Category Archives: Food

Headaches….what!? You make your head hurt.

dreamstime_m_16129853

Headaches are no joke.  Sometimes, it is lightning bolts through the eye balls that strike out of seemingly nowhere.  Other times, it is the throbbing pressure behind the eyes or the tension band that starts in the back of your neck and seizes your entire head.  Ever feel like there are dozens of tiny bastard people redecorating the inside of your skull with a hammer, drill, or other painful power tool?  You know it is bad when you are left in a dark room, void of any noise other than that of you rolling on the ground crying like you’re being tortured by a Justin Beiber song.  Headaches come in all shapes and sizes, and can affect anyone from little kids to the eldest of adults.

Why do we get them?  The medical world defines them according to the symptoms that people experience.  Cluster, tension, sinus, and migraines are some of the terms that doctors and TV commercials toss around but the medical world is not interested in the cause.   Blood work, MRI’s, CT scans, and most other testing methods are more often than not, inconclusive.  So without knowing what is causing the headaches, you get introduced to the wide world of over-the-counter drugs and when they don’t work, you get to try the real good stuff…prescription drugs.

The list of drugs thrown at headaches is HUGE!  Often, the side effects are worse than the headache! Everything from liver destroying Tylenol to mood stabilizing anti-psychotic drugs that send people on crazy shooting spree rages.(I will take the headache) None of these chemical cocktails even address the CAUSE of the headache to begin with!

So why do headaches afflict so many of us.  One possibility lies in our structure, more specifically, the structure that houses, holds, and protects the vertical communication system in our bodies known as the NERVOUS SYSTEM.   That structure is the spinal column.  When your head starts to migrate in front of your shoulders due to the repetitive stress of your life and gravity, the back of the neck is placed in a stretched position ALL DAY LONG.  You guessed right, this is not a good thing.  What happens next?  Your body starts to follow your head and your shoulders start to round and move forward which make your shoulder blades spread apart putting those muscles in a stretched position ALL DAY LONG.  If you didn’t know, muscles DO NOT LIKE being stretched or contracted all day.  They’re supposed to be in balance and relaxed once in a while.  The tension alone can start to cause headaches.  Some research has shown upwards of 80% of headaches is neck and back stress related.

Another possibility is fuel.  WHAT ARE YOU FEEDING YOURSELF!?  You cannot run a gas engine on diesel fuel, well at least, not for long.   Food sensitivities are HUGE!  Seriously, most of what people eat is crap.  Highly processed, refined, bleached, enriched, de-fortified, re-fortified “food-like” products are what the vast majority of the Standard American Diet (SAD Diet) is comprised of.  Addictive ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and known neurotoxins like MSG that damage your nerves are snuck into many of these products to make them taste good so that we buy them.  Artificial sugars, colors and flavors, synthetic vitamins in mass amount, even the preservatives used to prolong shelf life have known side effects such as HEADACHES.   If it has more than four or five ingredients or you can’t pronounce most of them, just walk away.  Watch what you eat!

By making sure that your structure is functioning properly so that your nervous system is operating optimally and giving your body the proper food, your chances of experiencing headaches are greatly reduced.  Not only will your symptoms most likely go away but you will actually have a more positive global impact on your body as a whole.

The final main cause of headaches is TOXIC OVERLOAD.  Toxins also come in many forms.  Environmental toxins in the air we breathe, water we drink, and the places we live and work all have impacts on our health.  Also, the toxic load of emotional stress that some endure during their lives can greatly affect how often or if you get headaches.  Our bodies are great at two things: 1. ADAPTING 2. HEALING.  When the toxic load of stress out-weighs our body’s ability to adapt, things break down and symptoms like headaches can be one of the end results.

It is simple, well far from it but we’ll call it simple.  Watch what you put into your body, be aware of the environmental stressors around you, have an interference-free nervous system and a solid, well-functioning structure to protect it.  Then, your chances of ever getting a headache are almost nil except for the occasional hangover which is your own fault.   Otherwise, try EXERCISING!  Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow, improve mobility and decrease headaches.  You can make it a headache-free winter and get your life moving in a healthier direction before Mother Nature has her way with us this winter.

Get up, get active!

Dr. Mik

Advertisements

Get the Junk Out!

Image

It’s fall!    While walking around downtown GR the other day, I wandered down by the river to check things out.  I was staring into the water and noticed something.  There is a LOT of garbage and junk floating down the river and being tumbled along bottom.  In other words, there is a bunch of crap in the water that shouldn’t be there.  Why is this important?

Like the river, we have thousands of miles of blood vessels that carry the blood in our bodies to and from the heart.  When that blood is clean, it has the proper chemical composition and is free of damaging debris.  Blood is supposed to flow unrestricted delivering oxygen and nutrients to EVERY cell in the body.  However, just like the river, things end up in the blood that shouldn’t be there or at least shouldn’t be there in mass quantity.  Cholesterol can start to oxidize, like a rusty pipe, and begin to clog your blood vessels, especially the ones supplying the heart, leaving you more susceptible heart attacks.  Heavy metals from our food and our environment can stay in the blood for long periods of time and have a compounding effect as we grow older, which has been linked to many diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.  These diseases are put into motion long before they are diagnosed usually between ages 60-85.

Have you ever felt sluggish or out of sync? Have skin issues, aches and pains, or digestive problems? Straying from your healthier habits lately? Having trouble kicking off your weight loss? It might be time to detox your body!

Contrary to what modern medicine says, your body actually has the ability to heal itself without the need for Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, etc! (If it has the proper, organic nutrition and clear communication from the brain to the body and back again.)

Detoxification is about resting, cleaning and nourishing the body from the inside out. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health.

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this mainly by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

How can it help?

1) Resting the organs through fasting;
2) Help the liver to drive toxins from the body;
3) Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys and skin
4) Improving circulation; and
5) Rebooting the body with tons of healthy nutrients down to the cellular level.

How do you know if you should detox?

The average person should detox at least once per year.  Some people do it quarterly.  A short detox or cleanse is generally safe; in fact, scientific studies show that a detox is beneficial for health. However, for nursing mothers, children, and patients with chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis, I wouldn’t personally recommend it. Please consult your health care practitioner if you have questions about whether detoxing is right for you.

Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere around us, especially in the environments we live and work it.  I believe it is CRITICAL to detoxify your body, even if you think you are eating only the right things, exercising, and are generally healthy, bad things from our environment continue to build up over time. You could try detoxing for symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, sluggish elimination, irritated skin, allergies or low-grade infections; bags under the eyes; a distended stomach even if the rest of your body is thin; menstrual difficulties; or mental confusion (main reason why I detox).

Where to start?

First, lighten up your toxin load. Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined sugars and saturated fats, all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to your healing process. Also, minimize use of chemical-based cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants and toothpastes, and make-up!), and substitute some natural alternatives.  Check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ for more info.

What about stress? Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your system. While these hormones can push your body to the “fight or flight” state that it needs to gear up for war or to get the heck out of dodge, in large amounts they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. So it’s a good idea to detox stressful life situations along with detoxifying your body.  Yoga, deep breathing, meditation and exercise are simple and effective ways to relieve stress by resetting your physical and mental reactions to the inevitable stress life will bring.

Which detox program is best for you?

There are many detoxification programs and cleanses available depending on your individual needs. I usually recommend that people start with replacing breakfast for 2 weeks with a healthy, fresh, organic vegetable juice, made at home from all organic ingredients and a slow-juicer.  It is a great way to start your day with a flood of awesome nutrition that is quickly absorbed into your system.  Also, it is a great way to prepare your body for a 10 day juice fast.

Other popular detoxing programs and natural body cleanses include:

  • Cleansing supplement packages, which generally contain fiber, vitamins, herbs and minerals. There are several safe products on the market, with easy-to-follow instructions.
  • A routine water fasting (drinking only water one day each week)

9 Ways to Aid Detoxification

After a detox, you can continue to cleanse your body daily through diet, supplements and lifestyle practices.

1. Eat plenty of fiber, including organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods.

2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking herbs such as dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, and drinking green tea.

3. Eat foods rich in vitamin C (kale, bell peppers, cherries, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, etc.), which helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.

4. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.  (200lbs = 100 oz. water)

5. Breathe deeply from the diaphragm to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.

6. Dissipate stress by focusing on the positive side of things.

7. Try sweating in a sauna so your body can eliminate wastes through perspiration.

8. Try detox foot baths and exfoliating your skin to remove toxins through your pores.

9. Most importantly…EXERCISE at least 30 min. per day but shoot for an hour of combined strength training and cardio exercise to reap the full benefits of dissipating stress (but don’t go kayaking down a flooding river).

Remember, detoxing can be tough.  Some people are incredibly toxic because of where they live, what they eat, the amount of stress in their lives, and their lack of willingness to exercise.  These people will likely have a difficult time due to the amount of unnecessary junk built up in their systems. So take things slow.  It will take some time but your body will remember what it is supposed to do when it has proper nutrition and a little time to heal.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

Once Upon A Time…

As we move through the holiday season, we often get lost in our lives and begin to have tunnel vision in the mundane, sometimes it is a good idea to look back.  It is our forefathers that are able to share their wisdom from many years and of many years ago.  They push forth this knowledge in great hopes that we may take this valuable information and learn further, creating a future that is better than the past.  The issues don’t differ.  Our great grandparents wanted the same things that we do today, happiness, love, success and health.  It is merely the circumstances that have changed.

“We never know how far reaching something we may think, say, or do today will effect the lives of millions tomorrow.”

B.J. Palmer  D.C., PhC.

Founder of Chiropractic

And yet still we hold back!  Each of us can be the great person we want to be for others, just find a purpose.  Realize how much you can help others just by not being afraid to do so.  It is okay to be rejected, at least you tried!

“Great spirits have always experienced violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

Albert Einstein

If you knew in advance that everyone would reject you, but you would succeed later, what would you do?  Sometimes greatness is a lonely path.  Just think of the bigger picture, the long term, rather than today!

“Your greatest risk is to underestimate your potential.”

Burleigh Cook

Your potential in spirit and body are linked closely.  If you do not rise to your goals or are not true in your word, your body feels this defeat.  It is of the greatest importance to realize this connection and maintain health in both aspects.

“People are whole – a package of the problem and the solution.  There is nothing we can do about it, we are not in charge!”

Dale Lotter, D.C.

“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him.  We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to work.”

Albert Schweitzer, M.D.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

                                             Thomas Edison

“If all the medicine in the world were thrown into the sea, it would be bad for the fish and good for humanity.”

O.W. Holmes, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, HarvardUniversity

“The power that made the body, heals the body, it happens no other way.”

B.J Palmer, D.C.

“Whether or not you believe it, doesn’t make it any less true.”

Damon J. Popovics, D.C.

So remember to give your body a chance to heal itself that is the way it was designed.  It was a far greater intelligence that made the human body.  Do you have faith in the arrogance that believes something was left out? If you see someone who needs help, tell them the truth that you know about the body.  Give them the chance to rise to their potential.  That is the right thing to do and it will make for a healthy new year for all!

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Mik­­

Not Bacon!- Good Fats in Your Diet

Oh Bacon, how I wish your nutritional properties matched your magnificent taste. 

Sadly, and as much as it pains me to say, bacon is not a “Good” fat in your diet.  Research, fortunately, has shown us some healthier alternatives.

Recent research has shown:

Many still believe that saturated fats like coconut oil are “fattening” and bad for your heart, but indeed some are GOOD! – some may even help you attain your weight loss goals as well.

For cooking: Tropical oils such as palm and coconut oils (and even animal fats such as butter) are best for cooking… they have very little polyunsaturates and are mostly composed of natural saturated fats which are the least reactive to heat/light and therefore the least inflammatory in your body from cooking use.

Consuming lots of olive oil lowers your risk for stroke, according to a recent analysis of more than 7,600 people conducted by French researchers. People who used olive oil lowered their risk of stroke by 41 percent when compared to those who never used olive oil, according to the study.

Remember, however, olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon, which people tend to forget when drizzling it over salads or dabbing it with a chunk of bread. Realize that could turn your 50-calorie salad into a 350-calorie salad, and that’s no good.

As you already know, your waist size is not only a matter of your outward reflection on the world (the way you look), but also an indicator of the build-of fat around your internal organs which is strongly linked to 2 of America’s Top Health Concerns: Diabetes and heart disease.  It’s actually more accurate than your body mass index (BMI). The greater the waist circumference, the higher the chances are for diabetes.

If you want to determine if your waist size is in a healthy range, use a tape measure to figure the distance around the smallest area of your abdomen below your rib cage and above your belly button. Then compare your measurements to this general guide:

  • For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
  • For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than 34.6 inches is obese

In other words, if you can’t see your toes, get to Meijer and start cooking with Coconut Oil…It’s a good first step.           

Many of coconut oil’s benefits may be due to its content of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), rather than the long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) found in vegetable oils like soybean oil and animal fats (bacon…damn) and lard.

Additionally, many LCFAs are from genetically engineered vegetable oils that are loaded with omega-6 fats.  Not only do you want to avoid the genetically engineered foods, but even if they were organic these vegetable oils should be avoided as they are high processed and also distort you fragile omega 6/3 ratio.

Vegetable Oils (including soybean oil) and lard:

-are difficult for your body to break down

-cause more strain on your pancreas, your liver and your entire digestive system.

-are predominantly stored in your body as fat.

-when oxidized, can deposit within arteries, contributing to both blood vessel inflammation and plaque build-up.

Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, REAL Butter (not margarine):

-are smaller and more easily broken down

-are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.

-are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.

-can actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.

Additionally, a very exciting discovery is that coconut oil may even serve as a natural treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or not, using coconut oil as your primary cooking oil is important because it is the only one that is stable enough to resist heat-induced damage. Extra-virgin olive oil, while great as a salad dressing or for other non-heated uses, should not be used for cooking. Due to its chemical structure, heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage.

And polyunsaturated fats, which include common vegetable oils such as corn, soy, safflower, sunflower and canola, are absolutely the worst oils to use in cooking. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to heat damage because of their multiple double bonds.

Coconut oil is far superior to any other cooking oil and is loaded with health benefits, not to mention flavor. Make sure you choose an organic coconut oil that is unrefined, unbleached, made without heat processing or chemicals, and does not contain genetically engineered ingredients.

I still think bacon should be one of the four basic food groups, but I have to go with the research on this one, try to maintain my girlish figure, and stick with the coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for my salads.  Though, I will be dreaming of bacon tonight.

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik

Occupy Survival Guide

 

Here in West Michigan we see slight flurries to road-covering, knee-high, drifting, blowing lake-effect snow but snow doesn’t have to be the enemy.

Latitudinally-challenged people like the Eskimos build their places of residence (igloos) from the fluffy white nectar of the sky. But likely, you’re no Eskimo– 20,000 folks in a small area sure can cause a lot of problems… so how do you survive?  For those Occupy Wall Street/Grand Rapids/Lansing protesters about to embrace their first lake-effect, ice-ridden winter the way a hedge fund manager embraces his bonus check, here are a few tips to keep you and your fellow freedom-fighters from sickness and freezing to death.

The bacteria swimming around all those people is pretty much like the cantina scene in Star Wars… you never know when a green alien is going to jump out and blast you.  So? What do you do? Let’s face it, most of us are not MacGyver, and if you went through Med School, you probably wouldn’t be sleeping in a tent in the middle of a city.

There are a few things you’re going to need to defend yourself.

Let’s start with occupying some clothes: Remember, cotton kills-it pulls heat from the body and doesn’t insulate well and is highly absorbent.  If you’re looking for natural fibers, wool is a much better option.  Wool can insulate you – even when wet – up to 1/3 saturation.  Obviously, go inside and warm up when possible but be aware that if you’re sweating when you leave and return to the frozen tundra, you run the risk of hypothermia and even death. Some wool has the ability to take moisture away from the skin, leaving you drier and better protected. 

Occupy your head, hands, feet and ears. Your extremities are the first to feel the pain.  Your body naturally will divert blood flow away from the limbs in order to keep protect your brain and internal organs.  As for the proper foot attire, stick with something waterproof and unventilated. And allow for some “wiggle room.”  If you lace up too tight, you restrict even more blood flow to the toes and the feet stay cold.  Blood flow keeps you warm. 

Remember, when you’re not awake, you’re asleep.  When winter occupying, you must beware if snow completely envelopes your tent because breathing eats up all the oxygen and replaces it with carbon monoxide, a poison. Yes, breathing can kill you. Take shifts dusting snow off of the tent (perhaps using a tire boot and parking tickets) and make sure to keep it ventilated.

Also, remember the earth sucks…the body heat out of you through conduction, so protect yourself by using a raised cot, sleeping pads, 3-liters of moon mist, pizza boxes – whatever you can find. You need to occupy yourself a good sleeping bag: -20 degrees is fitting for this side of the state.

 

Hand Sanitizer… you’re going to need to occupy a lot. Don’t stock up on that cruddy alcohol based sanitizer like Purell. You need something hardcore with what they call, “persistence.” Look for Triclosan or PCMX in the active ingredients. Persistence doesn’t just mean you’re going to occupy some space until people listen to you, or hitting on someone in a bar until they give up their digits. It means the good guys in the sanitizer are going to kill the bad guys… for a lot longer than the alcohol could.

Speaking of persistence… let’s talk about that odor issue that’s going to be occupying YOU! Don’t be the homeless guy who walks around, talking to himself, regarding his own personal hygiene.  You want people to see you when you’re out protesting, not run away from the rank stench that could knock a turkey vulture off a telephone poll at 100 yards. What do you do?  One of the ways is with a shower wipe. This can help you get the dirt, gunk, and stank off in absence of running water. I’d recommend going with something delicate, like a cucumber and aloe… which can also double for toilet paper… if you can actually find a toilet someone is going to let you use.  And, look after your mouth!  Save yourself a trip to the dentist and go out to buy some Wisps. No water needed, brush, pick, toss… and SHARE.

Money… you’re going to need at to occupy least $1000 cash for a couple of reasons. You’re probably going to need to post bail when you get arrested for continually using the Starbucks toilet without buying coffee… or… you’re just going to have to buy a LOT of coffee. Yeah, I know, $1k is a lot of dough, and you may have issues putting all that money in your skinny jeans, but people that take bribes? Well… they don’t take American Express.

If you’re not tweakin’ for the weekend on triple skinny carmel macchiato with 4 shots of espresso, you’re going to need to occupy some hydration. Protesting is a tough job, so you don’t want to go passing out and end up handcuffed to a hospital bed, or falling over when they turn the fire-hose on you. I’d say go get a Camel-Bak and fill it up with some cold water; it’s like a backpack and a water-bottle all in one.

Nutritionally? Okay, so you’ve survived the night and now it’s time for breakfast. Dunkin Donuts, for example, are high in calories, which are good, but they lack complex carbohydrates, which break down slowly, keeping you warmer longer. Staple junk foods like donuts and bagels (mmm…bagels) are loaded with simple sugars (mmm, simple) so the energy burns up quickly, leaving you like a low-blood sugar, mush-brain, with little to no mental capacity for decision making.  So stick to the complex-carbs.

What about booze?  Alcohol makes you feel warm, but in reality it makes you colder.  Cigarettes are equally unhelpful at providing warmth.  Both alcohol and cigarettes cause constriction of the blood vessels, especially to the hands and feet, limiting the blood flow to those areas=COLD. 

You’ll probably want to occupy an acoustic guitar. It’s not that “Stairway to Heaven” and every Pearl Jam song ever made get old after hearing them 100 times… but you can also smash the guitar and use it for firewood. Depending on how you play, you might actually make more friends that way.

 

Bring a tent big enough for 2 to occupy. You never know when you’re going to meet that special protester that dots their “i’s” with a heart on their placards. In that case, you had better occupy some condoms as well. Sharing body heat to keep from getting hypothermia has been a long standing way to stay warm in harsh times. If you don’t smell like butt-crack and tacos, there’s probably a higher possibility of that.

Occupy some duct tape. It’s got 1001 uses, right? When your shoes and clothes become raggedy tatters flapping in the wind like Donald Trump’s hair piece on a speed boat, your faith in your cause isn’t going to hold them together… duct tape is!

Move it or lose it!  Sedation is the enemy.  Sitting around will make you more susceptible to cold.  Break up the day with jumping jacks, push-ups, free-style running or cold yoga.  Blood is your body’s thermoregulator, so it’s essential to keep it flowing.  I’ve personally never seen a hippy do a push-up, but I am confident in their ability to do so (even if it’s hard to do push-ups in skinny jeans).

Following these simple and brief tips in this article may be the difference between life and death for many of the protesters out there this winter.  Otherwise, toilet paper is always an option.

If you ever have any health questions or concerns/comments please email me at dr.mik@healthylife4me.com

 

Health & Happiness,

Dr. Mik