Wellness Detective Comments: Now that I have moved to South Etobicoke, and have a lakefront property, I have access to great sunlight for every season. Even though I intake Vitamin D, I make sure sit by window or take a walk by the lake or sit on my balcony during the summer months to get my daily dosage of sunlight. Here’s an article written by guest blogger, Dagmar Schoenrock:
During the winter, when the days are shorter and the temperatures dip lower, we may not be getting outdoors during the short daylight hours due to work, school, or simply because we don`t like to be out in the cold.
Because we`re limiting our number of hours in the outdoors, we`re also limiting our exposure to sunlight and therefore vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” and is vital to our health. It is called the sunshine vitamin because in summer, your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. In late autumn, the angle of the sun changes so that no matter how sunny our days are, your body is unable to make vitamin D through sun’s rays. This underproduction of vitamin D lasts until spring, making diet and/or supplements very important.
Vitamin D is best known for its role (together with calcium) in keeping your bones strong and lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Besides this, there are many more areas where vitamin D may help. There is enough research regarding its role in lowering cancer risk, especially colo-rectal and breast cancer, that the Canadian Cancer Society recommends adults living in Canada should consider taking vitamin D supplementation of 1000 IU a day during fall and winter. Adults at higher risk (older; with dark skin; who don’t go outside often; who wear clothing that covers most of their skin) should talk to their doctor about whether to take vitamin D supplementation of 1000 IU/day all year round.
Studies have linked low levels of vitamin D to other chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. There is some evidence that it also plays a role in keeping your immune system healthy and may be associated with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. So just how much vitamin D do you really need?
Health Canada recommendations are 600 IU (15 mcg) per day up to age 70 and 800 IU (20 mcg) per day over 70. The safe upper limit for adults is 4000 IU (100 mcg) per day. Osteoporosis Canada, on the other hand, recommends daily supplements of 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption. For adults over 50, supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU are recommended.
As far as your vegan diet is concerned, it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone. There are sources of vitamin D in mushrooms; however, my recommendation is to discuss with your health care provider what would be best in terms of supplements to meet your personalized needs.
Besides Vitamin D, it’s also never too early to start planning ahead for the sunny summer months too. Do you spend more time outdoors this summer? Do you protect your skin with sunscreen? What type of sunscreen do you use? Have you ever read the list of ingredients, and if so, do you know if they’re safe to put on your skin? I found out about the dangerous ingredients in sunscreen in a most roundabout way. A couple of years ago, when I was working on my L.E.A.N coaching certification (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition), I learned about properly reading nutrition labels on packaged foods. After cleaning out my pantry of foods containing dangerous ingredients, I carried this over from my kitchen to my bathroom.
I not only looked at what I was putting into my body, but also what I was putting onto my body. I was shocked to learn that many of the chemicals commonly found in health and beauty products are potentially carcinogenic. The biggest surprise came when I discovered our sunscreen contained “octyl methoxycinnamate”. This ingredient is in about 90% of most sunscreens and can turn extremely toxic when exposed to sunlight. Doesn’t that take your breath away? A sunscreen that turns toxic when exposed to sunlight. I ask myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?” As Zoltan Rona, MD, MSc states in his book Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin, “It’s safe to say that if you cannot pronounce it or eat it, you probably shouldn’t put it on your skin.
Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone are two of the most powerful free radical generators ever formulated in a laboratory. Free radicals are responsible for skin aging in the form of wrinkles, breakdown in collagen and elastin, and inflammation. Again I ask myself, “What’s wrong with this picture?” Zoltan Rona continues “Ingredients that are often used in ‘natural’ commercial sunscreens and that are safe to use include the following”:
Sunflower seed oil
Vitamin E (tocopherol)
By becoming an informed consumer and reading labels, you’ll know what to look for and what to avoid when choosing products. You’ll learn what’s safe to put onto your body and put into your body. Now go outside and enjoy the spring sunshine!
To reach Dagmar:www.MrsGreenjeansPlantsSeeds.com Author of “The Authorities – The Vegan Lifestyle Solution” https://www.facebook.com/MrsGreenjeansPlantsSeeds Tel. 905-392-7350 Suite 7F, 171 Main Street South, Newmarket, ON L3Y 3Y9
Wellness Detective Comments: I started drinking Almond Milk several years ago, as a healthier alternative to dairy milk. When I used to drink regular milk, I found that I always had much mucous in my system with ongoing aches and pains. I drink almond milk and also include it in the making of smoothies. Some benefits of drinking almond milk include:
2.Reduced caloric intake compared to dairy milk
3.Assists with bone strength with a percentage of calcium and vitamin D in each glass of milk
4.It has healthy fatty acids such as those found in fish
Consuming almond milk, adheres to the vegan lifestyle which prohibits the consumption of dairy and meat. I highly recommend that you start drinking almond milk today!
Wellness Detective Comments: I include Omega Fatty Acids in my daily intake of supplementation through a vegan oil option and I have a tablespoon of that daily. In addition I consume nuts as well such as almonds or brazil nuts. The Omegas can be taken in pill form or liquid or through the consumption of food items in one’s diet. It helps my joints and overall, I feel better. Here’s an article covering the topic further.
What are the best sources of Omega Fatty acids? Popular thought suggests that it is Fish Oil, and while that is certainly a fine way to achieve optimal amounts of these nutrients, there are other areas to look at. Mainly those which derive their content from Seeds and nuts.
Why would some choose something other then fish derived essential fatty acids? Perhaps they are vegetarian. This is a popular lifestyle choice and even though the vegetarian diet is healthy, most vegetarians would benefit from supplementation. How can the do this? Essential fatty acids are available in whole food form from eating Almonds, Walnuts, Flax seed. However, like most areas of nutrition, it is always advisable to supplement. One of the primary concerns is that most people may eat what they consider to be adequate, and while it is certainly beneficial to derive a great deal of the derived nutrient from food, it is simply impossible to do so unless one changes ones entire diet.
Think of the countries who have high levels of Omega 3 intake. Scandinavia, for instance, has a culture primarily designed around the consumption of seafood. Salmon, mackerel and other varieties all of which are high in Omega fatty acids. Couple this with their intake of berries, which is high as opposed to other countries and you have a cultural diet that is exceptionally positioned at preventing all forms of illness, be it Cancer or Heart Disease.
Borage oil and Flax Seed oil both provide high amounts of Omega 3’s and can be used for those who have objections to using fish oil. Many will use Borage Oil in conjunction with Flax seed so as to diversify the source of their Omega 3. One reason for doing this is that certain plants contain different levels and different types of the nutrients. Just as in Fish Oil, which contains DHA in large amounts, Flax Seed offers alpha-linolenic acid. Someone who did not have objection would be wise to take a variety of sources so as to have a complete profile.
One last consideration when discussing Fish Oil as a source for EFA’s. It is important to realize that Omega Fatty acids are not simple one particular nutrient but rather a family. And certain Omega Fatty acids are more prevalent in some foods than in others. For instance, Oats contain particular EFA’s, however if you were looking to find a specific EFA such as DHA, you would be well advised to consider Fish. Fish is in fact the primary way to get this particular Omega Fatty Acid. ALA, another acid, is converted in the body, but conversion rates differ and so for many the best decision is to simply take Fish oil. DHA, as is becoming increasingly apparent, is one of the most important Omega Fatty Acids. It role in cancer prevention, Alzheimer’s, and a whole host of other illnesses is well established.
Lastly, there are concerns when taking supplemental Fish Oil about mercury toxicity. These same concerns are there when eating fish such as salmon and tuna. So, one should be careful. However, most fish oil is not derived from Salmon. Some however, are. They tend to advertise it as such because it is seen as more desirable. The reason Salmon, Shark and other fish are high in mercury is that they are higher on the food chain. Most, not all, fish oil is derived from lower food chain fish. But always look and inquire for yourself. Go with a trusted brand, as with any supplement. Further information on how to chose a supplement and how to tell if the supplement you are deciding upon is actually healthy and delivers what you want look at this information. Realize that as there are little restrictions upon the production of supplements it is imperative that due diligence is undertaken and you go into your quest for health with as much information as possible.
Wellness Detective Comments: It was in summer of 2014 that I received a message on Facebook from Stephanie, a lovely young lady who referred me to Soul 7 .
We exchanged several emails and was informed of their program of cancer support for those undergoing conventional therapy. A few months went by and I decided in mid October to follow up. I booked my appointment and went today, Tuesday, October 28th, 2014. For the past few nights, I had a bit of back pain and was popping pain killers. I had an intake interview this afternoon and was invited to start treatment. I first experienced a meditative session that was so good, I feel asleep. I was covered with a blanket to keep warm.
After the meditation therapy, I was treated with electromagnetic vibrational therapy, along with a bio-mat that was laid on top of me. It was accompanied with sound therapy and it felt like I was transported to another place as it started off with sounds of rain. I finished my treatment session, and the aches and pains that I had in my lower back, just disappeared. The key message I received is my heart needs to vibrate at a high level for healing to occur within me.
My wheel trans taxi arrived and took me home. I walked into my condo and greeted my family with such energy and zest. I felt renewed and ALIVE. I am so grateful to Stephanie B. for making this introduction. I love how that God is taking care of me and these employees are it’s angels. Thank you.
Wellness Detective Comments: Here are some 10 tips to incorporate into your physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
1. Engage in deep breathing
2. Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day
3. Have at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night
4. Include nutritious food in your diet
5. Participate in activities
6. Be a giver and receiver of love
7. Express gratitude daily
8. Practic forgiveness of yourself and others
9. Accept your circumstances and be an agent for change
10. Personalize your relationship with God or higher power above
Wellness Detective Comments: Growing up in Canada, I’ve always known to drink cold water from the fridge. Never would I drink room temperature or hot water (unless it was prepared in tea. Upon moving to Japan in 1997, I started drinking regular warm green tea and got out of the habit of drinking cold water. However, upon returning to Canada, cold or ice water became the norm once again. More recently, in Spring 2014, I began seeing a Chinese Doctor for Accupuncture and other treatments, and he reminded me about drinking warm water or hot water.
Some benefits of drinking warm water upon rising include warming up the body, cleansing the internal system of toxins and balancing the female and male energy of the body. I find it very soothing to my throat, especially during the winter months. Drinking warm water is a good habit to start as part of your health regime. Please keep in mind what you boil your water in, as you want to ensure you are not adding heavy metals to your system.
Wellness Detective Comments: Earlier this summer, we received a case of Original Zico Coconut Water to sample and taste test. I, Lynn Manwar drink coconut water daily to and it was great to try out another brand. I drink coconut water to replenish electrolytes in my body and cleanse my system. Some benefits of Zico included:
- smooth texture and taste
- pure premium coconut water from concentrate
- good packaging for reuse and storage
- gluten free
- excellent source of potassium
- low sugar content
I highly recommend that you try this brand of coconut water and see for yourself. It is refreshing and a much better alternative to juice or soda pop which is full of high sugars.
Wellness Detective Comments: I decided to take charge of my life and was seeking a personalized fitness program beyond going to Goodlife Fitness monthly since April 2014. After being home from Fall 2013 and not working out regularly as I used to, I did some research, I came across the Wellspring Exercise Program for cancer survivors. I started on July 29th, 2014 and I have been 2 weeks into the 30 week program. The commitment involves:
- attending classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6pm-7pm for 10 weeks
- attending classes weekly for 20 weeks
So far, my personal exercise routine includes:
- 5 rounds of 3 minute cardio sessions which can include trampoline, treadmill, arm machine or hallway walking
- 2lb weights of 2 sets of 10
- green arm pulleys to stretch my arms and back of 2 sets of 12 pulls
- 2 sets of 12 toe raises
- elbow arm stretches
- walking fingers on the wall stretches
It’s been good so far and after the first week, my body was a bit aching, but things have improved. I definitely know it will do my body GOOD! STAY TUNED…..
Wellness Detective Comments: I started seeing a Chinese Acupuncturist and Auricular specialist in May 2014 of this year. My aunt discovered him at the Total Health Show in Toronto the month before and found his diagnosis of her issues, extremely accurate. I also went by him for an assessment near the end of April 2014, and was amazed that the tools he used to assessment revealed the same as my hospital CT scans and bone scans. I knew what he was talking about made sense. The first several weeks of treatment he put small stickers in my ear, with small metal balls which puts accessed my pressure points to detoxify my body from the effects of previous chemo and radiation treatments. My other family members have been taking auricular therapy and have had benefits such as reducing medication intake.
The ear is one of many reflex systems that comprise the body. A reflex system is where the whole body is represented in a part of the body. Sometimes referred to as “microsystems,” they are 2 way communication systems of the body. They reflect the condition of a part of the body and can also treat it. The most familiar reflex systems are hand and foot reflexology. Auricular therapy is the evaluation and stimulation of the external ear for the diagnosis and treatment of health conditions in other parts of the body.
Auricular Therapy has been used for thousands of years. Early Chinese doctors used the ear in diagnosis and treatment. Hippocrates bled points behind the ears for impotence and sciatic pain. In the European Middle Ages medical texts report treatment the of ear for sciatic pain. In 1956, Dr. Paul Nogier of France, developed a complete map of the ear as a reflex system. He created a model using an inverted fetus as basic image. His work has been validated by doctors around the world. In 1973, in New York, Dr. Michael Smith developed a protocol for withdrawal from substance abuse by treating 5 points on the ear. He formed National Acupuncture Detoxification Association( NADA).
Used by acupuncturists, physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, psychologists and other health care providers, auricular therapy is one of the lesser known, though extremely effective alternative healing modalities. Points on the ear can be stimulated by manual pressure, needles, lasers, magnets, and ear acupressure pellets. Auricular therapy without needles can be as effective as acupuncture. In 1990, the Director of the World Health Organization said “Auricular acupuncture is probably the most developed and best documented, scientifically, of all the microsystems of acupuncture and is the most practical and widely used.”
One of the most surprising aspects of auricular therapy is that almost any condition can benefit from auricular treatment. Treatment of pain, stress, insomnia, addictions, anxiety, arthritis, headaches, menopause and many other conditions can be enhanced with the addition of auricular therapy. It is intended to be an adjunct to other forms of therapy. It is not intended to be a replacement for other appropriate medical care.
Research in China has established that Auricular Therapy is effective in 85% of cases and can treat over 200 diseases and disorders. In 1980, the UCLA Pain Management Center conducted a double blind study to verify the scientific accuracy of auricular diagnosis. It found a 75% accuracy rate in diagnosing Musculoskeletal pain problems through observation and palpation of the ear. A study at the Adelaide University, South Australia tested auricular therapy in weight loss. It found that auricular therapy can suppress appetite. The number of people who lost weight and the amount of weight lost was significantly higher in the auricular therapy group.
All of this points to one amazing health and wellness healing modality – and the ears have it!
Michael Vahila, L. AC, LMT.
Michael Vahila is a National Board Certified Acupuncturist (NCCAOM), and Licensed Massage Therapist. In addition to his private acupuncture and massage therapy practice, he teaches the massage therapy program at Stark State College in Canton, Ohio. He also offers advanced seminars for health care providers.
Wellness Detective Comments:
I was first introduced to restorative yoga in Summer 2013. I had just finished treatment for breast cancer the year before and was starting to get back into exercise. It was called, Stretch, Heal and Grow and I spent a weekend with other breast cancer survivors. We learned very simple moves, that was so gentle on my body. It felt great. I highly recommend you explore restorative yoga further. Here’s a guest post from Donna Sellers:
Rest. Relax. Restore. Reduce Pain and Weight Too. Who Knew?!
Lately, it seems as if everywhere I turn, I come across research touting the benefits of Restorative Yoga. It helps to reduce pain. It is more effective than stretching for losing weight. It provides relief if you suffer from anxiety or depression. It’s an awesome stress buster. In short, it seems that Restorative Yoga is a brilliant practice for whatever ails you. It’s a deceptively simple practice, and the great news is that you don’t need to be physically fit. And it can be done anywhere (a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed is best). Restorative Yoga is the practice of becoming completely still.
Using props (blankets, bolsters, blocks and straps), you move into various positions, and use the support of props underneath any part of your body that doesn’t quite touch the floor. The result? You feel calmer, more relaxed, and incredibly well rested in a very short period of time. It’s a sublime feeling that, given the frenetic pace of our culture, you might not have felt for a long time! Simple breathing practices can also help if you are feeling anxious or depressed. Rest to the body means healing. It means rest for your overworked adrenal glands, mightily pumping out the stress hormone cortisol, each time you feel excited or stressed. (Which could be most of the day, every day.) Too much cortisol over long periods can cause everything from sleep disturbance to lowered immunity to inability to think clearly.
If your adrenals become fatigued from overstimulation, you may suffer from the effects of too little cortisol, potentially causing fatigue, brain fog, and inflammation. So do your hardworking adrenals a favour. Find a Restorative yoga class near you and try one soon. Every other Monday we do a Restorative practice starting at 7 pm, and Saturdays in May and June will be devoted to Restorative yoga from 9:15 am to 10:30 am. Space is limited – call to register and confirm your spot.
Donna Sellers, E-RYT500