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Chiropractic

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is a health care specialty focusing on the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.  While considered alternative treatment or complimentary medicine in the United States, chiropractic care has been gaining more acceptance, especially for musculoskeletal problems like low back pain, the most common reason people seek out chiropractic physicians.  Increasingly, insurance companies are covering chiropractic care for certain conditions, and consumer demand remains high.

Common conditions treated by chiropractic include:

  •  Headaches, migraines
  • Upper, mid, lower back pain & stiffness
  •  Neck pain and stiffness
  •  Pinched nerves, muscle spasms
  •  Leg and arm pain, tingling, numbness, weakness
  • Sports injuries
  • Leg and arm joint pain or dysfunction
  • Carpal or Tarsal tunnel syndrome

According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractors  “practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment.”  Trained in nutrition and rehabilitative therapies, chiropractors perform joint manipulations – or adjustments – in order to restore joint mobility.  Appointments require no special preparation. Generally first visits include a thorough health history and a physical exam paying special attention to the spine. The chiropractor may recommend x-rays or other diagnostic tests.  Other treatments may include:  Heat and ice, Electrical stimulation, Relaxation techniques, and Dietary supplements.

Considered generally safe, most side effects of care – any pain or soreness – usually disparate fairly quickly.  The non-invasive, drug-free, whole-person approach has been derided by much of the mainstream medical community since chiropractic was developed in the late 1800’s. In fact, in a federal antitrust case that went on during the 70’s and 80’s, a group of chiropractors had to sue the American Medical Association to effectively end a boycott of the profession. The judge sided with the chiropractors, and now doctors were free to refer people to chiropractors for appropriate conditions.

You can learn more at the following links:

http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=61 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chiropractic.html

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/chiropractic-pain-relief


apple almond smoothie

Apple Almond Butter Smoothie  

  • 1 med organic Granny Smith apple – refrigerated
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter or other nut butter of your choice
  • 1 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk of your choice
  •  1 tsp raw agave (optional)
  • 1 cup ice

Instructions: Core and peel the apple then cut in large chunks. Blend all of the ingredients except the ice together. Add ice and blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy.

Yield:  makes 1 serving.

Cancer

Cancer

The word used to strike so much terror it was whispered in hushed tones as if the mere mention could cause the disease to strike. While the subject still isn’t pleasant, our knowledge and ability to treat some – if not most – cancers has improved markedly.  Some of the confusion arises over the name.  Cancer isn’t just one thing. Instead, it a disease of a process that allows cells to grow unregulated. Cancer can occur almost anywhere in the body, and cancer in some parts of the body are relatively easy to treat and have high survival rates, like testicular cancer, and other cancers can be extraordinarily difficult to diagnose and treat and are still most often deadly when discovered, like pancreatic cancer.

Treatments like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation have radically improved cancer survival rates, and many types of cancer are now considered a manageable disease – more akin to having a chronic condition rather than the sword of Damocles it once was.  Of course, if you have never been diagnosed with cancer you still probably don’t want to be, no matter how much modern medicine can help.  So the most practical thing all of us can do – regardless of current or future diagnosis – is to take care of ourselves.  Eat well.  If you smoke, stop.  Get enough rest.  Find time to exercise.  Learn to relax.  Avoid the things you know are bad for you. Enjoy the things you know are good for you.

While some cancer research focuses on the genetics of cancer, and other research on drugs, treatment and cures, for most of us who are not oncologists and medical researchers, health and lifestyle are the only weapons we have.  In fact, one study in the medical journal The Lancet, found that 35 percent of cancers have triggers that can be modified by lifestyle choices. You can read more here:  http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67725-2/fulltext  <http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2805%2967725-2/fulltext&gt;

Fortunately, some lifestyle choices are sweet, like this amazing smoothie recipe, developed by a foodie going through chemotherapy.


berry almond smoothie

 Berry Almond Smoothie 

 

  • 12 ounces almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  •  1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons raw almond butter

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix at medium speed for about one minute or until mostly smooth. If a thinner smoothie is desired, add more water or almond milk and blend for a few more seconds.

Yield:  makes 24 ounces.

Neem

Neem

Neem is a tall, tropical evergreen tree found primarily in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Also known as Indian lilac, the neem tree has long been used as a medicinal remedy and new uses and qualities continue to be discovered.  “Neem leaves have been used traditionally as a blood cleanser due to their antiviral, antifungal, anti-parasitic, and antiseptic qualities,” writes Kulreet Chaudhary, MD, in the Dr. Oz Blog. “Neem leaves are also used to treat many eye disorders such as conjunctivitis, skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, stomach ulcers, poor appetite, diabetes, gum disease, fever, liver disorders, and arthritis. It is also great for the heart and used to prevent blood clots.”  You can read the full article here:  http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/herb-of-the-month-neem

In addition, neem is currently being researched in India for the treatment of cancer. According to one review, more than 140 compounds have been isolated from different parts of neem. That’s a whole lot of complicated compounds for one simple evergreen. You can read more in this review: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15777222

One particular area of interest with neem – and one that is likely to become more important in the coming years – is that neem has antibacterial qualities but doesn’t cause bacterial resistance over time. Given the soaring rates of hospital infections and the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria – sometimes called superbugs – scientific    interest in neem is rising.  However, it’s very important to remember that neem leaves also contain spermicidal compounds.

If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should not consume products with neem because it may result in miscarriage and is dangerous for infants and very young children.  Despite precautions against taking it internally in those circumstances, neem can be an effective toothpaste ingredient, and is highly effective against many of the bacteria that cause periodontal disease (read more in my previous bog). It’s also a common ingredient in anti-acne products and intestinal parasite cures for the very same reason.

Hopefully all that talk of parasites hasn’t put you off your appetite.  In case it has, here’s a particularly pretty smoothie recipe to perk your digestive fire back up again, courtesy of the blog Girl Makes Food.

Healthy thin mint smoothie

Healthy Thin Mint Smoothie  

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • ¾ cup plain, unsweetened Greek Yogurt (I used full fat)
  • ¼ cup Fresh Mint (tightly packed)
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup fresh Baby Spinach
  • Maple, to sweeten, to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)
  •  1-2 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (optional, it will bump up the chocolate flavor, but it will make the smoothie a muddier color)
  • 2 cups Ice

 

Instructions: Combine all but ice in the blender Blend until smooth Add the ice and blend Add more ice to thicken and/or chill as desired. Slurp time!!

Cloves

 Cloves 

These tiny, fragrant, dried flower buds deliver a wallop when it comes to taste – and health.  While familiar to some of us as the teeny, tiny pin in a piece of baklava, cloves are flower buds harvested from an evergreen tree that ranges throughout Asia. Since ancient times its ability to numb, especially toothaches and mouth sores, has been noted.  A natural antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-fungal agent, clove also holds aphrodisiac and circulation-stimulating capacities, according to Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

Oil of clove has been used for a variety of health conditions including stress, indigestion, parasitic infestations, coughs, toothaches, headaches, and blood impurities. It is also great for skin problems such as acne. Cloves can naturally and effectively cure many digestive problems such as indigestion, nausea, loose stools and flatulence.  If you happen to be one of those people interested in clove oil pulling, an Ayurvedic tradition of rinsing the mouth with antioxidant oils to help, among other things, clear gum issues such as pain and infection, and generally remove toxins and mucous, an excellent page to check out is from the Institute of Complimentary Therapy’s page: http://www.ict-energyschool.com/ICT/GrassrootsBlog/Entries/2011/3/15_The_Benefits_of_Oil_Pulling_with_Essential_Oils.html

And according to the website Ayurveda Healing, clove is also an  effective acne treatment.  “Cloves help clear acne, thank to eugenol, a natural antiseptic that balances the skin, stopping future breakouts. Try combining 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of honey and 3 drops of fresh lemon juice in a small bowl. Apply to your entire face and leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water for clear skin.”  You can read more here: http://ayurvedahealing.org/2012/08/28/cloves-not-just-for-cooking/

Speaking of cloves and deliciousness, here’s an incredible autumn smoothie recipe featuring the antioxidant power of pumpkin and clove from our friends over at Gourmandelle.

clove smoothie

 Super Antioxidant Pumpkin Smoothie  

  • 1 cup cubed pumpkin, frozen or fresh (I like it frozen)
  • 1 1/2 glass cold green tea, unsweetened (It’s best if you make this ahead and put it in the fridge to cool down)
  •  1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2g ginger powder
  •  1/2 tsp of turmeric (it doesn’t change its taste, just adds more antioxidant goodness)
  • 2g Ganoderma powder (optional – if you don’t have it you can skip it)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey or ginger cold pressed syrup (I love ginger syrup!)

Directions: Place the frozen or fresh pumpkin in the blender, add green tea and blend until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend a little more. Serve!

Alzheimer’s Disease

 Alzheimer’s disease 

Nearly 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).  This progressive, irreversible brain disease is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly, usually manifesting after the age of 60. As anyone who has seen a loved one go through this type of decline can tell you, it’s simply devastating.  Cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—along with behavioral abilities, become compromised to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Ranging in severity from the mildest stage, when it just begins to affect a person’s functioning with slight lapses in memory, to the most severe stage, when the person can no longer care for himself or herself and need assistance in almost all daily tasks.

Unfortunately, there’s currently no proven way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, however research continues.  According to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, the best strategies for preventing Alzheimer’s in the long run may be the same things that keep your heart healthy in the short term.  “The strongest evidence so far suggests that you may be able to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by reducing your risk of heart disease.  Many of the same factors that increase your risk of heart disease can also increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.  Important factors that may be involved include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, excess weight and diabetes.”

The whole story can be found here: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-disease/DS00161 The page goes on to say that programs under development “encourage physical activity, cognitive stimulation, social engagement and a healthy diet. They also teach memory compensation strategies that help optimize daily function even if brain changes progress. Keeping active — physically, mentally and socially — may make your life more enjoyable and may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”  Really, this health recommendation isn’t anything outside of what we all know to be true – that being healthy, happy and engaged in our communities is the best thing for our futures.  Speaking of happy, healthy and engaged, here’s another smoothie recipe – this one chosen for its brain-boosting ingredients and rich, delicious taste.

Healthy chocolate smoothie

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe 

  • 1.5 Cups Hemp Milk
  • 1.5 Cup Walnuts
  • 2 Frozen Bananas
  •  2 T. Organic Raw Chocolate Powder
  •  2 T. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • .5 Cup Ice

Directions:  Place all of the ingredients into the Vitamix (or your blender) and blend until perfectly smooth. Enjoy!

Gokshuradi Guggulu

Gokshuradi Guggulu 

According to Banyan Botanicals, “Gokshuradi Guggulu is a traditional Ayurvedic compound used to support the proper function of the genitourinary tract. It strengthens and tones the kidneys, bladder and urethra as well as the reproductive organs.”  They go on to say that:  The main ingredient, gokshura, is renowned for its rejuvenating action on the kidneys and prostate. Combined with guggulu, triphala and trikatu, it detoxifies the urinary system and supports healthy urinary composition. Balancing to all doshas, Gokshuradi Guggulu revitalizes the genitourinary system by calming vata, soothing pitta and eliminating excess kapha. *” You can read more about it here: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/prodinfo.asp?number=7141

Guggul is made from the sap (gum resin) of the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India. This tree has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and Ayurvedic texts dating back to 600 BC recommend it for treating atherosclerosis.  While it has a long history, it still has modern uses.  “Today guggul gum resin is used for arthritis, lowering high cholesterol, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), acne and other skin diseases, and weight loss,” according to the website WebMD.  Triphala is a three-herb mixture known for detoxification and one of the most commonly recommended Ayurvedic preparations for basic, internal health and cleansing. Trikatu is a digestive tonic and detoxifier.  Together this combination provides powerful support for vital systems.  Of course we all know one other thing that can help support all your vital systems – and that’s a delicious and nutritious smoothie.

perfect breakfast smoothie

The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie  

 

  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 – 1 banana [always depended on how many I had left]
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1 teaspoon matcha [for your caffeine-kick]
  • 1/2 scoop whey protein [if you have any]

Directions:  If you have whey and/or matcha, what you want to do first is pour in the almond milk and then add the whey and/or matcha and blend.  Not only does this make the smoothie deliciously frothy, but it also mixes up the powders so they aren’t gross, ruining your smoothie one clump at a time later.  Once blended add blueberries, banana, agave and yogurt. I like to keep the blueberries by the top so they don’t stunt the movement and yogurt closest to the blades to help with blending. I also like to hide the agave in between the fruit and yogurt so it doesn’t get stuck to the sides.  With the bullet I blend it for about 2 minutes, 3 tops and then that’s it. You are good to go! If it’s too thick, add extra almond milk until you have it to your liking. If you’re full time fancy, feel free to put it in a glass… but be warned, that will take longer and create extra dishes.

Chelation

Chelation

Chelation therapy is the administration of certain substances to the body in order to clear the build up of certain metals, such as mercury or lead, or certain minerals, such as calcium, which can poison the body when present in large amounts. In western medicine, chelation is used to treat heavy metal poisoning – most commonly in people exposed to highly toxic levels of dangerous heavy metals -such as through use of lead paint. A solution is injected intravenously, and this binds in the bloodstream with the offending molecules and helps move them quickly through the body’s system and allow them to be more quickly eliminated by simple urination.

Current research is also heading towards the use of chelation therapy for Arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, since it is and effective and non-surgical way to remove calcium deposits and plaque. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has an interesting article on their preliminary findings on chelation therapy which you can read here: http://www.nih.gov/news/health/mar2013/nhlbi-26.htm If you a looking for a bit more personal information about what to expect from chelation therapy, physician and natural health guru Dr. Andrew Weil has an excellent page on the subject: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03408/Chelation-Therapy.html He is a bit dubious of the practice outside of its use for heavy metal poisoning, but it’s a well-written article with good information.

In Ayurveda, chelation is a very common, basic principle. In fact, many of the most commonly prescribed herbs – such as guggulu for high cholesterol – are considered chelation agents. Although few of these compounds have been studied in the same way pharmaceuticals have been, that is starting to change, as the NIH study on chelation for heart disease shows. And so far, this is just one more case where modern medical science is actually proving principles that have been practiced in eastern medicine for millennia, or at least in this case.

Of course there are also simple and accessible ways to help detoxify. You may want to try this amazing detox smoothie recipe from lexieskitchen.com.

cheery cherry detox smoothie

Cheery Cherry Detox Smoothie

 

Serves: 2 large or 4 small glasses

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 2-4 kale cubes or a handful of fresh kale
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I use SoDelicious® Coconut Milk Beverage)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seed
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla exact
  • Liquid vanilla Stevia to taste
  • Optional: 1 pack Emergen-C Kidz Fruit Punch (if tolerated)

Directions:  Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender (like a Blendtec or OmniBlend) and blend on high until super smooth. If you like your smoothies cold and frosty (like I do) throw in a few ice cubes at the end and blend until smooth.

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