Wishing all my practice patients and friends a fun and healthy winter season ahead.
Looking for a natural flu prevention? My office provides a FREE homeopathic flu prevention program for everyone aged 2 and up. Give me a call to arrange filling in a short questionnaire and picking up your seasonal supply.
Homeopathy ‘tips of the trade’:
Cold or Flu got you down? Read an archived article from last winter on how to support yourself naturally through homeopathy and common sense. Click to read
Young children in the home? New to parenting? Struggling to understand when to respond to a fever? Read another archived discussion around fevers. Click to read
Arnica 30c or 200c : #1 remedy for accidents, injuries, and bruising. Slipped on the ice, sore back from shovelling snow, child hits their head while tobogganing, minor car accident on a snowy day…really any type of trauma, especially to the muscles or head. Also effective for pre/post surgery, dental work, extended exercise ache or jet lag.
Take 1 dose (2 pellets) as needed; depending on the severity of the accident you may need multiple doses.
e.g. Child hits their head on the ice, 1 dose of 200c is enough; Parent bruises hip from a painful fall while helping the child who is crying after hitting their head on the ice, 2-3 doses per day for 2-3 days!
My favourite 8 reminders of how to get the most out of a healthy winter holiday season
1: Mindful eating and drinking:
Eating a delicious meal can be a very rewarding and socially engaging experience. Whether you are playing with your children, just finishing an outdoor activity, driving around town on errands, or relaxing on the couch; the snacks you choose make a difference. Do not function on auto-control; be intentional in what you eat. KNOW what you are eating or drinking and be conscious of the sugar, fat and additives in your food.
- Read labels and be aware of how much sugar you are consuming
- High sugar diets have a toxic effect on the whole body and cause a myriad of short and long term damaging effects. Sugars that break down quickly in your body raise your insulin levels. Chronically raised insulin levels can lead to diseases such as obesity and diabetes. A high sugar diet will suppress your immune system and upset the mineral relationships in the body, but it can also lead many other illnesses such as eczema, arthritis, kidney stones, PMS, asthma, constipation, reduction of HDL (“good cholesterol”), pre-mature aging and tooth decay – just to name a few!
- High levels of sugar not only play havoc on our adult immune systems but greatly affect the health, growth, and mental abilities of our children.
- FDA recommends 10 teaspoons (40 grams) of sugar per day for a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
- 1 can Coke Cola = 39 grams (that’s your 10 tsp for the day right there!)
- 1/3 cup Craisins = 30 grams (7.5 tsp)
- 20oz bottle of Vitamin water = 33grams (8.25 tsp)
- Yoplait Original yogurt = 27 grams (6.75 tsp)
- Starbucks Vanilla Frappaccino grande = 58 grams (14.5 tsp)
- Tim Hortons Hot Chocolate 10oz = 38 grams (9.5 tsp)
- Panera Wild Blueberry scone = 25 grams (6 tsp)
- Tossed salad w/ roasted Turkey, fuji apples & vinaigrette = 32 grams (8 tsp)
- It doesn’t take much to eat our daily max in sugar: salads, fruit, protein bars (glorified candy bars) or beverages – it all adds up! The worst offenders are the beverages.
- Sugar has many names: Glucose, fructose, sucrose, barley malt, malt syrup, corn syrup, molasses, honey, dextrose, dextran, sorbitol, fruit juice concentrate, turbinado sugar, xylitol, polydextrose, sorghum, lactose, maltose, maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, carob syrup, treacle, rice syrup, refiners syrup, ethyl maltol.
- Find the hidden sugars, KNOW what you are really eating…sometimes your lunch is actually a dessert! It’s ok to eat some sugar, just be mindful that you are doing it and monitor that it is not overdone each and every day.
“The trick to enjoying the sweet things in life is to ferret out hidden sugars in the diet and save small doses of sugar for dessert, where it belongs. ‘You can subtract grams and grams of sugar out of your diet without ever touching dessert,’ says Katz. ‘You can systematically reverse-engineer the damage the modern food supply is doing to your body by simply making better choices.’” (Read more: Follow link below “taming your sweet tooth” below)
2. Experience direct sunlight on your skin…play outside!
Take off those sunglasses, open the jacket and allow the ultraviolet rays to directly strike your skin and trigger Vit D synthesis. It doesn’t take much direct sunlight to make a difference in your immune function and mood. Aim for 15 min a day.
Vit D is a fat soluble vitamin that is not naturally present in many foods. It is required in order for us to absorb calcium, thus playing a role in bone health, but it also contributes to cancer and diabetes prevention. It has anti-inflammatory effects and plays a role in the treatment of hypertension and autoimmune diseases.
“Autoimmune Diseases and Influenza: Since vitamin D has a role in regulating the immune system and a strong anti-inflammatory effect, it has been theorized that vitamin D deficiency could contribute to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disease. Scientists have suggested that vitamin D deficiency in the winter months may be the seasonal stimulus that triggers influenza outbreaks in the winter. Numerous trials have evaluated the association between vitamin D and immune-system diseases”
3. Maintain regular bedtimes the best you can, especially for your children:
Good quality sleep allows your body to rejuvenate and heal. A lack of sleep seems to increase your susceptibility to illness. It’s a stress on the body. Want to get the most out of visiting family, going skating and enjoying all the various activities? Be mindful of giving your body the time to sleep. You will thank yourself in the morning!
“Comedy is good for you. Laughing decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cell that fights infection. In fact, even just anticipating a funny event can have a positive effect on your immune system” (WebMD:10 immune system busters and boosters)
Holidays can be stressful, especially if there are difficult family relationships or you feel isolated socially and alone. Spend time with a friend; connect with someone who is funny and joyful this holiday. Spend time laughing together. Choosing a movie? Make it a comedy! Make the choice to look for the lighter side of difficult situations and add laughter – a free gift to yourself that releases happy endorphins of health!
Get out walking, jogging, skating, tobogganing, skipping rope or attend a yoga/zumba/palates class. Fantastic way to boost your immune system, improve your sleep and enrich your overall sense of wellbeing. During the holidays our alcoholic and sugar intake can climb, so balance out what you are putting into your body with exercise. Then, make it a habit!
6. Intentional times of relaxation
everyone, at every age, is included in needing time to de-stress and relax. Make plans to do nothing, to have no expectations, to just be! Whatever is restful for you, do that. Many of us live very stressful and active lives¸ then during our holidays we have a habit of over-booking our social calendars and are surprised when we get sick or become irritable. Turning off your cell phone and closing your computer multiplies your positive effort tenfold! Remember that your children and grandchildren are watching you. They follow examples more than instructions. Display the ability to say “No” to over-committing, lead by example in deep breathing, quiet times, and pajama days. Talk to them about why their bodies need rest. Keep your family’s activities balanced and make time to discharge.
7. Be a giver
it makes everyone happy! There are so many opportunities available to share our wealth: our wealth of time, love, money, food and knowledge. Look for opportunities to share freely with others in your community and globally. Giving of ourselves is part of how we are wired; when we give out of love, it releases something inside of us that triggers us to feel more purposeful and connected. When we serve others in this way, it not only feeds our soul, but it injects goodness into the greater community. When we move away from looking at ourselves and look to others who are in need of our time, love, and money, it does something that synergistically changes our health and life perspective.
8. Take a risk or create a new tradition
Do something outside of your comfort zone! I can’t honestly tell you that there are any obvious health advantages to doing this, but I know for myself, it is just good living! Opening myself up to new challenges, creating new experiences, and pushing myself to try something that initially is a little scary makes me feel alive and vital. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I succeed or not (though that is a bonus); it’s the process that matters. My self-talk sounds something like this, “Build a bridge and get over it Sandra, just do it afraid!” and there is usually a little “who cares what others think, this will be good for us as a family.” For those of us who are a little more reserved and don’t like change or risk as part of our everyday lives, use the variety of holidays as opportunities to take risks and try new things, eat new foods, or make new friends… if nothing else, it will add to the laughter medicine!! Note: my personal risk for this season is a small acting role on stage at the Newmarket Theatre with my daughter in a production of the Nutcracker Ballet. What am I thinking?! 🙂
Interesting articles and blogs to read on the effects of sugar in our diets
Wanting to make healthier sugar choices?