A few weeks ago, our office exhibited at the 55 plus show in Ottawa and I had the joy of meeting some of the attendees. Some people talked about their health concerns while others asked questions on what they can do to maintain their healthy bodies as they get older.
Here are some common myths that I heard about health
The days are getting shorter, the temperature is getting colder….here in Ottawa, we are preparing for the season of winter. The winter tires are on, I’ve been using my ice scraper for the frost on my car in the morning and my jacket is thicker.
Similar to the different seasons that we experience, fall, winter, summer and spring, there are different ‘seasons’ to our health and well-being. In each season, we have different behaviours, perceptions, actions and energy levels that go along with them.
Each of the seasons brings along with it, activities that support it to grow and nurture. For example, in the spring, we would plant seeds to grow.
In discover, the first season of well-being, we explore what is going on i.e illness, pain, etc. We become aware of emotions, thoughts, behaviours, etc that got us to where we are now. For someone with low back pain, they might have the belief that they can’t bend or twist or they would hurt themselves. Their behaviour would then be to avoid bending or twisting. Another behaviour could be that they lie down on the couch for hours so they don’t hurt their back. Their emotions could involved being frustrated or angry that this is happening to them, or happening to them again if they’ve had it before.
Someone with shoulder pain could avoid going into ranges of motion that increase their pain.
The challenge with these behaviours is that when you don’t use a part of your body, you start to lose the range of motion associated with it. Over time, you will slowly lose the ability to fully use that part of your body. That’s why it’s important to work with someone during your recovery process.
In our 4 seasons, there are actions and behaviours that you wouldn’t do because the season does not call for it. For example, we would not plant a seed in the winter outside as it would not grow. In the seaons of health and well-being, we would not choose to run a marathon when our body is in a season of rest and recovery. There are times when you shouldn’t move something. i.e a fracture.
The challenge in life similar to nature, is to know what actions, emotions, thoughts and behaviours are needed in each season of your life. When the seasons change, are you ready?
Find out the signs that indicate which season you should be in at our advanced workshop.
Today is Remembrance Day and we celebrate those that gave their lives so we can enjoy the freedom we have in ours. They fought for something they believed in and something greater than themselves. Next time you want to ‘kill time’, remember those who gave up their time so you have the choice to decide what to do with yours.
I asked someone yesterday what they were doing and they responded with “I’m killing time”. I then asked them why they wanted to do that and their response was that they were bored. But why, would someone want to kill time? Time is a limited resource and our time here on earth is short, why waste it?
Ask someone who’s sick what they would give for more time. Talk to a couple who’s spending their last day together for a while. Or simply think about those days when your alarm goes off too early and you wish you had more time in bed.
When we have extra time, we want to kill it. Instead, here are some ways to fill your time so you enjoy every precious moment of it.
Tips on Enjoying Your Time
However you choose to spend your time, remember that time is a gift, use it wisely.
“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”
This week's guest blog is brought to you by Dr. Liang Dai, who just recently came back from a functional medicine conference. I asked him to share with us some of what he learned about the gut and the digestive system.
Following the article, I've included a squash and lentil soup recipe for you to try. We recently harvested our squash from the garden and the soup turned out delicious. Enjoy!
Your Digestive Tract is A Sieve
Author: Dr. Liang Dai, B.Sc, DC
The immune system plays an important role in keeping foreign objects and substances outside of our bodies. There is however, a process occurring multiple times a day where we actively put foreign objects into our bodies. This process is better known as eating.
We eat to replenish our bodies of nutrients and proteins and all the good stuff that powers our bodies. Because nutrients are absorbed in the intestine, both the small and large intestine must be able to let these very small molecules through the intestinal walls via tight junctions. The process of how our intestinal cells allow small molecules through is called intestinal permeability. But what happens when the intestine lets in something that it shouldn’t? That’s when a foreign substance can enter the bloodstream and cause in inflammatory response.
As an example, a person who is sensitive to gluten is susceptible to their intestinal cells releasing a protein called zonulin when gluten is in their system. This zonulin protein can break apart tight junctions in the intestine. The moment the tight junctions are broken apart, the intestinal wall is now considered to be leaky. Once at this point, undigested food particles and other substances can now leak into the bloodstream.
Other culprits of causing leaky gut include inflammatory foods like dairy, sugar and excessive alcohol. Infections can also cause this type of dysfunction and they can include candida overgrowth, parasites and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Some of the signs and symptoms of a leaky gut can include the following:
Digestive disturbances such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, IBS.
Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac’s disease.
Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
Food allergies and intolerances. Acne, rosacea, and eczema.
Diagnosis of candida overgrowth.
So if you suspect an issue with a leaky gut, how does one go about fixing the issue?
A good place to start is by seeing a naturopathic doctor or a functional medicine practitioner for your concerns. As a functional medicine student on his way to becoming a certified practitioner, one of the tenets that you learn is what can be termed the 4R’s
Remove the bad substances. The implementation of an elimination diet is integral to take out the inflammatory, toxic foods and removal of any infections.
Replace with the good stuff. Add or aid proper digestion and absorption by properly chewing your foods, use of digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acids and bile salts if they have been lacking.
Re-inoculate with good bacteria. If antibiotics have been used in the past, it is so important to replenish your gut with proper good bacteria. Eating prebiotics and taking probiotics are essential in this phase.
Repair the gut lining. L-glutamine is an amino acid that is essential in repair for the gut lining. Other supplements may include slippery elm, marshmallow root and caprylic acid.
It’s always best to consult your naturopathic doctor or functional medicine practitioner before starting a regimen because every case is so individualized. A standard approach isn’t going to help every person with digestive issues. As I continue with my functional medicine studies, I will pass along what I have learned with you the readers and patients.
Gluten-Free Squash and Lentil Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil or ghee
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. each of turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups red lentils, (soaked overnight)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped
5 cups stock or broth
1. In a large pot, heat the oil or ghee and stir in onion, garlic and ginger. Let cook over medium-high till softened and just light browned.
2. Add spices and bay leaf, stirring in. Add lentils, squash and stock and stir over high heat until boiling. Spoon off any froth that rises to the surface. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
3. When squash is soft and lentils are fully cooked (about 20-25 minutes), remove bay leaf and purée the soup till silky smooth, or leave as-is. Serve into soup bowls. Top with hemp seeds, fresh chopped cilantro, or stir in fresh baby spinach leaves. Serves 4.
Have a happy belly!
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.