Homeopathy First Aid

April 28th, 2015

Here is a list of remedy descriptions I often share with patients to use as a resource at home.  These remedies can be purchased in potentized preparations at our local health food stores.  I typically recommend a 30 C or 200 C potency for a home first aid kit.

Arnica Montana

It is ideal for the aches with bruises and sore muscles. Arnica is especially suited when the skin color turns black and blue. It is perfect for bumps on the head and other parts of the body.

Belladonna

A very common fever remedy. Extreme heat and redness, often intense and throbbing pain. Typically red, flushed face, especially right sided. It comes on quickly and progresses rapidly, a sudden attack. No thirst with the fever.

Chamomilla

A common children’s remedy for colic and teething, but also ear infections, fever, etc. A chamomilla child is sensitive and irritable, almost besides themselves with pain. The children are whiny, restless, and impatient. They don’t want to be spoken to or touched. Often point at something they want and when given it will through it away. Chamomilla children can also be red and hot, like Belladonna, but typically it presents on both cheeks of the face with Chamomilla. Typically the only thing that calms the child is being held and carried about the room.

Drosera

A common cough remedy. A cough that comes on at night as soon as the child’s head hits the pillow. A cough in prolonged and periodical fits of rapid, deep, incessant barking and choking. Sounds like a loose cough, but nothing comes up. The cough is typically better when the child sits up in bed.

Hypericum

An excellent first aid remedy for injury to the nerves, especially localized to the fingers and toes. Perfect for fingers slammed in the door, toes stubbed on walls and doors. An intense, extreme pain. Hypericum may also be indicated for insect stings and bites as well as burns on the fingers and toes – if the pain is intense.

Ledum

Ledum is a first aid remedy for puncture wounds produced by sharp-pointed instruments. An injury that requires ledum is typically purple, puffy, and cold… may feel numb. Even though injury feels cold to the touch, it is better with cold applications and worse with heat. One should strongly consider ledum for insect bites and stings in areas other than fingers and toes. Ledum can also facilitate the removal of foreign bodies stuck in the skin, like splinters, ingrown hairs, etc.

Coffea Cruda

Sleeplessness with nervous agitation and restlessness. Difficulty falling asleep or back to sleep because of an active mind. Restless sleep. Inability to fall asleep due to excessive caffeine intake.

Nux Vomica

A broad acting remedy especially suited to digestive disturbances (nausea and vomiting) following over indulgences in food and/or drink. Head pain as if head was beaten with an axe and extreme tension in forehead. A Nux Vomica patient is very irritable with heightened senses, can hardly bear noises, odors, bright light, etc. Generally want to be left alone to sleep it off.
Homeopathic Dosing Instructions: Take 3-5 pellets every twenty to thirty minutes for a few hours. If symptoms do not begin to subside after three doses of a given medicine, it most likely is not the best suited remedy for the patient.

All descriptions of these common remedies are synthesised from the Concordant Materia Medica, by Frans Vermeulen.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these remedies call Dr. Swanz at 812-716-4325.

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Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine |

Life – A Balancing Act

March 2nd, 2015

The theme for March 2015 is balance. Balance is an important component of naturopathic medicine because it must be embraced during a holistic perspective on health.  Health requires balance in our lives. And without balance we can’t be truly healthy. The two are mutually inclusive.

The seat of a chair rests on four legs of equal length; so too our health depends on the stability of four pillars: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Too often individuals examine one of these pillars looking to improve health, while overlooking or neglecting the other three. More often than not this single focus can actually potentiate the imbalance. There is no such thing as a single causative agent or imbalance regarding our health. Our health, or lack thereof, is the sum of the totality of our being.

Becoming aware of the importance of our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being is the first step towards understanding how to strengthen them completely. When we are aware, we can shift our focus and efforts appropriately to balance these aspects of ourselves to optimize our state of health. We can then begin to rest comfortably with our entire being and let our own natural healing processes unfold.

Here are simple and basic recommendations for strengthening each of our four pillars of health:

  • Physical health requires exercise on a regular basis. We are beings that are not accommodated to sit in an office or classroom all day with limited or no physical movement. Because so many of us spend most of our days with little physical activity it is important to incorporate exercise into our routine. Physical health declines with both over and under use. We must perform exercise that can push us past our comfort zone and be stressful enough to force our body to respond in an adaptive way. It is possible to overdo it if you are not careful. If you haven’t exercised recently in the past year, please seek the advice of your primary care physician and a personal trainer before starting a new program.
  • Mental health requires learning and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Our jobs can be monotonous. And watching television after work is the equivalent of eating junk food all day for nourishment. We must stimulate our minds to keep our mental health sharp. Read books about topics you are passionate about. Learn for the sake of learning. When I read books I write a summary about the book and create at least 3 action steps I want to take related to what I have learned. It keeps me engaged in the material and inspires me to put into action the thoughts and ideas that come up while exposing myself to new concepts. Mental decline is so often a concern that patients have when they come into my office. We must exercise our mind to keep our wit sharp.
  • Spiritual health requires that we recognize a purpose to our life outside of our self. It isn’t necessarily all about religion. In fact, too often individuals attend church weekly and still feel that their life is lacking spiritual meaning. This is because they have not engaged with a purpose outside of themselves. To cultivate a healthy spiritual self we must embrace those things that are important to us and give of our self in pursuit of supporting a better world. This can often be accomplished through volunteering of your time to a cause that is near to your heart. I do think it is a noble act to give money to charity, but simply giving from your wallet won’t provide the same level of return on investment that giving of your time will.
  • Emotional health requires that we embrace actions and people in our lives that provide enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment. Certainly pursuits that support spiritual health can overlap with emotional health and vice versa, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be so. Music provides wonderful enjoyment in my life. I often play music whenever I am doing tasks or chores that allow a soundtrack. It doesn’t do anything to support my greater purpose, but it does keep my smiling and moving to the beat. It is even that much more enjoyable for me when I can share my love of music with the people that mean so much in my life.

I hope these ideas about creating balance in our health inspire you as we move into another year. Your health is your most valuable asset, invest the time and effort to balance the 4 pillars of your health and enjoy the benefits of holistic well-being.

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Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Invest In Your Health

February 20th, 2015

When my wife Robin and I applied for supplemental life insurance we answered numerous questions regarding our health and lifestyle. I informed the interviewer that I have an annual exam with my primary care doctor and also see a naturopathic physician, an acupuncturist, and a chiropractor. The interviewer questioned my need for a chiropractor. I told him that I feel better overall and my physical performance and capabilities improve when I visit my chiropractor regularly. I see my chiropractor to feel better, not because I feel bad. I invest in my health and have a team that supports me to cultivate and achieve my goals.

Our current medical system revolves around diagnosis and treatment, not prevention. It addresses issues after they have arisen, neglecting approaches that may thwart the onset. This woeful paradigm is locked in place by corporate interests that legislate against any change threatening the financial bottom line of their companies. The institutions that should be encouraging preventative healthcare – medical establishments, pharmaceutical industries, insurance agencies – will not begin to acknowledge or change practices because of the financial interests at stake. These industries have increased profits when the consumer is chronically ill. Plain and simple, the financial health of the business trumps the health of the consumer. We no longer can depend on our “healthcare industry” to keep us healthy. The ball is in our court and we have to change the way we play the game.

If we focus on maximizing our own health and the health of our family, this change will spread into our surrounding community. You can use your consumer dollars to do several things to align with a “preventative healthcare” mindset. Now is the time to invest in your health.

  • Shift your insurance coverage to a Health Savings Account. Use your HSA money to see a naturopathic physician, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist without the constraint of an insurance plan that won’t cover preventative care practitioners.
  • Invest more money on fresh vegetables and fruits from the local farmer’s market to consume at home. You pay the local farmer or you pay the local pharmacist, it is up to you.
  • Spend time being physically active. Direct your recreational budget towards businesses that engage your body. Don’t spend money at the movies, instead take the kids to the zoo and walk around.
  • Stop purchasing products from companies that lobby against the interests that matter to you – things like: mandatory GMO labeling, avoiding big business “organic” producers, avoiding monsanto and companies that support monsanto, protecting our bees, etc. I recommend visiting www.buycott.com to download the offerred app to your smartphone. You can scan barcodes on products you are purchasing to see if they come from manufactures that are aligned with your ideals.

Substantial change begins with basic steps. Remember, preventative healthcare is often more simple and less costly than curing or treating disease.

~Dr. Swanz

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Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Read This Book

September 15th, 2012

OVERDO$ED AMERICA: The Broken Promise of American Medicine,  by John Abramson, MD

Patients often ask me to recommend books on cultivating a healthy lifestyle or natural healing. I am always happy to do that, although I believe OVERDO$ED AMERICA is a much more valuable read. It is quite possibly one of the most important books on our medical system from the past decade, yet too few individuals have been exposed to this book or the message that it conveys. My intention with this column is to inspire the readers of the “SI Fitness Source” to discover this book for themselves so that they too may then share the information with those important people in their lives. The American health paradigm has to change. It is broken, and it is our responsibility to fix it. OVERDO$ED AMERICA may be just the tool we need to create a wave of knowledge and then reform the system that directly affects us all.

Dr. John Abramson is a research fellow and faculty instructor at Harvard Medical School. In many ways he epitomizes the conventional medical system. Yet this physician is smart enough to question the conventional research methodology and brave enough to voice his concerns to his peers and the public. In his book he shares both the research and the concerns in a manner that is concise and easily discernible to the average reader. At the core of the concerns is the monetary interests of the businesses that control our disease based medical system.

Doctor Abramson writes:

The American health care system keeps edging ever closer to the breaking point. Many factors are contributing, but in the eye of the storm is a single factor: The transformation of medical knowledge from a public good, measured by its potential to improve our health, into a commodity, measured by its commercial value. This transformation is the result of the commercial takeover of the process by which “scientific evidence” is produced. (p. 91)

Our health care system today is best described as a  “disease care industry”. The industry as a whole is driven by its component parts. The primary parts of the disease care industry are the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical supply and equipment, and hospital provider groups. These component parts are measured individually by the ability they possess to generate revenue and profits. When it comes to making money, these components are often an obnoxious success.

The success of the medical industry should be measured by the overall health of the end consumer, not the revenue the system generates for the businesses involved. I repeat, the quality of health of the consumers should indicate the overall success of the industry. As a whole, we don’t make the grade. And by tracking our overall level of health over the past decades, it is obvious that the system is becoming more and more broken. Our health care system is absurdly priced and the product does not stand up with the other industrialized nations. Something has to change. And I believe it is up to us, the consumer, to instigate the change.  Read this book and pass this information on. Thanks!

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Summer Fun In The Sun

June 1st, 2012

Summer is the time of year when individuals and families are playing at the park, cooking out in the backyard, swimming and boating, and just generally soaking up the sun.  The sun, much like food, has the potential to be harmful if not approached with balance and knowledge.  We want to be exposed to enough sunlight for our bodies to make Vitamin D but need to know how to do so safely.

The sun produces two main types of radiation we should be concerned with, UVA and UVB.  UVA radiation penetrates deeply into the skin.  It is less likely to cause a superficial sunburn, while causing premature wrinkles and DNA mutation.  It is the DNA mutation from the UVA radiation that is considered a strong contributing factor for skin cancer development.  UVB radiation from the sun affects the skin more superficially causing tanning (or sunburns) and vitamin D formation.  Vitamin D encourages the absorption and metabolism of calcium and helps maintain your immune system.

In June 2008 the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that “lower levels of vitamin D increases risk of dying from all causes.”  Regarding cancers, a vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with: breast, colorectal, brain, melanoma, stomach, kidney, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, leukemias, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and esophageal cancers.  Other illness that have been shown to be related to a vitamin D deficiency include: Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, autism, developmental delays, osteoporosis, immune function, gum disease & dental health, and cardiovascular disease.  We need to make sure we are getting enough Vitamin D on a regular basis and in the summer the sun can offer this protection.

It was in the late 1980’s that we were advised to limit sun exposure and began to use sunscreens regularly.  Since then cancer incidence has increased, including the prevalence of skin cancers.  The chemicals in most sunscreens are primarily blocking the UVB radiation to prevent sunburns (and hence Vitamin D formation) while doing very little to protect the skin from the UVA radiation.  To help increase vitamin D levels through sun exposure, we only need 15 to 20 minutes of mid-afternoon sun daily.  

To protect ourselves and our families from sunburn, wrinkles, and DNA mutation from extended sun exposure use a sunblock that protects from both UVA and UVB radiation.  I recommend a block with zinc or titanium dioxide as the blocking agent.  This creates a physical block that inhibits sun radiation absorption at the skin.  Avoid products that contain: parabens, oxybenzone, and benzophenone-3 because of the potential allergic and hormone concerns from these chemicals.  Spray sunscreens with these ingredients pose a particular risk because of the potential for inhalation when applying them.  For extended periods of sun exposure away from water, tight knit clothing and hats are the ideal way to protect skin from solar radiation.

Also remember the protective benefit of naturally occurring phytonutrients from vegetables and fruits. The same phytonutrients that help to protect the plants from the UVA and UVB radiation will minimize the oxidative, inflammatory, and DNA damage at our cellular level.  So eat lots of fresh and local fruits and veggies this summer and enjoy the sun responsibly.

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Docere – Doctor as Teacher

May 1st, 2012

The word “Doctor” has its root in the Latin word “Docere” meaning teacher. Historically doctors have embraced this aspect of their profession. Spending time with patients, explaining the diagnosis, discussing treatment options, and just catching up, would all be part of a regular appointment.  Times certainly have changed. Now a visit to a conventional doctor’s office consists of a wait lasting longer than the actual appointment and face time with the doctor seldom lasting more than 10 minutes. Unfortunately because of the hurried appointment questions are often left unsaid and the result is a patient population feeling isolated, confused, and scared.

The doctors, pressured by insurance quotas and limited by the insurance billing options, are rushed and restricted.  This system we are stuck in now is no more the doctors fault than it is the patients.  Ultimately, both sides are left longing for something more. Just a little more time, a little more listening, a little more understanding, could go a long way towards patients that are happy and hopeful about their health.  I can assure you first hand as a doctor, sleep comes easier when there is a certainty that each patient was given all the opportunity needed to ask questions; and to have options and risks explained.  Doctors want to spend more time with patients, answer questions, and truly do recognize the value in this interaction.

Here are 4 steps patients can take to help ensure that their time in the doctor’s office is useful and efficient?

  1. Write down and bring a list with your questions to the appointment. – It is too easy to forget what we wanted to ask when things are already feeling rushed.  Let the doctor know that you have questions with you before the appointment begins so that you don’t catch her off guard as she is walking out the door.
  2. Bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment. – This individual acts as your personal health advocate.  Make sure they know in advance what questions you want to ask during the appointment.  Also be certain that they have a notepad and a pen to take notes during the visit so that the patient doesn’t have to remember every detail of what the doctor says.
  3. Try and schedule your doctor appointments early in the morning. – This allows you to have face time with the doctor before the day is already running behind schedule.  Typically individuals are more alert and productive during the first 4 hours of a work day.
  4. Don’t come to the appointment with a stack of printouts from the internet for the doctor to look over. – The doctor’s time is valuable and in order to help them help you, limit your questions to 3 or 4 specific topics that you have worked up before the appointment.

Becoming proactive regarding the medical decisions that affect your life is the first step towards achieving health and vitality.  By embracing this opportunity for personal empowerment, you can change the interactions that you have with your doctors in order to better feel heard and understood.  This will lead to greater health.

Posted in Homeopathic Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine |

The Brain Gut Connection

April 1st, 2012

Simply put bowel function as an indication of overall health. I want to encourage readers to look at their normal daily activities – eating and digesting food, pooping, and sleeping – and then evaluate your personal health based on how well you are functioning in these areas.  If you require medications or supplements to regulate any of these areas, more likely than not there is an underlying imbalance in your body’s chemistry/physiology that could be addressed.  The medications or supplements you are talking are simply a band aid for the problem.  Second I wanted to talk about digestive health in order to preface this month’s article on the brain gut connection.

The term “brain gut connection” may not be a totally new phrase for readers.   In fact there is a well understood process that happens within our digestive system.  Often the digestive system is described as the body’s second brain.  The medical term describing the gut’s brain is the enteric nervous system.  This denotes the complexity of our digestive process.  The enteric nervous system contains complex and indispensable neurons that line the entire path of our intestinal tract.  There are more neurons in our digestive tract than in either of our peripheral nervous system or our spinal column.  That is a lot of nerves!

The enteric nervous system regulates our digestive process.  This happen unconsciously.  We don’t have to think about the individual workings as they are happening.  We eat food and digestion takes place.  For the most part is seems like a turn key operation.  So why should we even discuss the brain gut connection?

Even though the digestion of food should happen with no actual thought to the process, I hope it has become apparent with my past writings that I believe strongly we should consider the foods we eat before we feed them into the system.  We know foods affect how we feel.  They can give us energy like the consumption of caffeine from green tea.  Vegetables and fruits that are naturally high in anti-oxidants and phytonutrients help protect us long term from oxidative damage and inflammation.  Alcohol consumption is an obvious example of how what we eat or drink can affect how we think and make decisions.  Food and drink is the fuel we feed into our body system.  Taking this perspective from the gut up will ultimately benefit our health as we become mindful of the quality of the fuel we consume.

It is also important to consider this connection from the top down.  How we think, not just about food, ultimately affects our gut health.  This may not seem obvious at first, yet recall the popular phrase “butterflies in my stomach”.  What does that mean?  When someone is nervous, they can experience digestive disturbances simply because of their emotional anxiety.  I remember personally being so distraught when I lost my camera at Disney World with a week’s worth of pictures of my daughters on it.  I became physically nauseous and literally vomited at the sadness and sense of distress I felt for carelessly misplacing our photo memories.  Our minds are so powerful in fact, that some readers may have felt just a twinge of nausea themselves after reading about my experience.

In September, 2001, The American Journal of Gastroenterology published a study examining mindfulness training on a group of women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  They compared the mindfulness group with an equal number of women that were simply meeting in a support group.  The results showed that those women that were practicing mindfulness (prayer, meditation, and calm thoughts) had an improvement on their IBS symptom scale that averaged about 100 points.  A 50 point improvement on the symptom scale is considered significant improvement.

So we know our mind also affects our gut health.  How does this information become applicable to becoming a more healthy person?  I think based on the amazing results of the previously mentioned study, we begin praying, focusing, and meditating on our health concerns whatever they may be.  Write down a simple prayer/mantra that you can see multiple times daily and repeat it.  I believe we should begin doing these things every day.  Here’s to happy and healthy thoughts.

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine |

Take Care of Yourself When Stressed

February 23rd, 2012

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

Staying the Healthy Course in 2012

February 1st, 2012

In January I challenged readers to embrace any variety of simple health ideas for 2012 as a gift to oneself moving forward into the new year.  Now a month in, I am curious how the journey is going.  I googled “What’s the average duration of a New Year’s resolution” and was able to find articles claiming they were often as short as 4 to 6 days and as long as 6 months.  It seemed the average was falling somewhere in the 6 week range.  That would suggest for most of us we are just about ready to give up on the behavioral changes we undertook for 2012.  We don’t throw in the towel because things are going great, we give up when things feel exceedingly difficult.  If this is how you are feeling now a month into your New Year’s Resolution I would like to offer some ideas to hopefully invigorate your undertaking.

No matter what degree of success you have had so far, re-pledge your commitment to stay the course as a Valentine gift to your significant other.  Better yet, invite your loved ones to participate in a similar goal.  We achieve more when we have a team to help hold us accountable.  It is important to express to our support team that we expect some level of constructive encouragement if we are not holding up our end of the commitment and we should offer the same to them.  We absolutely want to be positive in our relationships and be honest when things are not going as desired.  This single aspect may be the most important component of what I offer to my patients during their office visits.  Even if you don’t have Naturopathic Physician working with you, you still need someone to hold you accountable.

Now is the ideal time to reevaluate the actions that are part of your New Year’s health goal and restructure the procedures if things are not working as previously hoped.  For example, if you wanted to work out 4 times a week and are only getting into the gym 1 or 2 evenings after work you may want to consider an early morning exercise routine or class.  The mental and physical fatigue after a long day of work may prohibit evening workouts.  If you wanted to embrace healthier eating choices for lunch yet still find yourself hitting the fast food drive through, it may be prudent to prepare meals the night before work or even on the weekend in advance. Our intentions are often virtuous while actions often fall short of the desired goal.  This happens because in the thick of a stressful moment we are crippled to adequately handle multiple problems at once.  If your intent is to pack your healthy lunch in the morning and then you oversleep, the school uniforms are not clean, and the car still needs gas in order for you to make it to work… the healthy lunch takes the fall.  Research has shown that individuals engaged in arduous mental activity will unknowing choose junk food snacks over healthy alternatives.  Knowing this happens doesn’t stop it from happening.  The only viable solution is to restructure the day so the healthy foods are a given.

A transformative health resolution isn’t adopted just to see how long you can make it.  And it does not have to be January 1st to adopt a resolution.  A resolution is embraced as a stepping stone to a truly health-promoting habit.  Once the behaviors become habit the need and frequency for external support and accountability decreases, although we do benefit from association with others that share similar passions and goals.  Our routines will warrant evaluation anytime the stress of life is constraining our desire for healthy choices.  Be present with your health resolutions today and throughout 2012, and be confident in the direction your more healthy life is heading.

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

The Gift Of Health

January 1st, 2012

It seems hard to believe we are so near the end of 2011.  The holidays are a juxtaposition of spiritual and material happenings.  The gatherings and celebrations bring us close to our fellow humans for shared connection and fun; while the messages from society seem to imply that life and this year won’t be complete unless we have the newest, fastest, and most technological advanced toys.  It is an understatement to say the messages are mixed.  Somehow we tend to meld the desire for spiritual connection and the wanting of something material into a jumble of Winter traditions that we pass on from generation to generation.  Now as move forward to 2012, I am challenging my patients, my friends, and myself to start a new tradition of giving a truly lasting gift… the gift of health.

What does it mean to give a gift of health?  Almost weekly I have individuals call or email my office inquiring if and how naturopathic medicine can help a loved one.  Adult children call for their elderly parents, wives email to see how I can help their husbands, lovers asks what I can do for their significant other, and on and on.  My answer is always the same.  “We can’t force or even want healing and health for others.  They must want it for themselves.  If they don’t, it is simply money and time wasted.  If they do, the investment is priceless.”  It comes down to the classic joke:

Q – How many naturopathic physicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A – Just one, but the light bulb has got to want to change.

Since we are unable to force or give health to others, we must truly bestow health onto ourselves.  I know first hand how frustrating this this truth is when we consider the poor health of friends and family we hold dear.  It is only when we make changes that  we can model and inspire others to take their own journey towards healing.   I have seen and experienced how difficult it is to make healthy changes for ourselves and how fleeting the attempts often are.  I have also witnessed those difficult changes become habits for hundreds of individuals that perpetuate health even through times of stress and tension.

So moving forward into 2012 I suggest the following gifts for ourselves.  These are simple ideas and behaviors that quickly can become habits supporting our own pursuit of health while also modeling behaviors that can spread to those around us.  Consider adopting at least 3 suggestions for your 2012 health gift.

1)    Eat a warm breakfast with protein and veggies each morning to stoke the body’s metabolism and provide stable blood sugar and energy levels to get through to lunch.

2)    Drink half of your body weight in pounds in ounces of clean filtered water every single day.  For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., you should drink 75 ounces of water each day.  For each cup of coffee or alcohol add an extra 8 ounces of water.

3)    Stop drinking soft drinks.  Soft drinks are liquid candy.  Diet or not, they have no nutritional value.  They acidify our body causing major problems for long term bone health.  They contribute to dehydration.  Stopping this habit is a wonderful gift to model for our children.

4)    Eat dinner as a family at home.

5)    Eat at least 9 servings of fresh or frozen veggies daily.  Research has show consistently that the more veggies, with more variety and color variation that we consume daily, the healthier we will be.  This is where our nutritional thoughts should begin.

6)    Eat slower and chew every bit of food before swallowing.  This results in fewer overall calories consumed, better digestion and elimination, and a more mindful consumption of food.

7)    Get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night.

8)    Mediate and/or pray every day for at least 20 minutes.

9)    Get at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity.  Include any movements that get you outside of the house or office.  It need not be a consecutive 30 minutes of activity.

10)    If you smoke, STOP SMOKING!  This is the hands down the most detrimental behavior interfering with a long healthy life.

11)    Eliminate any non-organic grains from your diet.  This is particularly important regarding wheat, corn, and soy which can be assumed to be genetically modified unless purchased organic and are often common food sensitivities.

12)    Take a high quality Omega 3 fish oil supplement and be sure to get 500 mg to 1000 mg daily of EPA from the dosing.  My favorite brands include: Carlson, Nordic Naturals, Coromega, and Minami fish oils.

13)    Stop eating fast food.  I use the term “food” loosely here to describe nutrient void, calorie packed, processed and preservative laden garbage.  So important to let our children know this doesn’t count as food.

14)    Start preparing fast foods at home.  Cut up veggies for quick and easy snacks.  Have been spreads and dips ready and waiting to encourage kids to eat the veggies.  Make soups, beans, and chili that are easy to warm up on the stove.

15)    Read the food labels on everything you buy.  Don’t just skim over the calories, fat, sugar, and protein content, be sure to read the actual ingredient list.  If you don’t know what something in the list is, you probably shouldn’t be eating that product.

16)   Do not eat food out of boxes or bags.

17)   Spend quality time with friends and family every day.  Sitting in front of the TV or computer doesn’t count.

18)   Smile and laugh often.  It will affect your health and the health of those you care about.

These are simply suggestions of gifts you can give yourself in the new year.  The more you embrace and solidify as habits for yourself, the better your 2012 will be.

Posted in Naturopathic Medicine, Nutritional and Lifestyle Support/Modification |

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