Educational

Daily Habits to Help Manage Stress: Part 1

If you are a human being living on this planet, you are probably no stranger to stress and the many ways it can affect your life. Though you might be surprised to learn that some of the medical, emotional, or behavioural issues you have are actually related to the amount of stress in your life.

Anything from your mood and irritability to the amount you sleep and even whether or not you can lose weight can come down to your stress levels. While you might not be able to completely remove all stress triggers from your life, it comes down to how you manage stress that you can’t predict or prevent.

“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing everything with logic. If words control you that means everyone can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” – Bruce Lee

Sometimes, life makes it difficult to “allow things to pass.” You may feel like every day is a list of things that you can’t seem to get through, or it’s possible you think that life is an endless battle against your anxieties. There are numerous studies right now about why the rates of anxiety and stress are so high. It’s been said that millennials are the most anxious generation, and Time reported that more than 90 percent of Generation Z is stressed out

However, it goes beyond just these generations. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults.

Basically, when it comes to stress, you’re not alone. There are many ways to handle the stressful ins and outs of everyday life. These tactics have been supported by various studies and therapists who have shown that people with stress simply need to communicate to themselves what they are feeling. Oftentimes, you can use logic to see how your own stress is really just hidden fears and anxiety ganging up on you.

In this report, you will learn about some of the daily habits that can help you manage stress, from journaling and exercise, to learning about meditation.

Part One: What to Do to Manage Stress

The first thing to do if you are dealing with stress is to learn about what you can do to help manage your stress. In part 2, you will learn more about what to avoid in order to reduce the risk of stress.

Here are some excellent daily habits to start doing now that can help with your stress levels:

Journal

Do you ever write to yourself? You may think that’s something that young folks do, but everyone has their own unique ideas, thoughts, feelings, and questions. What if you could write down the things that you hope for or the things that you wish for? What if the stress you feel is just stuck in your head?

Journaling is a good way to get to know yourself better. You can start in small doses of 1 to 15 minutes, just free form writing about what’s on your mind. Perhaps you want to describe a moment in your life that was perfectly happy or maybe there is something really troubling you that you want to get out.

Your journal is a completely private place where you can detail whatever is happening right now. For those dealing with intense stress, it may help to write out your fears and concerns in chronological order. You may start to see a pattern or even develop an idea of how to handle those stresses just by writing them down.

Once you start journaling, you can go back and read what you wrote. How could things be different? What if you woke up tomorrow and those stresses were completely forgotten? What would you do instead? You should always try to argue against those stresses, so you can build confidence in taking action and developing goals. You can write these down too, and eventually, those stresses won’t seem as critical as they were before.

Meditate

Have you ever seen a guided meditation on YouTube? There are thousands of videos that are dedicated to helping you breathe better, focus your mind, and relax. However, you can practice basic meditation on your own to manage your stress every day. Sometimes, the best time for meditation is right when you wake up, especially if you feel the urge to keep sleeping to avoid the day.

How to Begin a Basic Meditation

The first thing you should do is get into a comfortable position. You may want to sit in your favourite chair or just try sitting on the ground with your legs crossed. You should be able to completely relax in this position while not falling asleep. This often involves keeping your back and shoulders straight so you maintain an active posture.

Once in a comfortable position, close your eyes slowly. You don’t want to tighten your face. The goal is to relax every part of your body. Sometimes people stretch or shake out all of their limbs before they settle down to meditate.

The next step is to clear your mind. Stress tries to distract you with bad thoughts and concerns all the time. This is one of the most difficult parts of meditation, but with practice, you can shut off those thoughts.

Tip: Having trouble clearing your mind? You can try this simple mind trick: Close your eyes and picture that you are sitting in a room with four white walls. This place doesn’t recognize current time or events. It’s just the place inside your mind where you are completely free to be just yourself, at peace, and at rest. You don’t need to think about anything in this place, because it won’t affect the white room. It’s a place completely devoid of stress and belongs outside of your traditional existence.

It’s likely that several thoughts will try to push through your meditation. Each time, you can simply acknowledge and “shush” them back into the ether. The goal of meditation is to get to a point where you don’t think about any stress for a long period of time. Some people can go for a minute and others can meditate for hours.

Meditation takes practice, but the longer you meditate, the easier it will be to clear your mind. If you want to set a timer or listen to music, you can use a YouTube meditation video or several meditation apps dedicated to helping you relieve stress.

Exercise 

Exercise is one of the ways that the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends handling stress. For one, it helps you improve your physical condition, and you can also fight obesity, heart issues, diabetes, back problems, and other diseases. Humans need exercise, but there are a lot of conveniences in today’s world that make it seem unnecessary. In fact, why would exercise affect your mental state?

Well, studies have shown that exercise improves focus and increases dopamine levels. You get a little rush from completing an exercise, and it makes your body feel good to work muscle groups and use up your stored energy. If you are constantly feeling tired because of stress, then it’s almost imperative that you start an exercise routine. Your mind is probably tricking you into a lazy state because of fatigue.

Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can help you alleviate stress. There are even a few exercise routines developed specifically for reducing anxiety and getting through fatigue. Here are a few we like best:

  • Try the 5 x 30 approach: Walk, jog, dance, or bike three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Burn calories indoors with this routine: 40 jumping jacks, 30 squats, 20 crunches, 10 push-ups. Track your progress.
  • Try a 30-minute “fun” exercise routine on YouTube like this one. Sometimes my family just puts on music and has a kitchen dance party. The music is uplifting and it’s fun to be silly with dancing!
  • Commit to your exercise goals by setting small daily dedications, such as “I will walk for 20 minutes today” or “I will do 40 jumping jacks before dinner.”
  • Create habit chains for exercise, such as this one: “Wake up. Go for a walk or do 10 minutes of yoga. Shower. Eat breakfast. Drink green tea. Get dressed for the day, even if you aren’t going anywhere. ” Starting a healthy routine can be a great way to get yourself out of a mental rut and into a better head space.

Forming healthy exercise habits takes time, but most of all, you have to want to feel better. Part of managing your stress with exercise is hanging on to those feelings of relief and happiness after the workout that make it all worth it. By focusing your mind when you work out, you’ll start to forget why you were stressed in the first place.

Entertain

Sometimes you just need a break. Whether it’s going for a walk or putting your headphones on to listen to your favourite band, you just need to pull yourself out of the funk. Everyone is different, so not every hobby is going to sync up with your personality.

Try one, or any, of these:

  • Take a page from American Splendor and create your own comic about your life. Make light of the issues you’re facing by drawing out characters and scenarios with people in your life. You can keep them all private in your journal if you like!
  • Start up a new book. You probably have a list of books that you’ve been meaning to read.
  • Pick a trail and hike it. There’s nothing more calming than being in the wilderness sometimes. You’re surrounded by nature, enjoying fresh air, and focusing on your path, instead of your worries.
  • Try a new age colouring book and get creative.
  • Start cooking for yourself. Whether you want to try a subscription box or love to bake, you’ll get an incredible reward for your efforts: delicious food that you made! Seriously, there’s a sense of pride in creating dishes from scratch!
  • Adopt a pet. If you are feeling alone in this world, there are plenty of dogs out there who would love to be your friend. If that’s too high maintenance, try adopting a cat. Animals provide comfort, warmth, and companionship, and studies have shown it can alleviate stress and PTSD.
  • Play video games. Perhaps you want to master a game and go out on conquests. There’s no place better to do so than in the digital world of gaming. One study found that both men and women who played games were able to better manage their stress and were less depressed.
  • Start painting every day. Seriously, why not? Even if you think you’re not an artist, you can let the brush and paint tell your story. The goal is that you focus on a separate canvas than yourself, painting out your feelings and thoughts, or maybe you could paint a portrait of your

Unplug

The American Psychological Association recently released a report that shows constantly checking electronic devices is a significant reason for stress in Americans. That makes sense considering that emails, texts, social media, and other notifications are all messages to our brains about something. Could it be that you’re waiting on bad news?

The best way to deal with this is to just unplug. Spend time turning off your phone every night before bed and reading a book instead. There’s nothing that can’t wait, and while it may seem like everything is an emergency, this is one of the biggest reasons that you could be suffering from anxiety.

Parents are having a tough time managing their children’s addiction to technology, and it’s causing a lot of mental stress. Whether it’s checking messages constantly or playing games that keep you wired all night, long-term smartphone use can lead to extremely negative effects, like anxiety, ADD, and ADHD.

If you find yourself constantly checking your phone or email for messages, then you are actually causing more stress to your mind. Instead of focusing on your phone and notifications, take a time out and plan a day where you don’t do anything with your phone.

Think it can’t be done? The best way to find out is to challenge yourself. Once you start believing in the things you can do, the better you’ll feel overall.

 

To understand probiotics it’s best to zoom out and talk about the microbiota that inhabit us. The microbiota is the diverse organisms that inhabit a particular area. In relation to us humans that means bacteria, viruses, archaea and other organisms that live both in and on us.

https://unlockinglifescode.org/explore/genomic-medicine/microbiome

Photo from: https://unlockinglifescode.org/explore/genomic-medicine/microbiome

Depending on whether you are talking about skin, the stomach or your small or large intestine there is a different microbiota that live there; AND what resides there contributes to either health or disease.

Here are a few examples:

  1. The presence of streptococcus species in your esophagus is associated with less disease in the area.
  2. The presence of a bacteria called Faecalibacterium prausnitzii is commonly found in the fecal microbiomes of healthy adults and deficiency of F. prausnitzii appears to be relatively specific for ileal Crohns disease.
  3. A healthy vaginal canal is associated with high presence of Lactobacillus species.

All 3 of the above examples give a sense of the diverse microbiota that are found in various parts of the body (and there are plenty more!).

How do probiotics fit in here? And what are they?

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that confer many health benefits ranging from helping with diarrhea and constipation to making certain drugs work better in the body.

There are different categories of probiotics to choose from:

  1. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species
  2. Yeast strains like S. Boulardii
  3. Spore forming strains or Soil Based organisms like Bacillus spp.
  4. Other diverse strains like Strep, E. coli, Faecalibacterium, etc.

The above probiotics help with various health conditions as mentioned above, so you can get pretty specific with the strains you want to use to help achieve certain therapeutic targets. It’s best to chat with your health care professional about which ones will work best for you.

Do probiotics that you supplement with actually stay in your system?

The short answer is not forever, you need to be continually taking probiotics to have them stick around, but that doesn’t undermine the many health benefits they have (as above). There are some studies that show if you take both a probiotic and prebiotic or fermented product then the odds are in your favour of the probiotics lasting longer in the body and conferring more benefit.

Prebiotics? What are those?

Prebiotics are foods or starches that feed the microbiota in the gut. You can get prebiotics in supplement form such as potato starch or inulin, etc. You can also easily eat your probiotics by including root veggies, asparagus, plantain, flax or chia seeds, and many more high fiber foods or complex starches.

For the best of both worlds, I would recommend both probiotics and prebiotics- on the advice of your health care practitioner of course! Your tummy, immune system and body will thank you!

For anyone who has been diagnosed or looking for prevention, the foray into understanding cancer and understanding what your oncologist AND the infamous Dr. Google is telling you can be a daunting endeavour.

There is a lot of new research, better understanding, and greater help for those diagnosed. And yet, it’s still a scary place to land. Most of my patients feel better when they can be active participants in the process of healing. Getting a better understanding of the process of cancer and some simple, food-based things you can do, is a great place to start.

Cancer is a complex disease with many theories and I am sure one could spend a lifetime going down the rabbit hole. I like the concept of the hallmarks of cancer. What does this mean?

Hallmarks of Cancer is not a new concept, but it is a good place to start when thinking about the process of cancer in the body. The hallmarks are areas in cellular physiology that can lead to cancer cell growth.

 

 

https://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(11)00127-9

This fancy chart shows ways in which a cancerous cell tries to thrive in the body. From creating a new blood supply to itself to pushing cellular replication, and avoiding cell death by turning off “cell suicide” signals within itself.

How does knowing this help in the process of healing or prevention? There are many food-based therapies that contribute to halting the hallmarks of cancer. Think of food as your medicine. It’s something you can do and diet is something you have the power to control.

And how much does your lifestyle play a role? Is it worth it? Short answer, YES! Only 5-10% of cancers are due to hereditary mutations. 90-95% of cancers are driven by environmental factors mostly determined by lifestyle (2)

Diet is a major factor affecting cancer cell growth: The following foods have been shown to slow growth of cancer and affect the various hallmarks of cancer.

    • Flavonoids present in foods such as parsley, celery, and chamomile tea
    • Antioxidants found in berries help suppress tumour cells
    • Turmeric (great spice to cook with!)
    • Omega 3 found in good quality fish like salmon
    • Prebiotics (foods that feed the good bacteria in the gut): this is your fiber rich foods and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, cassava, flax seeds, chia, etc.
    • Isothiocyanates (sulphoraphane) from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage help activate the body’s ability to suppress tumour cells.

This is a small list, there are more of course, and this is a good place to start. You can certainly add berries to your breakfast smoothie or oatmeal bowl. You can create delicious curries and add a tsp of turmeric for extra flavour. Incorporate healthy fatty fish into your diet. Ensure fiber via flax or chia to feed your good gut bacteria. And don’t forget your broccoli!

Small changes can have big impact.
If you want to know more feel free to book in with me via: https://somersethealth.janeapp.com/

References
1. https://www.cell.com/fulltext/S0092-8674(11)00127-9
2. Impact of diet and nutrition on Cancer Hallmarks
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301051/

Have you met the people that tell you, quite proudly, they never, ever, ever get sick? Do you find yourself feeling just a wee bit jealous? Well, feel jealous no more! Exercising our immune system with a good fever may feel yucky, but it is great for all kinds of reasons.

Not getting sick or spiking a fever is a red flag. From a naturopathic perspective, this means your immune system has taken a very long vacation. Which leave these “never sick” people ripe for big disease down the road. This is not a complete cause and effect, but there is a correlation.

Getting sick and having a response to it is a very good thing. The signs you have a cold, sneezing, runny nose etc. are ways your body rids itself of a virus. FEVER is also part of the process. And it’s an important part of the process. Read on to learn why!

Fever and Immunity:

Fever is a key evolutionary response. It is part of our immune response that has been around since there were vertebrate animals that walked the earth. It is a cardinal response to infection that has been conserved in animals and humans for more than 600 million years of evolution. The fever response is achieved by intricate physiological and neuronal pathways and confers a survival benefit during infection. (1)

The increase of 1 to 4°C in core body temperature that occurs during fever is associated with improved survival and resolution of many infections. The research has shown that use of anti-fever medications to diminish fever correlates with a 5% increase in mortality in human populations infected with influenza virus and negatively affects patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. (1)

The fact that fever has been retained throughout our evolution strongly argues that febrile temperatures allow for a survival advantage. There are many ways in which fever offers a protective advantage. One mechanism involves direct effects of febrile temperatures on the infectious potential of pathogens. For example, temperatures in the febrile range (40–41°C) cause a greater than 200-fold reduction in the replication rate of poliovirus in cells. Fever also increases the susceptibility of certain types of bacteria to lyse, where the bacterial cells burst and die. (1)

Fever plays an essential role in your immune system. A fever activates your white blood cells (lymphocytes) and antibody production (the good guys that fight bacteria and viruses). Not only does it stimulate more immune cells it also helps direct them where to go (2). Fever helps stimulate something called a lymphocyte homing receptor which helps direct them to the proper tissue sites, so that they only attack the areas of the body that need help. (3) If we dampen down our fever response we are also dampening the body’s innate ability to rev up its immune system and fight off the offending bug.

Another mechanism in which fever helps us fend off foreign invaders is that it initiates iron storage in the Liver so bacteria can’t use it to survive. This is a key element to stopping bacterial infections. The combination both of fever AND an iron poor environment does not slows the process of bacterial replication, allowing the immune system to do the rest. (4) Our body is so well designed, if we give it the chance to do what it is designed to do, we will be better off in the long term.

Thermal (heat) therapy at treatment for disease:

Fever is in fact so important, we are now seeing fever therapy as an emergent trend in health care. Although thermal therapy can be traced back hundreds of years, we are seeing it used in new and novel ways. Hyperthermia (high temperatures to induce a local or total body fever-like response) is used as part of innovate treatments for certain health conditions. Thermal therapy is seen now being used in cancer treatments either on its own (with temperatures over 45C) or as an adjunct to chemotherapy (at more moderate temps of 38-41C). Increased blood flow and vascular permeability caused by hyperthermia improves the delivery of various therapeutic agents such as chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapeutic agents and genetic constructs for gene therapy to tumor cells. (5)

Increasing body temperature, through simple mechanisms like sauna for example, is used in lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiac health. Sauna helps with blood vessel dilation and tends to improve vessel health overall. This has been shown in studies with patients who have congestive heart failure (CHF). 60°C sauna therapy for 15 min improved blood circulation parameters in patients with CHF, including cardiac index, mean pulmonary wedge pressure, systemic and pulmonary vascular resistance, and cardiac function (7) We also see improved weight loss with sauna therapy, which helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. (8) The use of heat therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed a striking reduction of 1% unit in the glycated hemoglobin, which is a marker of blood sugar regulation over time. (8). Stepping in a sauna for 15 minutes 3x a week is relatively easy to achieve, and confers so many health benefits, it’s definitely worth a try!

Relax, your brain has got this!

A fever cannot cause brain damage unless it reaches 42 C for a long period of time. Your brain has a great way of keeping this in check during an infection. Usually you will not see temperatures rise about 41C.

As for seizures, the vast majority (96 percent) of children do not have seizures with a fever. About 4 percent of children can have a seizure with a fever – this is called a febrile seizure. Febrile seizures are scary to watch, but they usually stop within five minutes. They do not cause brain damage or have long-term side effects. Children who have had febrile seizures are not at greater risk for developmental delays or learning disabilities. (6) Even the management of febrile seizures in the pediatric population has moved away from antipyretic use as prophylaxis since fever reducing drugs do not reduce seizure recurrence (6)

What to do during a fever? Does the old adage starve a fever feed a cold apply?

  • With a fever, you are likely to sweat more, make sure you stay hydrated. Often fever is also associated with nausea or vomiting so water, tea and even juice can be helpful to give you strength and energy to heal.
  • Make sure you rest and take the time you need to let your body recover.
  • In terms of eating, you do in fact, need energy and nutrients to help your immune system stay strong. Small meals of easily digested foods are most helpful. Smoothies and soups are relatively easy on the system and will give you plenty of nutrients to fight off your infection.

When to be concerned and when to refer to your doctor or head to the ER

  • If the fever continues to rise past 41C- 42C – this can indicate a more serious condition (meningitis can trigger higher fever accompanied by stiff neck, aversion to light)
  • Fever that lasts more than 5 days
  • If your child is un responsive, very lethargic, or will not stop crying for extended periods of time
  • When you are unsure… play it safe and call your doc!

To sum up, in general, “If fever is by your side, let it ride”. It’s uncomfortable, but necessary. It will help you maintain a healthy immune system, and fight off the bug that’s ailing you. Adding saunas, thermal therapy to your weekly routine has extra health benefits as well. Don’t be afraid of the heat!

 

References:

  1. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Jun;15(6):335-49. doi: 10.1038/nri3843. Epub 2015 May 15. Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat.Evans SS1, Repasky EA1, Fisher DT1.
  1. J Immunol. 1998 Jan 15;160(2):961-9. Fever-range hyperthermia enhances L-selectin-dependent adhesion of lymphocytes to vascular endothelium. Wang WC1, Goldman LM, Schleider DM, Appenheimer MM, Subjeck JR, Repasky EA, Evans SS.
  1. J Immunol. 1998 Jan 15;160(2):961-9. Fever-range hyperthermia enhances L-selectin-dependent adhesion of lymphocytes to vascular endothelium. Wang WC1, Goldman LM, Schleider DM, Appenheimer MM, Subjeck JR, Repasky EA, Evans SS.
  1. 1979 Jan 26;203(4378):374-6. Fever and reduced iron: their interaction as a host defense response to bacterial infection. Kluger MJ, Rothenburg BA.
  1. Int J Hyperthermia. 2005 Dec;21(8):761-7. Implications of increased tumor blood flow and oxygenation caused by mild temperature hyperthermia in tumor treatment. Song CW1, Park HJ, Lee CK, Griffin R.
  1. Patel N, Ram D, Swiderska N, et al. Febrile seizures.BMJ 2015;351:h4240
  1. Circulation 91:2582–2590, 1995. Acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation in congestive heart failure. Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, Jeong JW, Chang KS, Toyama Y, Tanaka N.
  1. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Jul;18(4):374-80. Heat shock proteins and heat therapy for type 2 diabetes: pros and cons. Krause M1, Ludwig MS, Heck TG, Takahashi HK.

All of us have moment of fatigue. Parents, athletes, students. We are all pushing ourselves too hard at times. But what happens when the fatigue isn’t momentary, and lasts past the point of logical?

There are many reasons we can feel chronically fatigued. Chronic sleep deprivation (I get it, I am a mom, I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night for one reason or another), late night study sessions, or working long hours at a job; can lead to major fatigue. Chronic stress is a big factor, pumping out our stress hormones for long periods of time will deplete us eventually. Chronic infection, most definitely will create fatigue- when the body has to fight off an infection, it is using it’s resources towards that, not towards your “get up and go”. All of these factors can deplete to body’s resources and slow the repair process which can lead to a more chronic state of fatigue.

What’s happening in the body at a cellular level when we feel an intractable, unrelenting fatigue? One theory is mitochondrial damage.  Mitochondria is the key organelle responsible for cellular energy production. A dysfunction in it can result in the excess fatigue and other symptoms that are common complaints in almost every chronic disease. At the very basic level, our mitochondria are responsible for the production production of adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP). This is our body’s energy source. If our mitochondria can’t produce ATP, our energy levels drop.

Oh crap, how do I fix it?! First of all figuring out the root of how it started is helpful, but if it’s murky, starting with general lifestyle factors is important. Sleep hygiene (good bedtime routine for example), reducing stress (via meditation, exercise, talking to a friend or therapist, etc.), and of course, supporting the body with nutrients via diet and supplementation.

What to mitochondria require to function well? Vitamins, Minerals and Amino acids! Having a varied diet with plenty of colour and adequate protein will meet basic needs for the body to start to rebuild. However, when the mitochondria are in disrepair, adding in supplements are key. There are a few favourites that I use that are helpful. CoQ10, Glutathione, and Carnitine. This trifecta is helpful in providing the body and the mitochondria with some of the nutrients required to do it’s job. There is certainly more to it than just supplementation, but it’s a great place to start. I find it almost certainly increases energy in most patients.

Talking to your Naturopathic doctor to figure out specific requirements is helpful. There is a list of about 20 nutrients that one could use (but taking ALL of them is likely not necessary) so having a guide through the process is essential. What every one person needs will be different, so make sure you work with a practitioner that can help you figure out your own unique requirements.

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a wonderful alternative to traditional Hormone Replacement therapy (HRT).  BHRT hormones are derived from plants in nature and are identical in cellular structure to human hormones. They are then compounded by a pharmacist to target your specific symptoms caused by hormonal imbalance. Due to the low dose requirements and the identical nature to natural human hormones, most women tolerate Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy quite well.

Naturopaths in Ontario are currently able to prescribe the following: 

  • Topical Bi-estrogen: This hormone is a combination of estriol and estradiol. Up to 80 percent of bi-estrogen contains estriol, which helps to decrease hot flashes and night sweats, improve sexual function, and decrease urinary tract infections. Estradiol also helps improve hot flashes, and night sweats in addition to helping to elevate mood and energy level, improve cognitive functioning and memory, eliminate insomnia, reduce blood pressure, decrease risk of bone loss, and decrease the risk of developing Type II diabetes.
  • Topical Estriol: This is the weakest form of estrogen, and often considered to be the most protective in the body. Some women prefer this form of estrogen alone if they do not tolerate Bi-estrogen. 
  • Topical Progesterone: Often progesterone is used to help with estrogen dominance. By minimizing the stimulating effects of estrogen, progesterone helps to improve sleep, increase bone density, improve sexual libido, and helps to maintain blood glucose control. This is especially important in preventing adult-onset diabetes.

Conditions that may require BHRT:

  • Menopause!
  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • PMS
  • And much, much more.

Please contact Dr. Lock, ND for more info to see if BHRT is right for you!

 

So, we know WHY sleep is important for both adults and kids alike. Now the question is how?

My sleep coach has set me up with a day by day plan for the next 3 weeks (yes 3- it takes 21 days to break a habit!) to help by girls get more restful sleep, and by proxy, me too!

Here is the general gist: we created books of the girls doing their sleep tasks, with a reward in the morning if they follow through with their tasks AND stay in bed and lay quietly. Rewards at the beginning were focused on night time routine, doing it well without complaint, then moving on to the night time and morning wakings. We have a sunrise clock in our room so the girls know when it turns orange they can get up and call for me.

Together my coach and I have a shared excel spreadsheet documenting each bed time, night wakings and morning rising. The breakdown for me, so far, is as such:

Night 1: Surprisingly it went relatively well. The girls were excited that they were doing something new.

Night 2-4: TERRIBLE. More wakings in the night, less sleep for all, I felt hungover, the girls were cranky. My thoughts, just get through it, there is a plan. We are not unique in this situation, and it’s normal for the girls to have an adjustment period. But it still sucked.

Nights 5-7: Better. A few call outs in the night but girls asleep in minutes. Didn’t have to go in to settle them. Mornings have been early (waking between 5 and 6) but I am told this part is the last piece to come.

Nights 7-10: Better still. One bad night- a test I think to see if the new routine was legit- the next night though, a full sleep through.

The process is still ongoing for the next few weeks but the plan is the same. Bed time is set, a 30 minute routine of brushing teeth, potty, stories, tuck-ins and a quick snuggle. Morning time they can call for me when the light says to (this is still a work in progress). Overall the kids are getting more solid sleep and I am too. I will take a full sleep from 10-5am than broken sleep any day. The sleep coach also says this will start to lengthen but generally at the 3 or 4 week mark. So far she has been right, so I have faith this will be the case for us too.

So far this decision to follow through with changing our sleep habits has been amazing. I am so happy to have embarked upon this journey- AND can’t believe I waited so long!

Or even just to sleep a little…

I had a recent realization that I am in a vicious sleep pattern with my wee babes. What started out as infant needs has now turned into toddler habits. Continual night waking’s with a constant need for mamma as led to sleep deprivation for us all. When I saw a post on Facebook about lack of sleep from a year ago (thanks Facebook memories!) I realized that the sleep issues in our house were not just a phase that would pass, and I needed to take action. So. I hired a sleep coach.

This weekend I am about to embark upon changing my habits and my children’s to allow for a chance to develop more consistent sleep for us all. This is not going to be easy, or even fun. But the end goal- sleep- is necessary.

Here is what sleep gives us (taken straight from Harvard Health- these people are smart cookies!) (https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch)

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

What about for kids? Here’s the deal:

  1. Sleep promotes growth: Growth hormone is secreted overnight- so for a healthy strong growing child, sleep is key
  2. Sleep helps the heart as it does with adults: If children are not sleeping well, both blood sugar and cortisol (stress hormone) remain high. These can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
  3. Sleep = healthy immunity: Sleep allows the immune system to fight infection. Typically you see less bouts of colds and flus with a child who has a healthy sleep pattern (this doesn’t mean, NONE, but less, which is good.)
  4. Less accidents: kids who sleep less are clumsier and pay attention less to their surroundings
  5. Sleep promotes learning and brain development! Memory improves with sleep!

I will be keeping the above health benefits in mind as I embark upon changing our habits. Stay tuned for the suggestions that my sleep coach makes for me and how it went!

Glutathione is a power tool in naturopathic medicine. Here are 5 main reasons why I love to use it:

  1. Detoxification: Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier. This is a great adjunct to a bi-annual seasonal detox. It gets your liver in to great shape!
  2. Powerful antioxidant: Glutathione is the only intracellular antioxidant found, which means it acts inside the cells. It helps the cells resist disease by neutralizing free radicals and keeping other antioxidants, including Vitamin C and E, in their active form. This protects cells from all kinds of toxins and disease states.
  3. Aids in fertility: Glutathione aids in improving sperm quality, including DNA fragmentation.
  4. Aids in post radiation recovery in cancer treatment: Not only does it help in post radiation fatigue, but it has been shown to aid in DNA repair of healthy cells after radiation treatment has ended.
  5. Skin health: Glutathione as an IV form helps in evening skin tone and lessening age spots, allowing your healthy glow to shine through.

Naturopathic care in the treatment of patients with cancer has many benefits. It’s something I feel very passionate about.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be one of the most life changing and scary experiences a patient can go through. The good news is that there are many things a patient can do to help themselves in the journey to recovery.

The naturopathic approach in treating cancer is related to improving the whole person by addressing inflammation, the immune system and looking at what things can impact the cancer directly. This is done through supplements and IVs that can have a positive effect on chemo agents and radiation protocols. Many things can be used in conjunction and have been shown by documented and clinical evidence to be supportive to improve pain parameters, nausea, appetite, etc.

One can expect to make diet changes, take supplements and often do Intravenous Therapy or other injection therapies as part of their naturopathic care. It is a lot of work but it is worth it.

Dietary changes vary depending on the cancer and also on the patient. This can be anything from a higher fat ketogenic diet to a vegan diet depending on what is required. It is not a one size fits all approach.

Supplements are also tailored to the individual and the type of cancer as well. There is a plethora of things on the internet and advice from others that can make your head spin. What is used here at the clinic are supportive supplements with best evidence that match the individual and the type of cancer.

Intravenous therapy is a big part of the program too. IV Vitamin C is often recommended along with mistletoe therapy during chemo to aid in side effects, quality of life and both also enhance the immune system. Glutathione IV might be recommended post chemo to help in DNA repair and energy recovery. There are also many options in this arena depending on what is going on with the individual patient.

All in all naturopathic care can be very helpful in managing the cancer process and the cancer journey.