Balanced?

Recently I was sitting on the patio of my local café, reading, planning my day. When it was time to get started on the responsibilities I had, I joked with an acquaintance how reluctant I was to get to working, that it was so lovely sitting on the patio! His comment was brilliant:

“Give yourself a break. Enjoy the day. Whatever you have to do will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet – it’s not the end!”

I encourage you to balance time in your life for movement, healthy eating, nurturing relationships, getting enough rest, and playing.  You need all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations and personal objectives. The key to healthy living is in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so.

Are the different facets of your life balanced? 

Sure, there are times when some of our responsibilities dominate, when we must focus specifically on doing the best we can to manage everything.

Some days, weeks, months are more balanced than others. I think it’s important to look at the larger picture of our lives when reflecting on this topic.  When raising young children, juggling work or changes in career, helping aging parents, moving or renovating a property, life can become a little overwhelming, and sometimes very unbalanced. I can say this from personal experience, and from working with people for so many years.

Even during these stressful times we can always become aware, and try to make small changes if that’s all we can make. Do the best you can – a little will always be better than none at all.

If things are seem to be a little unbalanced in your life ask yourself…

Is it a temporary situation given the stage of life you are in, or a constant challenge?

What can you do differently? 

Do you need to shift your priorities? 

How can you make a change, and what do you need to get started?

Where can you create more time in your life to support these other wishes you have?

Change can only happen if you choose to do so. Think about these questions, then act!

Live Until 100

334229r557apc8fI have been so inspired lately by the people I have been meeting both in my practice and for the Television show. People who are in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and living healthy and fulfilling lives.

I am not surprised by their age, mobility, independence or level of happiness.

What inspires me rather are the choices they are making to better their health and live a vibrant life, in the same manner I am excited by people of any age taking steps to support their body. Sometimes it’s not ‘easy’ to choose good food when our brain craves something not so good; it’s not ‘easy’ to exercise, and it’s not always ‘easy’ to adopt a positive outlook. But, it’s always a choice.

It has been estimated that by 2050 4.2 million Americans will be living until they are 100 years old. It’s also been estimated that our generations are living an average of 34 years longer than our grandparents did.

So our ability to live longer isn’t in question, the questions are how will you be spending your years? And what are you doing now to support your body and ensure you’ll get there with the level of health you dream of? 

While genetics certainly play a role, there has never been a centenarian recorded who had a centenarian parent. Experts claim that in fact, genetics determine less than a third of the factors involved in lifespan.

Our chronological age (actual age) increases every minute regardless what we do, but our biological age (how well your body looks and functions) is much more flexible.  The difference in your actual age and biological age can be as much as 30 years!

We know the requirements for a healthy body: connecting with others, eating good food, getting enough sleep, moving your body, maintaining a happy outlook, and a healthy spine and nervous system! Studies have shown that chiropractic patients in their senior years report better overall health, have fewer chronic conditions, spend fewer days in nursing homes and hospitals, are more mobile in their communities and are less likely to use prescription drugs than non-chiropractic patients.  Even when the demographics were nearly identical, the chiropractic group reported fewer ongoing health problems.

Along with aligning your spine, working with a Chiropractor can help align the other habits in your life to be more congruent with good health.

Invest in your body, It will always offers excellent returns. more you do today, the more your body will reward you later in life with the physical health to allow you to pursue the activities and hobbies you dream of.

Smoothies!

ID-10097149When made with wholesome ingredients, smoothies boost your body with nutrients while also offering hydration.

Smoothies are a great way to start your day, or to simply add more nutrition throughout it – especially if you are always on the go.

Kids love smoothies too! Freeze them in popsicle molds for a cool treat that is full of many more nutrients than commercially made versions.

As with any recipe, there is always room for  individual creativity. Proportions can easily be modified to suit your taste and texture preferences.   For all these combinations, start with adding 1 cup of liquid (water is best but diluted juices work too). If you like your smoothies thick,  add less fluid, for a more liquid consistency add more.

Adding protein powders or other supplements can offer additional benefits, but remember, supplements supplement not replace!  Choosing only the goodness in these fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.

These are some of the favourite smoothie combinations from within the practice and within my own home. Give them a try and share your favorites too!

Kickstart

1 Banana + 1 Avocado + 5 Strawberries + 1 Carrot + Pineapple Juice

Morning Sunrise

1 Banana + ½ Mango + orange juice

Strawberry-Banana-Romaine 

1 cup strawberries   +   2 large romaine leaves  +  2 bananas    

Pear – Mint – Kale

sprig of fresh mint + 1 pear + 2-3 kale leaves     

Parsley Citrus

handful of fresh parsley + 1 orange + 1 banana

Red Devil

2 cups watermelon + 1/2 cup raspberries

Chocolate Monkey

1 banana +  1 tsp of cocoa powder + 2 tsp of honey

                      *this one works best with almond, coconut or rice milk

 

Ask Your Kids

Photo on 2012-09-30 at 19.53 #4Parenting is not easy. My sons teach me far more than I teach them, and I think I will be saying this for many years. They are also my greatest source of joy, and developing them into amazing human beings is by far the biggest accomplishment I am working on.

I believe we create independent children by giving them freedom to make choices, within limits of course, while providing them guidance, support, encouragement, and tons of love along the way. If we empower them to have some control over their lives, I believe they are more accountable for their actions and can feel more proud of themselves with what they achieve.

To start this summer, I decided to ask my sons for their thoughts about how they should spend their time.  My goal was to figure out what they wanted to do, rather than just imposing my ideas on them, and to give us a framework to plan our time.

I gave them this simple list of questions to answer.  To be honest, reading their responses moved me to tears.  Sure, I was reminded of their interests, and I learned a few new ones that had developed, but I was also completely inspired by some of their comments and very proud of the people they are becoming.

Obviously, it goes without saying that communication is the key in any relationship and the ones we have with our children is no different.  Giving them opportunities to express themselves with you will always succeed, and sometimes written communication  can offer different insights than verbal alone. If you’re connecting with your children, start now.

I mentioned this exercise to a few parents in the practice and they asked for a copy, so here it is…

school’s out!

Hydrate!

ID-1006167Your body is approximately 80% water, and it requires an on-going supply to stay hydrated, especially in the warmer months when we perspire more. Water contributes to our cellular composition, and is essential to flush toxins out of our body. Drink a minimum of 5-6 8 oz glasses per day of pure water, and clear fluids such as herbal teas, broths, and diluted juices.

Beware of fluids that further dehydrate your body such as caffeine, sodas, and alcohol. If you simply cannot give them up, make it a routine to counter your cup of coffee or tea with a glass of water when you’re done.

I always recommend keeping water in various places so that it’s easily accessible and will subtly remind you…a glass in various rooms in your home, a bottle in the car, at your desk. When at home, I often carry a glass with me to whatever room I am going into and then leave it there, and before I start my day in my practice I strategically place glasses of water in the various places I know I will be in.

If you’re not fond of plain water try adding fresh herbs or fruit to it! Recently at an event we made “spa water” and filled a beautiful glass pitcher with grapes, strawberries, and orange slices. The water became lightly flavored and it certainly looked lovely!  Other combinations I have tried are:

~ lemon slices and a few springs of fresh rosemary

~ lime slices and fresh mint

~ berry blast:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries  

~ citrus punch: slices of lemon and orange

~ cucumber slices

~ green apple and ginger

Experiment, create your own, and share your ideas!

Finding a Chiropractor

ID-10083067Everyone can benefit from having a Chiropractor on their health care team, but finding the right one depends on your health goals. Chiropractors are primary health care professionals.  As Doctors, you don’t need a referral to see us, which is great news because you get to choose someone who suits you!

My 3 Tips for finding a Chiropractor:

1) Think about What Kind of Care You Want. The first place to start when searching for a Chiropractor is determining exactly what kind of care you are looking for – someone to help you specifically manage an injury or someone to support your overall health? Are you looking for help with a specific health challenge and a short-term fix? Or looking to rebuild your body?  Remember that any investment in your health will always pay you back multiple returns, and the long-term cost to your health by relying on ‘quick fixes’ is dramatic, often eventually leading to larger problems.  Having said that, sometimes limitations in time or money can cold us back with pursuing some health initiatives, and we just need to do the best that we can at the current time.  Once you know what kind of care you want, you can better determine who can help you.

2) Connect With Them.  I have given workshops, had guests tour my practice, even hosted booths at farmer’s markets to offer people the chance to connect with me!  If you have a name of someone find out how you can meet them, and make the time to do so.  Most Chiropractors will offer complimentary consultations, a time you can meet with them, discuss your health and find out more about their approach.  

3) Do They Fit On Your Team?  You are a consumer in a world of health care professionals, and that’s how I recommend you think about finding the right Chiropractor for you – like you’re hiring someone for your health care team! Consider the doctor’s personality, office atmosphere, location, office hours, office team, and accessibility.  Did you feel heard, cared for, and were you assessed thoroughly? Can you see yourself working with them? Do you want to? 

You are the health care consumer and you have every right to invest your time and finances with someone who will provide the care you want, and to change provider if you are not happy, not getting the results you want, or simply need a fresh approach.

Taking responsibility for your health involves building a team of professionals to support you. Find a Chiropractor to add to your team and get aligned with a better health.

Sleeping Like a Baby

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In addition to what we see clinically, research continues to support Chiropractic care for children!

One study looked at SLEEP PATTERNS IN CHILDREN regardless of the initial reason they were brought to a Chiropractor. Of the 116 infants enrolled in the study, 10% had reported ‘sleep disturbances’ and 75% had presented with ‘excessive crying’.

Overall, better sleep habits were seen in all the infants – and what parents wouldn’t appreciate that?!  Specifically, consecutive hours of sleep, quality of sleep, and time taken to settle before sleep all showed significant improvement. Parents reported that their infants settled more quickly and easily, noting improvements after only a few adjustments.

Chiropractic works. For everyone.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for sleep issues in children.

Allergy Relief

69443tegi1jeqhsAllergies occur when the immune system overreacts to an allergen (dust, pollen, pet dander, foods) and produces too many histamines to counteract this process. Histamines are chemicals the body creates to neutralize the effects of the item offending the respiratory or visual system, a way the body’s innate wisdom attempts to correct the problem. 

Histamines cause you to produce mucous, sneeze, will make your eyes watery, and even give you rash sometimes, all ways the body tries to expel the offending allergen.

Most allergy medications attempt to treat the symptoms your body instigates to get rid of the allergen.  Antihistamines dry up the mucous membranes, and minimize the sneezing, itching and congestion. They can provide relief, but the underlying problem remains.

What if there was another way to help your body with Allergies? 

The Chiropractic approach focuses on restoring proper function to your body, so that you can better adapt to the ‘stressors’ in your environment, including those of seasonal allergies.

Spinal misalignments (termed subluxations) are caused by physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress. These misalignments in your spine cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, pain, and weakness. What is more important though, spinal subluxations affect your spinal cord and impair healthy neurological function.

Chiropractic adjustments correct misalignments in your spine, restoring proper joint movement, balancing your muscles, and improving your overall health!

Specific to allergies, the correction of spinal subluxations helps your body respond more appropriately to the pollens, danders and other airborn items you inhale because they help restore balance to your immune system.  There is a direct correlation between your spine and immune system.  It’s simple: A nervous system that is working more effectively permits the immune system to function more effectively – something all allergy sufferers need!

How can you get started finding relief?

An initial consultation and assessment will help us determine if Chiropractic can help, and whether our approach is right for you.  Following your evaluation we’ll create an action plan to get you functioning and feeling better. We’ll monitor your symptoms and changes over time, and document them! Many of our patients note dramatic reductions in their allergy symptoms and improvements in their overall wellbeing when they add Chiropractic care to their life.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for allergies.

Things Unseen

So many times when I speak with someone about what I do, they comment “I would hate to know what you’d find in my spine, it’s probably a mess!”.  This attitude still surprises me.

The attitude “if it’s not broken, why fix it” does not apply to the human body.

Some of the sickest people on this planet have no symptoms and “feel fine”. We all know people who seemed to be fine but then suddenly are diagnosed with a major illness. People who ‘suddenly’ have a heart attack, stroke, are told they have cancer.

Waiting for your body to give you symptoms is like waiting for a bomb to go off…everything is quiet until suddenly there is a huge impact.

I cannot tell you how illogical this seems to me, but I certainly didn’t always look at health this way. Like many people, I too viewed things differently, only responding to challenges in my body with medications. Luckily, 18 years ago, a shoulder injury forced me to see a Chiropractor, and from that point on everything changed. Not only my own health, but my attitude about it.

The Chiropractic approach is just that – an approach to supporting your body from the inside-out in every way.  Giving the body what it needs from the top-down (neurological function from the brain through the spinal cord), as well as all the other ingredients necessary for optimal function….food, hydration, movement, love and social connections, sleep, purpose and passion!

Chiropractic is not just an adjustment or treatment for a symptom, it’s an approach to looking for the causes of problems in the body, rather than just reacting to them. 

Waiting for something to happen before you take action often makes the healing take longer, and requires more investment of your time and resources.

People who choose to make chiropractic care a regular part of their life understand this, but they also see the profound changes in their health, and are more empowered to be in control of their body. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in my practice and something I will never tire of.

People often hear me say “health comes from choice, not by chance”. Choosing to honour your body and give it what it needs on a consistent basis is one of the wisest decisions you can ever make.

If you’re still struggling with some aspects of your health, ask for direction.   If I can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.

Life is short. Give yourself the gift of better health so that you can live more fully.

Sit Well! Or Not at All…

Your body was designed to move! However, due to workplaces and lifestyles the average person sits 6-7 hours per day. Prolonged sitting can be tough on your spine and other joints.

Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Maintaining the lumbar curve helps maintain the thoracic and cervical curves. Aim to have your feet firmly resting on the floor with knees bent at 90-100 degrees. Adjust your chair if possible, or place something under your feet. Better yet, consider sitting on a stability ball instead! (Check out the video and hear me explain why this is a better choice for you). Some people have even modified their workspaces to allow them to stand while working on a computer or writing. Take a look at your work station and what improvements can be made. Get creative!
  • The average head weighs 10-15 lbs. Improper sitting posture pushes the head forward, which places severe stress on the muscles, ligaments and vertebrae of the upper neck. 73% of people who sit on the job suffer from headaches due to poor posture. A loss of the normal cervical curve can stretch the spinal cord by 5-7 cm! This leads to many unwanted affects in your whole body. It’s not uncommon for vertebral misalignments in the upper neck to create symptoms such as dizziness, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue, sinus congestion, emotional stress, and pain or tingling in the arms, hands, and shoulders. Take visual breaks every 10 minutes from your computer screen, and breaks from sitting every hour.

Break Time!

Whether you are at home or office, try these 2 minute stretches:

1) Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest and hold for 4 seconds.

2) Lying on you back, bring your knee to the opposite shoulder and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat with other knee to opposite shoulder.

3) Leaning on a chair or table edge perform a cat stretch by arching your back towards the ceiling with your head looking down, rounding your back. Hold for count of 10.

4) Interlock your hands behind your lower back, stretch your shoulders backwards and point your nose to the ceiling while pushing your hands towards the floor. Hold for a count of 10.

5) Roll your shoulders backwards, then forwards, doing 10-20 rotations each way.

6) Interlock your fingers and push your hands in front of you and away from your body. Hold for a count of 10.

7) Roll your neck right then left, repeating several times both directions. On your last turn to the right hold the position for a count of 10. Repeat with other side.

8) Perform circular motions with your wrists for 60 seconds.

9) Point and flex your feet, alternating each side. Roll your ankles around in a clockwise direction for a count of 10, then change direction.