Welcome to the Spectrum Natural Family Healthcare blog. Read the latest blog below or click on the right hand side for other blog articles.
By Dr. Annika
The problem with small bad habits is that they can cause repetitive microtrauma.
I can literally see the question marks coming out of your ears!
Let me tell you what happened to me a couple of years ago: I bought a new car! Which was wonderful and exciting. The first thing I did notice was that the headrest seemed to place my head in a very forward position compared to what I was used to (I often drive along pushing the back of my head into the headrest to improve my posture while driving and getting a little stretching/strengthening done at the same time). However, all the other cars I tried had the same arrangement, and everything else was perfect, so I went ahead and bought it anyway.
I have had regular adjustments since I was 16, so my spine has always been very flexible and relatively easy to adjust. But about 6 months after the new car purchase, my upper back was incredibly stiff and became very hard to adjust. After a few of these incidents, we identified the new car as the culprit.
Solution? A small, square pillow behind my shoulderblades that would just put my body far enough forward for me to be able to sit upright in the car seat. Within a couple of weeks, my spine was back to its happy self.
So often when we think of injuries, we think of the spectacular kind, be it sporting or traffic, for example, with big wrenches or impacts. But for most of us, the injuries we acquire are doing something a little unhelpful a lot of the time. The body adapts itself to the use we put it through, to be more efficient at doing what we ask it to do. But the long-term consequences can be painful.
So what other examples do we have?
- Sitting on your wallet.
- Carrying your handbag on the same shoulder all the time.
- Carrying your child on the same hip all the time – this isn’t good for mum or bub! Babies should ideally be carried on your front or back in a sling, with the knees higher than their hips.
- Looking down as you breastfeed your child. – This is actually extremely important to do. So as often as you can, just set yourself up comfortably with pillows so your neck is supported as you are feeding.
- Feeding baby on the same side every time (when bottle feeding). This is important for the baby! When you breastfeed, Baby gets to turn his/her head each way during each feed, and so activates and stretches muscles and the spine symmetrically. This does not usually happen when a baby is bottle fed.
- Sleeping on your front.
- Resting your head in your hand.
- Sitting with your legs crossed (this tends to always be the same way too).
- Squeezing the phone between your ear and your shoulder.
- Text Neck: Sitting with your head forward as you look at your phone. This one is MASSIVE – especially for our young ones. Restrict screen time for everyone’s sake, and hold the phone up to eye level.
- Not resting your wrists as you type.
- One-sided sports.
- Playing one-sided instruments like the violin.
- Bending over while gardening for hours.
- ….. and so on.
So some of these have obvious solutions, some don’t. Most of us have a dominant side, and playing a sport or an instrument on both sides would be quite a feat indeed. So what you can do is find ways to help your body cope – regular chiropractic and massage are obvious choices. And things like yoga or pilates or T’ai Chi, where the body is stretched and strengthened in different positions and in a symmetrical way (as much as your body allows) are also really helpful. But most of all, break the bad habits and get better ones. A lot of the time, it’s as easy as finding a small pillow to put behind your back.
by star nutritionist Lydia
How often do you think about your gallbladder when deciding what to eat? Do you still even have your gallbladder?
So many adults and even young adults today suffer from gallstones and inflamed gallbladders resulting in the whole thing having to be removed. Even if it is not as drastic as that, gallbladder malfunction can be as subtle as simply feeling nauseous after eating fats or finding it hard to lose weight.
The gallbladder is tucked up inside the liver and is most famous for storing bile and breaking down fats. Read my third installment of guide to good gut health to find out more about the gallbladder.
There is a huge link between having an undernourished gallbladder and a sluggish “metabolism”. If you eat barely anything and still find it hard to lose weight, this may be your achilles heel (so to speak).
So what are the best foods for your gallbladder?
BITTER FOODS! The foods that make your nose crinkle and stimulate saliva in your mouth.
The most common sentence I hear in clinic is “No, I don’t like that food!” and therefore, it is not eaten. Before I go into a list of some of the best bitter foods to start including in your diet, I would like to first challenge you. How often would you voluntarily eat something that you don’t like the taste of?
This is how we are trained as children “Do you like the taste of this?” Based on the answer, this food is then added or removed from the menu.
I am sorry to say, that being driven by your taste buds alone, when it comes to food choices, does not end well! Of course, we all love the taste of sugar, salt and fat! It’s delicious, moreish and available everywhere you go (in excess)! I am not saying don’t enjoy your food. What I am saying is look for other flavours in foods, don’t just expect the flavour to find you! Sit with discomfort of bitter foods and find a different kind of enjoyment from this food. The enjoyment of nourishing your health, stimulating your gallbladder and supporting your detoxification pathways!
Okay now that I have challenged you, here we go with some of my favourite BITTER FOODS:
Watercress – this can be made into a soup or as a salad.
Spices are the …spice of life? Ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cassia, caraway…Wow, I didn’t realise how many spice names started with the letter C. It’s important to cook with these spice and make yummy teas and elixirs!
Grapefruit – remember the grapefruit diet of the early 2000s? Eat a grapefruit every morning and you’ll lose weight?! Well, this is kind of true in that it supports your gallbladder to process food efficiency!
Angostura bitters – didn’t see this one coming did you? If you HAVE to drink over the silly season go for gin and bitters with lime. I would of course prefer you make the bitters yourself (orange peel and some of the above mentioned spices in liquor).
Sunflower Lecithin – contains appropriate levels of the gallbladder food choline. Choline is also found in eggshells, but we tend to avoid eating these in most recipes. Soy lecithin also contains choline and is a common ingredient in most processed foods, even the “healthy” ones. I tend to prefer recommending Sunflower Lecithin for therapeutic use as soy is a high allergen.
I have one last point before you run away, if you are still avoiding fat and seeking low fat foods this is not helping your gallbladder. Bile is formed in response to a need, the more good fats (basically most fats except form trans-fats!) you consume the healthier your gallbladder can be. Some good fat ideas are hemp oil, pine nut oil and toasted sesame oil, these can be used to dress your salads or added to smoothie!
P.S If you have had your gallbladder removed, you must focus on increasing your stomach acid and supporting your liver.
Love Your Guts,
By holistic nutritionist Lydia
Can you relate to waking up in, what feels like the middle of the night, and it seems the whole world is sleeping except you?
Sleep arrives in response to a delicate balance of hormones that shut off your mind and sink you deep into slumber.
Here are 3 ways to ensure your sleep hygiene is healthy and to assist your body in shutting off.
There is no set temperature that is ideal for inducing sleep because we are all individuals and responds to heat and cool differently. That being said, keeping the body under 21 degrees celsius while sleeping may reduce the release of wakeful hormones. To ensure your comfort, avoid certain synthetic fibres that can interact with your body temperature in more extreme ways. This making you hotter or cooler than expected or may even cause you to sweat. When in doubt, stick to pure natural fibres for your bedding. According to sleep expert Nick Littlehales, it is best to use breathable bedding fabrics to help regulate your temperature.
2.Clean, fresh air
Outdoor pollutants are more commonly made talked about, such as fumes from cars and factories. However, indoor air also needs to be cleaned and purified! Indoor pollutants come from dust mites, paint fumes, moulds and dead skin. To help keep the air fresh in your bedroom keep windows and doors open throughout the day. Ensure you regularly vacuum under your bed and dust shelves. To clean the air of indoor paint fumes you can decorate your room with air-purifying plants like the succulent Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Dracaena. These are indoor plants that require minimal care and are attractive to the eye.
3.Light and Dark of sleep
Make sure your bedroom is blackout dark and reduce your late night exposure to artificial light to ensure you stay asleep undisturbed. Exposure to changes in light and dark have direct impact on your sleep. In order to fall asleep and stay asleep your body releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is released in response to dark lighting. Whereas bright lighting (natural or artificial) stimulates your body to produce and increase your levels of the wakeful hormone serotonin. It is a good idea to switch to candlelight 90 minutes before bed and keep you screens (TVs, phones and laptops) out of the bedroom. Keeping this in mind it is important to then expose yourself to natural sunlight first thing in the morning to help wake you up and for your body to release serotonin.