So many patients at our office suffer from insomnia. Unfortunately, most of them rely on medications to “help them” sleep. I feel that relying on something un-natural to make you go to sleep is just not beneficial. People believe that they need these medications and they get downright nasty if they don’t get their refills in time before they run out! I understand how desperate people can get after not having a full nights sleep for several nights and not being able to function during the day when they need to work and get through daily activities. Unfortunately, when they turn to their medical doctor, they usually suggest a prescription sedative or anti-anxiety medication. Some people have been relying on these prescription sedatives for years, even decades! Ambien, or Zolpidem, the most popular one, has some extreme side effects called parasomnias such as sleep- eating, sleep-driving and various other activities while sleeping. One patient told me that he was given a prescription for Ambien by another doctor and he tried it once. That night he woke up behind the wheel of his car in a 7-11 parking lot and didn’t remember how he got there! He told me he went home and immediately dumped the rest of the pills in the garbage and refused to ever take it again!
Getting the proper amount of sleep every night is so crucial to your health and your energy levels, it supports learning and memory, tissue growth and repair and even plays a role in weight loss. Many important hormones are released while you are sleeping. One of them is called Leptin, which regulates your appetite during the day. If you don’t get enough sleep your leptin levels decrease and you produce more ghrelin, a hunger hormone that stimulates appetite. (Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. PLoS Medicine, 1(3), e62. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062)
I recently learned about Sleep Hygiene from a man who also once suffered from insomnia for many years. His name is Peter Litchfield and he has done an incredible job of researching proper natural techniques to train your body to fall asleep and stay asleep for 7 hours or more a night, restoring the body back to health and vitality using a system he calls 6 Steps to Sleep.
Check out his site and you can learn about an amazing sound technology technique of listening to “Binaural Beats” embedded into soft relaxing music to entrain your brain to slow down its brainwave frequency. It’s amazing stuff and he will explain the science behind it. All you need are earbuds or headphones and listen. It’s a form of meditation, but much easier!
Are you tired of using medication for Arthritis or any other inflammatory conditions? You might have tried several different NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Advil or ibuprofen, Aleve or naprosyn, aspirin, Mobic, Celebrex or Voltaren gel and are worried about the long-term side effects. For some people, these don’t even help very much. People with peptic ulcers or any GI bleeding should avoid NSAID’s as well as anyone with kidney disease, cirrhosis of the liver, uncontrolled hypertension or taking blood thinners. Asthma may be induced or exacerbated by NSAIDs Source: http://www.aafp.org
If you’d like to try a more natural alternative, give Virgin Coconut Oil a try! Anyone that knows me, knows that I am a coconut loving freak! I will consume anything made with coconut, coconut milk or coconut oil. I am always looking for recipes with it as well because of all of its health benefits. While looking for a recipe over the Memorial Day weekend, I came across this amazing website: “Healthy Traditions” Not only do they have a whole page of recipes: How To Use Coconut OIl, they also have tons of Peer-reviewed research about the health benefits of coconut oil. One study published on PubMed.gov, May 2014 states:
These arthritic rats showed an increase in antioxidant enzymes and a decrease in white blood cells and c-reactive proteins when treated with Virgin Coconut Oil.
Another study in 2013 talks about how Virgin Coconut OIl reduces LDL cholesterol while raising HDL (the good cholesterol) you can read the study here.
You can purchase coconut oil, coconut cream concentrate (which I ordered and can’t wait to try!), coconut flour and dried coconut from their website. It doesn’t stop there…. they also have coconut skin care products, essential oils, 80% dark chocolate from Costa Rica and Dominican Republic (dark chocolate and coconut: sounds like heaven to me!!!) What I love about them is their higher standard of manufacturing coconut oil. They do not refine, bleach and deodorize the coconut meat with chemicals the way most mass-produced commercial manufacturers do. They use a “wet milling” process that extracts the oil from the fresh coconut meat, not dried coconut.
If you order anything from this website, you will also receive a FREE e-book “Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!“ This book is packed with testimonies and solid research showing how healthy coconut oil is, and it also includes over 85 recipes showing how you can incorporate coconut into your diet.
If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book, as I mentioned above, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. This will not increase the cost of anything for you.
Would you like to elevate your mood? Take notice and be aware of the “Little Things” that make you happy. Be mindful of these things and really take the time to enjoy them instead of just rushing by and moving on to some other task or thought.
Sit down and make a list of 10 “Little Things” that make you happy or just make you feel good. Then try to incorporate them into your day whenever you can. You’d be surprised how much this will elevate your mood and help you ignore any negative thoughts or feelings going on in your head. It is sure to lift your spirits!
“Little Things” by One Direction is a perfect example of how they appreciate all of the endearing characteristics of a girl that she may not notice or even like about herself.
Right now, one of my favorite “Little Things” to do is to sit in my back yard and watch the cardinals that I have been feeding with my bird feeder. They are so pretty. I’ve seen a male, which is the bright red one, and the female, which has a much more subtle red coloring. They are never together. I usually see the male early in the morning before I go to work and in the early evening, usually right after we finish eating dinner. They are very cautious of other birds and squirrels, so their time at the feeder is usually very brief. My daughter says I should name him, so I’ve come up with Harry (for Harry Styles). When my daughter was younger she was a die-hard “One Direction” fan and my favorite of them all was Harry.
Some other of my favorite “Little Things” are:
Feel free to leave a comment with any of your favorite “Little Things” I’d love to hear from you!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” is a famous quote by Hippocrates that I like to use as a reminder to help keep me on track for eating healthy. It’s easy to get side-tracked by all of the unhealthy options of food on the grocery store shelves. Especially when marketers do such a good job of packaging and labeling things in a way to make them sound healthy. Instead of choosing foods that have attractive packaging with ingredient lists full of unhealthy chemicals, try to find items with the least amount of ingredients. Get used to reading labels.
Just think about what the definition of food is:
“Any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.”
Ingredients to Avoid:
The Center for Science in the Public Interest reported “The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 are contaminated with known carcinogens. Red #3 has been acknowledged for years by the FDA to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.” How crazy is that??? The FDA allows manufacturers to use these toxic food dyes, most commonly in kids’ foods, while the European Union puts warning labels on foods that contain artificial food dyes. They actually asked their food manufacturers to remove most artificial food coloring from food in 2009.
It is best to get the colors of the rainbow in your food from natural sources and to shop only in the produce, dairy and meat sections. If you must buy packaged products, I found this amazing app called “SIFT Food Labels” to help you decipher the food labels.
My son, Nicholas, is away at college in his Freshman year and his biggest complaint is the food. The variety and selection appears to be abundant, but when you actually eat the food, I’m sure most of you remember, the quality is quite lacking. Most people end up with the famous “Freshman 15” because of all the junk food and other liquid calories that are consumed during this year of independence.
My son, on the other hand has probably lost weight because he hates the food so much. He is used to eating high protein, whole fruits and vegetables, fresh organic eggs, things with lots of flavor and nutrients. As the oldest child, he has actually adopted a very healthy lifestyle before going away to college. Ever since joining the wrestling team in 8th and 9th grade, having to go through those grueling practices everyday after school, building up strength and stamina to be able to handle an opponent one-on-one on the mat put him into a mindset of wanting to be healthy and in good shape. Even after leaving the wrestling team to pursue his musical passion, he continued to go to the gym regularly, avoids processed food and fast food. He even refuses to use the microwave because he is worried about what the effects are on our food and ultimately, our health. I am most proud of how amazingly strong he is in his decision to avoid drugs and alcohol. He understands how much damage this can do to his body and, of course, state of mind and he wants no part of it. He is very focused on his future and is working very hard on accomplishing his goals.
When he comes home for a weekend I make sure I send him back with healthy snacks, frozen fruit, protein powder to make protein shakes, coconut water, coconut or almond milk and some home cooked meals. One of his favorite snacks are these protein bites from Enjoy Life
Essential Oils are like Mother Nature’s private stash. She keeps them hidden inside all kinds of flowers, plants and trees. She has them on hand for all kinds of ailments and injuries or when you just need a pick me up or when you want to de-stress and relax.
They have been used for thousands of years dating back to ancient civilizations as far back as 2000 b.c. by Chinese herbalists, in Tibetan temples, Indians, Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. They used them as perfumes, massage oils, in ceremonies and rituals and as remedies for several ailments. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was known for using myrrh, cinnamon and cassis to treat skin inflammation and battle wounds.
Aromatic oils can be found in various parts of a plant including the seeds, bark, roots, leaves, flowers, wood, balsam and resin.
The term “Aromatherapy” was first used by a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in 1928. He accidentally learned that lavender oil healed a burn that he had and also prevented scarring. After that incident in his lab, he continued studying the therapeutic uses of essential oils for most of his life.
The effects of these oils provide a lot more benefit than just smelling nice. They actually provide:
When applying essential oils to the skin, I recommend mixing them together with some kind of carrier oil such as:
My favorite way to enjoy essential oils is by diffusing them. I have a small diffuser that I bought online from GreenAir. They sell several types of ultrasonic diffusers that gently lets out a mist of whatever oil you choose to use. The scent wafts through the air and creates a comforting sense of peace and calm.
Here I am using my Green Air diffuser at work. This compact model is called the “Scenttrekker”. As you can see, it doesn’t take up a lot of room. It has a USB connection cord that you can plug into any computer or USB adapter. You can turn on the soft lavender light on top which is really nice in a darker setting. It’s very easy to use: just unscrew the top, fill with a small amount of tap water up to the fill line and add 5 drops (or more if you want) of your favorite essential oils. You can try a single oil such as Lavender or a pre-blended mixture for multiple, synergistic benefits such as Plant Therapy Germ Fighter Synergy Essential Oil Blend. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. Blend of: Lemon, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Cassia, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary. 30 ml (1 oz).” to fight off germs, which is what I use at work. We are surrounded by sick people all of the time and patients are always asking me how I don’t get sick. I tell them it’s the essential oils!
You can purchase the “Scenttrekker” HERE
Here is a great guide for creating your own essential oil recipes for your diffuser: