Emily Heil CPT, BS Health Promotion and Wellness
I used to just dismiss vitamins and minerals. I was one of those people who thought you just needed to exercise, eat right, and have your mind right. Now those may be all good things, but we don’t think a lot about the other things that we need as well such as our micro-nutrients.
When people think about food, we usually think of the breakdown of carbs, fats, and proteins. And although those are a big part of what food is, food is more than just that. It contains so many more vital things that your body needs.
Now believe me when I say I used to just glance at a food and say, “oh yeah, that has 25% of my daily value of (insert vitamin or mineral here), so that’s good!” But I never really used to make sure I was getting enough of it. More recently I have learned that when you give your body the micro-nutrients that it needs, it can not only help you increase positive things happening physiologically, but it can also help you to OPTIMIZE your life.
Let’s take magnesium for example. 80% of people around the world are deficient in magnesium. Did you know that? I was experiencing some neurological issues, so I wanted to see what I could eat or supplement with that would help me. – And it just so happened to turn out I was one of the 80% deficient in Magnesium (go figure). I thought I was doing everything right! So I started taking a magnesium supplement. Do you know what happened? I became focused. I lost my brain fog and a whole host of other things happened to me. But Magnesium isn’t just for brain health.
It helps as an antioxidant and combats against oxidative stress ( this is any type of stress you put on your body) anything from working out, to things that you eat that your body doesn’t like, to stressors that are in your everyday life. And when you get rid of that oxidative stress your body can work more like a well-oiled machine and less like a rusty 1920’s car that hasn’t been taken care of.
Magnesium helps to boost immunity and defend against cancer. Now if you don’t think that you want to boost your immunity that sounds crazy to me, but to each their own. Doing that right now is such a vital thing for your body (along with taking your vitamin D, but you know that).
This special micro-nutrient helps you also to improve thyroid function and increase fertility (yes, in both men and women). Your thyroid helps your body with a whole laundry list of things from your metabolism to your heart beat, your temperature, and just basic things that are important. On the fertility topic, this is especially important if you are of child-baring years and want to eventually have a baby. Create the healthiest body you can for your child, promote a strong and healthy microbiome by introducing all of the right nutrients.
These are only a few things that magnesium helps with… and yeah, you can take it in a supplement form, which is great if that is what you want to do. But the BEST way to get nutrients is through food. It can be hard because of all of the pesticides that we use on our food nowadays, we don’t find it in the soil much, therefore the plants don’t “soak it up” per se. But If you are looking for the best way to get magnesium in foods, here are a list of foods that you can find it in.
Magnesium rich foods:
Spinach, edamame, potato with the skin, salmon, halibut, and okra just to name a few.
I understand if you look at this list and you are saying to yourself “what in the world is okra?” I dare you to try it. Find something new and try it! You might just like it. And if you don’t well then there are plenty of other sources of magnesium in other foods. Find different recipes and different ways to spice up your foods. Dry rubs and spices are my favorite!
So here is your call to action. Start paying attention to what goes in your body. I don’t mean just counting calories. Check your multivitamin and what sources these vitamins and minerals are coming from. We have an incredible multivitamin through Orthomolecular right in our office that you can ask us about any time. Get your nutrients in and watch yourself have more energy, feel happier, and enjoy life more. It is amazing how much different you can feel when your body is not being starved of the nutrients that it so badly needs. Check in with yourself and pay attention to what your body is saying. If you love your body right, it will love you back.
Emily Heil CPT, B.S. Health Promotion and Wellness
Sometimes it feels like we go round and round, trying to find a solution to the health goals that we have. It can feel like we take one step forward and three big steps back. But when you understand what you need to achieve your goals, it gives you power (knowledge = power). If you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, have a happy relationship with your food, have food freedom, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, feel happier, have more energy, or just trying to improve your overall quality of life… let me tell you: it is possible. So let me share with you some tips to achieve these health goals.
1 Believe in yourself.
I always tell my clients that if your mind isn’t right first, everything else in your life won’t be right either. So where is your mind today? Are you having thought distortions? AKA: telling yourself something that is not true, such as, “I can’t have more energy during the day when I have all of life’s stressors and the kids calling for my attention” … YES. YOU. CAN. Telling yourself these negative thoughts over and over will subject your subconscious brain to literally look for the negative in life and will in general make your outlook more negative. Why is that? You are training your brain that it is ‘acceptable’ and even ‘normal’ to have negative thoughts. It’s not; we are meant to live fulfilling lives that are productive, positive, and energetic. You can live a beautiful life and do not have to be subject to the negative thoughts that run rampant in your mind. I dare you to turn those “I cant’s” into “I MOST CERTAINLY CAN”. The first step to success in anything is believing that you can do it. Because whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you’re right. Bring about a new mindset to your life because you deserve it.
2 Find your “why”
What it means to find your “why”: Why do you want to achieve the goals that you are setting out to achieve? Let’s say you are trying to lose weight. You might say the reason behind that is to make life easier. Ok, now ask yourself, “why would this make life easier”. Because you can then chase your kids around and play with them. Okay, great. Now ask yourself, “why do I want to chase my kids around and play with them?” and your answer might be so that you can show your kids your love for them. That right there is your ultimate why. You want to lose weight so that you can show your kids love. Now, isn’t that more meaningful to you and internally motivating than just “oh life will be easier”?
3 Get in touch with the right resources for you
There are plenty of local and online resources for you to find. If you are having a hard time with always thinking about food and the psychology behind food and food addictions and behaviors, Noom is a great resource that gives you some very logical and science backed research as to why people behave the way they do and how to change your habits one by one and achieve a better mindset with food. This helps you to develop a much healthier relationship with your food choices. If you are looking for nutrition counseling, personal training, bootcamps, and a great supportive community to help you achieve fitness goals, Forever Fit is a fitness studio here in Plover, WI with some great things to offer. If you are looking to optimize your overall health and realign your spine, Infinity Wellness and Chiropractic offers the best chiropractic services in town (not that we are bias or anything). Kali Clark with Sweet spot nutrition is in our office as well. She is our close friend and nutrition coach that definitely would never steer you wrong. If you want to quit smoking, there are plenty of active coalitions in the Portage area as well. No matter what you are doing, there ARE resources for you – you just need to find what works for you. Keep trying because your health is worth it.
4 Find support and accountability
Finding support and accountability is one of the key factors to helping with achieving any type of goals. I know that when anyone (including myself) sets out to change a habit, it is uncomfortable. It sucks sometimes. And it is hard and not easy to change. When those hard times hit, and you slip up (because you will) you need to have someone who has your back. Someone that you can turn to. And someone who can tell you what you need to hear- whether it is tough love, or “it’s okay you’re trying your best and tomorrow is a new day”. Personally, I would take the latter of the two- but that is just me. You do what is best for YOU. Not what everyone thinks you should be doing. Whether this person is your mom, dad, significant other, or just a group you joined on Facebook. You are now being held accountable to them and they will be there to support you.
5 Have a plan
If you fail to plan, you can most certainly plan to fail . Don’t get caught up in the end that you can’t see the steps along the way. Make sure you believe in yourself all the way through, recite your “why” to yourself every day if you have to. Find a resource that can provide you with the support and plan that you need. And recruit your family and friends. They will most likely support your new healthy habits and be proud of you for making your life a little better one day at a time.
If you need help or resources or would just like to chat about achieving optimal health or fitness levels, please feel free to talk with Emily or Dr. Sara in the office. They would be happy to make conversation with you over the adjustment table or in any of the traction units. Plus- who doesn’t love free advice from a couple of professionals?
By Dr. Sara Stefan, DC, CCWP, fCBP
June is Dairy Month. June mean mosquitos and might be what you think of as the start of summer. June probably conjures up a lot of ideas and musing for you. To me, June is my mom’s birthday that always coincides with strawberry season.
As a kid, every year we would pack up the cardboard strawberry flats, a bucket of warm, soapy water and a few rags and we’d pile into the car to drive to the local strawberry patch. It was the one time of year where going to Clintonville meant something special was happening. Even back then, my parents were insistent upon getting there as soon in the morning as possible. You know, you have to “beat the heat”. So we’d bumble down the road in our trusty minivan and jump out onto the grassy, uneven terrain of the field turned parking lot. From there we would scour the horizon until our eyes landed on the tractor pulling the wagon full of people. We would be crossing our fingers that it wasn’t too far away since we could barely contain the excitement and the idea of warm, sweet strawberry juice running down our chins. (My mom was smart. She came prepared with the aforementioned bucket of water for post-picking cleanup before piling back into the car in a strawberry induced haze.)
The tractor ride was one of the best parts. It would chug and jerk and if you weren’t paying attention, every once in a while it would feel like you were almost about to fall off. Or maybe that was just me – the scrawny little kid in a hand-me-down tee shirt and jelly shoes with just enough meat on my bones to keep me from bouncing up and off the trailer. Then, all at once, the driver would stop and everyone would scramble off in search of the worker who assigned you your row where you would begin your search for the world’s best strawberry. “Work from this flag, down. Take the flag with you and put it where you stop. Don’t leave any ripe berries and stay in your row”. I was a rule follower even back then so it was a simple nod of the head and get to work. If you pick strawberries like I do, you’ll pick for a few minutes, get a bit in your bucket and a sense that not everyone is watching you (especially the workers!) and you’d sneak your first berry. I can almost taste and feel that first fresh berry of the season on my tongue. Warm from the sun. So juicy you have to eat it all in one bite, and so sweet you realize that any other strawberry you’ve eaten in the last 6 months was nothing like this, not even comparable.
Fast forward 25 minutes or so and your feet are a little achy. Your back might be a little tight. And the sun shining down upon your back probably has you feeling more than a little warm, even though it’s only 8:30 in the morning. If you’re lucky, the berries that year are big, plump and the truest color of red you’ve seen in person. You pick around the leaves and find cluster upon cluster of berries and pretty soon, your flat is filling up. Mom looks over, sees what you have and declares, “I think we have enough.” You know what that means? That means fresh strawberry pie and homemade strawberry jam and fresh berries for every meal for the next three days. YES! It also means you better pick a few more and stuff them into your face before you put your stake in and head for the edges of the field.
Once you hop back on the tractor and get back to the farm house, it’s time to find out how much your strawberries weigh. Slide the box down and feel the cardboard grate against the well-worn wooden countertop. Who picked more? Mom gets out cash to pay the older woman who smells like my grandmas, and reality sets in. Strawberry picking is over and it’ll be a whole year before you get to do this same routine all over again….bummer.
The good thing is you still have all the fruits of your labor, literally. The other good thing is that year after year, this annual tradition becomes part of your DNA. You probably don’t realize it as it’s happening, but this is the sort of thing that fires you up while simultaneously calming you down. Every year now, when mid-June rolls around, I scope out the calendar and the weather to see what day I can get out and pick. It is exciting. And then when we start to pick, a sense of child-like wonder comes over me and time slows down a little bit (except for last year when we were racing to finish picking before a hellacious storm brewed not far in the distance. We did end up beating it. We pulled onto the highway just as it started to downpour. Not sure what all the folks out in the fields did or how they missed the thick, grey clouds rolling in).
It’s these types of memories and experiences that I want to leave with my kids. I need to realize that we might be setting our own, new traditions right now, and I don’t even realize it. What is happening today that might leave an indelible mark that they’ll never forget? I guess my point in telling you this long story about something so mundane as picking strawberries is best summed up in a quote by BJ Palmer, the developer of Chiropractic,: “We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” We are obviously in the middle of an odd time right now. What isn’t always obvious, though, is that life is made up of series of memories and events. Cherish the moment right now and create positive, character building events. Start new traditions if you want or build upon the old, trusty ones. Either way, love the people around you, find the best in life, and live the life of your dreams.
Oh, and by the way, a cup of strawberries provides vitamin C, manganese and also contains folate (vitamin B9) and potassium. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and plant compounds that may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control, among many other benefits. Whatever you choose in this next season, make it impactful and fun. Create memories and friendships. And as always, stay healthy, my friends! Enjoy!
With higher temps and more sun in our hopeful near future, now is the time to stock up on better for you sunscreen options. I’m all about getting a safe amount of sun. We need sun exposure to help us have proper amounts of vitamin D, which is critical for many functions throughout our body. However, when you are planning on being outside for hours, have very fair skin, or want to prevent sunburn and premature aging of your skin, sunscreen is necessary.
Unfortunately, many of the sunscreen option on the market are loaded with questionable and harmful ingredients. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) just released a new report on the best sunscreens for everyone from children to adults. According to the report, of the over 1300 sunscreen formulations tested: “about two-thirds still offer inferior sun protection or contain concerning ingredients, such as oxybenzone, a potentially hormone-disrupting chemical that is readily absorbed by the body”.
When looking for a sunscreen, not only do you want to avoid oxybenzone, you also want to make sure that is it “broad spectrum”. That means it is working against UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. When applying sunscreen, make sure that you are applying enough. For an average sized adult from head to toe, you need about an ounce of sunscreen. That is enough to almost fill a shot glass. Make sure you reapply often, as well. Check the label of the safer sunscreen you choose to find out the optimal amount of time between reapplying. For many sunscreens, you’ll want to reapply around every hour.
One brand that you can always count on to bring you high quality products with none of the fear of dangerous or potentially harmful ingredients is Beautycounter. Two of their products made the EWG’s 13th Annual Guide to Sunscreens. Beautycounter’s sunscreens are formulated with non-nano zinc oxide which is a physical, mineral sun protection technology that bounces the sun’s rays away from the skin. Their sunscreens are also “reef safe”, meaning they are better for the environment and will not contribute to the degradation of our planets coral reefs.
Try out a few of the different sunscreens on the ewg.org’s list. If you have questions or want to try the Beautycounter products, ask me. I’m more than happy to help. Find out what works best for you and your family and keep yourself happy and burn-free. Let’s go outside and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin summers.