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Back to school often means the start of what we call the cold and flu season. With so many children sharing space, germs are inevitably part of the equation.  Conventional wisdom urges us to fear the germs and teaches us that the only way to keep yourself and your family healthy is to scrub, disinfect, and go to war with them! While it is important to practice good hygiene, it is time to shift focus to what we can do to boost our immune strength. With this approach, we are focused on building, maintaining, and nourishing our body’s natural abilities to withstand and cope with illness.  Instead of fearing the germs, let’s empower our bodies.

Dr. Shaw’s Top Ten Ways to Beat the Cold & Flu.

  1. Chiropractic Care. No surprise here! The nervous system supplies the nerves to the important immune system organs. A healthy nervous system means the immune system can function efficiently.  Additional adjustments outside your regular protocol while you are sick will give a boost to your immune system and help your body heal faster.  Don’t stay away when you are sick!
  1. Supplements. Whole food supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies can be used to up-regulate your immune system to help fend off illness. They can also be used in acute situations in higher doses so immune response is stronger and efficient. Avoid synthetic over the counter medications as they will distract your body from its job of healing.  Discuss what options are right for you during your next visit with Dr. Shaw.
  1. Healthy Diet.
    1. Rich in colorful vegetables and fruits.
    2. Quality protein (grass-fed, organic, wild): eggs, fish, organic meat, and poultry.
    3. Healthy fats: coconut oil, avocado oils, nuts oils, olive oil.
    4. Incorporate a variety of nuts and seeds.
    5. Limit grains except quinoa, buckwheat,  and wild rice.
  1. Healthy Gut. 80% of the immune system resides in the gut!!!  Take good care of it by avoiding food allergens (main culprits are gluten, dairy and soy) and by balancing gut flora with fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha.
  1. Avoid Toxins.
    • Hand sanitizers and flu shots are many people’s go to solutions, but they burden your system with chemicals and hinder your body’s ability to ward off illness.
    • Avoid consuming, inhaling, and absorbing chemical pollutants.
    • Choose organic foods and toxin-free personal products.
    • Avoid OTC medications.
    • Drink distilled or reverse osmosis water.
    • Choose natural cleaning products and avoid the use of commercial air fresheners.
    • Add plants to each room and crack a window all year round to improve air quality in your home.
  1. Reduce Sugar/Fructose/Carbs. Sugar competes for space in your immune cells with Vitamin C! The more sugar in your system, the less Vitamin C can get into your white blood cells causing immune suppression.
  1. Hydration and Minerals. Drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day to keep you hydrated. Your body needs water to flush the lymphatic system of viruses and bacteria.  Improve your body’s ability to absorb water by adding a pinch of sea salt to add minerals, and a squeeze of lemon to alkalize the water.  Coffee, black tea, smoking, and alcohol all dehydrate so minimize their consumption and be sure to up your water intake if you do consume them.
  1. Healthy Fats. Don’t be scared of fat but make sure they are the healthy fats.  Coconut oil, cocoa butter, butter, eggs, avocado, flax seed, sesame oil, olive oil, and wild caught fish are wonderful sources.
  1. Rest and Reducing Stress. Our adrenal glands are responsible for immune system response and strength so take good care of them by minimizing stress and make adequate sleep and down time a priority in your life.
  1. Essential Oils. Good quality pure essential oils can aid our immune function.  Many have antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-infectious properties making them a wonderful companion through the “flu season”.  Diffusing them and applying them topically can be beneficial.  Be sure you research the oils before using them.  They are incredibly potent!  Thieves oil is a great oil with many purposes and should be a staple in every home.


Muscle Soreness

“Just take an Advil”

I recently shared with another health care provider that I had started a new, intense workout program. I shared that the soreness of my muscles was something I had to stay on top of.  She responded, “Just take one Advil before and one Advil after.”  This is a very common response that most people would not think twice about.

So, what’s the big deal? 

Ibuprofen, the main constituent of Advil, can damage the kidneys.  People who are dehydrated are more at risk.  Because dehydration is a common risk of working out, Advil is actually a very bad choice.

What is a good choice for muscle soreness?

The answer is minerals!  Minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium actually help to neutralize lactic acid, improve hydration, and decrease muscle soreness without risking damage to the kidney, liver, or stomach lining.

There is also a great herb called  Boswellia serrata that not only help with pain but inflammation too.  Make sure you are getting it from a respected herbal source.

Finally, keep hydrated!  Be sure to give your body support during workouts and increase the amount of water you consume.


Sick care vs. Health care

There has been a lot of uncertainty with health insurance lately surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Debating the pros and cons of the new law is an important conversation to have, but the current discussion seems to overlook some very important issues.  It is time for an overall paradigm shift that would help us to see health insurance through a more realistic lens.

Calling it “health” insurance presumes health is the priority. In reality, it would be more accurate to call it “sick” insurance as the system requires you to be “sick” before you can use it.  It is imperative to understand our health insurance system measures success in terms of profit, not measurements of health.  Therefore, there is no incentive for the system to promote health or wellness.  It is time to stop relying on a for-profit private insurance company to determine what we can do for our health.  Health insurance is important to help insure us against a catastrophic illness or accident, but you and only you can insure your own health.

Statistically, the US is number one in emergency medicine but we are 78th in wellness care.  We can do better.  Health is not a mystery.  We know how to achieve it.  But, until our system is set up to have health as a measurement  of success, it is ultimately up to us to take responsibility for our health through diet, exercise, chiropractic care, nutritional supplements, and other holistic based modalities that nurture our body, mind, and spirit.  We will likely not see improvements to insurance coverage for health improving activities, it is up to you to invest in the most important asset you have.


Body Messages – Brown Skin Spots

One of the more popular new cosmetics product out recently is the “age spot” remover. These brown spots on the skin are not called age spots because you are growing older.

AGE stands for Advanced glycation end-product.
Translation: your body cannot handle all the sugar you are eating. You can think of it like the sugar is carmalizing under your skin.
Understand when I say sugar, I am also referring to carbs. Carbohydrates are a bunch of sugars all connected together. Some of the worst offenders are bagels, breads, pasta and rice.
Brown skin spots are minor considering what unstable blood sugar can do to your body. Internal inflammation, hormone imbalance, elevated triglycerides, PCOS, excessive weight, osteoarthritis, fatigue are just some of the symptoms.
Stablizing blood sugar relies heavily on getting enough protein and avoiding carbs. There are several diets that follow this basic idea; Phase II diet, Paleo diet, Mediterranean diet. The short version is protein and vegetables for every meal and get off the grains and sugar.


Infertility & Breast cancer

I opened my internet this morning to see a story about Guiliana Rancic and her decision to undergo a double masectomy. I have followed her and her husband’s struggle with infertility over the years but I had not heard that she was fighting breast cancer. Sadly, I wasn’t surprised.

So what does breast cancer have to do with fertility?
The answer is hormone imbalance.

Hormone imbalance comes in many different forms:

  • infertility
  • breast, uterine, ovarian cancers
  • severe menopause symptoms
  • early puberty
  • PMDD, severe PMS
  • Prostate hypertrophy & cancer in men

Unfortunately we are living in a toxic pool of hormone disrupters and while hormone imbalance is common, it is not normal.

There are some easy lifestyle tips you can implement to improve hormone balance:

  1. Stop all forms of HRT and hormonal birth control (esp. Yaz & Mirena)
  2. Eat one serving a day of cruciferous vegetables/day (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts)
  3. Avoid soy & plastics

These tips may not be enough to restore balance which is where nutritional therapy can help.
*A special note to those woman who have gone through IVF or are planning to go through IVF, the drugs are powerful hormone disruptors by design. Helping the body clear them safely through nutritional therapy helps to prevent other problems down the road.


Body Messages – Red Dots on Your Skin

Our bodies are often giving us messages, so do we know what they mean or that it is a message?
Red dots on the skin are an important message. They can show up anywhere on the body; arms, back, chest, face.

These little dots are an indication of too much estrogen in the body. They can show up on women or men. Men can get lots of them if they are taking synthetic testosterone since excess testosterone in a man’s body will turn into estrogen. Women can get them when the body is not filtering estrogen properly, from birth control or HRT. Anyone can get too much estrogen from non-organic animal products, plastics, soy, pesticides and many other sources.

If you have too much estrogen in the body, it can put women at risk for breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers and men at risk for prostate cancer. If you find little red dots on you or your family, pay attention to this very important message.

There are things you can do to help reduce estrogen in the body:

  • Eat 1 serving of cruciferous vegetables / day (kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts)
  • Avoid soy products
  • Switch to organic sources of animal products (milk, cheese, butter, meat, etc)
  • Seek natural alternatives to birth control & HRT
  • Avoid using all pesticides and herbicides