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Nervous System: is Yours Receiving Mixed Messages?

A simple anology comes from a recent newsletter from Hazeldean Family Chiropractic Clinic. It explains how mixed messages confuse and affect the role of the nervous system.

How Does the Nervous System Work?

The nervous system-the brain, spinal cord, and nerves-connects every part of the body into one vast communication highway. The nerves communicate with each other via chemical and electrical messages. These messages are passed along between the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the rest of the body to keep everything connected. Messages are coordinated and optimized on a cellular and a body level. This includes basic cell and organ function. It also includes higher-level brain function such as thinking, learning, and memory.

The health of our nervous system impacts the way our body functions. Factors that can affect nerve health include chronic inflammation, spinal misalignment, injury, and poor mental health.

Telephone Game

As a kid, did you ever play the game called “Telephone” where a bunch of kids sat in a circle with one whispering a message into their neighbour’s ear, who in turn passed the message onto the next person in the circle and so on? The last person to receive the message would then communicate what they heard- usually a version which did not in the least resemble the original message!

In summary, when the delicate communication highway in the nervous system is compromised, it can quickly turn into a game of telephone, with less amusing results. Messages become delayed, crossed, and totally misinterpreted, and the body falls into a state of dysfunction.

Chiropractic Care Can Fix and Prevent Mixed Messages

Prevent these mixed messages from happening.Kkeep the lines of communication within our nervous systems open and as unencumbered as possible. Chiropractic adjustments help correct spinal misalignment, ensuring that every part of our body receives the correct messages to function optimally.

Fix and Prevent Mixed Messages to Your Nervous System



Wordle: Exercise Your Brain

Have you heard of Wordle? It’s the newest craze, a brain exercising word game played on your phone, tablet or computer. It’s not an app, but a website accessed online.

Wordle Explained

It’s quite simple. You have six tries to guess a valid five lettered word. Apparently if you try a word that does not exist you will be told so. The words are randomly selected by the site, one a day. At midnight a new one is generated, automatically. Everyone playing gets the same word each day.

On your screen, with each attempt, tiles with correct letters in the correct spot will be green. Tiles with letters in the word but in the wrong spot will be yellow. Tiles of letters not in the word at all will be gray. The coloured tiles indicate which letters have been used and which ones are still available to use.

For example, this was my first attempt. I started with the word CRANK, the C is in the word but not the first letter. The R and K were in the word and in the correct spots. Based on that, my second guess was TRUCK. Now the R, C and K were correct and in the right spots, the first and third letters were not yet chosen. My third guess was PRICK. The all green tiles shows this was correct!

Wordle

It reminds me of Lingo, a very similar game on the TV game show channel I used to play with my eldest son.

Play on Your Phone, Tablet or Computer

To access Wordle online follow these simple steps:

On your phone:

  • Type in powerlanguage.co.uk in Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge browser
  • tap on the menu button. That’s the 3 vertical dots at the top or bottom of your screen.
  • choose “add to home screen”
  • tap “add” to finish the process

On your computer:

use this link

Work Your Brain

These kind of word games are purportedly good for the brain. Research has shown that in brains over fifty years of age, word games like Wordle and crosswords or number games like Sudoku improve memory, problem solving, and focus.

As I warned you previously, if you don’t use it you lose it!

Warning About Wordle

If you haven’t already, you should soon start to notice lots of these Wordle blocks on the various forms of social media. That’s because when you get the answer right, you can show off how smart you are by “sharing” your results.

Wordle can be addictive! It’s just as well you only get one per day.




Meat Loaf: Death of Another Legend

The legendary Meat Loaf passed away yesterday at the age of 74. Any of you in my age group will most likely remember him for his passionate love songs in the 70s and 80s.

Bat Out of Hell, by Meat Loaf

This album was one of my favourites in my late teenage years. In fact, it still remains one of my all time favourites. It has the power to invoke so many memories of romantic relationships of those years. Especially Paradise by the Dashboard Lights. Every time I hear it, I am transported back to those days.

Released in 1977, the album was so popular it was on the hit list for nine years! As a matter of fact, it still remains at the top of the “best sellers of all time” list.

Also on my list of favourites are top singles on the charts from that album including “Two out of Three Ain’t Bad,” “You Took the Words Right out of my Mouth” and “I Would do Anything for Love, but I Won’t do That.”

The album was so iconic that a musical with the same name features many of my favourite hit singles from the album. Unfortunately, many performances of this musical were postponed due to the pandemic.

Meat Loaf’s Memorable Quotes

Asked about his flamboyant and passionate performances, he replied that he treats each stage performance like it’s his last. More iconic, often self-depreciating yet painfully truthful, quotes from AZquotes include:

The day that I ever become hip… please shoot me and put me outta my misery!”

“I never fit in. I am a true alternative. And I love being the outcast. That’s my role in life, to be an outcast.”

“I don’t have a rock voice. I have to force it. I am like an opera singer.”

Meat Loaf

He was quite insightful, very talented, yet well aware of his limitations. I believe that was part of his charm. What you saw is what you got. Every performance, live or recorded, was passionately and emotionally delivered.

Childhood Angst

Meat Loaf certainly worked hard for his fame. Born Marvin (AKA Michael) Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas, in 1947, he was the only child of an alcoholic, abusive father. His mother, a school English teacher, passed away when he was young. Because of his weight, constant bullying and teasing were a daily occurrence at school. In fact, (allegedly) this teasing lead to his name. Teachers, kids, and even coaches reportedly called the youngster “ML,” for Mighty Large, which turned into Meat Loaf. Another theory is that he was nicknamed after a favourite meal that his mom made often.

Meat Loaf Performances

Over the years, Meat Loaf performed in over 50 television shows and films, including Rocky Horror Picture Show, Black Dog, Fight Club, Wayne’s World, and Hair. These performances were over and above his innumerable concerts and recordings that spanned four decades.

In 1994 Meat Loaf won a Grammy for the Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “I’d do Anything for Love.”

Health Issues Derailed his Comeback

Unfortunately, poor health in the form of excruciating back pain curbed the career that spanned so many decades. He fainted on stage in Pittsburgh in 2011 and halted his UK tour in 2013. Due to illness, shows were canceled in 2016, followed by a collapse on stage in Edmonton.

“Braver Than We Are” was released in September 2016. Ultimately it proved to be his last album. The dream of a comeback was cut short when never-ending back pain brought on eighteen months of back surgery.

Four surgeries later a glimmer of hope emerged. In early 2020 Meat Loaf promised another album. In March of 2021, he performed at country singer and fellow Celebrity Apprentice cast member John Rich’s bar in Lower Broadway. Just this past (2021) November a personal Facebook post had fans’ hopes up. At that time he vented about the four back surgeries, but also shared that he was looking forward to getting back in the studio in the new year. I for one was excited, something to look forward to in 2022.

Visit his website for more fascinating information on this legendary music icon.

Hopefully, he is rocking pain-free in heaven, or resting in peace with Betty White, another legend we lost recently. Although the two had nothing in common (that I am aware of) they both made a profound impression around the world.




AIP for Chronic Inflammation

While researching nightshade vegetables and their effect on people with sensitivities to them, I came across something called an AIP. This stands for an autoimmune protocol, something I had never heard of. However, through the years I know I have inflammatory issues and suspect they may be related to underlying autoimmune factors.

What is the AIP?

To clarify, the AIP or autoimmune protocol is a diet somewhat related to the Paleo diet, but slightly more restrictive. Nicknamed the hunter and gatherer diet, Paleo supports a back-to-the-basics approach. In addition to foods restricted in the Paleo, AIP also eliminates nightshade vegetables as well as other inflammation-triggering foods like eggs, seeds, nuts, and most sweeteners.

What’s left to eat on the AIP? In short, foods that fight inflammation such as leafy greens, fruit, lean meat, healthy fats, and cruciferous vegetables are all permitted.

To sum things up, this chart shows what is allowed or not, and how to swap the bad for the good. It comes from AmyMeyersMD.com:

AIP for chronic inflammation

Chronic Inflammatory Conditions that the AIP can Alleviate

Many things cause chronic inflammation. Exposure to chemicals, foods we consume, and autoimmune disorders are all culprits. Research shows that autoimmune conditions and inflammatory diseases are often connected. Both of these can be genetic, but it is the ability to be allergic that is genetic, not the specific allergy. Healthline lists some well known autoimmune conditions and symptoms:

  • joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis
  • gout
  • irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease
  • chronic fatigue, trouble concentrating, brain fog
  • skin rashes and conditions like eczema, scleroderma, psoriasis,
  • phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, vasculitis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • systemic lupus erythematosus
  • type 1 diabetes
  • hair loss
  • low grade fever, achy muscles
  • numbness and/or tingling in the hands or feet

Long Term Goals

Treatment of many of these conditions and symptoms may require medication to reduce inflammation. Furthermore, exercise more, quit smoking, eliminate stress, and change diets. These actions can alleviate autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms over the long term.

Most importantly, the autoimmune protocol is never a quick fix. It may take several months for chronic inflammatory and autoimmune symptoms to subside.

Do your own research. Find reputable sites online or do your research the old-fashioned way by reading a book. Here are a few selections from Amazon on the topic:










Nightshade Vegetables: Should You Eat Them?

Nightshade vegetables are wonderful if you are not sensitive to them. Unfortunately, many times people don’t realize a sensitivity to them until they are investigating unpleasant inflammatory or gastrointestinal symptoms.

What are Nightshade Vegetables?

Tomatoes (and tomatillos), okra, eggplant, peppers, goji berries, and white potatoes are all members of the nightshade family. Also included in the group are spices such as red pepper flakes, chili pepper, cayenne and paprika.  Too bad, as all of these contain antioxidants, vitamins (C and B) and minerals. Not to mention they are tasty.

nightshade vegetables

Why are Nightshade Vegetables Getting a Bad Name?

Unfortunately, even though these vegetables are normally considered very healthy, they can cause more trouble than they are worth for many people. That’s because they also contain nutrients called alkaloids. The alkaloids in turn contain a nitrogen called solanine. While nitrogen is great for fertilizing plants, it is not so easily processed or agreeable in our digestive systems.

Research is now showing that nitrogen consumption can aggravate chronic digestive issues such as leaky gut, irritable bowel, and Celiac disease as well as arthritis and joint pain. Nightshade vegetables have also been shown to create an inflammatory response in many people, especially those afflicted with autoimmune disorders.

Allergies in any form can range from mild to deadly. Recognized currently are serious allergic reactions to nightshades ranging from hives and itchiness to swelling and difficulty breathing.

Confirm a Sensitivity to Nightshades with an Elimination Diet

It’s not a quick diagnosis. Your physician may suggest you avoid them if you are plagued with inflammatory or digestive episodes. Or, you can make the decision yourself. Either way, an elimination diet may provide some clarity.

Start by eliminating all of the vegetables and spices listed above for a minimum of one month. Then re-introduce them, one at a time, into your diet while monitoring your symptoms. You may react to one and not another from the group. Raw versus cooked versions may create different reactions too. It may be beneficial to keep a journal to record day to day changes and reactions.

Living with the Results

How severely you have to restrict nightshade vegetables from your diet will depend on your findings in your elimination diet as well as the severity of your symptoms when reintroducing them.

You make the call!




Body Cleanses, How They Work

Body cleanses are currently popular methods to detoxify the body to feel better, look better and possibly even lose weight.  Not just for cosmetic purposes, cleansing is important.

Why Cleanse?

Toxins or contaminants enter the body through the skin, drinking tap water, eating processed foods and even just from breathing air from the environment. After entering the body, harmful microscopic organisms such as viruses, bacteria, parasitic worms, and yeasts live within the digestive tract, feeding off nutrients there. That’s when diseases develop.

Skin conditions such as eczema and many other health issues can result from the buildup of these toxins and contaminants capable of invading the body. To learn how to cleanse your body, ridding it of these harmful toxins, read on.

Can the Body Cleanse Itself?

The body removes toxins on its own, somewhat. The role of the liver is to recognize, and breakdown toxic compounds, removing them from the body through waste.  The liver can get overwhelmed though when overloaded with toxins. When this happens the natural detoxification process slows down or stops altogether.

The colon and kidneys also play important roles in the detoxification process of removing toxins and contaminants from the body. The colon expels the toxins from the digestive system removing them within bowel movements while the kidneys remove toxins from the blood system through the urinary system.

Natural Body Cleanses

Natural methods can be used to reduce the number of toxins the liver is exposed to. Eliminating processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine from the diet are all examples of these methods.  Instead, the diet should consist of a predominance of natural, organic produce and ingredients.

Heavy exercise can also help rid the body of toxins through sweat.

Natural herbal remedies can be helpful as a body detox as well.   Dandelion, turmeric and ginger root teas as well as organic apples, cranberries, grapes, garlic, sprouts, cucumbers and onions all help to detoxify the kidneys.  Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice added to water is effective as a colon cleanse and liver cleanse.

Many of these natural cleansers are ingredients in my morning smoothies:

ingredients for body cleanses

Commercial Body Cleanses

Commercial detoxification products remove the buildup of harmful toxins stored in the body for many years. Cleansing the liver, kidneys, and colon will help restore their natural detoxification effectiveness.

Made of natural ingredients, Commercial cleanses should not cause any adverse effects. Be sure to follow instructions closely.

body cleanses



Betty White Challenge Supports Animals

The world lost a true wonder recently in Betty White, at the ripe age of 99. Today she would be celebrating her 100th birthday. In her honour, the Betty White challenge has been created in support of her love for animals. What a wonderful idea! Please consider donating to any animal support program in her name to commemorate her life.

#BettyWhiteChallenge is exploding in popularity. It encourages everyone to donate $5 to any local or national animal shelter, rescue or agency in Betty White’s name through Jan. 17, her birthday.

Citation

Sit With Me Rescue Rising to the Challenge

Sit With Me is a local support foundation for rescue dogs here in the Ontario and Quebec area. I told you about them previously when my neighbour participated in a National Cupcake Day fundraiser for Sit With Me.

If you are local and wish to support them in the Betty White Challenge, please follow this link.

Betty White Challenge

Find a Betty White Challenge in Your Neighbourhood

If you live elsewhere, contact your local support facility to see if they too are participating in this amazing challenge. There are many cooperating agencies, rescues, and shelters to choose from.

In conclusion, let’s make this challenge as amazing as the woman herself. She would be so proud!




Face Yoga for a Non-Surgical Facelift

Have you heard of face yoga? It has become increasingly popular in the past few years. I was introduced to it at the beginning of the pandemic, so early 2020.

What is Face Yoga?

Touted as a non-surgical method for a facelift, the age-defying series of exercises is aimed at sculpting facial muscles and eliminating sagging skin, double chins and jowls.

If you have to ask what double chins or jowls are, you probably don’t need face yoga. However, if your face and neck are beginning to show your age, read on.

The best part is that you can do these exercises anywhere, any time. Watching TV, lying in bed, wherever you like. Of course, if you try them while driving you may get some strange looks, but I do them when sitting at a red light. When no one else is around.

face yoga for a non surgical facelift

My Video Instructions

This video demonstrates some of the exercises of face yoga. By yours truly. It was hard to talk and manipulate the muscles in my face and neck at the same time, so there is no sound here…

You can see my facial and neck muscles moving with the exercises, so I assume these muscles are being worked.

Watching this video brings back memories of the beginning of the pandemic, when I was transitioning from reddish brown (dyed) hair to my natural gray colour. Currently my hair is very, very gray, with no brown in sight, but I digress.

Other Face Yoga Options

If you prefer to purchase books with instructions, try this one or this one, both available on Amazon. The following video is from YouTube:

Conclusions

Whichever option you choose to shape up your face and neck, give them a try. An inexpensive, non-surgical method to turn back the clock, what could go wrong?




Lose Weight and Inches in Simple Steps

While it is not easy to lose weight, there are several simple steps to make it less complicated. The trick is sticking to your plan. Once you see results it gets easier to keep going.

Control Fat Storage to Lose Weight

Fat storage is directly linked to two hormones; insulin and cortisol.  Insulin is controlled by the food you eat, and cortisol is controlled by the amount of stress in your life. Increases in either or both of these hormones cause your body to store fat. Unfortunately, poor food choices and stress often occur together, and like the chicken and the egg story, which one comes first is debatable….

Eating the wrong carbohydrates  (sugar, bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, processed snacks, etc) causes increases in insulin in your body.  Eating good carbohydrates (quinoa, fruit, vegetables, bread with sprouted grains) controls your blood sugar and insulin levels.

To help keep your insulin level in check and keep your body in a fat-burning zone, follow these simple steps:

Read food labels

Avoid processed and packaged foods like cereals, muffins, chips, crackers, genetically modified corn, soy and wheat, hydrogenated oils, canola oil, corn syrup, margarine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.

These products not only increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, but they are also treated as foreign toxins in your body, causing inflammation in many organs.  Avoiding these products will not only make you lose weight, but other health issues such as eczema, asthma, arthritis, will improve too.

Stick to the outer aisles in grocery stores

The outside aisles or perimeter of the stores contain the fresh produce, meat, dairy etc, while the inner aisles typically hold the bad stuff.

Clean out your kitchen pantry

Get rid of any of the above items.

Reduce Stress to Lose Weight

To control cortisol levels, try to reduce the stresses in your life by following these steps:

Get enough sleep

 Sleep deprivation stresses your body.  If you cannot get enough at night, try to sneak in a nap during the day, since even a short 30-minute nap is beneficial for you.

Get some, but not too much exercise

An exercise regime that is too strenuous will temporarily stress your body, causing a spike in your cortisol level.  Your exercise regime does not have to be complicated or expensive.  Go for a brisk walk every day, or at least every second day.

Surround yourself with positive people.  

Negative people are stressors you do not need.

Spend more time doing the things you like to do.

Take up a new hobby or rediscover an old one.

Other Points to Remember

Good fats burn body fat

Avoid margarine, canola, and hydrogenated oils.  Instead choose eggs, olive oil, avocado, almonds, coconut oil, and cold-water fish.

Stay hydrated  

Dehydration is your enemy! Drink lots of water.  Carry a water bottle around with you while running errands, chauffeuring your kids, and especially while exercising.   Add a splash of lemon juice to your water to liven up the taste.

photo credit




Boost Your Brain: 5 Vitamins that Aid Memory

This article is a guest post from iveeapp.com. I’ve added my two cents throughout:

The benefits of vitamin supplements are incredibly far-reaching. They can help aid bodily functions such as digestion, metabolism, and immuno-response. Researchers continue to support the belief that vitamin supplements play a large role in longevity. When combined with a proper diet, adequate sleep patterns, and daily exercise, a noticeable impact on life quality can also be achieved with vitamin supplements.

So what about memory? Can these tablets really boost cognitive function? Well, yes and no. One of the most common symptoms of aging is memory loss. As of 2020, roughly an estimated 5.8 million Americans aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s dementia. If scientists were able to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s with the use of vitamin supplements, over 200 thousand fewer seniors would be diagnosed per year. So, in that respect, vitamin supplements act as a preventive measure.

Five supplements that boost memory

1. B-12

Researchers have studied the correlation between B-12 and B complex vitamins and cognitive function for a long while. They have found that having a B-12 deficiency could lead to troubles with memory in the future. According to the Mayo Clinic, having an adequate amount of B-12 can lead to improved memory. Still, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that higher intake leads to more benefits. However, there is evidence that regular B-12 consumption can slow the cognitive decline of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when combined with omega-3 fatty acids. 

B-12 deficiency is most common in those with bowel or stomach issues, strict vegans, and diabetics. Getting enough B-12 should come naturally. Certain foods such as fish and poultry contain high levels of the vitamin B-12. Dairy products and certain vegetables such as mushrooms also offer high levels of B-12. 

If you do not eat foods rich in B12, you can supplement your diet with vitamin B12 in a jar! and get the same benefits.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another supplement that has shown to slow cognitive decline. Like vitamin B-12, this vitamin has proven to be more effective in older people since they are more at risk for memory loss. According to a 2014 study done by The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMMA), “Among patients with mild to moderate [Alzheimer’s], 2000 IU/d of alpha-tocopherol [the vitamin E supplement] compared with placebo resulted in slower functional decline.” 

Vitamin E deficiency is rare, but it does occur. It is most apparent in those whose diets lack fat. Good sources of vitamin E include foods such as:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dark-colored fruits, such as blueberries, avocados, and blackberries
  • vegetables, such as spinach and bell peppers

Whether you get your daily dose of vitamin E from your diet or a jar of supplements, make sure you do!

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for efficient brain function as well as keeping our bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. We obtain Vitamin D mainly through the sun’s rays. The vitamin isn’t found in many foods, but it is abundant in certain fatty-fish such as trout, salmon, and tuna. Vitamin D supplements are great for everyone, but especially for those who spend a lot of their time working from inside. Being deficient in vitamin D can have negative effects such as raised anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. 

If you cannot get outside to obtain your daily dose of vitamin D, supplements are available.

4. Fish Oil

Omega-3 fatty acids are extracted directly from fatty fish like sardines and salmon. Fish oil can play a vital role in optimizing brain function. That’s because fish oil contains the same fatty acids found in the cell membranes of human brain cells. Preserving healthy brain cell membranes can have a massive impact on how our brain develops as we age. Not only is fish oil excellent for the mind but it is also great for muscle recovery as it decreases muscular pain and shortens recovery time after a workout.

Fish oil containing important omega 3 fatty acids is also available in supplement form if fish will never make it into your diet.

5. NAD+ Treatment

Yes, we know that NAD+ is not a vitamin, but its potential to optimize brain function is worth noting. NAD+ is a compound that is produced naturally in the body but as we age, our NAD+ levels decrease. The rate at which our NAD+ levels decrease is directly related to increasing biological age. So as we age, we lose NAD+ and we lose energy, our skin ages, and we experience some form of memory loss or mental fatigue. NAD+ supplements are available at certain vitamin shops, but one of the most effective methods is NAD+ treatment through an IV.

If IVs are not your thing, NAD+ is also available in supplement form. You have no excuse to avoid it!

Conclusion

Though these nutrients are not the “end all and be all” for cognitive decline, having a consistent intake of the vitamin could slow symptoms, especially for seniors and those already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other mental diseases. The easiest way we can prevent the onset of these illnesses is to take care of our bodies. Good sleep patterns, a good diet including vitamins, and daily exercise are things we can do daily to increase the quality of life and longevity. 

If you are not keen on introducing supplements to your diet, try incorporating foods that contain the specific vitamins instead. That is my preferred way to achieve a healthy diet. I do so by concocting a variety of smoothies that contain healthy, fresh vitamin-packed fruits and vegetables. Make the choice based on your lifestyle, but be sure to incorporate the vitamins into your diet.