Feeds:
Posts

Archive for the ‘All’ Category

I don’t remember how it started but several years ago my husband started a health kick and declared November as a sugar free month.  I love to support any ambition towards healthier routines and sugar is one substance we can all do without, or at least have a break from for a month at a time.

11 reasons to go sugar free (and I don’t mean changing to sugar replacements either!) –

  1. Break the addiction.  I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Sugar, the Gateway Drug!”  I could not agree more.  It is our first experience with the dopamine surge that leaves us wondering how we felt that way and how can we get more.  Setting ourselves free from the habits that rule us is always a liberating experience.
  2. Lose weight.  Sugar consumption tends to increase compulsive eating and triggers a habitual response that result in people eating more and more.  Sugar is also incredibly calorie dense so we end up taking in far more energy than we’re able to use up.
  3. Stop the stinky gas!  Sugar feeds bacteria and yeast in the body that produce gases as they reproduce and grow in numbers in the gut.  What may be blamed on the dog can often be alleviated by cutting the sugar intake.
  4. Mood stabalization.  Not only does sugar affect our dopamine receptors, but it also triggers cortisol release in the body.  This results in an up and a down.  On top of that, blood sugar stability is very vulnerable to high concentrations of dietary sugars at once, particularly if they’re eaten on their own rather than with a big meal.  Sugar is then a triple whammy to the mood.
  5. Improve your energy.  The up and the down, the roller coaster ride of modern day life.  Depending upon stimulants to get through the day (sugar being a main culprit) results in a relative “over-ride” of your body’s natural energy system.  When a body has relied upon stimulants long term, it is likely that the adrenal system is no longer able to maintain a normal energy level without it.  Best way to prevent this is to keep stimulant us to a minimum, find routine, fun ways to reduce stress in your life and sleep when you’re tired rather than pushing through.
  6. Peace of mind.  Living free of habits, mood alteration, energy disruption and overgrown microflora results in a very pleasant peacefulness I highly recommend.
  7. Cancer prevention.  The first nutritional recommendation to cancer patients in integrative medicine is to cut out the sugar.  Sugar feeds cancer.  Cancer cells metabolize much faster than normal cells and require massive amounts of energy.  Sugar is their perfect medium.  Considering how long it often takes for a cancer to develop and be discovered, you can never begin prevention of cancer too early.  Start now, by not feeding it.
  8. Pain relief.  Sugar consumption increases the inflammatory response in the body.  The result of this in tissues that are already upset and painful is an increase in upsetness and pain.  In addition, many people have a sensitivity to sugar that will result in headaches, menstrual cramping or joint pain.
  9. Improve immune function.  In the same way that sugar feeds microbes in the digestive system, it is also going to feed the bacteria, virus and spirochetes that are involved in both acute and chronic infections.  In addition, sugar has a depressant effect on the white blood cell activity resulting in the body having a weaker immune response to illness.
  10. To set a good example.  It is clear that there are far more negatives than positives to sugar consumption.  Yet it is a huge part of most peoples daily lives.  So many of us have strong childhood associations to sugar.  Receiving sweets as a child was often the best reward.  By eliminating them from our diet, we can offer our children the opportunity to have a healthier start in life and hopefully not struggle with this one.
  11. To see what happens!  Give it a month.  You might even find you prefer it!

For a personalized nutritional assessment or if you’re challenged with blood sugar issues and experiencing severe cravings, I’m happy to help ease your struggle with natural medicine support.

~Dr. Hart

Read Full Post »

…pardon my dust…

While l’ve written hundreds of health related blog posts and articles, I’ve decided to re-arrange and possibly re-create this library to offer greater applicability and usefulness to visitors.  Please bear with me as these articles slowly return!

 

abstract art awareness branches

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Read Full Post »

Imagine, or perhaps it’s true, that it’s midday, you’re belly’s rumbling and you’re about to clock-out or otherwise disengage from your workday for a precious break to nourish yourself.  How do you invest this small fraction of your day that is entirely for you?  Perhaps you negotiate life’s greater goals and find the time too pressing to fantasize, then go on, hurrying to run errands, eating whatever is available while catching up on the eternal to-do list.  Grabbing another caffeinated beverage to boost you through the afternoon.

Coming home from work, you negotiate the evenings routine and find the exhaustion of the day’s work to predominate over any greater goals.  Settling into your usual spot, be it kitchen counter, couch or favorite chair, you sift through the mail or click on the TV while mindlessly consuming the quickest available caloric sustenance, a meal prepared far away, long ago and made to last many months in your cupboard.

Perhaps this scene is familiar to you or someone you love, perhaps it is not.  Consider for a moment, how a collection of events such as this might accumulate into a month, year or even decade of neglect to those greater goals that once seemed vitally important.  Granted, the midday or evening hours may not be the most abundant in energy or ambition, nonetheless for people whose 40 hour work-week does less than satisfy the heart’s desire, what other time is there?

artistic blossom bright clouds

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

According to Chinese medicine, the heart is the body’s emperor.  The Emperor demands that all other aspects of life obey his command, and will only fail when all those before him have already fallen.  That said, the heart as an organ can endure great strains with many other organs working diligently to protect the most vital, essential rhythm that keeps everything else going.  Many organs suffer silently for many years, giving small signs that can be adapted into a slightly different posture, energy level and by ignoring changing lab values.

Maintaining a health heart is something that must be done beat by beat.  Every family in America is in some way touched by heart disease.  Be it coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarctions, depression, insomnia, mania or simply the lack of love for life.

Sure, a myocardial contraction results from a change in voltage across the cell membrane (depolarization), which leads to action potentials in the sinoatrial (SA) node.  This depolarization causes a wave of contraction to pass across the atria. Following atrial contraction, the impulse is delayed at the atrioventricular (AV) node. From here purkinje fibres allow rapid conduction of the electrical impulse via right and left branches, causing almost simultaneous depolarization of both ventricles, approximately 0.2 seconds after the initial impulse has arisen in the sinoatrial node. Depolarization of the myocardial cell membrane causes a large increase in the concentration of calcium within the cell, which in turn causes contraction by a temporary binding between two proteins, actin and myosin.  Sounds very straight-forward, yet how it all begins remains a great mystery of life.

Supporting this mysterious and essential action is a major aspect of cultivating health and happiness in our daily lives.  It is a task that is greater than paying our bills, repairing our homes or watering our gardens.  Yet, any task throughout our day can lend to heart health when the Emperor within is ruling from a place of peace and harmony.

In the 5-element Chinese medicine tradition, much of the effort is on what we call, “restoring the emperor or empress to his or her throne.”  This includes restoring the appropriate perspective on what truly matters in life.  It critically requires that we come to truth with ourselves about what we believe in and what we put up with.  In our truth, the reveal of how we may be living without integrity or honesty can require significant changes in our lives.  Every step of this process is valuable, as we come into closer relationship to our heart, our purpose and ultimately the greatest gift of happiness in life.

Life is a journey, and when the heart’s strengths are held at the center (love, compassion, happiness, joy and connection) we are sure to find a path that allows us to thrive.  This journey takes effort often greater than the work required to keep the daily cogs of a system turning.  Rather it may require breaking down the system in order to find a new path, a new model that reveals a more fulfilling life.

Read Full Post »

The Toxicity of our Health & Beauty industry

In 2017 there were over 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer in the United States. When you’ve been through the experience of a family member or loved one enduring cancer diagnosis or treatment or if you know the experience yourself it is clearly one to be prevented at all cost. We put so much effort and money into finding a cure for cancer. However the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” never rung more true.

 

 

woman with glitters on face and body

Photo by Daria Rem on Pexels.com

It is such an awful conundrum that an American industry has created a mis-conception that women are less-than and that a product can bring them to a state of worthiness. Make-up and the majority of our health and beauty industry is based upon a false truth that there is a necessity for artificially created products that are necessitated by the inherent faults of women.

Foundation, blush, eye-shadow, mascara, lipstick, nail polish and more might be fine if they are a one-time special occasion use for a theatrical production of dramatic expression. However, the unfortunate experience is that many women feel they cannot leave the house without “putting their face on” for the world to accept them as they artificially are with layers of chemical products overlying their authentic self.

How have we come to this place where billions of women feel more empowered to “conceal” their blemishes and alter their natural coloring with toxic substances that can cost them their lives through the carcinogenic substances they spend their hard earned dollars on? Media and advertising infiltrates even the most mindful of us all. And those who allow advertising to seep into their consciousness on a regular basis have no hope but to follow the masses and purchase the Maybeline, Cover Girl and even Burt’s Bee’s products that proclaim beauty, acceptance and maybe some version of happiness.

Unfortunate for women bought into this modified version of self is the reality that the majority of the chemicals used in our health and beauty industry come with an enormous cost to one’s health. Carcinogenic compounds (those that are known to cause cancer) permeate the industry. Hydroquinone, parabens, phenylenediamine, coal tar, diethanolamine, dioxane; nanoparticles, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene and petroleum distillates are all known to cause cancer and are common ingredients in make-up, lotions, nail polish and other products in the “beauty industry”.

What is beautiful about cancer? Nothing at all. So what is a girl to do? Here are a few suggestions to help girls of all ages move through life with health and beauty together at their side:

  • Learn to appreciate the natural you! Identify people and places that accept the natural you and work to enhance those relationships.
  • Read labels carefully! If there is an ingredient name you do not recognize and know to be safe, check it out at ewg.org/skin-deep, the most comprehensive database for chemical safety online and completely free!
  • Avoid nail polish! The microcirculation of the nailbed provides ready access of chemicals in nail polish into the bloodstream.
  • Change the trend! Avoid teaching children that it’s a positive thing to paint their faces, fingernails or toenails with any regularity at all.
  • Encourage companies to make better products, although even the most “natural” nail polish on the market today contain significant toxins.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body! Your skin absorbs everything it encounters, some substances far more readily than others. Make sure your putting on your body things you feel great about consuming.
  • Opt for all natural products:
    • shea butter, bees wax and organic herbal extracts in organic oils for moisturizing
    • Baking soda and essential oils for deodorants
    • Apple cider vinegar and baking soda mix for hair products along with natural oils for conditioners and detanglers

In the last 100 years our chemical industry has exploded to infiltrate nearly every household in America. Along with that come the unwelcome impacts of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, bio-accumulative toxins, neurological irritants and more. It’s well past time to make a change for our personal health, and for the health of all beings downstream whether that might be children, grand-children or the fish and wildlife that share our waterways who are subject to whatever we are washing down the drain.

For more resources for tools for daily life wellness or for individualized care managing cancer, cancer prevention or other health concerns please visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary at 418 High Street in Lyons, Colorado.

 

References:

EWG.org DIRTY DOZEN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS; 12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them.

Preetha AnandAjaikumar B. KunnumakaraChitra SundaramKuzhuvelil B. HarikumarSheeja T. TharakanOiki S. LaiBokyung Sung, and Bharat B. AggarwalUCancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes” Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.

SciammaccoDuke-EWG Study Finds Toxic Nail Polish Chemical In Women’s Bodies, Sara. Sally Hansen, OPI, Wet N Wild Among Brands Selling Nail Polishes With Endocrine Disruptors. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2015. EWG.org

Read Full Post »

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

As awful and mysterious as a cancer diagnosis is, cancer prevention can be at your fingertips! Everyday products we use that contain carcinogens are as simple to avoid as knowing what’s in your shopping cart. Empower yourself by choosing what you truly want for your future with the day to day shopping trips you make. While some substances can be tricky to avoid, explore your options and get creative to help create a cancer-free world.

Things to know:

  • Fire Retardants – these compounds are commonly used in our clothing and household products. Fire retardants are incorporated into synthetic materials to prevent their melting point in cases of fire. These have been known to be toxic to humans for a long time, however they are considered a necessity for synthetic materials due to their flammability risk. There has been an effort to move toward “Green Chemistry” and reduce the toxicity of fire retardants, but many of the worst offenders are still in most households.
    • Avoid furniture, drapes and especially infant clothing labeled as “fire retardant”
    • Look for furniture labeled with “natural oils” as the flame retardant.
    • Natural fiber infant clothing, drapes and furnishings emit far fewer off-gassing chemicals or none at all.
    • Seek out and support companies that avoid flame retardant chemicals. To name a few: Urban Natural, Room and Board, IKEA, Crate and Barrel, West Elm and Pottery Barn
    • Use an indoor air filter in your main living spaces, especially the bedroom to reduce circulating chemicals.
    • Often, vintage products have the benefit of already having off gassed much of their toxic chemicals, but this is not the case with flame retardants. As foam materials break down their dust particles become more mobile which is where the chemicals reside. This is especially important for beds & mattresses made of foam and other synthetic fibers.
  • Perflourinated chemicals (PFC’s): These compounds are used both in cookware (non-stick coating) and to water-proof jackets and other synthetic materials. Found commonly in our outdoor gear products. They are known to bio-accumulate and cause long-term damage to all biological beings.
    • Cook with stainless steel and ceramic dishes
    • Cooking with cast iron is a great option for people who have healthy or low iron levels. Check routinely as iron in the body can easily get too high!
    • Choose natural fiber clothing sources. Natural materials share a common thread; less harmful in their production and in their use.
    • Wool is wonderful! Naturally water resistant, warm and cozy just like it’s producers.
  • Phthalates and similar products used to create plastic; their production produces a wide array of toxic chemicals that cause harm both to individuals and the environment. Reducing plastic use is a necessary change for the health or ourselves and our planet.
    • Select products packed in recyclable materials
    • Re-use existing plastic as much as possible to avoid supporting the production of new plastic
    • Remove plastic wrapping from food as soon as possible and store in glass, metal or wax coated wraps
    • Do not heat food wrapped in plastic ever
    • Avoid disposable drinking cups, especially with hot liquids
    • Take your own re-usable dishes to restaurants for left-overs & take-out
    • Buy in bulk to reduce packaging

There is so much of our personal and collective health that lies in our hands. The disposable, toxin filled lifestyle that pervades America and other parts of the world is beyond crazy and the repercussions are being seen in our planet as well as in the health of individuals. Make changes for sustainability in your shopping cart and you will be making a change for the better for all beings.

For individual guidance on healthy living, nutritional choices and evaluating health concerns, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary today!

References:

PFC Info: http://www.ncceh.ca/sites/default/files/Health_effects_PFCs_Oct_2010.pdf

Read Full Post »

Breasts

Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

Read Full Post »