Health… Expectations Vs. Reality

What is health? What is perfect health? Is it possible to achieve perfect health? If so, how long does it take? Are these all expectations that social media has set or is it the reality? These questions are often questions I ponder about as a well-being practitioner. Some people ask me that too, but it’s just such a long answer. I think people should read this instead of me answering it verbally.

Health according to the World Health Organisation, is “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This is completely true; many people think just because they do not have pain they are in good condition. The definition also includes ‘mental and social well-being’. I feel too many people in the world now only focuses on the thing that they can see or feel when exhibiting physical health. The expectation is because someone has rock hard 6 pack or has an amazing body they must be in perfect health. In reality, it does not necessarily reflect their state. The person with an amazing body may have reached peak physical health but that same person may always be conscious about their own body image that it causes mental disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). This neglects the aspect of mental health.

 

Cont.

 

So to answer the question is it possible to achieve perfect health; the short answer is yes but there is always a catch to it. In my opinion, being physically perfect is to be in a balanced state of ‘physical, mental, and social well-being’. Some may be already in that realm if you are I congratulate you. However, if you are there already, are you taking it for granted, or are you actively trying to improve or maintain it? This is where the wellness model comes in. To achieve even a higher state of health is to actively pursue maintenance. We can accomplish this through regular chiropractic care, a continuation of healthy habits (mentally, physically, and socially) and self-reflection. Unlike the allopathic model of health where we seek help or therapy after if a breakdown occurs. The reality of perfect health is for us to maintain the standard, this way, we can enhance our own body’s ability.

If you are not in ‘perfect health’ how long will it take you? You might expect it overnight just by suddenly going to the gym, quit smoking, or stop drinking excessively? Unfortunately, it does not work like that, otherwise, everyone would have perfect health in no time and there would not be a profession in health. The famous saying: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, is particularly applicable in scenarios like these. The reality is that good things take time, our body takes time to change. Research has shown that even working out consistently at the gym, results will not be seen until 3 -6 months later. Additionally, a healthy diet is just as important as working out! You must include all aspects to actually see results! Health is the same, consistent social, physical, and mental habits are the right way to go to develop perfect health. Be patient, trust in the process and everything will fall in its place.

 

Concl.

 

The expectation these days for health is focused on physical appearance. However, having a visually pleasing body doesn’t equate to being on top of things. Being healthy is achieving a balance between social, mental, and physical health. In this modern society, we are expected to do things in a flash and be successful right away. However, in reality, things take time. In the end slow and steady wins the race.

 

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Stress And The Common Cold

Stress, colds, chiropractors

Stress And the Common Cold

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.

Exercise

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.

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 5 Sleep

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 5 Sleep

Sleep

Poor sleep habits can also contribute to unnecessary stress in the household…

If a child does not wake up easily and with energy each morning, this could indicate they are not getting enough quality sleep. This in turn will affect their personality, their learning and their health in general.

Tired children cannot concentrate, learn tasks, or play sports well. And just like adults, typically tired children crave sugary foods that leave them prone to yeast imbalances.

The parents role

As parents, we often miss our child’s ‘tired cues’ and then we have great difficulty trying to put them to bed when their brain has moved back into fourth gear. If your child consistently wakes up tired or is slow in the morning, then try getting them to bed an hour earlier for a period of time and watch how this can transform grumpy or emotional behavior. Over the years I have learnt that a set routine for dinner and bedtime makes getting to sleep earlier easier, and life easier for everyone. This means aiming to feed children early—well before they are tired. Plan an ideal time for bed and give yourself plenty of time for baths and the reading of evening books, etc. Some nights you will be able to have luxurious, long baths and other nights you will need to be drill-sergeant.

It is a good idea to limit the number of late nights that children have in a week. With social, school and family activities, bedtimes can gradually become later and later for older children; however, sleep requirements remain just as vital for teenagers as when they are younger. It turns out that teenagers may actually need more sleep than in their
younger years.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 4 Immune System

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 4: GET DIRTY – Benefits to the Immune System

Many of us have been led to believe that germs are the root of all evil. And that we should go to great lengths to avoid them…

Anti-bacteria hand creams, sprays, and wipes, fill our handbags and counters. Yet, compelling research tells us that we have gone too far. Some exposure to pets, dirt, and other children, for example, are vital for stimulating the immune system to work effectively. In experiments where we grow animals in completely sterile (germ-free) environments, their immune systems do not develop normally. In a conclusion, they develop severe immune diseases, including allergy and autoimmunity.

When our “microbiome” (our internal network of helpful and harmful bacteria) becomes imbalanced, our digestion, immune function, state of mind, and general health and wellbeing in time become compromised. Scientists now believe, an imbalanced microbiome to be one of the primary causes of several diseases and disorders. Such as:

  • Chronic infection
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s, autism, and schizophrenia.

The Canadian Medical Association Journal just a few months ago stated that “the disruption of the gut balance [is linked] to an increasing number of diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, allergies, and asthma.”

Studies now tell us that exposure to dirt and germs is incredibly essential. We need regular exposure to bacteria and viruses to strengthen our immune system. In our own homes, among our own families, we want to take the opportunity to build up our immune systems.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Letting children crawl on the floor is fine, playing in the dirt is a good thing; we encourage having family pets and sharing a spoon with your sister is, again, fine.
  • Cleaning away visible dirt or grime on any surface — sinks, floors, or door handles with thorough washing and cleaning products that are free of harsh chemicals — is usually enough without constant sterilizing. And also using disinfectants such as bleach (which probably kills everything in the air around it, too!).
  • Washing our hands with simple soap dislodges and removes surface particles without stripping everything on the skin. Antibacterial soaps kill both good and bad bacteria. They also strip the skin of the environment it needs to sustain good bacteria.
  • Be less concerned about germs but instead focus more on considering how strong is your child’s digestive power and immune system.

Looking for a Kids Chiropractor in Auckland? We’ve got you covered! 🙂

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How To Make More Time For a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone already knows what to do to be healthier. For starters, eating less processed foods and moving more is what you’ve heard since you were young. And guess what… It’s true! But then come the fancy diets and elusive theories that cause confusion. On top of that, you’re busy with work and kids and LIFE.

If you’ve been meaning to eat healthier and exercise more for a while, believe me, you’re not alone.

What’s required is a system of thinking, prioritizing, strategizing, and planning that identifies what’s important to you as an individual and the steps to get there without them being too overwhelming.

Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s highly rewarding once you start reaping the benefits. Let’s get started.

  1. THINK: Ask “why” 5 times.

  • Understanding why you want to achieve the goal you want to achieve is important because it digs deep to find your inner motivation to keep you going.
  • All you have to do is keeping asking yourself why until you end up with a reason that’s worth your time.
  • Here’s an example:
    • Why do I want to eat better and move more? Because I want to lose weight.
    • Why do I want to lose weight? Because I’ll look better
    • Why do I want to look better? Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.
    • Why do you want to feel good about yourself? Because when I feel good about myself I’m more confident and in control.
    • Why do I want to be more confident and in control? Because when I’m confident and in control, I won’t be scared to go for it and live out my dream.
  1. PRIORITIZE: Fill in the big rocks first.

  • Stephen Covey, the author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” gave the best analogy for prioritization: Think of your time as a jar that you can fill with rocks, pebbles and sand.
    • Your big rocks are the necessary things in life, like friends, family, health, career, and sleep.
    • The pebbles are the fun things in life that aren’t completely necessary but you love doing them, like playing piano, competing in sports, and discovering your passion for baking.
    • Your sand is all the bonus activities that are enjoyable but not at all important to your survival and fulfillment, like checking Instagram, playing video games and going out drinking.
    • Now if you fill your time with sand first, it wouldn’t make sense because then it’d be way more difficult to fit your rocks and pebbles in. But if you place your rocks first, and then your pebbles around them, and finally fill in the rest with your sand, then you’re good as gold!
  1. STRATEGIZE: Increase your activities 15 minutes at a time.

  • No one ever got everything done at once. When you find out the important activities that you want to do more of in your day, pick ONE of them. Replace 15 minutes of low-value activity with 15 minutes of that high-value activity.
  • For example, instead of 15 minutes of scrolling through Instagram, do 15 minutes of meal prep for the next day. You can even put in headphones and listen one of your favourite podcasts while you meal prep to keep it interesting.
  1. PLAN: Schedule it in your diary.

  • If you wait until you “feel like it”, a lot of your time will be spent doing less important things. Schedule it in and more importantly, stick to it!
  • BONUS: Review how you spent your time at the end of the week.
    • If you did a lot of low-priority stuff, reduce any triggers that make you want to do them. This may require you to move the TV to the basement or limit your screen time with an app. Or you can get an accountability buddy, such as a friends, colleague or partner.
    • If you simply didn’t have time, look into hiring out some of the tasks like getting a healthy meal delivery service or arranging a nanny so you can go to the gym.

Don’t get distracted, stay focused and you will get $%@& done 😉

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness.

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Don’t Follow The Crowd

The other week I was giving some lifestyle and diet recommendations to a client who commented on how hard it is to avoid certain foods, especially when going out to socialise. Of course, he is absolutely correct. This conversation spawned a realisation of the truth that making healthy choices and taking care of your body requires a level of commitment that might make you stand out or narrow your choices. This doesn’t mean you can never go out for dinner or to social gatherings, in fact keeping our social lives active is very beneficial for our health and longevity.  It means you may have to alter your choices or be more prepared beforehand.

Making choices that are commonplace and popular will get you the same results that most people have. Look at the health statistics of the general population like the rates of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, not to mention things like fatigue, headaches, and mental fog so common amongst people and decide if you want those outcomes too, don’t follow the crowd.

Most of our health and the way our body performs comes down to the choices we make each day like the amount of alcohol we drink or choose not to drink, the type of foods we eat, how much water we drink and how active we choose to be.

Most people choose to be far too sedentary; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose not to drink enough water; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose to eat too much; choose not to be one of them.

Most people choose not to eat enough fruit or vegetables; choose not to be one of them.

We know that making healthy choices isn’t always easy but we are here to support your efforts to become a healthier and stronger person!

Don’t follow the crowd.

This blog is sponsored by Little Ninja & Priorityfitness.

Chiropractor Auckland

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Should I Quit Drinking?

The debate of whether a certain amount of alcohol is good or bad for you has been a long-standing one. Some of us enjoy the glass of wine with dinner. Others have a few beers on the weekend.  But do you need to quit it altogether to change your body or your health?

If you’re thinking that alcoholic beverages tend to show up a lot in life you’re not alone. Alcohol has become a huge part of the culture in New Zealand and in other countries around the world. Whether it’s a nice cold beer at the end of a workday or a bubbly champagne on New Year’s, it tends to add up. But how does that affect your health goals? Well, it’s kind of complicated.

You may have heard that drinking can be good for you as research has shown that moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lower risk of diabetes, gallstones and coronary heart disease. There have even been studies indicating that drinkers live longer than people who don’t drink.

However, it’s important to know that experts recommend that if you don’t already drink, don’t start. Why? Because no one actually knows if ANY amount of alcohol is good for you.

I’m not going to tell you not to drink. But it’s important to know that most of the research on the potential benefits of drinking alcohol doesn’t actually prove anything due to how the studies are designed. The research tends to be large, long-term population-based studies that can’t say that it CAUSES anything, but rather that it CORRELATES with something.

So what is a “moderate alcohol intake”?

  • Women: 7 drinks/week, no more than 3 in a single day
  • Men: 14 drinks/week, no more than 4 in a single day

In my opinion, this type of moderation will land you in a host of health problems. Let’s take it down to 1-2 times per week with only 1 drink per setting. That’s better 🙂

A single drink can be a 330 ml can of 4% alcohol beer or a 100 ml glass of 12.5% alcohol wine.

Chances are, if you’re a human, you’re most likely underestimating your alcohol consumption. The occasional happy hour or birthday dinner can quickly take you from moderate to heavy drinker without you even realizing. The health risks for heavy drinking are much higher for major health problems, such as liver cancer, alcoholism, osteoporosis and a host of other diseases.

So how do you find a nice balance? What amount of alcohol gives you enjoyment while giving your body a chance to respond and recover from processing it? MY moderate alcohol intake guideline is a good start along with the following tips:

  • Keep track of your drinking habits. Do this for a week or two and ask yourself:
    • Am I drinking more than I thought? (Did you forget to count those couple of beers you like to have on Sunday afternoons?)
    • Are there patterns in my drinking? (Does your stressful job trigger your end-of-week binge drink?)
    • Is it helping me enjoy life or stressing me out? (Are you not sleeping well or feeling worried about drinking?)
  • Tune in to your body’s signals:
    • Do I feel good?
    • Am I recovering?
    • How do I feel afterwards?
  • Switch it up and experiment to break your routine:
    • Delay your next drink for 10 minutes and see if you still want it after.
    • Savour your drink. Look, sniff, and taste it.
    • Quality over quantity. Drink less, but have the good stuff.

Evaluate how drinking fits in with your goals. If you want six-pack abs, then that might mean skipping out on a few drinks at the bar. Taking part in Friday night “Happy Hour” means pushing back your Saturday morning workout. If you’re aiming for a more moderate alcohol intake then you’ll have to find a way to say “no” to certain stress/social triggers that make you want to drink more.

 

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Breathe Deep

In a given day how often do you breathe deeply? In a stressed out world you can unconsciously end up breathing short and shallow breaths, this can reduce oxygen intake and further drive the stress response.

Breathing is an interesting function of the body and arguably the only one that is both unconscious and consciously controlled. Think about it, until you start dreading this you were breathing without paying attention to it. It happens automatically. But you can also slow down or speed up your breathing pattern at your own will.

Rapid, shallow breathing is a natural response to a stressful situation. Deeper, slower breathing is a natural response when you are relaxed. Taking conscious control of your breathing during the day, especially when you are stressed, can help calm your nervous system so it can focus on healing, digesting and creativity.

Try this simple breathing exercise each day to calm you mind and body.

4-7-8 Breathing

This technique was developed by Dr Andrew Weil as a great technique to calm your body when lying in bed at night to assist you falling asleep or to calm your mind and body during the day.

  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth
  • Close your mouth and silently breathe in through the nose as you mentally count to 4
  • Hold the breath for a count of 7
  • Exhale forcefully through the mouth for a count of 8

Do this a total of four times and repeat twice daily to maximise the benefits of the technique. The ratio of the inhalation to exhalation is more important than the overall length of time. At first you may not be able to hold your breath very long so count faster but as your body becomes more efficient over time you will find that you can really slow the process down.

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2 Simple Tips For Reading Food Labels

If you are like most people you pick up a packet of food in the supermarket and turn it over to read the ingredients to see if it is good for you, all the while having no idea what you are reading. Eating healthy can seem complicated at first so let’s try and make it simple.

Putting the right fuel in your body is essential for your day-to-day wellbeing and performance as well as longevity. Poor diet is linked with many chronic health conditions. We encourage our patients to clean up their diet when undergoing structural chiropractic care to maximise their body’s ability to heal, recover, and re-structure. Think of it this way, if a builder uses cheap materials to build your home it probably won’t last long. Each day your body produces millions of new cells PER SECOND, so make sure you get the appropriate raw materials for your body to make the best cells it can.

Tips

  1. My first recommendation when it comes to reading a food label, is NOT to. Why? Because the food you eat shouldn’t need labeling since it has only one ingredient in it. Most of your diet should be made up of plants, lots of vegetables, fruit, legumes, and grains. If you buy carrots, there are only carrots in the pack. If you buy potatoes, same deal. As a rule of thumb, the more processing steps involved in getting a product from its source to your plate, the less good it probably does for you and the more potential harm it has.
  2. Okay so every now and then you will need products that do have a label on them. The simplest way to approach this is if you can’t read, pronounce or understand the ingredients list, it’s probably not good for you (this is a general rule, and with rules, there are always exceptions).

These two tips can be very helpful if you are new to eating better and you are trying to clean up your act. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the information out there, start simple and keep educating yourself!

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Eat Slowly

Here you are in the midst of modern society. No time. Rushed. Distracted. And eating… really, really fast. It seems like half the time you’re not even chewing our food properly! It’s time to discover eating slowly and what it can do for your health and well-being.

Learning to eat slowly is one of the simplest yet most impactful things you can do to improve your health. But it’s not always easy, so let’s explore why it’s so beneficial and worthwhile.

 

Hunger satisfaction

 

Eating slowly gives your body time to realize that it’s full. It takes 20 minutes from the start of your meal before your brain sends signals that it’s satisfied with the amount of food and nutrients you consumed. Imagine the extra calories you’ve been eating simply because you haven’t given enough time for your body to realize it longer needs food!

Eating until satisfied is different from eating until you’re full. Satisfied can be around 80% full, which is what you should aim for. When you take the time to slow down and take in each bite mindfully, paying attention to the tastes and textures of the food, you end up feeling way better about what you eat… even if it’s just a sandwich.

 

Improved Digestion

 

Before you even put the food in your mouth, your body’s digestive processes are already at work. As soon as we see, smell or think about food we begin to produce saliva which contains enzymes to break down the food and moisten the mouth to aid in swallowing. Your stomach then starts to secrete more acid and your small intestines start to prepare for movement and food transport.

When we eat fast, we tend to take larger bites and chew less before swallowing. Food that isn’t properly broken down can lead to indigestion and other potential GI problems. Anyone who’s experienced either can tell you it’s not pleasant.

 

Smaller portions

 

A study served lunch in two different ways to 30 average weight women. The meal consisted of a huge plate of classic pasta and a glass of water. All women were instructed to eat to the point of comfortable fullness. During one visit they them to eat as quickly as possible. On the other visit, they were asked to eat slowly and down their utensils between each bite.

Here’s what they found when they compared the difference:

  • Fast eaters: 646 calories in 9 minutes
  • Slow eaters: 579 calories in 29 minutes

That’s 67 less calories in 20 more minutes… which may not seem like much until you add up the three meals a day… 7 days a week. Do some simple maths and you’ll quickly realize that that adds up to 1407 extra calories a week!

On top of that, they found that when the women ate quickly they reported more hunger an hour earlier than when they eat slowly. This means that slow eating leads to less food consumption and more long-lasting satisfaction – which is both good for the wallet and the waistline!

What’s interesting is that they took the same study and compared the amount of water that the participants drank to find that the fast eaters drank an average of 289 mL and the slow eaters drank 409 mL! So they conducted a similar study, only this time they controlled water levels, and found that ate the same amount of food, but an hour after the meal the slow eaters reported less hunger and desire to eat.

So they concluded that drinking more water helps reduce portion sizes, while eating slowly seems to decrease hunger levels for longer. On top of that you get the other incredible benefits of drinking more water such as balancing body fluids, energizing muscles, helping your kidneys and bowels work better and improve skin appearance!

At the end of the day, if you’re eating slowly and drinking more water, you’ll consume less food and feel more satisfied.

Of course, eating slowly is not the end all be all for weight loss and health, but it will definitely help you with portion control and hunger satisfaction.

Here are 5 pro tips to eating slowly:

  1. Put down your utensils between bites
  2. Set aside time to eat
  3. Eat high-fiber foods (fruits and veggies)
  4. Set a minimum number of chews per bite
  5. Eat from smaller plates or containers

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