April :: 2017 Issue
Dear Patient and Friend,
We live in a complex world. Information flies at us at an overwhelming pace. And information on health and wellness abounds – but who do you listen to? How much water is sufficient, and how much is too much? How much exercise do we need, and what kinds? What foods should we concentrate on, and which ones should we avoid? Is there anyone who knows for sure?
Your best safeguard is your own common sense. It makes sense to eat fresh, wholesome foods, and avoid or minimize heavily processed, fried, and overly sweetened or salty food. It makes sense to include some low-impact, consistent exercise, like walking, stretching, swimming, or yoga. It makes sense to reduce your stress, to get outside and breathe fresh air, and to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night.
And, it makes sense to keep your body in good working order. You may already know that regular visits to your doctor of chiropractic can decrease your stress, tune up your brain, and help you to avoid painful problems.
Your chiropractor can help you understand how to take better care of yourself, to make better lifestyle decisions and develop habits that will serve you throughout a long and healthy life. Let your chiropractor advise you on which other health and wellness professionals you may need on your family’s team – it will come back to reward you many times over.
A Fresh Look at Weight Reduction
It’s no secret that US citizens are getting heavier – whereas twenty years ago, about 15% of our population was considered obese, today the number has ballooned to over 30%, clearly an unfortunate and dangerous trend.
But the common sense of weight reduction, to eat less and move around more, while logical, often breaks down for some individuals who struggle mightily to bring their weight under control. It turns out that it isn’t only the amount of food and exercise that you choose, but also the kind of food or exercise you implement.
There are many right answers, and part of the trick is finding a right answer that works for you. For a long time, conventional wisdom supported a low-fat diet, but now it has been determined that some fats are essential for good brain function, healthy skin, and providing energy to keep your cells and organs running properly.
We were taught originally that fat is bad and sugar is brain food – ironically, the opposite is true. Sugar is bad, and fat is brain food.
That doesn’t mean that you should indiscriminately eat lots of fat, but it does suggest that eating foods with a high content of healthy fat, like fish, nuts, oils, seeds and avocados, is good for you.
The American Heart Association now suggests two portions each week of fatty fish, like salmon, mackerel, sardines or tuna. Nuts like walnuts, oils like olive oil, and seeds like flax seeds are all worthy additions to a healthy diet.
And, when you get more of your energy from healthy fats, your carbohydrate cravings will diminish – energy from carbs is more like kindling wood, that goes up quickly and intensely, while energy from fat creates a slower burn that your body appreciates for hours after eating.
Does that mean you need to avoid all carbohydrates? Absolutely not, though some dietary approaches do tend to limit sugars and starches. The trick is to seek carbohydrates that your body processes more gradually, like fruits and vegetables, which are fine in moderation. Still, excessive sugar even in forms your body can tolerate is unhealthy, so learn what your limits may be and apply the same logic you’d use if you were advising a friend on what to eat.
This will tend to balance your caloric intake, but there’s another part to this formula – exercise. The word conjures up massive bodybuilders straining to hoist overloaded barbells above their heads, or zero-body-fat athletes breaking through finish-line tapes after running a marathon.
It turns out that exercise usually does not require such extreme commitments, but rather a decision to do a little each day, and stick to it as you build yourself up. Something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking across the lot so you walk a bit to get to your office, can be a productive way to begin.
The real key to appropriate exercise is consistency. Many experts recommend as little as 30 minutes three times a week, of walking, stretching, jogging, or yoga – that may be all you need to stay fit. And if you love exercising, adding in some strength training like lifting weights or using resistance bands, some advanced aerobic exercise like spinning or long distance running, or bursts of any high intensity exercise with rest intervals in between can radically improve your level of fitness and vitality, and help you shed unwanted pounds.
If you’re serious about weight reduction, dieting or exercise is of marginal value unless new lifestyle habits are developed over time. Short term commitments can only get you so far – you need to change your approach, so your actions and behaviors get you to and keep you at your target weight.
Consult your most trusted health and wellness advisor, your doctor of chiropractic, about weight loss suggestions that will be more specific for your body type, current condition and desired outcomes. It could be your first step toward a better quality of life.
Spring Cleaning for Your Body
Many households embark upon a “spring cleaning” adventure about this time of year. Clearing clutter, donating unwanted clothing to charity, scrubbing floors and walls and appliances until they sparkle or emptying out overstuffed closets is commonplace in homes around the world.
But what about spring cleaning for your body? You may not realize it, but your body requires certain maintenance to remain in optimal condition, and a few simple action steps can reset your health as part of a yearly ritual that will reward you for your conscientiousness.
What are some ways to clean out your body? There are many products on the market that assist in detoxification – coupled with a juice or water fast, an investment of a few days in reducing the toxicity of your brain and body can be a quick road to a more healthful expression.
But even if you just stop pounding down sugars, salt and highly processed foods with lots of additives, increase your metabolism by raising your heart rate for a few minutes at a time, or use the power of breathing to rid yourself of poisons that may accumulate in your blood and tissues, you’ll be doing something to improve your quality of life and extend your longevity.
Extra sleep also gives your brain a chance to rid itself of waste, another vital form of detoxification.
The less junk you have in your system, the better your body will work. Clean out, it will make a huge difference for you – and make sure to include your family, no matter how much they resist. Spring cleaning is not just for homes, it’s for bodies too.