Diet Change And Depression

Depression and anxiety are incredibly common symptoms that we see in primary care. It is estimated that 75-90% of visits to doctors are related to problems caused or made worse by stress. I was so excited to see a new study published showing a link between diet change and depression symptoms!

We all have to eat. Most people recognize that our diet has a huge impact on our health. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers, obesity and many other illnesses are impacted by what we eat. Doctors spend a lot of time advising people to eat less sugar, less saturated fat, and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many people don’t realize what you eat affects your mood, too! I’ve had great success with nutritional supplements in helping people with depression and anxiety feel better. A new research study has shown a very clear association between diet change and depression as well.

Researchers in Australia studied 76 young adults with depression and anxiety symptoms. They were randomly assigned to two groups – one group got no intervention, and one group got instructions to improve their diet via a 13-minute video they could re-watch whenever they wanted to.

They were instructed to increase their intake of

  • vegetables to 5 servings per day
  • fruits to 2-3 servings per day
  • whole grains to 3 servings per day
  • lean protein (lean meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes) to 3 servings per day (Remember, plant sources are healthier than animal)
  • unsweetened dairy to 3 servings per day
  • fish to 3 servings per week
  • nuts and seeds to 3 tablespoons per day
  • olive oil to 2 tablespoons per day

They were also instructed to take 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon most days. They were to DECREASE their intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fatty or processed meats and soft drinks. They were given sample menus and handouts answering common questions as well.

After 3 weeks the average depression questionnaire scores had not changed in the control group, not surprisingly. However, in the diet-change group the scores had returned to normal! And the improvement was maintained when they were rechecked after 3 months.

This study supports what I’ve said for a long time. Depression and anxiety are not just related to stress or genetics. Our nutrition strongly impacts our brains’ ability to manage and cope with stress. A crappy diet predisposes us to depression and anxiety, and we can improve our mood by improving our diet.

If you struggle with stress, depression and/or anxiety, improving your diet is something you can do TODAY. Improving your diet is as effective as medication, and works just as quickly. It also has no side effects! What are you waiting for?!

QUESTION: Do you see a link between how you eat and how you feel?

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Kids And Martial Arts

Do you worry about your kids?  Do you worry that they will grow up overweight and/or obese?  Are you concerned they will be the target of bullies?  Worse, will they BECOME bullies?  Are you seeing a tendency for them to boss their friends and classmates around?  Are they clumsy and prone to injury?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, martial arts training would help.  There is lots of evidence that martial arts training helps children grow up healthy and happy, able to interact comfortably in groups and one-on-one.

My family has participated in martial arts for my children’s whole lives, and over half of my life.  I have seen with my own eyes remarkable results in behavior, self-esteem and self-confidence both in children and adults.

Children with autism-spectrum disorders who have shown improvement in their ability to tolerate touch.  Children with ADHD who are able to meditate quietly for short periods.  Children with little or no self esteem or self confidence who gradually bloom into skilled teachers and leaders on (and off) the mat.

What does the science say?  There are LOTS of scientific studies published on martial arts training in kids.  Kids who study martial arts tend to enjoy physical activity more than those who don’t.  Martial arts is effective for prevention of fall-related injuries.  Martial arts training improves creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline.

Martial arts training benefits adults too.  I’ve seen adults with asthma develop vastly better lung function.  Core strength and stamina are particular targets of martial arts training.  Mindfulness, meditation, and stress relief are core principles.

If you choose to enroll your child in a martial arts program, how should you go about it?  Look for a school that particularly emphasizes teaching children (not as an afterthought).

Go to your prospective school(s) and observe classes.  See if the children have plenty of time to ask questions and understand the exercises and techniques.  See if the master or sensei of the school teaches the children him- or herself, or if classes are taught primarily by junior instructors.  Talk to the other parents and get an idea of what improvements they have seen in their children, as a result of the training.

Two other concerns to make sure you address before enrolling your child:

  • What is the teacher’s attitude towards bullying?  Does he or she specifically address measures to prevent and handle bullying in and outside of school?
  • What are the safety measures taken?  Injury prevention is a huge issue in martial arts, especially with developing children’s growing bones and flexible joints.  Make sure safety equipment such as mouthguards and groin protection are worn whenever contact is expected.

If you choose to enroll your child in a martial arts class, you should consider taking classes yourself.  Spending time on the mat is a great way to relieve stress and build strength, endurance and confidence that you can handle challenges that come your way.  If you’re not interested in external, combat-style arts you can consider Tai Chi, which is gentle and meditative but still has great health benefits.

martial arts

Credit: thesilentmind.com

Martial arts training is of benefit to the whole family.  Give it a try!  Your results should speak for themselves.

QUESTION:  Have you tried martial arts?  What was your experience?

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Protein Intake Changes In Seniors

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that our diet changes over time. We like different foods, we tolerate different foods, we CHOOSE different foods at different stages of life. As we get older, these diet changes impact our chances of getting certain diseases.

There was a study published recently that looked at protein intake in seniors. They found that WHERE the protein in your diet comes from is associated with your risk of aging in an unhealthy way.

Researchers in Spain studied over 1000 seniors and had them fill out questionnaires about their diet and other habits and about their health status. Following them for over 8 years, they found that changes in where their dietary protein intake came from was associated with changes in their health status.

protein rich foods

Seniors who increased their calorie intake from vegetable protein showed healthier aging markers than those who decreased their plant protein intake. Similar changes were NOT seen in those who increased animal protein in their diet.

We have many instances of plant foods helping people improve their health and reduce their risk of disease. This is just one more example of the benefits of protein rich plant foods (like nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, soy, quinoa and others) for human health.

This won’t come as a surprise to many of my long-term readers who know I’ve been a plant-based eater for over 8 years. With my medical patients I recommend a plant-based diet for just about all humans. In fact I can’t think of a single condition that is improved by eating meat or dairy.

Looking for a simple way to get more plant protein in your diet? Yep, I’ve got a Shaklee solution! We’ve got both soy and non-soy options and they are super tasty – we guarantee you’ll like them. Want more suggestions? Shoot me an email at DrJen@jenniferwurstmd.com and let’s talk!

QUESTION: What are YOUR favorite protein-rich foods? Do you tend to reach for meat and dairy? Will this info change your habits?

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Tai Chi To Prevent Falls in Seniors

A few years ago I went running in my neighborhood on Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and flowers were blooming. I wound up limping home with blood dripping off my hands because I caught my foot on some uneven pavement and went sprawling.

The worst thing that happened to me with that fall was skin off my hands and my left forearm and difficulty typing at work for a few days. (Yay for jiu jitsu training and knowing how to fall properly!) For older patients, though, a fall can result in a much worse outcome. Hip fractures from falls result in surgery and extended time in rehab. About 25% of elderly patients who suffer a hip fracture never are able to leave the nursing home and live independently afterwards. Fall-related complications are the fifth leading cause of death in people over age 65.

There is a gentle form of exercise that promotes strength, balance and relaxation. It also happens to be a formidable martial art for those who want to study that side of the practice. It is ideal for seniors because it is simple to learn a set of moves, can be done anywhere, and generally is taught in a group setting (thereby promoting social interaction). At the beginning it is not physically demanding although as one progresses in practice moves can be modified to provide more physical benefits.

This exercise has been practiced for thousands of years. It is Tai Chi.

tai chi
Multi-ethnic group of adults practicing tai chi in park. Main focus on senior man (60s) in blue shirt.

I’ve studied Tai Chi since I was a teenager and have found it very relaxing and helpful with stress management and with my health. On days when I’m tired or have an injury and can’t do a full gym workout (or full martial art workout for that matter) I can always do Tai Chi.

Researchers have found that seniors who practice Tai Chi are much less likely to fall than those who don’t. They reviewed 18 research studies looking at almost 4000 participants. The researchers found that those who practiced Tai Chi were much less likely to fall than those that didn’t practice. In fact the effect was so strong that one fall would be prevented for every 10 seniors who practiced Tai Chi. That’s better than statins for preventing heart attacks!

If you or someone you love is getting older, worried about falling, limiting themselves due to fear of falling, or otherwise in need of exercise and social interaction, please check out a Tai Chi class. There are introductory classes available just about everywhere through adult community education or you can look up private studios near you. Tai Chi players

If you are located in northern Ohio I would encourage you to check out the non-profit studio where my family and I study Tai Chi and other martial arts: The Silent Mind in Twinsburg. We have free introductory classes, membership assistance for those struggling financially, and a wide variety of programs for everyone. Kids, teens and adults, beginners and experts, anyone will find something of interest here. Come play with us!

QUESTION: Have you studied (or do you currently study) Tai Chi or another martial art? What has been your experience?

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The Prove It Challenge

Whew! I just got back from a week in Las Vegas, attending Shaklee’s Global Conference. It was my 8th Conference and, as far as I’m concerned, the best so far!

There were NO new products revealed. Better than that. Shaklee has unveiled the simplest way to feel better in 30 days: the Prove It Challenge. Please watch this video to learn more about this new program!

I run across a lot of people who don’t feel well. They feel sluggish. They have digestive problems. They catch every cold and flu bug they come across. They suffer with stress and anxiety, can’t sleep, feel tired. They struggle with their weight and their joints hurt. They have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, any number of problems that contribute to poor health.

I ALSO run across a lot of people who suffer with poor FINANCIAL health. They work two jobs to make ends meet. They live paycheck to paycheck. They aren’t able to take vacations, travel or live their best life. The Prove It Challenge is ALSO a good opportunity for these folks! More on that later…

So what’s the Prove It Challenge? Pretty simple:

Start with the 7-Day Healthy Cleanse. A 7-day liver cleanse (NO not a colon cleanse, no staying close to the bathroom for a week, LOL!) to encourage the liver to clear the backlog of toxins that tends to build up in the body. Very clean eating with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lots of fresh clean water, and a simple supplement packet in the morning and at night. The Cleanse by itself improves focus and energy, improves sleep, improves digestion and reduces cravings while jump-starting weight loss. And it’s free with the Prove It Challenge!

For 30 days you take one Vitalizer strip and replace your breakfast with a Life Shake. Vitalizer comes in formulations for women, for men and for seniors. One unusual thing is that Shaklee makes Vitalizer Gold (for seniors) with and without vitamin K. The without-vitamin-K formulation is for those who take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin) for heart and blood clotting problems. It’s really hard to find a multivitamin without vitamin K for those who take blood thinners – look no farther, Vitalizer Gold without vitamin K is for you!

Life Shake comes in several flavors and two protein blends. The soy protein blend comes in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and cafe latte. The non-soy plant protein blend comes in just chocolate and vanilla. All of them are yummy! Both blends provide 20 grams of non-GMO plant protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. They both have 6 grams of prebiotic fiber to aid digestion and keep you full longer. Both have 23 vitamins and minerals and are free of artificial ingredients like colors, sweeteners and flavors. And they are gluten free, low glycemic and keto-friendly with no added sugar and less than 1 gram total sugar per serving.

If you do the 7-Day Healthy Cleanse, take one Vitalizer Strip daily and replace your breakfast with a Life Shake for one month and do not feel amazing, Shaklee will cheerfully refund your money. Try taking the empty containers of a month’s worth of supplements and meal replacement shakes back to your local vitamin store and asking for your money back – you won’t have much success!

But Shaklee has been offering a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee on completely empty packages for over 60 years. Over that 60 years less than 1/3 of 1% of products have been returned. Pretty amazing to have a 99.7% satisfaction rate over 60+ years!

The Prove It Challenge is a simple way to start your health journey. It is also a simple way to start improving your finances. One problem I hear from people I discuss Shaklee’s business opportunity with is that there are 350+ products – how do you keep it all straight?! The answer is, you don’t need to. The Prove It Challenge is a simple way to share the benefits of better nutrition with your friends and family while earning an income from home.

If you’ve been considering a home based business (and studies have shown over 50% of people will have a side hustle of some sort in their life) please email me and let’s talk! I don’t know if Shaklee is right for you, right now, but we should definitely talk about it!

So what now? If you need to feel better or would like to lose weight, please click this link to check out the Prove It Challenge. You can order from this link and you’ll get your 7-Day Healthy Cleanse, your membership and your shipping for free! If you’re already a member of my Shaklee family, this offer is only good for us until August 31, 2019, so order now! Any questions? Please email me at drjen@jenniferwurstmd.com!

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The Nutrient We Miss The Most

I spend most of my time (in a professional sense) talking to people about nutrition.  I encourage them to eat right.  To get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  To skip the processed food, junk food and fast food.  To take a good-quality multivitamin.

But most people still skimp on one very important nutrient.  What is it?  What is the nutrient we miss the most?

It’s WATER.

Think about it.  Your body needs about one ounce of water per day for every two pounds of body weight (up to about 100 ounces per day).  For the average person that’s 60-80 ounces of water, or a half gallon or more.

Not coffee, not iced tea, not soda or lemonade.  WATER.

Water helps keep your blood pressure down.  It removes toxins and improves your digestion.  It fights fatigue and keeps your mind sharp.

When you’re a little thirsty, this can be interpreted by the brain in as hunger.  So staying well hydrated helps control appetite and promotes weight loss.

Every organ in your body depends on you staying well hydrated.  From your kidneys to your digestive system to your brain, water is critical for normal function.

So why is it so hard for us to get enough water?  I can’t speak for you, but I know why I have a hard time staying hydrated.

First of all, the most plentiful source of drinking water is the kitchen tap.  And tap water is NASTY.  Have you tasted it lately?  Ew!  It doesn’t help that I know more than is good for my mental health about what is actually in our tap water.  Pesticide runoff, pharmaceuticals, chlorine, substances like orthophosphate added during water treatment, and other chemicals interact to make me not want to drink straight from the tap (or from the garden hose, but that’s another story…).

Your local water department has water quality reports available for download at their website, for those who use city water.  Cleveland’s water quality report for 2018 is available here, if you’d like to see.

The second problem I have with getting enough water to drink is that when I drink the water I should, I have to pee.  A LOT.  When I’m in the office that’s inconvenient but manageable.  When I’m traveling or pressed for time it becomes difficult for me to get all the water I need.

Honestly, there isn’t a good fix for this problem, I just tell myself to suck it up.  Every time I go, I think of all the toxins being washed away and that makes it easier to just do it.

The last problem my patients report with drinking copious amounts of water is that it’s BORING.  “I don’t like water, it doesn’t taste good.”  Which is silly, because fresh clean water has no taste at all.  It’s clear and cold and wet and refreshing!

What people are telling me when they say they don’t like the way water tastes is that they have trained themselves to expect flavor from everything that goes in their mouth, whether it should have flavor or not.  What I tell them is that their tastebuds may not like it (for now) but their bodies certainly do like water.  In fact, they NEED it, and they do NOT need all the sugar and flavorings and additives in their usual beverage of choice.

So if our tap water is so gross, what water should we be drinking?

Bottled water?  No, that’s not a good choice.  For one thing, it’s expensive.  It also puts tons of unnecessary plastic in the landfill and isn’t necessarily cleaner or safer than drinking tap water.  Often we don’t know where the water comes from or what testing was done.

My choice for lots of fresh, clean drinking water is Shaklee’s tabletop pitcher filter.  It is certified to remove lead (most tabletop pitcher filters, including Brita and Pur, are not) and has a replaceable carbon filter so that everything else is reused.

Do you have a water filter at home?  You can check the Water Quality Association’s website to see what your filter is proven to remove from the water you drink.

And it’s CHEAP!  Just did a price check on Deer Park spring water at Giant Eagle.  Buying bottled water (this brand, anyway), costs $2.21 per gallon and leaves you with lots of plastic bottles to deal with.  Shaklee’s Year of Get Clean Water costs just 33 cents per gallon at member price, 39 cents per gallon at retail price.  And after the initial investment of the reusable plastic pitcher, replacing the carbon filters gives you clean, fresh water for only 25 cents per gallon retail price.

So what are you going to do about your hydration problem?  For me, there’s only one choice.  Saving money, drinking fresh clean water, and avoiding putting unnecessary plastic in the landfill is a win-win-win situation!

QUESTION: Do you drink enough water?  How do you get your drinking water?

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Don’t Wash Your Chicken! Do This Instead

Yes, you read that right. If you are in the habit of washing raw chicken before you cook it, STOP. Don’t wash your chicken!

Chicken is the most commonly eaten meat in the United States these days. Whether fried, poached, broiled, baked or added to soups, stews and chili, Americans LOVE to eat chicken.

Many of us learned to rinse or wash raw meat before cooking it. In the case of chicken, this is a bad idea. Raw chicken often carries salmonella, shigella or campylobacter bacteria. If you soak the meat in water, the bacteria get into the water which is easy to spread around your kitchen.

The bacteria commonly found in raw chicken cause food poisoning, also called gastroenteritis. These illnesses cause abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases people can have intestinal bleeding or become dehydrated, causing them to need hospitalization for antibiotics, IV fluids and symptom control medications.

If you are cooking with raw meat, especially poultry, cleanliness is very important. Keep the raw meat separate and avoid touching it to anything that can’t be thoroughly cleaned. This includes wooden utensils and cutting boards, which tend to absorb juices and are difficult to sanitize. After handling raw meat wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing the ABC song twice).

Transfer the meat directly from its packaging to the container it will be cooked in. If you will apply breading to the meat make sure you touch the raw meat with only one hand and keep the other hand clean for touching everything else.

Prevention of foodborne illness means cooking meat thoroughly. Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F, or until the juices run clear and the meat is opaque all the way through.

Of course, if you really want to be as safe as possible from foodborne illness, just don’t eat meat. At all. In one survey published in 2012, 41% of raw chicken sold in the Alabama was contaminated with Campylobacter. Poultry, fish, shellfish, unpasteurized dairy and eggs are common causes of foodborne illness. Cooking all these foods thoroughly and NOT washing them prior to cooking is essential.

It is true that plant foods are the cause of food poisoning from time to time. Romaine lettuce, anyone? Rice, berries, melon and sprouts are also known to be higher-risk foods. In the case of plant foods, washing them thoroughly before eating them reduces the risk of food-borne infection.

In fact, my first EVER YouTube video was about how to use Shaklee’s Basic H2 nontoxic cleaning solution to wash strawberries. Want to see? Click this link 🙂

We all want to eat healthy. Healthy, safe cooking means knowing what to wash and what NOT to wash. WASH your fruits, veggies and leafy greens. DON’T wash your chicken!

QUESTION: What do you do to avoid food borne infections?

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The Unhealthiest Professions

How does someone’s job make them unhealthy? Does it force them to sit for long times? Do they have to go without easy access to a bathroom? Does it make it hard for them to exercise or get good quality sleep? What are the unhealthiest professions among my patients?

Now, I haven’t made a study of this, haven’t gone to the primary literature to find research articles or anything. And some professions, like personal trainers, physical therapists, dietitians and religious clergy seem to be very healthy in general.

But there are definitely professions that seem to have the “perfect storm” of unhealthy lifestyles.

Bus Driver

Bus drivers (whether school or city or long-distance coaches) have many lifestyle challenges that impact their health. In my experience school bus drivers have the most problems, usually because they don’t recognize how much their work is impacting their health.

If I were locked into a chair for 2-3 hours at a time and unable to access a bathroom, I would avoid drinking fluids for those hours. If I had no access to a refrigerator to keep fresh foods cold, I might feel I had to eat takeout or fast food for lunch every day.

Add to these challenges the enforced inactivity and high level of stress of being responsible for bus-loads of children and you’ve got a pretty toxic mess in many respects.

Truck Driver

Short-haul truck drivers have many of the same challenges as bus drivers do. Long-distance drivers, ironically, often have less problems because they KNOW they are behaving in ways that are unhealthy. Awareness is growing among trucking companies that prolonged sitting increases health risk, and driving hours restrictions are helping.

However, long-haul and short-distance truck drivers both have issues with prolonged sitting, unhealthy food choices and lack of exercise. It is just very hard for people in these professions to make healthy choices over the long run.

Night Shift Worker

If you work at night, you are fighting an uphill battle to stay healthy. I work in a 24-7-365 profession myself, so I know what I’m talking about. There are professions that MUST have night shift workers but working nights is incredibly hard on the body.

We are a daytime species. Our brains are hard-wired to sleep in the cool, quiet dark and to be awake in the bright, warm, noisy day. Even our livers know we should not eat at night.

Even for those of us who work in the daytime, have access to refrigerators and bathrooms and aren’t forced to sit for long periods, staying healthy is a challenge. Add work constraints and things can get really tough.

If you have a work environment that makes it difficult to practice good habits, please take stock and change what you can. Meal prepping and taking meals to work, even if you have to take a small cooler (click here to see my new lunch bag!), is worth the time and effort and saves money. Tracking your steps with a pedometer will help you be mindful of your activity level.

Drinking plenty of water helps keep your energy up. Making a point to get out in the fresh air and nature, practicing your faith, and spending time with loved ones helps to mitigate the effects of a job that is physically and mentally stressful.

YOU are important! Sacrificing your health in pursuit of money will only work for so long – eventually that will backfire. Take care of YOU, you’re the only one who can!

QUESTION: What other professions do you feel make it difficult to stay healthy? Do you have any ideas about how to make healthy choices in spite of your job?

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Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day everyone!  Well, I’m a few days early, as it’s not until Monday, but I thought I’d talk a little about the history of Earth Day, as well as some things you can do to help protect the environment.

Earth Day was begun in 1970 in response to an oil spill off Santa Barbara, California.  It was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson who wanted a day to teach people about the impact of environmental change and educate about how our choices make an impact on the natural world.  There are Earth Day events all around the world nowadays, with the day commemorated in some way in nearly every small town and big city in America.

Many of the Earth Day events focus on the interrelatedness of humans with other species.  Everyone agrees that what happens to the Earth’s ecosystems impacts our species eventually.  It’s easy to see that overfishing will decrease our access to fish in our food supply, but subtle downstream effects may be more difficult to assess.  We all agree that using less fossil fuels is good in the abstract, but people disagree (often fairly violently) over what should be done about it.

Protecting unique ecosystems and unique species is a worthy goal, but sometimes it’s not clear what an individual can do to protect the environment.  Here’s a few things you CAN do:

1.  Reduce, reuse and recycle the packaging on products you buy.  Buy concentrated products that are later diluted with water.  Buy products that are packaged in pouches rather than bottles (less plastic) and in larger packages rather than smaller (less packaging per unit of product).  Use a tabletop water filter instead of buying bottled water.

Lunchmeats are often sold in reusable plastic containers that are nice for packing lunches.  Use washable dishrags rather than paper towels, and cloth napkins rather than paper ones.  Use real silverware and china instead of paper and plastic.  Use washable water bottles rather than buying bottled water in single-serving containers.

Find out what classes of materials your local recycling center accepts (they all take glass and aluminum/steel cans, but they vary on what class of plastics are accepted).  The type of plastic (signified by a number) is stamped on the package in the triangle-shaped recycle symbol.  Choose products packaged in plastics that you can recycle, if possible.  Here’s an example:

Plastic recycling symbol2. Eat mostly or exclusively plants.  Animal agriculture is one of the biggest identifiable threats to our environment.  The vast majority of corn grown in the United States is grown to feed livestock.  It takes immense amounts of land, water and energy to raise livestock for food.  Let’s not even talk about the cruel and inhumane treatment animals raised for food suffer.  And people who eat mostly or exclusively plants are healthier than those who eat animal based foods in large amounts.  Eating plants is better for people and for the environment.

3. Buy organic foods, and spend your money in ways that support environmentally responsible solutions.  Vote with your dollars.  The more demand there is for food that is raised in a way that is gentle with our planet, the more available and less expensive it will become.  This goes for renewable energy like solar and wind power.  Unlike some, I don’t believe that fossil fuels or animal agriculture should be outlawed.  This will damage our economy and hurt those who depend on them for their livelihood.  A gradual shift away as education and innovation increases demand for other alternatives is better.

Most of you know that I’ve been working with the Shaklee Corporation for the last 10 years.  I wanted to say a few things as well about Shaklee’s efforts to help the environment.  Right from the first day, Dr. Forrest Shaklee’s motto was “Living In Harmony With Nature.”  He believed that his company’s goal should be to develop products that improve the health of both people and the planet.

In the 1960s Shaklee produced one of the very first biodegradable vegetable-based nontoxic cleaning solutions, Basic H.  It is still available today, and a 16-oz bottle costing $12.15 retail makes 48 gallons of regular-strength cleaning solution.  It will clean windows and mirrors, fruits and vegetables, cars and boats and degrease your car’s engine.  I’ve used it nearly every way you can use it, and it works great.  The whole line of Get Clean products is nontoxic and safe for you, your family and your pets.

Shaklee provides support and nontoxic cleaning (and other) products to environmental research projects such as the Cousteau Society and the Whale Conservation Institute.  The company has organized and supported the planting of over 1 million trees.  Shaklee was the first company in the world to be certified Climate Neutral in 2000, offsetting carbon emissions by using renewable energy (solar, wind, etc) and planting trees.  The company has received numerous honors and awards for its leadership in environmental activism.

I’m very proud to partner with Shaklee to improve both the lives of my patients and the health of the planet.  Shaklee is offering free shipping on orders containing a Get Clean Starter Kit from now through April 26th, and will partner with American Forests to plant one tree for every starter kit purchased!  Here is a video that talks about the Get Clean Starter Kit.

Earth Day may be April 22, but we should be conscious of our impact on our planet every day, all year long.  One person alone can’t do much, but if we all pitch in and do a little every day (like reducing, reusing, recycling, eating more plants, eating organic and choosing environmentally-friendly products) we can make a big change together!

QUESTION:  What do you do to protect our planet?

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3 Ways To Stay Healthy While Traveling

BIG doings in our house this weekend!  My older son is taking a big trip – he’s going to Europe TOMORROW for Spring Break with a school group.  This mama is excited and nervous and…  did I already say nervous?  I did, didn’t I?

Earlier this week I had asked myself what I should write about this weekend.  Since my guy will be on the road I thought I would write about ways to stay healthy while traveling.  It’s not easy to keep your routines up while on vacation!  Getting OUT of your normal routine is a stressor, and as you know stress lowers your immune system and makes you more prone to pick up germs.

So how do you keep your immune system strong while traveling?  There are 3 major ways to stay healthy while traveling.

Get enough rest

Yep.  We tend to burn the candle at both ends while traveling.  Especially when we’re on a sightseeing trip, trying to cram as much as possible into a short time, we skimp on the downtime.  This is normal and natural, but you have to make sure to leave enough time for healthy rest.

You should ideally try to stay on your normal sleep schedule while traveling.  For those with kids, that means doing your best to stick to their normal wake-up times, naptimes and bedtimes.  You know your kids, and you know how flexible they are.  My own kids can sleep anywhere, anytime.  (They are related to their Aunt Becky who once slept through the whole car ride from Cincinnati to Hilton Head, only emerging for meals and rest stops.)

Traveling to Europe makes me think a little about jetlag.  Europe is too far to try to stay on home time, especially with tour activities.  After arriving home, getting extra sleep is very important to catch up.

Eat and drink healthy

When you’re traveling it’s easy to eat crap.  Fast food, junk food and unhealthy restaurant fare are quick and convenient.  Some of us overindulge in alcohol if we don’t have to drive or get up for work the next day.  (Not a problem for Chris and his fellow teenage tour mates!)  And often if you’re going to be trapped in an airplane seat you don’t want to drink as much water as you should.  Trust me, I get it!  Airplane lavatories are NOT where I want to spend my whole plane flight.

If you’re honest with yourself, you have to admit that you don’t FEEL well when you don’t EAT well.  And it’s not hard nowadays to find healthy alternatives.  Even at airports it is possible to find healthy foods to eat.  Salads, fruit, whole-grain breads, and unprocessed foods are not too hard to find, you just have to look for them, and ask if you don’t see them.

Depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing, make sure to adjust your water intake accordingly.  If I were going on a hike, walking a lot or doing something physically challenging I would be sure to drink more water.  Dehydration contributes to fatigue, can make motion sickness (like seasickness on cruise ships) worse, and can make you prone to mistakes.  Making avoidable errors while in a foreign country with unfamiliar customs and language is NOT ideal!

Take supplements

This is not nearly as important as the other two!  However, even though it is a distant third I felt I should mention it because it.  This can definitely contribute to feeling well and keeping your immune system strong.

You should pack and take your high-quality multivitamins, of course.  You wouldn’t leave home without your prescription medication, right?  Well you should bring along your normal supplement regimen too.  Vitamin C and echinacea are two supplements that help to support the immune system.

There are a number of supplements I use to stay healthy while traveling, and will send along with Chris.  Of course he will take his Vitalizer daily, and Vitalized Immunity will help support his immune system.

It’s easy to get out of your routine when traveling.  Burning the candle at both ends with fun activities, not sleeping enough, eating the wrong foods, overindulging in alcohol, skimping on water, and forgetting your supplements are common enough and can put you and your family at risk of getting sick.  With a little discipline and foresight, though, you can arrive back home after your trip with only great memories and WITHOUT any unwanted souvenirs!

Fun fact – “souvenir” is the French word for memory.  I’m praying hard for Chris to only bring home GOOD memories of his first trip to Europe!

QUESTION:  Is there anything else you do to stay healthy while traveling?

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