Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Health is Wholeness and Balance

“Health is wholeness and balance, an inner resilience that allows you to meet the demands of living without being overwhelmed.”
—  Andrew Weil, MD

How very simple. What a gift it would be to deliver this to the doorstep of the tired masses that trudge through their responsibilities each day. It sounds like a big undertaking, but maybe it could be very simple.

We become overwhelmed because we are constantly bombarded by demands. Our, family, our coworkers, our friends, pets and neighbors all take a little piece of our day. The sum of these little pieces is an erratic equation that we try to solve through constant noise singing in our brains.

What if we could turn off the noise? What if we felt liberated enough to say no to requests of our time? What if we carved out a small space of time each day to find peace and spaciousness around us? Things would be better, wouldn’t they? Maybe even balanced.

We can only be effective in our lives if we are not constantly living on the edge of stress. A worthy method for stress reduction would allow us in any space of time to re-center and gain control of the emotion we tie into drama of everyday life. Meditation is one method that meets this challenge wherever it lives.

Here’s how to start:

Keep in mind patience is a virtue, as the mind does not always want to focus. Having unrealistic expectations towards positive results can create unnecessary pressure and take away the enjoyment of the experience.

Choose a quiet place to meditate and sit in a comfortable position. You can sit in any other position that is comfortable. The most important thing is to keep your posture straight to prevent our mind from becoming sleepy.

With your eyes turned downward, focus your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control the breath. Be aware of all of the sensations in your body that breathing creates. These sensations are your object of meditation, try to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

At first, your mind will be very busy. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thought patterns, immediately return your focus to your breath. Repeat this as many times as necessary until the mind settles on the breath.

If you can do this for only a few minutes a few times a day you will start to notice how good you feel once you have calmed yourself down and are more aware of your emotions. Start to gain awareness of times during the day when this practice could be helpful.

If you are interested in learning more about meditation practice for stress reduction, join us at The Center for Optimal Health on Thursday, September 15 at 6:00 pm. Dr. Kumar Arun will be instructing a small group on the beginning principles of meditation. Call 517-324-9400 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Does everyone need supplements?

Does everyone need supplements?
 “If people eat wild, fresh, organic, local, non-genetically modified food grown in virgin material and nutrient rich soils that has not been transported across vast distances and stored for months before being eaten...and work and live outside, breathe only fresh unpolluted air, drink only pure clean water, sleep nine hours a night, move their bodies every day, and are free from chronic stressors and exposure to environmental toxins, than perhaps they might not need supplements.”  ~Mark Hyman, MD
 It has grown increasing difficult to receive the nutrients necessary for our bodies to thrive through the means in which we have done so historically. Dr. Hyman has encapsulated this difficulty in this quote.
When it comes to obtaining the micronutrients your body needs, your best possible source is food, especially fruits and vegetables. But circumstances may prevent you from eating optimally every day. Supplements can provide insurance against dietary gaps. Also, researchers are finding that some important vitamins (Vitamin D is a great example) and minerals are protective against disease in amounts that may be difficult to obtain through diet alone, no matter how well you eat.
More than forty vitamins or minerals  are utilized in the body as a complex chain to preserve health and prevent illness. They must all be present in the body in optimal amounts for proper function. If one link in that chain is missing or deficient, benefit from the entire process can be reduced. It is therefore important to insure optimum intake of balanced nutrients.
Proper nutrient intake is vital to optimized health and longevity. You can obtain the right balance of nutrients by understanding your own nutritional needs. The Physicians of The Center for Optimal Health can help guide you through particular nutritional challenges or help to create a simple plan for optimized health. Let us know how we can help you reach your health goals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What is lurking in your shampoo?

What is lurking in your shampoo?
All skin and hair care products contain ingredients that may be harmful to our environment once they have reached the water supply, but have you considered the effects they may have on your body? 
We are excited to announce our new line hair and skin care products. This line includes organic shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, lip balm and bar soap.  These products are formulated to exclude an extensive list of chemical ingredients to help reduce your toxin exposure.  These include, but are not limited to, formaldehyde, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate.  
Here are some reasons why these ingredients were omitted from our organic product line:
Formaldehyde- used as a preservative or cleansing agent
·      Skin irritant
·      May cause watery, burning eyes
·      May cause burning sensations in the throat
·      May trigger asthma attacks in some people
·      Known carcinogen
Parabens- used to inhibit bacterial growth
·         Believed to mimic the activity of estrogen  which is associated with certain forms of breast cancer
·         May possibly affect the male and female reproductive organs
·         May decrease testosterone levels in men and account for a low sperm count
Sodium Laurel Sulfate- used as a detergent and foaming agent
·         Mimics estrogen activity
·         Is used in car wash soaps and engine degreasers because of its highly corrosive nature
·         May cause hair lost by attacking at the follicle
·         Dries skin by stripping the protective lipids from the surface
·         Denatures skin proteins which may give air borne pollutants a way to enter the body
·         Removes oil to an extent that may cause health issues ranging from eczema canker sores
·         Strips hair of moisture causing breakage and damage

These products and the extensive list of excluded chemicals are on display now in our lobby now. Check them out next time you are in and let us know if we can answer any questions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Buddy System

It is Monday morning and you are embarking on your new plan for wellness. The food plan is in place and your exercise regimen designed. You are committed. Oh wait….one thing is missing. Who will support you when you hit a weak spot?

Studies have shown that those who commit to making a change with a friend, family member, or loved one are far more successful in remaining committed and obtaining goals. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition it was found that 80 % of people who had lost weight and were able to keep it off reported using social interaction as a means of support. Of those that rebounded only 38% reported using social support.

I have recently started walking with a group of neighbors. It is hard to say no when they show up at my door laced up in their walking shoes ready to go. It also helps me to up my pace and to make the time pass more quickly than when I am on my treadmill constantly glancing at the clock.

I also decided to post my weight loss goal above my desk at work. I post my progress as how many pounds until my goal is met, as I am not brave enough to want to post my weight for all of the world to see. I do find that in posting my intention my co-workers offer support as I stick to my daily plan.

My husband and I plan meals and shop for food together on Sundays and we take turns cooking throughout the week. I admit it would be much harder to stay on track if it weren’t for his support as well. He finds that he feels better, has more energy and also maintains his weight when he is part of the planning and preparation.

These are just some ideas of how I have recruited the people in my life to support my goals. Think about those around you that might lend an ear, might want to go for a walk, or take a cooking class. A healthy lifestyle is not about dieting. It is about taking an interested in foods and activities that help your body thrive. It is about finding time to focus on things that will engage your mind and help you reduce stress. This is easier to sell than asking a friend to start a diet with you. Think of someone in your life that might be interested in trying something new. You can support each other as you both learn together about how to create a healthy lifestyle.

If you are interested in starting a wellness plan at The Center for Optimal Health, or if you already have you should know that we have a plan for family and friends. If you schedule your first appointments together or if you refer someone for your Buddy System you can both receive incentives. Call our office at 517-324-9400 to learn more.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Understanding Your Thyroid

If you are still having symptoms of underactive Thyroid even though you are taking Thyroid supplementation there are several possible reasons for this. Your dose or type of thyroid may be wrong for you, or you are not taking the supplement on an empty stomach. All the hormones must be balanced, not just the thyroid.  A common coexisting issue is low functioning adrenals. The stress, poor sleep, toxins, drugs, etc, that injured your thyroid will often have injured your adrenal glands at the same time. You can test this by doing a 24 hour saliva adrenal stress profile.

Dr. Christine Blakeney