Tag Archives: Happiness

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Simplify Your Family’s Health

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Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
– Oscar Wilde

Minimalism can provide many benefits to your life, be it less stress, more money or more time. What many people don’t realize is that it also applies to your family’s health and well-being. We are often told we couldn’t possibly figure out how to improve our health on our own, that it is a very complicated process. The truth is – it isnt.

If you follow these simple yet essentials tips your family’s health will improve, without leaving you overwhelmed (or broke!).

Move your body in a way you enjoy.

Traditional “exercise” is not mandatory. Sure, you can join a gym if you’d like but it’s not necessary – and the downside is your children can’t exercise with you. So, instead – why not walk more?

It’s that simple. Move your body way more than you currently are and your health will improve. Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships –  it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your everyday life. Plus, the whole family can be involved – even the dog!

The benefits of walking are endless – so let’s just name a few: it helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease (like high blood pressure and diabetes), it also improves mood and mobility. The best part about these benefits is that it doesn’t take much time from your day to achieve them. Thirty minutes a day is where we see start to see great health benefits.

Besides these health benefits – there’s also quality and uninterrupted time as a family: Being outdoors and breathing fresh air promotes a sense of calmness that can lead to bonding time and better conversations. In addition, you’re leading by example -setting a great example by modeling good healthy exercise habits that can reap future benefits in a child’s attitude towards exercise and fitness.

If walking isn’t your thing – do something else. Hiking, pillow fights, dancing to music, bike rides, jumping on the bed, whatever your kids enjoy – anything to get your family moving.

Eat Clean

This one truly is simple – research has proven what matters most: make sure your diet consists mostly of real, minimally processed foods.

To successfully implement this into your life remember we often eat what’s convenient, and if you buy it and keep it in the house, you’ll eat it – so don’t buy it in the first place. The following are some basic ground rules to follow when eating clean. Eat more organic and/or local fruits and vegetables, and remember the fresher the food, the more potent the nutrients. Drink more pure filtered water (Divide your weight by 2, aim to drink that number in ounces). Eat a handful of raw nuts/seeds everyday. When it comes to meat and dairy – choose products where animals live as close to their natural state as possible -free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, raw milk etc.). Lower your intake of inflammatory/mucus producing foods (dairy, sugar, wheat) and instead aim to eat more raw foods that contain powerful enzymes and phytonutrients (try juicing).

You can even involve your children by letting them help make a green smoothie; this can be any combination of several greens, avocado, coconut oil, and a little fruit. They deliver great nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables with the fruit added to sweeten and lessen any bitterness from the chard, kale and spinach. They taste great and your children will learn about new foods and become more comfortable in the kitchen. Just remember the 3 main ingredients should be plants, fat, and protein (not all fruit/sugar).

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives—and yet it is the one with the most immediate power to improve our lives in every waking moment. Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.

When it comes to bedtimes – the earlier is truly the better. Now, I know early bedtimes may not be possible with some families’ schedules, which is totally understandable. But for those who can do it – I strongly urge you to try.

Research consistently shows that putting kids to bed early is beneficial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Not only do kids tend to sleep more when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a glass of wine in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown-up movie for once? It’s really quite lovely.

In addition- sleep that happens earlier in the night tends to be more restorative than sleep that takes place later at night and in the early morning. So putting your kid to bed early may ensure that a higher proportion of her sleep is the extra-restful kind. And well-rested kids behave quite differently than sleep-deprived kids.

When kids (and adults) are sleep-deprived, their bodies release hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which give them a second wind at bedtime and also make it harder for them go back to sleep early in the morning.

If sleep is an issue it’s worth noting – if you follow the other tips we mention here (walking more, eating cleaner, and getting adjusted) – your sleep will most definitely improve.

Remove Interference

Chiropractic care can literally change your family’s life, and enable you to live a pain-free life full of energy and vitality. That’s because chiropractic adjustments help reduce or eliminate pressure on your nerves—the same ones responsible for your everyday bodily functions. Chiropractic will help eliminate pain and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and restore normal balance and nerve flow to all your organs, giving you the energy, drive and peace of mind to go out there and live life the way it was meant to be lived.

Your child’s spine is affected by a multitude of things: starting with birth, leading to crawling/walking and slips and falls, to backpacks, texting, and computers as they grow older. If statistics are what motivates you – consider this – in the US alone, over 200,000 children are taken to hospital each year to have playground injuries assessed. Other likely times that our children will become misaligned include learning to ride a bike, sporting activities or hobbies, and minor or major car accidents.

The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. By removing the interference to the nerves, many of these conditions can improve and/or resolve naturally – without drugs or surgery. Regular chiropractic check ups are a key component in growing healthy kids.

Focus on the lifestyle, not the goals.

Strive to make eating well and moving your body in an enjoyable way part of your family’s daily life. Enjoy the journey and do these things for the right reasons – and you’ll improve your health, fitness and quality of life.

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How to Avoid Chronic Inflammation

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Our lifestyle is so far off track – particularly from a dietary perspective -that nearly all people today are living in a state of unhealthy, chronic inflammation. It’s no wonder that we’re seeing ever-increasing rates of inflammatory related conditions and diseases. Chronic inflammation is an issue because it results in putting our body into a reactive mode sustained over time that results in destructive physiology. In other words, chronic inflammation could be described as being sick all the time, throughout the body.

The good news is that it’s almost always caused by our lifestyle choices. There are a number of choices that we can make (or not make) that will result in an inflammatory response within the body.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

  • Processed Vegetable Oils: These are some of the most chemically altered foods in our diets, yet they get promoted as healthy. They cause disease, and they’re in everything (think soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, etc)
  • Grains: Bread, cereals, pasta, pizza, bagels, crackers – aka the foods most people eat on a daily basis.
  • Sugars (and foods that act like sugar): Our bodies are not meant to break down as much sugar as we consume. (think bread, cereals, pasta, pizza, bagels, crackers – got it?)

How Our Lifestyle Contributes To Inflammation

Stress is also a major contributor to chronic inflammation for many people; stress results in a cascade of metabolic responses within the body, lead by cortisolthe chief stress hormone. Stress creates a perfect storm of disease-producing reactions, lead by an inflammatory response – causing increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood fats, insulin resistance, along with decreased immune function, digestion, reproductive hormones, and serotonin.

There are times when the body’s stress response is appropriate or healthy; for example, a normal or healthy stress response occurs when we stress our bodies during exercise, or get chased by a mountain lion; the body is designed to endure or cope with these relatively brief periods of stress. It becomes inappropriate or unhealthy when the stress is induced from unnatural things (bad foods, stress from bad relationships, bad jobs, lack of sleep, etc.), and/or when stress occurs over sustained periods of time (i.e. long-term stress from our hectic, over-scheduled, digitally demanding, sedentary, debt-laden, traffic-stuck lives).

How To Avoid Chronic Inflammation

  • Significantly reduce your intake of processed foods. By avoiding processed foods, you get extreme benefits because you avoid processed vegetable oils, sugar, and flour, ALL of which promote inflammation in the body (along with directly or indirectly causing obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune, and dementia disorders).
  • Stop eating sugar and foods that act like sugar
  • Stop eating grains (grains present a triple threat – in addition to promoting inflammation, grains promote high insulin levels and intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome, which leads to a whole host of conditions)
  • Eat lots of organic plant foods (aim for more vegetables than fruit each day)
  • Eat pastured animal proteins (not feedlot, grain-fed meats)
  • Eat healthy fats – this includes coconut oil, raw nuts, avocado, butter from pastured cows, meat from pastured animals, wild-caught fish.
  • Exercise regularly and to the point of exertion. BUT when going for exertion, short-interval, high intensity is what you’re after, not sustained endurance exercise – meaning functional training type of exercise such as CrossFit or hour-long Bootcamp classes are what’s recommended, not training for marathons, or going to the gym for 90 minute sessions on a treadmill or bike.
  • Supplement with a high-quality omega-3 fish oil which helps to balance the critical omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the body (people today get too much omega-6 from vegetable oils, grains, and grain fed animals; and disruption in the omega-6:omega-3 ratio leads to inflammation, disease, etc.).

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5 Tips For Building Healthy, Happy Children

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We have the power to determine how healthy we are by the choices we make with our bodies. Our bodies are equipped with an incredible ability to go towards health when they’re supplied with the right building materials. For optimal health, children should eat right, move more, and enjoy life to the fullest (which happens to be the same advice for us adults).

The idea behind these five daily strategies are to build healthier kids, because as we know healthier kids are happier kids, and happier kids are more successful.

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6 Tips For Establishing a Health Routine

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healthy routine

The key to maintaining optimal health is follow through. Start with something small like stretching each morning. And then follow through. If you succeed at an easy one, it will actually strengthen your willpower, thereby improving your ability to succeed at the next, more difficult one.

Once you have a series of successes under your belt, you will be better able to tackle the really tough ones, like changing your diet or working out. Here are 6 tips to get you started on creating a health routine that works for you:

1. Make a List, Check It Twice. List making is a good organizational strategy. Make a list as part of your daily health routine the night before. When you make a list of the things you’ll do the next day, such as going to the gym, attending that meeting, picking up vegetables for dinner in the evening, you’ll be clear about at least 80 percent of your day. Knowing what to expect can help you hit the ground running when the sun comes up.

2. Do The Most Important Thing First. Early in the morning (after your coffee of course), you’re likely to have the most energy, and the fewest distractions. Start your day by focusing without interruption on the most important or challenging task you can accomplish that day.

3. Set Goals and Limits. If goals are excessively restrictive or vague, you will be less likely to rise to the challenge. Establish clear nutrition and health goals (dessert two times a week; a half-hour walk five times a week, etc.). Consistency is key to success with anything in life but especially when it comes to your health. Keep track of the foods you eat each day for free with My Fitness Pal.

4. Stick to Your Plan. It’s important to have a habitual routine – and to follow through with it – so you can streamline your schedule. Do the same things in the same order at the same time each day. Try out a routine for a few days to see what works best for you. Keep up with your workouts and chiropractic adjustments, and develop a consistent routine for healthy eating. Once you experience how great your body is designed to feel and function – you will feel sluggish and unsettled if you start missing your adjustments, workouts or eating unhealthy – which in itself is a strong incentive to get back on track.

5. Focus Your Positive Energy. One great way to start your new morning routine is by taking a few quiet moments after you wake up to focus your positive energy for the day. You can achieve this through meditation, thinking positive thoughts, doing affirmations, or practicing visualization exercises. Studies have shown that regular meditation may lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help relieve stress and fatigue.

6. Stop worrying. “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” You can’t fully appreciate today if you worry too much about tomorrow. Realize that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. And since worry has never accomplished anything for anybody, redirect your mental energy elsewhere.

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The Importance of Play

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the importance of playExperts have long studied the benefits of play for children (allows them to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength). Play is important to healthy brain and social development. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them. In his book Play, author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.”

It’s easy to justify playtime for kids, its a normal activity for them – but what about us? The truth is that we -humans- are in fact the most neotenous species on the planet. Neoteny refers to the retention of immature qualities into adulthood. As in, humans retain the ability to imagine and play, and this gives us an evolutionary advantage in how flexible and adaptable we are. Bottom line meaning: we are uniquely designed to play throughout our entire lifetimes.

Unfortunately in our hurried lifestyle, playing can be seen as an indulgence – and instead this constant rushing around can be a source of constant stress and anxiety for some and can even contribute to depression for others. Play is crucial to our mental creativity, health and happiness. It lifts stress from us, refreshes us and recharges us. It restores our optimism. It renews our ability to accomplish our work. Plus, there is evidence that it does even more; play appears to allow our brains to exercise their very flexibility, to maintain and even perhaps renew the neural connections that embody our human potential to adapt and expand, evolve.

Play also allows us to be present in the moment – something that is so rare these days – that is the space of play, that lightness of being. When we embrace play, we claim a better quality of life for ourselves. We decrease stress. We connect better with those around us. We get out more and get more out of what we do. We find more fun and maybe even meaning. It’s important to remember that play can be almost anything – art, books, movies, music, comedy, daydreaming, sports, storytelling, you name it.

Any time you think play is a waste, remember that it offers some serious benefits for both you and your family. As Brown says in his book, “Play is the purest expression of love.”

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