Happy Belated New Years. How are everyone's resolutions going one month later? Here at Living Well, we have made a few new years resolutions.
(1) To blog more often -and yes we are a little late off the draw.
(2) To continue learning and teaching- this one has been a bit more successful. Dr. Erickson just got back last weekend from a healthy living seminar on the island, and we are already booked to attend a NUCCA conference next month in Langley.
(3) To eat healthier (one can always strive to eat healthier) and fuel our bodies with more living vegetables.
We've recently discovered Spud.ca which has made achieving our 3rd resolution a little easier. My wife can do the grocery shopping online while caring for the baby at home, and they deliver our organic dairy and local produce to our door once a week. Why organic? ...Well, I might save that for a future blog post, but in a nutshell we believe the quality of food you input to your body reflects the quality of the output. So if you are interested in Spud.ca, use code FREJAC at checkout to get $25 off spread over your first 4 shipments.
Hope your resolutions are going strong whatever they be, and if you haven't made any yet, it's not too late. We'll be working on ours- when you come in, you can ask more about how they are going or you can just check back here soon!
Which is worse: sun exposure, or the chemicals that absorb into your skin from sunscreen? Yes, we know sunscreen prevents sunburns, and you may think it also prevents skin cancer, but does it?
We don't actually have a consensus on whether sunscreen prevents skin cancer. The Food and Drug Administration’s 2007 draft on sunscreen safety regulations say: “the FDA is not aware of data demonstrating that sunscreen use alone helps prevent skin cancer” The International Agency for Research on Cancer agrees that sunscreen may not be protecting us like we think. In fact, some suggest sunscreen use may increase the risk of skin cancer. Researchers speculate a few reasons for this. (1) Sunscreen users stay in the sun for longer periods of time and absorb more radiation overall. (2) Inferior sunscreens with poor UVA protection saturate the market. (3) Vitamin A (an ingredient in 30% of sunscreens) is a great antioxidant for skin aging, but when applied to skin in sunlight, the development of skin tumors and lesions may be sped up (NTP 2009).
Even though there isn't a consensus on the safety of sunscreen, most organizations still recommend use. So, if you are going to cover up, then use the best possible non-toxic alternatives. Look for sunscreens without harmful ingredients and hormone disrupters. The Environmental Working Group has done the research for us, and has ranked all kinds of sunscreens to help us know which are better and worse. Click here for their sunscreen guide. Unfortunately, many of the good alternatives are difficult to find in Canada, so we probably have to visit a health food store to find brands like Jason, Aveeno, or Earth's Best. Clayburn Comforts (here in Abbotsford) makes a safe adult and baby sunscreen. Otherwise, the best way to find a recommended safe formula is to buy online. If you want to know how your favorite sunscreen rates, you can search by brand.
Our best advice: This summer, go out and get some natural vitamin D from the sun while you can. It's always smartest to cover up with a hat and shirt or stay in the shade, but if you are going to be in the sun all day, choose to protect your skin with a healthier sunscreen!
Many people think chiropractors are “back doctors,” but in actuality we are doctors of the nervous system. The reason for the apparent focus on the “back” is that the nerves travel within the spinal column of the back and neck. By adjusting the alignment of your spine, we affect the nerves directly. These nerves carry messages sent from the brain to the body and from the body back to the brain.
When your nervous system is disrupted, stressed or irritated, the messages the brain sends and receives get distorted. A common cause of distorted messages is a misalignment of the upper neck. Because the nervous system controls and coordinates every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body, any distorted messages can cause many different health problems in your body and that is why reducing a troubling misalignment can help many health problems. Are distorted messages giving you or someone you know headaches? Neck pain? Back pain? Digestive issues? Hormone imbalances? Sleep problems? You don't need to “learn to live with it”.
This month, we want you to share the "more than a back doctor" message with your friends and family. Current patients will receive an invitation to pass on to someone they feel could benefit from chiropractic care, but if you didn't receive one, don't let that stop you from choosing to restore balance to your nervous system today.
Chilled by the thought of a cold? Me too! Before we knew it our lovely summer heat had disappeared into a brisk autumn chill. Yes, "Cold Season" is upon us.
So why the common name “cold” for what is less commonly known as the rhinovirus? Here's some background: The term "common cold" first came into use in the 16th century when symptoms appeared in correlation to cold weather exposure. Today we know exposure to cold weather alone will not make you sick. Don’t believe me? Did your grandma teach you that going outside without your jacket would make you catch your death of cold? Well, extensive studies were funded by the British government in 1946 to determine truth to that old myth, but in fact they determined exposure to cold temperatures did not make one sick.
Mr. Benjamin Franklin was actually correct when he came up with his theory of transmission in the 18th century. "People often catch cold from one another when shut up together in small close rooms, coaches, etc. and when sitting near and conversing so as to breathe in each other's transpiration." Although viruses had not yet been discovered, Franklin hypothesized that the common cold was passed between people through the air.
If it’s not too late for you this year and you haven’t caught a cold yet, make sure to boost your immune system with rest, water, good nutrition, some extra vitamins like high quality vitamin D, and seeing your chiropractor.
If it is too late and you are reading this blog at home sick, here are a few remedies from the Erickson house:
-Garlic! It's antiviral and antibacterial (we eat it raw on toast or crackers.) If you have a sensitive stomach try garlic pills.
-Ginger root tea: boil a piece of ginger root in pot of water, add lemon and honey
-Oil of oregano, cloves essential oil or thieves essential oil have a place in our medicine cabinet for such occasions.
-Spicy food to help clear your nasal passages
-Extra vitamin D
(You can tell most of our “go to’s” are on the potent side, so try with bravery)
Whether your kids are going back to elementary school or you are going back to school yourself, buying a backpack is a big deal. When determining fashion versus function, make sure you consider these 5 Living Well tips.
1. Make sure your backpack doesn't hang more than 4 inches below your waistline.
2. Your backpack should not exceed 10-15% of your total body weight when full.
-Research has shown that when a person carries over 15% of his/her body weight, their body must compensate to account for the load.
3. Look for a backpack with thick padded straps.
-Thicker straps help distribute the weight more evenly over the shoulders which will decrease the chances of neck and shoulder pain or injury.
4. Always use both straps.
-It may be cook to sling your pack across one shoulder, but this stresses the body unequally, and leads to postural imbalances.
5. Buy a backpack with lumbar support or a hip belt.
-The lumbar support helps to properly distribute the weight over the spine while also encouraging proper spinal contours. A hip belt, when used properly takes much of the stress off of the shoulders and distributes it over the hips.
Or you could bypass these five backpack blunders and use a backpack with rollers! If you have questions about any of the above tips, bring your kids backpack in and we would be happy to fit it for them!
Blueberries Beat All: Including the Battle of the Bulge! (Presented by Dr. Dan Erickson & Living Well Chiropractic)
Sorry for the hiatus in blogging. We’ve been out enjoying the summer, soaking up vitamin D in the sunshine, taking long evening walks and picking berries. Our freezers are stocked with raspberries, blackberries and over 100 pounds of blueberries to last us through the year! We’ve had blueberries on our minds and on our plates, which has prompted me to blog on the topic of blueberries!
Entry #1 Blueberries Beat All: Belly Fat!
A 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries can help reduce belly fat and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. The test subjects, rats, were fed a blueberry-enriched powder as 2% of their diet, and after 90 days the rats with the blueberry-enriched diet had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides, lower cholesterol and improved fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity.
Health reports were even better for rats that combined blueberries with a low-fat diet, resulting in lower body weight, lower total fat mass and reduced liver mass (when compared to rats on the high-fat diet.) E. Mitchell Seymour, M.S. lead researcher of the study added, “We found by looking at fat muscle tissue, that blueberry intake affected genes related to fat-burning and storage. Looking at muscle tissue, we saw altered genes related to glucose uptake.”
Of course the research will continue to be scrutinized before they can outright say that blueberries reduce belly fat in humans, but we do know that blueberries are a friendly fruit for diabetics, and certainly can’t add to belly fat, so have at ‘er!
Everybody has their own unique chemistry. This is why we have our own odours, allergies, and sensitivities.When our bodies come into contact with different chemicals, our chemistry can change.
If our body has too many chemical stressors, it can compromise your neurological and spinal health. There are many ways to eliminate chemical stressors. I would encourage you to read over a few suggestions below and implement one of them into your life.
Anti-perspirants – Sure these are great for eliminating sweat, but keep in mind that our body needs to sweat to release our own toxins. A lot of anti-perspirants contain aluminum. Instead of anti-perspirant, try finding an all natural product from a health food store or Lush.
Laundry detergent and fabric softeners – Your clothes are in close contact with your skin all day, so you should rethink the chemicals you apply to your clothing, because inevitably you are applying them to yourself. Remember, the chemicals in detergents are designed to make your close look and smell nice, usually at the cost of having some of these chemicals remain in the clothing and affect your body chemistry.
Cleaning Products – There is nothing nicer than relaxing in a sparkling bath tub, but if you scrubbed your tub in harsh chemicals, you are now soaking in the residue. Try cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and lemon; these naturally dissolve soap scum and you don’t have to be concerned about residue left behind.
Lotion – Your skin absorbs and interacts to what you put on it. Coming up to summer people will likely lather their dry skin up in lotions filled with harmful ingredients used to extend the shelf life of the product. Eg. Methylparaben and propylparaben are common preservatives and fragrances are almost universal, but are also hormone disrupters. So instead of lotion, try using a 100% edible product like pure shea butter.
A good rule of thumb, if you can’t pronounce or understand the ingredients in your lotions, cleaning products or food, then don’t buy them.
A great resource for exposing health threats and solutions is the Environmental Working Group.
www.ewg.org (American-based, but useful for Canadians too)
www.cosmeticdatabase.com (for personal products) - just click on "no thanks take me to skin deep" when asked for your email.
It is safe to assume that most people think that an organic product is better than its conventional counterpart. However, most people still buy conventional over organic due to cost and convenience. Is this something we should make a bigger priority when shopping? The organic gap is closing, but there is work to be done.
Some benefits to buying and eating organic (produce, meat, dairy, eggs, & even processed foods):
If it is conventionally grown produce, washing it well will remove most of chemical residue on the outside. Remember, the plant gets its nutrients from the soil, that has chemicals within it.
In Canada, British Columbians are leading the way. In 2006, we ate 26% of the organic food in Canada (13% of Canada's population). We've been improving ever since. Keep up the good work!
Something to keep in mind when choosing organic is that "organic" doesn't necessarily mean "healthy". Organic soft drinks and chips are still fizzy sugar water and oil-fried potatoes. Keep educating yourself and your loved ones to make choices that adjust your life to Living Well.
An Organic Living Well Seminar is coming soon and will help answer more of your questions.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. -E E Cummings
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh since there is less cleaning up to do afterwards. -Kurt Vonnegut
With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die. -Abraham Lincoln
I don't know who first said, "laughter is medicine to the soul," but I do know Drs. Lee Berk and Stanley Tan of California's Loma Linda University have spent years proving it true. Their multiple studies published over the last 25 years have declared multiple benefits of laugher including: