Friday, August 26, 2016

Who Are These Crazy Anti Vaccine People?

Yep I’m going there. Er, rather, I’m touching on it. Vaccines are a collosal topic requiring far more discussion than a humble log post can offer it. Subscribe to my blog and you’ll see more articles, information, and education about vaccines in future posts.

For now, I want to simply ask the question: Where do you stand on the Vaccine issue? Furthermore, are you willing to have an open minded discussion on the matter?

I find this to be a very polarizing and touchy subject. Both “pro” and “anti” camps sit on opposing sides of the internet and hurl insults at one another. Often there is little civil, genuine, back and forth discussion on any sort of neutral, safe, middle ground territory. Rather, discussing vaccination makes savages out of otherwise civilized people.

So why all the heat? How can something that seems so good actually have radical opponents? Who are these “anti vaccine” people and on what grounds do they make their claims? They must be crazy people that only exist outside of my world.

Well, it’s not the way you might think. Let’s explore a small handful of their objections, shall we?

In all of my years working with families, I have noticed many things. I’ve learned that when it comes to both parenting and medical care decisions, no two families are the same. For that matter, no two PEOPLE are the same. Ever. Their experiences, medical history, preferences, priorities, living situations, and biases are all unique to them. For instance, some are prone to various types of reactions to specific pharmaceuticals. (Antibiotic allergies, for instance). Some have food allergies. Some have genetic markers that make them especially sensitive to various environmental stimuli. Some are not prone to reactions of any kind at all!

Have you ever listened - REALLY listened - to the commercials that you see for pharmaceuticals? They list reactions and side effects that have been observed in humans during clinical trials. Have you ever noticed how vast and widespread those reactions are? They nearly always cover every system of the body from GI to neurological to cardiovascular reactions.

Certainly not EVERY person in the clinical trials experienced every one of those reactions or they would have died! What can we take from this? We all react to pharmaceuticals differently.

How does that related to the Vaccine issue?

Vaccines are pharmaceuticals containing pharmaceutical ingredients and producing a pharmaceutical reaction on the body. So doesn’t it make sense that each person’s experience with a vaccine has a potential to be somewhat unique?

Have you ever read a vaccine package insert? The list of possible reactions PER VACCINE is positively outrageous. The combined effect of giving them together has never been tested, and yet most people still think that the only side effects are a fever and tenderness at the injection site.

Vaccination side effects go far beyond just discomfort and a fever. For example, in all of the package inserts, a possible (and observed) reaction to vaccination is something known as guillain-barre syndrome. Without getting too technical, GB is an autoimmune condition in which the blood and plasma separate, then the plasma attacks the nervous system. Treatment must be swift, and whatever happens, the patient is in tremendous amounts of pain for up to several weeks. It causes paralysis that can last for life, even if it’s just in isolated parts of the body.

What if a family had a history of this type of vaccine reaction? It is listed in the package inserts after all. Research has not been done to determine genetic markers for certain types of catastrophic vaccine reactions such as this one. Is it fair for a parent to be cautious of going forward with vaccination if this condition is prevalent in their family? If they would prefer to risk measles over guillain barre, does that make them crazy?

This is a real world example of the types of parents that are being demonized by the media and much of the medical community. They are the ones that are plastered with the “anti-vaccine” label, fingers pointed at and blaming them for the “return” of “preventable” diseases.

They are simply parents asking legitimate questions that nobody has the answer to.  They are parents just like you. They are exercising caution and asking questions.

It’s fair for them to expect answers to their questions, and they have a right to refuse any pharmaceutical, vaccines included. Their justification for choosing alternative vaccine schedules, or opting out completely, is totally unique to them and their situation. And if you get a chance to have an open discussion with some of them someday, you just might be surprised at how much you can learn, and how much you may have in common with them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School Health Planning

‘Tis the Season.

All of the stores are lined with back to school supplies of all kinds. Parents are frantically searching for every last item on the list: pens, #2 pencils, notebooks, colored dividers, snack size bags, tissue boxes, backpacks, and new clothes. By now, most families are starting to feel ready for the start of school.

In addition to all the back to school hype, doctors and schools are pushing kids to come in for checkups, “wellness” visits, and immunizations. These visits cover the basics in terms of a child’s health and clear them to participate in PE class, but visiting a doctor does not provide health for the coming year. Health is the responsibility of the person themselves, and children’s health is largely the responsibility of the parent. Furthermore, health is defined as more than just your blood pressure level, vision, and reflexes.

So do your wellness check if you need to for school. But to support your child’s actual physiology and health status, there are some things you should be doing daily - or at least consistently - for them and for you.

  1. Get adjusted. Chiropractic adjustments increase your immune response by 200%. Get your kiddo adjusted a few times before school starts, then shoot for weekly after that. Stay ahead of the coming cold and flu season.
  2. Cut out the sugar. Do not send cookies in your child’s lunch! Not only will the sugar interfere with your child’s focus and processing ability, it will sabotage their immunity. Cliche though it may be, send them fruit instead.
  3. Give them probiotics. The gut is 80% of the immune system, so support it. Probiotics give the gut good bacteria to help it function at its peak.
  4. Cut out the dairy. Generally speaking, dairy is not the superfood we’ve been led to believe. Dairy is a primary cause of inflammation in the body which can lead to all manner of degenerative diseases. Many families report their children focusing better when dairy is removed from their diet. It is not a necessary staple in the diet, so leave it out. You can get protein and calcium from many other sources that help the body absorb those nutrients. Cow’s milk? It’s a maternal lactation for baby cows.
  5. Vitamin C. This is the obvious immune support supplement. Eat oranges or strawberries. Take a plant based vitamin C supplement. Or send a bottle of water with Emergen-C in your child’s lunch instead of sugary juice boxes.
  6. Get them to bed early. Their bodies need to rest to function properly. This includes your teenagers – especially teenagers. Teach your kids good habits with regards to their health. Adequate sleep is essential for every system in the body.
  7. Exercise! Go for a walk as a family after school. Not only will you get the benefits of exercise, but you’ll be getting some much needed sunshine as well.
  8. Vitamin D. Get as much of the sunshine vitamin in as you can before winter sets in. Check out my post about all the benefits there are in getting your Vitamin D.
  9. Send them healthy lunches. I know this is easier at the start of school than at the end! Plan ahead so you don’t end up resorting to the regular peanut butter and jelly every time. Look up healthy lunches on Pinterest and get creative. Get your kids involved in the process. Fuel their brains with the good stuff!

Good health doesn’t come from a pill, a shot, or a checkup. It comes from daily habits that come in small, seemingly insignificant steps. The cumulative effect, however, is well worth each effort.

Monday, August 15, 2016

8 Tips To Get Better Sleep

It seems today that everyone is exhausted. We are addicted to coffee for the artificial buzz it gives us. Starbucks lurks around every corner for the morning espresso to wake us up, a cappuccino gets us through the afternoon slump, and the evening coffee we need to get through the demands of the evening. We desperately seek out our precious coffee and energy drinks in an effort to just to get through the day.
Friends, that is no way to live. And if you’re reading this, chances are you are one of many who are looking to feel human again. So, here are a few things you can do.

1. Go to bed early
Stop with the late night Netflix binges. Being out all night may have been a breeze in the younger college days, but in truth, that is really hard on the body. Your adrenals require you to sleep not only for a minimum of 8 hours. They require it during a certain time as well so as to be in step with your circadian rhythms. Typically the hours between 10 pm and 2 am are the most important for adrenal rejuvenation. So go to bed early.

2. Pay back your sleep debt
If your body is chronically exhausted, it would do you well to repay it as much lost sleep as you can possibly fit in. Come on now - doesn’t marathon sleeping sound like a blast?

3. Create a routine
Just like babies, having a sleep routine can help prepare your subconscious for sleep, which will help facilitate better sleep.

4. No screens before bed
The bright lights of your phone, tablet, computer, or tv will interfere with your circadian rhythms and it will most certainly interrupt your sleep. Place your phone in the other room while you sleep, and keep it out of your going to bed routine.

5. Take magnesium
From a biological standpoint, there are things you can do to support your sleep cycles as well. If your body is deficient in magnesium, and it likely is, you may experience interrupted or difficult sleep. There are many magnesium supplements out there (such as Calm) - but make sure you get a good one.

6. Get adjusted
This goes without saying. An adjustment can help work out any subluxation (read: “kinks”) that may be in your body and help you sleep more comfortably. Furthermore, every adjustment brings balance to the body as a whole, and you will sleep better for it.

7. Don’t eat after 6 pm
Not only can this help you with weight loss goals, but not eating after 6 pm can help you sleep as well. If you are making your body do the work of digesting while trying to go to bed, you may find yourself having a hard time falling asleep.

8. Don’t go for the sleep aids
Advil PM and other such sleep aids may help you GET to sleep, but they interfere with your REM sleep, which is the rejuvenating sleep that your cells need. They may be a quick fix, but they are definitely not a long term solution.

Sleep is unbelievably important to your health. Make it a deliberate and well thought out priority, and you'll reap the benefits.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The “Natural” Topic of the Decade: Toxins

While it may not be in the mainstream news, it’s a budding topic of discussion in many parts of our culture today. It’s a good thing, too, because the topic of toxins deserves some serious attention. Many stores are stocking “non-toxic” home cleaners, “aluminum and paraben-free deodorant”, and organic food is increasing in popularity and availability as more consumers demand it.  

Consumers are all asking the same question, which demands a qualified answer: How can we expect to be knowingly full of toxic, unnatural chemicals, yet remain completely healthy? We know that at some point the liver gets overworked, right? There is a “too much” level of toxicity. Parabens, propylene glycol, polysorbate 80 and polysorbate-20, and aluminum chlorohydrate are examples of several toxins lurking in your everyday products. Each of these is a known carcinogen, so it makes sense to at least try to avoid them, right?

Now, it’s true that any toxicologist will tell you that it is the dose that determines toxin. Your toxin exposure from your kitchen cleaner in one day is probably pretty low and it’s nothing to be concerned about. However, when compounded by repeated exposure several times a day, in addition to all of the other toxin carrying products you may have in your house, your house becomes a liability to your health.

There are many places that we get exposed to toxins. Below is a list of a few places you are exposed to toxins, what you can to do avoid them, and how to replace them.

  1. Household cleaners. Like we listed above, many of the household cleaners that you use on everyday surfaces leave behind a sparkly clean surface, right along with a whole host of carcinogenic toxins. Switching to natural based cleaners is very simple, and it doesn’t need to be expensive. White vinegar, for instance, is a very cheap and effective household cleaner. The internet is full of effective cleaning recipes for the home that are based in vinegar.
  2. Makeup. It is estimated that the average woman puts about 5 pounds of sludge on her face a year. Makeup, of course, does not look like sludge, but the level of toxicity and heavy metals in it sure does. Even today, in 2016, most mainstream lipsticks have dangerous levels of lead in them. This is partly because cosmetics are not regulated for carcinogens even though they contain them, and ingredients are not listed on most makeups. Consider switching to a natural makeup line, or use mineral makeup. On days that you are not going out, give your skin a breather and leave the makeup off.
  3. Personal care products. Along the same lines as your makeup, your personal care products should be as natural as possible. Our skin is our largest organ, and it absorbs everything we put on it, both good and bad, so we need to be deliberate about products we allow on it. This includes your shampoo, face wash, body wash, lotions, and especially your deodorant. Finding a natural deodorant that works can sometimes be tricky but this is the most important of all. The underarms sweat because they are a primary route for toxins to escape via the lymphatic system. When we block them from being able to function, we encourage toxins to build up in our lymph system and breasts.
  4. Buy organic. Yep this again. Buy and eat your food in the way that is as close to its natural state as possible. Shop for your vegetables in the produce section rather than the canned foods aisle. When you can’t buy everything organic, just do the best you can as often as you can. A little bit goes a very long way.  
  5. Home Air. Inside your home, the air can be very toxic. This can be remedied simply by using air purifiers, cleaning vents in your home regularly, using air cleaning plants indoors, and avoiding “air fresheners” that aren’t natural, including most scented candles.
  6. Get the metal out of your mouth. Amalgam fillings - also known as silver fillings - have been proven to cause a whole host of problems because they are mercury. For those who do not know, mercury is the most dangerous heavy metal for all living things. It destroys everything. If you have any, get them removed by a biological dentist right away. A regular dentist is not trained to do it correctly like a biological dentist is.
  7. Avoid being on long term medication. Most pharmaceuticals warn that they can cause liver failure. This is because the liver is the organ that processes and filters out toxicity, and pharmaceuticals are known to overload the body with those toxins. Medicine can be life saving when used in acute emergency situations, but long term use can have disastrous consequences to your health.

It’s worth it to discuss with your natural healthcare provider the benefits of doing a detox. Detoxing the body makes your organs function more effectively, it improves your quality of sleep, clears your skin, sheds unwanted pounds, clears your brain fog, gives you energy, and makes you healthier. There are many types of detox programs out there so do your due diligence before starting one. As always, let your true health be your motivation.

You Can Be Skinny and Unhealthy

Most people take a very superficial look at their body and determine whether it is healthy or not. They look in the mirror, at the scale, and at their pants size and decide if they are in need of physical improvement or not. We all cognitively know that weight is not the sole determining factor in our health, and yet we continue to rely unrealistically heavily on it. Even medical doctors rely heavily on the BMI scale to tell if a person is considered to be healthy. They check blood pressure, pulse, respiration, height and weight, look for presenting symptoms of illness, and decide whether to give you a clean bill of health or not. “Lose a little bit of weight and you’ll be back in balance.”

I’m about to burst your bubble. Ready? Here’s a bit of news for you: You can be skinny and unhealthy. Your BMI, your blood pressure, your pulse, and your respiration are all good things to know, and they can certainly tell you a thing or two about the state of your health. What they cannot tell you, however, are many things that severely affect the way your body functions.

They cannot tell you about the toxicity levels of your fat cells. They cannot tell you about your adrenal function (indeed, there is no medical test to determine the function level of the adrenals). These tests cannot tell you about your heavy metal toxicity or how nourished with iodine your thyroid is. It cannot tell you about the integrity of your gut lining or whether you get enough vitamin D.

Furthermore, you can be skinny - and very fit - yet have high toxicity accumulating in your liver. Or people with perfectly healthy BMI’s, good blood pressure, and regular pulses can have severe leaky gut and not know it.

Let’s reorient our definition of health. When you focus on being fully healthy - truly healthy - your weight will come down as a result of good decisions. Do a detox twice a year. Get adjusted. Take proper amounts of iodine. Get some sunshine every day. Eat a plant based diet.

Yes your blood pressure will come into balance and your pulse will regulate. On top of that, you’ll be healthier.

And as an added bonus, you’ll likely lose weight as you pursue health.