I know you’ve all experienced it. I am talking about the up and down effect that sugar has on you after you eat your favorite sweet treat. It typically goes something like this: At first you have this intense hunger or lack of energy that immediately flashes visions of a candy bar, cupcake, soda pop, or donut into your mind. So you go for it. I mean after all, there are vending machines everywhere. Almost every single break room that I go into when doing luncheon health talks have at least one “food” vending machine and a soda machine. I used “food” purposely because there are little to no items in these vending machines that actually qualify as real food.
So we consume our sweet treat, and almost instantaneously we experience a burst of energy! We think to ourselves, “man that’s just what I needed.” But then something else happens. Within a short period of time we start to notice that weird brain fog thing happening. We feel slightly confused and well, not so energized anymore. Then about as quickly as that burst of energy occurred, we experience the dreaded CRASH! Now all we can think about is finding the nearest couch to take a nap on.
What does this happen? Things seemed so great at first, sort of like a high school romance, but boy –oh-boy, when things change they really change. There is actually a scientific explanation for this up and down affect we experience when consuming refined sugars, like those found in our sweet treats. You see, our body needs glucose in order to provide fuel for the cells. Sugar is broken down into glucose. Now in the case of refined sugars, there is little to no vitamins or minerals present, and when you couple that with the fact that refined/simple sugars are what’s known as Short Chain Sugars, there is little to no digestion necessary for these sugars to enter into the bloodstream.
Because they enter the bloodstream so rapidly, they cause a drastic and quick rise in blood sugar levels. So this explains that sugar rush and quick burst of energy you get after you eat sugar. But then, the body releases a large amount of insulin to pull the sugars out of the blood and into the cells, which then quickly causes a drastic drop in the blood sugar level. The body then sends you a signal that, “hey, we are low on energy and need more now!!!” This then causes the craving for more sugar. Vicious cycle I know, and this accounts for much of the obesity epidemic we are facing in this country. 1 in 4 people are obese, and 1 in 3 people are overweight in the United States!
When it comes to fueling your body, choose wisely. Consume complex carbohydrates and fruits for you energy sources, as these take much longer for the body to breakdown, which causes a much slower absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and a much more stable blood sugar level.
In wellness and love,
Fish oils contain the essential fatty acids called Omega-3’s. They provide us with many health benefits, and just like the word essential implies, the body has to have them in order to sustain life. Make certain that the Fish oils that you use are the highest quality or you miss out on all the benefits. There are also vegetarian sources of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements available, such as Red Algae. Most people in our society have an abundance of Omega-6 Fatty Acids in their diet. We do need Omega-6's at a 2:1 ratio to Omega-3’s, but we are completely out-of-whack in terms of proportion. Most Americans consume Omega-6’s at a ratio of 6:1.
We offer the highest-quality fish oil supplements on the market at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center, so join our family and swing by and order yours today. We also provide specific nutritional testing to find which oil is best suited for you, in addition to other Essential Fatty acids your body might be in need of. We strive to ensure that we provide you with gentle, safe, effective and top-notch holistic care! Feel free to contact us to learn more about the services we offer, and WHY we are different.
In Wellness and Love,
This probably comes as no real surprise, but now there is definitive research linking autism spectrum disorder to exposure to several banned chemicals. This information comes from the conclusion of a research study conducted by Drexel University. The group of chemicals that were tested is called organochlorines, and the ill effects appear to occur with prenatal exposure. The study examined over 1,100 kids born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. Their parents had enrolled in a state-sponsored prenatal screening program.
This group of harmful chemicals includes PCB and DDT, which were common pesticides used for growing non-organic fruits and vegetables. Although these chemicals were banned in the United States in the late 1970’s, they are still found in our environment. Blood tests were conducted during the second trimester in order to measure the embryos exposure to these chemicals.
The study found a 50 to 82% increase in the risk of autism in children that tested with the highest exposure to these chemicals. While further research is always warranted, this study certainly confirms some group’s suspicions as to why there is such a drastic increase in the occurrence of autism in the United States.
This is even more justification to live a Wellness Based Lifestyle which promotes organic foods when available, and learning to avoid toxins in the environment. Not only is this an important step for expecting mothers, but for each and every one of us. I am often asked if whether or not eating organic fruits and vegetables really matter, and my answer is a definite YES. I do understand that availability is limited at times depending on where you live, as well as in some cases price. My general rule of thumb to keep in mind is if a vegetable or fruit has a skin that you are going to eat, then by all means opt for the organic variety if possible.
For more information on healthy foods, implementing a Wellness Based Lifestyle routine, and anything health related, please contact us and schedule a FREE consultation.
In Wellness and Love,
Making certain that you and your loved one are under regular and gentle Chiropractic Care is one of the most beneficial steps that you can take to make certain that your immune system is functioning at its optimal level. You see when there is a misaligned vertebra in the spine it puts a pressure on the correlating spinal nerve root, which in turn impedes the brain’s ability to communicate with the body and vice versa. When this occurs, the body is not able to fully respond to the germs and toxins that we come into contact with, which causes a decrease in our immune system’s response. Not good.
Yet there are certainly other steps that we can take to build upon the positive impact that Chiropractic Care has on our immune system, including eating healthy whole foods. When we consume a variety of nutrient rich foods, our body knows exactly what to do with the nutrients it receives from quality food sources. Making certain to eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables is a must. These colorful fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants, which are needed to counteract the ill effects of free radicals in the environment. These free radicals cause oxidation in the body, and to make a long story short, oxidation kills healthy cells. So increase the color of your diet, literally, and your immune system will thank you!
In addition to improving our diets, exercise is also a must. In order to keep things simple, start with a goal of walking 3-4 times per week for 20 minutes each time. Do this outside if possible in order to soak up needed Vitamin D.
Also, speak with your trusted healthcare provider about adding in a quality probiotic nutritional supplement to your wellness routine, as these healthy bacteria can help to repopulate the intestinal flora needed for immunity. We carry a top-notch probiotic capsules at PRANA, so if you are in the area, swing by and learn more about the one that we keep in stock.
Simple steps, big rewards in terms of health!
In wellness and love,
Maintaining the health, hygiene, and integrity of the spine is one of the most, important things that you can do for your body. In order to achieve optimal health and to live a Wellness Based Lifestyle, taking care of the spine and nervous system is a must. The brain and nervous system control every single cell, tissue, muscle, and organ in the body. One of the most surprising things that I see in our society is regardless of how in shape people might be very few people actually take steps to specifically address the spine and nervous system.
So here is a list of 5 Secrets that you can begin utilizing today in order to make certain you are doing everything that you can to maintain your spine:
1.Get Under Regular Chiropractic Care: The number one thing that you can do to improve the health of your spine and nervous system is to get under regular Chiropractic care, and by regular I suggest weekly spinal checks. There is scientific research that proves that within as little as 7 days, any joint in the body that is immobilized starts to show signs of degeneration. In other words, a joint that is not moving as well as it should, begins to show signs of osteoarthritis development. Therefore, I suggest that all my Practice Members come in for weekly visits in order to make certain that arthritis has little chance of developing in the spine. When the spinal bones misalign due to stress, there is a good possibility of them getting stuck out of alignment, and therefore the range of motion becomes very limited.
2.Drink Plenty of Water: This might seem like a weird place for me to plug the need to drink water, but believe it or not, this is one of the best things that you can do for spinal health. You see, the discs in between the spinal bones, called the Intervertebral Discs, are composed of over 80% water. Even though the outer layer of the disc is a fibrous cartilage, the inner portion has the consistency of petroleum jelly. In order for the disc to maintain their height, they need water. When disc lose their height, as in the case of Degenerative Disc Disease, there is a possibility for the nerves that exit the spine to get pinched and cause pain or other neurological issues. I want to note here that Degenerative Disc Disease is osteoarthritis in the spine, so you can see how each of the 5 secrets is interrelated to one another. In general terms, aim for 64 ounces of water per day. Increase this if you are working or exercising outside in the heat, or sweat a good portion of the day.
3.Walk Regularly: Walking is a tonic for the body, and is one of the simplest forms of exercise. In fact, I suggest that a regular walking routine be the foundation of your exercise regimen. Start with walking 20 minutes at a brisk pace, yet one that you can still easily carry on a conversation, 3 times per week. Once you do this for 4 weeks, bump up to 4 times per week. After you have made it 4 weeks of walking 4 times per week, increase the duration to 30 minutes for each walk. Make this the basis of your physical fitness routine and you will be making certain that you not only improve the health of your spine, but the entire body as well.
4.Sit on a Yoga Ball at Least 10 Minutes per Day: The discs of the spine that we talked about earlier need movement in order to pump water in and out of the discs. This is a process called “imbibing.” As we move the spine, water is pulled in which causes the discs to stay nice and fully hydrated, while wastes are pushed out at the same time. Simply sitting on a yoga ball and gently moving around in circular type motions is a perfect way to ensure movement throughout the spine, thereby allowing this imbibing process to take place. Well hydrated discs, are happy discs.
5.Gently Stretch The Spine Each Day: This does not have to be a full-on yoga class, although that is a great idea if you can, but simply just 5 minutes or so of stretching each day. I will make it even simpler for you here by laying out a very simple spine stretching routine. So first, bend forward from a standing or seated position. If standing, it is completely fine to bend the knees. If you can touch the floor great, if not simply place you hand on you shins or thighs. Hold this and the other stretches for 20 seconds.
Now, while standing place your palm on the same side outer thigh and then slide the hand down the leg towards the knee as you bend to the side. Keep your hips straight and bend from the waist. Remember this is a back stretch. Again, hold for 20 seconds then repeat on the opposite side.
From a standing position, simply place your hands on your hips, extend the neck back to look up at the ceiling and then slowly start to extend back with the torso. You should really feel a stretch in the lower back and throughout the spine. A slight back bend is all you need, so never go to the point of sharp shooting pain. A very slight discomfort is fine. As with the others, hold for 20 seconds.
Finish up with some twists to each side by simply rotating as far as you can to one side, then the other. Again, only go to the point of slight discomfort and hold on each side for 20 seconds.
So there are the 5 Secrets to Spinal Health. Trust me if you do these on a regular basis, you will improve the overall health of the nervous system. Remember the nervous system is what controls the rest of the body, and by not taking care of nervous system you risk some serious health consequences. Contact us today for more information on Chiropractic and Spinal Hygiene. I discuss in detail spinal health in my book, The Wellness Revolution: A Chiropractic and Natural Approach to Optimal Health, which is available on amazon.com so make certain to grab a copy.
In Wellness and Love,
So let’s face it, today’s modern life is fast paced, ever-changing, and increasingly stressful. Jobs are requiring more and more, often times for less pay and benefits. Keeping up with the technological changes that are taking place is in-and-of itself enough to make a person want to pull their hair out. Add to the mix parenting, being a responsible partner, long commutes, and a laundry-list of other stressful responsibilities, it’s no wonder that the term “burnout” is commonplace in modern society. Most of us feel like we are one stressful event away from a full on meltdown.
So before we get to how we can avoid or remedy the ever-dreaded burnout, let’s talk a bit about some of the signs of true burnout. Here are four commonly witnessed signs that you’re in the danger zone. In other words, if you are experiencing 2 or 3 of these signs, make the decision to do something about it.
Now that we covered some of the common signs of burnout, let’s discuss the steps to take in order to recover from this debilitating condition. Here are 5 simple steps that you can implement now if you have 2 or more of the above signs listed. If things are too bad and you don’t find any relief using these steps, contact Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center if you’re in the Western, NC region or your local healthcare provider.
Again, if things seem serious, or you just cannot seem to get past the feelings of burnout, consult a healthcare provider. Certainly give the above steps a shot. Each and every one of us can benefit from them, so they certainly won’t make things worse. Please keep in mind that the above information is not a means of diagnosis, as only a licensed healthcare provider can do that. The information is simply that, information to help recognize the potential for a problem which needs addressing. We are always here for you, so drop us a line and I will be more than happy to personally teach you more!
In Wellness and Love,
I spent a number of years working as a Social Worker, and as rewarding of a career as that is, it is also a stressful job. The fact is most jobs are pretty stressful at one point or another, right? The point I want to make about my former Social Work days is that I spent the majority of my time sitting behind my desk in a sea of cubicles. If you have a desk job, I’m certain you know how uninviting that a cubicle or office can be, and when our workspace is uninviting, it can create undue stress in our lives.
So the following are some easy steps that you can take right now to improve your workspace, whether it is an office, a cubicle, a desk in the broom closet, or whatever your case may be:
-1. Get Organized: This is an easy step to take, but most of us can get pretty overwhelmed with work, and we begin to neglect the organization of things on our desk. When you are unorganized, it is extremely easy to misplace papers, documents, supplies, your car keys, etc. When this happens and we scramble to find these things, it causes anxiety and stress. So, use those file cabinets and buy some cheap desk organizing items like pen holders, trays for paper clips, sticky-notes, and other supplies that you use regularly. You can buy these items for next to nothing at your local Dollar Store.
-2. Get a Lumbar Support for Your Chair: Let’s face it, when sitting for hours behind a computer, most of us slouch down and have terrible posture. In fact, there is much more weight bearing down on your spine when sitting verses standing. We do not always have a choice other than sit to work on things required by our jobs, but we can improve our work station ergonomics. The first and easiest thing to do is grab a lumbar support to place behind your back on your chair while you sit. This greatly helps to improve your posture while sitting, and therefore helps to counteract some of the weight bearing down on the low back while in a seated position. Here’s an Amazon link to an inexpensive one with good reviews. I have never used this one, so I am not recommending this model over others, just giving you a general idea of what to look for: https://www.amazon.com/Ziraki-Memory-Foam-Lumbar-Cushion/dp/B01HXSYG6A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489524195&sr=8-3&keywords=lumbar+support
-3. Decorate: I cannot tell you how many people I worked with over the years that simply have nothing personal in their workspace. Hang a few pictures of your family, maybe some artwork your kids or nieces and nephews made for you, some motivational quotes, and anything else that reminds you of why you are doing what you are doing. I always keep an exercise calendar in my office just to remind me of when my workouts are, how long, and the type of workout I am doing that day. Surround yourself with things that will motivate you and give you a sense of personal belonging to your workspace.
-4. Raise Your Computer to Eye Level: Very few people do this, but trust me it is so important that you do. When our computer screen is below eye level when sitting, it forces us to look down with our heads. What this does over time is destroy the natural curve in our necks. Once the curve has straightened in our necks, we increase the rate of spinal degeneration which sets the stage for pain and neurological dysfunction. You can either lower your chair, or sit on an exercise ball to help achieve this as well. Otherwise, place your computer screen on a few thick books, or if you have a laptop, consider getting a standing desk or one that allows you to set up your computer at a higher level than the standard desk.
-5. Get a Himalayan Salt Lamp for Your Desk: There is a lot of information out there regarding the proposed benefits of these salt lamps including helping to create an ionic balance around you, improving air quality, improving mood, and reducing allergies. These guys give off a nice pleasant glow, which alone helps to improve mood. Make certain the lamp you buy is a true salt lamp and not a fake one. Here is some additional information on salt lamps: https://draxe.com/himalayan-salt-lamp/
Part of living a Wellness Based Lifestyle is making certain to improve your health and to reduce the negative stress in all areas of your life, which definitely includes work. So give these 5 easy steps a shot and do what you can to make your workspace a little less stressful, and a lot more inviting!
In Wellness and Love,
Several years ago, I wrote the book Simply Wellness: Learning to Live a Wellness Based Lifestyle One Day at a Time. In this book, I detail the 4 components of Wellness which are Physical, Emotional, Social and Spiritual and ways in which we can improve in each area. While living a Wellness Based Lifestyle involves work, increasing Wellness can be a fun and rewarding, yet simple journey.
Here are 5 simple steps you can take now to improve your life drastically and to begin regaining control of your health:
If you are in the Western, NC area we would love to welcome you to our Wellness Family at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center! Contact us today and learn more about how we can help get you on your way to the optimized and dis-ease free life you are capable of living! Spine Checks are always FREE, and we serve up coffee, tea, and filtered water each day, so swing by and grab a FREE cup and check out the place!
In Wellness and Love,
Probiotics are a popular topic these days in the world of nutrition, but what exactly are they and do they really provide us with any health benefits? The World Health Organization defines them as “live microorganisms when administered in adequate amounts can confer a health benefit on the host.” I think it is safe to say that most nutritionist, doctors and researchers agree that there are health benefits to consuming probiotics. I want to note that probiotics are considered safe for consumption by all resources that I researched, therefore making them one of the healthiest ways to increase wellness.
Probiotics help us to in maintaining healthy bacteria levels in the digestive tract. We each have colonies of bacteria in our intestinal tracts called gut or intestinal flora, which consist of both healthy and unhealthy bacteria. WebMD states that there are approximately 400 different types of probiotic bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract. While researching this subject, I saw estimates of up to 500 different types of bacteria that are in our digestive systems at any time! In terms of digestive health, we should strive to create a healthy balance between both the healthy probiotic bacteria and the negative bacteria present. It is when we have an overabundance of unhealthy bacteria that we see health issues arise.
One of the largest groups of probiotic bacteria found in the intestinal tract is Lactic Acid bacteria, which is the type of probiotic found in dairy yogurt. Yeast is another common probiotic found in humans. Foods that contain probiotics typically refer to them as "live cultures." Some of the unhealthy bacteria found in the human body and can lead to disease are Candida and E. Coli. These unhealthy bacteria, if in abundance in the intestinal tract can lead to short term illnesses including upset stomach, headaches, emotional and mood instability and fatigue.
There are things that destroy the healthy probiotic bacteria in our bodies including pharmaceutical medications (antibiotics most always), diet (especially highly acidic foods), food toxins, and environmental toxins. Many medical doctors recommend consuming probiotics when prescribing antibiotics for this reason. One study found that probiotics can reduce diarrhea associated with taken antibiotics by up to 60% (Lactic Acid Probiotics like in yogurt). Keep in mind that probiotics are only effective as long as they are being taken, meaning that consistency is key when consuming them. The healthy probiotics that we consume do not remain in the system indefinitely, so we must continue to reintroduce them into our systems on a regular basis.
Foods such as yogurts, cottage cheese, fermented teas, and foods that are fermented such as sauerkraut are all high in probiotics. You can also purchase probiotic supplements in most natural food and nutrition stores. Here is the list of some of the health benefits:
- Probiotics help in the prevention and treatment of diarrhea and gas
- They help in prevention and treatment of vaginal yeast infections
- They can help in preventing and treating urinary tract infections
- Probiotics help in strengthening the immune system
- They can help to delay the development of allergies in children
- They can help with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease
- They can help to reduce the level of lactose intolerance in people with lactose sensitivity
- They can treat halitosis (bad breath)
- They increase the rate of absorption and assimilation of B vitamins
- Probiotics increase calcium absorption
- They can promote anti-cancer activity in the body
- Research shows that consuming probiotics can have a favorable effect on cholesterol levels
- They help to lower to rate of diaper rash in children
- Probiotics can help reduce colic in infants
- They can help prevent common colds and decrease the recovery time from a cold
If you aren’t already consuming a hearty dose of foods that contain probiotics, it is certainly worth consideration. More and more research being conducted confirms the positive health benefits that probiotics offer. Unlike many of the marketing claims used to drive food sales these days, in the case of probiotics, scientific research continues to confirm that they are the real deal!
In Wellness and Love,
www.health.harvard.edu “Health Beneftis of Taking Probiotics.”
www.globalhealingcenter.com “Health Benefits of Probiotics.”
A question that I am often asked and one that I have seen countless times on message boards across the Internet, in magazines, and on fitness videos is whether a person should do cardiovascular exercise before or after a resistance training workout?
Before going any further, I want to clearly state that it is my position that everyone working out should engage in a cardiovascular exercise of their choice for 5 to 10 minutes prior to any workout. This means any type of workout, be it a more intense cardiovascular, resistance or flexibility workout. This is vitally important for several reasons as a proper, light-intensity cardiovascular exercise will warm up the muscles, ligaments, joints and tendons that will be used more intensely in the following workout routine.
Warming up with cardio also increases the core temperature slightly, increases circulation, slightly elevates the heart rate and helps to prepare the heart for an increased workload, it helps increase lung function, and helps you to mentally focus in on the upcoming workout routine. The most important advantage to warming up with light intensity cardio is the substantial decrease in risk of injury. If the body is not properly warmed up, you are much more likely to experience an injury to a muscle, joint, ligament or tendon.
Now back to the question of whether you should do cardiovascular exercise prior to or after a resistance workout? There is no single best answer here and instead, you should evaluate your individual fitness goals. If you goal is to increase endurance, stamina or overall cardiovascular health, then I suggest doing your cardio workout prior to weight and resistance training. By doing the cardio workout first (after your 5 to 10 minute warm up of course), you are able to engage in a more intense cardio session. Your cardiovascular workout might include some intervals in which you push yourself to your lactic acid threshold or VO2 max level. If that is the case, it is much less likely that you would be able to achieve high intensity cardiovascular work after you have engaged in a weight training session. So, in short if your goal is to increase your cardiovascular fitness levels, you should perform cardio workouts prior to resistance training.
On the other hand, if your goal is fat and weight loss, a current mode of thinking in the fitness community is that by doing a cardiovascular workout after a resistance workout, you increases the rate of fat metabolism. The theory is that by engaging in an intense resistance workout, you will deplete the glycogen stores in the muscles during this workout. Once the glycogen stores are depleted, the body begins to utilize fats in the body for fuel. Endurance athletes have long know this, yet typically in order for this to occur in endurance training, an athlete has to continuously run for approximately 90 minutes to fully deplete the muscles of glycogen. Therefore, I remain somewhat skeptical that many average exercisers are pushing themselves to the point of glycogen depletion during their resistance workout, particularly workouts of less than an hour in duration. For more advanced exercisers, I do believe that it is possible and therefore can be an effective means of decreasing body fat perhaps for these individuals.
I tend to look at it like this, if you are engaging in a cardiovascular and resistance workout on the same day back-to-back, one or the other will be of a lesser intensity level naturally. Again, evaluate your personal fitness goals before deciding whether to do your cardio workouts before or after resistance training. If you are trying to build muscle, you want to have as much muscle strength as you can available for your resistance workouts, therefore doing cardio before weight training would be counterproductive to your muscle building goals. If you are looking to gain endurance or heart health, place your focus on the cardio workouts and do them first.
Remember, regardless of which you end up doing first, it is more important to properly warm up with a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes of cardio (even if it is only a brisk walk on the treadmill) in order to prepare the body for the workout ahead, to get your head in the right space in order to knockout a productive workout, and most importantly to decrease the risk of injury. This debate won’t mean a thing if you get injured 5 minutes into a workout and are sidelined for the next 8 weeks rehabbing an injury!
If you are interested in learning more about how to create a balanced and effective workout routine, improve nutrition, gain strength, or lose weight then contact us! We provide personal training, nutrition counseling and testing, yoga therapy and classes, weight loss programs, and healthy living workshops. We are here to help you reach your Wellness goals! Call us at 828-337-2916 or e-mail at email@example.com
In Wellness and Love,
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.