The Perpetual Patient…. is this you? June 18, 2013
10 Tips for Daily Detox May 30, 2013
1. Be a green machine: Dark leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They’re anti-inflammatory and great for detox and help keep our immune system strong. They’re also high in good dietary fiber, which is great for increasing elimination! Try kale, arugula, romaine, Swiss chard, collard greens and spinach in salads, lightly steamed, or in a green smoothie.
If you’re thinking “yuck,” hold your tongue. Just because something is green doesn’t mean it has to taste bad! The green smoothie revolution is upon us, and if you haven’t tried one yet, it’s time to bust out your high-speed blender. Start with 2 cups of pure filtered water. Add to it a cup of your favorite fruit (I always include a banana for creaminess but pear, peach, mango, blueberries — they’re all great!) and a big handful of your favorite leafy greens (romaine, spinach, kale, etc). Blend until smooth and well combined. Sip and enjoy slowly. Need help with Nutritional Choices? Ask Kelly Brubaker, Tranquility Wellness Coach.
2. Sip warm lemon water: Upon waking, turn on your teakettle and boil a fresh pot of pure filtered water. Take a quart size mason jar and add to it the juice of half a lemon. Drinking warm lemon water will gently wake up your digestive and lymphatic systems, which helps remove toxins from the body. It also helps to cleanse and detox the liver, giving you more energy, balancing hormones and improving digestion and elimination.
3. Beware of the food demons: Minimize sugar, processed foods, gluten and dairy. I know this can sound scary. You might be thinking, “if I don’t eat fill in the blank (cheese, crackers, bread, pasta, wine), what will I eat?” Take one item at a time and focus on what you can add to your diet in place of these items. Try hummus with celery instead of cheese. Use a Swiss chard leaf and make a wrap instead of a tortilla. Baby steps. The food demons will without a doubt clog and slow your system down. If you don’t believe me, just try it out for yourself for 2 weeks and let your body be the judge.
4. Follow the 80:20 rule of conscious eating: Eat well at a minimum 80% of the time and allow yourself to go wild 20% of the time. This can be a genuinely freeing concept if you really take it on. When you follow a healthful eating routine 80% of the time, your body will run like a well-oiled machine. And a well-oiled machine can much more easily process that 20% — you’ll find that your body won’t slow down the way it used to. As an added bonus, when you do “indulge,” you’ll find a new appreciation for your old favorite comfort foods. Eating a decadent meal or snack won’t carry guilt anymore, which is also less toxic on your system.
5. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily: Water, water, water. Our cleanse participants hear us say this ad nauseum. It’s our answer to everything. If you’re reading this, you more than likely you know that your body is made up of 80% water. And it needs water — lots of it — to move toxins out of the body, to function and to thrive. We like to say that our secret weapon is actually that we drink close to our body weight in ounces. And a general rule is that more is better. Another good measure: if you’re not peeing at least 10 times per day, keep the water flowing!
6. Get your heart rate up. Break a sweat: The body thrives on movement. In fact, experts say that the body heals (detoxing is a form of healing) 8 times faster with regular exercise. It’s so important for our overall mental and emotional health, and as an additional bonus, sweat is the fastest and easiest way to release toxins.
7. Take a hot Epsom salt bath: One of the most simple, easy and inexpensive ways to kick up your body’s natural detoxification system is to run the bath water as hot as you can get it, sprinkle in 2 cups of Epsom salts, and add a few drops of lavender oil if you have it, you can also use the LifeStinks Soaks to dechlorinate your bath water (available at Tranquility). Dim the lights, fire up some candles, put on some relaxing music, and soak for at least 20-30 minutes. The warm water will open up your pores and the Epsom salts will pull toxins right out of your body.
8. Eliminate allergens: 90% of Americans suffer from allergies or sensitivities and 9 out of 10 of those people have no clue that what is causing their symptoms can be linked to the food they are eating! Alarming health challenges like stubborn weight loss, weight gain, mood disorders, irritability, depression, headaches, migraines, eczema, acne, joint and muscle pain, brain fog, asthma, bad breath, diarrhea, constipation … the list goes on and on. Doing a cleanse can help you identify your allergies, but what’s important is that you learn to recognize the signals your body is sending to you as potentially connected to a food sensitivity. Allergens cause inflammation, which can cause us to be puffy. If you want to de-puff, be diligent about keeping these sneaky little suckers off your plate and out of your body. If you suspect a food sensitivity contact Tranquility Natural Medicine practitioner Dr. Kalli Prater DC.
9. Practice easy-in-easy-out food combining: Food combining is a big topic and not an exact science. What we do know is that upwards of 80% of our body’s energy goes toward digestion in any given meal. We also know is that waste equals weight. To keep the good cleanse vibe flowing, eat in simple yet specific food combinations so that your body has to do less work and so that it can take out the trash more easily (poop!). Meat and potatoes, eggs and bacon, chicken and rice, fruit for dessert — these are all food combining nightmares, making your body do overtime. Make vegetables the center of your food universe and add in either a protein or a grain. Eat fruit on an empty stomach (unless it’s blended). Remember, digestion should happen in the background of life. If your stomach (think gas, bloating, heartburn, etc) is talking to you, re-think your food combinations.
10. Keep Soul Food balanced: Soul Food is what we call the other areas of our life that feed and nourish us. It’s things like having a fulfilling career, a regular spiritual practice, healthy relationships and regular physical activity. You could be eating all the kale and quinoa in the world but if any area of your Soul Food is off balance, you won’t feel as vibrant as possible. Balance is a daily practice. Soul Food is no different. Do one small thing every day that nourishes your soul! Check out Tranquility Yoga and Workshops.
Safe Travels, Healthy Tummy March 25, 2013
- “Stay hydrated” – We hear this often from our nutritionist, Kelly Brubaker. Drink extra water to keep the digestive system moving, and steer of alcohol at least the day before significant travel. Bring a BPA-free bottle and refill it at the airport. Sip throughout your journey, especially if you’re flying; the air at 30,000-plus feet is dehydrating. Take an herbal tea break.
- Pack healthy – Pack simple snacks for easy access to something healthy when you’re hungry, Small bags of nuts and dried fruit.
- Eat smart – Eat 3 meals a day and two snacks a day instead of grazing nonstop. “Be aware that if you eat smaller portions overall, the fat, calories, sodium, sugar, and potential for digestive upset goes down too.” Once you arrive, include fresh fruits and vegetable in your meals which contain water, fiber, and nutrients. Bring along some ginger chews/candies for nausea, upset stomach, or motion sickness.
- “Get moving” – One of Beverly Millers (Esthetician and owner of Tranquility), favorite quotes! After sitting for hours en route, take a brisk walk around the block for 15 minutes or more. Your breathing will open up your circulation, delivering oxygen to your cells and gut. The gentle twisting of the trunk that occurs with walking also wakes up the digestive tract by giving it an internal massage.
- “Take a deep breath” – We hear this often from Donna Burg, ( Yoga instructor at Tranquility). Meditation or deep-breathing may stave off or alleviate digestive discomfort, The gut is a regional immune system in the body and it’s also sometimes called the ‘second brain’. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, (ask our acupuncturist, Dr Susan Sterling), emotions are tried to the digestive organs, so worry, anxiety and stress can aggravate it. Even a few minutes of deep breathing in a quiet space is beneficial.
- “Heal your gut” – Words of wisdom from Dr Emily Loveland, everyone’s favorite Chiropractor! Enzymes and Probiotics – Enzymes help break food down into smaller particles so we can assimilate nutrients. They also encourage healthy elimination, as do probiotics, which maintain healthy bacteria in the gut and can alleviate gas, bloating, and constipation. Tranquility sells the highest quality physician grade probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Have a Safe and Healthy Spring Break!
Loreta, Tranquility owner and manager
PS. If you are staying home for Spring Break, come relax at Tranquility with great Stay-Cation specials. The more your relax the more you save! Call 630.762.9864 to schedule your Stay-Cation!
It Is Peace March 4, 2013
Tranquility Gentle Heart Yoga is beneficial for the body AND the mind. Loreta, Tranquility owner and manager, shared the following poem at morning huddle. She was inspired to pass it along after Ellie, Tranquility Yoga instructor read it to her class.
IT IS PEACE
What does stillness sound like?
What does it sound like when you
Turn off the television set and cell phone?
What does it sound like when you
Take a break from talking
With family, friends and colleagues?
What does it sound like in your mind when you
Turn off the constant stream of thoughts?
What does stillness sound like?
What does stillness feel like?
Does it feel uncomfortable?
What does stillness feel like?
What would happen if you stopped thinking about the past?
Stopped replaying the same tapes over and over in your mind?
What would happen if you stopped thinking about the future?
Always waiting with anticipation for what is next?
What would happen if you brought your focus to this moment?
This breath coming in…
This breath going out…
What is this?
When you hear stillness,
When you feel stillness,
When your focus is only on this moment?
It is Peace.
By Barb Larson Taylor
Why is the back so prone to injury? October 13, 2012
As we age, ligaments and tendons shorten. The range of motion of particular joints decrease. Discs lose their ability to absorb shock, muscles weaken and bones loose mass. To add to these inherent biological weaknesses, we have lifestyles where we spend too much time sitting – in cars, at desks, and in front of televisions or computers and our back muscles weaken. If we have bad posture or slouch, this makes matters worse. The lower back is especially prone to disc herniation and disc degeneration problems. It’s the junction between the pelvis and the spine and bears much of the weight.
Yoga postures lengthen connective tissues, expand range of motion, improve posture and protect against back injury. Michael Wood, an assistant strength and conditioning coach at the University of Connecticut and director of the Sports Performance Group in Boston states that many of his clients have had great success keeping their backs pain free with yoga.
Here are some basic anatomical and movement principles to guide your path to a healthy back and assist you with a yoga practice:
1. Focus on your breathing as you do the poses. Breathing is the link between the body and the mind and can establish your focus on healing your body with positive imagery and presence. Breathing influences circulation and posture. When we hold our breath, we hold on to tension. Quiet, introspective breathing alters the sympathetic/parasympathetic nerve signal balance to the arteries and veins, allowing increased circulation to tissues whose vessels are constricted during times of stress.
2. Maintain spinal curves. The spinal column is a series of curves defined by the shape of the vertebrae and the shape of the intervertebral discs and supporting ligaments. The thoracic (upper back) and sacral (pelvic) convex curves are the first curves to develop in utero. Later in crawling and standing the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) concave curvatures develop in response to children’s ability to lift their heads and later to stand. These curves need to be neutral – each curve neither too pronounced nor too flat – to absorb shock and facilitate the full range of motion throughout the spinal column.
3. Keep the spine moving. The spine needs movement to lubricate the joints and provide nutrition to the spongy discs between the vertebrae. During movement, the discs go through a process called imbibition where they soak up nutrients like a sponge when squeezed. To feed and lubricate the discs properly, it is necessary to reverse the curvatures for brief periods of time which yoga postures do. Trouble occurs when the curves become imbalanced or reversed by habitual poor posture, through injury or too many repetitions of one movement.
4. Balance flexibility and strength. Building strength is crucial but flexibility is equally as important. Without a doubt, yoga is one of the best ways to increase flexibility. Having strong yet flexible muscles is perhaps the most important principle in back care. Remember a tight muscle is not necessarily a strong one. In beginning a yoga practice, it is important to first lengthen muscles that have contracted. For the back this is crucial to stretch back muscles to help lengthen the spine and create more space for the vertebrae and discs.
Principles of Back Care
Eighty percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back injuries send more people to the doctor than any other ailment except the common cold. Pain can simply come from lifting something heavy from the trunk of your car or leaning over while gardening.
You don’t have to take back pain lying down. As a matter of fact, doctors are now recommending you do just the opposite. You have the power to reduce the chance of back pain occurring in the first place and recurring if you have a chronic condition or old injury. “I’d say that more than half of back injuries can be prevented” says Michael Hisey, M.D. a spine surgeon at the Texas Back Institute in Plano, Texas. “A back maintenance exercise program is key to keeping people out of trouble.
Why is yoga such a good solution for back ailments?
Abdominal strengthening is commonly prescribed for back health. However, researchers are discovering that abdominal strength alone is not enough to protect the back from injury. And simply strengthening the lower back does not provide the complete solution to total back health. Researchers are now discovering that the best approach to back care is to incorporate a wide range of strength building and flexibility regimes such as yoga into your fitness plan.
In the past physical therapists, trainers and exercise physiologists have focused on building core strength. The body’s core is basically the lower part of the trunk, the abdomen, lower back and front of the hips. A recent study by Scott Nadler, D.O. at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, showed that athletes were just as likely to develop low-back pain with core training as those who did not participate in the training. Nadler explains that the study did not suggest abandoning core strengthening, but found that it just might not be sufficient. To protect the back from injury, we should do more than just the traditional core-strengthening exercises.
Unlike traditional back exercises which isolate parts of the body to be stretched or strengthened, yoga postures are whole body movements. They are designed to integrate and benefit the entire body. Back problems involve the whole body. Many factors may contribute to a bad back – tight muscles and/or weak muscles, poor posture, obesity, emotional stress, and lack of a full range of movement in the peripheral joints (shoulders and hips). No back problem can be isolated from the rest of the body.
Because of this interdependence, back problems respond well to the whole body movements that yoga offers. This whole body yoga experience affects not only the spine but corrects musculoskeletal imbalances anywhere in the body. As you focus on the balancing of different body parts, a natural alignment comes to the entire body and your posture improves from a place of inner awareness and integration.
After muscles have released their tightness, the emphasis can be re-directed to strengthening weak muscles. Due to our sedentary life style, there are tendencies of certain muscles in our body to be weak and others to be tight. With regards to the lower back, there are several muscle groups that we must pay special attention to if we’re going to relieve lower back pain.
Tight hamstrings can cause back pain since they insert in the buttocks and pull the pelvis out of alignment. Also tight hip flexors (iliopsoas and quadriceps) in the front of the thigh can cause lower back pain since the iliopsoas attaches to the lumbar vertebrae and can also be a contributor to back tightness. It is important to release tightness from other back muscles such as the quadrates lumborum in the lower back and erector spinae muscles along the spine. The piriformis muscle, a hip rotator located deep in the buttocks must be stretched to relieve sciatica.
Strengthening back muscles is crucial to balance the range of motion and to support the body for better posture. In addition, strengthening the leg muscles is important, particularly the quadriceps, hamstring and abductor muscles. When the legs are strong, the back muscles don’t have to function as the main support for the body. This can decrease tightness in the back and creates a more balanced body.
The following poses or asanas have a wonderful ability to work several areas at the same time. While doing an asana, you may be stretching several muscles while strengthening others. Stay in the pose long enough to gain the benefits. It takes a minimum of twenty seconds for muscles to start to lengthen.
It’s never too late to start doing yoga. Remember: “Don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do!” You don’t have to do advanced yoga poses to get benefits. The simplest poses are sometimes the most effective for back care. Remember to breathe as you do this sequence of poses and take note that being consistent is the key to maintaining a healthy back and preventing future back pain.