What’s Trending: Walking, Sugar, and Getting Outside

Posted: 1337 days ago in Everything Else Health Lifestyle Wellness

Spring Renewal Detox & Giveaway

Posted: 1344 days ago in Everything Else Health Lifestyle Wellness

detox

Madame Winter has left some serious shit behind in my life.

Shit like 10-extra-pounds, bags under my eyes, lethargy and pasty skin — all of which have me bearing no resemblance to the me that I see in my head. How did all that happen in just a few sub-zero months??

It’s time to call in the big guns and do a detox.

Detox as in, eat healthier, move more and clean up my act. Not detox like go to drug rehab — though if you are suffering a chemical addiction, you do need to address that. Like now.

Just as Mother Nature bursts forth with all her colorful glory this time of year, your body can do some pretty amazing stuff, too, if you just give her a little detox-nudge.

Where does one begin? Well, you can Google till your heart’s content, chat with your peeps at the yoga studio/work, and patch together a healthier eating plan. Yeah — you can do that, but will you? Or will you just continue to bitch about how bad you feel?

Why don’t you make it easier on yourself for once, and let someone else drive the detox train?  

My good friend and nutrition guru extraordinaire, Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs is the bomb-dot-com when it comes to detoxing. She’s put together a muy comprehensive guide to getting your detox on that involves hand-holding through the entire process. Her Spring Renewal Detox is no different, and it begins this coming Monday, April 20th 2015.

So, what do you get with your Spring Renewal Detox? Lisa Provides:

  • shopping lists
  • recipes
  • coaching calls
  • daily emails
  • one-on-one support
  • and more..

It’s Saks Fifth Avenue service at Target pricing. Don’t believe me? Just check all the goodies you get here on Whole Health Designs.

Bottom line is, I use a Spring detox as a way to reset my eating bar. My diet (along with a few other things) gets a little schlumpy in the dark of winter, and Lisa’s detox is a great way to remind myself how good I can feel when I fuel my body correctly.

healthy-meal

Your Go-To Healthy Meal?

What’s Trending: Wearable Tech, Loneliness, and Vaccinations

Posted: 1351 days ago in Everything Else Health Inspiration Lifestyle Wellness

Orthorexia Nervosa

Posted: 1391 days ago in Health Lifestyle Wellness

orthorexia-nervosa

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen…

As long there have been “modern” foods (fast, processed, junk, etc.) available, there have been issues surrounding food.  Overeating, binging, anorexia, purging, guilt, deprivation – it’s an epidemic that effects an estimated 8 million Americans (who are mostly women). Hence the reason why February 22-28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week.

NEDAAs a health care provider I have pushed, cajoled and encouraged my patients – okay, and my family – to adopt healthier eating habits, and I know many of my colleagues in the health care professions have done the same.

Perhaps we’ve gone too far with some of you? There is an emerging trend of a new breed of eating disorder called “Orthorexia Nervosa”.

What the heck is that???”, you say?

Well, if you are feeling a bit neurotic about eating ONLY healthy foods, or find yourself becoming super-picky about where your food comes from or how it’s prepared, or even find that obsessing about food starts to nudge out other things in your life, you may be exhibiting signs of orthorexia nervosa.

Houston, we have a problem.  

In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s a far lesser problem than the food issues on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Eating McDonald’s every day or being anorexic can kill you; eating only pastured beef and organic veggies will not – but if you are obsessing about what you put in your mouth, you (or your friends and family!) may begin to wish you were dead.

Most of us can benefit from a little more ‘healthy’ in our diet, but if you find yourself having some of these behaviors, it may be time to regroup, and get some help if necessary:

  • Planning your entire day around your food intake
  • Feeling like a failure if you eat something that you deem unhealthy
  • Refusing to eat something if you don’t know where the ingredients come from
  • Judging others for their food choices
  • Eating well for the sense of control it gives you, instead of to nourish your body and satisfy hunger

But, and this is a BIG but – must we make a mountain out of every molehill?  Why must every behavior be diagnosable? Can’t we just be quirky?  Quirky, schmirky.  Of course, any behavior that interferes greatly with living life should be addressed. The rest of you? Just please, take a chill pill.  Life is all about a healthy balance.

And if you find that it’s harder than just a simple decision (I in no way want to discount your struggle) please seek professional help. NEDA, The National Eating Disorders Awareness organization can provide you just that.

Love ya lots,

Why Direct Pay Health Care Is Becoming America’s ‘Go-To’

Posted: 1411 days ago in Health Wellness

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divider2Your primary care provider can be thought of as a key that unlocks a variety of different doorsdoors that lead to specialists, imaging centers, lab facilities, and other therapies.

Wouldn’t it be handy to easily access this key right when you need it?  Instead of searching for it at the bottom of the “purse” that is life – kids, family, home maintenance, work, school?

In another fun analogy, primary care providers are like the general auto repair guys of the human body.  They can take a look at whatever creak, pop, gurgle, or leak you’ve got, and get a good idea of where it’s coming from, and what may be causing it.

Using this analogy, if your car broke down, you’d try to get your trusted mechanic to take a look at it.  But if you didn’t have a mechanic, you’d likely try to find the quickest place to have your car fixed.  This scenario plays out frequently when it comes to health care, with a patient needing to be seen quickly for an acute issue and not being able to get an appointment with their primary care doctor.  Due to crammed schedules, it’s increasingly more difficult to be seen same day, so more and more patients are turning to urgent care and emergency rooms for issues that could be easily managed by a primary care provider.  This contributes to higher health care costs, and ties up emergency room providers who have true emergencies to take care of.

The best case scenario is one in which you, the busy wife/mom/small business owner, can get in to see your provider at the exact moment you need them.

In what world is that a possibility, you ask?

Well that dream is quickly becoming a reality for more and more patients who are finding affordable direct pay primary and urgent care offices popping up around the country.  The concept of direct pay health care is exactly as it sounds – you pay your provider up front for services rendered, eliminating the “middle man” of insurance companies. 

What’s great about this is that while the term “concierge medicine” brings to mind images of doctors flying private jets to mansions in Nantucket or the Hamptons, direct pay models come with concierge-level quality and access at prices any working mom/wife/small business owner can afford.

moneyAs mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Americans are required to carry insurance or pay a fine.  These insurance plans do help provide coverage for millions of people and guard against catastrophic medical debt, but often times the deductibles are prohibitively high, keeping even the most simple and basic preventative care out of reach.

With many direct pay providers, patients pay a low monthly membership rate, around the cost of your daily latte, to get a low or no-cost visit anytime they need to be seen.  For those seeking an extreme level of convenience and access, these newer practices may even offer virtual visits 24/7 so you never have to leave work, or the circus that you call home, in order to meet with your doctor.

The importance of establishing a relationship with your primary care provider can’t be overstated.  In addition to better preventative care and continuity of your overall personal care, primary care doctors are a key resource to avoiding a potential trip to the ER for that raging UTI or sinus infection. They may recommend a treatment plan that you can carry out at home using over-the-counter medications, or a prescription to treat your condition. A lot of primary care providers can also suture cuts, remove suspicious moles, perform well-woman examinations, and screen you for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

So when a terrible bronchitis strikes you in the middle of the night and you know you can’t leave the kids to get to the doctors’ office, a concierge or direct pay model may be the best fit for your lifestyle, your wallet, and your health.

Kastle Donovan

About Kastle Donovan

Kastle Donovan grew up in Danville, CA and planned on staying in California for life. That plan changed with a chance to attend the George Washington University, where she obtained a BS in Biology and met her husband, an Annapolis native. After becoming a registered nurse, Kastle worked in the trauma intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital for 6 years. She received her Master's in Nursing from Marymount University in Arlington, VA, and then moved to Annapolis. After three years treating a variety of acute and chronic illnesses at a local internal medicine practice, Kastle had the opportunity to help develop a brand new direct pay practice in Annapolis. Evolve Medical Clinics opened with great fanfare in July of 2014. This concept of concierge-level primary care and urgent care at affordable prices has brought a wonderful patient base to the practice, and Kastle enjoys spending lots of time with her patients, giving them the respect and care they deserve. In her free time, Kastle enjoys reading, barre and spin, and art/music/gym classes with her toddler, as well as watching the Washington Capitals with her husband.

Hemorrhoids: 6 Ways to Reduce Your Discomfort

Posted: 1421 days ago in Health Wellness

hemorrhoids

My butt hurts and hemorrhoids are to blame.  

Those of you who have been reading my stuff for a while know I am good for sharing TMI, including Another Childbirth Bonus. I’m not pregnant, nor is this a case of ‘Same Sh*t, Different Day.’

Yet, I have a freaking hemorrhoid.  453851401

For those of you unfamiliar with those little darlings, hemorrhoids are bulging veins in and around your anus and rectum. They can itch, bleed and hurt, and make it virtually impossible to wear thong underwear.

Hellllllllo, visible panty lines. What is the deal??!

Since none of the causes of hemorrhoids currently apply to me, the deal just might be that getting old, frankly, can suck.

Hemorrhoids can be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

They are also more likely to happen as we age, as the tissues that support the veins, as well as the veins themselves, can weaken and stretch with age.

Well isn’t that just freaking fantastic.

There is no cure, per se, for hemorrhoids, but there are some things you can do to minimize your discomfort and make the swelling go down – for now:

  1. Keep squeaky clean down there! After bowel movements, use an alcohol-free baby wipe to gently cleanse the area, as dry toilet paper can be very abrasive. And as a side note: please don’t flush the baby wipe as it may clog the toilet!
  2. Bathe daily and wear clean, non-thong underwear with a cotton crotch.
  3. Use a home-made or store-bought witch hazel pad, like Tucks brand. These can be incredibly soothing, and I guess since they call them Tucks, you can tuck ’em right up in there for a bit for some extra relief. Plus, I love their tagline, ‘love the butt’. Couldn’t agree more… p.s. this is not a paid endorsement.
  4. Sitz baths with a little Epsom salts can help.
  5. I’m a big fan of ice packs so here’s the ‘how-to’ on that: put on some granny panties (you know you have them in the back of your drawer), then tuck a soft ice pack way up against your butt where the hemorrhoids are. Then, to hold it in place, put another pair of snug-fitting panties on top of the ice pack. Works wonders for hemorrhoids, and for your girl parts after childbirth, too!
  6. Hemorrhoid creams like Preparation-H contain hydrocortisone, which is very effective at decreasing the swelling.

If those suckers just won’t go away, and/or won’t stop bleeding, though, you may need to visit your doctor….and you won’t be happy with what s/he has to offer you, so get those suckers under control now!

Good luck with that!

The 21-Day Smoothie Challenge

Posted: 1480 days ago in Health Inspiration

green-smoothies

If you haven’t met my good friend Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs, you should, and now is a great time because she’s hosting a 21-day green smoothie challenge!

I am tickled pink green to partner with Lisa to inspire you guys to get more healthy deliciousness in your lives! Lisa and her team are leading a 21-day green smoothie challenge meant to supercharge your health with increased nutrient intakes. How does it happen? Lisa has concocted smoothie recipes to end all smoothie recipes; they’re delicious AND nutritious, all at the same time.

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I THINK LISA EXPLAINS IT BEST:

“Dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses. Greens like kale and spinach are packed with tons of nutrients your body needs to boost immunity and keep your organs in tip top shape. Greens contain vitamins A, C, and K plus folate, potassium and calcium. In fact, did you know that greens like spinach have protein, too? And chlorophyll.  This is a special sauce nutrient you MUST have in your diet! Chlorophyll feeds your cells and helps balance out your pH level within in the blood.  Let’s just say chlorophyll eases inflammation. Inflammation causes pain and chronic disease so pumping the green stuff is crucial to our health.  Also if you are active, or an athlete, you’ll notice you’ll get faster and recover quicker due to the chlorophyll magic.”

– Lisa Consiglio Ryan of Whole Health Designs

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If you’re weary of drinking your veggies/anything green – don’t be. I can vouch that her recipes are delicious! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a delicious smoothie? Did I mention that it’s FREE? And that you can win a Vitamix blender? Oh and yeah – you just might stay healthy, energetic and lean throughout this holiday season!

I was thrilled to jump on the bandwagon with Lisa, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me. I’m sure you’ll be able to relate. I’ve been eating really “clean” this fall, but Thanksgiving is just about my favorite holiday. My perfect bite? A little bit of every side dish on one fork. Yup. I want it all. At once. And then the pies. Oh, the pies. And perhaps round 2 of dinner.

Stick a fork in my lethargic a$$, I am DONE!

I’ll give myself a few days to nosh on leftovers before I get down to business, lest I end up getting stuck in the chimney by Christmas.

Lisa makes it sooooo easy to get back on the wagon — or stay on without ever having to fall off this holiday season! You’ll get a shopping list, daily recipe and inspiration/guidance from Lisa herself.

The Green-Up Smoothie Challenge is starting SOON – This Monday, December 1st for 3 weeks, so sign up now! Again it’s free, but you’ll be joining a tribe of hundreds who want to be healthier and more energetic this holiday season, and you’ll be able to connect with all of them on the challenge’s Facebook page.

Don’t forget about the very real chance to win that Vitamix blender – to know it is to love it!

Who’s with me?

Ball Check in Aisle 1!

Posted: 1490 days ago in Health

ball-check

Where would we be without multi-tasking?  

Here’s a golden opportunity to take it to the extreme – but one that could quite likely save someone’s life. Your guy’s life, in particular.

Testicular cancer is one of the most treatable male cancers, yet many cases go undetected and may result in fertility, urinary and sexual complications – or worse.

testicular_diagram2One of the most common signs of testicular cancers are lumps, bumps or swelling of the testicles. Other than your guy himself, no one has more access to his parts and pieces than YOU. Yes, you. I’m assuming that if you have a guy, you are engaging in fairly regular intimate relations with him. That gives you VIP, up close and personal access to his balls. So – get to know them, please.

Do what you want with them recreationally, but also take note about what is ‘normal’ for him via a regular ball check. Balls come in many different shapes and sizes, but they should not morph from week-to-week or month-to-month. Any new shape, size, lump or bump should be evaluated by a doctor ASAP.

Something to note: not all lumps are cancerous, but only a doctor can determine this.

There is a caveat – since testicles are temperature-sensitive, the scrotum (or ball-sack) will expand or contract – raise them to keep them warm, or lower them to keep them cool. This can give the appearance of the testicles growing or shrinking, but that’s not truly happening. It’s a fun private ‘party-for-two’ trick, so give it a shot!

Other than that, keep your eye on the ball(s), so you and your guy can have a ball with them for many, many years to come!

The Doctor is In

Posted: 1504 days ago in Health

doctor-is-in

I started chiropractic school in 1987.  

If I had a nickel for every time someone said to me, “Oh, you’re not a real doctor”, I would have been able to pay for my 8 years of higher education without the 6 figures in student-loan dollars I had to borrow.

So once and for all, let me assure you, that YES! I am a real doctor.

Chiropractors — like dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and, yes, medical doctors — attend 4 years of undergraduate school, followed by at least 4 years of graduate work.

hours-docThe degree earned is specific to each profession:

Chiropractor = DC (Doctor of Chiropractic)

Dentist = DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Science)

Podiatrist= DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine)

Optometrist = OD (Optometric Doctor)

Medical = MD (Medical Doctor)

Additionally, there are national and state licensing boards that must be passed, and annual continuing education requirements to meet for all of the above professions.

Chiropractic care is covered by most insurance companies, and it has a place in the Medicare and VA systems. Most patients can access chiropractic care directly, without a referral from a primary care provider. Many patients see their chiropractor regularly as an important part of maintaining great health – along with exercise, nutrition and the like.

So – just like you have a dentist to maintain strong, healthy teeth, you should have a chiropractor to maintain a strong, healthy spine.

Hippocrates is quoted as saying, “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease”. And Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

7710008L1Any questions?

Don’t be a Douche

Posted: 1511 days ago in Health Pregnancy Sex & Relationships Wellness

dont-be-a-douche

I’m not referring to that rude guy that makes sexist comments to you at work every day (though yes, he does qualify as a douche bag). I’m talking about douching, as in vaginal hygiene.

Don’t be a douche bag, and don’t use one, either. Not to clean shop after your period, or after sex, and never, ever to try to prevent pregnancy. That doesn’t work AT ALL.

I’m not sure how many of you use douching as part of your feminine hygiene, but based on the shelf space that is dedicated to it in my local grocery store and pharmacy — plenty of you are.

Here’s why you shouldn’t douche: Your vagina does a great job of cleaning herself!

Yup, she’s a self-sufficient kinda gal, and her discharge is nature’s way of keeping bad stuff out… like how your nose will run or eyes will tear when something irritates them.

Normal discharge should be clear-to-milky white-ish, and have no odor other than what is normal for you. If you’re ovulating, your discharge will change slightly and become a white stretchy consistency. But – a clumpy yellow-green or white odoriferous discharge, accompanied by itching or burning indicates a problem that should be checked by your doctor or midwife ASAP, okay?

Douching washes away the protective and cleansing fluids that are supposed to be in your vagina. Regular use of douches can irritate the lining of the vagina and lead to yeast infections and pelvic inflammatory disease. Even worse, douching can cause serious complications in pregnancy, and an increased risk of cervical cancer.

Uh – no thank you!

I think many women get hung up on the smell thing, am I right?  You never want your man to know you smell like anything other than lavender, orange zest, and daisies.

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Well, I hate to break it to you, but the truth is, healthy vaginas have a distinct scent to them, and that’s just the way it is. Power-washing with vinegar, antiseptics and fragrances will not make it go away for more than a few moments, and does far more harm than good.

Here are some take-aways to live by when caring for your lady parts:

  1. Get to know what is normal for you
  2. Practice regular, daily hygiene
  3. Wash with mild, unscented soaps (on the outside parts only, please!)
  4. Wear breathable panties (cotton is typically best for this)  

That’s it. That’s all your girl needs to stay happy and healthy.