Get Healthier by Reducing the Three Ts

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When we think about getting healthy, we tend to focus on what we should add to our diet, or our routine. We think about exercising more, eating more fruits and vegetables. But what about those things that we should eliminate?

 

I’m sure you’ve heard of addition by subtraction, and that’s really the gist of this article. And the thing we’re focusing on subtracting from our lives is stress, but not just the emotional stress. All stress!

 

Our modern world is full of comfort and convenience for most. Unfortunately, it’s also very toxic. From the thousands of harmful chemicals that are all around us, to the physical stress our bodies absorb, the key to being healthy in 2018 is reducing as much emotional, chemical, and physical stress as you can.

 

Reducing Negative Thoughts

 

When most of us think about stress, this is the type of stress that comes to mind – rush-hour traffic, a boss that takes pleasure in our misery, worries and concerns about the future, personal relationships that aren’t working, etc.

 

Our stress response is meant to be used for emergencies, as in fight or flight. Let’s say you’re hiking, and you spot a grizzly bear. Oh, isn’t he cute, you think, as you reach for your phone and walk closer. Except the grizzly doesn’t want to be photographed and begins chasing you. Now that’s an appropriate reason for stress.

 

It’s also short-term stress. Once the threat subsides, so does the elevated stress response. What isn’t normal is remaining in this elevated state when there’s no reason to. That’s called chronic stress. And chronic stress really takes a toll on your nervous system, thereby increasing your ability to become ill or diseased.

 

The first step is recognizing when you’re in this state of stress, and then doing something to change it. Because you cannot control rush-hour traffic. And you certainly can’t control the actions of your boss. But you can control the way you respond to both.

 

Focus on lifestyle changes that improve the mind/body connection – meditation, mindfulness practice, tai chi, yoga, qi gung. Though, any exercise is great, as it raises endorphins and improves sleep, both of which contribute to better emotional health.

 

Develop a deep-breathing practice and use those techniques when you do become over-stressed. When you become stressed-out, your breathing becomes naturally shallow. Breathe deep several times, and watch your stress begin to melt away.

 

Reducing Exposure to Toxins

 

Did you know that there are more than 75,000 chemicals licensed in the U.S.? Many of these are hormonal disrupters. Others are classified as poisonous. And some are even carcinogenic, which literally means cancer-causing.

 

In our modern world it’s impossible to insulate yourself completely. The key is to limit your exposure, and that begins by knowing where to look for toxins.

 

The three biggest offenders are your food, your hygiene products, and your cleaning products. Begin by reading labels. When it comes to your diet, if you stick to organic, whole foods, you’ll be fine. When it comes to cleaning or hygiene products, you have two choices: spend more money or make your own.

 

Since air and water are two things we can’t live without for very long, try improving your quality of both. An air purifier is nice, but you can achieve the same thing with a dozen houseplants that are particularly good at purifying the air. And when it comes to your water, you can purchase better quality water or purify your tap water.

 

It should be mentioned that your shower water is actually a much bigger concern than you may realize. When the water is hot, your pores open up. If there are contaminants in the water, they’ll go right into your body through your skin.

 

Speaking of which, sweating out toxins is a great strategy. Just be aware that dead skin cells clog pores. Which means those toxins you think you’re sweating out, may be actually going back into your body due to a traffic jam of dead skin. But fear not, dry skin brushing is easy, cheap, and effective for removing that dead skin, as well as stimulating your lymphatic system.

 

You can also try a short-term detox diet designed to remove toxins more quickly. And you’ll have no trouble finding information online for those.

 

Removing Physical Trauma

 

Physical stress includes obvious trauma like that from car accidents or sports injuries. But it’s the stressors that come specifically from our modern world that are more problematic.

 

Think about how you spend your day. Are you sitting for most of it? How much time do you spend leaning over a desk or computer? How much time do you spend staring down at your phone?

 

Forward Head Posture is a real problem in 2018, and it stems from the activities (that aren’t active at all) above. FHP puts undue pressure on your spine, which in turn can place pressure on your nervous system. This causes disruptions in the way your brain communicates to your body, which can cause a problem in any system, organ, tissue, or cell.

 

Poor posture is a big culprit when it comes to physical stress on the body. As is a body that is inactive and sedentary for most of the day. Too much sitting is really unhealthy, but the problem is compounded when we sit with poor posture.

 

Carrying a few extra pounds doesn’t sound all that bad, but those extra pounds are placing stress on your entire your body, from your heart to your joints.

 

Try using a standing desk. Pay attention to your posture, particularly your head and neck alignment. Hold your phone differently, or even put it down for a while. Begin an exercise program and drop a few pounds. And don’t discount the effects a chiropractic adjustment can have on reducing physical stress.

 

The modern lifestyle isn’t healthy. But with better awareness and some simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce emotional, chemical, and physical stress. Which means your body can better do its job – protect you from illness and disease.

Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

If you like natural health, you’ll love our 10 Weeks to Total Health and Wellness email course. It covers everything you need to live a long and healthy life. Fill out the form below, and click the button that says, I WANT TO BE HEALTHY!

Baker Spine and Sport Beginner's Guide to Yoga

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Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

When it comes to exercise and movement, we believe in a three-pronged approach: yoga/stretching, cardio fitness, and strength training. Because you really need all three to be at your best now, and as you get older, as we all tend to do. (Keep your eyes open at the end of this post for a great email course on natural health that gets into all three areas of fitness and A LOT more.)

If you’ve never done yoga before, going to a class and sweating profusely (and falling down) in front of others who aren’t sweating profusely (nor falling down) can be intimidating. But if that doesn’t bother you, check out local yoga studios, rec centers, and senior centers for classes in your area.

If your pulse just quickened reading about the sweaty blunderings that many first-timers experience, fear not. We’re going to introduce you to a little-known website (YouTube) where you can do more than watch videos of kittens and people injuring themselves. We’ll also show you how to build your own yoga video library for free … legally.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a mind-body practice that originated in ancient India and became popular in the U.S. in the 1960s. it’s a combination of controlled breathing, focus, and movement, similar to martial arts like tai chi.

There are numerous types of yoga, all originating from a form called Hatha. Each is slightly unique in its principles, style, and methodologies. But as a beginner, we’re not going to worry too much about that.

Yoga is perhaps most unique in its extended holding of poses, known as asanas. And for its regulation of the breath, known as pranayama. It’s this combination that makes yoga both invigorating and at the same time meditative and relaxing. (At least once you stop sweating profusely and falling down.)

What are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

The obvious benefits of yoga are the improved flexibility and balance you’ll enjoy, both of which become more crucial as we get older. Other benefits of yoga include:

* Reduction in stress

* Improved quality of sleep

* Reduction in anxiety and depression

* Improved blood flow

* Increased strength

* Better weight management

* Clarity of mind

* Improved awareness

* Reduction in lower back pain

* Counteracts effects of sitting for prolonged periods

The combination of focusing on body, breath, and mind may be difficult in the beginning. You’ll likely have no trouble focusing on the first, but your breath will be inconsistent, and your mind focused mostly on struggling through each pose. But if you stick with it, and not for that long, you’ll understand why people who do yoga, really LOVE to do yoga.

Precautionary Measures when Starting a Yoga Practice

Yoga is very safe, even for older adults, and it’s easy to tailor your beginning practice to your current fitness level and fitness goals. However, there are some precautions to consider for those who are suffering from:

* High blood pressure

* Asthma

* Sciatica

* Glaucoma

Women who are pregnant, and anyone with a recent injury history, may also want to check with their doctors before beginning a yoga practice.

How to Get Started

You don’t need much to begin doing yoga. Ideally, at the very least, you’ll want a good yoga mat. Beginners can also benefit from having a yoga block, which allows you to get into certain poses even when limbs won’t reach the floor. Beyond that, you just need a bit of instruction.

Your YouTube Yoga Video Library

A simple YouTube search for “beginners yoga” will yield tons of options. Find an instructor and beginning routine that you like. We’re partial to Yoga with Erica, from Austin, TX, who has a wonderful level one routine for beginners, and then a level two routine for those a little more advanced.

Erica’s level one routine consists mostly of sun salutations of varying degrees of difficulty. Sun salutations are excellent for building up heat and energy in the morning, and trust us, that’s exactly how you’ll feel by the end.

You can watch those whenever you want, provided you have an internet connection. But what if you want your very own downloadable copy? Well, you’re in luck, because there’s a simple way to save each of those to your computer legally.

For any YouTube video you want to save, in the address bar, simply put “ss” after www. and before YouTube like this: https://www.ssyoutube.com/. Click on download video in browser, then select your format and hit download.

If you haven’t tried yoga before because you were skeptical or intimidated, or because you’re a big strong macho man who doesn’t consider it real exercise, give it a try. You may be surprised. Especially that last bit. Because the truth is that yoga can be a killer workout. And not just for women. Here’s a good article on some man-specific reasons to incorporate a yoga routine.

Now get out there and clear your mind, monitor your breathing, and lower yourself into downward facing dog …. and hold it! Are you sweating yet? Don’t worry, we’re not going to say we told you so … but we kind of did.

Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

If you like natural health, you’ll love our 10 Weeks to Total Health and Wellness email course. It covers everything you need to live a long and healthy life. Fill out the form below, and click the button that says, I WANT TO BE HEALTHY!

Eat Fat, Burn Fat: A Simplified Ketogenic Diet Guide

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Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

When it comes to the keto diet, the secret sauce lies in the ratio of nutrients. But we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First, what is the keto diet? And second, why should you care?

Keto – Short for Ketogenic!

A ketogenic diet is simply a really low-carb diet that helps turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Which, when you do, triggers more health benefits than you can shake a dry skin brush at.

Ketogenesis is the production of ketones during the metabolism of fats. Ketones are essentially used as an alternative fuel source if and when your glucose levels run low. They’re made in the liver and delivered throughout your body, particularly your brain, as it consumes the most energy.

So, if you’re feeling a bit foggy, a ketogenic diet may help to clear things up.

When you reach that ketogenic state, which doesn’t take as long as might think, your insulin levels decrease and your fat-burning increases.

*If you take medication for high blood pressure or diabetes, including insulin, or are breastfeeding, you may want to consult with your doctor before beginning a keto diet plan.

The Secret Sauce

Ratios can vary a bit, but a general guideline is:

* 75% fat

* 20% protein

* 5% carbs

How do you know how much fat or protein, or how many carbs, you’re consuming?

Cronometer – This handy tool is free and will show you exactly what nutrients you’re getting from your diet, and those you’re not. Including the secret sauce ratios that the keto diet is built upon.

What Can You Eat?

Let’s assume that we’re always talking about organic, and naturally raised, and wild caught, and so forth.

Healthy fats are the most important, or at least most prolific, part of this diet. And while you may think it’s difficult to eat 75% of your calories from fat, keep in mind that fat calories are dense calories. A little goes a long way.

For cooking, your best choices are coconut oil, butter, and ghee. Olive oil is a very healthy oil, but it becomes rancid (which contributes to free radicals in the body) when heated. Other healthy oils include flax, avocado, walnut, hemp, and many others.

Vegetable oils are not healthy. Eliminate at all cost.

Protein sources include fish and seafood, meat, eggs, cheese and other dairy products. And, of course, round out your diet with a great variety and amount of vegetables. Sadly, fruit will likely put you over that five percent mark.

(The good news is that getting into ketosis is harder than staying in ketosis. In other words, fruit-eating days may lie ahead. In moderation, of course. Always consult with your chronometer to keep an eye on the special sauce ratio.)

What Can’t You Eat?

Carbohydrates!

That includes sugars and starches, meaning vegetables grown underground. That’s also why fruit is out, at least for now. And why healthy foods like sweet potatoes and carrots may even tip the scales a bit too far past that magical five percent mark.

Nuts will be a gray area. Opt for high-fat nuts like Brazil and macadamia nuts. And always consult your calorie counter if not sure.

Not sure if we have to say it, but fake sugars, while maybe not contributing to a carbohydrate count, are contributing to things far worse, like the C word. Avoid as if … your life depended on it.

Tip for coffee drinkers: More fat means less sugar, when it comes to dairy. Which means skim milk is completely out of bounds (and a watery disaster of a drink) on the keto diet. While heavy whipping cream will certainly keep you inbounds. And happy!

What Can You Drink?

Mostly what you’d expect to see here: Water, coffee, tea, bone broth, and limited amounts of red wine. The answer to what you can’t drink is A) Everything else.

Why Switch to a Ketogenic Diet?

To say that there are a lot of benefits to adopting a ketogenic diet would be like saying the Pacific Ocean is big. So, let’s tackle some of the more obvious benefits.

1. Weightloss

When you turn your body into a fat-burning machine, that means you burn more fat. Wherever that fat may be stored. Rather than the sugar you just put into your body. That’s huge!

2. Appetite

Yours will be satiated. Imagine that! Feeling full and satisfied. You can thank the 75% fat in the keto diet for that.

3. Bye Bye Brain Fog

Your brain loves fat. Well, actually the ketones that the fat produces. Either way, a keto diet is a brain diet. Mental clarity, improved concentration and focus, and an overall increase in energy (mental and physical) is what you can expect.

4. Blood Sugar Levels

Studies have shown that a keto diet can help control blood sugar levels, and even reverse type 2 diabetes. High insulin levels will be a thing of the past when burning fat for fuel.

5. Increase in Physical Endurance

Want access to constant energy when you need it most? Your body’s supply of stored carbohydrates only lasts for a couple of hours during exercise. Your stores of fat, however, can lasts weeks, if not months.

Other benefits of adopting a ketogenic diet include:

* Lower cholesterol

* Lower blood pressure

* Improved digestive health

* Fewer migraines

* Less acne

* Less heartburn

* Fewer food cravings

The list goes on beyond that, as we’re still finding new benefits for turning our bodies from inefficient sugar-burners into extremely efficient fat-burners.

Getting your body into a state of ketosis doesn’t take long if you closely follow the secret sauce. Expect about two to four days. You may notice some side effects, but they’re likely to be minimal.

Two ways you’ll notice that you’re in ketosis: Increased energy. Decreased hunger. Imagine how easy it will be to stay in ketosis once you’re feeling good and feeling satisfied. And those wonderful feelings are just two to four days away.

Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

If you like natural health, you’ll love our 10 Weeks to Total Health and Wellness email course. It covers everything you need to live a long and healthy life. Fill out the form below, and click the button that says, I WANT TO BE HEALTHY!

What You Don't know About Text Neck, and Why You Should

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Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

Technology is a marvelous thing. In our modern world, anyone one of us can access any information we want, when we want. Those of you old enough to remember a little thing called libraries, may recall a very different way of retrieving information.

However, modern technology also produces modern ailments. And in this case, that technology is turning an entire generation into hunchbacks.

Our obsession and reliance on technology is quickly turning into addiction. In fact, this addiction recently gave birth to a new word – nomophobia. Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile phone or being unable to use your phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery power.

Yes, this is an actual thing. However, the fear of not being able to use your phone, is nothing compared to the health risks associated with constantly using your phone. The result of which can turn a 20-year-old spine into one that appears 10 to 20 years older.

What is Text Neck?

Text neck is the result of your head resting at an unnatural angle for a prolonged period of time, such as when we use computers, tablets, video games, and most prominently – cell phones.

Thank goodness we’re not always on our phones, otherwise this could turn into an epidemic. (Pause to get the sarcasm.)

That’s exactly why this IS such a problem. And according to a 2016 study, the average age of children who receive their first cell phone is 10.3 years old. At that age, problems are compounded as children’s bodies are still developing.

Your head is meant to rest directly over your shoulders, like a golf ball resting on a tee. When your head is tilted down, this contributes to a destructive imbalance to your cervical curve – which is the natural curvature of your neck.

For every inch of Forward Head Posture, also known as FHP, your spine experiences an additional 10 pounds of pressure. So when you lean forward 60 degrees over your cell phone, which is average, the stress on your neck increases by 60 pounds.

At this angle, your back and neck muscles stay contracted, which compresses nerves, and causes problems from headaches and pain to anxiety and depression. And that’s just the beginning.

Health Risks Associated with Text Neck

In the short term, FHP can cause chronic pain, numbness in arms and hands, pinched nerves, improper breathing, and deteriorating mood and emotional stability.

In the long-term, FHP can contribute to Fibromyalgia, early arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJ, asthma, heart disease, and eventually the degeneration of your cervical spine, and even organ failure.

Neurosurgeons refer to the curve of your cervical spine as the Arc of Life. Your spinal bones help protect your brain stem and spinal nerves, which affect every single function and organ in your body. Which is how texting can lead to heart disease.

When it comes to your body, the important thing to remember is that it’s all connected, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Anytime you’re hunched over or slouching, such as when you text, this also compresses your abdominal organs, which negatively affects your digestion and bowel function. Having digestive issues recently? Try putting your phone down for a couple weeks.

According to University of California’s Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Rene Caillet, FHP pulls the spine out of alignment, which can result in a loss of 30% vital lung capacity. But it’s the negative impact on brain health that may be most troublesome.

Your posture affects your mood and brain function, as in feelings of stress, memory, and even behavior. And there’s an inverse relationship as well. One in which depression contributes to worsening posture. Which, of course, creates more emotional imbalance.

A recent study conducted in Germany supports the premise that posture can negatively affect memory, and even contributes to more negative thinking. In the study, researchers discovered that a sitting, slouched position resulted in the recall of mostly negative words, while those with good sitting posture showed no bias in word recall.

Another study, conducted in 2015, produced even more shocking results. The upright participants in the study demonstrated better self-esteem, improved mood, and less fear. While those participants instructed to slump over experienced an increase in negative emotions, sadness, and feelings of stress.

Solutions and Treatment for Text Neck

Learning better habits, when it comes to posture, is the first step. And it’s a step that may even reverse mild misalignments. However, if you’ve had your head in your cell phone for much of the last decade, you may require a bit of chiropractic help.

Your goal is to correct FHP, and decrease your cervical curve. And this can be done in a number of ways. If your texting habits have already caused a subluxation – spinal misalignment – adjustments to correct the locked-up segments of your spine are likely necessary.

However, treatment can also include myofascial release– a gentle, sustained pressure to the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Gentle traction is another treatment option, as are posture correction exercises.

If you’re interested in a type of exercise specifically designed to alleviate the modern problems associated with slouching and slumping, give Foundation Training a try. Check out the TED Talk below by Dr. Eric Goodman for more information.

If you suspect that text neck has negatively impacted your health, the first step is to seek expert advice from someone who knows a thing or two about spinal health, like your friendly neighborhood chiropractor. Check out our New Patient Special below.

New Patient Special - $29 Exam, Consultation, and Digital X-Rays (if necessary)

*Not Including Medicare Patients and Personal Injury Patients

Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

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Meet the 5 Essentials for Proper Health and Wellness

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Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor

How to get healthy isn’t much of a mystery anymore. You realize that there are certain things you can do to improve your health – eat right, exercise, limit Häagen-Dazs consumption. And certain decisions you can make that will diminish your health – driving thru a McDonalds instead of past a McDonalds.

However, there are five essential areas that we believe to be most instrumental. If you can improve in each of these areas, your overall health will improve as well.

1.     Body Mass

2.     Posture

3.     Movement

4.     Oxygen

5.     Sleep

Body Mass

 Your BMI – Body Mass Index – is a score based on your height and weight. The higher your BMI, the more body fat you have. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for good health, as overweight people have higher incidences of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Body Mass Index Scores

·        Underweight           18.5

·        Normal weight        18.5 – 24.9

·        Overweight              25 – 29.9

·        Obese                        30 or higher

To find your BMI, you’ll need a chart, like this one at Cancer.org. Locate your height on the left side of the chart, and then move to the right until you find your weight. Now move up that column till you get to the top row where you’ll find your BMI score.

Posture

 Turns out your mother was right when she told you to sit up straight. But good posture isn’t just about sitting straight. Good posture is about putting the body into proper alignment whether you’re sitting, standing, walking, exercising, or sleeping.

When your posture is good, your body experiences less strain on muscles, ligaments, bones, joints, and tendons. You experience less aches and pains. Your appearance improves. And your body uses less energy, which means you won’t become fatigued as quickly.

When your posture is bad, your body has to work harder to stay balanced. This can cause strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. It can wear out joint surfaces and cause arthritis. And it can cause backaches and muscular pain throughout your body.

The Mayo Clinic has much more information on proper posture, along with a standing wall test that you can take to assess your current posture.

Movement

 Has any topic inspired as many excuses as exercise? Not enough time. Not enough energy. Not enough _____.

The problem is that you still know how important movement and exercise are, even when you’re making excuses to ditch your next session.

Physical activity combats heart disease, as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while also improving circulation. And just a reminder: heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S.

Exercise is also critical for proper weight management. And even cognitive health, as it stimulates the production of brain chemicals – neurotransmitters – that make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Your sleep will even improve as a result of increased physical activity in your life. If you haven’t already noticed, these five areas are all connected. Improvement in one area leads to improvement in others.

Oxygen

 Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe. You can go weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without oxygen.

Even though we all take breathing for granted, there are numerous bodily functions that are dependent on oxygen. Digestion, for instance, uses oxygen to break down food into energy.

Oxygen improves brain activity, strengthens the immune system, and boosts energy levels. Oxygen also helps to remove toxins from the blood. And it speeds healing. Consider how many athletes are turning to hyperbaric oxygen chambers as part of their maintenance and recovery programs these days.

The greatest benefit of oxygen is that it keeps cells healthy. Anytime you can affect health at the cellular level, you have greater potential to reduce the signs of aging. Want to look and feel young again? Get more O!

Sleep

 Sleep is a nutrient. It’s also an important nutrient. The problem, besides the fact that most of us don’t get enough quality sleep, is that we don’t even realize just how important of a nutrient it really is.

Lack of sleep contributes to more accidents and health problems than most people realize. Which is why the Center for Disease Control has referred to lack of sleep as a public health epidemic.

Quality sleep means getting enough sleep, and also maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Any time you have disruptions in your sleep cycle, your blood pressure goes up, as does your blood sugar levels.

Research suggests that even one less hour of sleep per night can result in immune system problems and an increase in chronic inflammation. Both of which can contribute to illness and disease.

Getting healthy has never been easier. Get sound advice from sources you can trust, and make better decisions that will affect your health. It’s not complicated. But it does take some effort. Now get out there and stand up straight, move your body, breathe deep, and sleep well. Your health depends on it.

Dr. Baker – Your Royse City & Rockwall Chiropractor