6 Health Tips To Do In 2019

6 Health Tips To Do In 2019

Here are 6 easy lifestyle factors that you can add to your daily routine over a few months. You may already being doing some of these. Rate yourself from 1 – 10 on each of the tips. One being low, i.e. you never do it, and 10 being high, i.e. you do this all the time.

Choose one or two that you are not currently doing, and that you feel would make the most impact if you were to add them in. Then take action steps to improve the rating.

Health Tip Number 1:  Greens and live food every day.

Everyone can benefit from adding more raw food, and vegetables into their daily diet.

Greens are loaded with crucial enzymes and are great for the mind, skin, hair, and elimination – we need greens to be going to the bathroom every day. They also help with energy and weight loss.

Easy tips:

  • Have a big salad every day
  • Add greens to your morning smoothie
  • E.g.:  romaine (aka cos) lettuce, kale, spinach, rocket – mix up the greens so you get a range of minerals and vitamins.  

My favourite tip:  I like to make up a salad on a rocket and baby spinach base, I give this a good squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and freshly cracked pepper. I add in cucumber, tomato, olives, figs, pomegranate seeds (or whatever I have in the fridge), a splash of olive oil, and a protein source like a lean meat, eggs or pan roasted seeds and nuts.  When I have this salad regularly, I notice a marked improvement in my digestion.

rocket, berries, live food, salad
Add greens to your smoothie or have a large salad.

Health Tip Number 2:  Add more movement into your day

Regular exercise is an important part of health. But it can be difficult to find the slots on your schedule to exercise regularly.  The most common excuse is I don’t have time!

Several recent studies have shown multiple, short bouts of exercise are as effective as single, longer bouts at supporting healthy blood pressure and maintaining fitness and weight. One study found that three, 10-minute exercise sessions are as effective as a single bout of 30 minutes for general fitness.

Easy tip: 

  • If you struggle to find that 30–60 minute time slot to exercise or get to the gym, think shorter and more often. Take 10 minutes and do brisk walking, yoga, dancing, running, weights. Do this 3 times per day. Aim to get your heart rate up as that gives you more bang for your buck.
  • Try this free app – 7 Minute Scientific Workout. It gives 12 floor exercises, which are done for between 20 and 50 seconds with a 10 second rest between each one. You can choose to do a number of sets. Read about it here: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/.

My favourite tip:  Brisk 30-minute walk around the block, as soon as I get out of bed. If time is limited I just do 10 – 15 minutes.

Health Tip Number 3:  More water

Ever wonder if you really need water?  Well, just think of a plant when it’s not watered. Its leaves are wilted and its growth stunted.  Pour some water on it and it just about dances a jig of joy and immediately springs back to life!

We can often mistake hunger, exhaustion, anxiety and demotivation for thirst.  Aim to drink around 2 litres per day.  It is better to sip consistently rather than guzzle. If you don’t like the taste of water try the tips below.

Easy tips:  

  • Get yourself a beautiful water bottle or tea tumbler, something that you will enjoy drinking from.
  • Try herbal tea infusions like peppermint, or apple and cinnamon. Try a few to find your favourite.
  • Add celery, cucumber or fruits like lime, watermelon and strawberries to up level the taste. (Note, it is a good idea to peel foods that are not organic to avoid the leeching of pesticides into the water).

My favourite tip:  Adding a sprig of rosemary to my water jug.

water jug, rosemary, cucumber
Add a sprig of rosemary to add taste and minerals and essential oils.

Health Tip Number 4:  Eat Before 7pm 90% of the time

This is one of the best natural anti-aging tips out there.  Why? Because our bodies repair and rejuvenate at night.  If its busy digesting food because you ate a big meal at 8pm, 9pm or even later, it can’t heal, repair and renew.  All the energy goes into the stomach to digest instead of going to all the other areas of the body to repair, rejuvenate, and do everything that is needed to be done before you wake up.  

Easy tip:  

  • If you get hungry after 7pm drink herbal tea and/or eat raw veggies, as these have a high water content and will not take very long to digest. 

My favourite tip:  I aim to have my last meal by 6:30 pm and I enjoy an herbal tea at around 8pm.

Tip Number 5:  Self-Care

It is important to take time out for you. It is not selfish to do this. Think of the advice they give on an airplane. Put the oxygen mask on first and then put it on your child.

If you do not take the time to relax, and unwind and refresh, then you may not be able to give your best to your work, your family and your friends. Slow down, to speed up.

Easy tips:

  • Take at least half a day-off per week.
  • Completely unplug and unwind
  • Set a work cut-off time and stick to it.

My favourite tip:  Catching up with friends for brunch on a Sunday or going for a walk in the bush.

Tip Number 6:  Take a break every 50 minutes

This tip comes from Brendon Burchard, High Performance Coach. It is less of a health tip and more of a productivity tip, but as read on you will see how it could improve your health too.

Brendon says that every 50-70 minutes we need to take a break from sitting. If you are someone who works at a desk, or are very sedentary, then this tip could change your life. Literally. It could save you. Sitting is the new smoking. We are made to move and most of us don’t move enough!

A study was done using a productivity app that 4 million people filled in. It showed that the most productive people take breaks every 52 minutes. When you sit in a chair for too long your  posture is compromised and inflammatory cytokines are activated. Activity actually makes us smarter. Exercise activates the brain.

Brendon suggests to get up, walk around, do a vinyasa flow, get a drink of waters,  do stretching, or meditate for 5 minutes. Or you could do a short high intensity exercise routine that would tick off health tip number 2!

You could do:

  • 10 Jumping jacks
  • 4 burpees
  • 10 squats/chair poses

Brendon claims that this practice is the reason why he can write so many books and papers. By having regular breaks, he is more productive.

Easy tip:

  • As soon as your butt is on the seat, set your phone alarm for 50 minutes.
  • When the alarm goes, get up even you don’t feel like it or are in the middle of a task. Take a break from 2 – 10 minutes.

My favourite tip:  I put my yoga mat on the pavers in the back garden and do a short stretching, and down-ward dog sequence. And I get the added bonus of a vitamin D shot! I am also trying the 7-Minute Scientific Workout app.

yoga, stretch, downward dog
Yoga mat ready for a quick floor routine when working from home.

In summary; the six health tips to add in this year.

  1. More greens and live foods
  2. Add more movement into your day
  3. More water
  4. Eat before 7pm 90% of the time
  5. Self care
  6. Have a break every 50 minutes

Remember to rate your self on a scale of 1 -10 (1, Im not doing it and 10, I am doing it regularly.) Be honest with your rating. Sometimes we can know something but don’t actually do it. So observe yourself over the next week and see how you go.

If you implement any of the tips, I would love to hear how you go and what your favourite ones are and if they made a difference to you. Thanks!

Have an awesome 2019!!

Be Healthy….Be Happy

Vicki

Brisbane January 2019

9 Tips To Reduce Inflammation In The Body

9 Tips To Reduce Inflammation In The Body

One of the most significant medical discoveries of the 21st century is that inflammation is the common thread connecting not just the obvious autoimmune and allergic diseases but most chronic disease, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and depression. In fact out-of-control inflammation causes insulin resistance. The insulin resistance then creates even more inflammation, and the whole biological house burns down.  This is how Dr Mark Hyman opens his chapter on explaining the link between inflammation, insulin resistance and chronic disease (p 98-99, The Blood Sugar Solution).

What is insulin resistance you might be asking?  I was asking this too after diagnostic testing in April 2017, indicated that if I did not address my blood sugar issues I could tip over into pre-diabetes and insulin resistance.

Insulin is a fat storage hormone that like other hormones it is a regulatory agent. It’s job is to regulate or monitor the amount of sugar in the blood. Insulin is made by the pancreas and is designed to reduce the circulating blood sugar by helping cells take in and use the glucose (sugar) from the foods we eat.  It’s primary job is to control rising blood sugar by driving the sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells residing in the liver, muscles or fat.

In order for the body to run at optimal levels, the blood sugar must be maintained within certain parameters. When the level of sugar in the blood is either too high or too low, the body takes steps to “correct” the problem. To combat too much sugar, the body secrets more insulin to remove the sugar from the blood. You can see the problem. If we continually spike our blood sugar by eating foods high in sugar the bodies mechanisms become tired.

Blood Sugar Rollercoaster

Blood sugar needs to be kept in narrow band for sustained energy and good health.

Insulin resistance is when your cells refuse to accept the sugar, so there is too much sugar in the blood and not in the cells where it is used as energy. High levels of circulating blood sugar create a lot of heat and free radicals in the body damaging the cells, which then turns on the inflammatory response.

The scary thing is inflammation that drives obesity and chronic disease is invisible and doesn’t hurt. Not like when you stub your toe or cut your finger. That hurts and you can see the inflammatory process at work healing your injury. It gets red, it swells, it throbs and then it heals.  That is your immune system at work. 

Internal inflammation that is chronic, is a hidden smouldering fire created by your immune system as it tries to fight off the baddies in your body.  It is not until it has done damage like destroyed cartilage (arthritis) or injured your blood vessels (heart attack) that you feel the pain.  

Knee pain indicates inflammation

Internal inflammation

So what triggers inflammation and what can you do about it?  These are the main culprits.

  1. Sugar, refined carbohydrates and artificial sweeteners
  2. Trans fats and too many Omega-6 fats from processed plant oils (such as soybean or corn oil)
  3. Hidden food allergies and sensitivities
  4. Chronic infections
  5. Imbalances in gut bacteria 
  6. Environmental toxins
  7. Stress
  8. Sedentary lifestyle
  9. Sleep deprivation 

Which of these factors is the source of inflammation for you?  The answer will be different for everyone. You must locate all the sources of inflammation in your life and eliminate them if you want to avoid disease.

Nine tips to reduce the inflammation in your body.

  1. Dietary sugars, refined flours, and artificial sweeteners

These are the biggest triggers of inflammation. They cause insulin to spike and start a cascade of biochemical reactions that turn on genes and lead to chronic and persistent inflammation.  The best way to avoid these foods is to eat a diet high in unrefined food sources, lots of vegetables and fruits, legumes, lentils beans and grains that are not highly processed (eg. jasmine rice is more processed then brown rice or wild rice).  

Specifically avoid:

  • Refined sugars, such as white four, white rice and soft drinks (liquid sugar).  
  • Think bread products like hamburger buns and donuts; grains like white-flour pasta and sugary cereal; and sugary drinks like soft drink and sweetened juices. 
  • Also sauces like tomato and barbecue sauce, and jams.  
  • Eat less bread, white potatoes, crackers, chips, pastries, and sweetened drinks.  There is less fibre in these foods and low fibre diets also lead to inflammation. 

Avoid anything with aspartame or Splenda as a sweetener.  Artificial sweeteners disrupt the normal hormonal and neurological signals that control hunger and satiety (feeling full) actually leading to weight gain and therefore increased inflammation.  You don’t want that! 

  1. Inflammatory fats

For your body to work efficiently you need both Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), these are the anti-inflammatory fats, and Omega-6 EFAs, fats which promote inflammation.  These essentials fats need to be kept in balance for good health.  

Problem is, due to industrialised food manufacturing, and the heavy use of soybean and corn oil in so many processed foods (and fed to cattle and chickens), you get way too much omega-6 fats which drives your inflammation up.  Diets low in omega-3’s (think oily fish like salmon and sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds) contributes to the development of systemic inflammation.  

Add to this trans fats from oils that are heated to a high temperature which makes it stable at room temperature and therefore makes foods last longer – margarine and hydrogenated oils that are used in store bought muffins, cakes, crackers, muesli bars etc, and you can understand why you don’t feel so good. 

Your cells don’t recognise trans fats, and therefore do not know what to do with the foods that contain it.  This confuses them, and the messaging (communication network) between your cells gets all messed up! 

Ditch the processed and fast foods for unprocessed foods instead, and choose organic meats that are raised ethically and not primarily on a diet of corn and soybean.  

  1. Food sensitivities and allergies

Acute allergies to things like peanuts and bee stings that cause the throat to swell and shut nearly immediately (known as IgE – mediated responses) is not what this factor is about.  

Delayed, or hidden, allergies (known as IgG-mediated responses) play a significant role in driving inflammation that you may have no idea about.  Being sensitive to certain foods like gluten (a protein in wheat) and dairy create systemic low-grade inflammation in the body that can manifest itself in any number of ways.  

How do you know if you are sensitive to these foods?  Testing does not always tell you, and if you are highly allergic to certain foods you probably know this by now. Go with your instincts.  Tell tale signs are bloating and sometimes tiredness after eating foods that contain gluten.  A stuffy nose, increased mucus, or sinus issues usually are signs that you are sensitive to dairy.  You might also get a slight headache, or experience rashes or flaking of the skin.  Eliminate these foods from your diet for 7-14 days and see how you feel. Introduce them back one a a time and notice any body changes.   Tune into your body and become aware of how certain foods make you feel. 

  1. Chronic hidden infections

These can trigger inflammation. Makes sense as an infection is something that the immune system wants to immobilise and rid the body of. New studies show that infections such as adenovirus (the kind of virus that causes upper respiratory infections or infectious pinkeye) may be linked to obesity and insulin resistance.  If you suspect you have a virus (glandular fever, aka Epstein-Barr virus, is one that lingers in the cell),  look for a functional medical doctor to help treat you. They usually use specific herbs. Also have your teeth checked regularly, and if you have root canal fillings, find a holistic dentist who will inform you about the potential for parasites to live in the root canal and cause infections.  You can boost your immune system in order to suppress and control these latent infections. 

These are the USANA products that we use to boost our immune systems:

  • CellSentials (vital antioxidants and core minerals)
  • BiOmega (fish oil – free of contaminants)
  • USANA Vitamin D
  • Proglucammune (beta glucans, + zinc + brewers yeast)
  • USANA Probiotics (contains 2 probiotic strains clinically proven to reach the lower intestine alive)
  1. Toxins

The increasing load of persistent organic pollutants (such as PCB’s and pesticides) and heavy metals (such as arsenic, mercury and lead) inflames the body.  Replace toxic home cleaning products with non-toxic options, wear gloves when using chemicals and don’t breath in the fumes (wear a mask), don’t heat food in plastic in the microwave, or drink water from a plastic bottle that has been sitting in the car as heat causes chemicals to be leeched out of the plastic into the water or food you are about to consume!

If you have mercury fillings I urge you to read ‘A Mouth Full of Poison’, by Dr Myron Wentz. 

If you smoke cigarettes – quit!  

  1. Chronic stress

Acute stress skyrockets your blood sugar, which is a good thing if you need to act quickly to save yourself from a dangerous situation. However if this stress becomes chronic and your blood sugar levels remain high, inflammation results.  That is why stress is a killer!  Sadly we live in a highly stressed world and most of us don’t know how to relax.  Learn how to deep breath and calm your mind so that you can do this anywhere any time that you feel your stress elevating.  Take time out to just sit and watch the trees move and the clouds pass by.  Read a book, watch funny movies and take a break from listening to the news and watching violent movies. Get out into nature and enjoy the moment. 

  1. Sedentary lifestyle

Can you believe it?  Doing nothing actually can actually make you inflamed! Lack of exercise creates low-grade inflammation in the body.  And regular exercise dramatically reduces inflammation.  Get moving.  Aim to exercise a minimum of 20-30 minutes, three days a week and then increase to five days.  Brisk walking is a good start.  Dancing is marvellous exercise (flat shoes please).   If your knees are shot and you are unable to walk, find a pool to swim in or do chair yoga.   You need to move and move regularly. Find a way. 

  1. Nutritional deficiencies

Studies show that deficiencies in basic nutrients such as vitamin D, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants promote inflammation, and that simply taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is as effective for lowering inflammation as taking a statin medication, with a lot less expense and fewer side effects.  (p 110, Dr Mark Hyman)

9. Sleep deprivation 

There has been significant research into sleep over the past twenty years and it is now known that adults should get eight hours of sleep each night. But what is really stunning is how a chronic lack of sleep can drive our blood sugar and insulin levels high and destroy our immune systems.  Diets high in sugar impact on our quality of sleep as does not giving ourselves an opportunity to sleep 8 hours. 

Tips:  stop eating three hours before you intend to go to bed, get into a regular sleep schedule, reduce caffeine intake after 12 noon and reduce your consumption of alcohol as this affects quality of sleep. Please find other solutions to taking sleeping medication.  These put your brain into a sedative state, which is not deep or quality sleep required for optimal brain function and good health. If you are taking sleeping pills work with your doctor to wean yourself off them (do not take yourself off them cold turkey. That is very dangerous).  Alternatives to sleeping medications include cognitive behavioural therapy to help rewire the brain, exercise, certain nutrients and avoiding diets high in carbohydrates and sugar, which interfere with the quality of your sleep.

I hope this article helps you in creating a plan to reduce the sources of inflammation in your life.

Be Healthy……Be Happy

Vicki

Sources used for this article include:

    • Is Your Lifestyle Killing You?  Dr Karen Wolfe
    • The Blood Sugar Solution, Dr Mark Hyman
    • Food As Medicine,  Monash University online course
    • Why We Sleep, Matthew Walker
Peaceful Living In A Stress-Filled World

Peaceful Living In A Stress-Filled World

There was so much fascinating information shared at International Convention 2018. But as stress is something we are all exposed to, I felt you might like to know what Dr Isaac Meza, from Sanoviv Medical Institute, suggest we do to manage it. These are my notes from his workshop on the topic.

But first, what is stress? 

Hans Selye, endocrinologist & scientist, coined stress “The Adaptation Syndrome”. In his research opinion “every stress leaves an indelible scar”.

J. Pizzorno, Jr., M.D., categorised stress as “any type of real or perceived disturbance that can alter the homeostasis and lead to an stress response that is mediated by both the Central Nervous System (CNS) and peripheral organs”.

Therefore stress upsets the normal balance of the body and is implicated in our ageing process. 

But note, Hans Selye made an important distinction…..’without stress, there would be no life’, subsequently it is how we end up managing stress that is important.

Our first response to stress is generally accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations (irregular heart beat), sweating, shortness of breath, tension headache, and nervousness.  All this happens in a second.

All would be good if we only experienced stress every now and then, but in our current lives many are experiencing stressful situations on a daily basis. Think of the morning traffic, an in-box full of email messages just waiting to be read and responded to,  financial pressure, a perception that there is not enough time to do everything on the list.  Running out of coffee can tip some of us over the brink! 

Stress is expressed in the physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual and the biochemical.

If a stressed state persists it can turn into generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) which is characterised by excessive and persistent  worrying that is hard to control, causes significant distress or impairment, and occurs on more days than not for at least 6 months.  Other features include psychological symptoms of anxiety, such as apprehensiveness and irritability, and physical (or somatic) symptoms of anxiety, such as increased fatigue and muscular tension.  

The rates of anxiety disorders appear to be rising, and it affects women more than men and, 43.5% of the American population suffers from mild stress.  Think of that…nearly half the population of American is experiencing mild stress. That is a lot of people!

Be aware; if you are experiencing mild or moderate stress levels you are already in a disease state.  Please read that line again as it is very important! 

If you are experiencing acute stress Dr Meza advised for you to deep breath and elevate your legs. 

According to Dr Meza, chronic and acute stress creates a flood of chemicals in the body, which we don’t experience when we are calm and relaxed.   Therefore chronic stress equals degeneration. It is a factor in:

    • Age related cognitive decline
    • Neurodegenerative disease
    • Cardiovascular disorders
    • Diabetes
    • Central obesity
    • Depression, insomnia, anxiety 

Did you know that chronic stress can create headaches?  

These signs and symptoms are an indication that there is significant free radical damage occurring in the stomach.  Chronic stress will mess with your digestion, impair the quality of your sleep and fast track you to becoming overweight and obese.

So what’s the good news?

Before I get there, I need to tell you that some people are genetically inclined towards chronic stress and anxiety. Yes, thats right. If you feel strung out and have trouble coping it could be your genes to blame.  But are they?  Whilst you may carry the stress and anxiety gene, this does not mean you need to live in this state.  

Dr Meza said that there are things in your environment that can either switch on the gene or switch it off. 

So firstly, what can switch on the stress gene?

    • Unresolved trauma 
    • Holding feelings in
    • Sleep deprivation 
    • Elevated cortisol levels

Assess and Diagnose

How can you know if you are experiencing chronic stress and putting your body into a disease state?

  1. Awareness – we need to know if we are stressed. Because we get used to this way of living sometimes we don’t even know that we are chronically stressed.  Check in on your body.  Ask yourself questions.  Find a Kinesiology therapist to help you identify the causes of stress and imbalance in the systems of your body.
  2. Detection is important to stop the cascade of hormones that is put into play once we experience a stressful situation.  
  3. Epigenetic – do you have the gene susceptibility to stress and anxiety? If you do, what do you need to take to correct it?  The answer is taking B vitamins in the correct doses.  
  4. Max pulse (a machine) can tell if your nervous system is in flight or fight mode. 
  5. Getting your cortisol levels checked as the results can indicate if your stress is chronic or acute. 

Now to switching off that stress gene.  

Prevention and Treatments

Prevention & Treatments

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy to learn strategies to manage chronic stress. There is much research to indicate that cognitive based treatments are very effective.  
  • Appropriate nutrition – eating a diet high in plant-based foods and low on processed foods. This article covers the need for a whole foods diet  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833586/
  • Correct exercise like yoga & other strength based, breathing exercise routines
  • Grounding – this refers to connecting electrically with the earth, walking barefoot can connect you with the earth’s surface electrons. 
  • Meditation
  • Praying

There are other things we can do like:

    • Contact with animals
    • Barefoot in grass – take off your socks and shoes and walk on the grass, get your hands into the dirt by gardening, lay on your back in a park and watch the clouds roll by.
    • Sleeping 8 hours for brain and adrenal healing
    • 6-10 exercises  per day is enough to shut down the cascade of hormones
    • Deep breathing – breath in deeply (raising your stomach), hold for 5 counts and release 4 counts and do this 5 times.

The above actions help to down regulate hormones and protect our tissues from the bombardment of chemicals that are activated when we are in a chronically stressed state.

Sanoviv Recommended Supplements For Stress/Anxiety

  • Multivitamin/Mineral (including B vitamins)
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin D
  • Fish oil
  • Melatonin
  • Adaptogens (Reishi, Shitake, Ginseng)

Remember, when choosing your nutritional supplements find a brand that manufactures to GMP’s (Good Manufacturing Processes) and is potency guaranteed which ensures that what is on the label is in the tablet.

If you want to know what I use, drop me a message at vicki@vickiparker.net with the subject line – nutrition for stress and anxiety. 

If medications are needed Sanoviv recommends

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Seotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors 

Remember…..Have Fun.  Enjoy Life. Peace and Love.

Good Sources of Fat

Good Sources of Fat

So you’re supposed to eat good fats. What are good fats exactly?

Good question.  This one used to confuse me & for years I only used extra-virgin olive oil until finally I got it!  I hope this guide helps you choose the right oils & fatty foods.

Remember, whilst eating a high-fat diet can help reduce inflammation, that is only if you are choosing to eat good fats. Eating fats that have been damaged by high-heat or processing, will fan the flames of inflammation in your body and you don’t want that!   Its not just about feeling bad. The underlying inflammation and hormonal imbalance driven by eating the wrong foods drive not just symptoms but diseases and accelerated ageing. 

(more…)

My New Love. Foam Rolling!

My New Love. Foam Rolling!

Are you into foam rolling yet?

I am a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog goop.  Mainly for the food tips and recipes. But the other night when I was surfing goop.com I happened across a video on foam rolling by Lauren Roxburg.

I have a foam roller that has been collecting dust in the corner of a room.  (more…)

Staying healthy whilst travelling

Staying healthy whilst travelling

Next month Claude and I are off to Salt Lake City for the annual convention. This is such an exciting time of the year for us. The fun of travelling, trying new foods, catching up with international friends, being exposed to seminars, workshops and speakers like Tony Robbins and John Maxwell.

 

 

 

We do this every year in August and are getting good at travelling light and staying healthy. (more…)

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