Natural and Alternative Options for Managing Pain

It’s estimated that over 150 million of us in the US live with chronic pain and take prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, both of which provide only temporary relief, have limited efficacy and come with side effects including potential addiction. This leaves us looking for safe and effective analgesics to manage pain – so in this blog, I’m going to cover some evidence-based alternative and complementary solutions that can provide natural pain relief. It’s important to note that while you can find relief from these options, looking into the root cause of the pain is the key to long-term wellness. And this may require a dramatic shift away from pro-inflammatory habits (affecting your diet, sleep, exercise and mind) which I’ll cover in another blog. 
Acupressure
Acupressure – a traditional Chinese medicine technique dating back more than 2,000 years – is still popular today as an inexpensive and non-medical intervention without side effects. This stimulating practice sends ...

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Kicking off the New Year With Intent – Sleep

We spend a third of our life in bed (or should aim to). Sleep affects everything from energy and mood to chronic conditions like heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It has an impact on our metabolism, immunity and physical performance. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 35% of adults don’t get the recommended dose of at least seven hours of sleep. And we live in an espresso-buzzed, screen-fixated, shut-eye deprived world where it’s considered a badge of honor to function on less sleep. Did you know that in a meta-analyses of almost 13,000 studies conducted on sleep, subjects who had sleep disturbances had a higher risk of dementia?

The National Sleep Foundation released the key indicators of good sleep and they include:

Sleeping at least 85% of the time when in bedFalling asleep in 30 minutes or lessWaking up no more than once per nightGoing back to sleep within 20 minutes of waking up at night

If you are like most adults and struggle to meet...

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Kicking off the New Year With Intent – 10 Steps to Improve Your Mind

Many of us have had to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression especially over the past year. The uncertainty of today’s environment is enough to make us crawl under a rock and hope that all this nonsense will go away. The thoughts that race in our head as we worry about health, relationships, and finances can often put us in a downward spiral that makes us feel even more worried and stressed out. The good news is that there are evidence-based ways to reduce these anxieties and manage our mental health to improve our well-being. Everyone benefits from different strategies so it’s not a “one size fits all” approach – what works for your friend may be a total dud for you. It’s important to try as many strategies as possible to see which ones are optimal. And remember, none of these approaches will work if it’s not something you’ll stick to and create a habit around. So read on and try adopting some of these approaches in the new year.

1. Breathing

The autonomic nervous system ...

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Anti-Aging Skin Care Hacks: Part 2

In my first blog, I focused on what NOT to do to prevent skin aging. In part 2, I will share some more tips to incorporate into your daily routine to keep your skin at its best regardless of your age. And remember: “It`s not how old you are, it`s how you are old.” ― Jules Renard Collagen Having youthful skin has more to do with what you put in your body than on it. So, you can spend a lot of money on expensive skin products but you have to feed your body right FIRST.  Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and maintaining your body’s collagen level is critical to youthful, anti-aging skin. Collagen has gotten very popular recently with a number of diets like Primal, Keto and others advocating its use. It has become a superfood with benefits like keeping arteries clean, easing joint pain, and boosting mood and energy. This study has shown that oral collagen consumption increased skin hydration and improved collagen density. It’s important to note that there are five specific ...

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Top 10 Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety

In this blog, I’d like to discuss the use of essential oils for managing stress, anxiety and mood. Aromatherapy stimulates the receptors in the nose and sends messages to our nervous system which impacts the body’s energy systems. This fragrant modality has been used for centuries to maintain and improve well-being.

Here’s my list of recommendations.

1. Chamomile Chamomile has a wonderful scent and is used widely in oil and tea form for general relaxation. This study showed the effectiveness of chamomile for treating generalized anxiety disorders (chronic anxiety and neurosis).

Here’s one that’s blended with jojoba and ready to use out of the bottle:

2. FennelThis delicious anise spice is more commonly known for its digestive properties but this study highlighted the use of fennel in reducing depression and anxiety in post-menopausal women.

Here’s one to try:

3. FrankincenseFrankincense oil is extracted from the resin of the Boswellia tree and it means ‘quality ince...

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Metabolic Dysfunction and How It Can Cause Diabetes and Chronic Diseases

I listened to another fascinating (albeit long) podcast on the Broken Brain series on how out-of-control blood sugar can cause belly fat, brain fog and chronic disease. Dr. Casey Means was the guest and she is a Stanford-trained doctor and associate editor of the International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention. Her mission is to reverse the epidemic of preventable chronic disease by empowering individuals with personalized tools (i.e. continuous glucose monitors – CGM) that promote sustainable dietary and lifestyle choices. As a pre-diabetic myself, I have been using some of these tools to monitor how my body responds to my diet and activities of daily living. I was quite shocked at what I learned from a month’s use of a CGM and if this blog speaks to you, it may be something you may want to discuss with your doctor.

Here are the highlights from the podcast:

We make energy from converting sugar and fat and this metabolic process is a core fundamental pathway of every ...

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5 Surprising Superfoods to Fight Diabetes

I hope you’ve read my earlier blogs on superfoods to fight diabetes/pre-diabetes. It’s good to know that there are many options out there to establish a healthy eating plan to control blood sugar/insulin and manage weight. Here are five more ordinary superfoods that are extraordinary for staving off/managing Types 2 diabetes. And even if you are not a pre-diabetic/diabetic, you can easily incorporate these key elements into your daily diet for a healthy lifestyle. Dark Chocolate Good news if you are a chocolate fan! Did you know that consumption of dark chocolate which is rich in flavonoids can improve your mood and add antioxidants while providing you with a satisfying and appetite-suppressing treat? In a recent study, parameters of lipid and glucose metabolism (cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, waist circumference) improved after six months of daily intake of dark chocolate. Cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, contains antioxidant flavonoids which means they can reduce inflammatio...

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Anti-Aging Skin Care Hacks – What Not To Do

I was told by my aesthetician that both surgical (facelift, etc.) and minimally invasive procedures (injectables and laser sculpting) are very popular even during COVID. With the work-from home and mask mandates, one can get a lot done to the face and body without leaving the office or even having it visible to others – which is all good if you have a lot of time and money to devote to these treatments. In this two-part blog, I will share some easy and inexpensive habits to incorporate into your daily routine to keep your youthful glow regardless of your age. First, I will start off with WHAT NOT TO DO. Stop Smoking If you are a smoker, this habit will put you on a fast path to skin aging as the toxins in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin, which are what keeps skin firm and wrinkle-resistant. Smoking also causes vascular constriction, inhibits blood flow and delays oxygen delivery to the skin cells. This study shows the negative association of aging and smoking. Use Clean Skin Car...

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Surprising Ways to Help Fight Diabetes

In my first blog of this series, I wrote about common herbs and spices for fighting diabetes. Here, I will highlight ordinary superfoods that are quite extraordinary for controlling glucose, insulin and staving off/managing Types 2 diabetes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Did you know that drinking some apple cider vinegar before meals and at bedtime has been shown to lower post-meal glucose levels by 34%? Vinegar slows the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood or slows the breakdown of starches into sugars. The study also showed that vinegar increases insulin sensitivity, similar to metformin, a common diabetes drug. This study showed that consuming vinegar at bedtime reduced fasting blood glucose in the morning. This is great news for me as I tend to have a higher faster blood glucose level in the morning.

Top Tip: I love to add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to my morning cup of water (8oz) with a flavored electrolyte tablet or to my sparkling water (I’m a fan of P...

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Hacking Your Heart & Preventing Diabetes – Dr. Rocky Patel Podcast Review

I’ve always been a fan of Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Podcasts – he is probably the most famous biohacker that’s out there. On one of his earlier podcasts, his guest was Dr. Rocky Patel, a family physician who focuses on prevention and early detection and treatment of diabetes and heart attacks. He practices what he preaches and lost over 85 pounds following the program that he now advocates for his patients. Here are some of the highlights from the show:

Current food recommendations are not based on science but on US policy – we’ve been vilifying saturated fats but science shows that saturated fats and cholesterol are not the culprits.Eating quality fats and saturated meat is actually good for you and will raise HDL cholesterol and make the brain work better.  There are now prescription drugs based on medium chain triglycerides (MCT) oils.Dr. Patel follows a Paleo-type diet with the right amount of quality protein and good fats to maintain his health and weight.Diabetes is a disea...

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