Choose HEALTH This New Year

By Dr. Emily Smith, Smith & Prissel Chiropractic

With every new year, we as adults find ourselves knee-deep in resolutions to make this year different than the last. As with everything else, our kids are watching! Without knowing we often “gift” our kids with their lifestyle habits, both good and bad. Breaking a bad habit is much harder than making a good habit. This year resolve to instill healthy changes that will benefit the entire family (and if everyone is involved, success is more likely to last past January!)

● Treats are just that, a treat! Eating a sweet treat every day creates a habit of needing sugar to feel satisfied. Avoid buying highly processed cookies/cakes at the store/gas station and instead choose to make healthier versions of sweets at home. (Add the word “healthy” into your Pinterest search bar to eliminate temptations.) If you have always been a family that ends a meal with dessert, try to follow the meal with fruit instead!

● Water should be the drink of choice! It’s not sweet or carbonated, but water is what our body needs and craves in order to function optimally. You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day (for example if you weigh 100, pounds you should drink 50 ounces of water every day). Think of it like this, if you aren’t drinking enough water you are essentially creating “jerky” out of your muscles. If you’ve ever tried to bend/twist/stretch jerky, you know that you don’t want to be on the receiving end of that yourself. Dehydrated muscles will also be more prone to injury and result in more pain. Nobody wants that! If cold/flu symptoms have caused dehydration, turn to coconut water for rehydration (it’s nature’s Gatorade!)

● We’ve all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but did you know that a simple apple contains 10,000 ingredients?! None of these are in huge amounts but rather in small amounts that work synergistically together to provide us with the prevention we give it credit for. But don’t stop there! All fruits and vegetables have their own massive amount of nutrients just waiting to do amazing things within your body! Strive to “eat the rainbow” with a wide variety of colors of fruits and vegetables every day. For those of you who struggle to accomplish that (due to cost/time/effort/desire), Juice Plus+ can be a great way to bridge the gap between what you are eating and what your body needs! www.JuicePlus.com

● Get active together! Whether this involves a family gym membership or hiking through the woods on snowshoes, the important part is that you are moving! To motivate kids check out http://healthylivingrevolution.com/start-strong-kids-challenge/. This Strong Kids Challenge sticker sheets offer lots of ideas to help kids incorporate all of these healthy choices and keep track of their progress. There are also great ideas for healthy snacks, lunchbox planning, and a downloadable cookbook full of tasty recipes that the entire family will love.

Dr. Emily Smith is a pediatric chiropractic specialist but treats patients of all ages at her Menomonie and Eau Claire (Smith & Prissel Chiropractic) offices. She focuses on whole body wellness as it relates to health, including how important good nutrition is. She can be reached at esmithdc@msn.com or (715) 833-3505.

Natural Preventions for Cold and Flu Season

By Nyssa Langlois, Writer & Copy Editor for Farm Table Foundation

Winter in the Midwest is renowned for its intense cold; many stay cooped up indoors simply to avoid the icy wind whipping across their faces. Unfortunately, perpetually staying inside, coupled with the many social gatherings taking place around the holidays, tends to lend itself to the spread of nasty colds and the flu. While many respond to these heinous illnesses by venturing to the nearest drugstore to cure their sickness, home remedies can be just as, if not more so, effective in combating colds and the flu. Nancy Graden, owner and operator of Red Clover Herbal Apothecary Farm in Amery, Wisconsin, has been practicing the art of sustainable, plant-based home remedies for several years, and has multiple recommendations for encouraging wellness this season.

First and foremost, hydration is crucial. With this in mind, you can add many natural ingredients to your beverages that will assist in preventing you from becoming sick. Graden’s best recommendation for preventing the flu would be to add elderberries, or elderberry syrup, into your diet. Elderberries have incredibly effective antiviral properties, and Graden uses elderberry concoctions as her natural alternative to a flu shot. Another preventative method, geared more toward colds, would be to drink a mix of hot water and echinacea (commonly known as coneflower) leaves; echinacea contains several elements that help more effectively stimulate the immune system, therefore enhancing your defenses against contracting a cold or flu.

While adding different plants to your drinks is an effective way to prevent the spread of sickness, it is also a good idea to add natural defenses to your food. Nancy highly recommends increasing your garlic consumption; garlic is incredibly helpful when fighting off a cold or a cough due its possession of allicin–a powerful antioxidant. This bulb can easily be added to a variety of dishes and can be used to infuse different oils for more versatility when cooking. Graden recommends adding fresh garlic to meals, as the bulb will lose some of its antioxidant properties once cooked.

Ginger root also combats the common cold and typically helps reduce nausea, which frequently accompanies the flu. Like garlic, ginger can be added to many different recipes and infuse oils, but it can also be used to infuse honey, and it easily spices up different tea blends. Graden recommends a simple blend of honey, lemon, and ginger in hot water during the chilly months to prevent and remedy colds.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes our defensive preparation cannot thwart illness entirely. When illness hits, specifically colds, Graden recommends using eucalyptus essential oils in hot water to stimulate the clearing of sinus infections and to open airways. An additional healing method, particularly for sore throats, Graden recommends gargling with a combination of cayenne and salt water every hour, as the cayenne helps stimulate blood flow to clear infection faster.

For additional preventative and healing techniques through the use of natural products, Nancy Graden can be reached on her website: www.redcloverapothecary.com.

Nyssa Langlois studied at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and worked as a program advisor for World Endeavors. Her current positions are copy editor, writer & server extraordinaire for Farm Table Foundation in Amery, Wisconsin.

Heart Disease and Vitamin K

by Heidi Toy, NTP

The war against heart disease has largely dictated expert dietary advice over the last 50 years. Based on the principle that our diet – saturated fat in particular – predisposes us to heart disease, well-meaning diet dictocrats took to modifying our meals in specific ways to prevent heart disease. It wasn’t particularly successful. We looked to cultures that have low rates of heart disease – French, Italian, Greek – and found them eating lots of saturated fat. We declared that a “paradox” and inferred that some secret ingredient, olive oil or red wine, is protecting them from the butter and egg yolks that must be killing us.

The French/Italian/Greek “paradox” isn’t a paradox at all. Turns out that many of those rich, fatty “sin” foods are abundant in vitamin K2, the only vitamin known to prevent and reverse atherosclerosis.

The popularity of vitamin D supplements might be compounding the heart disease problem. Vitamin D increases arterial calcification when we are deficient in vitamin K2. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines, which is a good thing for bone health. But then vitamin K2 is critical to the next step, escorting calcium where it belongs – away from arteries into bones.

Vitamin K2 works by activating many proteins that move calcium around the body. Specifically, osteocalcin attracts calcium into bones and teeth. Another protein, MGP, sweeps calcium out of soft tissues like arteries and veins where the mineral is harmful. When vitamin K2 is lacking, the proteins that depend on it remain inactive. The “Calcium Paradox” then gradually rears its ugly head with an insidious decline in bone mineral density and hardening of the arteries. When K2 is plentiful, bones remain strong and arteries remain clear.

It is possible to lessen plaque burden by stimulating more MGP to actively sweep calcium away. Whether your cholesterol is high or low, what really matters is whether calcium-fueled plaque is building up in your arteries, leading to a potentially fatal blockage.

Vitamin K2 comes in two forms:
menaquinone-4 (often expressed as MK-4)
menaquinone-7 (often expressed as MK-7)

The studies showing effects on calcium deposits in the arteries were done with 45 mcg of MK-7. Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers in the field of vitamin K, recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults.

Always take the vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

Vitamin K1 is most abundant in leafy greens, while vitamin K2 is most abundant in animal fats and fermented foods. The richest sources of vitamin K2 in modern diets are egg yolks and cheese, especially hard cheeses.

Two distinct forms of vitamin K – K1 and K2 – were discovered in the early 1930s as the factors responsible for helping the blood to coagulate – when you cut your finger, you want the blood at the site to coagulate or you would bleed to death. The letter K came from the German spelling of koagulation. But it wasn’t until 1997 that researchers reported that vitamin K2 was recognized as being less important for coagulation, and much more important for healthy calcium deposition in bones and prevention of calcification of arteries. In 2007, the final piece of the puzzle dropped into place: vitamin K2 deficiency is very widespread, and this is having a major impact on human health.

Vitamin K2 appears to be much more effective at preventing pathological calcification than vitamin K1, and humans have a limited ability to convert K1 to K2.

Heidi Toy is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the owner of Heidi Toy Functional Medicine/Educated Nutrition, located in Eau Claire, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on autoimmune, digestive, weight, female hormone, and depression issues.

Cranenburg EC, Schurgers LJ, Vermeer C. Vitamin K: the coagulation vitamin that became omnipotent. Thomb Haemost 2007, 98(1):120-25

Eat Your Way to a Healthier You

By Victoria Vande Zande, MD, Prevea Health Internal Medicine

 

There are many benefits of a healthy diet including increased energy, improvement in overall health, mood stabilization and overall feeling better. Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin or depriving yourself of foods you love. There are many simple things that you can do to start eating better.

  • Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption to five servings per day. This helps to increase your fiber and vitamin intake, as well as increase complex carbohydrates.
  • Decrease your calorie intake by replacing liquid calories with water.
  • Eat real food. Replace fast food, food from convenience stores and processed snacks with food that you prepare. This takes some extra planning but will definitely make you feel better.
  • If portion size is an issue, try using a smaller plate or a plate which shows how much of each thing you should have.
  • People who count calories have the most success with weight loss if that is what you are striving for.

 

Not matter what you do, it is important to get the proper balance of foods including lean protein, fat and carbohydrates. Evidence shows that higher protein diets decrease hunger, increase weight loss and increase percentage of fat loss. Fats are important as an energy source and for cell function. Trans fats, found in processed and deep fried foods, should be avoided. Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules on earth and are an important source of fuel for your body. They are necessary for a healthy diet, but it is important to choose correctly. Choose fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates and avoid simple carbohydrates (sugar, processed foods).

 

Now, the holidays are right around the corner and it can be difficult to eat healthy during this time of year; Americans gain approximately one to two pounds throughout the holidays. This can add up over the years. In preparation for a holiday feast, remember:

  • Don’t skip meals. Hunger will cause you to overeat.
  • Eat breakfast. Research shows that people who eat breakfast consume less during the day.
  • Use a smaller plate. This encourages proper portion sizes.
  • Start by eating salad and vegetables first. You’ll be filled up and eat less.
  • Drink a large glass of water prior to eating. Again, you’ll be filled up and eat less.
  • Don’t devour your meal. Eat slowly and savor each bite, and wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds.

 

Controlling cravings over the holidays can also be problematic. Too much processed carbohydrates, sugar and sugar substitute can increase cravings for sweet foods. It has been proven that the more you restrict yourself, the more you are going to get cravings for those foods. Allowing yourself a small amount of the things you crave will not leave you feeling deprived. When you are allowed these foods you are less likely to binge or feel guilty for eating them. One tip – put a barrier between you and the food you crave. Put the food farther away. The less convenient a food is to obtain, the less likely you are to succumb to the craving.

A Weight  Loss Program That Works

For some, a more strict diet is necessary. For these people, Prevea Health offers Ideal Weigh. Ideal Weigh is a medically-supervised weight loss program that uses Ideal Protein foods along with vegetables, protein and supplements to achieve weight loss. With Ideal Weigh, carbohydrates are limited to push your body into ketosis. During ketosis your body burns fat first. Since you are eating more protein your body doesn’t burn muscle. In fact, patients on Ideal Weigh have improved body composition (decreased fat and increased muscle) and lose inches. Additional benefits? Patients with diabetes and high blood pressure are often able to decrease the medications they are on, or discontinue them altogether. Patients who have difficulty with fertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can have improved fertility. Patients with muscle and joint pain will often have improvement due to decreased inflammation when they decrease their simple carbohydrate intake. To learn more visit prevea.com/weightloss.

Healthy Choices: Safeguarding against Seasonal Stress

By Dr. Lynn Thompson

Stress is defined as the organism’s response to environmental pressures or demands either internal or external. The causes of stress in humans can include any event that the individual perceives, consciously or unconsciously, as a threat. It has been reported that at least 90 percent of all diseases are related to stress and the lack of the coping skills to alleviate the long-term reactions. This particular time of year has special risks for uncontrolled stress.

This time of year we find to be more stressful from lack of sunshine, increase in sugar consumption, and “family” or community traditions. We live in an area around the 45th north latitude and as such are very limited on the direct sunlight during the winter months. Stress can present as depression (also increased in the winter months). When the skin does not have enough sunlight, Vitamin D is not manufactured. If you do not have adequate sun exposure, you should include good sources of Vitamin D in your diet from egg yolks; raw cow milk; fatty fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, and herring; shrimp; chicken liver; and orange juice.

Ironically, orange juice is very high in sugar. In a one cup serving (8 ounces), OJ has 124 mg (milligrams) of Vitamin C (more than 100 percent of the US government’s Recommended Daily Intake of about 60 mg/day. Research dating back to 1999 recommends an increase to 120 mg/day). Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that Vitamin C is needed by the body to fight bacteria and viruses. Glucose (simplest form of sugar found in the body) and Vitamin C have similar chemical structures. There are times when the body can confuse sugar and Vitamin C. When the blood sugar level reaches 120mg/dl, the body’s ability to destroy the bacteria and viruses is reduced by 75 percent for the next four to six hours. Here are some not-so-sweet facts about sugar, just to name a few.

 

  • The average American consumes 100 pounds of sugar per year. Crazy, right?  It is even crazier when compared to the mere 8 pounds of broccoli the average American consumes annually.
  • The other white powder. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
  • Sugar is hidden almost everywhere, especially in processed foods.
  • Sugar in disguise:  corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, glucose, fructose—watch out for the “ose” at the end of the word!
  • Refined table sugar (aka sucrose) lacks vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  In fact, your body has to tap into its precious mineral and enzyme stores to process it.
  • If your body does not properly digest sugar (and simple carbs for that matter), it contributes to candida overgrowth. If you are not familiar with candida, it is worth a Google or Bing search.
  • It feeds the bad guys. Sugar contributes to an acidic environment, which cancer and other diseases love!
  • It contributes to Type 2 diabetes.

This time of year, many of us celebrate religious holidays and overindulge in spending, eating, and lack of sunshine. Rather than participate in activities that increase stress levels, take a deep breath, go for a walk, have an attitude of gratitude, enjoy a hearty laugh, and share a healthy, low-sugar meal made with love and joy.

A cheerful heart is good medicine.
Proverbs 17:22

Dr. Lynn Thompson holds doctorates in chiropractic, naturopathy, and homeopathy. She has been involved in healthcare for forty years. Dr. Lynn resides in Foster with her husband, John, and travels extensively around the United States presenting classes on health and wellness utilizing essential oils and nutrition.