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. #dreamteam
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.
School bag and Travel snacks (that are attainable):
opt for homemade and keep it nutrient dense by using hardier nuts like walnuts and almonds. Also use seeds, dried fruit, a good quality dark chocolate chip, maybe some jerky bits.
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.
-Protein: a protein based snack will last longer than a handful of crackers. Think nuts, hard boiled eggs, jerky, meat sticks, a good quality lunch meat, nut butters, and cheese. Pair your protein with veggies or fruit, the vitamin C will help the iron get absorbed, win!
-Speaking of fruit and veggies: they’re also good snacks. Attempt to have more available than baby carrots, variety is necessary. Also dip veggies in hummus, guacamole, salsa, nut butter or a good quality mayo based dip (like dill).
-Salty snacks: an afternoon crunch but instead of traditional corn or potato based chips try some salty nuts. Other options include plantain chips, sweet potato chips, kale chips, and zucchini chips.
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!
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.
As a professional fisherman I do not have the choice of fishing on only the nicest days. In fact, it seems like the weather never cooperates and I’m fishing in wind, rain and cold temperatures. What that means is I’m wearing heavy soaked rain gear that is constantly pulling on my shoulders causing back and neck pain. Additionally, the lakes will often be rough and making long boat rides thru rough water is anything but enjoyable. In fact, I have had numerous instances of severe back pain caused by slamming into waves. All of this wear and tear on my body can negatively affect my fishing performance and the longevity of my career if I do not take care of myself.
One of the first things I do after returning from a tournament is get an adjustment from Dr. Sara. After a rough tournament my body needs to be realigned and an adjustment can often times lead to immediate pain relief. I also try to get an adjustment before I leave for a tournament as I know routine adjustments will allow my body to handle the cross country drives and on the water punishment I put it through. I also fully believe that over time chiropractic care will lengthen my career and help me perform at the highest levels.
I encourage all fisherman regardless of skill level to consider chiropractic care. As the routine wear and tear on the shoulders, elbows, back and legs can lead to severe pain if left untreated. Routine chiropractic care can prevent injury and long term affects, which will continue to allow each of you to pursue your passion as it does mine.
Follow Matt on Facebook and Instagram @mattstefanfishing
Earlier this year, Kali and I were talking about goals and one of hers was to try new recipes to use up a plethora of spices and spice blends in her cabinet. For her it was a way to clean out the clutter and use what she already had. Resourceful. Money saving. Super smart. When I heard it, I took it as a challenge to find new ways to have fun in the kitchen. Both Kali and I, as well as my husband, really enjoy cooking. That’s good for us. Not only does it save us money on expensive take out, but we eat healthier and more well-rounded meals as a result. So with this in mind, I set out to try at least one new recipe every week. I succeeded. My repertoire of healthy recipes was expanded by the dozens.
Today my goal is to share a few of my favorite cookbooks and resources for those recipes that we paired with great conversation at our dinner table on an almost nightly basis. First you should know that I am an Instagram junkie. But in a *good* way. 😉 I follow Paleo and real food bloggers that often post pictures of what they are eating and recipes to go along with it. That’s good for me. That’s where I found Fed and Fit’s (Cassy Joy Garcia) BBQ Bacon Bombs – the deliciousness of an onion ring packed with BBQ beef and then wrapped in bacon and baked until sizzling glory. Instagram is also where I found paleomg’s (Juli Bauer) link for Pad Thai Casserole (the mouth-watering version of pad Thai made with one of our patient’s garden bounty of spaghetti squash -thanks, Darlene!). And Diane Sanfilippo’s spicy, deeply flavored Instant Pot beef and butternut squash chili. I’m getting hungry just thinking about these recipes.
What I also did was turn to my trusty stack of cookbooks to find new avenues to explore. My newest one has already spun out one heck of a good recipe for bone broth. Michelle Tam’s newest book “Ready or Not”, the second in her NomNom Paleo series, is loaded with richly flavored, well thought out and manageable recipes that even a novice could master. The bone broth recipe makes amazing broths that have been used as the base for a few soups including a kale, bean and ham soup and a chicken and veggie soup that used up all my excess veggies in a flash. Another cookbook worth checking out is Danielle Walkers “Against All Grain”. That book is ear-marked and tabbed, post-it noted, and scribbled in from front cover to back. We’ve made gluten-free waffles and chicken zoodle soup and so much more from this one. A few other cook books worth mentioning that I really like: Juli Bauer’s Paleo Kitchen (try the afternoon pick-me-up smoothie and sweet potato breakfast hash!) and The Fed & Fit Project by Cassy Joy Garcia. Her version of sautéed kale has me loving my greens for breakfast. See how she uses her secret ingredient (lemon juice!) to move this super food into everyone’s comfort territory. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sally’s Baking Addiction. Sally McKenny does an outstanding job of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to a sweet tooth or two or three. It might not always be the healthiest stuff on our table, but the treats and sweets out of her books always turn out amazing from the first time. I’m definitely addicted to tying her recipes, both savory and sweet. And hey- banana bread at least has bananas in it, right. *wink, wink At least I eat my veggies beforehand and balance out my treats with exercise and otherwise healthy eating.
My goal of trying some new recipes really panned out! I have a binder FULL of new additions in all categories – appetizers, main dishes, vegetables, dessert (healthy ones, too! Look up Juli Bauer’s chocolate raspberry shortbread and tell me you didn’t sigh when you took your first bite) and more. It was really fun. My goal going forward is to continue finding new winners to add to my binder, and mixing in some of the old stand-by’s, so that we don’t get bored at dinner time anymore. Oh – and if you want to see my recipe binder, just ask. I’m not one of those recipe hoarders. If you want to know how I made something, I’m more than happy to share. Thanks, Kali, for the inspiration. I hope your meals have been even more enjoyable than ours. Cheers to healthy eating for life!
Me: “Part of optimizing your body’s ability to heal is fueling it with the best food sources. How many servings of vegetables are you eating each day?”
Patient: “Oh, I know. You are what you eat, right?” (Said with a chuckle and many times with a little eye roll.)
Me: “That’s the truth. How about you write out what you eat for the next three days – two work days and one weekend day. Bring it back to me and we’ll analyze it to see what we can do to tweak your nutrition to maximize your health.”
Patient: “Alright. But just for the record, I eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day”.
Lately we’ve been asking our patients to write out a food log or enter everything they eat into an app so we can see what might be missing or needed to allow their body to heal and function at 100%. It seems we’ve forgotten that we need good quality food to fuel our daily actions and have gotten swept up into convenience and empty calories. I don’t think that’s news or a shocking revelation to any of us. Right? Unfortunately, our daily lives look at little more like this:
- 25% of our daily calories are being consumed in our car
- Only 9.5% of American children get the proper amount of fruits and vegetables daily
- We spend more money in restaurants than in grocery stores
It is just me, or do those stats seem a little crazy? Nutrition. Diet. Lifestyle. However you want to label it, what our body requires does not need to be rocket science.
Let’s say you just won your dream car – a brand new Ferrari. The guy who gives it to you says it take premium gasoline and only premium gasoline. When you fill it up the first time, you notice that the price of regular unleaded is much more feasible for your pocketbook. Are you going to put regular in it instead? No. Of course not. You wouldn’t even think twice about it, right? Why? Because it’s a performance car and you want it to keep running at top end which means spending more for the right fuel.
Well, I’ve got news for you. YOUR BODY IS MORE FINELY TUNED THAN A SPORTS CAR. I’m yelling at you because if you’re like many of the people I talk to every day, you have no clue how incredible your body is and what it is capable of. People think that aches and pains, regular headaches and debilitating migraines, low back pain and many other symptoms are “just a part of life”. We’ve fed our body the wrong type of fuel, likely for decades, and because of that, we’ve conditioned ourselves to expect very little from our body.
Let’s take a look at what proper fuel for your body looks like. If you would like to know how good you can feel, what you can accomplish with high levels of energy and how amazing you innate healing potential is, start following these recommendations.
- Cut out white sugar and white flour. Do it now. You’ll thank me later.
- Eat at least 5 servings of veggies every day. And only one (maybe two) servings of fruit (which, by the way, everyone who gives me their diet log, is completely underestimating their daily servings of vegetables and typically way over eating fruit)
- Drink more water (aim for half of your body weight in ounces each day)
- Eat healthy fats (avocado, olive, coconut – more on those in an upcoming blog)
Seem a little overwhelming? If you’re like a typical American, I can only assume that it is. If you are the type of person who is all or nothing – get to it. Otherwise, pick one of the above recommendations to master and add on from there. Whatever route you choose, don’t delay. Your health and future are on the line. Make good choices every day to fuel yourself in a healthy direction. One thing I know for sure, I’m looking forward to the days when I ask for a dietary log and what I get back needs no improvement.
The devil is in the details. You’ve heard that saying before, right? Well today the devilish details we are going to explore are on the ingredient labels of the foods you eat day in and day out. In fact, we are only going to be talking about one ingredient: monosodium glutamate. Otherwise known as MSG. Or yeast extract. Or Glutamic acid. Or hydrolyzed corn gluten. Or the more than two dozen other names that either always contain MSG or most often contain MSG. MSG is too often disguised in labeling practices, and you don’t realize you are ingesting it.
What’s the problem with MSG, you say? You probably think of MSG and think of the delicious take out from the local drive through Chinese restaurant. You think to yourself: “It states right there on their menu they don’t use MSG so I must be making a healthy choice”. The restaurant itself probably doesn’t even realize the ingredients they use are MSG derivatives, making their food toxic and tricking your brain into making their food taste more delectable. The next thing you probably think to yourself is, “why do they go through the hassle of making a big deal about not using MSG?”. According to the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Volume 35 from June of 2001, “MSG is a sodium salt of the amino acid glutamic acid or glutamate, is an additive to enhance the flavor of certain foods”. “It does not have a flavor of its own, but is believed to enhance the taste of other foods by stimulating glutamate receptors on the tongue”.
The FDA does not require food manufacturers to label foods containing MSG so the unfortunate fact is that we eat is far more than we realize (think: processed foods and pre-made meals). If you haven’t caught on by now, MSG is one of the bad guys. It is an excitotoxin that causes harm to the brain, nervous system and has been shown to play a part in the relationship to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s (ALS) and others. An excitotoxin is a substance (Aspartame is another one!) that, when consumed in high quantities like in the standard American diet (SAD), flip open receptors for voltage gated calcium channels in your brain. Literature says that when you flip open voltage gated calcium channels in excess, it generates free radicals that kill your nerves. That might be kind of technical so let me put it this way: nerves are important and you don’t want to do anything to harm them. I don’t just say that because I’m a chiropractor and work with nerves and the nervous system every day. Nerves are what help keep your body alive and your brain communicating properly to the rest of your body telling it what to do. You don’t want to kill nerves.
You obviously can’t feel the calcium channels in your brain being flipped open, but would you think twice about eating foods that contained MSG if it helped explain some of the symptoms you experience on a regular basis? Many people are very sensitive to MSG and experience a whole host of other symptoms like headaches, numbness or tingling, chest tightness, drowsiness or fatigue, rapid heartbeat, depression, obesity and other symptoms, too. Personally, it’s enough for me to know that MSG has a direct link to the development of neurodegenerative disorders (dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc) to work on eliminating it from my diet, but I know others need more day to day proof that the hard work they put into fueling their body with good foods is paying off. For these people, we look at case studies where people suffering from Fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel, headaches and other symptoms had their symptoms disappear when eating a diet free from MSG and symptoms returned only when they added MSG laden foods back into their diets.
If you are curious and want to learn more about this hellish ingredient and the devilish ways it is disguised in our food and harming our health, I’ll point you to some great minds and books by Russell Blaylock (a neurosurgeon), George Schwartz and Carol Simontacchi. If you simply want a more inclusive list of names for MSG, take a look at the handout: http://truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources_printable.pdf . Either way, I urge you to take a closer look, inspect what you’re eating and start eating foods that support your health, not break it down. Not only will your current health improve, but your future will be much brighter as well.
By Dr. Sara
Our food, cosmetics, carpet, furniture, you name it, is made with thousands of chemicals. It is estimated that in the US, we have over 70,000 chemicals in commercial use with more than 2,000 additional being approved each year. Does that alarm you? Should it concern you? It concerns me. And here’s why.
The human body is a miracle of intricate systems working together in fine tuned harmony. Our kidneys’ primary purpose: extract waste from blood, balance body fluids, and form urine. Our liver’s primary purpose: detoxify chemicals and metabolize drugs, among other important tasks. These organs are critical to our overall health and they do their jobs very well. However, with the continued bombardment of chemicals – new and old, they can get overwhelmed. Continued exposure to chemicals can be linked to liver disease, autoimmune diseases, fertility issues and even possibly autism, along with other problems. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has many great resources to learn even more about how chemicals impact our health. Two articles I think are important to start with are:
One of the ways that I work to decrease my and my family’s exposure to chemicals is to use safer cleaning products. I believe it’s important to have safer cleaners for a number of reasons. One, I don’t to breath in the fumes from harsh chemicals while I’m cleaning. Two, I don’t want harsh chemicals left behind after I’m completed with my chores to then be transferred to our food, hands or otherwise to be secondarily ingested. And lastly, I think the natural cleaners many times work just as good, or better, than the ones found in the cleaning isle at the grocery store.