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.
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.
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.
You’ve probably heard about the immunity benefits of Vitamin C – but it’s time to move one letter down the alphabet. It turns out that Vitamin D may be the more critical vitamin when it comes to fighting off colds and flu’s. An important vitamin that also promotes anti-aging, the ‘sunshine vitamin’ is a nutrient generated by the body through exposure to the rays of the sun.
Vitamin D plays a role in many important functions of the body. Most American’s are suffering from dangerously low levels of this key vitamin and we do not realize it. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, “Abnormal levels of Vitamin D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases including cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders.” (Kremer et al. March 2010). What’s the best way to know if your Vitamin D level is normal? You need to have a simple blood test. That way you know if, and how much, supplementation with Vitamin D is necessary for your overall health and well-being.
How can I get vitamin D?
The best form of Vitamin D comes from natural sunlight. A good rule of thumb is that unless you are getting 30 minutes of summer sunlight exposure on large parts of your body every day, you will almost certainly be deficient in Vitamin D. Many people live in a climate (like us here in Wisconsin!) where during most of the year we have minimal proper sun exposure. When that’s the case, it makes supplementation even more important.
When supplementing, always choose Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol, not vitamin D2 ergocalciferol which the body has to convert to vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is sold in either a liquid form (like the Innate Choice brand we carry here in the office which is suspended in olive oil) or in pill form. Both are effective forms of supplementation.
Some foods in the American diet contain small amounts of Vitamin D. These foods include:
- Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna
- Beef liver, egg yolks and some mushrooms
- Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, and soy beverages. Check the labels for more information.
Although some foods contain Vitamin D, humans cannot get adequate amounts through our diet. We are genetically designed to get Vitamin D from sun exposure, making the best way to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight and necessary supplementation daily.
Am I getting enough vitamin D?
The amount of Vitamin D required depends on your weight. A Vitamin D deficient person minimally needs 1000 IU’s (international units) of Vitamin D for every 40lbs of body weight. That means that a person weighing 160lbs needs 4,000 IU’s per day.
How does vitamin D affect health?
In addition to reducing the risk of bone loss and fractures as people get older, some studies suggest that Vitamin D may protect against cancers of the colon, prostate, and breast. Vitamin D is important in maintaining strong teeth, proper parathyroid function, and enhancing the body’s immune system. In fact, when taken properly, Vitamin D is more effective than the flu vaccine in helping to prevent the flu. Vitamin D is also being studied for its possible role in the prevention and treatment of low-back and joint pain, bronchitis, colds, diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.
What precautions do I need to take with vitamin D?
When amounts of Vitamin D in the blood become too high, it can lead to toxicity—nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss. In addition, by raising blood levels of calcium, too much Vitamin D can cause confusion, disorientation and problems with heart rhythm. Excess Vitamin D can also damage the kidneys. Be aware that higher levels of vitamin D in the blood have also been linked to higher rates of pancreatic cancer. At this time, more studies are needed to assess the connection between Vitamin D and cancer. Although uncommon, Vitamin D toxicity can occur and happens from the overuse of supplements. Again, I urge you to have a simple blood test to confirm your body’s level of Vitamin D, amount of supplementation needed and can show you how effective your supplementation has been over a longer period of time.
Excessive sun exposure doesn’t cause Vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces. Like most dietary supplements, Vitamin D may interact or interfere with other medicines or supplements, most notably: steroid usage, some weight loss medications, seizure medications and cholesterol lowering statins. Tell your health care providers about any dietary supplements and medicines you take.
This is the time of year we think of hot afternoons, apple picking, weekend camping, and school aged children having back pain. Wait…..WHAT? Even though you may not realize it, you did read that statement correctly. As kids go back to school, their bodies are put under undue stress and weight from all the text books and supplies they need each day. This often times results in pain, whether it be low back pain, shoulder pain or headaches. As humans, we want to avoid being in pain. It’s especially important to find the cause of pain when it involves children as they are growing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your children to keep them healthy as they head back to school this fall and anytime they are carrying an extra load.
First things first, check the weight of your child’s backpack on a regular basis. The total weight of the bag needs to be no more than 10-15% of their body weight. Any more than that and it can cause harmful effects on their spine and joints. Once you do the math, you’ll realize that much of the time your child’s backpack is far too heavy.
If your child has to carry a heavy load, make sure the heaviest items are packed closest to the body. In other words, pack text books against the back of the bag and lighter items farther away from the body. Encourage your child to use both of the shoulder straps. It may be more fashionable to only use one strap, but long term use of only one strap causes imbalances in posture and muscles leading to shoulder, neck and upper back pain. Make sure the straps are both wide and well padded. If possible, buy a backpack with a waist strap. Using the waist strap will help distribute a portion of the burden onto the hips versus all of the weight of the bag being on the back and shoulders. Another feature of a better backpack to look for is one that has built in padding across the back for comfort and protection.
Roller-style bags and messenger bags have become more popular. Even though you may think a roller bag will mean reduced stress on your child’s body, that isn’t always the case. Many times children pack even more stuff into a roller bag because it’s easy to tote around. The problem then comes when they need to lift the bag up stairs or over a curb. Repeatedly tugging on a bag that weighs too much can lead to shoulder injuries. If your child can only use a roller style bag, ensure they aren’t overstuffing it and can properly lift it with their knees (and not their back) to prevent problems in the future. The same goes for a child that will only use a messenger bag. If this is the case, have your child switch the bag from side to side to keep muscles balanced and gait even.
Lastly, look at your child when they have the backpack on. Make sure that bottom of the bag falls right at their hip level. What you don’t want is the bottom of the backpack too far down their legs and body. That will cause them to have an abnormal gait, increasing the likelihood for, among other things, trips and falls. Also look at their posture with the backpack on. From the side, you want their ear to be over their shoulder and their shoulders directly in line with the hips and feet. If they have their head out in front of their body or their posture seems off, that is a problem. Always remember that posture is the window to your spine, and your spine is the window to your health. If you’re having a problem fitting your child’s backpack, ask the advice of a professional. Most Chiropractors, Physical Therapists and Pediatricians would be more than happy to help. They all care about the health of your child, especially when we know that there are 33 moveable bones in your spine all with a disc in between. Those discs act as natural shock absorbers and we don’t want to see them under unnatural compression which we know leads to long-term problems. You may not realize now the importance of having a properly fitted backpack, but do yourself and your child a favor and pay attention to prevent future problems from occurring. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Here’s to a healthy, happy start to the 2015 school year.