This era has unlimited food on the supermarket shelves. We’ve got plenty of meats, vegetables, grains, oats, dairy products etc. However, not everything on the shelves is safe to eat in the long run. But there will always be one part of the supermarket that’s always going to be reliable and delicious; that’s whole foods.
So what are whole foods? Whole foods are a group of foods that has not been processed or went through minimum processing before being put on the shelves. Previously fresh meat and oils were also considered in the category. However, now that some meat contain antibiotics and hormones while we now know that even some oils are heavily processed before distributed. So nowadays, whole food are mostly fruits and vegetables that have not been processed or refined. Oats, legumes, beans are some of them.
So why are whole foods recommended so much? Firstly, they are not processed. This means, there are no additives in there. This means that everything is natural. The human body is made for digesting natural foods. Due to these additives and extra processing, it causes gut inflammation. Since out gut is inflamed, it’ll slow down any other healing process and make it look like there is a belly. Secondly, it decreases the chance of cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and other health problems.
This comes back to it being unprocessed again. When processing food plenty of chemicals, MSGs, fats and oils are added to a product. This chemical mixture is like a time bomb that is going to explode in your body. A build-up of these may causes unhealthy reactions in your body leading to cancers. Finally, they overflow with healthy nutrients. These food were literally designed for the human race to keep us going! They are filled with everything we need. Don’t get me wrong, supplements are extremely useful when used correctly. But most of our daily nutrition is already lie in whole foods!
So next time you pick up something from the supermarket, think bigger picture than is it yum? Whole food can be just as tasty if prepped right! So make sure you read the label carefully and choose what’s best for you body!
Stress has a major influence on the function of your immune system. For instance, have you noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold when under a lot of stress? This is true both for acute stress, such as preparing a big project for work, and chronic stress, such as relationship troubles or grief. Both can deteriorate immune systems and leave us less able to fight off infection.
Researchers have now revealed that the hormone ‘cortisol’ may play an intricate role in stress and sickness. Concluding that high levels of stress can have such a detrimental impact on our immune systems.
The Perfect “Recipe” for Avoiding Colds
Chronic stress and vitamin D deficiency can be described as the perfect ‘storm’ for developing colds. If you’re facing these two scenarios and are exposed to a cold virus, then you guessed it! There’s a good chance you’re going to get sick.
Cold viruses can live almost anywhere. On pens, computer keyboards, coffee mugs, handbags.. so it’s easy to come into contact with such viruses in daily life. The important key to remember is that just by being exposed to a cold virus doesn’t have to mean that we catch a cold. If our immune system is operating at it’s peak, it should be quite easy for you to fend off the virus without ever getting sick.
If you want to join the ranks of people who rarely get sick, start with strategies listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does give you a general idea of how to live healthy and avoid getting frequent colds and other infections. Other factors, like getting high-quality sleep and avoiding exposure to environmental toxins, are important too. Here are a few simple starters to boost your immunity straight away:
Reduce and Eliminate Stress in Your Life.
Optimise Your Vitamin D Levels.
Optimise Your Insulin and Leptin Levels by Avoiding Sugar, Fructose.
Eating sugar, fructose and grains will increase your insulin levels. This is one of the fastest ways to get sick and experience premature ageing. Leptin is another key hormone associated with disease and the ageing process. Similar to insulin levels, leptin levels can also become consistently elevated. If they do, our bodies can develop resistance to this hormone, which may wreak havoc in your body.
If you are exercising regularly, the likelihood of acquiring a cold or other viral illness is significantly reduced. In one study, staying active cut the risk of contracting a cold by 50%, and cut the severity of symptoms by 31% among those who did catch a cold. The researchers noted that each round of exercise lead to a boost in circulating immune system cells that could help ward off a virus.
Did you know that exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood? The job of these cells is to neutralise pathogens throughout your body. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and defending against viruses and other pathogens that may opportunistically overrun the body.
Eat Plenty of Raw Food
One of the most important aspects of a healthy diet that is frequently overlooked is the issue of eating uncooked, natural raw food.
Unfortunately, over 90% of the food purchased by most New Zealanders is processed. When we consume these kinds of denatured and chemically altered foods, it’s no surprise we have an epidemic of chronic and degenerative diseases. Not to mention way too many cases of colds and flu. Ideally you’ll want to eat as many foods as possible in their unprocessed state. Typically organic, biodynamic foods that have been grown locally, and are in season. Even when you choose the best foods available we can destroy much of the nutrition if you cook them. Try to eat RAW as much as possible!
When to visit your Chiropractor?
A common question that chiropractors often hear: Should I get adjusted when I’m sick? My answer is almost always YES! The body’s ability to heal quickly and efficiently, are made up of many moments of positive choices. Healthy alignment of the spine is an extremely important factor to strengthening immunity.
By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: How? Take an audit.
Whenever we want to set ourselves a new goal we have to know where we are starting. This allows us to look back in 6 and 12 months time and celebrate how far we have come. It’s hard work being a parent and it’s harder again to a parent who’s committed to healthy habits and rituals. So, it’s important to take stock and appreciate your efforts.
So let’s begin how to audit.
Q: How Much Sugar Do You Each Consume Daily
Without realizing it, most adults and children eat refined sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner via processed cereals and grains. Most of us consume an average of 53 kg of sugar each year (approximately
29 teaspoons of added and natural sugar each day), and 75 percent comes from the packaged and convenience products we eat and drink.
I’d encourage you to investigate the health risks associated with eating too many sugars (in Lunchbox Solutions I discuss the dangers of sugars and outline what are healthier ways to sweeten recipes, so that’s a great place to start).
There are several reasons should we should avoid sugars, including that they raise our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone
that our pancreas produces and its main function is taking up blood glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy. High insulin levels are thought to contribute to multiple health issues but for this post where we are focused on raising the health status of our children — let’s keep to three main issues.
Key issues with sugar
1 High insulin levels can depress the immune system weakening our ability to fight disease. This occurs because white blood cells need stacks of vitamin C to kill bacteria and viruses. So our white blood cells work to accumulate
and store vitamin C within the cell. The problem is that vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structures so they then compete to enter the white blood cells. Guess what happens when we have lots of glucose in our blood from eating lots of foods that contain processed sugars? Glucose wins and our white blood cells become deficient in vitamin C compromising our ability to fight bugs.
2 Too many sugars also upset the integral balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut. When we consume too many sugars we can create an overgrowth of harmful yeasts and bad bacteria which override our helpful “disease fighting” helpful bacteria — hindering our immune system.
3 Refined sugars also provide us with no vitamins or minerals. In order for them to be metabolized, they draw on the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, depleting our body’s nutrients.
ACTION: Start a food diary and observe just how much sugar find there way into your daily diet. Here’s a tip for when looking at products and packaging — sugars tend to be any ingredient ending in “ose” — sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose etc. Try it — it will shock you!
Drastically reducing sugar (initially this is not an easy task) not only lightens the load on your child’s immune system it also allows your children to get off the ‘blood-sugar rollercoaster’.
Here’s another tip — cutting back sugar … life just gets better. Sugar highs and lows, make us all irritable and grumpy.
Q: How many processed foods are in your pantry, fridge and child’s lunch box?
-Literally count the number of packaged items and take an audit. If a food item has more then 5 or 6 ingredients you can bet it’s refined, altered and damaged. If you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food item, mostly likely it’s full of chemicals. I’d encourage you to become a food critic and learn what all those numbers and complex sounding ingredients really mean. Please see “Become a Food Critic” and the “Poor Choice, Better Choice and Fabulous Choice” Table in “Empower Their Choices” in Lunchbox Solutions.
Q: How many pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables are you all currently consuming each day?
-Daily consistency is key here.
Q: How many glasses of water do you drink?
Q: What sort of water do you drink?
-And I don’t mean the wet kind. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is invest in a water filter to protect your family against chemically-treated water. Most of our drinking water today contains chlorine and chlorination by-products, as well as numerous other contaminants. Drinking good quality water via a high quality filter system — promotes detoxification, enhances nutritional uptake and ensures optimal hydration.
Help your children develop the habit of drinking water throughout the day rather than juices and soft drinks. A mere two per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Many children are frequently dehydrated, suffering with concentration issues, constipation and digestive problems.
Q: How many prescriptions has your child had in the last twelve months and over their lifetime?
-With regular chiropractic care and addressing these other tips for raising healthy children, many parents delight in no longer relying on antibiotics and instead being able to rely on their child’s own immune strength.
Q: How many sessions of sweaty exercise would each family member perform each week?
-Ideally each of us should be raising our heart rate 5 times a week.
Q: How many harmful chemicals are in your personal care and cleaning products?
-Source brands that are genuinely wholesome — free of nasty chemicals and toxins which are readily absorbed through the skin and tax our body and its defence system.
It can be a “reality slap” to take an audit and look at where you currently sit along the “healthy” and “not so healthy” scale. Where you sit on the “fresh” and “disastrously preserved” scale. Remember though that every moment we make choices and have the opportunity and capacity to influence both our child’s — short and long-term health.
Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We Can Help 🙂
Reflux, heartburn, indigestion, these are all names for that discomfort and sometimes burning feeling that comes after meals. At Revolution Chiropractic we like to address the cause of issues rather than focus on symptomatic relief. Reflux is often caused by a reduced ability for your body to digest and break down food so it makes sense to focus on optimising digestion rather than just suppressing the feeling of heartburn.
Start to implement the following things into your daily life and remember that it can take time to get your body back on track, this isn’t an overnight fix! (although it might be for some of you.
Eat easily digestible foods
The first and most obvious step is to improve your diet. If you are eating foods that your body is struggling to digest then this is probably the biggest cause of your symptoms. Food sources like dairy and gluten are fairly inflammatory to most people so you should cut these out for 3-6 months and see how your body responds. Replace carbohydrate sources like bread and pasta for more tolerable plant-sourced foods like:
– Kumara (sweet potato)
Other things that stir up inflammation and disrupt the digestive process are smoking, alcohol, coffee, chocolate and spicy foods. So cutting down on those will definitely improve your reflux, heartburn or indigestion.
Prepare the stomach for digestion
Contrary to what it may seem at first your reflux may be due to too little stomach acid. Low levels of acid in stomach will mean you can’t digest food properly. Ten minutes before each meal put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a small glass of water and drink it. The acid and enzymes will assist your stomach’s digestion.
Make the first few mouthfuls of your meal the protein source (meat, fish, chicken, tofu). This will prompt your body to produce pepsin and increase the acidity of the stomach for digestion.
You may be eating too much at once
Cramming too much food into your belly in one sitting will make it much harder for your body to break it down! Pay attention to your portion sizes, you may need to have 4-5 smaller meals through the day for a few months to let your stomach recover.
If you are eating too fast then you may not be adequately chewing your food. Remember that digestion starts in the mouth, not the stomach! Your teeth are perfectly designed to break down the food and saliva starts the digestive processes The more you chew, the more the food is broken down before it hits the stomach.
Life happens. And one of the best ways to make it through successfully is to make sure you’re prepared.
Meal prepping saves you time, energy and serves as your friend on the days when you get home late and every fibre of your being is against you making food. In turn, you end up spending less on eating out and having more energy by eating home-cooked, delicious meals.
Whether you’re keto, paleo, low-carb, or standard NZ diet, this simple guide will serve you well to have a fridge full of healthy meals for the week.
PLAN: Meal prepping starts on the weekend. Look at the week ahead of you and figure out the busy days for which you’ll need meal-prepped meals. Even if you don’t want to meal prep for the entire week, make sure that you schedule some time the day before to prepare a meal.
THINK: Open notes or find a pad and pen to write some healthy meal ideas. Nothing fancy, keep it simple. For example, you could have some one-pot recipes on hand that can make huge batches like chilli, grilled chicken, roast veggies, and stir fry.
SHOP: From that simple menu, create an ingredient list and go out to buy your meal prep ingredients. If you don’t have the memory of an elephant, be sure to bring a note pad with you or have your list on your phone notes to tick off as you go.
COOK: Schedule one or however many days out of the week to cook. This could be every Sunday that you plug your headphones in with a good podcast and go hard at your meal prep for an hour and a half. Be sure to cook all the things that take lots of time to cook like your chicken, veggies, and potatoes. Prepping in bulk is best because it saves you heaps of time. Slicing a few carrots is as fast as slicing one, so make sure to prep everything you can in that set time.
STORE: Finally, store your meal-prepped food in containers and make them accessible in the fridge. Be sure to also put the appropriate items in the freezer if you know you won’t be eating it before it goes bad.
And most IMPORTANTLY, don’t forget to make meal prepping fun and a regularly weekly ritual of yours. Throw on some music, watch a show or just chat if it’s a team effort.
Apply these meal prep principles and your future self will thank you immensely.
Once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop
If you are seeing a chiropractor or have mentioned you are considering it to a friend you may have heard this little lie “once you start going to a chiropractor you can’t stop”.
This myth may be because many people who start going to a chiropractor do in fact continue to go even after their initial care phase. This isn’t because they have to but because they choose to. The reality is that with any health choice it takes sustained effort to maintain results. Think about it, if you have a terrible diet of lots of takeaway food and soft drinks which has caused weight gain and you clean up your diet and lose the weight, do you think you will keep the weight off if you return to your old habits? Of course, this would be foolish to think!
The same is true with spinal health and strength; if you start utilising chiropractic, postural awareness and exercise to improve your strength and pain. Then going back to your old habits will most likely get you back to the same place that you started with.
For those who want a bit of research about this topic click the link below to s study performed in 2011 that demonstrated better pain and disability outcomes with ongoing “maintenance” care (fortnightly chiropractic adjustments) compared to those who only received an initial care phase of one month.
So the truth to the myth that “once you start chiropractic you can’t stop” is that once you start chiropractic you can CHOOSE to continue reaping the benefits of a stronger, more mobile and coordinated spine or you can CHOOSE not to. As with most things in life, the outcome is down to the choices you consistently make!
With a beautiful summer coming to an end the temperature is already dropping and the days are getting shorter. Sadly this means you will be getting less outdoor activity and time in the sun which means less opportunity for your body to make vitamin D.
Good levels of vitamin D are important for heart, brain, lungs and muscles function. Vitamin D is also important in regulating calcium levels so has an impact on bone health too. Low levels are linked with depression, low immunity and even cancer!
While most of the vitamins we need come from our food, it also is unique in that your own body can make it from sunlight. Which is why we need to pay closer attention to it in as winter approaches.
Although you can get vitamin D from foods, especially cod liver oil, raising your levels of vitamin D through food alone is not adequate according to the vitamin D council (find a link to their website below to get more information on vitamin D). Sun exposure and supplementation are the most effective ways to bring your levels up and maintain good health.
Tips for vitamin D this winter
1) Try and get as much sun exposure as you can while still being sun smart.
Most people can supplement vitamin D without any problem but if you have high blood calcium levels it may not be a good idea to take high doses. If you are taking certain medications it may also affect your ability to take high doses, whereas other medications may require you to take a higher dose than normal. This being the case it is best to consult your doctor to have some simple tests done to find out what dosage is right for you.
Each profession has an element that makes it unique, it’s reason it holds a niche in the market. At Revolution Chiropractic we take a distinct approach to your health by determining where shifts in your spinal structure exist and correct them as opposed to directly addressing the symptoms you may present with.
Our goal as structural chiropractors is to help your body work “more normally.” because we know that a spine in better structural alignment and movement is stronger than a spine with abnormal structure and movement.
Symptoms like pain, fatigue, dizziness, digestive upset, and so on, are warning signs. This means your body is giving you issues that are building up. Restoring your body to an optimal spinal structure and reducing stress on your system often has the flow-on effects of improved symptoms because your body doesn’t need to warn you of issues anymore.
The goal of the chiropractic adjustments we use is to allow your body to return to a more normal state. Whereas the goal of a treatment like medication or physiotherapy is often to treat the symptom. For example, we wouldn’t say that eating a salad is a treatment for diabetes.
The goal of eating more fresh vegetables is to create normal, healthy functions in an individual whether or not they have diabetes. Because diabetic medication seeks to treat the issue, or symptom of high blood sugar. But doesn’t address the cause of the blood sugar being high in the first place i.e. poor diet, over stressed, lack of daily movement and exercise. Is changing the diet in a person with diabetes helpful for their condition? Very much so, because it helps their body move toward normal.
Are we anti-medication or the treatment approach that other models use? Absolutely not! In the case of a musculoskeletal injury using a treatment approach to target weakness and pain alongside a chiropractic approach to normalise structure can be a very effective approach. Or in the case of the diabetes example, a person with dangerously high blood sugar may need medication. To control the symptoms, whilst they educate themselves on making lifestyle choices to take control of their own health and body!
In our final part of a 3 part series adapted from a TED talk on longevity cultures, we cover off the final 3 points.
Spending time in nature also appears to be a commonality when these people groups connect with family and friends. If you live in a city this can be hard to do but take time in the weekend to get out into the bush or the beach. The fresh, unpolluted air is great for your lungs and the slower pace of nature can help de-stress your body.
They belong to a faith-based community:
This factor may be a combination of many things, a sense of purpose (point 2), relaxation (point 3) and a sense of belonging and community (point 6). Spirituality is an important and fascinating aspect of what makes us human, it gives billions of humans around the globe their sense of purpose. The Seventh-Day Adventists, in similar fashion to the Jewish culture, celebrate, relax and spend family time for a 24-hour period on the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. They call it a sanctuary in time where absolutely no work is to be done. One intentional day of holiday each week.
They drink a little each day:
I found this one somewhat surprising, as the consensus on alcohol is conflicting. Some studies say that no amount of alcohol is good for you where others say that red wine has the healthful benefit of antioxidants and beer has many minerals. I present this point with some caution as some readers (not you of course) might take this and think a bottle of wine each night is healthy. Drinking excessively is certainly not healthy, but a standard drink or less a few nights a week shared with friends and family may be beneficial according to this study. If alcohol doesn’t agree with you then I don’t imagine you are missing out on too much by skipping out on this point.
If living a longer, healthier life is important to you then make a point of trying to shift your habits. The combination of all 9 points is probably the most beneficial but starting with the ones you can easily do will get your journey to health started.
As mentioned in part one, this three-part series has been adapted from a TEDx talk by Dan Buettner, a writer for National Geographic and a longevity coach. If longevity interests you, you can find out more at https://www.bluezones.com/
Continuing on in our theme of living a healthier and longer life we look at the next 3 common traits of cultures with a high amount of centenarians (people living to 100 or older). Genes dictate about 10% of your longevity and health, the other 90% is lifestyle! This means the power is in your hands to create a healthy and long life. Thankfully none of this is rocket science so it’s easy to start to make changes. Relax: The Seventh-day Adventist community and the Sardinians take regular time to slow down and pray, the Okinawans have a form of Ancestral veneration in which they take time to pay respects to there predecessors.
Taking regular time to reflect and slow down is crucial. Constantly being on the go and rushing fires up or sympathetic nervous system and triggers and inflammatory response. This response is linked with many disease states from Alzheimer’s to cardiovascular disease to joint degeneration. Taking time to quiet the mind and spiritually connect through prayer and meditation is something that people of faith have done for centuries but unfortunately in our day and ageless and fewer people are reaping the benefit of such activities, or rather non-activities.
They eat less:
Okinawans have a saying that they say before each meal to remind them to stop eating when they are 80% full, this is because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register the stomach is full. They also eat off smaller plates to reduce the amount of calories per sitting. Digestion is a fairly intensive process for the body to perform, which is why appetite is often low when you get sick as your body needs to focus its energy on the immunity and healing process. It is clear that being significantly overweight isn’t good for longevity but neither is being too underweight so take heed with this piece of advice. Eating enough food to maintain muscle mass but not too much that you put on fat
They eat a plant-based diet.
This point also reduces the amount of calories you consume until you are full and also means each mouth full is more nutritious . Most of these cultures eat a wide variety as well as large amounts of vegetables. The Okinawans consume a large amount of tofu, which has all essential amino acids and is a good source of iron. They still eat small amounts of meat and fish but supplement it with nuts, seeds and beans.
Family and connection.
Sense of belonging and connection is vital. In our modern world we may have more connections but it can be easy to let deep, meaningful connections slide. These cultures spend time with their children and taking care of their aging grandparents. The Seventh day Adventists reportedly schedule up to 24 hours per week to spend with family, friends and God. Make sure you proactively spend time investing into others and with people who support, love and challenge you. Don’t let yourself get caught up with being so busy that you don’t foster meaningful relationships!
If you missed the first part of this series go and check it out here and keep an eye out for our third and final instalment, the final three points might surprise you.