Perimenopause: Is it Causing Your Heavy Periods, Anxiety, Insomnia, and Weight Gain?

Hormones are extremely complicated because they are changing all day, there are lots of them, they are hard to test in a meaningful way, and they take time and effort to balance.  However, they can also produce some symptoms that many women would really love to reverse, like yesterday!  So, I’m going to do my best to cover some basic concepts on what’s normal, one of the most common hormonal imbalances women encounter before menopause, and some insight on how to tackle it.

What’s a Normal Female Cycle?

Every month, women go through a hormonal cycle in attempts to create a window where they can get pregnant.  (We are animals after all).  We see 2 major things happening during that 28-31 day time period:

  1. Increase in estrogen in the first half of the cycle
  2. Increase in progesterone the second half of the cycle

These two hormones work in tandem and have a yin and yang relationship meaning if one is out of whack, everything goes off the rails. I’ve written about birth control before, so if you are currently on hormonal birth control, please read that now!  If you’re not taking synthetic hormones, then we can move on.  Many times, low progesterone is causing issues in a woman’s body, and it’s giving her symptoms of too much estrogen.  The catch here though, is that you may have normal levels of estrogen, but if progesterone is in the tank, you’ll have symptoms like you have too much estrogen because they aren’t in good balance. This is important to note, because if you start treating those symptoms like you have high estrogen, trying to lower it, you won’t be fixing the problem.

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

  1. Heavy Periods
  2. Autoimmunity or Allergies developing out of nowhere
  3. Anxiety
  4. Inflammation
  5. Weight Gain
  6. Insomnia
  7. Body pain syndromes
  8. Brain fog or memory issues

Tell-tale Symptoms of High Estrogen

  1. Breast tenderness
  2. Heavy periods
  3. Migraines

In perimenopause, which is about 7 years prior to menopause, you will see a drop in progesterone levels before you see a drop in estrogen.  That will mean you could experience all of the above symptoms.  Awesome.  However, toward the end, estrogen will lower too and you won’t experience most of things once you’ve reached menopause, which is typically around early 50s.

Should I Test My Hormones?

In many ways, symptoms are the best way to determine what your hormones are doing because they vary so much throughout the day, month, and years.  Sometimes trying to do everything based on testing can feel like a moving target.  Testing can be beneficial, but I would start with symptoms and lifestyle intervention first.

How can I fix low progesterone?

One way to address low progesterone is to take a bioidentical version of progesterone called Prometrium or Utrogestan.  However, I encourage you to see how you feel after 3-6 months of commitment to lifestyle changes because you may be surprised how far you can go without the prescription!

  1. Regulate that blood glucose and insulin! 
    1. That means cleaning up your diet to eliminate excess sugar, alcohol, refined carbs and making sure to include protein at every meal.
    1. In this way, testing your A1C and fasting insulin may do more for you.
  2. Avoid dairy
    1. Dairy can contribute to hormone imbalances for many reasons including animal hormones but also via activating mast cells which are connected to migraines and heavy periods
  3. Decrease stress
    1. Start a meditation or yoga practice, eliminate excessive commitments, hire a house cleaner, don’t feel guilty about getting a baby sitter, and go in nature.
    1. Here, heart rate variability is an easy thing to track through a wearable device or your phone.
  4. Lift weights
    1. Any exercise is beneficial for your hormones, but lifting weights or doing body weight resistance training seems to do the most for perimenopause, maintaining the muscle necessary to sustain metabolism, and aid in bone health.
  5. Avoid chemicals that are endocrine disrupters
    1. Every beauty product, plastic, and chemical in your home or on your body could potentially influence your hormone receptors and sensitivity, so use to determine if that’s a huge issue for you
  6. Consider supplementation of key nutrients like Magnesium, Taurine, Zn, Vitamin D Vitamin C.
  7. Consider the use of herbs such as Chasteberry, aka Vitex.

Feel free to see my favorite supplement blends and dosing here.

That sounds like a lot, but the good news is that the hormone fluctuation leading up to menopause won’t last forever and the healthier your lifestyle choices, the smoother the ride should be.  However, don’t be afraid to find a functional doctor that works with bio-identical hormones to assist you after implementing these lifestyle changes because bio-identical hormones can be a life-saver for many woman!

Starbread (Not Paleo)

Every year I make a couple of traditions with regular flour to bring to gatherings.  While I enjoy paleo baked goods, if it’s not your lifestyle, then people definitely miss the texture a little gluten lends to the treats!  This makes the entire house smell like cinnamon, tastes like a cinnamon roll, is made from scratch, and has that “wow” factor because it looks like it’s really complicated to make!  Shhhhh, it’s pretty easy.

So, if you’re on a healing journey and want to avoid gluten, this recipe is not for you.  If you have to meet people in the middle sometimes and want to explore a new tradition, here you go!

  • 1 ½ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 cups organic, all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Egg, whisked (if you want an egg wash to make the finish shiny)

Combine the warm water, instant yeast, and 2 Tbsp sugar and let it sit in the mixing bowl for 5 minutes.  Then, add the 2 Tbsp softened butter, salt and 2 cups of flours to the bowl and mix on low with the paddle attachment until combined.  Switch to the dough hook, and add another cup of flour on low until combined. Add the last cup of flour and mix on medium until it combines and slaps the bowl (you’ll know what I mean when the dough starts making a smacking sound) which is about 5 minutes.

Remove the hook and cover the bowl with a dish towel and let rest near the oven for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Combine ½ cup sugar, 1Tbsp cinnamon in a small bowl.  Melt your 4 Tbsp of butter.

Once rested, take the big ball of dough and form 3 smaller balls that you will roll out into 12 inch discs.  No rolling pin?  Use a wine bottle.

Place the first 12 inch disc on parchment paper and brush with melted butter, topping the butter with ½ of your sugar cinnamon mixture.

Place the second 12 inch disc on top of you first seasoned disc and brush with butter and top with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place the third disc on top.

Then use a ball jar top and place it in the middle of the stack of discs.  Cut 16 strips in the stacked dough from the edge of the circle out to the outer perimeter.

You will take 2 cut strips that are side by side in either hand, twist them away from one another two times and pinch the ends together.  Repeat until you have 8 star twists.

Let it rest for another 20 minutes.

Brush it with your whisked egg right before baking and bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown.

Feel free to sprinkle with powdered sugar!

EMFs: How WiFi Impacts Your Health and Practical Ways to Address It

Whether you believe that WiFi is the worst thing that’s ever happened to humans or the best thing that ever happened for business, you’re right.  Well, using extreme words like “worst thing ever” may be excessive because who’s to validate the superlative?  Either way, it DOES impact you in a POSITIVE and NEGATIVE way.  I like to do some simple education about what something is, connect some dots around your health concerns, and give you practical advice on how to do your best without living in a bubble. 

What are Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs)?

The word EMF is simply referring the radiation that’s being emitted from something, and there are 2 forms: ionizing and non-ionizing. Non-ionizing is generally seen as safe and ionizing is categorized as toxic for humans due the DNA damaging abilities (think cancer). It may make you feel warm and fuzzy to know that most of your electronic devices fall in the non-ionizing category, but as research is evolving and more patients are being treated for EMF sensitivities, many countries are taking measures to remove their citizens from this exposure for health reasons.

In fact, in 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified EMFs from cell phones and wireless devices to be potential human carcinogens.

How does this impact your body?

Let’s just make a list:

  • Using your cell for a minimum of 30 minutes a day on one side of your head for 10 years increases your risk of brain tumor formation by 40-170%.  That’s a broad range because 3 studies that have been conducted have varying outcomes, but all show increased risk.
  • WiFi decreases melatonin production which is NECESSARY for sleep and is a very powerful hormone and antioxidant in the body impacting virtually everything.  This is a large reason why sleep issues are often connected to EMF as an environmental issue for patients.
  • EMFs increase free radicals in the body, which basically means increases damage from oxidative stress, driving systemic inflammation
  • EMFs contribute to leaky blood brain barriers, allowing toxins the ability to encounter the brain when the barrier would normally keep it safe and secluded
  • In the case of heavy metal issues in a patient due to amalgam fillings, consuming fish with mercury regularly, or heavy metal exposure due to where they live, work, or play, you see increased sensitivity to EMFs
  • If you have a metal surgical implant, it basically acts like a radio frequency antenna, causing major symptoms in some patients, especially those with implants in/near the spine
  • Children are at much higher risk of forming long term health issues due to exposure…

3G wasn’t a thing until about 2005, and the latency period for brain tumors is about 25 years.  Do the math.  Data will come.

How you can decrease risk without living in a bubble:

  • DISTANCE! As you double your distance from a device, you decrease exposure by 75%.  Try your best to stay 1 meter away from your devices, minimally…that’s about an adult male arm’s length.
  • Text. Don’t call.
  • Turn off your wireless router when you aren’t using it. In addition, the router is a big source of EMF, so place it in a room you don’t use much.
  • Ditch wireless baby monitors. 
  • Move your bed away from any walls that have a fridge on the other side. 
  • Don’t carry a cell phone on your person.  Men, you’re the biggest offender here because you don’t carry purses.  They have even shown bone density changes in the femurs on the side of the cell phone pocket.  My guess is that you store yours next to other important bodily parts.
  • Do not allow cell phones in the bedroom.  You spend 20 years of your life there….
  • Turn your phone on airplane mode when you don’t need to use it.
  • Disable blue tooth capabilities.
  • Ditch wireless headphones.

I know this seems like a lot, but when you consider the timeframe of wifi and cell phone existence, we’ve done a pretty great job existing without these things for a long time.  Just like you, I work and conduct business via electronic devices, and I couldn’t be happier to have information from all over the world at my finger tips (it beats that encyclopedia set I had to use in school).  However, the little things you can implement to decrease load will only contribute to your health, the health of your kids, and the health of your neighbors (have you ever tried connecting to their router?! We’re in this together). Especially if you have headaches and sleep issues that don’t improve despite living a healthy lifestyle, you may want to take inventory of the home.

Histamine Intolerance: What You Need to Know and Why Antihistamines Aren’t the Solution

Most of the time, when the word “histamine” comes up, people are speaking about the dreaded symptoms that present with IgE-mediated allergies, like runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing.  These types of allergies tend to be seasonal for most people, and they are typically quite predictable.  However, histamine can be a part of so many more problems than just those associated with seasonal allergies.  Elevated histamine levels in the body can contribute to indigestion, GERD, rashes, migraines, and even pain.  Because these issues tend to be so global, it can be a misdiagnosed or undiagnosed problem that is fairly easy to solve!  Now, take that with a grain of salt because while explaining the issue and how to correct it is fairly simple, actually taking the steps to do so can be more difficult.

Where does histamine come from?

Histamine lives abundantly in immune cells called mast cells.  When mast cells burst, they release all of their contents, including copious amounts of histamine.  Anyone who has true seasonal allergies knows exactly what that feels like because when you breathe in allergens, they attach to the outside of mast cells and cause them to burst open.  Boom.  Itching, watering, misery.  Over the counter meds, antihistamines, try to address all that excess floating around; however, supplements actually stabilize the mast cell, so even in the presence of allergens, the mast cell doesn’t burst.  This allows patients to feel relief of symptoms without having the drowsy-inducing chemicals that cross the blood brain barrier.  Not that that topic isn’t important, BUT, we are here to talk about all the reasons someone can have histamine issues WITHOUT seasonal allergies. 

There are tons of things that cause mast cells to explode and release all their histamine:

  • Stress
  • Heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury
  • Infections
  • Autoimmunity

Now, histamine doesn’t just live in mast cells.  We eat food with histamine every single day!  Most of us know nothing about this because when it reaches the intestines, our body produces an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO) that breaks it down and we never feel any ill effects from it.  However, many people have damaged gut linings where that enzyme is made and that means that when they eat foods high in histamine, it goes unbroken down and ends up in our system, causing issues like indigestion, brain fog, migraines, pain, or rashes.  You may be thinking: “Can’t I just take that enzyme and be good?!” or “Can’t I just avoid histamine foods and be good?!”  The answer to both of those questions is “You could absolutely take DAO or avoid histamine foods to decrease histamine load in the body, but that doesn’t fix the problem and is a very expensive or difficult-to-sustain bandaid.  The better solution is to reestablish the health of your gut lining, so your body makes enough of its own DAO, and you no long have unbroken down histamine causing issues.

High histamine foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Mature cheeses
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Processed meats like sausages and lunch meats
  • Leftover foods
  • Fermented foods

You can see how avoiding this list may be challenging, not a long-term solution, and may even contribute to nutrient deficiencies!

What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?

  • Skin issues (eczema, hives, rashes, itching)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Racing heart
  • Anxiety
  • Allergies

What are natural ways you can decrease the histamine load and heal the gut?

  • Stabilize mast cells with supplements containing quercetin and consuming plenty of onions, kale, broccoli, and asparagus
  • Healing gut cells by consuming bone broth daily and/or taking supplements with glutamine
  • Getting your gut bugs in check by consuming probiotics and/or eating fermented foods if tolerated
  • Treating any infections with antimicrobials like berberine
  • Do yoga or meditation to decrease stress
  • Cut out alcohol for a period of time
  • Take B-vitamins or eat lots of colorful plants because many medications deplete b-vitamins which are necessary for DAO to function and breakdown histamine.  Think birth control, blood pressure meds, and mood regulators
  • Try to decrease the intake of high histamine foods because histamine is dose dependent.  That means a little isn’t an issue, but it just takes a little once you’ve reached the threshold to cause a response.
  • For a supplement protocol suggestion, visit the link here for products and tips!

It shouldn’t be any surprise that, once again, lifestyle choices matter for you to live a life free from histamine intolerance.  There’s no magic bullet.  There’s no quick fix.  It takes a few months before you can really see optimized gut restoration, so give yourself 3 months before assessing your progress.  Hope this was helpful, and if you want to establish if this information pertains to you prior to trying the things listed above, I encourage you to meet with a knowledgeable functional medicine doctor.

Urinary Tract Infections: Natural Solutions

Urinary tract infections are not something we sit around the dinner table discussing, but google searching on the internet, that’s another story. Believe it or not, this topic is one of the most highly searched health terms. That means, you are not alone, and let’s hope there’s valuable information out there. When I asked my audience on media the other day what conditions they wanted information for, this was what they decided! I had NO CLUE that so many people were interested in UTI solutions, but considering that if many people get them, especially women, elderly, and men with BPH, I shouldn’t be surprised. The other thing to take note of is that if you get them, they often reoccur, which means antibiotics over and over again if you go a traditional treatment route and are unable to prevent them.

Let’s get down to business.

What causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The short answer? E. coli getting into the urinary tract, penetrating the cell lining and taking up shop. This is just another case of infection due to bacterial overgrowth.

How do you treat or prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

This is where visiting a doctor who can diagnose the infection and evaluate the severity is important. If there is a severe active infection, you may want to consider antibiotics as the treatment option that is needed because no one wants it to progress into a kidney infection! However, if it is somewhat early and benign, you may be able to get away with an antimicrobial combo like Uva Ursi and Berberine to get the job done.

In the case of prevention, my preference in practice is the use of cranberry extract that contains at least 36mg PAC (proanthocyanidins). These plant compounds found in cranberries have the ability to attach to E. coli and PREVENT them from attaching to the lining in the urinary tract. Having said that, that’s why we use this in folks who have the tendency to get them over and over. You know you want prevention for these patients, and cranberry extract supplements tend to be a great solution! Studies show that if you combine a cranberry extract with 36mg PACs with a broad spectrum probiotic, that it has even slightly better prevention rates (which were already great!) I’m pretty transparent about the supplement industry and what is pretty standard across the board and what you need to be intentional about in terms of quality, and this is one that is notorious for not having many PACs when tested. Be sure to ask your doc for a good cranberry extract!

In addition to antimicrobials for treatment or cranberry extracts for prevention, whether they be prescriptive or natural, you want to make sure to do implement the follow lifestyle habits:

  • drink plenty of water because hydration will help drive urination, flushing out the urinary tract
  • urinate after intercourse
  • wipe front to back, ladies. You don’t want anything bacterial from the back entering the front.
  • steer clear of too much sugar and simple carbs in your diet, because that tends to be a fuel source that bacteria thrive on!
  • take a probiotic or eat fermented foods to help keep your internal environment balanced

Implement these simple solutions, and you could avoid a trip to the doc, another round of antibiotics, and all of the time you waste not being able to pee, having burning during urination, or pain in the back and pelvis!

Mental Health Impacts on Immunity

Everyone has heard that they need to have a more positive outlook or stress is bad for their health.  Try telling that to someone who is sick and has more bad days than good!  It’s not an easy place to be those with any chronic disease, let alone autoimmunity or cancer, but there’s some evidence to suggest that having a positive outlook and a healthy mental state pays dividends in the immunity department!

There is a field of research called psychoneuroimmunology.  Let’s break that down: pyscho (mental)-neuro (nervous system)-immunology (immune system).  There’s an entire of field of research targeted at uncovering the mysteries of how these systems work together.  Do we have it figured out? Nope.  I don’t even think that will happen in my lifetime.  Just because we don’t have the mechanisms explained, doesn’t mean we don’t see some of the correlative effects of optimistic attitudes like:

  • -better natural killer cell activity (NK cells keep cancer in check and help you fight infections)
  • better ratios of helper to suppressor T-cells (T-cells tipped out of balance equals autoimmunity)
  • -increased sIgA function (this is crazy important for the gut barrier that can be compromised in autoimmunity)

Ways to improve mental outlook

There’s nothing more frustrating than recognizing that your attitude sucks, you have negative self-talk, and maybe even some depression and someone telling you to “stop, be more positive.”  What does that even mean?!  Of course, I’d be more positive if I knew how!!!!  These tips are going to feel forced initially, but I will list some helpful suggestions in order of ease.  The top of the list is where you should start if you feel stuck and “being positive” feels forced.  The better you get, work your way down!  Be gentle, because some people take years before they can do some of the lower list comfortably.

  • volunteer– find an organization that helps people, and simply show up to help.  Animal shelters, soup kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, after-school programs.  You ALWAYS have a positive mood when you’ve made another person’s life better.
  • random acts of kindness– randomly throughout your day, do something small for someone that you may not have done otherwise.  Buy their coffee, open a door, let them out in traffic, give a stranger a compliment, look at someone and smile.  Little things go a long way.
  • write and send thank you cards– not only does this task make you think of people who mean something to you, but it also gives you a purpose to remember why your thankful for them, and then you will also feel amazing when they feel good about someone recognizing them and being grateful for their presence.  I do this every year around Thanksgiving, but this is an insta-feel-good anytime you’re feeling down.
  • start a gratitude journal– simply writing 3 things you are grateful for down every day for 21 days without repeating any will force your brain to focus on the blessings.  Your brain will begin to search for these things as a part of everyday life.
  • meditate– being able to practice checking in with yourself, letting go of expectations, knowing that how you are in the moment is enough and exactly how it’s supposed to be is extremely freeing.  Try downloading the headspace app or purchase one of Chopra Center’s meditation series.  I LOVE the Chopra meditations because they start with telling you what to focus on and how to relate it to your life.  You’ll be better at starting yourself as time goes by.

When you think about the fact that cancer patients in studies have been proven to have better outcomes when they visualize and create positive environments over those with negative thoughts, it’s definitely worth a shot.  If for no other reason than the opening the door of opportunity in a time when your immune system needs some help, smile and make a small step towards finding the silver lining!  It will pay you back in ways you never imagined. 

Patient Journey: Graves’ Disease

  1.  What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela?

I had just gotten diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and I also just had an open surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a cantaloupe, as well as one of my ovaries.  My symptoms were fatigue, racing heart, high blood pressure, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and more!

2.  What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program?

I had just started on an anti-thyroid drug after seeing an endocrinologist.

3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela?

I feel like a completely different person than I did before starting this program.  I feel so much better when I ate real whole foods compared to processed foods I was eating before. (Also, got pregnant of first try even when the medical doctors told me it would be a problem for us. ;) )

4. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program?

Dr. Angela does a really good job of educating her patients.  It’s easier for me to follow through with something when I know the “why” and not just instructed to do it.

5. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle?

Wanting to have cheat meals!!

6. Did you food options taste good?

Yes! There are so many good meals we could make and most were more satisfying than our previous meals.

7. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change?  If so, what was it?

I know that if I didn’t try this, I would have to most likely have my thyroid removed or destroyed, and I did not want to have to do that.

8. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide?

Anything is worth a try, especially before taking medications with harmful side effects, or having a definitive surgery.  Dr. Angela really cares about her patients and devotes everything to help them heal naturally.  I would recommend her to anyone!

Dr. Angela side comments:

Graves’ disease is a very serious condition, and this patient speaks about food and natural healing, but there were also components of medications and supplementation that played a role, too.  These patient journeys are for me to help anyone trying to make decisions about their health get answers to the questions from a patient perspective.  I have every patient do this voluntarily, and I do not alter any of their words.  I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this person’s health journey, and wish her all the abundance moving into motherhood!

The Top 5 Reasons You Should Use an Infrared Sauna

Every winter I make my way to the sauna and I would go everyday if my schedule allowed!  For me, it started with the desire to be warm to the core and sweat during a season where it didn’t matter how many layers I worked out in, there was not a bead of sweat.  While the sauna certainly helped me warm up, and allowed me to sweat, I started to realize there was more to it than that.  There is valid research on the health benefits of the sauna, thermogenesis, activation of heat shock proteins, etc, but I just want to keep this simple.  After all, if you’ve never been to an infrared sauna, you are problem wondering whether it’s worth the time and effort.  I’m here to tell you that if I had one therapy in my office that wasn’t delivered by a person, an infrared sauna would be it.

Here we go…

  1. Detoxification– Sweating is one of the body’s ways to detoxify through the largest organ: the skin.  When I am working with patients that have chronic diseases, there is always a need to provide detoxification support. Heavy metals, pesticides, endocrine disruptors…they can all keep you from healing.  Sweat it out!
  2. Cardiovascular health– Cardiovascular events kill more people than any other disease.  It’s a real thing. Just like exercise gets your blood pumping, so does heat.  That means you get some of the same exact cardiovascular benefits from using an infrared sauna as you do hitting the gym!  That also means it’s a great way to continue “training” when you have an injury that keeps you from pushing your limits.  It has been shown to dramatically reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in men due to having positive effects on blood pressure and vessel pliability.  The more the men used the sauna, the greater they reduced their risk in a Finnish study that has been following people over the course of a lifetime to study impacts of sauna use.  They aren’t quite sure yet, but it appears that 20 minutes or more is the magic threshold.
  3. Energy-It’s no surprise that getting your blood pumping to tissues like your muscles and brain make you feel more alive, alert, and energetic.  When I leave the sauna, I can honestly say I feel rejuvenated!  I’m starting to sound like an infomercial, but this is the real deal.
  4. Weight management– Ok, I have never used the sauna for weight management, but there are a few reasons why saunas help do this: metabolic expenditure, increased growth hormone, increased nutrients to organs that regulate metabolism like the thyroid, and increased mitochondrial activity. Let’s call it the lazy man’s weight loss program not just because of lost water, but because of the cellular influence and hormonal impacts.
  5. Sleep– I have always been a deep sleeper, but I have many patients that struggle with sleep.  There are tons of things that impact someone’s sleep quality, but drastic changes in body temperature is one that has an amazingly positive impact.  Exercise can do the same thing.  Think about a hard day’s work of manual labor, or how wiped out the kids are after a day in the sun, or how sound you sleep on the days you do heavy lifting.  Outside temperature or physical activity have an influence on core body temperature that helps you fall deeper into restorative sleep.

Can Trampolines Improve Your Health?

When I was a kid, my parents were pretty generous in the activity and toy department.  I honestly don’t remember wanting to do or be involved in something that they turned down…well Mom…because we all know who makes the decisions.  However, there was one line I couldn’t get her to cross, and that was getting a trampoline.  Back in the day you didn’t have to have the cages around them, but they did mess up a huge patch of grass.  So, that was a no-no in the beautiful backyard oasis department.  However, my friend that lived next door had one, and I’m pretty sure kids can jump on those things for hours without getting bored.  Ah the fond memories.

Fast forward 20 years later and I find myself at a trampoline park, bouncing my heart out with a few gems from the new generation.  I have read some articles about rebounding and how it’s good for your health, I’ve watched really funny workout videos where people are on trampolines with sweatbands, and I even had a small trampoline in my PT room at the chiropractic clinic to help with rehab, but is this rebounding thing actually good for your health?  Much of the studies done to prove that it’s beneficial were done of astronauts because when they come back to Earth, they were having issues with injuries trying to retrain their bodies to acclimate to gravity.

Anyway, that data basically says that the change in velocity that you receive when you rebound off of something has systemic health benefits.  However, other than that, I feel like the data out there really only shows the same amount of benefit you’d get from doing any other form of exercise!

The benefits that I could see over other forms of exercise are:

  • dispersed impact, so less injuries (although tell that to the kids that break their ankles landing wrong or on each other!)
  • it’s fun!  and doesn’t really require any skill
  • you could likely do it despite many types of injuries, so that’s a positive in rehab
  • it trains your feet, which we often support to the point of weakness when barefoot
  • you can get the same amount of cardiovascular improvement or more than running with less work from your heart

Conditions I love rebounding for:

  • Musculoskeletal rehab
  • Heart patients
  • Osteoporosis
  • Training the nervous system for balance and proprioception

Otherwise, I hate to burst the rebounding bubble, but I don’t think it’s any more beneficial for your health than other forms of activity.  I will say that I laughed the entire couple hours of jumping though and felt like a kid for second, so there’s that. So, before you invest in something that could take up lots of space or burn patches in your yard, decide if you’re just as excited to do another activity.  I may opt for an alternative, however, a little part of my soul is probably secreting still requesting a trampoline on every Christmas list.

My Favorite Paleo Recipes Using Strawberries!

The best strawberries I have ever tasted are the ones out of my own garden and the one in this picture.  This little guy was straight out of the garden at a California vineyard.  Either way, I think it is because both scenarios mean the berries are fresh, perfectly ripe, and have zero chemicals.

Strawberries are in full swing, but they are something that have porous skin and therefore, absorb a lot of chemicals if they are sprayed.  If you have ever tried to grow berries yourself, you know that they ripen and get sniped by insects quickly if you don’t eat them first!  That’s why they tend to be heavily sprayed.  So, make sure to buy organic on this one!  I love getting organic strawberries by the flat from the farmer’s market because they are so cheap.  I’ll cut them up and throw them in the freezer for use throughout the year.  However, there are plenty of options to include them in your daily food, and you should try each and every one of the recipes listed below!! Eating in season is such an important (and overlooked) aspect of nutrition.  So, now’s the time to eat strawberries like they’re goin’ outta style because blueberries will be in season quickly!

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Kale, Strawberry, Avocado Salad

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Banana Breakfast Bowl

Balsamic Marinated Chicken with Strawberry Salsa