What do you think of when you hear the word “Chiropractor”? It means so much, we thought we’d share this quick overview with you.More
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.More
Many times I see older adults unable to walk stairs, or tell me that they have achy joints. They tell me that their range of motion (ROM) has decreased quite a bit since they have aged and they “just don’t feel as if they could start exercising”. But here is the thing, exercise may be difficult at first but it helps to reduce (if not eliminate) all of the problems that they seem to tell me that they have.
Exercise has many wonderful effects on the body. Osteoporosis is a very big concern for most older adults, but when you exercise, you are actually putting weight on your bones. When doing weight baring activities, your bones are ‘stressed’ which means your body will send a signal that it needs help or repair. This sends tiny cells called osteoblasts to your bones to help with increasing bone density. This is also a good case for those of you who don’t get the recommended dose of calcium to make it a priority to exercise.
Exercise really can look like anything from a walk, to yoga, to simple stretching or very high intensity workouts. There are so many things that you can do to move your body. When your body begins to move, something even more cool happens than that bones forming #sciencenerdslovefacts. Your body will begin to produce endorphins which are basically “happy hormones”. When we sit in our houses all day or don’t move much, a cloud of gloom will likely begin to form over our heads. But these endorphins work almost like drugs, or sugar, in the thought that they make us feel happy or feel a sense of less stress. Along with the increase in endorphins, science has shown that this decreases the speed and chances for memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Moving also increases our abilities to multitask and be creative, so get moving!
Let’s talk joints and range of motion. It may be hard to move at first, but with time and dedication, you will be able to increase your range of motion through movement, stretching (and chiropractic care, of course). Each time you move your joints, there is a lubrication mechanism in between your bones to help it move more smoothly, without pain, and help you feel effortlessly in control of your body. The more you move, the more lubrication is happening. So even if it hurts, try to stretch. And then try to stretch a little further the next time around. Try to make big circles with your arms, then maybe go a little bigger next time. Keep pushing yourself, and I promise you will see results.
As you age, if you keep your muscles strong, bones strong, and joints healthy, you will be able to walk up the stairs at age 80. You’ll be able to love on your grandchildren and great-grandchildren the way that you really want to. And you will be able to live your best life and find optimal health for what stage of life you are in. I said it before, but I will say it again. Yes, it will be hard. And yes, it will be worth it.More
Everyone knows the saying, “sugar is bad for you”, but what are people really saying when they say that? Added sugars and refined sugars in your diet can do a lot of different things to your body, things that are not so good. This chemical substance is great at increasing inflammation, causing insulin spikes, adding excess calories, and so much more. Even with all these negative attributes, we still LOVE it.
Let’s talk sugar. What is it? Where does it come from? Why do we love it?
The sugar association describes sugar as “…sucrose is simply the chemical name for sugar, the simple carbohydrate we know and love that is produced naturally in all plants, including fruits, vegetables, and even nuts”. Sounds healthy, right? So why is it so bad for us? The answer is, sugar is extracted, purified, filtered, and crystalized into raw sugar that is then further refined to what we know as granulated sugars. One problem with these refined types of sugars is that it has all of the fiber extracted from it. Fiber keeps your insulin in check and prevents your insulin levels from spiking which we’ll get to later.
A second problem is that when refined sugar enters your body, it acts like a drug. It triggers the release of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine surges are addictive and make your brain want to come back for more and more sugar. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the food industry is definitely using chemicals, such as sugar, to lure you in and get your money to enhance their own business growth.
Inflammation… Did you know that a lot of the pain or problems that you have *spoiler alert* CAN BE CONTROLLED OR MANAGED WITHOUT MEDICATION! (As a side note, we in the chiropractic industry are not legally able to tell you to use or not use a medication. You need to talk to a medical doctor to find out how to safely get off any drug.) Let me tell a bit of my story in this section. I had problems with my hands where they were going numb in my fingers, pain in the palms of my hands and the inability of them to function without braces. My doctor told me I had carpal tunnel at the ripe old age of 22. They told me it was a life long problem. I would never get rid of it; they told me to buy braces and stop lifting weights. If you know me, I am a personal trainer and that wasn’t going to cut it. I went on the Whole 30 diet, a phenomenal food elimination diet protocol. I found out that both dairy, and (wait for it) REFINED SUGARS were causing my carpal tunnel to flare up! Let me repeat this: sugar causes inflammation. Since then, dairy and sugars haven’t really been a part of my diet and most of the time I forget that I have carpal tunnel and my hands are back to normal. (Unless of course I am eating ice cream, but those are very special occasions. During those occasions, I choose to eat it and know the consequences, aka symptoms will appear, because of it.)
Now I told you we would talk insulin spikes. Like I said earlier, fiber is taken from the sugar source. When that happens, the release of that sugar into the blood stream is MUCH quicker. It takes about 20 seconds for sugar to enter your bloodstream. If fiber was still a part of the equation, the release of the sugar would be a lot longer of a time period and a more steady release. This would give you a constant stream of energy. Think about a natural form of sugar like an apple compared instead to the cheap candy bar that you ate yesterday. The apple will be filling longer and the candy bar gives you energy for 20 minutes and then you get that energy crash right after. Sound familiar?
Finally, let’s talk excess calories. Sugar is added to so many things to enhance flavor, but along with that addictive flavor comes calories. Did you know that sugary drinks or sugar sweetened beverages account for 39% of our diets. That includes: soft drinks, fruit drinks, sports drinks, which together account for 39% of the added sugar in our diets. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Which means weight gain and excess calories and no fiber, so here is another case of that “crash and burn” problem that you had at 2pm yesterday when you ate that candy bar. Want a simple fix for this? Try filling your water bottle and drinking it instead. Water is so important – it keeps you alert and helps rid the sugars from your body that increase those aches and pains.
It’s easy to love sugar, of course! It’s addictive, and it’s supposed to be. I’m not saying get rid of all of the sugar in your life, because that’s not realistic and your sanity will be non-existent. Just be aware of what you are eating and what you are taking in. Be smart. Go enjoy your life!More
Here’s the story of an ingredient named MSG
A cooking rut. Have you ever been in one of those? You know, where you are uninspired to make anything, let alone something new, in the kitchen? I just got out of one. And I’m here today to tell you all about the recipe that has me fired up again. Want to know what the game changer was? You’ll never guess. A homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup. One to replace the red and white and gold Campbell’s version that rolls around in your cart. Why would you want to make that when it’s so easy to purchase, you ask? Well, let me tell you why this simple recipe is far superior to the one at your local grocery store.
Pre-made grocery items like a condensed soup have a lot of ingredients in them. Ever try to read labels? I have years (and years and years) of chemistry in my background, and I still struggle to pronounce the many ingredients. We’re talking fillers, stabilizers, preservatives and three nasty letters – M. S. G. And that right there, my friends, is why I choose the hard road to make my own food.
It might help make food taste better, but MSG is a scary ingredient. MSG is an excitotoxin. Long story short – it causes so much excitement in the neurons in your brain that it kills them. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to keep my brain cells. One mentor of mine has connected the dots and links MSG and aspartame (we’ll discuss fake sugars more some other time) to neurodegenerative disorders. These disorders include Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s and more. Serious business.
If MSG were only in a few, not so common products we eat, I wouldn’t be so concerned. The problem lies in how universally abundant it is. You probably remember the signs hung proudly at Chinese restaurants that state “our food contains no MSG”. They might be right. But they’re probably wrong. That’s because MSG has dozens of aliases. Here are a few:
-Glutamate -Monosodium Glutamate -Monopotassium Glutamate -Yeast extract -Hydrolyzed protein (any protein that is hydrolyzed) -Glutamic Acid -Calcium Caseinate -Sodium Caseinate -Gelatin -Textured Protein -Yeast Nutrient -Autolyzed Yeast -Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
And even more these “often contain MSG or create MSG during processing”:
-Carrageenan -Natural Pork Flavor -Bouillon and Broth -Soy sauce extract -Maltodextrin -Citric Acid -Protease -Natural Flavor & Flavorings -even the vague word Seasonings and many, many more.
My homemade condensed cream of mushroom soup didn’t contain any ingredients like that. It might have been a bit tedious in terms of the number of steps, but it was really pretty simple and utilized my Vitamix (which always makes me happy). I used it to make a homemade green bean casserole for when my parents came over for dinner on Sunday. I made up the recipe for the GBC as I went, using the homemade soup, some sautéed shallots, fresh steamed green beans and a few other ingredients. It was the most complimented dish on the table. The whole pan was gone, nearly licked clean. The key to the recipe? The soup. No MSG or other questionable ingredients. No worries of health concerns, long term or short. Only pure, delicious, nutritious goodness in whole food form.
So now that I’m out of my cooking rut, it’s time to make another batch of condensed soup and use it to recreate some healthier versions of casseroles and whatnot that I had as a kid. First up: a tator tot casserole using grass fed beef, tons of added veggies and topped off with veggie tots. I’m excited.More
My baby turned two months old on Saturday. It’s time I acknowledge some really important people for helping bring him into this world.
As with most situations on this planet, life is easier when you surround yourself with others who can support you and lift you up in times of need. When my due date of July 1st came and went and then came and went another 8 times, life started to get a little difficult. It wasn’t that I was in physical discomfort. My body was holding up very well thanks to ongoing strong nutrition habits, daily walks and strength training throughout the previous 9 months, and consistent water consumption. No. It wasn’t my body that was struggling. It was my mind. I had no idea how mentally taxing it would be to wait for a baby to arrive. In the end, everything worked out perfectly. We have a very healthy two-month-old, who happens to be in the 95th percentile for length. I’ll attribute that to the extra two weeks of incubating. 😉 In all seriousness, in that last 5 days before Duke was born, I used all my connections, called in a favor or two and had all hands-on deck to help make sure that his arrival was happy and healthy. My team consisted of:
- My chiropractor! It may seem obvious that I would have this as #1, but many people don’t realize how important chiropractic care is while pregnant. Not only is it a stress on the mother’s body and spine to grow and carry the baby, but it’s also imperative to make sure the pelvis is lined up properly to allow for the most room for baby to grow, and ultimately get the baby in the proper position to come out. Knowing that removing pressure and subluxation from the spine could speed up the process, I was at Dr. Joel’s office multiple times in the last weeks of pregnancy. It is hands down my #1 tip for expectant moms. Get adjusted. You’ll thank me later.
- My friend Andi, who also happens to be a chiropractor. She played a critical role since in those last days as I was beginning to doubt that a natural, drug-free home birth could happen for us. In a quick 10 minute phone call she reminded me that the baby is WAY smarter than we are with all of our education. I was reminded to never doubt our innate intelligence. Women have been having babies forever and the communication that happens between unborn baby and pregnant mom is something we’ll never fully understand. What we need to do is trust the process and let it unfold naturally. Trust in your body to do what it knows how to do best. Man did I need that reminder.
- My acupuncturist. I made Cheryl really work. I was in her office on Tuesday and again Friday morning. As a practice of Eastern medicine, many people also don’t understand how this ancient practice works. And I’d be lying if I told you I totally understand it, too. All I know is that it works with your body’s own energy and energy pathways (meridians) to keep energy moving versus stagnant. Cheryl was amazing at keeping me calm and helping my body work on doing what it needed to do – end pregnancy strong. It may sound hokie, but I know deep down that what she did helped us have the birth that we desired.
- My coach. Here’s another person that went the extra mile for me that last few days. I texted Bill in an almost panicked state because I knew that there was something blocking me from wanting to give birth. Don’t get me wrong. No woman really wants to give birth. It’s the inevitable ending to a long 9 months, and I could tell something was mentally blocking me from beginning the process. He walked me through some exercises and gave me homework to help collapse some inflated thoughts and left-over fears from my first birth experience. I will be forever grateful for his wisdom and insights.
- Matthew – my husband. A supportive partner is critical in pregnancy, labor and delivery. And Matt is the best. Really. He’s amazingly patient and beyond loving. He hugged me in the last days where I was reduced to tears and was stead-fast in knowing that everything was going to work out perfectly. He’s my partner in life and I thank God everyday that he brought us together. Plus he’s the reason I was in this mess to begin with…..just kidding. Kind of.
- Last and certainly not least, my Midwives. To say they are masters at their craft is an understatement. They are gentle yet firm. Certain yet not overbearing. Loving and amazing and wonderful women. We were blessed to find the three women of In The Beginning (out of Iola, WI) two years ago with Hank’s pregnancy and birth and it was a no-brainer for us to call them up in our first trimester of pregnancy with baby #2. We are serious when we say we consider them family. We could invite them to our family Christmas dinner and not think twice about the fact that they aren’t even close to being blood relatives. I was in constant communication with them in the last weeks. Whether it be a quick text “no baby signs yet” or a “pep-talk” phone call and the re-occurring stress tests (when you get that far overdue, you have to make sure the placenta and baby are healthy on a much more regular basis), they were with us. When I finally called Jane and said, “it’s game on!”, she sped through town, more thankful than ever before when she hit all green lights at midnight and got to us just in time. Having Duke born into her hands was an honor.
Our birth was what I wanted. At home with no interventions or complications. Beautiful baby boy to join our little family. All the waiting and discomfort was worth it. In chiropractic school, we had a saying that “the hard is what makes it good”. It was so hard to wait 2 extra weeks for our little dude to join us, but it was so rewarding in the end. This team of people helped make it all happen. I owe a huge thank you to each and every person on my team. You lifted me up. For the love and support you gave me, I am forever indebted and grateful. #dreamteamMore
Back-to-School season seems to bring stress to many people. Schedules fill and something simple like a grocery list falls through the cracks. If you have a freezer full of meals or a plan ready for this time of year, good on you! If not, keep reading. Eating well doesn’t have to be a chore during these busy times. Making healthy meals and snacks a priority is the biggest hurdle. Approach the tips and recipes below with confidence. Doing so will help your kids (and you) focus and perform better.
-Bars: simple ingredients and low sugar (5g or less) are good guidelines. Recommended brands include Kind, HappyTot, Health Warrior Chia Bars, Larabar Renola, Nature’s Path, and Cascadian Farms.
*meal replacement bars are completely different from a snack bar, pair granola and nut bars with fruit/veggies/jerky to make it a complete snack.
go to Sweet Spot Nutrition
Did you know we’re 60% water? Yup, our body is made up of mostly water which is why it is important to replenish with water regularly. Simply drinking water is extremely beneficial to our health. Being properly hydrated decreases brain fog, promotes healthy looking skin, increases energy and allows organs like the kidneys to function well. Plain water is also necessary for smooth digestion as our gut will pull water into it or force water out based on what it needs to empty properly.
With water comes electrolytes which are found in food and fortified into drinks. Electrolytes are vital nutrients with a positive or negative charge that need to be available for good nerve function. And we know a thing or two about nerves. These nutrients include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and more.
Not all beverages are created equal, some act as diuretics leading to a hydration imbalance. Energy drinks, coffee, some teas, soda, and alcohol are counterproductive. So what’s left? Plain water, sparkling water, fruit infused water. This isn’t to say you can’t drink those drinks, just have more water than coffee.
It is important to hydrate because we lose water through daily living. Even breathing. Also digestion, sweating, evaporation off the skin, urination and defecation. Ideal intake is half your body weight in ounces per day (150lbs/2=75oz or 3 24oz water bottles). It’s easy and necessary!More
Remember the game “Truth or Dare” you played with your friends when you were younger? Are you up for a dare? It’s not going to hurt you. In fact, it will help you in many ways. I challenge you to try a fish oil. Not just swallow it. Try biting down on it in your mouth and taste the slightly lemony flavor of the Omega three fish oils we carry here in the office. I promise, it’s not as bad as you’re thinking it’s going to be. However, I don’t recommend you do that with the fish oils you buy in bulk at Costco or on sale at Walgreens. Those are likely very questionable in terms of quality, purity, and therefore also, taste. Here in the office, we carry some of the best quality fish oils to ensure you are getting the most out of your supplementation and your money.
Why should you add an Omega 3 fish oil into your regular routine?
-Better brain function and development (kids can benefit from it, too!)
– Heart health
– Supports healthy skin, joints and connective tissue
– Strengthens your immune system
-And much, much more
Overall, adding in a fish oil like the Orthomega product we carry on a daily basis is a great way to help stay on top of your health and help prevent long term health problems from occurring. I’m only skimming the surface on why they are great. If you have more questions, feel free to shoot them my way. And take my dare. Let me know how it went.
A quick question for you….if you have kids, have you ever thought to take them to see a chiropractor? If your answer is a resounding “Yes!”, good job. This blog will come as no surprise to you. However, so many people I talk to are baffled by the idea of bringing a child –a small human potentially with no pain or known problems – to see a chiropractor. “Why would you do that?”, they ask. Let me take a few minutes of your time to explain why.
The basis of chiropractic is to keep the nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) communicating properly with the rest of your body. If your brain can’t properly send signals out to a muscle, organ, gland or any cell in your body, it can’t function at 100%. We chiropractors look for misaligned vertebra in your spinal column, called subluxation, which decreases the flow of your energy from your brain to your body. If we find a subluxation, our job is to help your body remove that interference and allow your body to heal and function properly. You can have subluxation and resulting problems without knowing it. You don’t have to have symptoms to seek chiropractic care and benefit from adjustments. Much like air traffic controllers who govern the lives of so many people on all the planes they direct, we want our body to work 100%, every day, all the time. However, many times we live and “get by” with much less than that. Including little ones.
Here is a story I heard this morning from one of our long-term patients: “My sister in law hasn’t slept more than 5 hours at a time in the last 11 months because her 11-month-old daughter has acid reflux. They’ve taken her to every specialist and doctor and they can’t seem to tell her why it continues. They just have her on an acid reflux medication.” I responded with, “Holy moly. That sounds awful. Have they taken her to a chiropractor?”. He didn’t know for sure, but I’m going to guess the answer is no. This makes me really sad. These parents are likely doing the best they can and this poor child continues to suffer and possibly having even more long-term damage done because of side effects of the medication they have her on (depleted magnesium, iron and folate levels to name a few). When I hear a story like that, my first thought is that a simple trip to a local chiropractor -the one expert they haven’t seen yet – probably could have helped from the very beginning. Not only would the parents be sleeping more by now, but more important, that little girl would be functioning and growing properly without nerve irritation to her spine and nervous system. No more “acid reflux” and no more off labeled medications. (Off labeling is legal and common. It is when a doctor prescribes a medication for purposes other than the intended use – including giving like infants and youngsters drugs tested on and meant for adults.)
Childhood problems, including vomiting from “acid reflux”, ear aches, colic, cold and flus, and so many other illness and issues can be shortened, decreased severity or eliminated entirely by seeking help from your local chiropractor. I’ve seen it time and time again in practice. I remember one mom coming in with her two-month-old who, much like this little girl, couldn’t keep milk down and was gassy and fussy all day. After the first adjustment, she came back two days later and said, “I don’t know what you did, but I have a whole new child. He slept for 4 hours straight and didn’t spit up nearly as much.” She was amazed and very appreciative. It doesn’t always work that quick, and we still had work to do to continue improving his health, but in a few weeks he was well on his way to a healthy, strong first year of life. I can’t help but wonder if this little girl could have had a similar outcome with chiropractic care.
We can’t go back in time for that girl or so many others that suffer for too long before seeking the help of a chiropractor. What we can do is spread the word and let parents know that kids need a healthy spine and nervous system, too. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get your kids checked now.More