Earth Day - April 22nd 2018

It is our responsibility to be respectful to the Earth that we live in, and part of that respect includes awareness of some of the small things we can do to help maintain and restore our environment.  Let’s make the effort to add these little changes to our daily or weekly schedule to give many generations to come a beautiful and clean world.

Did you know that residential water consumption in BC is an average of 490 litres per person per day, not including industrial or agricultural water use? 

Turn the faucet off while brushing your teeth and fix any leaky faucets in the kitchen and bathroom.

Give up plastic (and paper) bags...millions of barrels of oil are used every year to produce plastic bags, and it costs 4 times the energy to produce paper bags.  Keep a few reusable cotton or nylon bags stored in your car or purse to use at the grocery store.

Did you know it takes 25 bottles of water to produce the plastic needed for a 1 litre bottle of water?  Buy reusable water bottles made of aluminum or stainless steel, or if you have to use plastic, choose plastics numbered 1,2,4 or 5 as they are less harmful.

Only 10% of the energy used by a typical washing machine powers the motor...90% goes to heating the water!  Most clothes will come clean in cold water.  For heavily soiled clothes, change it from hot to warm.

Use household items to clean with...baking soda’s mild abrasive action and mild deodorizing properties make it a powerful replacement for harsh commercial scouring powders.  Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge for bathtubs, vanities, kitchen sinks, etc.  For tougher stains, make a paste of baking soda and water, apply to the area and let it stand for 10-20 minutes before washing.  For slow-running drains, pour 1/2-3/4 cup baking soda into the drain, and dribble just enough hot water to wash the solution down.  Let stand for 2 hours to overnight and flush thoroughly with hot water.

I know most of us, especially those living in Whistler, are very conscious of making good choices when it comes to our environment, but let this be a friendly reminder we can always do more.  Happy Earth Day!

The Benefits of Bone Broth (& Recipe)

Bone broth has been getting a lot of press lately and you may think it's a new fad, but in reality, bone broth has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years!  Bone broth is basically homemade chicken soup, but can be made with beef bones as well.  You can buy it in powdered form if you don't want to make it, but the following recipe you'll find to be very simple and easy to make.  Give it a try!  

Bone broth is rich in nutrients like gelatin and glycine, it helps to protect and heal your gut lining, skin and digestive tract, supports the immune system, boosts detoxification, and aids metabolism.

Vietnamese Pho Recipe

For the broth:

  • 2 chicken thighs
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1" piece of fresh ginger, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 chili pepper, chopped finely

In a slow cooker, add the ingredients above and fill with water allowing to cook for 8-10 hours.

To serve:

  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 3 scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 eggs

Boil the noodles and add the raw egg into the boiling water to cook for a few minutes.  Add with the above ingredients to a large bowl of broth and enjoy!

There are many variations of this recipe, but this is a beautiful marriage of big flavours that work wonderfully together.

Rebooting Your Nervous System!

Have you ever seen a healthy newborn baby appear bored? Of course not. Babies radiate awe, joy, wonder, vitality, energy, life, and rejuvenation. It’s their natural state. But it’s your natural state, too. You are always in touch with the vitality of life. As long as there’s life, there’s still a spark of this healing vitality.

This incredible ability you have to heal and auto-regulate body functions is due to an inner intelligence that you are born with. According to Lewis Thomas, M.D., “…a kind of super intelligence exists in each of us, infinitely smarter and possessed of technical know-how far beyond our present understanding.” This is your innate intelligence, the inborn wisdom of your body. This intelligence allows your body to constantly adapt to its ever-changing environments. For example, it knows how to digest your food after you’ve eaten. You don’t have to think about it. It also heals the cut on your finger. It keeps your heart beating, and it kicks your immune system into high gear when your body requires it.

Innate intelligence resides everywhere in your body. It is mediated by your brain, which communicates with every muscle, gland, organ, and cell in your body via your nervous system. Chiropractors are the only doctors who, as a profession, formally recognize this inborn wisdom or intelligence. They work on, and with, the body so that our innate intelligence can express itself as near to 100 percent of its capacity as possible. And that’s where the practical foundations of chiropractic come in.

Because your brain and the rest of your nervous system mediate your innate intelligence, it stands to reason that this system must be optimized to its highest potential if true health is to be achieved. Your nervous system really is your master computer. It regulates all functions of the body every second of your life. When it’s out of sync, you’re out of sync.

The Value of Chiropractic Adjustments

Your brain communicates vital messages to all systems in your body through the primary conduit of the spinal cord. Your spinal cord is protected by 24 moveable vertebrae. Spinal nerves exit between vertebrae and branch out to deliver the messages sent from your brain through your spine to each muscle, gland, organ, and cell of your body. And through the same system, messages are returned.

Your spine is the most likely place for nervous system interference to occur. If your spinal vertebrae get out of alignment, even slightly—which injuries, poor posture, and many other life stresses can cause—the vertebrae may act as resistors to the distribution of your nervous system energy. The misalignments interfere with the transmission of nervous impulses and diminish the body’s ability to stay healthy. Chiropractors call these vertebral misalignments, or displacements, subluxations. When a vertebral subluxation impairs a spinal nerve, it only takes a pressure as light as the weight of a quarter for three minutes to reduce the function of that nerve by 60 percent. Moreover, degenerative changes in the nerve begin to take place within three hours.

My responsibility as a doctor of chiropractic is to locate subluxations in your spine and gradually coax your vertebrae back into place so that normal nerve function is restored and other damaged tissues in the region can begin to heal. This will allow the nervous system to effectively communicate with and control bodily functions once again. Greater health and wellbeing is the result.

by Bradley Kobsar, DC Pathways magazine

Can Early Food Trauma Affect Our Brain Decades Later?

This is an interesting concept...read it with an open mind.  This article was taken from the magazine Pathways To Family Wellness and written by Mark Brady, Ph.D. (PW#50).

Shortly before he abandoned our family, one of the last memories I have of my father is an incident at the dinner table. I had just turned 4 years old. My mother had made something that I didn’t like, so I didn’t eat it. I left it on my plate. “You’re not leaving this table until you eat everything on that plate,” my father declared. I refused and pushed the plate away. My father pushed it back in front of me. And so it went, for what seemed like hours and hours. My memory is that I finally wore them out and we all went to bed with my plate “unclean.” I was promised the same fare for breakfast. Fortunately, in the morning the plate was gone and the incident was not brought up again.

And what was the offending food that I refused to eat?

Spinach.

When I think of how traumatic memories get formed and stored unconsciously in implicit association memory networks in the brain, it begins to make total sense that my body would react adversely to spinach. The triggering cue is the taste along with the seeing— dinner at a table. A critical piece that made the experience traumatic for a 4-year-old is the demand that I not leave the table—effectively a demanded, forced “freeze response.” Unable to fight or flee, it became the only option available to me at that point. And the freeze response, as we know from polyvagal theory, highly correlates with adverse traumatic experiences.

If I think about all the food allergies I’ve had over the years—chocolate, milk, strawberries—I can associate traumatic experiences from childhood to each one of them. 

This incident, and similar ones involving early trauma later surfacing due to present-time triggers, have convinced me that much like wounds to the body, early insults to our immature brain networks are constantly attempting to be repaired and restored throughout our adult lives and returned to full integrative functioning. Just as with a cut or a bruise, the keys to an effective healing are a restorative environment and nurturing, understanding relationships. 

Four Essentials of Life

There have been found to be four basic essentials to life, as we know it.  The difference in excellence of these four things gives way to a respective quality of life.  Of course, it is left up to you to choose this higher quality, leading you to live longer and happier, instead of just existing!

-Food-

The body can live approximately 30 days without food.

The nutrients gained from food give the body energy, supplying fuel for movement as well as healing and self-sustaining actions (breathing, blood flow, muscle contractions, etc.).  It is the quality of this food that determines how much nutrition the body receives.  Also determined by this factor, are what toxins the body must "weed out" in order to gain nutrition altogether, many vegetables and fruits are covered in pesticides or are genetically engineered.  This just presents the body with yet another obstacle, taking away valuable energy from the body to rid itself of such toxic junk.  Make a choice, choose organic unprocessed foods, the way nature makes them, and minimize the toxins in your lifestyle.

-Water-

The body can live approximately 4 days without water.

You body has an average of 60 to 70% total make up of water.  Your brain is 83%, muscles 75%, and bones 22%.  Infants are approximately 70 to 80% water.  So really we all just need to drink more, but what about the quality?  There are things lurking in our water supplies today.  In fact many cities send out alerts as to the local water contents.  It is best to start drinking filtered water, and because your skin is an absorptive organ, possibly filter the water in which you bathe!

-Air-

The body can only live for a matter of minutes without air (about 4 minutes).

Some people have trained hard to gain larger lung capacity.  However the world record for holding ones breath is still a matter of minutes.  It is the oxygen in our air that allows the body to thrive, a major part of the chemical cycle that produces energy for all the body’s functions.  Do your part to help keep the air as clean as possible!

-Nerve Supply- 

The body can only live a fraction of a second without nerve supply!

The Nervous System has two main parts, the Central and the Peripheral systems.  The entire nervous system acts as a master system, it controls everything that you do, and don’t think about doing.  That is to say, not a single thing happens without your nervous system first initiating an action.  In fact it is so important that it is the first thing that is created when a fetus is growing and it is entirely encased in bone for protection.  Every action, healing, hearing, seeing, breathing, blood flow, temperature maintenance, originates in the brain.  A message travels down the spinal column and out into the body.  Subluxations block and slow these messages, and the only way to remove the interference caused by subluxations is to get adjusted. 

It is about quality of life!   In order to be at 100%, your body must be functioning at 100%!  It all begins with your Nervous System!  Health comes from within!

The Benefits of Laughter

Did you know that when you make someone laugh that you very well may be helping them strengthen their immune system, reduce food cravings, or even increase their threshold for pain? There’s even an emerging field known as “humour therapy” that is helping patients heal more quickly after surgery. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and neurotransmitters. Laughter has also been found to increase the number of antibody producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of T cells within the body. All this creates a stronger immune system and better ability to ward off the effects of daily stress.

A good laugh also exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterward. Some research suggests it even provides a good workout for the heart. Laughter shifts our focus away from anger, guilt, stress, and negative emotions that can create more discomfort and stress within our lives. Laughter is contagious. If you bring more laughter into your life, you will not only help others around you to laugh more, but you will realize these same healthy benefits yourself. So it seems that laughter really is the best medicine but how do we increase our dosage? Here are a few ideas…

Start with a shift in your perception. Studies show that our response to stressful events can be altered by whether we view something as a “threat” or a “challenge.” Humour can give us a more lighthearted perspective and help us view events as “challenges,” making them less threatening and more positive.

Slow down. Slowing down and spending time with others is vital to bringing more laughter into our lives. We can’t make someone laugh if we don’t take the time to engage them or genuinely care about them. Tell a joke. Here’s a good clean one from my 5-year-old: Q: Why did the cookie go to the doctor? A: He felt crummy.

Say “Thank you.” Send someone a note just to say “thanks”...maybe for no reason at all other than for being a part of your life. Be encouraged to laugh like a child. Make someone laugh and know that their laughter is not only making them feel good but improving their health (and yours as well).

by Daniel Decker Pathways magazine Issue #17

A Little is Okay, right?

Today we are hearing more and more about the side effects of the additives in the foods we eat.  These are the same additives that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has easily deemed “safe” for us, the Canadian public at large, to ingest. 

Safe is defined by Congress as “reasonable certainty that no harm will result from use of an additive.”  The list is 700 items long and includes the most common artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Splenda, NutraSweet, and Equal.  It also contains hydrogenated oils and artificial colourings as well.  All of these additives are human made and the FDA has either okayed them in full or is limiting their use.   But even this limitation is by only allowing 1/100th of what is considered to be dangerous into any one portion of food.  Which may have been okay, but much of the damage that comes from these additives is accumulative.  That means it builds up with each and every exposure!

So you say, “How does this affect me?”  Well do you ever read the labels of candy, ice cream, protein bars or any other pre-packaged foods?  Most of them not only have preservatives for a long shelf life, but have colourings to make you think the food is pretty and artificial sweeteners which are many times sweeter than sugar!

Did you know that the long term side effects of such additives have been linked to different cancers

And short term side effects include the following;

hearing impairment, vision distortion, tinnitus, headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, depression, irritability, inability to maintain focus, breathing difficulty, bloating, aggression, diarrhea, decreased fetal body and placental weights and brain development, etc.  The list does not end there. 

So if the list does not end there for the short term, meaning you could experience any one of these things with one use, and the long term gives way to a possibility of having a deadly disease, what amount is worth it all?

Is a little okay?

Remember the real damage is accumulative.  So how much is okay?

Well the FDA knows many of these additives are not healthy, hence the limitation of their use in single portions.  But is the FDA going to tell you how many portions over your lifetime that you can have?  Are they going to govern what you actually eat? 

Just take one portion that you may eat on a basis of 3 times a week.  Multiply it by 52 weeks in a year and you have eaten 156% of the amount that is considered to be dangerous, in just one year with just one food item of your diet!

Just think the average Canadian drinks 55 gallons of soft drinks per year.  Soft drinks are also the biggest culprits of osteoporosis.  Do you think this is a little amount?

You have to look at the big long term picture on a daily basis!

And you have to be the one to decide what is safe for you to eat!  Don’t leave it up to the FDA.

Feel vs Heal

Everyone knows the unanswerable question of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?”  Well when it comes to the body and the question of what comes first, the symptom or the disease, you may be surprised at the answer!

Now everyone would agree that the Central Nervous System (CNS) is responsible for the complete control of all functions in the body.  This includes everyday maintenance of homeostasis and the ever necessary immune system response to surprise attacks from viruses and bacteria.  With everything that goes on inside, it is amazing that we don’t actually feel these things happening.  But your CNS is also responsible for what you feel. 

It may surprise you to know that it is only 5% of the nervous system that is responsible for you perceiving pain.  For some, this is difficult to believe, especially when presented with excruciating pain.  The other 95% of the nervous system is responsible for every function of every cell, tissue and organ in the body.  Your actual life depends on this 95%, dictating how well your heart beats, lungs breathe, eyes see, how well you digest, hear, smell, and taste.  Everything.  The bad thing is that you can impinge 95% of a nerve and not feel it as pain.  You will witness, though, the areas that the nerve innervates perform at a lower level.  Then gradually, dis-ease will begin.  Lastly you may feel pain from the decrease in function.  But before you ever feel anything, the impingement must first happen.

This impingement of a nerve is called a Subluxation.  Subluxations can be caused by a number of traumas beginning with birth and falls during the time we learn to walk, and ending with car accidents and stress.  These Subluxations, if left alone, do a great deal of damage to the body that you might not even feel until later on in life.  I am sure you can easily see that by the time you actually feel something, you are already late. 

Unfortunately, many of us do wait until we feel a symptom to get help.  It is understandable then that if the Subluxations have been present for years, then it will take time to correct them and the damage that they have done.  In this case, one of two things can happen when you are under corrective Chiropractic care. 

       1. You can feel better immediately, but does this mean you are fully corrected?  Not necessarily.  Remember, if it took years to get that way, at least give it some months to heal, regardless of what you are feeling.  This way you can be sure the problem will not surface late because the cause is taken care of. 

       2. You could feel worse or stay the same for some time.  But does this mean you are getting worse?  Not necessarily.  If it took years to get that way, it will take some time to correct.  Pain is not a good measure of the health of your spine.  Have a little faith, we heal on God’s time, not ours.

Either way, the best thing is to correct the cause of the problem, not just rid yourself of the symptom or pain.  We do want you to feel your best, but more importantly we want you to heal at your best level.  And also of great importance, if you have taken the time to correct your problem, it is beneficial to maintain these results.  Your health is too important to leave it to chance!

Early Warning Signs - Will You Listen or Suffer the Consequences?

Sign #1: Muscle Spasms/Tightness

Your spine is an intricate system of joints and bony canals that surround and protect your nervous system. Think of it as a flexible circuit breaker panel attached to the base of your brain. Your body will go to extreme measures to ensure the delicate nervous system operates without obstruction—with all circuits clear. Any potential interference to nerve function is countered by your body’s compensational systems: meaning, if your spine misaligns or curves too much or too little, your muscles tighten and go into spasm in order to lesson and prevent further nerve-interfering distortions. Think of the bracing effects of your muscles as a cast or splint. Tight muscles after certain activity (gardening, exercise, prolonged sitting, etc.) should recover in a day or two. If the tightness or spasm is severe or lasts beyond a few days, chances are you have a more serious underlying problem. This is the time to act and see a doctor of chiropractic.

Sign #2: Pain

Pain is an outward sign that something is wrong. It’s a warning, like a fire alarm or bright red dashboard “check oil” light. As with muscle tightness, it should not last more than a few days following a trigger.

Patients often state that they had pain for a few weeks, but then it went away with over-the-counter pills. A month later, it came back even worse. Prescription medication made it go away again. This scenario of ignoring persistent pain allows the problem to worsen. Keep in mind, the absence of pain, especially when drugged up, does not mean the problem no longer exists.

At this point, the spine may be better thought of as a ticking time-bomb. It may take just a simple activity such as putting on a sock or driving for an hour and, BOOM, it goes off. This is when I often meet people. What would have been a simple fix a few months ago is now a complex problem requiring more care, potential loss of work, and far greater suffering. When pain hits (even when minor) and persists, please see a chiropractor right away.

Sign #3: Weakness

As one of the more serious warning signs, weakness signifies many possible underlying issues. It can stem from pressure on a nerve supplying a muscle. When this is the case, you may notice specific symptoms such as loss of grip strength or difficulty on steps or getting in and out of your car with one leg. As discussed above, muscles may be working harder than normal to compensate for underlying spinal and nerve problems. This can result in noticeable weakness localized in a single muscle or a muscle group. It may appear as strain when lifting yourself out of a chair or when your head feels heavier than usual. It may only show up as general feeling of fatigue— especially at the end of the day. Any prolonged sign of weakness (especially of one side or region of your body) lasting more than just a few days warrants immediate chiropractic evaluation.

Your body speaks to you on a regular basis. It does not use actual words, but offers little signs and symptoms. You can take your chances by ignoring these warnings, or be proactive. Chiropractic intervention early on provides an effective, inexpensive and comfortable solution. It can save you from debilitating pain and high medical bills. Although I am happy to help patients when problems are severe and may have been avoided for too long, it is also nice to help people early on. After all, no issue is too minor to justify a check-up. 

Early Diagnosis Important in the Detection of Scoliosis

Scoliosis, a lateral or sidewards curvature of the spine, plagues an estimated 4 to 5 million Americans. This spinal disorder, often confused as a disease, usually appears during the early teens. Approximately 10 percent of the adolescent population has some form of scoliosis. It is more prominent in girls and is not limited to adolescents. Scoliosis can also affect younger children as well as adults.

One of the most common signs of scoliosis is a prominent shoulder blade, often the right one. One shoulder may appear to be higher and the child may tend to “list” to one side. The hips may be uneven and one may seem to be higher than the other. The first sign of scoliosis is often that clothes will not fit properly. The hems of skirts or pants will appear to be uneven.

Scoliosis is often confused with poor posture, but it does not disappear as the child gets older. It has been known to strike in otherwise healthy children and often runs in the same family. Delaying the treatment of scoliosis can lead to serious and even life threatening diseases of the heart and lungs. After the condition has progressed substantially, the correction becomes more difficult. More complex treatments, including surgery, may be necessary.

This is why regular chiropractic checkups of both you and your children are a must. An untreated spinal curvature may advance quickly, especially during the period of rapid teenage growth. When the curvature is discovered in time, there are chiropractic methods that usually correct the curvature or prevent its increase. Even as adults, chiropractic care can provide relief to scoliosis sufferers.