism, in fulfilling their offices and purposes.

33. THE LAW OF DEMAND AND SUPPLY. The Law of Demand and Supply is existent in the body in its ideal state; wherein the "clearing house," is the brain, Innate the virtuous "banker," brain cells "clerks," and nerve cells "messengers."

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Crash Course on the Necessity of Crawling

My infant son had a pretty big milestone this past weekend where he began crawling.  While my wife and I were "baby-proofing" the last few days, I realized that his milestone would be the perfect opportunity for me to expound on why this is not only a good way for babies to maneuver around, but it's also essential for their development on a few different levels.

I'm sure that the majority of the population views the crawling stage as simply another stage that a baby goes through.  However, I can't tell you how many times I've heard or even witnessed a baby who doesn't go through that crawling stage.  And it's a little bigger deal than you may think to go straight to walking or to scoot on their bum instead of crawling.  Crawling is an essential stage that babies should go through because it helps develop their motor skills, brain development, and spinal curve formation.

When babies are crawling around, they use new muscles that they haven't used previously.  Muscles in their arms and upper back and muscles in the hips and legs allow them to propel forward.  They are also using muscles in their abdominal region and "core" to keep up their belly and support the weight of their midsection.  Also, they are using tiny muscles throughout their body to help steady themselves while moving and to provide balance.  Crawling helps to coordinate these muscle movements and prepares them better for the walking stage.

A large part of the crawling stage is the brain development of the baby.  The "cross-crawl pattern" is very essential to developing the child's brain.  This pattern is when a child moves one hand forward while moving the opposite leg forward.  This process helps stimulate communication between the right and left hemisphere of the brain through a structure called the corpus callosum.  This structure is the main communication link between the two sides of the brain.  It's essential to make the connections as strong as possible and one of the best ways to do so is to have your baby crawl.

Finally, the last essential of the crawling stage that I'll address is the development of the spinal curvature.  When babies crawl, their heads need to be up and their bellies will sag a little bit.  When a baby looks up, it helps to develop the cervical curve (neck curve).  This curve is crucial because it helps support the weight of the head throughout the rest of that child's life.  The sagging of the belly help to develop the lumbar curve (low back curve).  This curve is essential because when the baby starts to walk, it better supports the weight of the whole body.  Curves help support weights much more efficiently than straight lines.  Just look at bridges; most bridges have a curve underneath or above to help support the weight of traffic.

So, if you have a child that doesn't seem to want to crawl, get down on the floor and show them how.  It's more important than you may have thought.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's Safe in Medicine Today?

As I expected, my blog about vaccination has drawn the most ire from some people and also the most comments.  That's one of the reasons that I wanted to talk about safety issues in medicine this week.  Vaccines aren't the only portion of western medicine that need to be looked at as being harmful to your body and to society as a whole.  However, with that said, there are some safe options available as well.

I first want to state that I in no way intend to bash the western medical world as a whole.  There is a time and place for western medicine, especially in the event of trauma and life threatening illness.  However, where the western medical world has gone wrong in my opinion is that they take these same acute injury principles and apply them to non acute situations.  Perfect example being in most Type 2 Diabetes cases.  There are many medical doctors out there who jump to prescribing insulin, Metformin, or other drugs to help with blood sugar levels.  But, when you look at the actual physiology and research about Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that the best way to reverse and stop the effects of Type 2 Diabetes in most cases in by a healthy diet and exercise routine.  You should ALWAYS try a healthier alternative to fixing a problem before drugs or surgery unless it is a life or death situation.

The reason that you should start with a more "conservative" treatment is because of all the adverse effects of drugs and surgery.  Around 200,000 Americans will die due to adverse effects of prescription drugs this year.  If that number seems high, you can check for yourself.  The information is out there, it's just not being distributed.  That number doesn't even include death due to surgery mishaps, over the counter drugs, or international statistics. 

Also, there is a reason that the average older American is on 8 prescription medications.  Most often it's because one drug will have a severe or quality of life depleting side effect.  Therefore, they will give you another drug to stop that side effect which will typically have another side effect so they give another one and so on.  If you ever want to know some of the side effects of the more popular drugs, just sit and listen to one of the many ads on TV or radio and pay attention to the "____________ may cause...".

But not all treatments have all of these deaths and side effects right?  If you look at the "alternative medicines", you'll find that most are very safe and, in a lot of circumstances, just as effective if not more effective. 

Chiropractic, for example is one of the most safe modalities of health care out there.  There are reports of minor side effects in as few as one in 3 million treatments, others show fewer than that.  One way to look at it is to compare the malpractice insurance that doctors and other medical personnel pay each year.  Malpractice insurance is a requirement to practice medicine of any kind and it's in case something "bad" does happen under your care as a doctor.  Many medical doctors pay tens of thousands of dollars each year for their malpractice insurance, depending on their profession.  My malpractice insurance is about $1400 a year.  The reason that there is such a discrepancy is because chiropractic has far fewer cases of adverse events than western medicine, and there's the numbers to prove it.

So, before you pop that next Lipitor or get scheduled for your next surgery, ask yourself if you have tried other less invasive treatments and if the side effects are really better than trying to live a healthier life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bad Bacteria? Not All of Them!

Growing up I thought that all bugs and microbes and germs were bad for you.  That's why you always washed your hands and sneezed into your shoulder and took antibiotics when sick.  What I didn't realize at that time (which may have grossed me out) is that people normally have a couple pounds of bacteria living inside them and on their skin.  However, that's a good thing because these bacteria are good for you.  Most of these bacteria are located within our digestive system, mainly the colon.  These good bacteria are known as Probiotics.

There's been more awareness of the necessity of Probiotics within the recent years with products like Activia getting more air time.  But that doesn't mean that everyone knows about them or why we have them.  There's a number of different reasons that we have millions of bacteria living within our colon.

The main reason is that we NEED them.  We live in a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria.  They need us because we give them food through our diet and we need them to help with many different bodily processes.  Some of the bacteria help us digest food like green leafy vegetables, some help kill of potentially harmful bacteria, and others actually help with the movement and absorption of the food that we eat.

So you can see that these bacteria are pretty beneficial.  With that said, most people are deficient in the amount of bacteria present.  This is partially due to the American diet, but mostly due to the over prescription of antibiotics.  Antibiotics are really good at their job.  They kill the bad bacteria in most cases.  However, they also kill off the good bacteria that you need.  A lot of times, you will probably weigh less after taking antibiotics because you've killed and passed the good bacteria that were helping you.

So if you've taken any antibiotics recently, it's a necessity to take a Probiotic supplement.  Yes, you can get some good bacteria from eating yogurt or drinking kefir or kombucha, but it's not enough.  You need to replenish that whole store of good bacteria. 

You can find Probiotics at any supplement or health foods store.  And typically, a good rule of thumb is that good Probiotics should be refrigerated.