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It’s a perfect day when you wake up naturally without an alarm or anyone screaming at you.  To arise fully rested and rather than feel hit by a mound of responsibilities the day has for you, stretch your arms leisurely and yawn.  Pondering with a gentle inquisition, “hmmm, what do I feel like doing today?”  When fresh vital foods are all that you crave so you make yourself a gorgeous meal to start your day.

It’s a perfect day when you find vigorous exercise is a welcome and natural component of the day’s rhythm.  When you feel creative, successful and spend more time laughing than crying.  And when you allow your energy to naturally flux, enjoying when it’s high and resting when it dips.

Wouldn’t it be great if every day were perfect.  Instead, we deal with the imperfections of life and do our best.  Juggling schedules, deadlines, desires, responsibilities and more.  We accommodate and we compromise.  We settle for a quick easy meal.  We skimp on sleep.  Some reach for substances to give an extra push to the days flow and over time, find it essential.

Any day can be a perfect day.  No matter what we juggle, we can (almost) always make the choice to prioritize our needs and peace of mind.  It will certainly look different from one person to the next on what makes a perfect day.  Sustainably respecting the body’s needs is #1.  If you’re caught in a cycle of using substances to boost your energy, here are some things to consider: 

The most common vices:

–       Caffeine:  A favorite across the world. This substance has a phenomenal ability to quicken the brain, sharpen the senses and lift the mood.  While daily use limits the perception of its impact, dramatic variation in dosage makes it quite clear.  While this substance has usefulness in moderation, its daily use can be detrimental exhausting adrenal function.  Accelerated aging, increased acidity and inflammation can result.

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Alternates:  Get more sleep!  If you love the flavor, stick with Organic Decaf coffee.  Swiss water processing provides a non-toxic flavorful alternative that minimizes the negative impact to the body.  Use a form of creamer and drink it only with a full stomach and it might even be good for you.  If you love the ritual enjoy herbal tonic formulas instead!  Ashwaganda, Eleuthero, Maca root and many others may be just right for you.  Come to Stillwater to learn more.

–       Sugar:  Refined sugar has no beneficial quality to the human body.  It is more a toxin than a food and yet it has permeated our food supply so thoroughly that it takes significant effort to avoid it 100%.  Humans are biologically engineered to have a powerful affinity to this substance.  As our bodies break down complex molecules into simple sugars as food for the cells, the refined version enters so rapidly it creates detrimental effects through gylcosylation.  The diabetic process of tissue deterioration leading to blindness, dementia and amputation are harsh and vivid realities.

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Alternates:  When craving sugar between meals, your body likely needs protein or fat to provide long-lasting fuel.  When craving sugar after meals, your body likely needs digestive support.  Try a digestive enzyme instead.  When craving sugar for emotional comfort, you likely need to get more hugs.  Put on the sign that says “Free Hugs” and go visit a big city or music festival.

–       Alcohol:  Used across cultures as far as human history tracks, we as a species have an intimate history with alcohol.  Alcohol is a by-product of the natural biological process of fermentation.  As with all things, dosage is everything.  When fermented vegetables produce alcohol and a jar of pickles from the autumn is eaten in late spring, everyone feels happy.  Yet somehow, when a fifth of refined liquor is consumed, people die.  The toxic shock of direct alcohol to cells is no doubt harmful.  Dulls reactions, deadens the senses and liberates the soul from the body.

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Alternates:  The fermented bubbly drinks can have advantages, when they’re alcohol minimal.  Try home-made water kefir or dairy if it suits you.  Kombucha, Beet Kavas, Jun and more.  Every traditional diet has some form of fermented beverage, capturing the vital probiotic cultures in a variety of interesting flavors.  When you’re stuck in a cycle of routine alcohol use, your body likely needs increased exercise and hydration.

Substance Use:  This list goes on and on.  Everyone has a variety of favorites and nothing in excess supports the balance of health.  If you are troubled with addiction and substance use of any intensity, seek help.   If you are troubled by too many demands on yourself, seek help.  Mental health counseling, Naturopathic and Chinese medicine can be life-savers and game changers for how we juggle our life’s routines and needs.

Chemistry is amazing. We have so much to enjoy as a result of human innovation and the excess use of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and more.  Everyday people push themselves harder than is reasonable to accomplish a day’s work.  Yet, we are all subject to the basic principles of life.  The fact is, cells function better in a harmonious environment.  There are landscapes where life grows easy and thrives.  This too, is like the human body.

In pursuit of one perfect day after the next, know this; when there is low inflammation and a gentle alkaline environment cells replicate easy.  Muscles and tissues circulate fluidly and feel great.  When blood sugar is balanced by the strength of the will and pancreas, a steady stream of energy enters the cells.  This keeps cognition even and the emotions stable.  Not to mention preventing excess cellular damage and XYZ disease….  When the liver is free of excess toxins, it is better able to keep the body balanced.  It prevents all chronic diseases and supports a long, passionate life.  May you all be comfortable in your skin, happy in your life and peaceful in your spirit. 

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One moment you’re sitting in a meeting having a conversation with a colleague and you’re able to present yourself as a professional, intelligent person. Before you can blink, your mind turns to jello, you can’t remember the last word you said nor the poignant message you were trying to convey, your body temperature seems to be going through the roof and you’re sweating profusely. As if this weren’t enough, ankle pain from an injury 20 years ago has come back with a vengeance, you’re waking six times a night, gaining weight and feeling completely unhinged.

This experience in many variations is increasingly common today as women move through the menopausal transition with a laundry list of complaints. “What is happening to me?” is the phrase repeated again and again in Doctor’s offices by the 50 something female crowd (or much younger with surgical menopause). Menopause is traditionally known simply as the cessation of the menstrual cycle. Yet for the majority of women, the transition can be extremely uncomfortable and result in a myriad of symptoms.

When a female is born, she has as many eggs in her ovaries that she will ever have. By the time she reaches puberty, less than half of the eggs remain. Menopause is the experience of the ovaries releasing their last eggs and the hormone cascade that is associated with this process. The most dramatic hormonal change is the decline in estrogen and treatment is often directed here. This is just one aspect of menopause and while it seems to “cause” the symptoms, the root goes much deeper.

While western science has drawn the association to estrogen decline, there still is not a concrete explanation in biochemistry as to why the symptoms result as they do. A close look into immunology illustrates one relationship that impacts multiple systems recognizing inflammation as the root of the imbalance.

Estrogen has a unique relationship with the immune system. Interleuken 8 (IL-8) is a chemical messenger in the body that interacts with white blood cells and is an important mediator for the body’s expression of inflammation. Estrogen potentiates IL-8 and these two aspects of the human body act as a blockade to the expression of the inflammatory cascade. It’s as if a damn were in place to prevent inflammation from being experienced. When estrogen begins to decline in peri-menopause, the dynamics of IL-8 on the immune system changes. Essentially, the damn breaks and the backlog of inflammation that the body has been living with is now experienced.

Chinese medicine has another take on menopause. Physiology is a continuous balancing act of yin and yang energies and while this is a theme for the whole of the system, we can also look at each part of the system and see the balance portrayed separately as well. Chinese medicine recognizes a myriad of different patterns possible during menopause, each accounting in detail for the symptoms that manifest.

A common pattern of imbalance during menopause is known as yin deficiency. The yin energy acts as the container and is restored through sleep, meditation and peaceful living. This container needs to be strong enough in order to contain the active yang energy. When we live high stress lifestyles, compromise sleep and self-care, yin deficiency is a common result. Menopause is a particularly delicate time because we come to exhaust the reproductive energy, which serves as a sort of storehouse of energy for the body’s activity. If a woman goes into this phase with a degree of yin deficiency, she is likely to experience the full gamut of symptoms.

The menopause transition presents a new challenge to the body with the limitation of tolerance to inflammation that was otherwise easily ignored as well as the disruption in equilibrium of yin and yang. It is a time when the body demands to be better cared for and the results of improper lifestyle more dramatically present. The path of greatest ease through this time often requires very conscious consideration of what a person truly needs and a close examination of how energy is expended.

Shift gears gently through menopause with natural medicine support. While hormone therapies can provide symptomatic relief, they are not solving the underlying problems that are causing the symptoms and long term use can be detrimental. Stay tuned for specific information on the collection of symptoms common during menopause with 3 more upcoming articles, every other week. For individual support, please visit Dr. Hart at Stillwater Clinic in Lyons.

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We have more mircro-organisms in our bodies than our own human cells.  This never ceases to amaze me!

As I move into my 2nd decade of working with patients, the importance of digestion on our overall health can not be overstated.  Many people who experience gas and bloating chalk it up to ‘beans the musical food’ and assume it’s commonality means normality.  What they don’t realize is that gas is the outcome of a festive event of creepy crawly yeast and bacteria who’s respiration results in our gas.  The more organisms are reproducing, the more gas we’ll experience.  The more gas we’re experiencing, the more inflammation and impaired nutrient assimilation we’ll experience.  The outcome of this can be any number of symptoms.  Some common experiences include:

  • migraine and tension headaches
  • acne and eczema
  • body pain including back & neck pain
  • mood dysregulation – irritability, depression
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • respiratory illness and frequent colds

Long term, organism overgrowth plays a part in many chronic diseases including; fibromyalgia, nutrient deficiencies, auto-immune diseases, cancers, atherosclerosis, chronic pain and many more.

Tending to our micro-flora is something that needs to be done on a routine basis.  In traditional cultures, organisms were consumed every day with produce fresh from the earth and foods preserved with culturing such as sauerkraut, kimchee and chutneys.

Today our foods are “cleaned” to the extend that their sterility impairs us.  Without a continuous source of microbes in our systems, we’re even more vulnerable to infectious organisms.  This in addition to our high sugar and processed food diets results in lots of organism parties, and lots of gas!

Adding beneficial microorganisms to the daily routine is the #1 most important thing you can do to create health in the digestive system as well as throughout the body.

May 22nd, Water Kefir Instruction and Distribution!

My all time favorite health routine is the brewing of water based kefir.  This amazing bubbly probiotic beverage is a great way to ensure adequate micro-flora as well as to address organism imbalance.

Join me at 5:30 for instructions and your own starter for a lifetime supply of digestive health.  I will have a variety of recipes to sample as well as information on why this is an essential addition to you and your families routine.

Stillwater Healing Arts Clinic, 304 Main St. Unit C, Lyons, CO 80540.

Call 303-823-9355 to register.  Space is limited, but this class will repeat when I have enough to share.Image

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