Archive for the 'Tips for Health' Category
Dr. Amy Myers, Founder and Medical Director of Austin UltraHealth, gives us nine tips for a healthier holiday season! Enjoy.
- Avoid gluten.
- You can use arrowroot scratch or sweet rice flour to thicken your gravy instead of wheat flour. You can also make your own gluten-free stuffing or dinner rolls with almond meal or coconut flour.
- Ditch the dairy.
- Use full-fat coconut milk instead of cow’s milk for your cream gravies or green bean casserole. You can also baste your turkey in coconut oil instead of butter.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Ditch the wine and beers. Filtered Aquasana water with a splash of lime juice makes for a perfect holiday drink without the pain of a hangover.
- Support local farmers.
- Plan ahead this holiday season and purchase your produce and meat from local farmer’s markets to practice farm-to-table habits and sustain local businesses.
- Make your own holiday party classics.
- If you’re hosting parties this year, consider making your own gluten-free and dairy-free treats, like gluten-free cookies or offer an array of exotic nuts and dried fruits.
- Share your eating habits with friends.
- If you aren’t hosting the party, then prepare a dish or two that you know will be safe for you to eat. This is a great opportunity to share your health journey with your friends!
- Eat with purpose.
- Don’t eat yourself into a coma this year! Arrive to holiday parties with a plan. Eat your veggies first, then meat, then starches, and finally if you have room, a bit of dessert.
- Go Green.
- If you’re roasting a turkey, save the bones and make your own turkey broth. If you have leftover vegetable pieces to discard, save them for a vegetable broth instead. You can freeze your broth and use it as a base for future soups.
- Focus your attention on relationships and connections with loved ones rather than food.
For more tips on functional medicine, visit http://www.dramymyers.com.
It’s the middle of August and the sun is at it’s hottest, and if you’re feeling it, your pets are feeling it, too. Here are a few tips to keeping your pets safe, healthy, and comfortable in the heat.
Stock up on Preventatives: Fleas and mosquitoes love to come out when the weather starts heating up, and thanks to the unusually warm winter months, they are extremely pervasive this season. Avoid slacking on giving your pets the medicine to prevent these pests from biting and transferring diseases or worms to your pet. Generic formulas make it easier and cheaper to keep your pet treated.
Keep an Eye Out: When you take your dog to a dog park, make sure you read park rules before heading out. Good dog park etiquette includes cleaning up after your dog and minding their social skills. No matter how much you prepare, however, accidents can happen. Keeping a pet first aid kit in your car is a good way to be able to respond to injury quickly. Since dogs benefit from interacting with one another, try going to the dog park on off hours or scheduling play time with neighbor dogs in a backyard.
Watch for Allergic Reactions: Cats and dogs can both develop allergic reactions to pollen. Watch for signs of excess chewing, biting, scratching, sneezing, or redness. Monitor the pollen count and keep pets inside on days that are going to be particularly heavy. Benadryl can relieve pet allergy symptoms, but make sure to talk to your vet about dosage amounts before giving it to your pet. Oatmeal shampoos do a great job at relieving itching in dogs and cats alike.
Keep Pets Cool: Make sure your pets have access to cool areas at all times. For outdoor dogs, try filling 2-liter bottles with water, freezing them, and putting them in the doghouse. It will allow your pets to keep from overheating when they’re in their house. We also recommend keeping your doghouse in the shade. Heatstroke can affect dogs quickly, especially if they have thick, dark coats. For indoor pets, keep your A/C on if you’re planning on spending the day out. If it would be too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pets. Another way to keep them cool is to give them ice cubes or frozen veggies as treats!
Protect Delicate Skin: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in dogs and the second most common in cats. Even though fur provides good sun protection, it would be a good idea to get a pet sun block to apply to sensitive areas like the bellies of dogs and the ears and around the eyes of cats. Use products made specifically for pets because zinc-oxide – a main ingredient in sunscreen – can be toxic to pets. Also, you may be tempted to shave your pet or trim their fur short in the summer months, but don’t! A pet’s fur provides circulation and keeps them cool in the heat and helps to regulate their body temperature.
Hydration, hydration, hydration: Always have clean, cold water available for your pets; they can easily get dehydrated in the summer heat. It’s also a great idea to give your pets filtered water. If you feel that the contaminants in your tap water are bad for your health, skin, and hair, they’re also bad for your pets’. Using a water filtration system and giving your dog healthy water to drink is one of the best things you can do to keep them healthy and hydrated in the summer heat!
Enjoy the rest of the summer heat!
If you notice that you are going through three liters of water at work alone, you may think that you are drinking too much water, but you are nowhere near a level that is dangerous to your health. It’s great that you are drinking a generous amount of water throughout the work day. Staying hydrated at work is one of the best things you can do for your health.
There is no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for water, but there is an adequate intake level (AI). For example, the AI for women is approximately 2.2 liters, which is more than the eight 8-ounce glasses that many health experts recommend. Whether you decide to drink the 2.2 liters or eight glasses, you will be making an excellent decision regarding your health.
The amount of water you need to drink every day is very individualized due to how much physical activity you do on a daily basis, or how hot it is where you live, but there are five easy tips to follow in order to make sure you’re getting the right amount of water for you.
1. Avoid being thirsty!
You feel thirsty for a reason. It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need more water to function properly and avoid being dehydrated. Don’t ignore it. Research from as early as the 1960’s tells us that people underestimate the amount of fluid they need to re-hydrate, so it’s always safe to drink a little more than you think you need.
2. Don’t drink it all at once!
The old trick that says if you drink a glass of water before you eat so you get full faster… doesn’t work. You should also not drink so much water that you feel full. That much water at once is overkill, and the full feeling is telling you so. If you drink too much water in a short period of time, that’s when water toxicity occurs. Spreading out your water over the course of the day is the only good way to keep yourself constantly hydrated.
3. Aim to wake up feeling hydrated!
Waking up thirsty is a good sign that you aren’t getting enough water during the day, and that you should consume more fluids. Also, pay attention when you step on the scale in the morning. Your weight can fluctuate due to the fact that you aren’t getting enough fluids during the day.
4. Bottle your own!
You are much more likely to drink water if you carry it with you. If you don’t have to go to the vending machine to buy a bottle or wait to get one on your lunch break, you’re more likely to keep yourself hydrated. Also, if you want to avoid all of the waste that comes with drinking bottled water, grab your own reusable bottle and fill it at home.
5. Filter it!
What is one of the best ways to get yourself to drink enough water? Make sure to drink water that is refreshing and tastes good. Installing a drinking water filter in your home is a great way to make sure your water is healthy and delicious! Aquasana drinking water systems are a great way to take out more than 60 contaminants and leave in the good stuff such as magnesium and calcium. Find them at aquasana.com.
Juicing is a health choice that has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It is a great option for those interested in heading towards an energetic life and truly optimal health. Almost every health specialist recommends getting a minimum of 6-8 servings of vegetables per day, and honestly, that is hard to reach. So what can you do to ensure that you are taking in as many vegetables as you should? Juice!
Juicing helps you absorb more of the nutrients from vegetables. Many people have impaired digestive systems due to the fact that they have not made optimal food choices over the years. This limits your body’s ability to take in all the necessary nutrients from vegetables. What juicing does is break down the vegetables for you in order for you to receive the majority of the nutrients rather than having them pass right through you.
With juicing, you are able to consume more vegetables in an efficient manner. Most find reaching the 6-8 servings of vegetables recommended every day difficult, but with juicing, this can be accomplished with a few glasses of vegetable juice. It also allows you to add a wider variety of vegetables to your diet!
Here are some tips on adding juicing to your diet:
-Remember that a glass of vegetable juice is not a complete meal. Unless you are going through a detox or a fast, use juicing as an addition to your meal, or as a snack between meals.
-Start by juicing vegetables that you enjoy eating already. Then add other vegetables and start experimenting with new flavors as you go. You should like the taste of your juice!
-Use pesticide-free vegetables! It is always a good choice to choose organic veggies, but some are better than others. Celery, spinach, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots are a few of the best options.
-If you want your juice to taste delicious without adding too much sugar try adding lemons/limes, ginger, coconut, or cranberries!
-Clean your juicer immediately after you juice! It can be done easily with something as simple as a toothbrush, and it will keep your juicer from growing mold!
-Drink your juice right away or store it very carefully! Make sure your stored juice is in an airtight container with a minimum amount of air so as the juice doesn’t oxidize.
If you want an excellent way to store your juice, Aquasana’s glass bottles are a great airtight solution, can be found on our website, and are already popular with many juicers!
Enjoy a new healthy lifestyle with juicing!
What is MTBE?
MTBE(methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a chemical compound that is produced in large quantities as a fuel additive to help gasoline burn more effectively to reduce air pollution. So what’s it doing in our drinking water?
MTBE has been used in U.S. gasoline at low levels since 1979 to replace lead as an octane enhancer. Since 1992, MTBE has been used at higher concentrations in some gasoline to fulfill the oxygenate requirements set by Congress in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. MTBE was used across the US up until the last decade as a gasoline additive to make the fuel burn more thoroughly and reduce air pollution. Anytime this toxic chemical leaks or spills on to the ground, the toxins seep into the ground and contaminate natural ground water sources.
MTBE is now a commonly found contaminant in drinking water across the United States. The EPA reports a growing number of studies have detected MTBE in ground water throughout the country; in some instances these contaminated waters are sources of drinking water.The MTBE gasoline additive is now banned in many states due to the elevated risk of brain tumors, liver cancer, blood cancer, and kidney cancer when inhaled or ingested from tap water.
Who is affected?
Almost everyone in the United States breathes in or drinks some MTBE. However, some states have seen dangerously elevated levels of MTBE contamination and have banned its use. New York and California banned MTBE use in 2004, and twenty-three other states followed suit by signing legislation banning MTBE by 2005. The current court battle in New Hampshire alleges pollution of 40,000 wells with 5,590 of them reaching levels that make the water unfit for human consumption.
What you can do to protect yourself from MTBE:
If you are concerned about MTBE in your water make sure you are using a water filter that removes this harmful toxin. Aquasana water filters are certified to reduce MTBE in tap and well water. For more information on the specific impact of MTBE on your local water source contact your local EPA drinking water office for more information.
Today marks day 12 of drinking nothing but Aquasana filtered water, and I have to say, it has been quite a challenge indeed. Last week was rough. Starting the day without my morning cup of jo – rough. No relief for my mid-afternoon crash at work – rough. And forget about that evening or weekend libation – tough.
Now we are on week two of the Water Challenge here at the Aquasana office and everyone is already adjusting and feeling much better. The biggest change I’ve noticed so far is how well I sleep at night – like a baby! My body’s natural clock has kicked in and now I hit the sack by 10pm and wake up refreshed at 6am. I honestly can’t remember the last time I slept so well. It’s pretty interesting how much I used to rely on caffeine to get me going, but once cut out completely from my diet, I realize it’s really not a necessity at all.
In summary, I’m feeling great after just 12 days, so I know once I hit 21 days I’ll noticing other great benefits of healthy hydration. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely looking forward to week three of the water challenge. How is everyone else feeling out there?
All you have to do to follow along is:
- Pick a team to follow (Todd, Mel, or Derek)
- Calculate how much you should drink daily
- Choose your favorite way to hit your daily target
- Share your results with us on Facebook or on this blog
The focus of the challenge is on what we drink, not what we eat. We aren’t going for the full cleanse, although drinking the right amount of fluid everyday will help cleanse your system. You should maintain your own healthy diet, but this challenge will help you avoid common dietary mistakes like drinking calories and dehydration.
Pick a team
Picking a team is simple. We’ll all be drinking mostly water, but two of the three teams have added a healthy option that will count towards your daily fluid intake. Derek’s team is for the purists out there that only want to drink water for 21 days. Mel’s team adds in decaffeinated green tea to promote weight loss and cardiac health. Todd’s team adds in green juices to bolster overall nutritional intake and to take advantage of the cleansing properties of certain vegetables. So, choose the team that most closely aligns to what you want to do. I’m with Team Todd.
Determine how much you should drink
Now that we’ve all picked a team, we need to set a daily target for fluid intake. We recently published updated information on how much water to drink on a daily basis. It’s not the old 8 8-ounce glasses a day, but there is an easy guideline to start with for your age and gender. Keep in mind that you may need to drink more if you exercise, work outdoors, or spend time in the heat. I’m a 36-year-old male, so I need 125 ounces of water per day from food, green juices, or just plain water.
Decide how to drink the right amount
Now we know what we are going to drink based on our team and we know how much we need to drink based on our age and gender. The final decision is to come up with a plan to drink the right amount every day. If you are on Team Derek, you would give your food a small allowance of water and drink the rest of your daily target in water. For Team Mel and Team Todd, you would do the same except you can count each cup of tea or green juice against your water intake. I’m going to say that my food has about 16 ounces of water per day and I will drink a 24 ounce green juice each day. That leaves 85 ounces of water that I need to drink based on my target of 125 ounces. Now, this doesn’t mean to go chug-a-lug that much water all at once.
Use a clever way to remind yourself to drink continuously throughout the day and steadily reach your target. Find a bottle that you can use to keep yourself on track with water. Figure out how much water the bottle holds in ounces and divide your target by that number. For example, I am using a 27 ounce glass bottle and I need to drink 85 ounces per day. That’s a little over three big bottles of water per day, a 24 ounce green juice and my normal food intake.
Ready, Set, Share
We’ll share if you do. Start your own challenge whenever you are ready. Share your photos and comments with us on our Facebook page or on the comments thread here. We can’t wait to hear from some of our fans!
Why 21 days?
Research shows that it takes just 21 days to form a habit. Training yourself to drink more water every day is one of the most important actions you can make to take charge of your health. So mark your calendar and get excited – you’re about to do your whole body a huge favor!
1. You’ll drink more water: It’s easier to drink filtered than unfiltered water. Unfiltered water often tastes kind of funny, depending on where you live and what your water source is. So you drink soda or bottled water (which we will discuss in a minute), or possibly turn to tea and coffee as an alternative. Filtering does two things: it removes contamination that makes your water taste funny and maintains the healthy minerals (calcium, potassium and magnesium) that your body craves along with its water. If you’ve ever tasted distilled water or water from a reverse osmosis system, you may notice that it tastes kind of flat. Drab. Almost dry. That’s the lack of minerals. Often drinking this water fails to quench your thirst, so even if you’re full, you still have a craving for something wet. Why do people turn to sports drinks and soda? They both contain minerals your body needs—that’s both their value proposition and the mechanism that satisfies your thirst when you drink. By drinking filtered water that maintains healthy minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium, you feel more satisfied and less thirsty, and won’t hanker so much for a soda, either.
2. Your water will be cleaner: Filtration gets rid of the majority of your water’s contamination while preserving the healthy minerals that hydrate you better and relieve thirst better than some of your other options. Tap water is all right: It generally contains all the minerals in it you need, along with a good dose of contamination that you don’t. Some cities are better than others—get your local water report to learn where your city ranks—but even after treatment, the city pipes and water delivery system most likely contains some kind of contamination that gets back into the water before it gets to you. Heck, the pipes in your house are probably not all that clean, either! To be sure, a point-of-use system that attaches to your faucet goes a long way to easing your mind about the quality of water you consume.
3. You’ll have more control: Filtration gives you more control and insight into what’s in your water. It’s just always better to KNOW what you’re eating or drinking. Look no further than the spate of governmental rules and regulations food and beverage manufacturers must comply with to see that not only is it good to know what’s in there, but you have the legal right to know what’s in there. Filtering your own water once it enters your house offers a fine level of control over the quality of your drinking, cooking and bathing water.
4. It’s convenient: Really, what all the above reasons amount to is a higher level of convenience in your life. One more thing you don’t have to worry about, you don’t have to think about or wonder when you’re shopping in the grocery store. “Do I need to stock up on bottled water? Oh, no—I have better at home!”
5. It’s cheaper: Filtering is cheaper than bottled water by a mile. It’s even cheaper than pitcher filters. With Aquasana drinking filters specifically, you get almost twice as much bang for your buck than many pitcher filters, and over thirty times more than from bottled water. If you’re looking to save money in 2012, quitting the bottled water habit and choosing to filter is a long step in the right direction.
6. It’s green/sustainable: Going along with cheaper, filtering is also a very sustainable method of treating your water. Reverse osmosis wastes quite a bit of water, especially as a household solution (as opposed to a larger scale operation). Basically, you get a bit of clean water, but concentrate the contaminated water and send it back into the environment. Distillation requires electricity and also wastes water. Bottled water, aside from its health concerns, fills landfills with tons of plastic waste each day. Most bottles are not recycled (up to 80% are simply tossed in the garbage), despite their eligibility for recycling, and end up clogging rivers and land when they’re not actually disposed of “properly” in a landfill. Filtering can remove up to 4,000 bottles a year from landfills. Also, filtering is removing contamination from water—meaning less ambient contamination in general (not just for your drinking pleasure). And carbon—the chief material used in filtration—is good for the environment even once you’re done with using it to filter your water.
Have another great reason to filter your water? Let us know in the comments!
Have you ever left a piece of fruit on the counter for too long and it turned brown and mushy? What happened to that once vibrantly colored fruit to cause such a change? When food is exposed to oxygen from the air, the cells of the food go through a process called oxidation. This means that there is a chemical reaction on the surface of the fruit with oxygen in the air, which causes cell damage and appears as rot. When this metabolic process happens, the cells of the fruit give off byproducts called free radicals. It is this byproduct that causes food to turn brown or rot.
The same process happens within the human body. We all know that oxygen is a necessary part of living and for creating energy. However, when our cells use oxygen, they give off the same free radical byproduct and it is released into our body.
An antioxidant is a vitamin that cleans up these free radicals that are produced in both food and the human body. Have you noticed that fruit does not rot right away, but rather goes through a process every day? When all the antioxidants are used up, then the fruit begins to rot. In the human body, we manifest illnesses such as cancer when all of our antioxidants are used up.
What else can cause an increase in free radical formation in the body? Toxins. As we try to scrub toxins such as pesticides, chemicals, alcohol, cigarette smoke, fried foods, etc. from our environment, we form more and more free radicals. If we do not have enough antioxidants to compensate for these free radicals, we develop illness.
• Vitamin A and carotenoids – found in carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, kale, collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots (bright-colored fruits and vegetables!)
• Vitamin C – found in citrus fruits like oranges and limes, etc., green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, strawberries and tomatoes
• Vitamin E – found in nuts and seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and liver oil
• Selenium – found in fish and shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken and garlic
At the grocery store
When you shop for food, try to buy organic if possible and look for fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to assure you get as many different antioxidants as possible.
Also, experts recommend you take extra supplementation, but be sure to contact your natural health professional to find out which one is right for you.
~Dr. Wendy Norman, D.C, Applied Kinesiologist
With all the hype lately about Kim Kardashian and her psoriasis, it’s becoming a hot topic. The paparazzi went a little haywire there for a couple weeks, trying to get pictures of her legs or arms and the red bumps and scales. This is what you get for being in the spotlight and broadcasting such intimate medical details, I guess, but such exploitation makes me feel sick.
Unlike some of the other skin conditions we’ve discussed on this blog, psoriasis is a chronic condition. Once identified and treated with medication and/or lifestyle changes, it can go into remission, but it’s a disorder people have to live with forever. Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease, which means that some faulty wiring in a person’s immune systems puts skin cell production into overdrive. Dead cells don’t slough off the skin’s surface as fast as new cells are produced, and gather and become patches or rashes, and can become quite painful.
The good news: it’s not communicable. (Remember this if you try to call in sick to work with psoriasis!)
The bad news: most doctors agree that it’s hereditary. So by saying “it’s not communicable” does not mean you didn’t get it from SOMEone.
There are several different ways psoriasis afflicts people:
• Red, patchy skin covered in flaky white scales (most common) (Plaque)
• Very intense redness that covers large portions of skin (Erythrodermic)
• Small pink dots on the skin (Guttate)
• Skin redness in places where skin touches skin: groin, armpits and behind the knees, etc (Inverse)
• White blisters with red skin (Pustular)
In general, consult a doctor for any persistent rash or skin irritation, and you might suspect psoriasis if there’s a family history of it and you see flaky, scaly skin.
Most experts agree that the cause of psoriasis is simple genetics. It comes on sometime between the ages 15 and 35, showing up as a rash or red, flaky skin. An outbreak can appear because of a variety of factors:
• Inadequate sunlight
• Overexposure to sunlight (there’s just no winning, I guess)
• Excessive alcohol consumption
• Some kinds of medicine (see also “Your Prozac might be making you scratch”)
• Infections (bacterial or viral)
• Excessive dryness (both environmental—air—and physical—skin)
Treatments: the clinical and the wild
Sadly, there’s no getting rid of it; we just have to learn to cope and be as comfortable as possible. There are a wide variety of creams and ointments available that could help (cortisone is commonly used), pills and injections, and even phototherapy. If you feel like stress is one of your outbreak triggers, you might consider taking yoga or getting acupuncture to help you relax. Or lay back in a nice, soothing oatmeal bath (there are several brands out there for bath supplements you just sprinkle in).
There are a number of wild claims on the Internet about cures, but take them with a grain of salt and big fat suitcase of skepticism. Before embarking on any treatment, discuss it with a dermatologist you trust (not just your GP), and if you don’t like what she says, seek a second opinion.
Are there any horror stories out there about dealing with psoriasis? What treatments have you tried, and how did they work? Any advice on what to ask a dermatologist regarding treatments or research on cures? Let us know in the comments!