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Natural Health News

Too much Halloween candy?

The most common thing I hear in the weeks after Halloween is, “I ate too much candy!” It's something almost all of us have been guilty of a time or two. If you are feeling like you indulged too much this Halloween and are concerned about the potential for further candy binges, this week’s column is for you. In this article we will talk about the most important ways to reduce candy cravings and prevent yourself from becoming sick of candy.

Tip 1 – Spread It Out

I am a firm believer in moderation and balance. I believe you can enjoy your treats 10-20% of the time if 80-90% of the time you follow a healthy plan. This is the old 80/20 rule. Most Halloween candy has an extended shelf life so there is no hurry to gobble it up this week. Take a look at the amount of candy you have and plan out when you would like to enjoy it. The best way to enjoy your treats is to spread them out over time. This way you can look forward to a little bit of a treat over a longer period of time, rather than a whole lot of candy that will leave you with a belly ache.

 

Tip 2 – Out of Site, Out of Mind

In conjunction with spreading your consumption of Halloween treats out over the next few weeks or months it is often helpful to put the treats away where you do not have easy access to them. The more effort it takes to get a snack the less likely you are to actually go and get it. If you carry your treats in your jacket, purse, car, or leave them in a bowl on the table you are putting temptation too close. Keep the stockpile of candy and chocolate out of your view, out of reach, and they will more likely stay out of your mind. And, if they don’t stay out of your mind, at least the thought of getting a step ladder to get them out of a locked pantry shelf may prevent you from actually going to get them.

 

Tip 3 – Eat Preventatively

You may be thinking that the first 2 tips sound great but they are essentially ways to address willpower. What about something that may actually help my physiology? The most important way to impact your cravings is by “eating preventatively”. What I mean by this is a strategy of eating through the day that successfully decreases your desire for sweet “pick me ups”.

Eating preventatively involves eating a meal or snack every 2-4 hours. Each of these meals or snacks contains an appropriate amount and type of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. This strategy is designed to prevent blood sugar fluctuations that lead to cravings. When your blood sugar drops because you ate too much refined carbohydrates or because it’s been too long since your last meal/snack your body has built in mechanisms to cause cravings for sugar.

Our brains run off of sugar and when our blood sugar goes too low our bodies shift into what is called gluconeogenesis. This literally means to create new sugar, and this new sugar comes from your body’s protein structures like bone, muscle, and connective tissue. Think about the timing of when you crave sugary, chocolaty treats. Is it when you’ve just eaten a balanced meal or is it when your blood sugar has dropped due to some sort of less than ideal dietary habit.

 

In Conclusion

Halloween and Easter have a lot in common when it comes to the availability of chocolate and treats. Enjoy the bounty you received this year but do your best to follow these 3 tips so you look back with fond memories to the treats you enjoyed rather than looking back with horror about the stomach aches you endured.





Extended health benefits

There is no question that in the long run it is more cost effective to prevent illness than to treat it once it happens. It is also more cost effective to use the least invasive procedures and focus on natural healing therapies. However, working preventatively, using the least invasive techniques, and focusing on natural treatments still costs money. I often hear from people that they are not sure if they can afford to see a Naturopathic Doctor or other health care practitioner not covered under the medical services plan because it may be too expensive. In this week’s column I will focus on extended health care benefits and discuss how you may be able to utilize these benefits to cover some of your naturopathic medical needs.

Many people are unaware they have some financial coverage for naturopathic medical services through their extended health care benefits with their employer or other insurance provider. If you work in a company or business with more than 10 employees you almost certainly have some form of coverage. Many smaller businesses also have coverage. Most extended benefit plans will in part cover medical care services like dentistry, chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy, orthotics, and eye care. Unfortunately, far too many employees are unaware of the exact coverage they have.

If you are self employed you may still have benefits through your insurance provider. Many insurance plans don’t just cover employees but cover the owner as well. If your insurance plan does not cover extended medical expenses you may have the ability to deduct some naturopathic and other medical expenses from your income tax. If you are uninsured and currently don’t utilize medical expenses against your taxable income I recommend you discuss your options with your insurance agent or financial planner.

I was inspired to write this article in part because of an insurance agent I recently spoke with. His job is to put extended benefit plans together for corporations and small businesses. He showed me some very interesting conclusions from the insurance industry review that I’d like to share with you.

 

  1. The most costly part of any extended health benefit plan is pharmaceutical prescription costs. Pharmaceutical costs are continuing to rise due to the aging workforce and most companies want to reduce this cost by promoting therapies that reduce prescription needs.
  2. Currently, the most utilized service after pharmaceuticals is massage followed closely by physiotherapy then chiropractics. However, these services are mostly utilized after an injury or illness instead of preventatively.
  3. Naturopathic healthcare is the least utilized service in the industry in large part due to the fact that people covered in the plan are unaware that naturopathic healthcare has some coverage.
  4. Preventative medical services like naturopathic healthcare help improve productivity and job satisfaction and actually save companies money over time.
  5. The corporations and businesses that are most attractive to potential employees tend to have the most valuable and flexible extended health benefit plans. Most employees would rather have the health coverage in these plans than the equivalent cash value.

 

Conclusion

Extended health care benefits are often overlooked by insured individuals. I encourage you to contact your provider and investigate your coverage. Many plans have some financial coverage not just for naturopathic healthcare but many other medical services like orthotics, dentistry, and eye care. Most plans operate on a calendar year from Jan 1st to Dec 31st. Therefore, for many people there are about two months left to utilize your 2014 benefits before they refresh for 2015.

 

Better utilizing your entitled benefits may go a long way to improve your health and quality of life. Extended benefits are part of your financial compensation and they were put together for employees to utilize them. If you have any doubts about utilizing your benefits remember that both you and your employer benefit from a healthier you.



Stress and the adrenal glands

The adrenal glands are the organs in the body most susceptible to the negative consequences of stress. As they wear down and fatigue the health of the overall body declines and healing becomes more and more difficult. Therefore, it is very important to identify adrenal fatigue or exhaustion and support the adrenal glands to recovery. There are several different botanicals, vitamins, minerals, and glandulars that can be used to successfully restore the health of the adrenal glands.

 

Adaptogenic Botanicals

Adaptogenic botanicals like licorice, ashwaganda, ginseng, schizandra, wild oat, and macca are often used alone or in combination to support the optimal function of the adrenals. These herbal remedies have been used for decades with very safe and effective track records. I recommend a combination product as it seems that adaptogenic herbs work best for most people in combination.

 

B Complex

The B complex vitamins are crucial for cellular metabolism and energy production. In fact, the B vitamins are required to produce energy as part of the citric acid cycle. The adrenal glands have a high demand for the B vitamins because they are so metabolically active and this demand increases during periods of high stress and recovery.

 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones like cortisol in healthy amounts. During periods of high stress the amount of Vitamin C required by the adrenal glands increases. If vitamin C is deficient during stressful times the body is not able to respond optimally. When vitamin C is deficient in non-stressful times the adrenal glands may actually produce more cortisol because of the stress of vitamin C deficiency.

 

Minerals

The adrenal glands are highly metabolically active organs and thus have a high demand for minerals that act as co-factors in the production of energy and hormones. Magnesium is one of the most important co-factor minerals and also happens to be one of the most deficient minerals in our soils. The trace minerals like zinc, selenium, and copper are required by the adrenal glands for energy production.

 

Glandular Extracts

Glandular extracts provide the raw materials and nutrients required for regenerating the adrenal glands. In fact, they can significantly increase the speed of recovery. It is important to use high quality sources of glandular extracts because of the potential for toxicity.

 

Intravenous Nutrient Infusions

Intravenous nutrient infusions are one of the most potent ways to supply the adrenal glands with the vital nutrients it needs for optimal function. IV infusions provide nutrients directly into the bloodstream and thus all cells of the body. IVs bypass faulty digestion and metabolism in the liver. Intravenous infusions are a highly effective way to help regenerate the adrenal glands and provide them with many of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients they require.



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Natural treatments for stress

In this week’s column I will highlight four of the most effective natural therapies for reducing stress and supporting the body’s stress coping mechanisms.

 

Yoga

Yoga exercises are a fantastic way to handle stress both physically and emotionally. Yoga usually involves stretching, breathing, and visualization techniques. The combination of these activities provides unique support for stress management. I highly recommend incorporating yoga into your exercise and stress management routines.

 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the best treatments for stress management. It is a great therapy for tapping into the subconscious component of stress. This is the component of stress that can’t be consciously controlled by thought or exercises like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. Acupuncture is great for helping the body process and let go of old emotions it no longer needs anymore. In fact, it is very common for people to feel weight lifting off their shoulders during and after acupuncture sessions.

 

Neural Therapy

Neural therapy is known as “German Acupuncture” and involves the injection of vitamins, anaesthetics, and homeopathic remedies into acupuncture points and scar tissue. It provides many of the benefits of acupuncture like tapping into the subconscious but also adds some other unique therapeutic effects. Neural therapy can restore healthy nerve conduction, shut down unnecessary pain signals, and break down scar tissue. Old emotional traumas are often stored in scar tissue, tight muscles, and nerves. Neural therapy addresses these sites of physical stress extremely well and helps prevent emotional stress from taking a physical toll.

 

Intravenous Nutrient Infusions

Intravenous nutrient infusions are one of the most potent ways to supply the body with the vital nutrients it needs for optimal health. IV infusions provide nutrients directly into the bloodstream and thus all cells of the body. IVs bypass faulty digestion and metabolism in the liver. The body is designed to obtain nutrients primarily through the digestive tract but there are many situations where intravenous infusions provide great benefit. Sometimes oral supplementation can’t be digested well, doesn’t provide high enough dosage, or can’t be administered fast enough.

 

In next week’s column I will investigate the natural treatments for adrenal fatigue.



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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.





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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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