The drive behind writing the blog is YOU. Because I often hear people say they LOVED the Dr Libby talk, but felt overwhelmed with information. While you get motivated and implement all of her points after you hear her speak, Saturday night rolls around, and the new habits die hard. Which leaves you feeling guilty and thinking about how you will get “back on the wagon” on Monday. By Monday you have forgotten the key points and keep rumbling around in your old habits. And so the cycle continues.
Below I have outlined some of the key topics Dr Libby spoke about in her current tour “what am I supposed to eat”. I am not a nutritionist; I am a holistic chiropractor who is focused on getting humans well and keeping them well. My aim is to empower YOU to have the confidence that food is neither good nor bad, but nutritious and not nutritious. This blog will not prescribe or diagnose anything.
Remember health is a multifaceted domain that unfortunately gets lost and forgotten about until sickness comes along. My mission is to empower and educate as many humans as possible. Allowing humans to have the knowledge and tools to be proactive, rather than reactive with health.
If you are reading this and you still have an opportunity to hear her speak book it now, she communicates incredibly: here is the link https://www.drlibby.com/event/food-frustrations/
Here are some key points I loved from Dr Libby’s talk:
It is not the devil. It is needed for functions in our brain, red blood cells and parts of the kidneys. But you most likely are getting enough natural sugars from whole foods you are already eating. What you probably are not aware of is that most processed foods contain A LOT of sugar and other nasties.
Sugar cane is refined 14 times before it gets onto your plate. Think about that. How natural is something that has been refined 14 times?
How does our body break something down that genetically it does not recognise? Remember in the game of life sugar is new to us. Processed foods need sugar and all sorts of other agents in them, but why?
To improve shelf life, and how do they improve shelf life?
By decreasing bacterial growth that would break food down naturally if you left it in the fridge too long.
SO do you think processed food helps us with our natural bacterial balance? Our tummy has 2-3kg of natural bacteria to help us break down food. You put two and two together, let’s be logical about it. Eating excessive amounts of processed food may be damaging our gut health.
Your genetics make up who you are and if you happen to be of Irish decent your ancestors used to eat A LOT of potatoes. Until the potato famine. At which point they switched to growing and eating grains in much larger quantities than ever before.
Studies are suggesting that people with this heritage have higher incidences of gut related disorders like celiac disease.
Other parts of the world have quirky genetic traits like this too. If particular foods don’t make you feel good after eating them, LISTEN to your body.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY + IMPROVE YOUR NUTRIENT INTAKE
What food makes you feel good? What food makes you feel bloated or get other symptoms like reflux? When we consume too much sugar we shut off our ability to be able to listen to our body because our brains addictive desire for sugar takes over our natural instincts. Food for thought.
3 meals + 2 snacks a day mean 35 opportunites to nourish your body. If you eat 7 whole food meals a week and you improve 1 meal a week for 2 months you literally DOUBLE the nutrients you are feeding yourself. That sounds easy and achievable. Great logical thinking Dr Libby.
FADS + BLOGGERS:
Diet fads come and go, bottom line is you need to do what works for your body, so learn to get in tune and see what works for you!
Bloggers – Usually bloggers are people writing information to share with people based on their own experiences. It is nice to read and support blogs (thanks for reading guys). Just be mindful that some bloggers have larger opinions than they do medical education or clinical experience. Just because the coolest blogger rates the latest fad does not mean this is the right for you. How do you know what’s right for you? Listen to your body, and if you can’t hear it. Learn to listen and get some professional help from a registered nutritionist who specialises in real food.
FAT + PROTEIN
These things are naturally occurring in nature because we need them in our lives, enjoy them in their natural form.
Guys, there is no wagon, there is just life. The idea of getting on the wagon allows you to “fall off the wagon” which may not be healthy for your mindset. Ponder that.
EAT LOCAL + SPRAY FREE ORGANIC
Eating local supports your local growers. We want them to keep growing nutritious food for us in nutrient dense soil! Locally grown food usually has less plastic wrapping (save the environment), less chemicals on it to improve its shelf life (and therefore less chemicals to harm your gut) and less miles spent on fuel (carbon footprint decreased = winning).
If you can’t eat organic then fill up the sink and soak veges in 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar to break down sprays. FYI: This only breaks down some toxins.
WRAPPING IT UP
I hope this has helped break it down for you. Food is simple if you keep it natural and simple. We need to remember to be logical about food. Let’s not be so rigid we cannot go out for dinner with friends. But let’s not be naïve and think that our earth suits are getting the nutrient’s they need to sustain us from eating processed foods daily.
Bottom line is you need vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbs and natural sugars to survive. Our bodies are clever. You can nourish or ignore these needs. Over time you will notice the effect it has on your earth suit. The choice is yours (said like captain planet).
This information was designed by Dr Libby for those people who were getting confused about what to eat on a day to day basis. Hopefully it gives you some confidence to choose right for you. But if you still have requirements or a question regarding specific information or symptoms then a Registered Degree Qualified Nutritionist is a great place go. Here are some of my favourite recommendations for AWESOME degree qualified Holistic REAL whole food Nutritionists:
Chantal Cuthers Nutrionist:
Brilliant at what she does and specialises in woman’s hormones. What a hero for wanting to help us complicated ladies!)
Kirsten Beynon Nutrtionist:
Amazing at what she does and specialises in supporting medical conditions and medications. Kirsten’s background in medical research means she is well versed in the nitty gritty parts of complicated medical conditions.
I LOVE recipe books, and below is a photo of my current favourites. I would say every 2 weeks I make at least 1 recipe out of every one of these books, the rest of the time I free-ball and improvise. I must be honest, while I love to cook, it needs to be simple and easy and not have a MILLION ingredients. If you feel the same, then the petite kitchen and Chantal Cuthers cook books are a great place to start, you can grow your collection and inspiration from there. It goes without saying that Dr Libby cook books could go in this photo too, but I currently don’t have any in the house as they are all leant out (and I can’t quite remember who to…)
Now, human, get your diary out and schedule a reminder to re-read this in 4 weeks. Someone has to hold you accountable, and that someone is YOU.
Hop to it.
Dr A xo
I often talk about sleep in practice. You may be sick of me asking you about it. This blog explains WHY I ask about your sleep and WHY it is important!
The body is reliant on sleep to repair the "learning" and/or damage from the day's activities. The video posted below is a pretty "kick ass" summary of why I always ask about sleep. Watch it.
Sleep allows us to be the superhero's we are throughout the day.
I know it is not always possible to get enough sleep when you have a new born or young children, but this post is to remind you how important sleep it. If you can grab the odd hour here and there, Take it. Your mind and body will thank you for it and the washing can wait! Especially if you are a mumma healing from giving birth!
Here are a few quick tips to help you out, test out what works best for you!
HAVE A SLEEP ROUTINE
This involves a pattern of behaviors that prepare the mind and body to do to sleep. This routine DOES NOT involve technology time. It can involve all or some of the points below though.
You already know this, and you have heard it time and time again. WHY?! Technology such as cell phones emit something called "blue light". This interferes with the natural hormonal cycles in our brain. These hormones are important in allowing us to go to sleep and they reverse to wake us up when the sun comes up.
Ever wondered why when you go camping you are tired and ready for bed by 8pm and wake up when the sun gets up?
CUT THE CAFFEINE
NO! Not the dinosaur daddy. I know this is what your all thinking about me saying cut the caffeine "NO! Not the coffee Ainslee". There are benefits in caffeine (I can hear you breathing a sigh of relief) but let's be real about this. Don't have caffeine after mid day, or at the latest 2pm. Most likely you be feeling like you need it to get through the last of the afternoon, so you sneak one in about 3:30pm and it sees you through until 5pm. Then bedtime rolls around and while you are tired, you are also WIRED from the remaining caffeine hanging out in your system. You get the picture.
LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
It smells nice. The end. No, that's not the only reason, it actually has benefits for calming our physical body and our mind. and helping us drift off to sleep.
DECLUTTER YOUR MIND
Write a list of the stuff you didn't finish today or need to do tomorrow so your brain can switch off.
Meditate or do headspace, I RATE HEADSPACE, it is worth your time (hit the button below to find out more). Headspaceis 10 minutes of guided meditation daily and it is the BEES KNEES. Did I mention they also have special meditation packages for things like managing chronic pain (that is another blog for another day!)
DECLUTTER YOUR EMOTIONS
A wise person in my life once told me "never go to bed angry". Have you tried it? It is not that conducive for getting a good night's sleep. Make sure you air out (ear out?) any emotions you need to before the bed time routine starts.
DECLUTER YOUR BODY
There are a few choices for this one:
-Pre bed yoga session (doesn't need to be long).
-Epsom salts warm bath before bed (I make some pretty kick ass bath soaks myself, if you are after some then email me for more information, link below).
Warm epsom bath soaks with a few other goodies in there allow the body to detox and also provide time to be still! Humans need to be reminded to be still sometimes.
This is a brilliant time to mention the benefits of magnesium for our sleep, if you are high stress or not getting enough magnesium through your diet then absorbing magnesium (Epsom salts) through the skin or adding extra magnesium into your diet can be a great idea.
DEEP DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is one of the only conscious links we have to calm the subconscious brain out of fight and flight and into rest and digest and/or sleep mode.
Don't know how to breathe with your diaphragm? Ask me or your wellness practitioner at your next appointment. You don't have a wellness practitioner? I am sorry to hear that, I would like to encourage people to be proactive rather than reactive with our health. But ultimately the choice is yours.
I have to point out I may be biased on this point, and cannot comment further on whether Chiropractic will or will not help with sleep (rules are rules).
GET ENOUGH SLEEP BUT STRUGGLE TO GET UP IN THE MORNING?
You could try out one of those nifty alarm clocks that reproduces the sun rising which means the hormones in your brain start to kick in (or out) and you wake up "naturally" at the time you set your alarm to and BOUNCE out of bed.
Disclaimer: you may not bounce out of bed, but after using it over a period of time may find it slightly easier to get up.
These are acupressure mats. They have a whole heap of tiny points on them that access acupressure points on the part of your body you apply it to. It is along the same lines as the "bed of nails" type situation from years ago (are they still doing that in some parts of the world?)
I personally find mine relaxing and enjoy time spent on it, please remember this is my opinion, everyone is different. I usually combine time spent on the mat with deep diaphragmatic breathing and/or meditation.
I could actually list a few more points, but I figure the blog will be so long you won't read all of it anyway. So I will save those points for another rainy day.
I hope you enjoyed that and can put into practice some tips to help you get the best quality sleep you can. Let me know how you get on!
Until next time,
Dr A xo
Recently I tried a float. Some of you may be aware of the concept while others will have no idea what I am talking about. A “float” is when you float in a pool of warm water with a high concentration of Epsom salt. This allows you to float like you are in the red sea. I know, cool right?!
It seems like an odd concept and while it is relatively new to the NZ population the concept of floating and the healing benefits that come with it date back as far as cleopatra’s time in ancient manuscripts (so I am told). Absorbing magnesium through the skin is healing for many aspects of the human body and is great for those people who struggle with absorbing magnesium orally. (See information on magnesium at the bottom of this post). The concept of being weightless and still for an hour at a time is also something that appeals to people in today’s society while many people battle to find "zen" balance throughout everyday demands.
So what do I have to report?
How did I find it?
I loved it.
Will I float again?
What if I am claustrophobic?
Let me put some of your minds at ease. I am mildly claustrophobic, I had no issue with this in the pod, it feels spacious and safe when floating. I was apprehensive as some people had explained it as a sensory deprivation chamber, that is incorrect (IMO). I chose to use ear plugs so I didn’t get salt in my ears but I could still listen to the calming music that was playing in the background. There is also a light in the pod which you can choose to leave on or turn off. So plenty of sensory feedback going on.
How do you know if floating is for you?
Personally I think it would be suited for everyone, it is about calming the entire nervous system and down regulating your fight and fight response. This enhances your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Who wouldn’t want some of that?!
The parasympathetic nervous system is designed to conserve energy which means it slow’s the heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity and relaxes muscles in the gastrointestinal tract.
When you come to understand what functions happen in parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode it becomes easy to understand that conservation of energy, rebuilding energy stores and healing tissues are imperative for life.
Rest and digest mode is designed to allow the body to restore and regenerate itself, meaning you can live life to the max.
There is a common theme in today’s lifestyle’s that suggests as humans we don’t allow ourselves to have enough of rest and digest mode. Over a period of time this wears us down, but our bodies are smart, it happens slowly and progressively and we don’t really realise how we have get ourselves into a burnt out, sick or tired state.
One of my favourite principles in chiropractic is: “there is no process that does not require time”. Are you getting my point? Too much fight and flight for prolonged periods of time has an effect on our bodies by breaking our systems down slowly.
It has been said that floating can help decrease depression, addictions or withdrawal symptoms, headaches, low immune function, burnout, chronic fatigue or low energy, jet lag, brain fog, chronic pain and muscle tension and difficulty sleeping. But even if you don’t suffer from any of these symptoms a float could be a great way to make sure you are able to regulate your parasympathetic (rest and digest) system optimally.
I would highly recommend Black Lotus Float Studio in Riverhead and I cannot wait to float again! Jodie the owner/operator has a wonderful warming presence and an energy that calms all and puts your mind at ease. The studio is also incredible and well thought out with plenty of space making you feel like you are at a luxury get away. Let’s get our sympathetic (fight and flight) nervous system’s at ease!
Dr A ox
Magnesium is a key mineral in our bodily functions, we need it for A LOT of processes. I will cut to the chase rather than boring you with a list. Extended periods of time in fight and flight mean an increased use and need of magnesium in the body. Are you getting enough magnesium? Studies indicate that magnesium helps with decreasing muscle cramps, better sleep, calmer body and mind, decreasing stress and many many more functions!
This week I was honored to be asked by a radiant 5 year old why I liked being a chiropractor. I had to ponder my response for a few seconds and replied with“I like being a chiropractor because I like enabling humans to be more resilient to stress”. She nodded in agreement, even though I am sure she did not know what resilience or enabling meant. Then I asked her why she liked chiropractic care, her response blew me away. “Because it helps me stay healthy”.
Sometimes as we grow older its easy to take things for granted. This 5 year is working so innately that she knows what is chiropractic is, without being told. As we grow older it is easy to become less in touch with our innate knowledge and become more in touch with our learned knowledge. However isn’t it interesting how it shifts our perception and enables us to miss out on some simple facts in life? Is it not important that we are still able to listen to our innate brain as well?
I am going to be honest, a lot of people are driven to see Chiropractors because of pain, but once the pain shifts they become aware it's about more than pain.
Chiropractic is about allowing your body to function as it is meant to. It is freeing your body in movement and taking pressure off the nervous system. This may mean you can work out harder and your recovery time is shorter. Or it may mean you have a slightly longer fuse when reasoning with a difficult 2 year old. Or it may mean that your immune system copes better in the flu season. Or it may mean that you sleep better.
Long story short, chiropractic enables the human body to be more resilient to stress, and in the grand scheme of life, isn’t that what we want? To cope well with stress and be adaptable in life?
How adaptable are you in life?
Food for thought, Ill leave you to ponder over that!
Dr A xx (Chiro)
A million things to do? Weight of the world on your shoulders? Stressed?
It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of day to day life and work. Before you know it you haven’t seen friends in months, there is no food in the house, you are tired but you don’t sleep well and you haven’t managed to get to the gym for 3 weeks. Sound familiar?
Let’s start with some rough dates:
My point is, with the invention of all of these things, one would assume that we would have more time in our day right?
We literally do not have to find the nearest watering hole and stand over it for a day scrubbing and ringing out clothes by hand any more.
So now you feel thankful for your washing machine and your first world life, let’s put into action some of these simple tips for keeping life awesome and less "busy":
Some people find that idea hard to swallow. It puts ownership back on you and implies you are in control of your life. But it is true. You run your life. Own it. Live it.
Dr A xx
It is coming to the end of January and people are starting to get back into the swing of things for the new year.
Holiday time for most is becoming a distant memory and the kids are nearly back to school, meaning the daily grind is well and truly underway.
A new year means new beginnings right!?
But often these new beginnings are all or nothing attempts to change one's life. By the end of February people are burnt out and tired and fall back into old less healthy lifestyles.
So today we are going to discuss ideas to help you kick start your year and improve your health.
Firstly we need to keep in mind it takes 28 days to form a habit, or so they say. Remember when we make changes they need to be achievable for 28 days. According to this theory in 28 days you have created a habit which you can then sustain easily. Simple right?
1. Plan and prepare meals.
It is as simple as planning. Plan your meals in advance and prepare any food you can in the weekend. Guys, this actually only takes at maximum an hour to do, once you get good at it you can plan and prep in 30min. That 30min on a sunday afternoon saves hours during the week. Stop with the excuses, and as Nike says "just do it". For 28days. Create a habit. Save yourself time and stress through the week and decrease your maccy D's drive through runs on the way home.
2. Get moving
Movement is life. Get amongst it. Movement helps us release happy hormones called endorphins which are awesome. Hate the gym? Get walking. Hate walking? Go to Jump classes (this awesome new fitness fad where you jump around on trampolines, cool right?)
You can make excuses all day long but your body lives to move, and by not moving you are doing yourself an injustice.
Find a movement buddy, have more sex (always practice safe sex), join a tramping club, play lawn bowls, just find something that works for you.
Everyone is different.
3. Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep is awesome, it helps regulate just about every function in your body. I could talk about this for days. But long story short. Sleep is needed, so get what your body requires DAILY or should I say "nightly"?.
Just remember some people need 9 hours a night and some people need 7 hours, find what works for you, and be aware that your need for sleep may increase or decrease with corresponding stress levels.
4. Make changes one at a time.
Take your pick of what you would like to change in your life.
Oh you want to change everything all at once? Go for gold if you can sustain it. Otherwise change one thing at a time and roll with it for 28 days (create a good habit). Then move onto the next thing.
Professional athletes are always refining their training, recovery and food to enhance their performance, we can do that with our life too. Take parts you don't like and overhaul them. In knowing you can create change in your life people often feel more fulfilled and therefore are more likely to make healthy choices. Double Winning.
5. Drink more water.
Did you nearly stop reading because you are so SICK of hearing people say this? It has been proven numerous times in numerous studies that drinking more water will help you feel and function better.
If you are drinking less than 2L of water a day then you just found your first 28 day challenge (see number 4 health hack point).
Just suck it up and drink more water, literally.
So at the end of the day what do all these things have in common?
They are all REDUCING STRESS in your life.
Planning meals allows less stress about what you are going to eat when you get home from work. It also takes away the "I didn't have time to pack a lunch" because you already planned and prepped your lunches for the week.
Moving allows our body to be stimulated which decreases the physical stress of postural changes from sitting at a desk all day.
Getting enough sleep means that you are likely to feel recharged and less likely to bite your colleague's head off (we all know how awkward that is).
Making changes one at a time reminds you that you are in control of your life and capable of creating any change you wish.
Drinking more water means you go to the toilet more, which means less work, more toilet breaks and therefore more time moving (winning!). No but actually drinking more water has greater benefits than that.
So what is the major take home "Health Hack" for 2016?
DECREASE YOUR STRESS. Period. WHY?
Because you are awesome and you are worth it. Say that again with me. You are awesome and you are worth it.
2016 is YOUR year.
Dr Ainslee (chiroprator and wellness extraordinaire)
Hi. My name is Ainslee, I am a chiropractor and wellness extraordinaire. My passion is getting people well and keeping them that way.