Let’s Give Our Children the Health Advantage

As parents, we always want the best for our children and want to give them a head start in life.  The one area that would have the most significant effect on performance is also the area that is the most neglected.  We, as a society, greatly neglect proper nutrition for our children.  We feed our children poor nutrition, introduce the wrong foods too early, put a strong emphasis on poor quality foods and then expect our children to develop into these healthy, intelligent, successful, leaders of the future. We have the opportunity to make changes and truly give our children the health advantage by focusing on feeding our children high-quality nutritious foods that will properly nourish their bodies, feed their brains and improve performance in all areas of their lives. Our bodies are intelligent.  Our bodies are able to turn the foods we eat into every cell, tissue and organ that make up our body. Everything we eat literally nourishes every cell in our body.  We need to give our children’s bodies the proper building blocks to build a solid foundation of health.  This involves feeding our children the right foods.  This is the best way to prevent disease and nurture health. Since the beginning of human existence, our bodies have been hardwired to digest “œreal” foods in their natural state.  The further our foods are from being natural, the more difficult it is for our bodies to break them down and turn them into useful building blocks.  Therefore, if we want to build a healthy body, we need to avoid feeding our children processed, refined foods.  Refined foods...

10 Rules For Making A Healthy Smoothie

10 Rules For Making A Healthy Smoothie I love making smoothies for friends and family. They are a delicious way to reach our daily quota of fruit and vegetables. They also make a wonderfully refreshing drink for a hot summer afternoon and are a great way to sneak in some dark leafy greens into that picky 2 year old eater. However, not all smoothies are created equal. Some are chock full of unnecessary added sugars. Others are nothing more than a big glass of carbohydrates, with no protein or fat to help keep you feeling full, and very little fiber to slow down the digestion of the fruit sugars. So how do you know if the smoothies you drink are healthy? Here are 10 rules for making a healthy smoothie. 1. Use a healthy liquid base Smoothies are often made with fruit juice as the liquid base. However, juice contains a huge amount of sugar with none of the fiber found in whole fruit. Smoothies purchased from a grocery store or cafe are generally made with fruit juice. It is therefore far better to make them at home using one of the following liquid bases: Water Ice – makes a thicker smoothie Kefir – adds probiotics for gut health and a nice creamy texture Yogurt – adds a creamy texture Greek yogurt – adds protein Unsweetened almond milk Unsweetened coconut water Unsweetened soy milk 2. Avoid at-home smoothie kits Many grocery stores sell frozen ‘smoothie kits’. They usually consist of cut fruit, corn starch, gums, as well as added sugars or fruit concentrates. Yes they do save about 5 minutes of smoothie-making time. But they also increase the already high-sugar content of a...

A Guide To Healthy Snacking

  Snacking is becoming increasingly popular. It is often taken as an opportunity to consume empty calories from processed foods full of ‘bad’ fats and added sugars. In fact, many experts attribute the current obesity epidemic, at least in part, to our snacking habits. With the right guidance, however, snacking can be a great way to keep your energy levels up, your hunger down, and ensure that you meet your daily nutrient needs. Snacks allow you to spread your daily calorie allowance throughout the day, thereby helping to maintain blood sugar levels. You just have to make sure you are snacking correctly. Follow these 5 rules to ensure that you are maximizing your snacking potential. 1. Plan I know firsthand what happens when you have a busy day with no food plan. It results in desperate and impulsive food decisions, often from limited and unhealthy options. That is why it is so important to plan your snacks. At home, keep plenty of snack options prepared and easily accessible. If you are going out, carry some healthy snacks with you. If you need some ideas, there are 20 nutritious snack ideas at the bottom of this post. 2. Add Protein While most people head for carbohydrates when they want a snack (think, crackers, chips, and cookies), protein is a far better option. Protein-rich snacks are an excellent way to keep you feeling full for longer. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, and cheese are all foods that contain plenty of high-quality protein. By incorporating these into your snacks, you can help slow down the movement of food out of your stomach. The result is that you will feel satisfied for longer....

Holiday Stress Relivers

Holiday Stress Relivers Stress is neither good nor bad, it just is.   The stress we put on our bones allows them to remain strong. Emotional stress allows us to learn adaptive strategies.  Often it is our attitudes and ability to “let go” that mitigate any resulting harmful effects. When we are stressed it causes our cortisol or adrenaline to rise.  This in turns causes vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood system so that all the blood on the “outside” of our bodies goes to the deep places such as the survival part of the brain, the heart and lungs, and the quads and gluts so we can run from danger.  In turn, the reduced blood flow to the periphery causes a myriad of symptoms including short term memory loss, alopecia or loss of hair, headaches, blurred vision, temperature regulation problems, and digestive problems; just to name a few. Stress also causes insomnia as we are not supposed to sleep through danger.  Eventually we wear out and end up with depression, hypoglycemia, and lack of motivation.  So, how to minimize the effects of stress? Here are some “simple” things you can do: Physically you must keep your sugar levels stable.  This means eat protein every 3-4 hours and have plenty of vegetables.   Stay hydrated so your blood vessels are relaxed. Walk it off whenever you start to feel overwhelmed; step away from the stress and go outside.   There are therapists that have couples wear pulse meters and when their heart rate gets over 100 beats per minute (bpm) in some upsetting situation they terminate the session and have people “walk it off.”  The reason for this is that when your heart rate is over 100...

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction Why You Don’t Want To Suppress Your Next Cold or Flu? It’s likely that you’ll get a cold or flu this year at some point. How you choose to deal with it may actually be more important for your long-term health than you realize. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I think about these acute illnesses a little differently than you’re used to and I find it’s helpful for my patients to understand my thought process. Hopefully this will help you take a new perspective on this year’s cold or flu. The body is smart. This is the principle from which I operate. When we get acutely ill, often this is the body’s attempt to get rid of something harmful. The mucous produced in a respiratory infection helps to clear out infectious organisms (if we let it). When we have food poisoning, diarrhea helps to clear out the organism. When we sweat during a fever, we decrease our inflammation. Getting an occasional acute illness and then clearing it in a short period of time tells us that the immune system is capable of responding and is doing its job. When I have patients who do not get acutely ill at all for several years, I begin to be concerned that they may not be releasing things from their body and may be building up inflammatory toxins, which can lead to more chronic illness. I also wonder if the immune system is working effectively in these patients, which you need it to do in order to prevent long term issues like cancer. Don’t get...

Naturopathic Doctors 101

Naturopathic Doctors 101 “You’re a Na-tur-ro…what?”  This is not an uncommon phase to be heard by a Naturopathic Doctor, even here in New Hampshire where there is a good concentration of Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). Even patients of NDs are often unaware of the plethora of therapies and services NDs are trained in.  Naturopathic Doctors attend one of 5 accredited universities in the United States.  These doctorate level programs are a minimum of 4 years long with a competitive option for another 1-3 years of residency. Naturopathic medical school curriculum contains the same basic sciences of conventional medical school (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, etc…) as well as additional classes in naturopathic-specific therapies.  Examples of these Naturopathic-specific therapies include: nutritional therapies, counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and physical medicine.  This education prepares graduates of accredited programs to enter the medical profession as primary care physicians after passing the Naturopathic licensing board exams (NPLEX). There are 17 states (and counting) that provide licensure for NDs currently in the United States.  Each of those states governs a different scope of practice for NDs practicing within their state lines.  For example, the state of New Hampshire has a rather comprehensive scope of practice. NDs in NH are licensed medical providers with prescribing rights for the majority of common pharmaceuticals and have coverage by most insurances in the state. So how does a Naturopathic Doctor practice? Naturopathic doctors follow the same general model as Medical doctors, with extra assessments and therapies incorporated.  The process looks something like this: Obtain a detailed history of the patient’s current and past medical issues. Perform appropriate physical exam to aid in diagnosis Order any necessary labs or...