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I survived my first Whole 30!

Most helpful experience with a medical professional Ive ever had. I felt heard about my pain and my treatment plan was actually personalized just for me.  So glad I came to Dr. B.PNG

The 30 days are over! Find out what I learned below!

I’ve never actually done the Whole 30 program before. I had done other 21 day “cleanses” (Standard Process 21 Day Cleanse and the Lurong Challenge), but after doing the Whole 30, I realized none of those programs actually 100% eliminated added sugars. Sugar, or as the Whole 30 calls it, your Sugar Dragon, is one of my biggest problems. After reading labels again and being super diligent, I realized one of the reasons why I was addicted; it’s in EVERYTHING! Ketchup, bacon, bread, pasta sauce, sriracha, bbq sauce, almond milk, and more. No wonder I felt addicted to sugar. I was getting a dose of it with everything I ate and drank, causing me to want sugar throughout my entire day. I’m not saying I ate donuts for breakfast, my biggest issues was wanting something sweet after lunch and dinner, during stressful situations, when I felt lonely, when I wanted to feel good, etc. Sugar was my go to comfort and reward treat.

Another difference with the Whole 30 that gave me a light bulb moment was that you aren’t supposed to “recreate desserts”. No other program mentioned this, or I ignored it, but I would just make compliant desserts with gluten free flours and coconut sugar/maple syrup, because it was “compliant”. After reading the Whole 30 book, I realized that recreating compliant desserts wouldn’t actually break my dessert habit, and I’d eventually let those desserts back in after the program ended. Will I never have a dessert again? Fat chance! But, I will once again be more mindful about my choices.

  • More energy—less mid-afternoon crashes

  • Better sleep—waking more rested, and before my alarm

  • Tiger blood—”Days 16-27: Tiger Blood. Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about. You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome.”—YEP!

  • Clearer complexion-less redness and puffiness in my face

  • No bloating—clothes fitting better in my waist

  • Minimal cravings—still an issues with stressful times, but less strong than before and they typically only last 3-5 minutes, then the feeling has passed

  • Saved $—eating veggies and fruits and clean meats is much cheaper than buying boxed/processed foods. No daily lattes from the coffee shops also saved $

  • Reset unhealthy habits—Over the past 1.5 years, I slowly let EVERYTHING back into my diet (I was previously gluten and dairy free). I wanted to celebrate and indulge all the time and got really off track. My thyroid levels went haywire and hopefully at my next blood draw, things will have normalized. I feel like I’ve “tamed” my sugar dragon for now and am excited to keep eating clean again.



Sugar and Pain

Have you heard all of the news about sugar lately?  Some sources are even saying that sugar is far more harmful to our bodies than fat!   Whether you are in chronic or acute pain, sugar may play an important role in the inflammatory process, which may be contributing to your persistent symptoms.  Read on to find out more!

Excess sugar in the blood leads to a pathological process, called glycation. Glycation is the process of sugar molecules adhering to fascial proteins, causing stiffness and thickening (Cameron, 2014).  Robert Lustig, MD has become an anti-sugar advocate, exposing just how toxic sugar is.  See his presentation, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth" here.  Dr. Lustig has published several peer reviewed research articles regarding sugar and its connection to degenerative diseases.  Throughout his research, Dr. Lustig has concluded that about 75% of all diseases in America are in fact, preventable.  UCLA conducted a study on the impacts of fructose and high fructose corn syrup on the brain.   The professor of neurosurgery concluded that, "eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information" (Schmidt, 2012).  Based on the research study, he believes that "eating too much fructose could block insulin's ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions". 

Dr. Teitelbaum has written many books on chronic pain and is currently a medical director at a fibromyalgia center.  He notes that, “Sugar aggravates low blood sugar and adrenal problems, yeast (Candida) overgrowth, and nutritional deficiencies that worsen fibromyalgia,”.  He has seen patients experience a decrease in their pain, a sharper memory and more energy after coming off of sugar in as little as 10 days.

The Oxford Journal of Rheumatology performed a 2 year study, and found that 45% of patients had an increase in symptoms after consuming sweets and refined sugar.

Not only does sugar cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, release of cytokines (inflammatory messengers), and contributes to your risks of developing diabetes, it also attacks cells and tissues in the body.  The sugar and inflammation/chronic pain connection has been researched more and more over the past several years.  Many medical providers are advising all patients to reduce their sugar intake, now more than ever before.  White flour and other simple carbohydrates break down into sugar, so it is essential to eliminate/reduce actual sugar, along with white flour.  Chronic low grade inflammation, greatly contributes to atherosclerosis, strokes, memory loss, and more scary health conditions.

Common chronic conditions negatively affected by sugar:

  • fibromyalgia
  • arthritis
  • autoimmune conditions
  • leaky gut
  • adrenal fatigue
  • strokes
  • peripheral artery disease
  • irritable bowel disease (IBD)
  • arthritic conditions
  • colon cancer
  • diabetes
  • cataracts
  • poor memory
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis

As you can see, sugar is not only costly to the human body, but also on the economy.  An estimated 40% of healthcare costs are due to excessive sugar intake (and this is probably a low estimate).  When you make the commitment to quit sugar for good, you will realize just how sweet today's foods are!  Sugar is addictive, don't get me wrong, but the more we consume, the more we crave it, like a drug.  There are several resources online that can help you to wean yourself off of sugar, and structured programs and books, such as the "21 Day Sugar Detox".  I remember seeing a baking tip years ago, that you could half the amount of sugar in any recipe and not notice a difference.  Since I've gone Paleo, I use honey or coconut sugar in recipes, but they usually only call for a few tablespoons, not multiple cups of refined white sugar!  After eliminating sugar and you taste sweet things that you used to crave constantly, you will realize just how sweet and sugar laden they were.

Consider going cold-turkey, signing up for a monthly sugar detox, or start tracking your daily meals, just to see how much sugar you are consuming!  Many products contain sugar, that you might not realize, such as: ketchup, salad dressings, yogurt, dried/dehydrated fruit, sauces, and more. 

If your pain is not going away with over the counter products or routine care, consider eliminating sugar from your diet!  Chiropractic and other holistic forms of healthcare can help to resolve musculoskeletal conditions with a proper assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan, but sugar may be hindering your progress and overall health and well being.  Remember, things labeled as "sugar free", are not necessarily better alternatives, if they contain harmful artificial sweeteners; always check the label and choose minimally processed foods.




Do you have a Baker's Hump?

Are you a professional baker, chef or even a tattoo artist? Constantly looking down to chop or knead away?  You may start to develop, or already have, what is known as Dowager's Hump, or a "Baker's Hump", as it is sometimes known in the culinary industry.  Standing all day in a slouched posture can wreak havoc on your spine. 

A lot of recent news articles discuss the dangers of sitting at a desk all day and how detrimental it can be to one's health.  But, standing on your feet all day in a slouched posture, can be just as harmful, causing a myriad of acute and chronic symptoms.  I've also noticed similar conditions in tattoo artists.  While, one's job may require you to be in such a poor posture for long hours day in and day out, the long-term effects can be extremely frustrating. Read through the tips below and schedule an evaluation with a chiropractor today!

What Can You Do?

  • sit to chop/prepare foods if possible
  • raise/lower table heights so you don't have to bend or reach up; elbows relaxed at your sides is an ideal height to chop at
  • take regular stretching micro breaks before, during and after work
  • set a timer to take breaks if standing/sitting too long, every 10, 20 or 30 minutes
  • add a rubber floor mat to your work station; prolonged standing on hard/concrete surfaces can aggravate your symptoms and increase pain
  • wear supportive/comfortable shoes
  • stay hydrated; dehydrated muscles cause more pain and are more prone to injury
  • use a foot stool to alternate bending one leg as needed
  • make sure you square up your hips/shoulders when lifting heavy items; half kneel instead of squatting if necessary (the half kneeling position can also be helpful when plating items, etc.)
  • Get adjusted by a chiropractor as needed!
  • Strengthen back and gluteal muscles on a regular basis to help to counteract constant flexed/hunched posture

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My First Paleo Thanksgiving

After being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition last year, this was my first gluten/dairy/soy/corn/peanut free Thanksgiving!  What that means? No boxed stuffing, canned cranberry, etc.  Everything will be made from scratch, and I think it will be even better tasting!

I got the smallest organic turkey I could find and planned ahead and found recipes beforehand.  My biggest fear was all of the extra time it would take to prepare freshly made fixings, but isn't that what the holidays are about? Taking the extra time to make a good tasting, healthy meal?  Things made from scratch always taste better, don't they? And they didn't take that long to prepare either!

The biggest changes were dairy free green bean casserole with freshly fried onions, homemade stuffing with gluten free bread, dairy/gluten/soy free pumpkin and apple pies, yams/mashed potatoes with ghee and coconut milk.  We'll see if my guests can taste the difference! 

Here's what I made! (Everything was so delicious, I forgot to take a picture of the fresh green bean casserole!).  Making the fresh mushroom soup with coconut milk was actually super quick and easy!

Freshly fried onions in coconut oil, homemade mushroom soup, gluten free homemade stuffing, organic turkey!

Freshly fried onions in coconut oil, homemade mushroom soup, gluten free homemade stuffing, organic turkey!

This is the one item that I purchased! A vegan apple pie from New Cascadia gluten free bakery in Portland!

This is the one item that I purchased! A vegan apple pie from New Cascadia gluten free bakery in Portland!

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Fresh onions fried in coconut oil!

Fresh onions fried in coconut oil!

Crispy and delicious!

Crispy and delicious!



Why I'm Still Eating Meat

The latest hot topic in the news is about meat consumption being linked to an increase risk of developing colorectal cancer.  If you would've asked me a few years ago, I probably would have agreed with that.  I became a pescatarian a few years ago, and eliminated all meat from my diet.  I thought I was doing the right thing for my health.  I was consuming large amounts of lentils, legumes and soy products to try to get enough protein in my diet.  But, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, my diet had to change.  The amount of soy I was eating was actually making my condition worse, and the lentils/legumes were making my already weakened and inflammed digestive system work even harder.  There is a huge difference in meat products out there.  "Eating clean" has become a popular phrase in the nutrition world.  Eating meat, and eating clean meat, are 2 different things.  Where your food comes from matters; buy cheap, get cheap.

  • The study wasn't performed specifically on humans, nor did it look at the consumption of vegetables with the protein.  It did not look at what people eat with their meat (is it french fries and soda, is it cheap bacon on an Egg McMuffin? Or vegetables and healthy carbs and fats?)
  • "the association of CRC risk with processed red meat may be stronger than that with fresh red meat" (Santarelli, et al., 2008)
  • The WHO (World Health Organization), released in a statement the other day that, "Processed meat refers to meat that has been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other processes to enhance flavour or improve preservation" (AKA: adding unhealthy, unnatural flavors and chemicals to give "meat" a certain flavor.  This can mean adding gluten, loads of salt, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, nitrates, nitrites etc.)
  • Here's a link to a full text study that was used in the recent published statement from the WHO: Processed meat and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic and experimental evidence

Previous news also stated: (which have been proven false):

  • to reduce your cholesterol intake and take a statin
  • choose low fat products (remember Snack Wells!?) (Low fat and low carb diets have been proven not to be effective long term)
  • don't eat egg yolks; reduce cholesterol
  • eat more whole grains; 6-11 servings per day of bread, cereal, pasta, rice (this is what the current food pyramid suggests!)

What's wrong with processed meats:

  • nitrates
  • curing
  • added sugar
  • smoked flavor
  • high temperature smoking techniques
  • nitrates/nitrites
  • soy/gluten/corn are often added to processed meats (those are bad!)
  • when you eat meat, you're more likely to eat cheese, french fries, drink beer/soda, and have no veggies included with your meal, and no, ketchup doesn't count as a vegetable

What I eat for protein:

  • Clean Meat!
  • uncured, no sugar added organic bacon
  • no nitrates or nitrites
  • organic hormone free chicken
  • organic grass fed beef
  • nothing with gluten/dairy/corn/soy
  • organic, cage free brown eggs
  • wild caught salmon/shrimp
  • a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, lactose free ghee, and healthy fats

I'm finally getting enough protein into my diet, I feel better, and my autoimmune condition is under control, with the food I eat.

What you choose to put into your body can have countless effects.  If you prefer to eat junk food and low nutritional value foods, you can expect some risks to come along with that type of lifestyle.  I choose to eat a relatively clean diet, as mentioned above.  My autoimmune condition is under control, I have tons of energy and am not on any medications.  Food can be used as medicine!  Always check the ingredients and make smart choices as much as possible.  Do your research and question where your food is coming from.


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Cold and Flu Season: Boosting Your Immunity Naturally

In today's society we are used to going to the doctor only when we are sick (sick care), instead, we need to focus on preventative care. Do you want to mask symptoms or get the underlying problem fixed? Treating problems before they surface is more effective and cheaper. Boost your immune system year round with supplementation and chiropractic care to minimize sickness.  Eating healthy year round can help you stay a few steps ahead of illness.

Food as medicine

  • Onion: Red/Yellow; contain flavonols and quercetin, powerful antioxidants that help to decrease histamine release. Sulfur found in onions and garlic have anti-inflammatory properties which help to ease aches, pains and congestion caused by the cold/flu.
  • Garlic: Contains allicin, an antioxidant with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal capabilities. Helps to shorten and reduce cold symptoms. Allicin becomes active after being chopped/minced/crushed and is destroyed at high temperatures, so try to sprinkle freshly chopped garlic in soups, on pizza/pasta, etc. Allow garlic to "sit" for 10 minutes before ingesting to allow immune-boosting properties to become activated.
  • Echinacea: Fights inflammation, bacterial/viral infections; boosts the immune and lymphatic systems by stimulating white blood cells. It can help to reduce the duration of a cold by several days when taken at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Zinc lozenges: Decrease cold duration and helps to attack nose and throat viruses while boosting overall immunity. Take at the first sign of a cold for best results.
  • Goldenseal: Contains the anti-fungal phytochemical, Beribine, which fights infection/inflammation and helps to strengthen the immune system. It can be found in combination with Echinacea; alcohol-free varieties are best. (Note: not to be taken for extended periods of time; take as directed by your healthcare provider.)
  • Local honey: Boosts immunity by fighting viruses/bacteria. "In a Penn State University College of Medicine study, researchers found honey to be more effective than dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) at reducing the frequency and severity of nighttime coughing" (Lissandrello, 2008). (Note: not for children under 12 months old.)
  • Ginger: Contains anti-inflammatory phenols, gingerols and shogaols to help relieve cold/flu aches. Ginger also helps to decrease fever, eliminate toxins and allows the body to sweat, without the harsh side effects of ibuprofen. Use in teas/meals; fresh is best.
  • Cayenne: Well known to help with joint pain, it also contains antiseptic properties to ease sore throats and decrease congestion by thinning mucus. (Note: not for nursing mothers or children under two years old.)
  • Astragalus: (Herb) promotes white blood cell production to fight infection.
  • Avoid sugar: Suppresses our immune systems and feeds bacteria.
  • Kiwi: High in vitamin C and can reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory infections.
  • Siberian ginseng: A known adaptogen, allowing the body to restore balance and helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • Probiotics: Healthy bacteria for vital for our bodies; suggested dosage is 3-5 billion live organisms daily. (Yogurt only contains 100-200 million organisms and less effective strains, along with excessive amounts of sugar and additives).

Year-round health

Minimizing and eliminating sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, dairy products, preservatives/artificial chemicals will help to decrease stress placed on our bodies. Eating more vegetables, fruits, and incorporating different vitamins/herbs/minerals/spices into your daily lives for overall health is essential. Seeing your chiropractor regularly to make sure your nervous system is functioning optimally is also important for overall wellness. Chiropractic adjustments help to reduce dysfunction and allow your body to heal itself.

Keeping your immune system running at its best will help to prevent sickness. Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs on a daily basis, not only when you are sick, will help with overall health. Taking a variety of herbs and vitamins at the first sign of sickness is important to help decrease the intensity and duration of colds. Getting sick a few times a year doesn't have to be the norm; think about boosting your immune system year round to minimize the not so inevitable common cold.

Kitchen Prescriptions Lissandrello, Maria Source:Vegetarian Times, Nov/Dec2008, Issue 363, p78-83, 6p
Prescription for nutritional healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC

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