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.

Is Milk Good Food?

Posted: 648 days ago in Wellness

milkgoodfoodLet’s just get back to the basics. We’re mammals.

We may be more highly evolved mammals than most, but nevertheless, we’re mammals. All mammals nurse, which puts us in the same category as dogs, cats, horses – you get my point.

Now here’s the thing; no other mammals nurse past toddler-hood, nor do they drink the milk of other mammal species (unless in extreme circumstances when a baby is left motherless). Don’t get me wrong, breast milk is clearly nature’s first good food but nowhere else in nature do these behaviors occur, except with humans?

That alone should make you stop and go, ‘hmm’. Now, I’m not arguing that cow’s milk is a decent source of protein and other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D – FOR COWS, but it’s not all that the American Dairy Association would have us think it’s cracked up to be, for us humans. Yes, calcium and vitamin D are necessary for healthy teeth and bones – but there are many other more appropriate sources of those nutrients. Cue list:

calcium fortified foods

Many of us lose the ability to digest milk after infancy. This is because the lactase enzymes that help us to break down lactose (a.k.a. milk sugar) tend to decrease as we age. So if you’ve ever gotten that bloated feeling after having indulged in dairy, chances are, you’re one of those people. Then there is the issue of milk allergies. Some of us are definitely allergic to milk but I believe that many more of us have sensitivities to milk.

The best way to determine if you have an issue with milk or dairy products is through an elimination diet. To do this means to eliminate all dairy products from your diet for a few weeks, noting any changes in your health, and changes in how you feel. Afterwards, challenge your system by reintroducing dairy and see what happens. If you don’t have a sensitivity or allergy, and you enjoy dairy products, then by all means, feel free to indulge. You’re on what I call “the winning team.” However, if you suspect or find that milk is an issue for you, then it would behoove you to eliminate dairy products from your diet. — “Did she just suggest what I think she suggested?” Yes. Yes, I did.

For those who want to forgo dairy products, there are some alternatives for your coffee/cereal, and whatever else you would typically put milk in.

  • My favorite is unsweetened almond milk. It has a nice, rich consistency and makes a great coffee creamer or cereal base.
  • A lot of other people prefer soy or rice milk, but because of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) – I would stick to organic on those.
  • Coconut milk is also a good alternative.

Now, I can’t write an article about milk and not mention the raw milk craze, so here is what I have to say about that: I think raw milk is probably more digestible than pasteurized milk because it has more enzymes to aid in digestion. On the other hand, it’s not widely available, and sometimes it’s just flat out illegal. So, if you have access to raw milk and feel comfortable, it might be a good option for you as well.

So there you have it. Remember the list above for food-based calcium sources. If your ultimate concern and reason for drinking milk is to derive the calcium for bone health, then I have a couple more recommendations for you. One is to do more weight-bearing exercises which can have a huge positive affect on bone density. My second recommendation is to avoid carbonated beverages (that aren’t fortified), which can negatively affect bone mineral density. In my opinion, you’d be much better served doing weight-bearing exercises and avoiding carbonated beverages than drinking milk. If you’re drinking milk for its vitamin D content, then I have good news for you. Supplementation for vitamin D is affordable and easy! Hello, sun exposure! Just 15-minutes a day without sunscreen and you can consider yourself supplemented during the summer months. Supplementation is necessary in the colder months, but again, cheap and easy.

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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Posted: 810 days ago in Everything Else Health Wellness

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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Spring Renewal Detox & Giveaway

Posted: 832 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?