Movement

New Class Alert!

Low & Slow

This one hour, low impact class will focus on strength, mobility and the power of breath. Not quite yoga, not quite pilates, Dr. Jen will guide participants through a 45-minute class that will leave participants feeling strong and calm.

This class will be limited to a maximum of 12 students to allow for more one-on-one instructor time. All ages and abilities are welcome.

What to bring: Yoga mat, comfortable clothes, water.

Time: 9:00am, Wednesdays

Location: Our Lady of Fatima Church basement

6-week program starting Wednesday September 11th (Sept 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 9, 16)

Cost: $60

Call 902-270-7022 to register - very limited availability

Back To School Lunch Ideas

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Even though it is the end of summer break, beach days are few and far between and we are getting the kids ready to go back to school, I must say, it is nice to be getting back into a routine again!

When it comes to packing kids lunches it can be difficult to get creative and find healthy options, it is very easy to head for the “snack” isle of the grocery store and fill their lunch bags with these items. While you might have a something relatively healthy packed for their main meal, chances are they are going to gravitate to the “less healthy” items first if they are there as an option. In my experience, kids do not get much time for lunch and they want to have whatever is quick and easy so they can eat and then get on the go for the remainder of the break to play!

So here are a few easy and healthy options for school lunches for kids:

  1. Roast chicken and veggies (my favourite option!) I like to get a fresh organic chicken and do my own version a grocery store roast chicken. You can put the chicken in a slow cooker (4 hours high - 8 hours low) season with sea salt, pepper, turmeric and smoked paprika, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Once the chicken is done, remove from the slow cooker and pull meat away from the bones and store in the fridge for quick lunches for the week. This is great served with veggies - cut up cucumber, carrots, peppers, etc.

  2. Low sugar granola (check out this recipe recently shared on the blog) and full fat yogurt. You can also add some fresh berries on top or on the side!

  3. Homemade soup (or chilli) Investing in a good thermos is a really good idea. Schools that have microwaves usually limit the heat up time and the line up can be long, this can deter your child from wanting to heat up their lunch and could end up not even eating much at all. And let’s be honest here, kids just want to get outside and play at lunch time! I like sending soup during the winter months since because you can make big batches and load it up with lots of immune boosting/protective ingredients. (Hot tip: save the bones and drippings from your roast chicken and throw in some celery, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar and some herbs and keep the slow cooker going to make your own broth, freeze and store for soups later!)

  4. Veggies and dip This could be a lunch on its own, but also works well as a snack option. Pairing with sunflower seed butter (nut free!) or hummus adds some extra protein. I would try to avoid using any kind of dressing (unless homemade and sugar free) as most store bought versions contain sugar, not something you want to add too much (or any at all) of to your child’s lunch.

  5. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it is totally worth it to invest in a metal bento box style lunchbox! You can fill up those little spots with so many different healthy foods! Variety is key with kids, and with so many options you are not limiting them to just one boring old sandwich day after day. Another reason I like these is because you can sneak in something new and encourage your child to try it, even if it is just one bite and if they don’t like it, they have other options as well! Fun fact: it takes 7 times of trying a new taste to get the palate used to the flavour! Something to keep in mind when introducing new items to kids!

A few other quick tips to keep in mind when packing school lunches….

  • Have fun with it and involve the kids in the process, take them grocery shopping with you and let them pick out their favourite produce and items from the health food section (avoid the inside isles of the grocery store!). Letting kids have a choice in what they have to eat will make them more likely to actually eat their lunch. If you are making big batches of soup or granola or even some homemade snacks, let them help in the kitchen so they can feel like they were part of the process too.

  • Keep in mind any restrictions in place for the school. As you know most (probably all) schools are nut free when it comes to food, but sometimes classmates can have certain allergies as well that could be harmful to them if they are in close proximity. (Usually the parents will be informed of anything serious, but just incase its better to be safe than your kid without a lunch!)

  • The less sugar the better! Most kids packed lunches contain two times more sugar than what is recommended, and to be quite honest the recommendation is on the high side. Making sure your kids lunch has very little to no refined sugar is key. Upping the protein, healthy fat and balancing whole grains and fruit and veggies is just as important for kids as it is for adults. You do not want your child to be crashing after lunch because of what they ate. This will also make them ravenous and go on a snack craze when they get home from school because they are just not satiated enough from their meals earlier in the day. Its also important to fuel the brain with these good foods to help with their concentration levels for later in the day (the first half of the day is covered with their healthy breakfast!)

  • A final tip is about hydration! Keep it simple with water! My kids like to use a steel water bottle because it keeps it cold all day long, and most teachers are ok with keeping it in the class or in their school bag if they want a quick drink, and its a much better option than the school fountains….

I hope these help with ideas for lunches for your kids this coming school year, if you have any healthy tips you like to do, let us know what they are!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Salmon Tales and Tubes

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If you follow us on social media, you may have seen our river tubing post. This was such a great experience I wanted to post some details and some suggestions for those who may be interested in booking one of the trips!

Salmon Tales and Tubes is a program run through Parks Canada - you can find the link here.

As opposed to the other tubing experience in Cape Breton, this tour allowed us to bring our two and four year old. They do provide all the necessary gear, however, we were advised to bring our own lifejackets as they don’t carry the itty bitty ones.

If you are bringing anyone under the age of 5, I would also advise you to bring your own helmet as again, the sizes were too big for those little heads (we put their hats underneath the hemet and it seemed to work). We were advised that the hemet is more for protection against stray golf balls, as part of the river passes nearby the golf course.

Also, we recommend wearing water shoes.

There is a short walk up the river (about 45-minutes) where our guide Kirsten would stop and talk about the Salmon breeding habits and some of the challenges they are facing (did you know that 2019 is the year of the Salmon?). Kirsten also spoke about some of the trees in the area (and the issues they are facing with invasive species) and some of the local animals.

Once we got to our destination and were geared up, we all jumped aboard our tubes and were on our way floating down the river. The kids had an absolute blast.

Due to low water levels, there were some parts of the tour that we had to get off the tube and portage. Since it was such a hot day, we certainly didn’t mind the chance to cool down. I will caution you, you will get wet.

We started the tour at 3pm and everything was wrapped up just before 5:30pm.

If you are looking for something a little different to do and you have little ones, I highly recommend this tour!

The tour runs every Saturday until August 31st, and reservations are highly recommended - you can book it by calling 902-285-2535.



Sweat 'N' Play

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Sweat ‘N’ Play

4-week session

9:15am Tuesdays

June 4,11,18,25 $40

or $15 per drop-in

Hey Mom,

We know that these days, “you time” is hard to come by and we know that you know that taking care of your physical health has maybe taken the back seat since becoming a mother. We’ve collaborated with The Play Palace for the ultimate in exercise classes. Come get your sweat on with Dr. Jen while your child gets to play! The exercise class will focus on strength, endurance and mobility and the play portion will focus on fun!

There will be Play Palace staff on hand to keep an eye on your kids while you are keeping an eye on your health! Registration includes a 1-hour class with Dr. Jen and entry for one child (extra children are $5 per class). Registration is $40 for 4-weeks or $15 per drop-in.

Mothers must be at least 6-weeks postpartum. Children aged 6-months or older will be supervised by The Play Palace staff . Young babies welcomed, but will not be supervised by Play Palace staff.

Space is very limited! Please call The Play Palace at 902-217-2688 to register!

Bring a yoga mat if you have one, moms are welcomed to wear their children during the class and then stay and play afterwards. Refreshments are available for purchase after class.

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Fall prevention

Fall Stats

  • 1 in 3 seniors will experience a fall each year and half of those people will fall more than once.

  • Falls are the cause of 85% of seniors injury-related hospitalizations

  • Falls are the cause of 95% of all hip fractures

  • 50% of falls happen at home

Why are people falling?

The majority of falls are experienced by seniors. 

Two factors will increase the risk of falling

1. Environmental factors or the unsafe conditions around the person

2. Physical factors - poor/decreased balance, decreased muscle/bone strength and reduced vision/hearing 

What can be done to reduce the risk?

1. Around the home:

  • Install non slip surfaces

  • Install grab bars or rails in the rest room, at the entrances and on the stairs

  • Wipe up any spills immediately

  • Declutter the house

  • Make sure cords are not in walking paths

  • Get rid of rugs or mats

  • If you are using a step stool, find one with a safety rail

  • Store heavy items in a lower shelf or drawer

  • ** Slow down!** rushing a is a  major cause of falling

  • Use the handrail on the stairs and don’t have a full arm load when travelling on the stairs

2. Physically:

- Avoid situations that may make you feel dizzy - like skipping meals or doing activity after taking medications that are known to cause dizziness or drowsiness

- Wear your glasses or hearing aids

- Use an assistive device (cane, walker etc)

- Keep fit - cardiovascular exercise - walking at least 30 minutes a day

                  - strength and resistance training to help build bone and muscle mass

Balance is comprised of 3 major systems that communicate information to the cerebellum, located at the back of the brain

  • The vestibular system in the ear and the visual system tell the cerebellum where the head is in relation to the horizon.

  • In the rest of the body, proprioceptive cells that are found in muscles and joints communicate information about joint angles, muscle length and muscle tension.

If any of those systems are not working correctly or have not properly healed after injury than a person may be at greater risk for a fall. Concentrating on exercises that focus on making those three systems work together can improve reaction time and decrease the chance of a slip

 Is there any way to see if my Balance systems are all working together? 

There are a number of physical tests and neurological tests that a chiropractor will perform to assess your risk for a fall. Based on your test findings, you would then be prescribed a specific list of exercises to help improve the areas where you are deficient. New research from neuroscientist Dr. Heidi Haavik found cerebellar changes with movement related tasks after 12 weeks of regular chiropractic adjustments. 

 What about fall risk in Winter?

  • Keeping walkways clean and free of ice

  • Keep steps and rails in good repair and well lit

  • Wear slip resistant shoes

  • WEAR GLOVES!  hand should be out of pockets ready to help you brace against a fall -

- If you do feel unsteady WALK LIKE A PENGUIN

  •          Keep centre of gravity over your feet

  •          Take shorter/shuffling steps

  •          Keep your arms at your sides and wear your gloves

  •          Go Slowly and concentrate 

For a complete list of strategies to help minimize the risk of falls please follow this link to the fall prevention handout from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

What's more important:

Weight loss or muscle gain?

Muscle mass is directly correlated with longevity and excellent health. Rather than trying to “lose weight”, people are better striving to improve body composition.  This means losing fat and building or maintaining muscle. The lean (non-fat) components of the body are denser than body fat. Therefore, the number on the scale isn’t always to best outcome measure, especially when it comes to health. A better predictor of health is body composition. A method to track your body composition at home (other than looking in the mirror) is measuring your waist-to-hip ratio (waist measurement divided by your hip measurement). As this ratio decreases, your abdominal (visceral) fat decreases, and so does your risk of all cause mortality.  So, it is actually possible for the scale weight to increase and your waist to hip ratio to decrease – and at the end of the day you will be healthier. 

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon calls muscle the organ of longevity.  “The stronger and healthier your muscle is, the more carbohydrates and fat your body burns”.  Healthy muscle mass improves metabolism and decreases risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  Muscle mass is also a reliable protein reserve that is protective for people after prolonged illness (i.e. cancer)

There are numerous methods to lose fat – some more healthy than others.  There are only two basic ways to increase and maintain muscle mass: resistance exercise, and consuming protein. 

Resistance exercise is lifting heavy things a few times a week.  You could try body weight exercises like squats, push-ups and pull ups. I like a single set to failure using the rest – pause technique for bodyweight exercises.  You could lift weights in the gym or rocks in your yard. Compound movements are typically safest and the most effective for your effort.  My favorites are deadlifts, squats, bench press, shoulder press and a bent over row.  For these I prefer hierarchical sets i.e. 3 sets of 15, 8, and 4 reps – increasing the weight with each set.   

Protein is an essential macronutrient, necessary for all the cells of the body. It is needed for the structure, function, and regulation of all tissues and organs - especially for building and repairing muscle. Once consumed protein is broken down to amino acids.  Humans must obtain some essential amino acids from protein in their diet. Proteins also have a key role in immune function, building enzymes for metabolism and DNA repair, and building hormones and neurotransmitters.  High protein diets (45% of total calorie intake) have been shown to decreases blood pressure and increase HDL cholesterol. 

There is no conclusive evidence that a high protein diet can cause chronic kidney disease. Protein may be used as fuel in the absence of carbs and fat, however, excess protein is not stored as body fat and is excreted as urea via the kidneys. 

Protein should be prioritized.  It is nutrient dense and very satiating. Consuming a minimum 30 grams of protein per meal is needed to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It is actually more important for sedentary people as they are not stimulating muscle growth with exercise and older individuals because muscle mass gets harder to maintain as we age.  Generally speaking, 30 grams of protein at each meal (3 meals a day) should be a minimum target. That’s 90 grams of protein per day. Up to 1 gram of protein per pound of desired body weight may be recommended for active people who want to maximize muscle mass.  

This is what 30 g of protein looks like:

•      7 thick slices of bacon

•      5 large eggs

•      4 ounces of ground beef

•      6 ounces of tempeh

•      1 scoop of whey protein

•      3/4 block of tofu

•       4 ounces chicken breast

 

References: 

1.    Srikanthan, Preethi et al. Muscle Mass Index As a Predictor of Longevity in Older Adults The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 127, Issue 6, 547 – 553.

2.    Srikanthan P, Seeman TE, Karlamangla AS. Waist-hip-ratio as a predictor of all-cause mortality in high-functioning older adults. Ann Epidemiol. 2009;19:724-731.

3.    https://drgabriellelyon.com

4.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waist–hip_ratio

5.    https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/measuring-your-macros-what-30-grams-protein-looks-like.html

Mom was right

Stand up straight

Modern people are hunched forward on their phones, computers, and behind the steering wheel all day long. This can be the cause of a lot of neck and back pain. It pushes our head and our centre of gravity forward, causing a strain our neck. It increases curve in your thoracic spine, which may prevent you from breathing properly with your diaphragm, further exacerbating pain and stiffness. Evolutionarily this slumped forward posture is a defensive position and triggers the release of stress hormones leading to even more tension. 

By being a little more conscious of our posture we can stand straighter, move better and feel good. Get somebody to take a picture of you from the side and see what your posture looks like.

  • Your chin and neck should be back with your ears over your shoulders

  • Standing in a neutral position your thumbs should be pointing forward

  • Externally rotate the shoulders instead of pointing them toward each other

  • Your pelvic floor should be parallel to your diaphragm, you can accomplish this by tilting your pelvis posteriorly (similar to the motion made during intercourse)

  • Keep the front of the  rib cage tucked down instead of flaring out.   

  • If none of the above makes sense, or your side picture looks atrocious - call us today!

Change your environment

  • Try holding the phone up to look at it instead of looking down at it

  • Take frequent breaks from computer work and sitting

  • Stand and walk more at work and at home

  • Breath through your nose, which stimulants your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, and activates your diaphragm

  • Try corrective exercises that stretch the soft tissue that becomes tight from slumping and strengthen the tissue that become weak.  

This will not be comfortable at first but your brain and body will adapt in time and your joints, soft tissue, and even your organs will thank you down the road. 

New Year's Resolution Reset

Health Goals

Dr. Jen was featured on CBC’s Mainstreet with Wendy Bergfeldt a couple weeks ago and they spoke about keeping New Year’s Resolutions.

Where are you with your resolution? If it’s time for a tune up, have a listen to this segment.

Womens' Wellness Expo

Live a healthier life!
Learn about what types of support exists in our community. 
This is an event mothers can attend with their daughters or grandchildren, sisters can attend with each other and entire families are welcome. 

Saturday, April 7th
Trade Show 9:30-3:00pm
Speaker "Woman's pelvic floor health" with Alana Coady Physiotherapist 10:00 - 10:30am
Cooking Demo #1 with Thyme Savour Take Away 10:30 - 11:00am
Yoga with Kim Lewis 11:00 - 11:45am
Cooking Demo #2 with Ann Marion Willis dietician from Superstore 11:45 - 12:15 pm
Speaker "Getting Healthy and Staying Healthy" 12:15 - 1:00pm
Meditation with Maritime Meditation 1:00 - 1:45 pm
Speaker "Foot issues" with Dr. Amy Welsh - podiatrist 2:00 - 2:30pm
Prize Draw 2:30

Confirmed trade-show attendees include:

  • Ashlee White TCM acupuncture,
  • Enso Float wellness,
  • Dr. Amy Welsh podiatrist,
  • Cabot physiotherapy,
  • Feit physiotherapy,
  • Thyme Savour take away food shop,
  • Ann Marion Willis dietician from Superstore,
  • Island Chiropractic & Family Wellness,
  • Deborah Monaghan RRT & Ayurvedic Reflexologist,
  • Maritime Meditation,
  • Kim Lewis, Yoga instructor
  • Thyme for Ewe Farm
  • CBRM recreation department,
  • CB YMCA,
  • Cape Breastoners dragon boat team
  • Baby Box Canada
  • Cape Breton Family Resource Centre

Volunteers from Our Lady of Fatima Parish will be offering soup and biscuits.  The first 25 people in attendance will receive a complimentary 8x10 portrait from Creative Isle Graphic Design and Photo.  There will also be a prize draw at 2:30 pm that participants do not need to be present for.  Admission is by donation.

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SMT

Chiropractic Adjustments and Neck Pain

A recent study released in 2017 had some very interesting results.  Inami et al looked at the brain and the neck (via PET scans) before and after a cervical (neck) adjustment. While, unfortunately it was a small sample size (21 males) the results do show there is definitely an influence on the brain in regards to outcomes after an adjustment. 

Significant findings of this study include:

  • Decrease in Muscle Tension in the neck 
  • Increase of neck range of motion
  • Changes in the Cerebellum - where affective processing (sensory), pain modulation and sensorimotor processing occurs - possibly explaining a decrease of pain sensation
  • Changes to the prefrontal cortex - possibly explaining an increase in relaxation

Glucose Metabolic Changes in the Brain and Muscles of Patients with Nonspecific Neck Pain Treated by Spinal Manipulation Therapy: A [18F]FDG PET Study.  Evidence Based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. 2017. 4345703. Akie Inami, 1 Takeshi Ogura, 1 , 2 Shoichi Watanuki, 1 Md. Mehedi Masud, 1 , 3 Katsuhiko Shibuya, 4 Masayasu Miyake, 1 Rin Matsuda, 1 Kotaro Hiraoka, 1 Masatoshi Itoh, 4 Arlan W. Fuhr, 5 Kazuhiko Yanai, 1 , 6 and  Manabu Tashiro 1 , 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5267084/

Free Class - Introduction to Meditation and the Mind Body Connection

Meditation and Chiropractic

Many of our patients have asked us about the benefits of meditation and are curious to try it, but are unsure of where to start.  We've organized an introduction to meditation workshop and everyone is invited to attend! 

Meditation Class, Mind & Body Connection

Join Lori Digou Westbury, a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor from the McLean Meditation Institute for a meditation class that will introduce you to a variety of meditation practices. Great for a beginner meditator, or someone who wants to restart their practice. We will use simple meditation techniques that allow for stress reduction as we explore the mind body connection. 


The program includes:
-An introduction to various meditation practices
- Discovering Mindfulness
- Understanding the effects of stress
- The 5 essentials for meditation
- Easy to use meditation techniques
- Meditation & Mindfulness Instruction
- Starting your practice at home

To learn more about Lori Digou Westbury and meditation - click here

Sunday November 27th - 9:00am - refreshments will be provided afterwards. 

Please register in advance at info@islandchiro.com or at 902-270-7022.

Mindful Breathing and Meditation

Mindfullness and Meditation

This is a how to post.  The brief why to is that these simple mindful breathing techniques can reduce pain, anxiety and depression, improve posture, improve cognitive function, increase gray matter in your brain.  This stuff sounds pretty good to me. 

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Practice laying on back or seated with one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.  Inhale deeply through your nose*.  As you inhale the belly expands and chest does not move.  Exhale through pursed lips, squeezing you core, bringing your belly button towards your spine.

Tactical Breathing

This is a great way to stay cool in a stressful situation.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; Exhale for 6 count; as soon as exhale is complete begin inhale.

Box Breathing

This is a great way to learn to control your breath.  This is best practiced in a calm environment and allows you to more easily drop into tactical breathing in stressful situations.  Using diaphragmatic breathing inhale for 4 count; hold breath for 4 count; exhale for 6 count; hold breath for 4 count; and repeat.

Vipassana Meditation

Mindful breathing is focusing on your breathing in order to be present and interrupt the flow of random thoughts in the brain. Observe the breath. Notice if the breath is long or short.  When your mind wanders, gently return it to the sensation of breathing.  As you focus on the breath, you will notice that other perceptions and sensations continue to appear: sounds, feelings in the body, emotions, etc.  Simply notice this, and then return to the sensation of breathing.  The point is not to be good at it.  The point is to do it.  Through observing the breath, mind, and body, you can gain insight into the true nature of the reality and impermanence.  Like box breathing, this sets us up to be able to interrupt negative thought patterns throughout our day.  Start with 5 minutes in the morning upon waking or in the evening before bed.

Mindfulness

Single task, focus on what you are doing presently.  When you eat, just eat.  Don’t read or watch TV.  Pay attention and take your time.  When you exercise focus on your breathing and your body.  Daily routines like washing the dishes, taking a shower, and mowing the lawn can become calming.

*Breathing in through your nose calms your brain and activates your parasympathetic nervous system aka "rest-and-digest" pathway.

 

What will "back in my day" look like in 30 years?

Smartphone changing our genetics?

“Back in my day” seems to be a common phrase among baby boomers, in general it seems like everything was more simple back then.  Healthy eating and exercise were not fad diets or special gym training programs, they meant eating fresh foods that were cooked at home and getting outside to do yard work, chores, or play. 

Millennials and Generation Y groups are known as the “digitally savvy, easily influenced and media exposed” generations.  Typically they are a well-connected bunch and the use of smart phones and tablets is part of their daily, if not hourly lives.  The average adult glances at their smartphones 5 times a day compared to 109 times a day by Millennials.

With all the technology, there must be an impact on health?  It is only just recently are we starting to comprehend the influences such devices have on health.  While the true impacts will likely not bee seen for decades from now, there are some emerging trends that cannot be ignored.

  • Eyesight is changing.  A study published in 2015 found 90% of children in China had myopia (near-sightedness) as opposed to a mere 10-20% only 60 years ago.
  •  Couch potatoes are growing larger.  In 2009 the average American sat in front of a screen for up to 8.5 hours a day, and children were sitting in front of a screen up to 7 hours a day.  The decrease in physical activity and increase in screen time can be directly tied to the obesity and diabetes epidemic. 
  • “Texter’s“ neck is a real thing. The average human head weighs between 10-12 lbs and angling the head forward by 15 degrees while using a smartphone or tablet raises the weight on the neck to 27 pounds and angling forward by 60 degrees increases the weight on the neck to 60 lbs.  This increase in weight can cause pain in the neck, headaches, arm pain, and numbness.
  • Repetitive strain injuries, once common in factory workers, grocery clerks, baggage handlers, and frequent exercisers are now being seen in smartphone and tablet users.  Pain and inflammation are usually the two most common signs of a repetitive strain injury, which is usually caused by inadequate rest after a particular activity.  With the repetitive swiping action of the wrist, thumb and fingers, many people are now complaining of an ache of some type in their hands.
  • The use of smart phones is reducing the face-to-face communications skills.  One only needs to observe friends or family out at dinner to notice that the art of conversation is being replaced by the head down, face down position of smart phone usage.  Important communication skills will inevitably be lost with this decrease of human interaction.  

If each generation remembers the past as the good old days, what will the Millenials and Generation Y think of the way things are in 30 years?  With the use of technology changing our physical and social capabilities we are probably facing a society that has poorer life expectancy and quality of life than generations before it.  This is a scary thought, is it enough to make you put down that smart phone before it is all too late?

Chemical Stress and Your Health

Chemical Stress and Health

Stress can be good or bad.  Stressors can have positive or negative impact on cell function.  They may be physical, chemical, and psychological.  Good stress like exercise, or setting challenges builds stress resistance that is beneficial.  Bad stress such as poor nutrition, anxiety and worry can become overwhelming and is considered chronic stress.  Our focus today is on chemical stressors.

Chemical stressors on our body include alcohol, tobacco, drugs, environmental toxins, and food additives and preservatives.  Food can either enhance or suppress the immune system.  Most foods today contain additives and preservatives that tax the immune system.  Excess grains, sugars, trans and hydrogenated fats, alcohol, caffeine, and salt weaken the stress response.  Grains, sugar, and hydrogenated oils cause inflammation.  Caffeine triggers the sympathetic nervous system.  Salt increases blood pressure.  Stress depletes the body’s essential nutrients.

Psychological stress only compounds the problem.  Emotional stress can create poor eating habits like over/under eating, excessive dieting, and over consuming alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, and bad fat.   

To combat chemical stress develop good habits around food:

·      Eat real food, mostly plants.

·      Avoid processed food.

·      Avoid food with additives and preservatives.

·      Don’t binge or eat late at night.

·      Enjoy meals with friends and family.

We also have to consider other toxins in our environment.  Air and water quality are compromised in many environments.  We spend a lot of time indoors breathing recycled air and in traffic breathing exhaust.  We drink and bath in polluted water, and wash our skin and home with harsh cleaning products.  For green cleaning recipes check out http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/queen-of-green/recipes/.

 

 

 

 

Do not use another lemon scented candle or cleaning product until you read this!

 

 

Chemical Pollution inside the home

A recent study looked at the air quality of houses using products such as cleaning agents and candles with the lemon scent, limonene.  The levels of VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) found within 6 houses in the U.K were examined.  As expected, in houses where lemon scented products and candles were found, the limonene chemical levels were exponentially higher than other chemicals. 

The problem occurs when limonene hits the air and mixes with other VOCs.  For every two molecules of limonene released into the air, one molecule of formaldehyde is formed.  Gaseous Formaldehyde levels as low as 0.1 ppm (parts per million) can cause some individuals to experience burning eyes, nose or throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation.  The international agency for research on cancer has classified formaldehyde as a human carcinogen.

Besides avoiding lemon scented candles and cleaning products in the home, you can get some plants that help clean the air of all VOCS.  

Some of the best plants to use in the home to clean the air include: spider ferns, lavender, guava, grub ferns, squirrel's foot ferns, Japenese royal ferns, snake plant, spider plant,  money plant/devil's ivy, big leaf hydrangea and sword fern. 

 

References:
Liu Y, My Y, Zhu Y, Ding H, Arens N. Which ornamental plant species effectively removes benzene from indoor air? Atmosphere Environment, Vol 41, Issue 3 2007. 
Papinchak H, Holcomb E, Best T, Decoteau D, Effectiveness of houseplants in reducing the indoor air pollutant ozone. HortTechnology 2009. 
Kruza M, Carslaw N, Lewis A. Investigating surface production reaction indoors using a detailed chemical model. Air pollution XXIII, 2015. WIT Press. 
http://www.cancer.gov
http://www.medicaldaily.com/chemicals-citrus-scented-candles-cleaning-products-cancer-risk-370736?rel=most_shared5

 

Does this look familiar?

Poor Posture

Look at what the effects of poor posture are on your body!

We see a lot of office workers complaining about their back discomfort, but look what what else happens when you sit (with poor posture) for long periods of time!

Make sure you are getting out of your chair at least every 50 minutes! 

sitting.jpg
photo credit: Washington post

You've lost that sunshine feeling.....

Importance of Vitamin D

With fall in full swing, and winter just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about vitamin D supplements.  Usually we get our vitamin D from the sun (hence the name "the sunshine vitamin"), but as days get shorter we get less vitamin D (actually it has been found that Canadians in general do not get enough vitamin D).  

The new daily supplement guidelines published in July by the Canadian Medical Association Journal include supplements of 400 to 1000 IU for adults under the age of 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption.  For adults over 50 supplementation between 800 and 2000 IU is recommended.  

So why is Vitamin D important? Vitamin D plays many roles in the body some of them include:

  • Maintaining health bones and teeth
  • Supporting the immune system, brain and nervous system
  • Regulating insulin levels and assistance with diabetes management
  • Supporting lung function and cardiovascular health
  • Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development

When it comes to choosing supplements, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for evidence about how well the product works in scientific studies from credible publications. Search for such studies in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) PubMed database: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed. You can also call the manufacturer and ask what published studies they have to back up their claims. It’s also a good idea to find out how they ensure the ingredients listed on the supplement label are actually in the bottle.
  • If a product claims it will “cure” a disease, is “all-natural,” or has a “money-back guarantee,” be on guard. Any supplement that sounds too good to be true likely is.
  • Choose brands labeled with the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, or Consumer Lab seal. These verify that the product actually contains the ingredients that the label says it does, and that the product doesn’t have any potentially harmful ingredients.
  • Be wary of supplements made outside the United States or Canada. Many aren’t regulated, and some may have toxic ingredients.

We will be carrying the Ascenta professional line in our clinic. A product that we have been taking for years.  We strongly believe in vitamin D supplementation, so much that we started giving it to our son when he was days old and even give it to our dog Winston!  Come check out Ascenta the next time you are in the clinic!

Disclaimer
None of the information provided on this website should be substituted for medical evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment from a licensed healthcare practitioner. This blog is simply an extension of ourselves where we may express educated, opinions, values, thoughts and concerns.