Raise your hand if you struggle with neck pain or tightness at least once a month…(every hand in the country raises). How commonly do we hear “Ugh I must have slept wrong on my neck last night” or “I always get headaches, it’s just normal for me”? Way too often! And I am here to tell you neck pain and headaches ARE NOT NORMAL. Under no circumstances should we just accept pain and discomfort and chalk it up as “getting older” or “being out of shape”. If you have a problem, fix it! But how do we fix something without knowing what causes it? Let’s fix that ;)
3 most common causes of neck pain
1. Sitting all day. Like most, we spend a majority of our day sitting at a desk and computer. This means our shoulder are slouched, our middle back is hunched over, our arms are in front of our bodies, and you head is at least 2 inches farther forward than it is supposed to be. Well no wonder we have tight, stiff necks once we reach quitting time. Seated posture puts our spine in the opposite curvatures it’s designed to have. God intended for us to be active, on our feet constantly, and originally chasing saber tooth tigers for dinner. But as our society has evolved, along with the hunting and gathering process, we are reversing the structure of our spines without even knowing it.
2. Sleeping on your side, stomach, or with a pillow. We may not be able to change the fact that our jobs involve terrible posture all day long, but changing the positions you sleep in at night is totally in our control. This is a solid 7-8 hour (hopefully) block of opportunity that we could be taking advantage of to reset our spines’ curvatures and give those muscles a chance to relax from the long day’s work. But typically we are doing one of 3 things: If you are sleeping on your side, this curves your neck either to the right or left depending on how thick your pillow is and what your side of choice is. This is basically inducing a scoliosis curve to your neck which we all know is no good. For you horrid stomach sleepers, your head is turned one way or another the entire time so one side of your neck’s muscles are extremely tight while the others are receiving an 8 hour stretch all night. Plus when you rotate your head to a side, it actually compresses the artery on that side that feeds your brain. So you are also affecting the amount of oxygen your brain receives all night too. Maybe that’s why you’re waking up still feeling fatigued and not rested. Just saying! And maybe you are trying to be a star chiro patient and are sleeping on your back. But if you are using a pillow, you are putting your head in that forward carriage that you maintain all day long while sitting. So save those pillows for decoration and ditch them when it’s actually time to sleep!
3. Forward head posture. Our head is meant to be centered over our body because it is heavy! Your hole in your ear (external auditory meatus) should line up with the seam on your shirt’s sleeve. Whether you are sitting, standing, or sleeping, this is where your head belongs for everything to function at its maximum capacity. So having it 1 to 2 or even 3 inches in front of that center makes our head much heavier (thanks physics) and causes an immense amount of stress on the muscles working to hold our head up. Fun fact: for every 1 inch your head is forward of your center, it become 10lbs heavier. No wonder your neck is stiff and tight! And when that forward head carriage occurs, it once again, presses on those vital arteries that supply our brain, thus causing the famous headache. Headaches are not from a lack of Excedrin or ibuprofen in our system. It is literally our brain warning us that something is wrong before anything to serious progresses. But what do we do?? We just slap a Band-Aid on it with ibuprofen and continue on our day. See where we go wrong with listening to our body?
Feel a little more informed now on why your neck and shoulders are so stiff and achy at the end of the day or when you wake up in the morning? But I am sure you’re now wondering, “What do I do about it!?!” Dr. Hester and I put together a series of videos to further explain neck pain and also to give you some at-home tips along with what we offer here in the office to not just get rid of the neck pain and headaches, but to truly FIX the structural issues causing the discomfort. So head over to Facebook now to check out those blockbusters ;) Pretty sure we have a Grammy on the way!
If you or your colleague in the cubicle next to you, are struggling with neck pain, make an appointment with us today! 623.551.6677. The longer you wait, the worse it will get, and the lengthier the treatment process will be. Don’t let procrastination be the thief of your health!
So today’s topic is HIGH CHOLESTEROL. If you’re male and over 50, I would be willing to bet you are on some kind of medication for your cholesterol, which is called a statin. You ate too much bacon as a kid, right? Well I have some good news for you, high cholesterol can be an easy fix, thank goodness, because once I start telling you about all of the side effects statins bring, you will be ready to make a change!
I think it is important to understand cholesterol and its function in our bodies first before discussing how to lower it. 80% of our cholesterol in our bodies is produced BY OUR BODY. That is how important cholesterol is! And this process takes place in our liver. Now the other 20% comes from what we are eating and most of the time, it is terrible stuff that either adds too much cholesterol beyond the 20% or is the wrong kind of cholesterol that our body needs.
Flour, sugar, and bad oils are all stimulants that the liver uses to produce more cholesterol, which then increases our levels of inflammation. As I mentioned in a previous post, inflammation is the underlying cause of the majority of disease we are dying from today like heart attacks, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, and so, so, so many more.
It has also been proven that increased body weight is associated with high cholesterol levels and increased risk of coronary heart disease. So obviously, if you cut out the foods that are causing the weight gain AND inflammation, then you will be able to lower your total cholesterol and LDL levels NATURALLY. No statins necessary.
I’m about to blow your mind with this next tidbit of info…it isn’t the eggs and bacon that are causing your cholesterol to be elevated. It is actually all of that flour, sugar, and bad oil you are consuming that is collecting in your arteries. So your potato chips, snack cakes, bread, and hot dogs. Which means you can keep your bacon, red meat, and eggs. You’re welcome!
Also, as I’m sure you’ve heard, you have GOOD cholesterol (HDL) and BAD cholesterol (LDL). These 2 numbers along with your triglycerides (free fatty acids in your blood) are then used to calculate your total cholesterol. Here is what that equation looks like:
LDL+HDL+(triglycerides/5)= Total Cholesterol
So when your Doc tells you your total cholesterol is high, it doesn’t take a math wiz to look at this equation and know that it might not necessarily be a bad thing like they make it seem. If your “good” cholesterol is high that will obviously raise the total cholesterol levels, which is a good thing. So do not be shocked if you look at your next blood results and see this number out of range. What matters is your HDL:LDL ratio. We want our HDL’s to be 10 times the amount of our LDL’s. If we achieve that, who cares what that total cholesterol is!
Now here is the next problem: Statins. Is it just me, or does that word look a lot like “Satan”? We’ll leave that alone for now ;) A statin drug is the medication they give you to “lower cholesterol”. But the ugly truth is they lower a lot more than your cholesterol and if you’re still eating crap, your cholesterol with still be high! Statins list the first side effect on the back of their bottles as Rhabdomyolysis. This means muscle cell death. Ever notice how grandpa now has chicken legs and struggles to get out of his recliner not to mention is constantly worried about falling and not being able to get up? Chances are he’s been on a statin for quite some time and his body is suffering the effects. Statins have also been tied to elevated rates of new onsets of Type II diabetes and frequent common colds too. Research has found an alarming correlation between statin users and mental decline to add on top of all of this and we won’t even get into the laundry list of vitamins and nutrients statins deplete your body of because you are no longer able to absorb them.
I think I’ve proven my point here. Between high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes, our society is being taken out fast. We have to be the change we want to see in this world. That is why we work so passionately here at Back to Health to help you make the lifestyle changes you NEED to live longer and healthier lives. Dr. Hester always uses the candle analogy to describe how our lives should be lived. We should burn nice and even, gradually getting older but still with a flame just as bright as day 1. Then one day, the flame simply goes out. We should not be spending the last 10, 15, or sometimes even 20 years of our lives in healthcare facilities dealing with dementia, cancer, or the inability to get ourselves to the bathroom on our own. We are doing it wrong people and it has to change. In the few short months I have been working for Dr. Hester, I have seen MULTIPLE lives changed with our help. Our 8 Weeks to Wellness program is the real deal! We attack every aspect of your life and alter it in a healthier direction. And the cool part is, we have actual numerical values we use to check your progress at the end. If your cholesterol numbers were high before the program, and we have your blood work re-tested afterwards and your cholesterol is no longer high, what more do you need to know!?! Same goes for Type II diabetes. You walk into our office with glucose levels off the chart, and after 8 Weeks to Wellness, what do you know, those numbers are now in a normal range. It works! All it takes is your commitment to live better. If you can give us that, we can do the rest. I encourage you to come learn more at our upcoming nutritional talk on cholesterol Tuesday evening, April 17, at 6:30pm. It will be held at The Crossroads Church in Anthem where there will be life changing information presented, I promise. There are limited seats available so sign up now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cholesterol-how-to-lower-your-risk-naturally-tickets-44765661298 or give us a call at 623.551.6677. Let’s get those last 10 years of your life back!
Info contributed by https://draxe.com/lipitor-side-effects/
Have you ever heard of the Dirty Dozen or Clean Fifteen? If not, take 3 minutes to read this because it could be crucial to your health. We know the whole “organic” thing is taking over but what does organic really mean? Does it mean it’s healthy and is allowed into your diet? Not quite. The definition of organic food in the United States is:
‘The product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilizers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.
*Taken from DEFRA
So just because something is labeled as “organic” or is sold in the classic brown, wholesome, natural looking bag does not mean it is healthy, it is just lacking dangerous chemicals that cause hundreds of illnesses, DNA mutation, and even birth defects. Makes you wonder what we’re eating on our non-organic products doesn’t it!?! That is just my quick disclaimer that many people get caught up in when trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle.
Last year, the Environmental Working Group released their annual reports that found almost 70% of the 48 different non-organic foods they tested were positive for at least one pesticide. And in many of the cases it was a lot more than one. A strawberry that was tested had over 20 different pesticides found on it. 20!!!! This is why eating organic is such a big deal.
Here’s the thing though, when you compare prices of non-organic produce to organic, you notice a HUGE difference. This is why we always get asked “Do I need to eat everything organic?” and the answer is “Yes, but not really”.
Pretty helpful, right?? No fear though because we have some helpful tips. Of course, you should eat organic as much as possible but if you’re on a budget, here are some lists to make the most of it.
I hope this was able to provide some kind of guideline for you to follow when purchasing produce. It is scary to think about all that we don’t know about our food so whenever I can share some tips I’m all about it. Make those shopping lists now and highlight or mark the organic necessities to make the best decisions for your health.
If you are interested in learning more about food and how to make healthier decisions for a lifestyle change, call today to make an appointment with us here at Back to Health of Anthem. 623.551.6677. We will spend time determining your specific nutritional needs and create a personalized plan that works best for you schedule and goals. We are not promised tomorrow so don’t put your health off for another day!
Not the most glamorous of names I know, but a ton of you are about to thank me for solving your problems in a few minutes. Have you heard of IBS lately?? It stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and so many people are being diagnosed with this due to unexplained stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloating. I can name 10 people I know personally right off the top of my head that are constantly battling random, intense stomach pains that occur shortly after eating. And there is no consistency in what they are eating that causes it. One night it’s ice cream, the next it’s pizza that they have eaten a thousand times. It literally keeps them on the couch and in the bathroom all night long waiting the torture out. Now what about the “Chronic Fatigue” and “Fibromyalgia” diagnoses that are consuming the medication commercials every day? What kind of illness is this!?! It isn’t folks. It is a garbage can diagnosis that is stuck on someone when there is not an answer for what is wrong with you. Why are you chronically fatigued? What does your body hurt all over at the slightest touch? Why do you get extreme stomach pains after eating something you’ve eaten plenty of times before? There is something wrong people and we have to address it.
80% of our immune system is in our gut. Our gut (or intestines) is where a majority of our absorption happens for nutrients and energy, and it is also the place where the decision is made whether to keep something or send it down the shoot. So to say the gut is important is quite the understatement, yet because it isn’t helping us breath or is not beating to push blood through our bodies, we ignore it! Well that stops here. Our guts have been used and abused for way too long and we are now seeing the effects with things such as extreme stomach pains, headaches, joint pains, bloating, cramping, thyroid problems, and so much more. So what is causing the gut to be damaged and how do we fix it??
The food we are eating is the culprit here. A variety of things can cause the gut to become “leaky” which is why it is so important that you have the proper bloodwork done to determine what your specific triggers are. Most commonly, grains can be blamed. Grains contain different proteins that affect the junctions between our intestinal cells. The most common of these proteins would be gluten. Gluten has become such a hot topic lately and the amount of “Gluten –Free” foods has multiplied enormously over the last couple of years. But just going gluten free is unfortunately not enough. Grains contain other proteins along with gluten that cause the same damage. We also need to look at all of the other non-bread, processed foods we are eating. Basically anything in the center aisles of the grocery store. They contain processed chemicals that are disrupting the microflora (good bacteria) our guts need to do their job. And not only are they killing the good bacteria but they are then manifesting their bad bacteria in our guts as well. No wonder we are seeing all of the extreme symptoms I mentioned above. We have bad bugs in our gut messing everything up! How exactly is this happening you ask?? Well let me explain:
Zonulin is a protein in your bodies that opens up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining. That normally occurs in order for nutrients and other molecules to get in and out of the intestine. However, when leaky gut is present, the spaces between the cells open up too much allowing larger protein molecules to get into the bloodstream where an immunologic reaction can take place. The two most powerful triggers to open the zonulin door are gluten and improper gut bacteria in the small intestine. Gluten causes zonulin levels to increase and as the zonulin level rises, the seal between the intestinal cells breaks down. Think of it like the security guard on duty that is supposed to keep the bad guys out but falls asleep on the job! Now large food molecules are allowed to pass through to the immune system. The immune system thinks they are foreign invaders and will initiate an immune response leading to food sensitivities. In addition to the immune response, the gut becomes damaged and inflamed, leading to even more permeability or “leakage” and overloads the liver’s ability to filter out the garbage. As if that is not enough, the microvilli that line the intestines and absorb nutrients become damaged, leading to other nutrient deficiencies too.
Make more sense now, why we are so sick with symptoms??? The good news to all of this…we know what it takes to fix it! With the combination of diet changes, supplementation, and hydration, we can truly solve the leaky gut epidemic. But it will take commitment on your end to decide to change your lifestyle once and for all. The scary truth about leaky gut is the medical world has not quite figured it out yet. When these symptoms present in their office, the answer is usually surgery. They go in and cut 6 inches of your intestines out since they are inflamed and causing the pain. But guess what? In a few months, a new section of your gut will be inflamed due to the process I explained a minute ago. So just cutting a section out will not fix the issue! We have to eliminate what is causing the inflammation and gut lining deterioration. If you take all the bad out of your diet and replace it with good then all should be well! But if you let the bad slip back in again, what do you think will happen? Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out!
I hope this was able to give you a general concept of what is occurring within your body to help explain the outward symptoms. Leaky Gut is such an important diagnosis to understand and heal that we are hosting a Dinner with the Doc specifically on the topic! We believe in explaining the unexplained and this dinner talk with do just that. Mark it on your calendars for Wednesday, March 27th @6:30pm at Two Brothers Kitchen. To sign up, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dinner-with-the-doc-leaky-gut-tickets-44165527281 now! Space is limited so don’t put it off!
At the meeting we will also discuss a blood test we offer called a Wheat Zoomer, where your antibodies in your blood are tested to see specifically what types of grains and flours are causing your leaky gut. We want to be as specific as possible when molding your new diet to heal your gut. Don’t wait another minute to make a change. It is NOT NORMAL to live with constant, unexplained stomach pains, headaches, joint pains, constipation, and chronic fatigue. Give us a call at 623.551.6677 to schedule a Wellness Score today and get your body back to its properly functioning self!
Info contributed by https://www.jillcarnahan.com/2013/07/14/zonulin-leaky-gut/
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
It is becoming widely known that our bodies are in a state of chronic inflammation thanks to all of the garbage we eat. Ideally, your body wants to have a neutral pH, which would be around 7. However our bodies are naturally slightly acidic due to the pollution in the air and a variety of other chemicals we come in contact with. Being acidic in pH causes stress on our bodies thus leading to inflammation. With this being known, that is why an anti-inflammatory diet is so necessary. Now you should know I am overly obsessive with the anti-inflammatory diet so here is where I will restrain myself from going into a 2 hour discussion on how to cut inflammation out of your life. But you can look forward to it in a future post ;) My main focus today is to talk about one of the best anti-inflammatory foods God put on this earth… GINGER.
I had never eaten ginger in my life until 3 years ago. It was in one of our nutrition classes that we discussed the miraculous effects it can have on the body and that our professor was currently eating it daily in multiple forms to maintain his pristine health at the age of 60. He was juicing it, he was putting it in his coffee, sprinkling it on his entrees, and even nibbling on the actual root! That was all I needed to know to get me on the bandwagon. So here are some of the awesome benefits that ginger provides our bodies:
Do I need to say any more!?! Talk about a miracle worker! And what is so cool about ginger is you can consume it in a variety of ways so there really is no excuse to not have your daily dose. The easiest form would be supplements. It is a concentrated powder in a capsule so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, it is a convenient option. My personal favorite is buying fresh ginger root, cutting off an inch or two, and tossing it in my NutriBullet for my green smoothies. The powdered spice form is great for adding to your morning coffee, tea, or any other dishes to spice it up. And you can also juice it as well! For the little ones who start to show signs of a cold (or that man baby you have at home too lol), here is a great remedy:
Mix 4tsp of ginger juice, powder, or root + 4tsp honey + lemon juice + warm water
Not only is it warm and soothing, but the anti-inflammatory effects will knock out the free radicals running wild in your body causing the decrease in your immune system. I love this so much that it is a normal beverage in my day simply because it is delicious but also is super preventive.
Now let’s say you know you’re going out for beer and pizza tonight (not that you should, but hey, I’m realistic), I would load up on ginger all day to prepare for the celebration. I’m not saying this is the answer to allowing you to eat junk daily because it’s not. But any little bit helps. So I would take 1-2 grams worth of ginger in supplements, have my honey/lemon/ginger tea, and would put a big scoop of the powder in my green smoothie as well. This will help lessen the blow on your body and tissues from all of that dough and barley. Inflammatory food literally damages your tissues and DNA folks, it’s no joke. Look at the state of our society’s health and tell me you don’t notice something wrong. It is our food! So we have to do our part in reversing the damage that has been done, and preventing further damage in the future. Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease IS NOT NORMAL! And they are all direct effects of chronic inflammation.
(*Step off soapbox here*)
Just a fair warning with ginger…it is definitely an acquired taste. It has a spicy, tingly, burn to it when you put enough in there, so just be ready for that. I would start small, like ½ TBS in your smoothie, but gradually increase it each time. Anywhere from 2-6 grams a day would be the goal. Fun little story to wrap this up…
I had Bryan (my boyfriend) on a health kick with me. He was doing so well to the point where he was even asking for a green smoothie. Never thought I’d see the day. So one morning, in a slight rush because I couldn’t find the shirt I was looking for, I just threw 2 smoothies together. Tossed in some spinach, kale, carrots, beets, coconut milk, mango, and GINGER. I didn’t have fresh ginger at the moment so I decided to just sprinkle some in from my spice cabinet. The only problem was a forgot I took the little top off that has the holes to prevent the whole bottle from dumping out. You can guess what happened then, half the bottle dumped into the cup. Now me, I wasn’t mad at all because I don’t believe you can have too much ginger, but I kind of forgot Bryan didn’t have that same mindset. Not thinking about it, I tossed it in his to-go bottle and we were on our separate ways. About 10 minutes later I get a phone call from a pretty panicked guy:
Bryan: “Babe, did you put something different in this smoothie today?!”
Me: “Noooooo, it’s the same one I always make for you”
Bryan: “Well my throat is literally on fire. I mean, I don’t know what throat cancer feels like, but I’m guessing this is it!”
Me: “Ooooooh my bad, I got a little carried away with the ginger powder this morning by accident. Are you still going to drink it though because it’s really good for you and I know you’re going to have pizza at lunch”
Bryan: “Yeah, of course babe, but we’re going to need to rename this thing. I’m thinking The Ginger Stole My Soul”
Me: *Dying laughing*
To this day we refer to that smoothie recipe as such. But on the bright side, we built up his ginger tolerance!
If you are interested in incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet or want to learn more about creating a healthier lifestyle, call now to make an appointment with us 623.551.6677. My passion is nutrition and turning our comfort foods into healthy nutritious options, so we will find the best accommodations for you and your life!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Literally everyone has jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon. We wear them like they’re jewelry (even when they totally don’t match your outfit) and faithfully monitor our daily number of steps because we want to be healthier right? Women are walking around the break room at lunch just to hit those 10,000 steps and the men take the long way back from taking the garbage out. But I have to shed some light on this new trend. Walking is not going to make you drop that pesky 20lbs you can’t get rid of and it is not strengthening your heart to avoid high blood pressure and heart attacks. The point of exercise is to raise your heart rate, so your heart becomes a stronger muscle and is able to last longer. Increasing your heart rate is also a must if you want to lose weight too.
Now I’m not hating on the step counters here because I do believe doing something is better than nothing. A body in motion stays in motion. So, if you choose to take the stairs over the elevator to get your steps in, that’s awesome! And if you are walking instead of sitting in front of the TV munching on potato chips, fantastic. I’m all for the motivation to get up and do something active. But we are seeing patients give too much credit and have expectations too high for the results of reaching 10,000 steps a day.
So, if you are ready to take the next STEP and do more for your body, here are some great activities to start:
While performing any of the above, it is best to monitor your efforts with a heart rate monitor strap. This is worn at the level of your heart, so it will give you the most accurate reading rather than down at your wrist, which is far from your heart. We use the MYZONE heart rate monitors here at Back to Health of Anthem and I highly recommend them. They monitor heart rate, effort levels, and calories burned so you always know the results of a workout. Plus, they keep track of all of your workouts in a convenient app on your phone. So, when you’re cheating a little on your healthy lifestyle with some ice cream, you don’t’ feel too guilty because you know you burned 600 calories earlier. I’m all about justification obviously lol.
Make an appointment with us today to get an extensive evaluation of your current health status and to get involved with our Functional Training Center. We have trainers who have per-programmed workouts for all fitness levels so you can put those MYZONE belts to work! Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve mobility, or further the progress you’ve made in the gym so far, don’t put your health off for another day, call and schedule now at 623.551.6677!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Alright guys, we have to talk about this sugar craze that is taking over our lives. We talked about diabetes a few weeks ago but I feel the need to dig a little deeper into all of this to hopefully help many of you completely avoid the diabetes epidemic. Proactive instead of reactive, right!?! And make sure you read to the end of this blog for a great opportunity! (or just scroll there now ;) )
Let’s start with all of the nutso effects sugar has on our bodies:
It turns us into a junkie! Sugar triggers the pleasure part of our brain to release chemicals called opioids and dopamine. But just like any feel-good substance or drug, our body develops a tolerance for it which means overtime we need more and more to get that same satisfaction. Fructose (sugar) directly and indirectly stimulates our brain’s built in ‘reward system” which is in charge of creating habit and dependence beasts. Hence the sugar addiction!
It makes you hungry (or hangry in my case). Sugar scrambles your body’s ability to tell your brain “hey big guy, you’re full, put the fork down”. Plus, sugar gets burned up by our bodies so quickly that it only takes about an hour before we’re hungry again because it wasn’t filling in the first place.
It tires you out. Sugar initially gives you the boost of energy to push through the next 30 minutes or so, but it is short lived. What goes up must come down! So, after your body has the rush of insulin spike to put the sugar in your blood, it comes crashing down. Are you picturing that slingshot ride at the fair now??? It’s brutal on your energy levels and just think about your poor pancreas. Be nice to that little guy, he controls your health more than your think.
Sugar causes dysfunction in your metabolism. Ever heard of metabolic syndrome?? Well here’s your culprit. Weight gain, type II diabetes, decreased HSL, increased LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides levels are all included in that diagnosis and over half of our population has at least one of the above. We have to make a change people!
Sugar wears out your liver. Whenever your body has too much trash in it, it shuttles the garbage to the landfill where they metabolize it and help get it out of your body as fast as possible. In your body’s case, your liver is considered your landfill. It detoxifies our body from harmful or excessive products. So constantly having it in over drive ridding us of too much sugar is obviously going to wear it out eventually.
So, what if you don’t drink pop, hardly ever have ice cream, and consider yourself a pretty healthy eater, yet you are still 10-20 pounds over your goal weight? You’re not unhealthy but you’re not healthy either. What do you do to cross the border into happy healthy land?? GET RID OF THE SUGAR! And I’m not talking about the white table kind of sugar. I’m talking about all of the hidden sugar that is stuffed in all kinds of “healthy” foods. Sugar that is found in “low fat” foods to replace the fat. Sugar that is in salad dressings, bread, lunch meat, and peanut butter. Sugar is everywhere!
Unless you went to specific nutrition classes either in college or at some workshop, you’re probably wondering how you go about this. If sugar is in everything, how do I avoid it!?!
The bad news: avoiding it is only half the battle. The real issue is breaking the cravings and desires for these sugar-containing foods. They say sugar can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Now, that might be a little extreme considering the difference between the two, but it really puts it into perspective. I tell you this for you to mentally prepare yourself for the fight. Win the fight with Dr. Knight (I clearly love using my name to make tag lines lol). But I’m serious! I see the struggle and I want to play my role in fixing it. So here is what we are launching in the office…
A 21 DAY SUGAR DETOX
Now this isn’t your sweat it out of your pores kind of detox, this is a getting clean kind of detox. Breaking habits, developing new routines and mindsets, and getting through the withdrawals as easily as possible. Yes, you will have withdrawals. Like I said, sugar is addictive. But they don’t have to be as bad as they sound. And with this detox, you have a community of support around you with everyone else doing the sugar detox challenge… including myself! This girl loves her chocolate and tortillas, so I have some work to do along with you. I want us to be on the journey together and come out on the other side, healthier and happier than ever. Research proves it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I mean, it’s 3 weeks. You can do anything for 3 weeks. Trust me on this one, and I promise you will thank me in the end.
So, head over to myanthemhealth.com/events to sign up for our 21 Day Sugar Detox info meeting, Thursday, March 15th, and 6:30 pm. It will be here at the office and we will discuss all of the details along with some awesome offers to help you make the most progress as possible. The best part: The winner of the 21 Day Sugar Detox Challenge will win a FREE 8WW PACKAGE!!! I can’t even begin to tell you the value of that. So not only do you get healthier, but you get a HUGE prize too??? Dr. Knight knows how to do it right! ;)
Don’t put this off. Put your health at the top of your priorities for a few short weeks and you won’t regret it. Can’t wait to see you at the meeting March 15th!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
After taking my very first yoga class EVER last week at Back to Health, with Tracy Macon (yes, it's bacon with an "M") I felt the need to share my experience in case there are others out there like me. To start, it is important to know that I am one who LOVES my comfort zone. I stick to the things I know, which avoids a lot of stress for me. Anything outside of my cozy little box makes me slightly nervous, and needless to say, I put it off as long as possible. So yoga fell into this category for me. Now you’re probably thinking, “You’re young and active, yoga will be easy for you!” Well not quite. I have a 15-year history of dance classes and competitive dance teams in my past, so I am used to being very flexible, but since I have not done anything of the sort for the last 8 years, I know my flexibility is not where it should be. On top of that, we have that stereotypical picture of yoga and “yogi’s” in our head thanks to TV and the media. I do not have 4-foot-long, slender legs that I can put over my head so yoga isn’t for me, right!?! So, so, so wrong! Yoga is truly for everyone!
EVERYONE has muscles that are too tight and too weak regardless of our awareness of them, so yoga classes are a great solution. When I woke up at 6:30am Saturday morning, I was sore from my workouts earlier in the week (which included 150 pull-ups, ugh!), I was tired, and it was a Saturday…my only day to sleep in. So obviously I didn’t go into this with the most optimistic attitude, but that was soon to change.
The vibe that was set in the functional training center was perfect. The lights were off, and the sunrise was coming up through the windows. Tracy had the best playlist of calming, inspiring, chill out music that completely set the tone. I’m all about good music so this was one of my favorite parts. And the class itself was not what I was expecting at all. Tracy doesn’t just stand at the front of the class demonstrating everything and basically taking the class herself, rather she walks throughout the whole class the entire time. The class members are a variety of experience levels which makes it feel super comfortable and not intimidating at all, but also allows you to see how to perform each position if Tracy is in another section of the room. After an hour of multiple poses, breathing patterns, motivational words from Tracy, and a final 5 minutes at the end of simply laying in a position of your choice, I was completely renewed and ready for the day.
But what stuck out to me most was Tracy’s words of inspiration throughout the class. While in a “tree pose” (for you non-yoga goers, its standing on one leg with the other foot placed on the inside of your standing thigh) she had us focus on all of our blessings we have in our life. She said that simply our ability to be there that morning meant we have so much to be thankful for that we tend to take for granted. Well isn’t that the truth!?! And to think just an hour before that I was being moody because I had to wake up early to go to a FREE yoga class, in my $75 yoga leggings, sore from working out in a state of the art gym with a trainer, and all because I have a gold mine of a job working at Back to Health in my dream state of Arizona. My goodness, talk about perspective! She was so right, we are SO BLESSED. How easy was it for me to forget everything God has graciously given me? I’d say that was a top 5 most selfish feeling moment of my life. If for nothing else than a reality check, I instantly made a commitment to myself that I would make yoga a regular part of my routine.
As the day went on, I also noticed a dramatic decrease in my muscle soreness. Literally every area of my body was sore in some fashion before the class, and it was 70% gone even the next day as well. Another added perk was I noticed some ab soreness afterwards so not only was I stretching tight muscles, but I was building muscle at the same time. YOGA IS AWESOME! After one class, I am a firm believer in all yoga can do for your life both physically and mentally.
If you have never tried a yoga class, or if you have but only a few times, get your butt to Back to Health ASAP. Free yoga people! For my inside the box peeps, here are 5 things to keep in mind before attending your first class to ease some of that unknown:
1. Yoga is truly for everyone, no matter the age, mobility, male, female, or experience level.
2. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. If that is tighter fitting clothing, go for it! If it is looser clothing, do it! Your comfort is extremely important so don’t sacrifice that for what the typical yoga picture looks like.
3. There are multiple types of yoga so if you aren’t impressed or comfortable with one style, there are plenty of other options, so find the best fit for you.
4. Yoga mats. Although we have a few yoga mats available for you to use at Back to Health, they are limited, so either get there early or pick one up super cheap at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.
5. Trust the process! It is 100% acceptable to look around during class and see if you are performing a pose correctly. Mobility and flexibility are not something you develop in a week. Be patient with your progress and do not compare yourself to the woman next to you who has been doing yoga 3 times a week for the last year. You will get there if you are consistent.
We offer free classes Saturday’s at 8am and Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm. Then on Monday’s at 6:30 pm and Saturday at 9am we offer classes for only $5. So head over to myanthemhealth.com and sign up for a class now! I promise it is worth it and you will definitely see me there!
P.s. Take a minute or two away from whatever you are doing right now, close your eyes, and simply think of all the blessing you have in your life. Whether it was the house and family you came from this morning, the job you are currently at, or simply the ability to read this post on your $300 smart phone. There is so much to be thankful for so take the time to appreciate it. I know I do.
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Let’s talk about how in the world we are expected to still eat healthy when we are
having a date night with our main squeeze. I am the first person to understand how tempting it is to indulge when eating out. I mean, how am I supposed to turn down a margarita with dinner when the picture looks so good!?! You spend 2 hours getting ready for your honey (coming from a female obviously, you men just enjoy your 10 minutes it takes you) because you’re finally going on a date after 4 weeks of a chaotic, non stop schedule, and the last thing you want to think about is resisting temptation and “being good” with your food choices. So the goal is to help make those decisions for you without you feeling like you are sacrificing and letting you focus on the important things in life.
Look at the menu ahead of time. This helps with so much. First of all, you are usually starving by the time you finally get to dinner (thanks to that 2 hours it takes to create perfection), which is the absolute worst time to make food decisions. Cravings are at an all time high and you will likely order more than you actually need. Planning out your selection before getting to the restaurant will give you plenty of time to check out all of the options instead of selecting the first thing that sounds good so you can get back to the convo with your other half. Knowing what you will be eating while getting ready will also allow you to look forward to what you have chosen instead of being disappointed the second you tell the waiter, “A salad with the dressing on the side, please” as a last resort.
Salad is NOT your only option! Yes, does the majority of a menu include something either deep fried, breaded, or full of sugar? Absolutely. But there are still plenty of dishes you can choose from outside of the salad list. Remember: WHOLE FOODS. So looking for the dishes with meat, vegetables, and a complex carb. My go to: 6 oz. sirloin, house salad, and a baked potato. Who doesn’t love a good steak that you didn’t have to cook yourself!?! Other great options are the salmon and chicken plates. But don’t completely count out the salads either. Some restaurants have some very creative AND filling salads that include a meat and even a complex carb such as quinoa on it. Vegetables are almost always an option to add to any dish as well (unless you’re at McDonald’s), so do not be afraid to ask for substitutions! You have to put your health ahead of annoying your waiter.
Don’t torture yourself. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, let something unhealthy come with your meal to the table with the mindset “I just won’t eat it”. That is corporal punishment and will likely not work. Sitting there with a plate full of fries or a flaky dinner roll right in front of you that you “won’t eat” is not a good idea for anyone. If you don’t want to eat it, tell them not to bring it. Simple as that. One of the common things both myself and Bryan (boyfriend) like to do is order a burger but just ask for it on lettuce, no bun, and substitute the fries for a salad or vegetable. Restaurants can have some really good burgers, especially the ones loaded with guacamole and jalapenos so don’t deprive yourself of that greatness, just do it smart.
Decide between alcohol and dessert. Liquor, unlike beer or wine, does not contain carbs because of the distillation process. However, it’s the mixers that go with the liquor that get ya. They’re full of sugar and calories. So a few things here: First, plan your day out accordingly if you know you will be incorporating either alcohol or dessert into your date night. Things like avoiding fruit and other carbs are a great way to compensate. Second, when it comes to making your alcohol selection, try to stick with red wine or stout beer as they both have anti-inflammatory effects. With liquor, ask for mixers such as tonic or soda water and using lime to add flavor instead of loads of syrup. Try to limit yourself to no more than 2 drinks as well. When it comes to dessert, plan to share ONE. Find desserts that don’t have too many bad ingredients, so either something with just sugar, or just flour, rather than getting the fried donut with ice cream on top. Sorbets, fruit platters, or simply just not doing the ice cream with the fudge brownie are what you should look for. It’s all about give and take.
Share a meal. Restaurants are known for serving 2-3x a normal portion. How else can they charge $19.00 a plate?? So rather than letting your stomach judge when you are full or trying to gage when you are halfway through the plate, just share! Ask for that extra plate with pride. An added bonus here: cheaper bill! You’re welcome men ;)
Do salads for an appetizer. When you are starving, you just want food now. The first place we turn to on a menu then is the appetizer section which includes LOTS of cheese, deep fried breading, and calories. Starting with a salad is the trick here. It’s quick, full of nutrients, and starts your healthy decisions off right from the beginning. So skip the calamari and mozzarella sticks peeps.
Hopefully this was able to shed some light on how to prevent date night from blowing the gains you worked for all week long. I am all about compromise and accommodation. Health should never be a nuisance so finding ways to adapt it to your life will allow it to become a lifestyle that you don’t even have to think twice about. When living healthy is inconvenient or restrictive you are waaaayyyyy more likely to fall off the wagon. Don’t let that be you. You deserve better. You deserve health.
Like my approach? Want a healthy lifestyle that fits your life and schedule? This is my jam you guys so do not put it off another day. Call now to book a consult 623-551-6677. I want a HEALTHIER and HAPPIER you!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Well, I figured since we put my mom in the spotlight last week it was only right to give my father a turn. A 58-year-old gear head who was an at-home dad for me and my sisters until I was 5. Paint that picture in your head ;) Ask either of my sisters or myself what our favorite childhood memory with dad is and undoubtedly you would get the answer “the chocolate shakes!” It was the highlight of every night in the Knight house. Dad would set my little sisters up on the counter and I would push my chair over to supervise the process. Add a little ice cream, splash of milk, and of course, the PERFECT amount of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. After blending he would get our “chocolate shake cups” out (yes we had specific cups and someone always ended up crying over not getting the blue one). It was the perfect ending to each night sitting in the living room all together enjoying the only thing we thought dad could cook. Skip ahead about 12 years, and my dad is diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Hmmmm…wonder where that came from???
In a society where eating is considered a hobby or entertainment, you really have to step back from it all to evaluate the mistakes we are making. Eating is all fun and games until your jeans don’t button or you have to give yourself daily insulin injections to manage your diabetes. As of last year, the average American consumed 19.5 teaspoons of sugar a day! But for those of you who don’t drink pop daily or snack on cookies, you probably think you didn’t contribute to that statistic, but think again. Most of our sugar is consumed in things we would never even think to contain sugar! Things such as salad dressings, ketchup, low fat foods, granola bars, and soy milk. We live in a time where reading the ingredients label is absolutely crucial to our health. So for my diabetics out there, or those of you who vow to never become diabetic, here are a few tips and tricks:
Recognize that disguised sugar. Fun fact: there are 61 different names for sugar! Holy cow! So instead of boring you with that extensive list, here are a few of the most common ones: high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltose, maltodextrin (see what they did there?) rice syrup, cane sugar, and of course your artificial sweeteners such as splenda, aspartame, sucralose and acesulflame. My advice here: jot these down in your phone somewhere that way you always have it with you when grocery shopping!
Low fat foods. This is a whole blog topic in itself so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet (lol). If they are taking the fat out of a food, they have to replace it with something! And that replacement is…you guessed it, SUGAR. Low fat foods are not your friend, just trust me on that until I get a chance to thoroughly explain exactly why in a couple weeks.
Increase fiber with sugar. Soluble fiber’s general effect of slowing down the digestive process means that the carbohydrates we eat take longer to be broken down into glucose. As a result, the release of glucose into the blood after eating tends to occur slower and over a longer period of time following a high-fiber meal. So this prevents glucose from rising to an extreme peak all at once, and therefore decreasing the stress placed on our glucose metabolism system to push out more insulin to accommodate. Note that I said SOLUBLE fiber. Insoluble fiber is used to push things through the digestive system rather than slow down the digestive process. A good rule of thumb is if it is the harder part of the fruit or vegetable to chew, it is likely insoluble. So the skin of an apple would be a great example, where as the inside of an apple is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can also be acquired from foods such as seeds, peas, lentils, most fruits and vegetables, and as a supplement called pysllium. This also explains why fruit juice is actually not healthy like we think. Just drinking the juice of the fruit without the fiber of the entire fruit that gets left behind, you end up just drinking liquid sugar.
Info contributed by https://www.rd.com/health/conditions/high-fiber-diet-diabetes/
Supplement with magnesium and gymnema sylvestre. Both of these have been found to help with glucose control by slowing the release of glucose into the blood as well as helping your body manage influxes of sugar on its own. As I mentioned in last week’s post, herbs and botanicals are known for taking a little longer to show an effect, but when the effect occurs, it is a fix and not just a patch on the problem. So supplement up!
Eat your sugar and carbs early in the day. This gives your body time to use it rather than store it. When it comes to managing my fruit intake (yes fruit sugar counts as sugar) I always save it for the end of the meal for 2 reasons, 1. I can’t get “too full” for my vegetables. I use fruit as a treat so if I finish my broccoli, I get the reward. 2. Growing up with a chocolate shake night cap, I always NEED something sweet to finish a meal (I know it’s a WANT, but who are you, my mother!?). Terrible habit for sure, but that’s why I prefaced this whole thing with my story! That has been my biggest goal to tackle while doing 8 Weeks to Wellness right now, allowing myself the fruit dessert after breakfast and lunch, but cutting it out after dinner.
Stick to whole foods. This is the advice I give to everyone, not just diabetics, so no one is exempt! Our ancestors survived on food they either grew or caught and I can promise you that back then, there were nowhere near the amount of diseases we have today and obesity was not a thing (probably because all they had to wear were pieces of animal fur and leaves over their goods). But once you adopt this way of eating, the picture becomes so much easier. One ingredient foods that were either hunted, caught, grown, or picked. You can accomplish this by staying on the perimeter of the grocery store and not drifting into the center aisles. You will hit your produce, meat, and some dairy then BAM! Grocery shopping is done! Remember: if it reserved its spot on a center aisle shelf, it has something in it that makes it last for months.
I hope this is able to give you some insight on how consumed our world has become with sugar and maybe relieve some of the anxiety that comes with revamping your lifestyle. Every great journey begins with a step so anything you start to change and improve on is a step in the right direction. If you’re anything like me, I do best with direction and being held accountable, so if this is what you need, schedule a consult with us here at Back to Health of Anthem. Our mission is to help as many as possible to achieve their maximum health and we will do all that we can to find a plan that works best for you and your needs. You can reach us at 623-551-6677. Don’t keep your health on the back burner any longer!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
CONTACT & LOCATION
41930 N Venture Dr #110
Anthem, AZ 85086