Trying To Lose Weight? 3 Reasons To See The Doctor First!

Hi, everybody!  This week is another video blog.  I’m really enjoying learning to use video as an education tool!  This one is about 3 reasons to see the doctor before trying to lose weight.

1.  Finding and fixing medical conditions keeping you from losing weight.

2.  Checking to make sure it’s safe for you to exercise.

3.  Support!  Everybody needs support and encouragement when trying to lose weight.  It’s really tough to eat right and exercise.

If you need to lose weight please call 440-582-1484 if you’re in the Cleveland area.  Make an appointment and come on in.  I can’t wait to help you get started!

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Sun Safety – 4 Ways To Protect Your Skin

Hi, everybody!  Happy summer!  This week I had a special reader request.  Before you all head off to play in the sun, I’d like to review 4 sun safety tips to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

smileysun

Before you accuse me of being a party pooper, remember I live in northern Ohio!  I like a bright sunny summer day as much as the next person 🙂  However, I know that sun exposure (and in particular sunburn) is a major risk factor for the development of skin cancer.

Here are some links if you’re interested in more background information:

So how can we protect our skin?  There are a number of things to do.  Stay out of the sun during peak intensity, cover up, wear sunscreen, and take vitamin D.

1.  Stay out of the sun during the times of peak sun intensity.  Typically this is from 10 AM to 3 PM every day.  This goes for cloudy days too!  Interestingly enough, the states with the highest risk of skin cancer include Washington and Oregon.  Cloud central, right?  While nobody really knows why, it’s suspected that people there underestimate their exposure because of the cloud cover, and don’t wear sunscreen as regularly as those who live in sunnier places.

2.  Cover up!  Wear a lightweight long-sleeved shirt and long pants, and a wide-brimmed hat.  There’s a big hat-wearing culture shift that has happened in Australia due to the high risk of skin cancer there.

3.  If you can’t cover up, wear a waterproof sunscreen, at least SPF 15, and reapply it often.  There has been recent controversy about the UV-blocking ingredients in sunscreen causing endocrine problems and actually increasing skin cancer rates.  I did a PubMed search (the NIH’s database of ALL published scientific research) and found no studies at all documenting increased cancer risk in those that use sunscreen.  My family and I use Shaklee’s Enfuselle SPF 30.

4.  Take vitamin D!  In northern Ohio we don’t get enough direct sunlight in winter to make vitamin D in our skin, and almost everyone is deficient.  There is evidence that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of sunburn.  If you’re not sure you’re getting enough vitamin D (it’s estimated that we need about 1500 units daily, on average) ask your doctor for a blood test.  Bet you can guess which vitamin D product we use!

I want to take a minute to talk about tanning beds.  They are incredibly dangerous from a skin cancer standpoint.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies tanning beds as carcinogenic.  Melanoma risk increases by 75% when tanning bed use occurs before age 35.  This is really disturbing when you think how common tanning bed use is in teenage girls.

Lastly I would like to comment on the cumulative nature of skin damage from sun exposure.  It builds up over time.  Many people think that sunscreen isn’t effective to reduce skin cancer risk because the incidence of skin cancer is still going up in spite of the heavy push to use sunscreen.  Well it’s only been in the last 20 years or so that sunscreen use has been on the rise.  I’m in my 40s and when I was a kid nobody used sunscreen.  You burned at the beginning of the summer, “got your base tan” and then happily played in the sun all summer long.  The most dangerous time to get a sunburn is when you are a child.  Those of you with children out there, please protect them from sunburn.  Not only is it unnecessary and uncomfortable, it will increase their risk of a preventable cancer later in their lives.

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Why Buy Organic? And When?

Hi, everybody!  This week I had a request to review the difference between organic and nonorganic produce.  I had a good general sense of the difference, but I wanted to do a (reasonably) thorough review for you.  Off I went to the Internet!

So what does it mean when an item is marketed as “organic?”  First of all, you should know that the FDA doesn’t have a definition for the term “organic.”  However, the USDA oversees the National Organic Program which DOES regulate organic crops and livestock.  Briefly, organic food is produced without the use of “synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering.”

Ewww!  So does that mean that NON-ORGANIC food can be produced WITH the use of this stuff?  Yes.  Yes it does.  If you see this seal (below) on the food packaging, it is produced with at least 95% organic foodstuffs.

organicseal

On the Web I found a few organizations that do a pretty good job of distilling the facts into easily digested summaries.  One is the Environmental Working Group, an organization that sees itself as an environmental health research and advocacy group.  They publish their “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” lists which list the fruits and veggies you can (more or less) safely eat from conventional sources, and which should be purchased organic.  They also have a number of consumer guides available for download.  I really like the one called “Good Food On A Tight Budget.”   You can use the guide online, which has tabs for different food categories like Fruits, Vegetables, Protein and Dairy.  You can also print the hard-copy booklet if that’s easier.

So is organic food better than nonorganic food?  In spite of many studies being done, there is no evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally-grown food.  The decision to buy organic is therefore more about what ISN’T in your food than about what IS in there.  Because organic farmers must not use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and other chemicals, there is little chance of exposure to residues of these chemicals on the food you eat.

Speaking of chemicals…  I wanted to say a few words about drinking water.  It seems silly to me to concentrate on harmful chemicals in food and not mention the chemicals in drinking water.  If you want to check, the Cleveland municipal water supply’s water quality report from 2012 is available here.  I looked and was amazed at the amount of stuff they DON’T test groundwater for!  No pesticides, no herbicides or lawn fertilizers you would expect to be in groundwater runoff.

I’ve been using Shaklee’s Get Clean tabletop water pitcher for years.  I would highly recommend anyone NOT interested in drinking pesticides and fertilizers with their water look into purchasing one.  It is certified by the Water Quality Association to remove lead and volatile organic compounds (not all pitcher filters are).  It produces twice as much drinking water per filter as most other filters, and the only thing you discard is the carbon block.  Everything else is reusable and made from BPA-free plastic.  Check my website for more information or to purchase your own starter kit.  I guarantee if you try it you will love drinking the fresh clean water 🙂

This post was really just meant to scratch the surface of the 0rganic-produce discussion.  Please comment below with your feedback or any other questions you have.  Do you think you will change your food choices based on this information?

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What’s On Your Berries?

Today is my first foray into video blogging!

I’m taking you with me to the farmer’s market.  We’re going shopping, then I’m going to show you how to use Basic H2 from Shaklee to clean your produce.  Wait til you see what’s on there!

Here are some links for you:

Countryside Farmer’s Market – we went to Howe Meadow in Cuyahoga Falls

If you’d like to see how Basic H2 can get all your produce clean, click here to order your own bottle!  It’s $12.15 for a 16-oz bottle that makes 48 gallons of cleaning solution (the same strength I used in the video).  Check the Uses sheet below to see how many different ways you can use Basic H2!

Basic H 2 Uses sheet

BTW – my videographer for the segments filmed at the market graduated kindergarten Tuesday. Pretty good job, huh?

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Chronic Headaches: What Can I Do?

I’ve had a theme this week!  I’ve been seeing a lot of patients with chronic headaches.  I thought I’d review a little about headache for you.  I know a lot of people suffer with headaches without understanding much about them.

headache-clip-art

First of all, chronic daily headache is defined as having a headache on 3 or more days per week.  That’s a lot of headache days!  By the time people come in to see me, often it has progressed to a constant headache.  Usually the patient has tried just about every over-the-counter medication available, with no relief.  Some people have taken so much ibuprofen that they are also suffering with heartburn and upper abdominal pain from ulcers and reflux.

There are three “types” of headache and all three can progress to chronic daily headache.  By the time the headache is chronic it can be tough to sort out which type started it all, and honestly it doesn’t really matter in the chronic setting.

The most common type of headache is tension-type.  It generally is described as “tight” or “band-like.”  This type also often affects the neck and upper back with tight, sore muscles.  It is usually associated with stress.

Another type of headache is migraine-type.  This type almost always starts in teens and young adults.  In women it may be tied to the menstrual cycle (so-called “menstrual migraine”).  Usually it is on one side of the head, centered around the eye, and pounding or throbbing in quality.  Bright lights and loud sounds can make the headache worse.  It may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.  Usually going to sleep in a dark, quiet room helps these headaches.

The third major headache type is sinus headache.  Anybody who has had a horrible cold with sinus pain and pressure knows what this feels like.  People who suffer with chronic allergies or who have a cold or sinus infection are the ones who get this type of headache.  It generally is located in the forehead or upper cheeks, is associated with a stuffy and/or runny nose, and is relieved by decongestants.

So now that we know the different types of headache, what makes a tension headache turn into a chronic headache?  Nobody really knows for sure.  We do know that stress and sleep problems predispose to headache.  We also know that headaches (migraine in particular) run in families.  There is also evidence that nutritional deficiencies predispose to chronic headaches.

There is a gene mutation that seems to make people need more B vitamins.  It was first diagnosed in people who have early heart disease and a problem called hyperhomocysteinemia (yep, not only can I say it, I can spell it too LOL!).  It’s interesting to find that not only do these folks tend to have high blood homocysteine which accelerates heart disease, they also suffer chronic headaches.  Giving them high-dose B vitamins helps their headaches as well as brings their homocysteine levels down.

I read a really cool study where they checked chronic headache sufferers for the gene and treated them with high-dose B vitamins to see if the headaches responded, and they did.  But they also treated the headache sufferers that did NOT have the gene and found that they got better too!

So what do I do for somebody who has been suffering with chronic headaches?  After I make sure they don’t have a brain tumor (!) I give them a couple of pieces of advice.  First they need to make sure they’re getting enough sleep at night.  Stress management is also helpful (check here for more info).

The first “pills” I put chronic headache sufferers on are a high-quality B complex and a multivitamin.  And it works!  Only very rarely do I need to progress to any prescription medications.  Patients are very happy with such a safe and natural treatment 🙂

Since I work closely with the Shaklee Corporation (check here for the reasons why) I always recommend their products.  I have found that many people coming in to talk about headaches are already taking a store-brand multivitamin, but when they make the switch they feel better.  Will a better brand of vitamin make a difference for you?  Try it and see!  Follow this link to choose the products that are best for you.

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