Stop Crossing Your Legs

Posted: 622 days ago in Health Lifestyle Wellness

LEGS-CROSSED

When I say stop crossing your legs, I mean it. 

You started doing it because your mother did. I bet she even told you that ladies are supposed to sit like that. Am I right?

Well, did she also tell you that crossing your legs would give you varicose veins and lower back pain?

It will, and I don’t want to have to say, “I told you so.”

Crossing your legs can kink up the blood vessels in them. Bloodflow then backs up, causing a widening of the vessel.

Hello, spider veins! 

As we age and the walls of these veins naturally weaken, they can become full-on varicosities. This is when the valves that propel blood up toward your heart cease to function, and those tiny spider veins now enlarge, appearing ropy and bulging. They look bad and can feel worse – and may require surgery to correct.

fulldisclosure

It’s also virtually impossible to sit with your legs crossed and not have your pelvic bones get all torqued out. This will almost certainly lead to back pain. And if you’re pregnant, a torqued pelvis can increase the likelihood that your baby will be breech or transverse – betcha didn’t know that, did ya?

So sit up nice and tall, with both feet on the floor and your knees demurely together. If the addict in you can’t sit without crossing something – cross your ankles like the Queen of England. It’s the lesser of evils.

Plus, your mom will still approve.

Flu Shot…. or Not?

Posted: 633 days ago in Health

flu-shot-not

It’s that time of year again:  “Doc, should I get a flu shot… or not?”

Well. That’s a great question.

I don’t – and can’t – counsel patients on the use of pharmaceuticals, as chiropractors don’t utilize drugs as part of our natural healing approach.

Let me share with you what I tell my patients.

If you have great health and practice good health habits to keep your immune system strong, you quite likely will not get the flu or any other type of winter nasties. Need I remind you of the good habits I am speaking of? Eating well, getting adequate sleep, exercising, managing your stress and washing those damn hands again and again! For more on this, see my article ‘The Non-Flu Season’.

Does this sound like you, or are you sheepishly averting my virtual gaze, because your car is littered with fast-food wrappers, you haven’t broken a sweat since “Magic Mike” came out and the last time you slept more than 6 hours was when your alarm clock failed? If so, I can promise you that your defenses are down, and if you are unlucky enough to come into contact with the flu, you are much more likely to get it.

Bottom line? People with healthy, strong immune systems are much less likely to get the flu than their less-healthy counterparts. They are also far less likely to have any adverse reaction to ingredients in the vaccine itself. Did you ever think about that? Immunocompromised folks – the young, infirm and elderly – are more vulnerable to the both the flu and reactions to the vaccine.

In fact these flu two studies made me go, “Hmmmm”:

studyChildren Who Get Flu Vaccine Have Three Times Risk Of Hospitalization For Flu, Study Suggests

 

studyCurrent Flu Vaccine Less Effective in the Elderly, CDC Says

 

The gist? Kids who get the flu vaccine are more likely to be hospitalized than their non-vaccinated peers. Vaccinated elderly adults are just as likely as non-vaccinated seniors to visit their doctors for flu-like symptoms. So what in the hell should you do?

You should make informed decisions about your health – always!

Here are some facts and figures to ponder on the flu:

The Truth About the Flu Shot“In a review of 48 reports including more than 66,000 adults, “Vaccination of healthy adults only reduced risk of influenza by 6% and reduced the number of missed work days by less than one day (0.16) days. It did not change the number of people needing to go to hospital or take time off work.”

Key Facts on the FluThe flu shot: Some minor side effects that may occur are: soreness – redness, or swelling where the shot was given – fever (low grade) – aches. The nasal spray: In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include: runny nose – wheezing – headache – vomiting – muscle aches – fever. In adults, side effects from the nasal spray vaccine may include: runny nose – Headache – Sore throat – Cough.

The last one did go on to say that these symptoms are ‘short-lived’, but still….

Another little tidbit that I found interesting is that each year’s flu vaccine is derived from prior years’ flu virus. For instance, the 2013 flu vaccine was made from strains from 2009, 2011 and 2012. That’s all well and good, except that the flu virus is a crafty little bugger, and mutates quickly and often. So something that may have worked against a strain in the past quite likely won’t work at all in future strains.

Again, hmmmmm. When all is said and done, read and ask questions, but ultimately, go with your gut. It will rarely lead you astray.

Be well!

The Non-Flu Season

Posted: 637 days ago in Health

FLU-SEASON
Fall is notoriously known as the ‘flu season’ because it’s the most common time of year that people get sick.

Doesn’t that name put such a damper on one of the best times of year?  I think so.

Well, screw it, I’m calling this the ‘non-flu season’ pending everyone does a couple things to up their immunity. And clearly that does not involve getting a flu shot, since I’m very much not a proponent of the flu vaccine.

Here’s what WE can do to safeguard ourselves a little more than usual this time of year.

  • Drink Lots of Water! Water helps to keep mucous membranes moist, so when they come into contact with bacteria, the bacteria are imprisoned in mucous and sent outside the body via an orifice. Without mucous, your body is like the police without handcuffs; suckers are running rampant. So, drink up.
  • Take Vitamin D. Turns out being outside in the sun helps to up your immunity for common viruses, and a lack thereof results in susceptibility to infection. Supplementing with Vitamin D is one of your surest defenses.
  • Drink Emergen-C. Upping your Vitamin C intake is crucial to the fight against viruses inside of your body. These delicious little packets will have your immunity up to grade level: steel when you’re done with them. Plus you mix them with water, so more kudos to my first bullet point.
  • Check Your Lifestyle. If you find yourself doing the following more often than not, you might want to check it: smoking, eating empty-calorie foods, drinking alcohol, getting negligent amounts of sleep, not exercising, not washing your hands regularly. These things, when done frequently, will make you sick.
  • Take Pro-biotics. The war over sickness in our bodies is predominantly fought between good and bad bacteria in our gut. Help your body in the fight by sending reinforcements of the good kind; aka pro-biotics. The fastest way to do this is by taking a pill form of pro-biotic but you can also eat yogurt — just make sure it’s a kind with live bacteria inside.
  • Don’t Stress. This is one of the more subtle ways that sickness jumps up on folks. If you’re stressed out, your body is going to have a hard time handling your emotions and fighting off illness. If this is you, find more time than usual this season for rest, relaxation, and good solid sleep.

If in the instance you do end up getting sick, well, there’s nothing like a good virus to get you back into your skinny jeans. Am I right? Of course it goes to say, be careful what you wish for!

Bugs and viruses come at the worst possible times, don’t they? Save yourself the trouble with the steps I’ve listed above. There are a million other things you can do to stay healthy, but pick a few and stick to them.

For me, it’s supplements, hydration, and sleep.

And if by chance you fall victim – and I do hope that it’s a loooong time before you do – yank those skinny jeans off the shelf while you’re home sick from work, so at least you’ll have something to look forward to.

Happy non-flu season!

Sitting: The New Sugar

Posted: 643 days ago in Health

Sitting: The New SugarWhaaaat? Are you confused? Don’t be.

All of you know that sugar is not good for you. There is no upside. You should minimize your intake, though that can be difficult because it is hidden in so many things. Sitting should be approached with the same apprehensions.

The best advice I can give you, bar none, is to move more, sit less. And by move more, I don’t mean that you have to exercise! Of course, dedicating 5-7 hours each week to exercise is a beautiful thing, but if you sit all day, it is simply not enough.

Did you know: People who seldom sit, but never exercise, are generally far healthier than those who sit a lot, even if they exercise regularly! A.k.a. the moms of toddlers, teachers, and construction workers are healthier than commuters, and desk jockeys (even if the latter are avid movers).

Let me repeat: if you rarely sit but don’t exercise, you will quite likely be healthier than those who exercise regularly, but sit all day! This actually blows my mind, but it shouldn’t. Our bodies were designed for movement, and depend on it to keep our muscles, bones and organs healthy, and our minds sharp.

Don’t panic if you are one of the millions that sit for many hours each day! You have many opportunities for movement – you just have to take them.

  • Stand or walk with every phone call
  • Practice active sitting on an exercise ball
  • Walk to a colleague’s office instead of emailing them
  • Stand on the train
  • Walk on your lunch break
  • Set an alarm on your iPhone reminding yourself to move at least once an hour

I did a sugar elimination diet and, well, it was hell for a few weeks, but then I began to realize how good I felt without it. Minimizing how long you sit can be a similar process, but I promise, you will be healthier for it.

Move more, sit less. Period.

Prolapse: The ‘Fall’ of Womanhood

Posted: 648 days ago in Everything Else Health Wellness

prolapse

(Your vagina, that is!)

Puberty. Pregnancy. Peeing your pants. Perimenopause. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the bathroom, your body has another little “P” surprise for you:

Prolapse. In other words, are your insides hanging outside?

Whaaaaaat? Yes, you heard me correctly – sometimes, our insides fall out. Things like pregnancy and straining can weaken the muscles and ligaments of our pelvic floor, to the point where those tissues that are designed to hold our girl parts in become compromised. Gravity, age, and the loss of estrogen contribute as well, which means that if you have a uterus, you are at risk of all hell breaking loose.

A.k.a., Uterine prolapse. Sorry, ladies.

A mild prolapse – when the uterus bulges into the vagina just a bit – probably won’t cause you any grief, nor require any treatment. However, more significant cases will let you know that something just ain’t right. Suffice it to say, if you see or feel something bulging out of your vagina, you should get that checked ASAP. Frankly, why anyone wouldn’t leaves me scratching my head.

Other signs your insides may be creeping toward the light:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Urine leakage or retention
  • A heavy or pulling feeling in your vagina
  • Chronic, dull low back pain
  • A loss of tone or sexual sensation

If your doctor diagnoses a significant prolapse, s/he may prescribe:

  1. A pessary to try to hold things in. This looks like a diaphragm, and can do a decent job but may irritate surrounding tissues. There are surgical procedures to correct prolapse as well, but as with all surgery, it comes with risks and side effects, so this should only be considered in the most severe cases.
  2. Kegel exercises. These can be quite effective at preventing and managing prolapse  (as if you needed yet another reason to do them!). I am doing them right now as I write this, and not even the repairman or the dog at my feet are privy to my calisthenics. Need some guidance on how-to? Check this out.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight via a diet that supports regular bowel movements. Simply put, more weight in your belly = more internal pressure on those delicate organs. Plus, a healthy diet full of fiber will reduce constipation, which in turn reduces straining. And that brings us to…
  4. Reduce straining when at all possible! A little tip for when you are lifting/coughing/pooing – exhale with every exertion, and DO NOT hold your breath! This will keep the stress in your muscles and out of your hoo-ha.

Uterine prolapse won’t kill you, but it will put a serious damper in your love life, and your day-to-day routines. If you follow the above recommendations and high-tail it to your doc at the first sign of a problem, you can manage this little gift of woman-hood without too much stress.

Bathing Your Newborn: Why You Shouldn’t

Posted: 768 days ago in Health Parenting Pregnancy Wellness

child

Why shouldn’t you be bathing your newborn?

Not long ago I was with a patient as she delivered her baby in a hospital. As soon as the cord was cut and it was determined that the baby was perfectly healthy, the nurse whisked her away for her first bath to “scrub all the gunk off her”. Scrub she did. It hurt me to watch.

Well, Nurse Ratchet, that “gunk” is there for a reason, you silly little wench.  Studies actually support a delay in bathing your newborn for several days.

The medical term for the cheesy white stuff that covers most newborns during birth is Vernix Caseosa (translation: cheese varnish – ha!), or Vernix for short. You can even see it in-utero…check it out here below.

Vernix is produced by baby’s sebaceous glands starting in the 3rd trimester. Rich in emollients and antibacterial properties, vernix protects baby’s skin while in utero. You know how your skin wrinkles in the bath after only a few minutes?   Imagine being in fluid for 40 weeks!   Vernix buffers the skin and prevents loss of fluids and electrolytes in utero. During birth, vernix provides an antimicrobial layer against the bacteria-rich vagina and protects the skin from friction as baby is squeezed down the birth canal – baby lube!

But what about after baby is born? Shouldn’t we wipe that shit off?   It’s gross!

Gross though it may be, vernix is thought to help with regulation of baby’s body temperature in the first hours after birth – it acts as an insulator. That’s a big deal, because it can be really difficult for babies to maintain proper body temperature.

It is also known to assist in the adaptation from life in the womb to life outside the womb. It’s a different world out there, people! Wet-to-dry, different pH, scratchy clothes, etc. Vernix is the perfect moisturizer/insulator/antibiotic ointment.

Johnson’s baby lotion has nothing on vernix (more on that train wreck later…but I’ll leave you thinking about why it’s PINK!)   If only we could bottle the stuff!

Rubbing your newborn with a soft towel or blanket after birth will help to stimulate respiration and rub some of the vernix in, without wiping it off.   There is no need to be bathing your newborn until day 4 or 5, when the great majority of the vernix will flake off by itself. A soft, wet cloth around the mouth, eyes and genitals will take care of hygiene needs until it’s really time for the first true bath.

 

 

 

Essential Oils for Almost Everything

Posted: 782 days ago in Everything Else Health Lifestyle Wellness

essential-oils

Essential Oils are everything to a girl.

How do you use them? When do you use them? Where do you use them? My simple answer to each of these questions is… for pretty much everything, almost all of the time, and practically everywhere. And there are many people from both today and long ago who would have the same answer. Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years. We know this, in part, because they have been referenced in Papyrus and Hieroglyphics and throughout The Bible. As far back as those sources date, they were used for both their medicinal and spiritual benefits. Today people continue to use these gifts from nature for those same purposes and in a variety of other ways as well. Not to mention, research is supporting their use more and more.

Everyday Oils blurredEssential Oils are helpful for everything from mini emergencies to much larger, more complex challenges. I can’t imagine not having essential oils because they are so useful! I always carry a few with me because I never know when I might need them! Once I spilled scalding hot water on my hand while meeting a client for tea and was able to whip out my Lavender and soothe the burn almost immediately. Another time, I arrived at a party just when the house full of kids came running in after they’d disturbed a bees’ nest and had been stung multiple times. Using Lavender and an oil blend called Purification saved the day and they were able to return to playing (away from the nest, of course) pretty quickly. In addition, because Oils are so versatile you can use them many times and for many things throughout the day.

Maybe you would you like to [fill in the blank] with essential oils:

  • alleviate muscle and joint pain from yesterday’s workout.
  • freshen your breath throughout the day.
  • support your digestive system after a hasty or spicy lunch.
  • calm your nervous system and alleviate minor anxiety before a big event or important conversation.
  • lift your mood on a dreary day.
  • maintain healthy blood sugar levels to reduce cravings.

Think about your day…Do you want to feel more relaxed (traffic?), focused (work deadline?), alert or energized (lack of sleep?) or feel less itchy, sneezy (is it Spring?), have that tickly feeling in your throat (everyone around you coughing?) or want to cleanse surfaces (grabbing a shopping cart?). Then you’d like Essentials Oils too!

Stress Away beachThis morning I added Lemon oil to my water because it’s detoxifying and uplifting, put a blend called Thieves on the bottoms of my feet to support my Immune System, added Lavender to my coconut oil to nourish my skin, used my favorite blend right now, Abundance instead of perfume, dropped Cinnamon in my breakfast (yummy), sprayed Purification on my dog to repel fleas and ticks before our walk, diffused Frankincense for a short Meditation, then put a blend called Brain Power on the back of my neck and temples to sit down and write this blog post and it’s not even lunchtime yet!

I truly believe every person on the planet can benefit from using essential oils… everyone can use immune, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, nervous, or endocrine system support at one time or another. Plus we all have rough days, get cuts or sunburns, like flavors in our food and drinks, get minor aches and pains, and want to have a restful night’s sleep. The list of benefits and uses is seemingly endless because remember, they’re Essential for Almost Everything Oils.

If you’re thinking about embarking on this fun and rewarding oily journey, it’s important to know that there are many essential oil grades on the market and they don’t all yield the same results. Therefore it is crucial to find the highest quality essential oils by working with someone who has studied essential oils, and by doing research for yourself (including contacting companies of interest to ask questions). PubMed, NIH, and NCBI are great places to start your research especially if you want to learn about a specific topic.

Ready to bring Essential Oils into your life? Feel free to visit my website to learn more about them and for instructions on the best way to purchase them. One of the greatest tools to have as you embark on this journey is a strong support system so if you choose to purchase your oils through my website, you will gain access to a Community of Health Coaches and many other passionate and knowledgeable people supporting you on your journey of learning and wellness! More details on my website, www.nourishtolive.com, about this amazing free group as well!

SPECIAL OFFER: The first 20 people to buy a Premium Starter Kit through my website will win a free bottle of Orange oil which is one of my very favorite oils and one I use every day! Please email me with the code DrTaniaEssentiallyEverything once your order is placed to qualify for this offer.

Molly Hauck

About Molly Hauck

Molly Hauck is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Essential Oil Educator, and founder of Nourish to Live located in Annapolis, MD.

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Are Your Nipples Normal?

Posted: 816 days ago in Health Wellness

nipples

Truth is, that’s a trick question because there is no “normal” when it comes to healthy nipples.

Officially, the nipple of your breast is the nub that sticks out (or in the case of inverted nipples, sticks in).  The nipple is in the center of the colored part of your breast, called the areola.  Since it’s fairly common to refer to the entire areola/nipple combo as the nipple, we’ll do that, too.

ThinkstockPhotos-98972703So, back to what’s “normal.”

There are almost no two nipples that are alike (if you don’t believe me, check out this nipple gallery), so let’s get into what makes our nipples so different.

Nipple Color
Nipples come in various shades of tan, pink and red, and usually deepen to brown once a woman becomes pregnant.

Nipple Size
Nipples can range from the size of a quarter to – and I swear this is true because I saw it – the size of a saucer. That was a bit of a shock. The actual pokey part, the ‘official nipple’, can be as small as a lentil, or as big as (gulp) an olive. A large olive. Yup, I’ve seen that one, too.

Small Bumps on the Areola
The little white bumps that you see on and around the nipple are not pimples! They’re called Montgomery’s glands, and they produce lubrication. Please don’t squeeze them!

Hair Around the Nipples
You might see some fine or even wild hairs on your nips – I swear, they grow overnight. Feel free to trim or pluck, but please, no bleach, wax, or lasers, as the skin is just too sensitive.

Height of the Nipple
Some nipples are erect all the time, and some only tighten when they get cold, stimulated by clothing, or with arousal. For some women, nipples are a major erogenous zone, and others can take them or leave them.

“Triple Nipple”
Some of us have a third or even fourth nipple. Guys are more inclined to (1 in 18!), but about 1 in 50 women have “supernumerary” nipples.

Nipple Abnormalities
Now, you do need to know that many breast cancers begin just beneath the nipple, so if you notice any changes from YOUR normal, please see your doctor as soon as possible.  These changes may include:

  • Any fluid at all coming from a non-lactating nipple
  • Scaly or crusty skin not associated with breastfeeding
  • A nipple that suddenly becomes inverted, or looks in any way different from the other breast
  • Pain, or a change in a nipple’s normal sensitivity

Breast Exams!
You should check your headlights at least monthly as part of your regular full breast exam (you are doing that, aren’t you???). But why not check them daily as you bathe or shove those puppies in a bra? Knowing what’s normal for you will make it that much easier to detect if or when something becomes abnormal.

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