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.

Bras: Bad for Our Health?

Let’s just get the point.  I’ll keep this short and sweet.  When you travel to other parts of the world, many countries don’t wear bras!  I remember being in Africa with the Peace Corps and culturally, knees are way more taboo.  So, women would need to cover their knees, but breasts were fair game, often out, and certainly without a lift.  When you compare the rates of breast cancer in the U.S. to those in other nations, you notice a trend in higher rates among Americans.  At one point, this correlation was made to the fact that we wear bras and the nations with lower statistics do not.  That led to the hunt for clues as to what bras could be contributing to the matter.  It was postulated that bras restrict lymph drainage, causing toxins to get trapped in the tissue, and this leads to cancer.  However,  I want to debunk this for a second.

Lymph for breast tissue actually drains in an upward direction.  This means that idea that toxins in breast tissue can’t drain out because of the underwire is somewhat perplexing if you understand physiology.  I may even argue that this correlation is similar to that you may have learned in college when learning that more murders occur in the summer.  More people also eat ice cream in the summer.  So, ice cream consumption must cause people to commit murders.  Hate to burst the bubble.  Correlation doesn’t mean causation.  I think the missing piece of this bra puzzle is really that our lifestyles are very different among countries and those that have less breast cancer rates NOT ONLY wear bras less, but they have less stress, less chemicals, better food quality, and just plain better epigenetics.  Epigenetics are the lifestyle factors that change the environment around your genes.  The better your epigenetics, the better your gene expression.  This can be the difference between getting cancer and not despite holding the gene in the cards you were dealt.

So, on a closing note, I may even argue that bras are good for our health.  The more you work with women who are ill, you know it’s not about the breasts.  It’s about the whole body, their life, their quality of life.  Bras make the girls look perky, they help women look great in clothes, they can boost a woman’s confidence.  These things have a positive physiological effect on our epigenetics.  It’s true.  So, shamelessly wear those bras, ladies.  Take them off at night, and rest in peace knowing it’s ok to wear it again tomorrow. The one pictured is from Third Love. I received some Third Love bras for Christmas, and who knew that I’m actually a half cup person!  Since we only sell bras in full cup sizes, I had missing out on the perfect fit all these years!

Homemade Chicken Stock for the Lazy Folks

Homemade month is moving along and next on the list is chicken stock.  I think this may be one of the easiest things you can do in your kitchen because it requires nothing but a crockpot and a chicken.  The picture is from a frozen chicken in the crockpot with veggie scraps from trimming them at other meals.  I believe I have onion tops, shallot tops, carrot ends, celery ends, etc.  I start a bag that goes in the freezer and accumulate scraps for the moment when I want to make a stock.  This is exactly what I did:  I put a frozen chicken in the crockpot with a little salt and cracked peppercorns and obviously veggie trimmings.  Cover for 10 hours (if thawed, 8 hours), and set crockpot on low.  Around 6 hours or so all the juices will begin to accumulate at the bottom of the crockpot.  After your 10 hours are up, remove the meat off the bone and put the carcass back into the crockpot.  Fill the crockpot with filtered water and let simmer for another 4 hours.  Strain your stock into containers!  That’s it.  I didn’t measure exactly but I want to say that it produced 10-12 cups of stock for me.  Typically, the ones you buy in the store come in 4 cup cartons.  So, that means I made the equivalent of 3 cartons of chicken stock with leftover bones from cooking a chicken.  I was already cooking the chicken and using the meat for tacos.  Therefore, it’s hard to estimate a cost savings when you are simply using leftover parts!  The cartons I buy of organic chicken stock at the store at $3-$4 bucks.  The entire chicken cost me $12 through Honored Praire.  For $12 bucks, I got about 3 lbs of meat and 3 cartons of chicken stock.  Not too shabby.  I put the stock that I will use that week in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  I use the stock for everything from soups to simmering veggies.  It is packed full of minerals and healthy collagen for the joints.

Here’s my opinion on the whole homemade chicken stock ordeal: (1-5 with 5 being the best)

Ease: 5 (you put a chicken in pot and leave it for heaven’s sake!)

Price: 5 (I would have spent the same amount of money for 3-4 cartons of chicken stock at the store without the meat!)

Worth the touble: 5 (I am set now for weeks)

Taste: 5 (Way better tasting and way more nutritious than its processed counterparts!)

Is Exercise Causing Your Leaky Gut?

When considering a healthy lifestyle, exercise is often a component of that.  The details of “what is healthy exercise” tends to be the real debate.  When prescribing exercise to a patient, the goal is always to have exercise induce healthy signaling to cells in order to enhance normal metabolism, detoxification, and hormone production.  We want this healthy signaling to happen while performing movement that is low risk because movement that may promote damaging signals or cause injury is counter-intuitive to the health agenda at hand.  This is an easier article to write if the focus is simply hormone production and low risk movement patterns.  It becomes more tricky when you start considering how exercise may be contributing to intestinal permeability, aka leaky gut.  If you are unfamiliar with this term, check out a prior article I wrote on what it is and how it happens here.

When you perform high intensity workouts or exercise for long durations, you actually induce intestinal permeability.  The fact that this happens can also be an argument to justify shorter durations and longer recovery times.  If we are thinking in general, it is probably not the best idea to be doing vigorous workouts on a daily basis because over-exercising is a real thing!  Not only can it begin to have a catabolic effect, induce cortisol issues, and create real fatigue issues, it can cause leaky gut.  Leaky gut is the precursor to autoimmune diseases and should not be taken lightly. This is also a part of exercise-induced immune suppression.  That’s right.  You actually have a period of time after exercise where your immune system is suppressed.  So, if you are a person that wants to train at an elite level and stay healthy while maintaining a normal intestinal lining, what do you do?

  1. Eat a diet free from foods that can contribute to intestinal damage such as wheat, processed foods, sugars, and commercial dairy products.
  2. Stay away from alcohol when in high training seasons.  Alcohol contributes to leaky gut.
  3. Get adequate rest and sleep for recovery.
  4. Don’t overtrain.
  5. Take supplements that will keep your immune system up:
    1. Beta-glucans are a yeast-derived products that prime neutrophils (immune cells) to act quickly and efficiently if you get an infection. Look for those containing “Wellmune”
    2. Colostrum is a product that contains antibodies to give the body a donated immune system in addition to growth factors that stimulate healing of the gut lining.

When athletes take colostrum during peak training season, they have virtually no sign of leaky gut in comparison to their counterparts that don’t take colostrum.  A recent study was just published on the topic, and it really is remarkable.  When we think about why colostrum can provide such a service to the intestine, we need to think about nature’s original intention.  Colostrum is the first milk produced for baby.  Every baby is born with leaky gut (this is normal for an infant!) but it’s colostrum and mother’s milk that provides the immune factors such as antibodies in addition to the growth factors that will ultimately create a normally developed intestinal lining.  In a bubble, this lining would never encounter processed food, antibiotics, excessive workouts, etc.  But we live in 2017 and people have so many damaging things happening in everyday life.

If you are an athlete that doesn’t want your exercise regime to cause damage to the intestines that will ultimately hurt the immune system, consider taking colostrum.  It’s a classic story that any athlete will tell you: inevitably, game day rolls around and that’s when you get sick!  Either that or it’s often during peak training season.  I wouldn’t want to train all year for something and then get sick right before competition!  We can use these types of discoveries to leverage food to our advantage in addition to knowing how to adjust lifestyle habits like exercise frequency. On a side note: there have been Olympic teams known to take colostrum because of the factors that enhance performance without it being a growth hormone type product.  So, there could be some performance benefits in addition to health benefits!

If you are interested in all the recent study details, click here!

If you are interested in protecting your intestines and immune system without changing your training schedule, check out my fullscript dispensary for Wholemune (beta-glucans) and IgG Protect (colostrum).  Many functional medicine doctors and chiropractors will have these products, too!

Free Ways to Assess Your Health Status

I write articles all the time (and read articles all the time) that talk about how to diagnose your problems, or recognize the root cause of your health issues, etc.  But how do you know if you are healthy?  This can be a fleeting concept for people because we are taught that if you don’t have a model body, perfectly thick hair, flawless skin, a sharp mind, perfect poop, and are happier than a clam everyday that you must have something that is unhealthy about you.  I am not denying that there are clues that one can find in these concepts, but the reality is, NO ONE is “perfect” 100% of the time!  So, how do you assess whether you are healthy or whether you should probably address your issues?

You don’t necessarily need to spend money on bloodwork to asses how healthy you are.  Those numbers can give you interesting insight into a snapshot of what’s happening on the inside, but you get signs every day, multiple times a day that could tell you some really important things! Here are some free ways to asses your health:

  1. Stool- Your poop can tell you a lot about your digestion!  Your gut and digestion is such a huge part of your health, that how things come out the other end can be really indicative as to whether you are functioning optimally.
  2. Urine– Along those same lines, you urine is a good indicator for how your detoxification systems are working and especially your kidneys.  Your urine should be a clear, light yellow with no odor.  If your urine is dark, you may be dehydrated or even have small amounts of blood in the urine.  If you have a terrible odor that isn’t due to eating asparagus, then you may have underlying issues.  If your pee is cloudy, you may have an infection.
  3. Strength– One of the standard tests I would perform on patients to assess where their core strength landed was a plank.  If you can’t hold a plank for 1 minute or side planks for 45 seconds, then you are lacking in core strength.  This is huge because maintaining core strength indicates huge health predictors in terms of quality of life.  Muscle maintenance and strength often dictates if someone ends up in a nursing home.  You are doing great if you can do this.  If not, you are probably not ideal for basic health status from a musculoskeletal standpoint.
  4. Menstrual Cycle– Another great indicator of health coming from down below!  Normal menstruation is indicative of normal hormone levels.  Hormones rule the world and hormonal imbalance is a major part of many issues that women face in the health arena such as PCOS, fertility, thyroid function, cancer, and autoimmune disease.  You should have a predictable cycle, virtually no PMS or cramping, and while it is there, you shouldn’t feel like it being there alters your daily life too much.
  5.  Energy levels– I’m not suggesting you should feel like you’re hyped up on caffeine all day everyday, but you should wake up feeling rested, you should have energy throughout the day and your levels of fatigue should be easily addressed with more sleep, a nap, or food intake.  If they are more relenting to the point where you feel like a zombie daily, never feel rested, or you feel like you could sleep for a week straight and still not be caught up, then we have a problem.  Listen to this.
  6. Sleep– Do you fall asleep easily?  Do you sleep through the night?  Do you wake up rested?  Then you’re good to go!  If not, then you may have some underlying health issues or lifestyle issues that are keeping you from optimal health.
  7. Emergency contacts– Yup.  Having people in your close circle is an indicator of health status.  If you have close relationships with a couple people that you can turn to, then your mental and emotional health AND physiological health will be better than your counterparts.  If you don’t have people close to you, then building some real friendships will instantly enhance your health.

This information isn’t rocket science, but it is extremely insightful!  Hope it helps you healthy folks out there feel better about your status.  If you aren’t in that group, then hopefully it gave you insight as to whether or not there are things you can use to assess how you are improving as you implement changes!

Is All the Sacrifice Worth It? A Lesson from a Patient Who Died

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” I saw this quote somewhere a couple weeks ago and thought “that’s pretty profound.” My mind kept coming back to it, because I obviously can’t control my thoughts. I started to ask myself some questions:
How does someone live like they will die tomorrow? They would probably get rid of all responsibility and eat whatever, do whatever, take major risks, spend all their money, etc. But what happens if they don’t die tomorrow? Then they are screwed! So, is it possible to live like you were to die tomorrow and still have life be great tomorrow if you do wake up?

That led me to my story about a patient. I will call him Bob. Bob was a diabetic and came to me because he wanted off of his medication. Bob did amazing in my program, got off his meds, reversed his diabetes (type II), and couldn’t have been happier. In order to do this, Bob had to change some things that had become habitual in his life and maybe partake in certain indulgences a little less often.

The following year I get an update on Bob. He died. Not due to his health, but in a car accident. When considering the quote above, I asked myself “I wonder if he still would have done my program if he had known he would die the next year?” After all, he did give up some convenience, some indulgence, and some comfortable habits to improve his health, but he likely would have still survived past that year without changing a thing. I’ll never know the answer to that question.

This is often an argument I hear in regards to healthy habits. What if I die tomorrow? We will all die of something. I ask “What if you don’t?” Are you willing to sacrifice your ability to live a good quality of life later for the excessive amount of pleasure today?
I could ask this same question about money. If you spend it all this year because you never know about the next, what happens when next year comes and there’s no money?! But what if next year doesn’t come and you saved every dime and didn’t enjoy things as much as you could?!

It’s balance. You want some indulgence, some excitement, some pleasure, but not at the loss of your ability to experience that over a lifetime. You also don’t want to limit pleasure in hopes you will live forever. Because the truth is, you really just don’t know when your last day will be.

When I work with patients, it’s always been about creating an unwritten balance. Not in the way of “if I eat a salad, then I can have this donut” because that’s not the point. It’s about creating balance within a LIFESTYLE that allows you to enjoy today AND tomorrow. When people end up on my doorstep, many times it’s because they have recently realized that tomorrow will and did come, and they didn’t live yesterday in a way that will make a pleasant quality of life in the future. I want people to indulge, to experience pleasure, to create excitement in their senses, but I also want them here doing the same thing tomorrow, next week, next year, and for their lifetime. Unfortunately, there is no known way that one can live like they will die tomorrow and not have a rude awakening in the morning. So, seize your moments and enjoy life as if it is short but remember how much sweeter life will be if you can do these things for a lifetime and not just one day.

*geeky side note: When teaching physiology, we would always go over a concept of sensory adaptation, and we have all experienced it. You walk into a smelly room and in 5 minutes, you don’t notice is nearly as much, if at all. Or you order a piece of cheesecake for dessert and you take a bite and go to heaven. By the time you reach bite 4 or 5, you are actually not that excited about it and are just eating it because it’s there. The culinary world knows the magic happens on the first couple bites. That’s why they create small plates and dessert shooters. They want you to leave with the pleasure and desire for MORE, but it actually decreases your pleasure when you do have more! Sensory adaptation is the ultimate temptress, the tease, the thing that everybody loves to experience. Biology ultimately tells us that this heightened pleasure is NOT prolonged. However, it can be experienced over and over if there is enough gap in between. In the long run, this creates a lifetime of pleasure instead of continued behavior that never quite reaches the dopamine surge of the first bite. Food for thought.

The Reason you Need Medication?

No one ever takes stress seriously.  We all have it, we all know it, we all feel like the activities that remove it from our life mean we are self-indulgent slackers.  Heaven forbid someone get a massage once a month.  Heaven forbid someone say “no” to one more commitment.  Call the police if someone needs a nap.  Let’s be mean behind someone’s back because they don’t want to work 80 hours a week.  We are a society of work, work, work….therefore, we are a society of constant stress between work and kids and extracurriculars.  This constant state of fight or flight in addition to lack of sleep, poor food choices, no time for exercise, sitting all day, etc. may be the reason you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, hormone issues, and osteoporosis.  Stress may be causing you to be fat, flabby, sick, and prematurely old!  I was reading one of my books from graduation again and this entire chapter focused on stress and the biochemical effects.  I thought it was important to relay the info….so you have doctor’s permission to eliminate some stress from your life!

Stress Response in the Body:

1. Increased cortisol (more stress hormone)

2. Increased catecholamines (excitement)

3. Increased heart rate (racing heart)

4. Increased vasoconstriction (vessels get smaller)

5. Increased blood pressure (hypertension!)

6. Increased blood glucose levels (diabetes!)

7. Increased blood lipid levels (fat in the blood…)

8. Increased blood cholesterol levels (increased LDL: decreased HDL) (now your doc wants  you on statins)

9. Increased clotting factors (risk of stroke?)

10. Increased protein degradation of muscle and connective tissue (getting flabby)

11. Insulin resistance (getting fat)

12. Increased feelings of stress, fear, anxiety, and depression- decreased short term memory, ability to concentrate, and learn

13. Decreased serotonin levels; increased noradrenaline levels (getting depressed)

14. Increased sensitivity of sensory systems including those for pain and other emotions (something always hurts!)

15. Decreased cellular immunity (catching all the bugs around town)

16. Decreased anabolic hormones like growth hormone and testosterone and luteinizing hormone, etc. (getting old…way too fast!)

17. Bone loss, muscle fiber changes, decreased R.E.M. sleep (bags under the eyes and osteoporosis!)

18. Decreased sex hormone binding globulin (hormone issues now?!)

19. Increased excretion of calcium and magnesium

If you think this is you…unfortunately, it probably is!  An adrenal test is simple, easy, and can tell you exactly where you are in terms of stress affecting your body.  Everyone should take one just to be able to take REST seriously!!!! You have no idea how many people refuse to admit their levels of stress until a cortisol panel acts as their lie detector.  Only then, will they decide to cut themselves some slack.  This may be the first window into being able to get you off your pesky medications….

Supplementation: The Good, The Bad, and My Opinions

Okay, so I could go on and on about supplements, and if you have ever attended one of my nutrition courses, you probably know that first-hand!  I felt compelled to address the issue of supplementation.  As I am preparing for my next nutrition course,  I am going through topics that I want to cover, questions everybody wants answers to, etc.  What I find every single time is that people want to know what supplements they should be taking.  My answer is always the same: “The only supplements you should take are the nutrients you can’t get sufficiently from foods.”

Supplementation and nutraceuticals have taken over the alternative health industry, and I am never surprised anymore when someone brings me a bag of supplements they are taking (on top of their medications).  I want to say loud and clear “No supplement will make up for poor lifestyle choices!”  There will NEVER be a pill of any sort that makes it good for your body to have fast food.  There will NEVER be a pill of any sort that makes up for not eating vegetables.  There is a huge misconception when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies that they will help cure your disease processes.  NOT TRUE!  The body only functions properly, free of disease if it is fed the right building blocks in sufficient amounts, given adequate exercise, relieved of stress, and had all toxins removed from its environment.  You should ONLY supplement things that you cannot get from your food, not in place of food.

So, there is someone out there saying “But what about my osteoporosis?  I need Calcium! ”  Another one I hear quite often is “I get my nutrients from my One-A-Day multivitamin.”  I could go on and on with statements I hear from patients regarding why they need their supplements.  Without going into detail about why this is simply not the case, I want everyone to ask themselves, “if we need supplements to keep us from having osteoporosis, then how did people stay clear of it when there was no such supplement?” Studies have shown skeletal remains of hunter gatherer societies with more the sufficient bone density at old ages.  “If we need a multivitamin for vitamins, what did healthy populations do before us in order to get their RDAs?” The answer to almost any question like that is “They did not need them because when you exercise adequately and eat raw, whole foods for nutrients, you simply don’t have to take a pill!”  Taking a pill for your nails, one for your heartburn, one for your immune system, one for your bone density, etc. is the exact same concept as taking 10 prescription drugs to cover up the symptoms that your body is not functioning properly because it lacks essential changes to your lifestyle.

I will say that there are 4 supplements that I believe every individual should consider taking due to modern farming techniques and agriculture today.  The 4 essentials are fish oil, probiotics, whole foods, and vitamin D (if you live an area where adequate sunlight is deficient).   I will elaborate on these supplements and the reason for the need to supplement with them in upcoming posts.  For now, I just want every person to ask themselves how many supplements they are taking, where they can find them in nature, and choose to get those nutrients from food instead.  Nature has created us everything we need for sufficiency, I promise.

Side note: I do use supplements like medication in acute care situations, but they are not lifelong pills someone takes forever.  They are used sort of like an antibiotic for infection.  You take the pill until the patient is better, and then you STOP taking it.  For sake of ease, these supplement posts on based on supplementing nutrients you should be getting from food.

The Key to Long Term Health

Many of us have busy lives that require our time to be spent in so many different places that we barely have enough time to fully dedicate ourselves in one area.  I have been seeing a lot of patients lately that feel as though they are doing everything right but not reaching their optimal level of health.  When they express this to me, I ask them what things they are doing right.  I have been getting a lot of answers that sound something like this “I’ve been trying to exercise everyday and drink more water.  Dr. Angela, I’ve also been trying to eat better.”  You all know what my next question is, right?  What specifically are you eating?  However, that is not the point of this post.  Many of you know that if you tell me whole grains, you will get a polite invitation to my next nutrition class.  The point of this post is to evaluate priorities to reach your health goals, and I am going to start with an analogy I use often:

If you went home tonight and saw that one of your house plants was wilting, what would you do?

Most people will tell me that they will give it WATER!

Great answer.  What if I told you that it had been watered adequately.  The plant just happened to be placed in the basement where there are no windows.

Then people say “Well duh, it needs sunlight.”

Another great answer.  What if I told you I was mistaken; the plant was in the window and was watered regularly, but there was no soil in the pot.

Now you are getting annoyed because who doesn’t know that the plant needs soil for nutrients?!

So, what you are telling me is that a plant can have adequate water and sunlight and still be a wilting plant?  Yup.  Your body is no different.  We require ALL aspects of health to truly be healthy.  Not only does that mean appropriate dietary nutrients and adequate water, but that means movement, as well.  You can exercise every single day, but if you are picking up McDonald’s on the way home or eating pasta every night, then you probably still have health concerns.  The same is true for reducing stress and removing toxins.  Our bodies are built to be able to keep up with stress and remove toxins, but if you aren’t getting enough sleep and stressing out everyday at work, guess what, despite your efforts at the gym and in the kitchen, you are still a wilting plant.

This can seem like a tall order.  However, it is our current lifestyle that makes it impossible for many people to “do it all.”  Therefore, they either focus on eating healthy and don’t carve out time for exercise.  OR, they are a gym rat that doesn’t have time to cook healthy meals.  OR, they are a gym rat that eats healthy to maintain their physique but gets up at 4:30am to go to the gym, doesn’t get out of work until 6pm, has to run the kids around, cook dinner, start laundry, and might get to bed around 11:30pm.  Hate to tell you….still a wilting plant.  This balance is a tricky one in today’s society but it is essential for our vitality.

You need:




removal of toxins (no one wants to grow a plant next to the sewer!)


appropriate doses of stress

If one of these components is off track, think about making a shift in your life in order to create balance.  If you are eating correctly, you are probably cutting out a lot of toxins that would be coming from food at the same time as providing your body with nutrients.  If you have movement within your job, then consider yourself lucky.  Otherwise, you need to make it an effort of move daily, and exercising outside gets you both movement and sunlight.  If you give yourself a bedtime, then you are probably much more able to handle stress throughout the day. Chiropractic adjustments also have impact on the nervous system, which is essential for stress adaptation.  If you structure your day around making sure you hit all the things you need to be healthy, then it’s easy to evaluate whether or not you have time to add another task onto your schedule.  This is probably the hardest thing for parents to do these days and it may just be the missing link to your vitality.