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lifestyle clinic, charlotte, nc, fibroids

Uterine Fibroids

Nearly 70 percent of women will suffer from uterine fibroids in their lifetime, although they will only cause symptoms in about 25 percent of women. Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that grow on the walls of the uterus. Fibroids can grow as a single tumor, or there can be many of them. They range in size and quantity from being as small as an apple seed to as large as a grapefruit. Those women who do have symptoms from fibroids often find it very difficult to lead a normal pain free life. In extreme cases, surgery is necessary. Fibroids are responsible for more than 200,000 hysterectomies each year.

Some risk factors are out of your control, but there are many you can manage. There are a lot of things you can do to balance your hormones naturally, which is a key part of natural fibroid prevention and treatment before considering surgery. No one knows exactly what causes uterine fibroids, but it is generally known that hormones, particularly estrogen, are known to play a part.

Four things you should know about uterine fibroids:

1. Certain groups of women are at a higher risk

Age– Fibroids become more common as women age, especially during the 30s and 40s through menopause. After menopause, fibroids usually shrink due to the change in hormone levels.

Family history– If your other female blood relatives have fibroids, this dramatically increases your risk of also developing them.

Ethnic origin– African-American women have a much higher risk of developing fibroids than women of other races or ethnicities.

Obesity– Women who are overweight are two to three times more likely to develop fibroids compared to women who maintain a healthy weight.

Eating habits– Eating a lot of red meat, fish or poultry that is non-organic and raised with the use of hormones can significantly increase the risk of developing fibroids.

Early menstruation– Women who began menstruation prior to the age of 10 are at a higher risk for fibroids than those who started after the age of 10.

Birth control– Taking birth control pills can make fibroids grow more quickly because of the increased estrogen level in the body. Foods that are high in estrogen, and chemicals that mimic estrogen may also play a role in the development of fibroids.

2. Many women have no symptoms or side effects

Most fibroids do not cause any symptoms, but some women with fibroids may have issues such as:

Heavy bleeding (which can cause anemia)
Painful menses
Feeling of fullness in the pelvic area
Swelling of the lower abdomen
Frequent urination
Pain during sexual intercourse
Lower back pain
Complications during pregnancy and labor
Reproductive problems such as infertility

3. Fibroids do not always lead to infertility

Fibroids affecting fertility really depends on the number, location, and size of the fibroids. Less than three percent of cases of infertility are solely due to fibroids (without any other factors).

4. You don’t have to have surgery

In the past, when you found out you were suffering from fibroids that caused very heavy bleeding and pain, it was thought that a hysterectomy was the only option. Now there are other options such as working with a Naturopathic Doctor to balance your hormones naturally to help shrink and decrease the symptoms associated with fibroids. You can balance your hormones by avoiding foods that promote the development of fibroids such as processed foods and meats, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine. As always, a healthy and well balanced diet is the best way to keep fibroids at bay. You should eat a nutrient rich diet with organic foods, green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, beta-carotene and iron rich foods to help minimize your risk of developing fibroids. You should also avoid excessive exposure to environmental toxins that act as estrogen in the body, these include pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, bleach, food preservatives, harmful cleaners and food dyes. If possible you should also use natural, unbleached feminine care products as well as organic body care products and makeup to minimize your risk.

If you or someone you know is suffering from uterine fibroids, call us at (704) 334-3761 to schedule your free phone consultation with one of our Naturopathic doctors to learn more about your natural and holistic options.


Bonus Tip- Reasons to shop at Farmers Markets

Imagine this: in an ideal world, you could walk leisurely to your backyard to pick your fruits, vegetables and herbs for the day and spend the day laboring over your garden under the warm sun. Unfortunately, for most of us this is not our reality but we still want to make healthy choices. Our lives are filled with obligations that keep us busy. Your local farmers market is the best place to meet your local farmers and food producers and feed your family the healthiest foods. You can find a variety of things at your local farmers market, ranging from produce and eggs to local handmade gifts and flowers. Before visiting your local market, take some time to research and ask for recommendations. Some booths do not provide bags, so it is a good idea to bring your reusable shopping bags.

Seven reasons to shop at your local farmers markets

1. Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak (in flavor and nutrition).
Because your food is being grown locally, there is a good chance your produce was picked within a few days. Shopping at a grocery store, this is impossible due to processing and transport time.

2. Support your local farmers.
One of the greatest benefits of shopping at your local farmers market is being able to talk to the farmers. Most of us know that when buying food we should buy organic and non-gmo to avoid ingesting harmful chemicals, but did you know that a lot of small local farms are actually using organic practices even if it might not be displayed? The USDA organic label is a very lengthy and expensive process, so many times only large high-profiting farms are able to go through this process. Talk to your local farmer and ask about their farming practices to make the best choice for your family.

3. Fresh fruit and vegetables are healthier.
When you can, it’s a good idea to purchase local produce to minimize your risk of ingesting heavy pesticides or chemicals. When you cannot buy local produce, frozen produce will suffice as long as it is certified organic.

4. It’s a great way to get your kids involved and interested in food.
You can let your kids pick out something new to try that they’ve never seen before. Then they can help prepare a new meal. This is a great way to add variety to your families meals.

5. Eat seasonally.
Grocery stores have too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened due to transport times, therefore decreasing the vitality. By eating what is in season locally, your food will be fresh and ripe with a lot of nutrients.

6. Farmers often have recommendations.
If you frequently find yourself bored of the same old meals, your local farmers many times can help you by providing recommendations on how to cook their products.

7. A variety of payment methods.
Many farmers markets are cash only, but more and more are accepting debit and credit cards. Each booth may be different, it is generally a good idea to carry cash just in case (although most farmers markets do have ATMs on site). Benefits such as SNAP and WIC are also being accepted at more and more farmers markets around the country. Contact your local market to find out more about their payment methods.

For a list of local farmers markets in the Charlotte area, please visit the following link:
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/food-drink/article73968667.html

A few of our favorites are :

Atherton Market (http://athertonmillandmarket.com/retailers/mill/atherton-market/)
Charlotte Regional Farmers Market (https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteRegionalFarmersMarket/)
King’s Drive Farmers Market (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kings-Drive-Farmers-Market/166507480078156)

 

Resources:

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a7187/what-you-need-to-know-uterine-fibroids

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/living/food-drink/article73968667.html

https: //draxe.com/fibroids/

https://www.nutrition.gov/farmers-markets

https: //www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids

the lifestyle clinic, charlotte nc, holistic health

Holistic Healthcare

Holistic Healthcare. We’ve all heard it, but do you really know what it means? Holistic healthcare is actually more of an approach to life than it is a system of healthcare. In contrast to conventional western medicine, it does not end when your symptoms are alleviated; it is an ongoing process to make healthy choices everyday. Holistic means considering the whole person in the prevention of disease; physically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Instead of focusing on a specific illness or part of your health, it emphasizes the connection of mind, body and spirit. It is based on the belief that these three parts are inseparable and when one is not working at its best, it impacts the entire person. When all the parts are balanced, the result will be optimal health and well-being.

Ancient healing traditions, as far back as 5,000 years ago, stressed healthy living in harmony with nature. These holistic concepts declined during the 20th century when germs were identified as outside sources causing illness and sickness. Western medicine became a process of killing outside invaders using pharmaceutical drugs, thus leading to the belief that people could get away with unhealthy lifestyle choices, and modern medicine would “fix” them as problems developed. Many people are turning back to the holistic approach to health and healing because they are realizing that modern medicine and pharmaceuticals are merely masking symptoms, and not treating the true concern.

In addition to a holistic approach to your health, a team approach is also extremely important. Building your healthcare team is an important step in the process of achieving a whole body balance. It is also very important to ensure that your healthcare team works together and have open communication with one another to work on one common goal: to empower you to become the healthiest you; mind, body and spirit. Each member of the team should know his or her own abilities and limitations and make referrals to another holistic practitioner when needed. A holistic approach means that the doctor is informed about a patient’s whole life situation, not just the small pieces that are relevant to their treatment.

A holistic practitioner is one who may use different forms of treatment, ranging from lifestyle modifications to alternative therapies. When a person is suffering from severe migraines, generally the holistic practitioner will take a look at all of the potential factors that may be causing the symptom, such as diet, hormonal imbalances, a stressful job, marital issues, etc. The treatment plan will usually include lifestyle modifications to help prevent the symptom from recurring instead of simply masking or numbing the symptom through the use of medication.

In holistic healthcare, a symptom is considered an alert that something needs attention. Thus, the symptom is used as a guide to look for the root cause so that the real problem can be addressed. Holistic practitioners recommend treatments that support the body’s natural healing system and are gentle on the body. There are many different types of holistic practitioners but they are generally someone who believes in the following principles:

All people have inherent healing powers that you are born with;
The patient is a person, not just a disease, illness or symptom;
Appropriate healing treatment needs a team approach addressing all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care practices;
Patient and physician are partners in the healing process;
Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just relieving the symptoms.

Holistic practitioners emphasize patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. Many times this includes diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, and massage therapy also fit into the scope of holistic healthcare. Your team should include a variety of practitioners to help balance the different aspects of your life. For example, you may see a naturopathic doctor for your hormone imbalance and nutritional counseling, a massage therapist for your tight shoulders and stress relief, and a mental health therapist to discuss your marital and career concerns. Together, with the help of multiple holistic practitioners, you will soon be on your way to the happiest, healthiest version of you. When you first begin, your protocols and appointments may be intense and frequent, but with the help of your holistic practitioners, you will soon be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to reach your optimal health. Then, you will enter a maintenance phase where you possess the resources to lead a healthy life, all while having a team of holistic providers who will be available should anything arise in the future.

In order to understand you as a whole person and not just a symptom or illness, be prepared to answer lots of questions you may not have been asked before. These could range from questions about your diet, exercise, and sleep habits to your frequency and consistency of bowel movements, how you feel emotionally, your religious beliefs and practices, close relationships, and more. Sometimes you may hear a holistic practitioner being called an “alternative practitioner”. This simply means any form of medicine outside the mainstream of western or conventional medicine.

If you are interested in seeing a holistic or alternative practitioner, below is a list of well-known therapies you may have heard of:

Acupuncture
Fine needles are inserted at specific points to stimulate the flow of Qi (vital energy), and restore a healthy energy balance.

Aromatherapy
Using “essential oils” distilled from plants, treating a wide range of concerns. Oils can be massaged into the skin, inhaled, diffused, digested or placed in baths. It is often used complementary with massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbology, chiropractic, and other holistic treatments.

Chinese Medicine
Chinese medical practitioners are trained to use a variety of ancient and modern therapeutic methods – including acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, heat therapy, and nutritional and lifestyle counseling – to treat both chronic and acute illnesses.

Chiropractic
Chiropractic medicine views the spine as the backbone of human health: misalignments of the vertebrae caused by poor posture or trauma cause pressure on the nerves of the spine, leading to illness. Through manipulation of the spine, optimal health can be realized.

Counseling/Psychotherapy
This broad category covers a range of practitioners, from career counselors to psychotherapists who treat depression, stress, addiction, and emotional issues. Sessions can vary from individual counseling to group therapy.

Herbalism
An ancient form of healing still widely used, herbalism uses natural plants or plant-based substances to treat a range of illnesses and to enhance the functioning of the body’s systems.

Homeopathy
A medical system that uses extremely small doses of natural substances to stimulate a person’s immune and defense system. A remedy is individually chosen based on its capacity to cause, if given in overdose, physical and psychological symptoms similar to those a patient is currently experiencing.

Massage Therapy
Massage therapy involves the practice of manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft tissue with the intent of improving a person’s well-being or health.

Midwifery/Childbirth Support
Midwives provide education and support during pregnancy, assist the mother during labor and delivery, and provide follow-up care. Practitioners of childbirth support include childbirth educators, assistants, and doulas.

Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathic physicians work to restore and support the body’s own healing abilities using a variety of modalities including nutrition, herbal medicine, and homeopathic medicine. It is a primary health-care system that emphasizes the healing power of nature.

Osteopathic Medicine
Osteopathic physicians provide comprehensive medical care. In diagnosis and treatment, they pay particular attention to the joints, bones, muscles, and nerves and are specially trained in using their hands to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness.

Reflexology
This modality is based on the idea that specific points on the feet and hands correspond with organs and tissues throughout the body. The practitioner applies pressure to these points to treat a wide range of illnesses.

Reiki
Reiki practitioners use light hand placements to channel healing energies to the recipient. Reiki is commonly used to assist the recipient in achieving spiritual focus and clarity.

At The Lifestyle Clinic, we have a variety of holistic practitioners. Check out our website and call the office today at (704) 334-3761 to learn more about how we can help you or someone you know becoming the happiest, healthiest version of you!

 

References:

https ://ahha.org/selfhelp-articles/holistic-health/

http ://altmedworld.net/alternative.htm

http ://www.signavitae.com/2016/06/holistic-and-team-approach-in-health-care/

http ://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/what-is-holistic-medicine

probiotics, cold and flu, immunity, charlotte naturopathic doctor

Probiotics can help keep you healthy this cold and flu season

What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are good bacteria that line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. If you can increase the amount of good bacteria and balance microorganisms in your body, it can have tremendous health benefits, including boosting your immunity, balancing hormones, detoxifying your liver, helping clear up your skin, and decreasing inflammation, to name a few. This “friendly” bacteria makes up 70-85% of our immune systems.

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are responsible for a number of things in the body. Probiotics help break down food as well as extract minerals from those foods. Probiotics assist our bodies in producing essential fatty acids and vitamins. These helpful bacteria are also known to eat excess sugar in the body, reducing health risks associated with sugar intake such as inflammation.

If you don’t have enough good bacteria in your gut, the side effects can include: digestive disorders, skin issues, candida, autoimmune disease, and frequent colds and flus.

Every time you take a round of antibiotics, it throws off your gut flora and can affect digestion and many aspects of your health for many months. This is why it is important to limit the number of antibiotics you take to only when completely necessary. You should instead try to boost your immune system to fight off illnesses. Many people go to their doctor every time they are sick and receive antibiotics for viral infections or minor illnesses, when in fact, antibiotics do not help rid viruses.

In addition to excessive antibiotic use, other reasons that the microflora in our systems become unbalanced are eating foods with added hormones and preservatives, exposure to fertilizers and pesticides, carbonated beverages, steroids and even stress. For this reason, it is very important to sustain a healthy amount of good bacteria in your system by eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How to incorporate probiotics

The best way to ensure you are getting a healthy amount of probiotics in your system is to incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your daily diet as well as taking a daily probiotic supplement. The following foods are high in probiotics; sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kombucha, and apple cider vinegar (as salad dressing). Getting good, high-quality fiber in your diet can also enhance the development of good bacteria in your body.

When choosing a daily probiotic supplement, you should purchase a high quality, reputable brand that has at least 15 billion CFU (colony forming units) per serving. It should have multiple strains and some high quality brands require refrigeration (once the probiotics touch the air or are heated, they lose their potency). It is however, important to choose a probiotic that is shelf stable as refrigeration may be compromised during transport. The Not Just Weight by Dr. Parkes brand offers a superior probiotic product that is individually packaged to encourage freshness and preserve quality.

Tip: Probiotic-rich food recipes

Simple sauerkraut

Ingredients
1 medium head of cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1.5 tablespoons of kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar (2 qt wide mouth) and jelly jar (smaller jar that fits inside of the 2 qt jar) are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. Make sure to wash your hands, too.
  2. Thinly slice and chop cabbage.
  3. Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes (there should be a significant amount of liquid formed).
  4. Pack the cabbage into the large mason jar. Every so often, push down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage into the jar.
  5. Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down (the cabbage needs to be fully submerged in the liquid).
  6. Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents anything from getting into the jar.
  7. Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
  8. If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
  9. Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is not fully submerged by liquid.
  10. Start tasting your sauerkraut after 3 days, when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate.
  11. While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
  12. This sauerkraut will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated.

Reference:
https:// draxe.com/boost-immunity-with-probiotics/
https:// draxe.com/probiotics-a-pro-or-con-for-your-health/
https:// draxe.com/what-are-probiotics/
http:// www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/probiotics-for-flu-prevention.aspx
http:// www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/do-probiotics-reduce-cold-and-flu-risk/
http:// www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/research-confirms-probiotics-support-immune-system/
http:// www.prescript-assist.com/intestinal-health/immune-system-probiotics/

Recipe Reference:
http:// www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124

healthy fat, saturated fat, good vs bad fat, holistic, naturopathic medicine, charlotte nc

The Truth about Fat

Many people are still under the assumption that a low-fat diet is best for your health.  This belief is false.  Our bodies require fat to function, but not all fat is created equal.  Fat provides the body with the proper nutrients for hormone development, cell growth and energy production.  Proper nutrition can be achieved through a diet rich in fats, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.  Fat itself is an essential nutrient.  Our bodies need the appropriate ratio of nutrients; this includes fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Fats are composed of building blocks called fatty acids.  These fatty acids fall into two categories: saturated,  and unsaturated fats (further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated).  There is also a fourth type of fat known as trans fat.

Saturated vs. Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fats are mostly liquid at room temperature and come primarily from plant-based foods.  Unsaturated fats protect against heart disease as they do not raise blood cholesterol levels.

Unsaturated fats can be divided further into two groups: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.  Examples of monounsaturated fats are olive oil and almond oil.  These are safe for consumption but due to their chemical makeup, they should not be heated to high temperatures.  Polyunsaturated fats are those consisting of omega-3s and omega-6s such as walnuts, green vegetables and fish.

Saturated fats are derived from animal-based products and are solid at room temperature.  Saturated fats leave little room for free-radicals to intervene, thus these require minimal processing, which in turn makes them very good for our consumption.  The most known examples of good saturated fats are butter and coconut oil.

The Most Harmful Fats: Trans Fat

Trans fats are the fats most harmful to cholesterol levels and provide the most increased risk to heart disease.   As discussed, unsaturated fats are found liquid and saturated fats are found solid.  Trans fats are naturally liquid oils but become solid at room temperature by the addition of hydrogen.  This process is known as hydrogenation.

Hydrogenation turns relatively healthy oils into solids for the purpose of extending a food’s shelf-life.  Indicators of trans fats are foods with ingredients containing words such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.  The most well known hydrogenated fat is margarine or shortening.

You should avoid refined oils such as canola oil or other vegetable oils as these go through extreme processing.  Also avoid “junk food” and fast food or anything that is pre-packaged such as cookies, muffins, pies and cakes as these often contain high amounts of trans fats.  Most fast food chains use shortening and hydrogenated oils for frying food because they are inexpensive, readily available and they do not go rancid.

Avoid foods advertised as “fat-free” or “low fat”.   These foods are usually chemically modified and may have harmful effects.  When buying meat, chose the fattier cuts as this is more naturally occurring fat.  For example, get ground beef with 20% or 30% fat instead of 3% or 5% percent.  The best fats are natural and include real butter (with no oils added), olive oil and coconut oil.

Good Fat vs. Bad Fat

It is not always easy to differentiate between a healthy fat or an unhealthy fat.  Some examples of good fats and bad fats are listed below:

Good fats – eggs, coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, nuts, butter, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

Bad fats – soybean oil, margarine, butter substitutes, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils, flax oil


Recipes Using Good Fat

Salmon with Mango and Avocado Salsa Lettuce Wraps

FOR THE SALMON

1-pound fresh salmon fillet or 4 (4-ounce) fillets
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 fresh lime, halved
1/4 chili powder
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

FOR THE WRAP

Green leaf lettuce (butterhead lettuce or large spinach leaves work well)

FOR THE MANGO AVOCADO SALSA

1 mango, pitted, peeled and diced
1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
1/3-cup finely diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1 whole lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer salmon to the prepared baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze lime juice over the entire fillet.  Rub the chili powder into the salmon, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.  Remove from oven and let stand couple minutes.

To prepare the salsa, combine diced mango, avocado, pepper, cilantro, lime, oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss to combine.

To finish, wrap salmon and salsa into lettuce wraps.

Baked Egg in Avocado

Avocado
2 eggs
Sea salt & pepper
Seasoning, optional

Instructions:

Cut avocado in half, remove pit.  If necessary scoop out some avocado to make room for egg.  Crack eggs into a bowl.  Place yolk and some egg white (with a spoon) into the avocado’s hole.  Place in muffin pan or similar so the avocado will stand up and not spill egg.  Bake in oven on 425 for 13-15 minutes.

Healthy Pesto Spread

3 cups basil (moderately packed)
juice of one small-medium lemon
1/3 c walnuts or pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
3/4 tsp himalayan salt
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the olive oil.  Pulse until evenly chopped.  Slowly add in the olive oil through the top of the processor.  Pulse until evenly combined, but not completely smooth.

Resources:

http:// braveforpaleo.com

http:// diethood.com

http:// dontwastethecrumbs.com

https:// draxe.com

http:// drhyman.com

http:// goodinthesimple.com

http:// health.harvard.edu

stress, stress relief, natural medicine charlotte, stress management therapy, the lifestyle clinic charlotte

Stress and Your Health

What is Stress?

Stress is the stimulating feeling one gets when facing a difficult situation or pressuring thoughts. Most of us live such busy lives that stress is a common occurrence for us. We commit ourselves to so many things on a daily basis; our work, families, friends and communities. We often question how we will fulfill all of our responsibilities. That constant feeling of pressure leads to chronic stress.

How Can Stress Affect Health?

You may think of stress as something that only affects your mental state on a day-to-day basis. However, chronic stress plays a huge role in our physical well-being. Some stress can be good for us and may provide us with small bursts of energy and increased attentiveness. Although, having too much stress can interfere with our daily functioning; creating brain fog, chronic headaches, fatigue, lack of concentration, an impaired immune system and other serious health problems. Stress can have a profound impact on your body weight, heart health, menstruation, skin complexion, and mental well-being.

Recognizing Symptoms of Stress

Many times, we experience the feeling of stress so often that it feels natural to us and we stop recognizing its presence. At that point, we are at an even greater risk of experiencing negative symptoms from stress. Chronic aches and pains, often accompanied with headaches are very common signs of stress weighing on our health. Forgetfulness and lack of concentration are both typical indications of uncontrolled daily stress. Unexplained irritability is also attributed to chronic distress.

Taking Action Against Stress

Many acupuncture practitioners are observing the positive results of acupuncture for stress reduction. Research shows acupuncture treatments can lower stress hormones in the bloodstream. This is done by acting on areas of the brain to reduce sensitivity to common stressors. Acupuncture can also help to improve memory and attention, both of which are afflicted by stress.

Stress management may also be achieved through proper counseling. Consulting with a psychologist or licensed therapist may help you to reduce or cope with stress. Mental health professionals can guide you in managing stress effectively and help you recognize factors that contribute to your chronic stress. Together, you and a professional can create a customized program for managing stress and maintaining good health.  

The Lifestyle Clinic offers both acupuncture and counseling with a licensed therapist in order to help you manage stress. If you need additional help, call us to schedule today. 

Available for sale is the Stress Less in 10 Days program – $39.00 – Pick up your copy at The Lifestyle Clinic and get started today!

Stress-Less in 10 Days is a day-by-day detox program to guide you through a deeper understanding of those underlying emotions that drive your everyday decisions. It was developed specifically for the everyday person to enhance optimum wellness! This process was developed by Dr. Lorrie J. Miller and is steeped in the understanding that Stress is a Mental & Emotional Experience. And despite the physical benefits, all the salads and physical fitness in the world will not change how you think, view the world or respond to your emotional stress triggers! The only way to effectively manage emotional stress is to face your emotional baggage head on! Stress-Less in 10 Days will help you jump start this process!!

Dr. Lorrie J. Miller is the newest addition to The Lifestyle Clinic team! To learn more about her visit: http://lifestyle-clinic.com/our-team/. Dr. Miller specializes in Stress Management and General Counseling Therapy.

Tips on Fighting Stress Symptoms

Breathing Exercises

A simple breathing exercise can immediately calm the body’s nervous system and ease an overactive mind. Your breathing pattern must provide an exhale that is longer than your inhale in order to provide a calming effect. Follow these steps as many times daily as needed.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

To begin, sit still and tall somewhere comfortable. Close your eyes and being breathing through your nose.

Then, inhale for a count of two… hold the breath in for a count of one… exhale gently, counting out for four… and finish by holding the breath out for a count of one. Keep your breathing even and smooth.

If the 2-4 count feels too short try increasing the breath lengths to 4 in and 6 out, or 6 in and 8 out, and so on. But if longer breaths create any anxiety there is no need to push yourself. The most important thing is that the exhale is longer than the inhale, not the absolute length of the breath.

Set a timer and breathe this way for at least five minutes! You will see a difference in your mood.

Other Useful Tips Include:

Maintain an adequate sleep schedule – Ensure that you get a healthy 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Eliminate caffeine, eliminate the use of technology such as television, computers or handheld devices at least one hour prior to sleep.

Practice relaxation exercises – yoga, general daily stretching and other relaxation exercises not only help reduce stress, but also boost immune functioning.

Follow a healthy diet – Eat mostly fruits and vegetables and avoid high-sugar foods.

If you or someone you know are experiencing the negative side-effects of chronic stress, call The Lifestyle Clinic today to learn the services we have available to help!

 

Reference:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4386/A-Simple-Breathing-Exercise-to-Calm-Your-Mind-Body.html

charlotte naturopathic doctor, sunbathing, sunblock, charlotte natural health

The Benefits of Responsible Sunbathing

Many people have grown more concerned with spending their time in the sun.  The effect from sun exposure has been in the limelight in recent years.  While there are many factors that contribute to an unhealthy relationship with the sun; poor diet, over-exposure, poor hydration, and environmental factors, spending time in the sun can actually be quite healing and support a healthy lifestyle.

There are actually many benefits to sun exposure.  One positive result from being in the sun is the effect it has on your brain.  By soaking in the sun, your brain produces serotonin and endorphins.  These hormones will elevate your mood and can help to decrease any feelings of depression.  Sunbathing has also been shown to increase one’s melatonin production.  Melatonin is a hormone secreted from the pineal gland that regulates our body’s internal clock.  By increasing the production of melatonin one can improve their chances of getting more restful sleep at night.  The sun can also help improve various skin conditions such as acne, rashes, eczema, and athlete’s foot.

The sun can also help regulate the development of hormones and lessen the severity of symptoms from PMS and menopause.  Sunbathing actually assists your liver with its process of detoxifying the body.  Exposure to the sun can increase blood cell counts and help improve circulation.  Perhaps the most well-known benefit of sunshine is its role in the development of Vitamin D.  When our skin is penetrated by the sun’s UV rays a chemical reaction occurs and vitamin D is formed within the body.  Vitamin D aids our immune system and increases calcium absorption; both of which will lead to better overall wellness.

Contrary to popular belief, wearing sunscreen is not the best way to protect yourself from the sun.  The majority of sunscreens found on drugstore shelves contain harmful chemicals.  By applying these sunscreens directly to the skin, you are allowing these chemicals to be absorbed into the body because the skin is the largest organ of your body, and because it is porous it absorbs everything.  The effects of these chemicals can last a lifetime.   If over exposure to the sun cannot be avoided, try finding a vegan sunscreen without any harmful chemicals.

It is important to know how to sunbathe responsibly, in order to receive the benefits without being over-exposed one must learn how long they can be in direct sunlight at one time based on their particular skin complexion.  Our skin complexion indicates the amount of melanin in the skin and thus how many UV rays our skin can safely absorb.  The lighter one’s skin is the less melanin they have.  Those with little melanin should be more cautious of over-exposure.  The sun is strongest between the hours of 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM, during these you should avoid lying in direct sunlight.  The safest way to expose your body to the sun is to do so gradually.  While sunbathing, one should never be in the sun long enough to obtain a burn any shade of red.

All things considered, sunbathing can be an easy way to maintain good health if proper precautions are taken.  Use the provided safety tips to protect your skin and gain the most benefits from the sun this summer and all year long!

Written by: Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor at The Lifestyle Clinic

References:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/sunbathing-can-increase-life-expectancy-a6954976.html

http:// gentleworld.org/the-benefits-of-responsible-sunbathing/

bugs, summer, charlotte naturopath, doctor, healthy, bug bites, healthy remedy

Naturally Protect Yourself From Bugs This Summer

This week brings the official first day of summer which means longer days, rising temperatures, blooming flowers and a surge of insects.

Summertime usually leads to spending more time outdoors enjoying beaches, lakes and other sceneries of nature.  Summer is an important time to know how to protect yourself from insects, as rates of insect-borne illnesses are on the rise.

At The Lifestyle Clinic we focus on disease prevention, not only in terms of nutrition and exercise, but also by minimizing exposure to toxins unique to this time of year. Most commercial insect repellents contain a chemical called DEET which is a pesticide and should be used with extreme caution.  Before reaching for a harsh bug spray, why not try some safer preventative measures?

Try these 10 easy tips to stay safe from insect-borne illnesses this summer.

  1. Protect your skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants when possible.  Choose light-colored solid prints so that insects are more easily detectable.
  1. To stop ticks, tuck long pants into your socks and avoid tall grass and underbrush.  Keep up with the growth of your lawn.  Always do a full body check once coming from outdoors.
  1. Try to stay indoors during dusk and dawn which are peak times for mosquito activity.
  1. Keep window screens in good repair.
  1. Keep outdoor meals protected by using a fan to deter mosquitoes.
  1. Plant mosquito-repelling plants such as scented geraniums, lemon thyme, marigold, citrosa plants, sweet basil or sassafras.
  1. Eliminate any standing water near your home where mosquitoes could be reproducing.
  1. Encourage natural insect predators such as ladybugs, bats, dragonflies, praying mantis, spiders, and birds.
  1. Use yellow light bulbs in outdoor fixtures.  Bugs are not as attracted to yellow lights.
  1. Use unscented skin products and choose non toxic repellents.

If you do encounter a sting or bite from an insect then try one of these natural home remedies to relieve your symptoms:

  • Apply tea tree oil to the affected area.  Remove the stinger and gently apply around the entry point.
  • Mix baking soda with water to form a paste.  Remove the stinger and apply the paste to the area until the pain is gone.
  • Slice a yellow onion  in half and rub the cut side onto the bite, the onion’s sulfur compounds will react with the area of the bite.
  • Tape a cotton ball soaked in white vinegar over the bite and leave overnight.

Written by: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

References:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-13582/11-tips-to-naturally-protect-yourself-from-bug-bites.htmlhttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/23/mosquito-repellent.aspx

chronic inflammation, charlotte nc, charlotte natural health, naturopathic, healthy eating

What is Chronic Inflammation?

Almost all diseases and illnesses stem from chronic inflammation.  Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing.  It is your body’s first line of defense against toxins, infections and injuries.  It helps to keep your body healthy and working properly.  When your cells are in distress, they release chemicals to alert your immune system.  Your body then sends inflammatory cells to heal the body from the foreign substance.  A good example of inflammation is when you get a splinter in your finger and your finger becomes red and puffy because your body is trying to fight any potential bacteria that is trying to enter your body.  This puts your body and immune system in overdrive causing chronic inflammation.

You may be suffering from chronic inflammation and not even know it.  Are you having a hard time maintaining a healthy weight, aging earlier than you should, or feel tired and sick all the time?  This is most likely due to chronic inflammation.

The most effective way to combat chronic inflammation is through diet.  At The Lifestyle Clinic, we put our patients on an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of high-quality proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits (in moderation), and nuts.  We try to focus on going back to the basics and making healthy food choices easy and simple for the everyday person.

Healing chronic inflammation isn’t only about adding anti-inflammatory foods—it’s also about getting rid of pro-inflammatory foods.  Most of us know that sugar and white flour are pro-inflammatory, but these are other foods that are usually known as “healthy” foods.  They may surprise you!

1. Whole wheat bread

The sugar in whole wheat bread will increase your blood glucose, causing your body to produce higher levels of pro-inflammatory cells.  Sugar elevates your insulin levels, triggering an immune response of destructive molecules to form, therefore feeding inflammation.

**Try eating your sandwich without bread or substituting with lettuce wraps.  If you don’t generally feel satisfied until you eat bread, try filling up on veggies first. Gluten is one of the main culprits of chronic inflammation.

2. Dairy

Dairy is thought to be the backbone of a healthy diet, providing essential nutrients and helping to build strong bones.  The truth is that dairy is the most inflammatory food in our diets after gluten.  The human body is not able to break down the sugars and proteins (casein and whey) found in dairy.  When dairy enters the body, inflammatory chemicals are released in an attempt to help the body digest these foreign substances.

**Try consuming unsweetened nut or hemp milks as good alternatives to cow’s milk.  Other non-dairy sources of calcium are almonds, kale, collard greens, broccoli, and spinach. Dairy is highly inflammatory and one of the leading factors to chronic inflammation, despite the fact that we are told from a young age that it builds strong bones.

3. Diet soda

Have you made the switch to drinks with splenda, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners because you’re trying to lose weight by avoiding sugar?  If so, these sweeteners are causing your body more harm than sugar itself.  Artificial sweeteners can cause glucose intolerance, increasing belly fat which in turn forces your body to crank out inflammatory chemicals.

**If you want to switch up the water to avoid chronic inflammation, try drinking unsweetened tea and sweetening with natural stevia or lemon. You can also add fruits to your water!

4. Seed oils

You might have heard that seed oils like corn, soybean, sunflower, and canola oil are good for you. However, these oils are heavily processed and they’re frequently rancid even at the time you buy them. Worse yet, they have an unhealthy ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. They’re high in omega-6s, which are pro-inflammatory, and low in anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

**Substitute these with healthy fats like olive, coconut, and avocado oils. These healthy fats are anti-inflammatory and can help to decrease chronic inflammation.

5. Nonfat fruit yogurt

Most people view this as the ultimate health food, fast and convenient and having probiotics to help your gut flora. Most people don’t even realize that they don’t tolerate dairy well until they eliminate it from their diet. When they do, symptoms such as headaches, acne, bloating and allergies will clear up. This usually means that your internal inflammation is decreasing.

These yogurts are often full of pro-inflammatory sugar or artificial sweeteners and contain only a tiny amount of actual fruit. When these are made and stripped of its fat, they substitute artificial fillers and thickeners—ingredients that are unfamiliar to your body and can promote inflammation.

**Avoid dairy and to increase the health of your gut, take a daily probiotic and eat fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi.


To fight inflammation, rethink “healthy.” Call The Lifestyle Clinic today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to learn more about healthy foods and to come up with a nutritional plan to help you feel your best!

Instead, try some of these Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
Dark, leafy greens
Turmeric
Blueberries
Broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies
Chia seeds
Avocados
Shiitake mushrooms

-By Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

Resources:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24830/5-healthy-foods-that-contribute-to-inflammation.html

http://kimberlysnyder.com/blog/2012/09/22/9-foods-that-cause-inflammation-and-9-that-fight-it/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-8646/the-dangers-of-dairy.html

allergies, natural health, detox

Dealing with Pesky Allergies

Allergies? Itchy eyes, runny nose, hives, sneezing, headaches… these are all symptoms that you have allergies. An allergic response is the reaction of the body’s immune system to a substance that is normally harmless to the body. The offending substance causing allergies is called an allergen. These can include; dust, grass pollens, certain foods, food additives, chemicals, metals, and animal hair to name a few.

Many people believe that allergies are caused by the substance themselves. In reality it is a reaction from your immune system trying to keep you healthy.

What are Allergies?

It begins with exposure. Even if you’ve inhaled an allergen many times before with no trouble, at some point, the body flags it as an invader. The immune system makes antibodies which are special cells designed to detect the invading allergen if it enters your body again.

Then, the next time you’re exposed to the allergen, your immune system kicks into action. The antibodies recognize the allergens, which then flood the body with chemicals such as histamine. Histamine serves as a red flag to your immune system by notifying the body of potential harm. When these chemicals are released into the body, they are responsible for symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, hives, redness, itching, constriction of the airways, and increased mucus secretion.  Typical reactions associated with allergies include; asthma, hayfever, sinusitis, swelling of the throat, hives, eczema, migraine headaches, abdominal bloating, and cramping.

The Liver’s Role in Allergies

The best way to avoid allergies is to make sure that your liver and immune system are in peak condition. When your liver is functioning poorly, it cannot properly cleanse the blood of toxins (such as antibodies and chemicals).

These toxins over stimulate the immune system causing it to pour out histamine causing these allergic reactions.

A great way to optimize your liver and immune system function is to detoxify your body. By clearing the body of toxins, it will allow the detox processes in the body to better filter and deal with allergens in the future.

If you are experiencing allergic reactions, this is a clear sign that your body may have a build-up of toxins. These over-burden your liver which means that your liver is also burning fat less efficiently causing it to be difficult for weight loss. Gentle and regular detoxification is very helpful when trying to balance the immune system. Doing a seasonal detox will help to boost your liver to its full potential as well as re-set your immune system.

Ask your Naturopathic Doctor how it can benefit you!  

Talk to our Naturopathic Doctor about starting your detoxification program to help ease symptoms associated with allergies. If you or someone you know could benefit, please have them call us to set up a Free Phone Consultation to discuss individual needs.

We also offer group detox programs! We can come to your church, job or even if your family or friends want to participate together. Contact us today to find out more information!

By: Dr. Kivette Parkes, Naturopathic Doctor

 

http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/chronic-allergies-causes

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11175/everything-you-need-to-know-about-histamine-intolerance.html

https://www.liverdoctor.com