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.