Who's tired of hearing about all the things you can't eat now that your blood sugars are out of control? During clinic visits with my diabetic patients, when I get down to the brass tacks the number one question is usually “What CAN I eat?” Read on for my number one strategy for putting your dietary choices on auto-pilot again.
This is a guest post from Clare Barry M.Ed., clinic manager of Avalon Laser Health Physiotherapy & Wellness. Her clinic specializes in the treatment of acute and chronic pain with laser therapy. We are excited to announce that in June 2016, I will be relocating my St. John's practice to join professional forces with Clare's team! You can find out more about my new clinical home on the clinic website and on Facebook.
There is a reason we use the expression “a pain in the neck” to refer to a person or situation that is a nuisance! Neck pain has an insidious way of creeping into one’s awareness and interfering with your quality of life. In fact, 45% of the population will have neck pain at some point in their life.
Neck pain has high costs for the individual, the workplace, and society. Many will experience the negative effects of neck pain on their quality of life: loss of function, absenteeism from work, difficulty sleeping, and inability to enjoy everyday activities. Let's look at what to do about it...
It’s Q & A day today! I received this question from a patient just last week… She was all about the use of sunscreen to protect her kids from getting sunburned, but was wondering if it might actually block vitamin D production? And if so, how long does she need to leave the kids without sunscreen? Is that even safe/worth the risk?
With the link between sun exposure and skin cancer, many of us (sadly) avoid the glorious sunshine. Or we can be found wearing clothes to cover our skin and lathered up with sunscreen everywhere else. Skin cancer risks aside, I myself being a fair skinned red-head have been very pro-sunscreen, it only takes one bad burn to know you don’t want to feel that again.
On the other hand, our bodies need vitamin D for healthy bones, cells, nerve, muscle and immune cell formation. We get vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. The sunshine converts inactive vitamin D into active vitamin D. No sun? No vitamin D.
In fact, vitamin D deficiency is so rampant in Canada, even Health Canada recommends every Canadian take a supplement! We are just assumed to be deficient due to our northern latitude on the planet. It's considered so "par for the course" in Canada that Canadian physicians have to justify running vitamin D screens on blood work by building a case for it… serum vitamin D costs anywhere from $30-$100 CAD depending on what province you are in, so unless you need it tracked as part of a specific health condition/treatment program, it’s considered a waste of healthcare (ahem, taxpayer) dollars.
So what is a Mom to do? Does sunscreen block vitamin D? Maybe we should be getting a little sun? And if so, how much? Let’s find out...
Ever wish you could put your mind in the dishwasher?
I know. It's a really weird question... When I first said this to a friend, she looked at me like I had finally lost it. Of course I don't literally mean sticking your head in the dishwasher... but bare with me for a second.
What I was trying to convey was that I felt my mind was so "gummed up" with negative and worrisome thoughts, all I wanted was for something that would just wipe the whole slate clean. A way to clear out all the gunk and get back to the bright, shiny, and happy feeling thoughts. Just like a dish coming out of the dishwasher, all fresh, clear, and so much easier to fill with the positive and creative thoughts that I wanted to be having instead.
Of course, once I explained this to my friend said she could relate... although, she had never thought of it quite like that and maintained that I must be a bit cracked. lol. I agree with her.
The remainder of today's post looks at just how mindfulness meditation can help you do that, without getting the soap in your eyes.
Look at that kitten... wish you could be like her? Just for a little while? You're not alone: a whopping 3.3 million Canadians suffer every night with you. But rather than rolling around in your bed all night, let's consider what you can do about addressing these common stumbling blocks...
(Warning: This post is a lengthy beast, but if you're lying awake in the night, it will be time well spent!)
For those of you with tight muscles, muscle knots, or postural muscle tension... you're going to want to read this! This might very well be my favourite supplement to prescribe. It is useful for so many conditions, and in particular I recommend it frequently for menstrual cramping (Yep! Works like a charm!). Male or female, it has a crucial function within muscle contraction.
I have recommended it successfully for back pain and neck pain that causes headaches, leg and foot cramping that wakes you up at night, as well as blood flow and circulation problems for the brain (think dementia) and the tootsies (think peripheral diabetes) alike! Yep... it's pretty much a super star mineral.
Think about how often have you encountered the attitudes and jokes about "being on the rag" or having “a monthly curse”. Perhaps you’ve even had (or have?) them yourself.
Generations of women have been taught that we are weak, vulnerable, and "not ourselves" during our periods. They’re inconvenient. They’re messy. They’re painful. Emotional. Exhausting. Non-productive. Unclean. Frustrating… and finally… inevitable. From this perspective our menstrual cycles feel akin to monthly punishment simply for being a woman. In impoverished and developing countries, young girls are required to miss a full week of school every month, because they are having their “week of shame”. In short, we've been taught that the natural functioning of our bodies is dirty, something to be hidden, and of course, ashamed of.
What is inflammation?
Who has it?
What can you do about it?
Mild-moderate depression is perhaps the single most common concurrent diagnosis of the patients and people I speak with. Patients often describe "lack of energy" and "fatigue" as a top concern following the original complaint that brings them into my office. While it needs to be investigated with a good case-history, physical exam, and potentially blood work to rule out other causes (i.e. low iron, low thyroid, etc.) fortunately in my practice, most people are simply depressed and over-worked. Usually this is rooted in a poor self-care routine and too many demands on one's time and energy. Most commonly, I prescribe a combination of naturopathic fundamentals like diet, exercise, relaxation, and a healthy dose of sun and fresh air to help them lift their moods and provide a little balance to their lives. Occasionally, I will also prescribe supplements such as omega-3's, which have great research to support their use for depression. Of course, when and where I can I prefer to recommend food rather than capsules.
Which is why I am so excited to share today's research...
Stress. Many of us can give examples of it – looming deadlines at work, family commitments that leave us rushed (like getting the kids to music lessons or hockey on time), traffic, unexpected demands thrown into our day... but can you actually define stress? When pressed to give a definition rather than example most people will say it's these bad things that happen to you that upset your happiness or peace of mind. They are only half right... You can't solve what you don't understand... and so they can't alleviate their stress. If that sounds like you, you'll want to read the rest of this post.
I'm a Naturopathic Doctor living, writing, and working in St. John's, NL, Canada. My goal is to help people just like you learn to use diet, lifestyle, and natural medicines at home so that you can get relief from their symptoms and create a healthier, happier body.
Health Clinic: I run a general practice and see all kinds of patients. I'm particularly good at treating hormonal, reproductive, and digestive concerns.
Online Courses: In an effort to bring diet, lifestyle, and natural medicine strategies to everyone I can, in early 2016 I started periodically running these fun online wellness programs! I hope to help as many people as I can, even if they can't visit my St. John's clinic.
What else? I'm addicted to hiking, coffee, and evidence-based medicine. I believe in the restorative powers of kindness, gratitude, and a freshly prepared meal. Cats, fresh flowers, and a good story never fail to make me smile. Read More >>
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