Wellness Articles

Healthy Halloween!

Halloween is a time when many kids go trick or treating, only to stockpile mass quantities of candy – it’s bad for their teeth, bad for their weight, bad for the inner workings of their body, and bad for their psychology too, as sugared-up kids will go into overdrive, act out, and even get depressed in response to the excessive sugar in their systems.

This Halloween, try some healthy snacks instead of the usual not-so-good-for-you sugary treats! In the past few years, many companies have created dozens of options so you can help your child and the neighborhood kids have a healthier Halloween.

Here’s a list of some yummy Halloween treats that shouldn’t hurt your family’s health, yet allow them to participate fully in the Halloween festivities.

1. Dark Chocolate Bites
Skip the milk chocolate and sneak antioxidant-rich dark chocolate into trick-or-treat bags. Dark chocolate helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Try Organic Dark Chocolate Bug bites, Equal Exchange Mini-Chocolates, or Sweet Earth Trick or Treat Chocolates.

2. Organic Candies
Don’t deprive the kids of sweet Halloween snacks, just pick better ones they’ll also like. Try Organic Fruitabu Smooshed Fruit Flats, Rolls and Twirls. They’re made with over 90 percent organic fruit and no artificial additives, and come in delicious fruit flavors. Or, you can try Clif Kid Twisted Fruit Ropes, also USDA certified organic, or St. Claire’s Organic Fruit Tarts, or Candy Tree vegan organic Mixed Fruit Toffee Chews, or Stretch Island Fruit Leather, in apple, grape, raspberry, strawberry, mango, cherry-apricot, tropical and blackberry. All of these are much healthier than store bought fruit roll-ups and Twizzlers.

3. Organic Gummy Bears
The Let’s Do Organic! Company sells Classic, Jelly and Super Sour vegan gummy bears.

4. Organic Hard Candies
Yummy Earth lollipops are USDA certified-organic, contain no artificial colors or corn syrup and are available in 20 flavors such as Pomegranate Pucker, TooBerry Blueberry and Strawberry Smash. Or, try Organic Root Beer Barrels, or Candy Tree Organic Lollipops, updated versions of perennial favorites that will please even the finicky candy lovers. Or, you can go with College Farm Organics Naturepops and Hard Candies, whose organic suckers and hard candies contain only natural flavors and colors, and are good options for people with food allergies because they contain no gluten, nuts, soy or eggs.

5. Organic Nutballs
Betty Lou’s makes delicious nut butter balls, and don’t miss their Golden Smackers organic chocolate peanut butter patties.

6. Organic Popcorn
Newman’s makes Newman’s Own Organics Pop’s Corn individual microwave popcorn packs of organic popcorn, a great departure from the sweets.

7. Organic Cookies and Bars
Barbara’s Bakery offers organic animal cookies, in chocolate chip, oatmeal wheat-free, vanilla, and vanilla-fruit-juice-sweetened. Earth’s Best makes organic Whole Grain Bars for babies, just the right size for a Halloween tidbit, in Apple Blueberry, Peach Banana, Pear Raspberry, and Carrot Raisin. New England Natural Bakers offers organic Save the Forest Cereal and Trail Mix Bars, in a variety of flavors. Ten percent of their profits goes to environmental and social causes. Oskri Organics sells organic Sesame Bars and Coconut Bars in various flavors (sesame flavors include dates, fennel, molasses, and cumin; coconut flavors include strawberry, pineapple, almond, and mango). 

8. Organic Beverages
Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic both offer small juice boxes for kids, while EdenSoy makes small boxes of soy drinks (original, carob, and vanilla flavors). The Whole Kids line at Whole Foods Markets includes small boxes of organic juices and soy drinks, too.

9. Organic Baby Carrots, Raisins and Honey Sticks
Earthbound Farm sells organic Thompson Seedless Raisins in handy snack packs, just right for kids. Pavich Raisins are also available in individual small boxes but are not sealed. You can get organic baby carrots at any Whole Foods and most grocery stores. Very little organic honey is currently available, but Stash Tea, a maker of organic teas, makes delicious, naturally-flavored honey sticks, another tasty Halloween option to the usual overly sweet chemical laden treats.

You can probably see that there’s no excuse to settle for yucky Halloween treats for your family and the neighborhood kids, when there’s such a wide variety of healthy snacks available. Do a little homework of your own, and you’ll find scrumptious, satisfying snacks to please your toughest critics.

In fact, it’s healthier for you and your kids year-round, not only at Halloween time – make it a habit to eat healthier, and avoid overly processed, sugary and chemical treated foods — it will come back to reward you many times over with a better overall quality of life and more years to enjoy it.

Raising Healthy Families

Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, a future parent or a child, there are some simple guidelines you can follow to increase your chances of having the healthiest life possible. By applying some simple common sense ideas, you’ll improve your quality of life and probably extend your life while you’re doing it.

 Starting in the Sixties and for over thirty years, a study was conducted in California called the Alameda County Study, which identified seven habits people who lived long healthy lives tended to develop. They observed seven key indicators for longevity and quality of life by following Alameda County residents 60-94 years of age and recording trends among those with optimal results. They are obvious once you see them – they are easy to adopt into your life, and will more likely than not reduce the amount of time and money you have to spend on doctors over your lifetime and your family’s lifetime.

 As you have probably already guessed, these seven lifestyle choices are nothing extreme – rather they are normal daily habits which many of you already do or sometimes do. You’ll be amazed to discover how making a few changes can improve your chances of a long healthy life. And if you share these distinctions with your family, you can approach these lifestyle choices together and share in the benefits.

The Alameda Seven

1) Sleep seven or eight hours each night. The importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized. Rest and rejuvenation are critical components of a healthy metabolism, and sleeping long enough and restfully enough give your body the healing and regeneration time it needs to perform as you wish during the day. Allow sufficient time to sleep.

 Also check your sleep equipment – is your mattress comfortable, is it the right size and shape for your needs, does it support you the way you need when you are sleeping? You’ll spend between a quarter and a third of your life in your bed – make sure you have invested in the best sleep gear available. And you should be able to sleep comfortably on your pillow, not too low and not too high.

Finally, you’re better off sleeping face up or on your side, not face down, since sleeping on your stomach keeps your neck turned all night, which can lead to misalignment and pain. Get into the habit of sleeping in healthy positions.

 2) Eat breakfast. Beginning your day with a healthful, nutritious meal kick-starts your machinery and replenishes your energy storage after your night’s fast – that where the word “breakfast” comes from, breaking your fast after sleeping. Coffee and a donut are not the kind of fuel you may choose to put into your finely tuned physiology – pick breakfast foods that have less sugar and artificial ingredients, and more balanced whole foods in moderate quantities. Some people do well with fruit, some with cereals, some with eggs, but select foods in combinations that your body
processes well.

 And drink water – your body needs it after having none for seven or eight hours. Don’t make the assumption that coffee and juice are as good as water — your body treats them more like food. Drink water, and your body will thank you for it.

 3) Exercise. Scientists have an assortment of theories on exercise, many of which have merit, but the simplest exercise is just deciding to move around more as part of your lifestyle. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park on the other side of the parking lot and walk a hundred yards to your office. Walk around the block before or after dinner. Use part of your lunch hour to ride a bicycle, stretch, or do some yoga.

Some exercise experts recommend short bursts of high intensity exercise, while others say that working physical movement and activity into your daily routines is better – in fact, why not do both, and you’ll be astounded how quickly your body gets stronger, more flexible and less cranky.

4) Maintain a desirable weight for your height. There is obviously a wide range of acceptability for this, but the product of sleeping enough, eating well and exercising, the first three habits mentioned, should get you into the ball park.

 A word to the wise — don’t try to be something you’re not. Some people have slimmer body types, others have thicker body types, and regardless of your natural gifts, you have to aim at the right proportions for someone of your particular body type. Be reasonable, and if you need feedback you can easily consult height and weight charts to get an idea if you are within the desired boundaries.

 5) No smoking. If you’ve never smoked, even better. Most research shows that your body starts to repair itself once you stop smoking, and depending on the amount of damage, you’ll come all the way or part of the way back to optimal. At the very least, notice the relationship between serious chronic illness and smoking, and do everything possible to reduce or eliminate smoking in your life and your family’s life.

 Smoking is a major contributing factor to the majority of the preventable disease our society is burdened by, so it cannot be overemphasized to quit or avoid smoking and campaign for others you care about to do the same.

 6) Drink less than five drinks at one sitting. Alcohol is a matter of personal taste and conviction, but there is a correlation between health problems and excessive drinking. Where is the line for you? No one really knows for sure, but this study demonstrated that those who drank fewer than five drinks at a sitting were measurably healthier than those who drank five drinks at a sitting or more.

 Give or take the right amount for any particular person, observing moderation with alcohol is consistent with good health, quality of life and longevity.

 7) Avoid snacks. Sugary bursts confound and irritate your body’s regulatory mechanisms, and daily coffee, soda pop, and donuts are both a poor start to a day’s nutrition and a lousy snack along the way. It pumps the body’s energy systems, and exhausts your resources, making you crash and crave more sugar. And diet sodas have recently been linked to heart attacks and stroke, so they aren’t much better for you.

 Some diet and nutrition experts believe that several smaller meals are easier on your body, while others subscribe to the more traditional three squares – but snacking on empty calories or non-nutritious foods seems to lead to worse health and shorter life.

 There are other positive habits you can adopt to make your health and wellness even better. You can take appropriate nutritional supplements in addition to your clean, wholesome, balanced diet. You can meditate, get massage or do yoga to relieve stress. And you and your family can enjoy the miraculous healing benefits chiropractic is famous for with periodic chiropractic examinations and adjustments when necessary.

You only get one body – take good care of it and it will take good care of you. Good health is not an accident – it’s the product of good luck and good lifestyle decisions. You may not be able to control your luck, but you can improve your chances with good lifestyle decisions, so keep moving toward your ideal, and you and your family will have the best likelihood of good health.

Lifestyle Choices Make All The Difference

Dear Patient and Friend,

There’s a reason why America spends more money on health care than any other country, yet the overall health in the US lags behind dozens of other developed countries.

At present, America ranks 37th in overall health, a surprisingly low position, especially in spite of the massive expenditures pointed toward treating disease – and that may turn out to be what’s wrong with the system, that too much effort is directed toward treating disease, and not enough toward preventing disease, or even better, developing healthy lifestyle habits so the likelihood of disease is greatly reduced.

It would be oversimplified to say that all disease could be stopped by making better lifestyle decisions, but some scientists say that 70% of all heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other life-threatening illnesses could be avoided or reduced if people would simply accept the responsibility to make better lifestyle choices and improve the quality of their health and wellness decision-making.

We’re not talking about extreme changes like running ten miles everyday or eliminating all your favorite foods. Something as simple as drinking more water, taking a walk for a half hour three times a week, or taking some vitamin supplements could produce significant and beneficial shifts in blood chemistry, physical fitness and even attitude.

In fact, many researchers believe that regular exercise, even moderately applied, can be the best of all the stress reducers, with little or no side effects that could accompany chemical stress management through drugs.

Look at your own lifestyle, and consider choosing two or three small habits you could change or adopt – eating fresh wholesome foods in reasonable quantities, sleeping better, simple exercises like stretching, walking or yoga, limiting empty calories like sweets, especially early in the day or right before bed, including massage, or meditation, or being more diligent about keeping your spine and nerve system healthy – many people need only minor changes, while others need more of an overhaul, but one thing is for sure – taking the responsibility to make such decisions and choices will come back to reward you in a greater probability of good health and longer life.

The odds are in your favor, if you’ll choose healthy habits – it’s up to you to make such decisions, so ask us for some advice on how and where to start, and you’ll be glad you did.

Wellness is more than just feeling good

If someone asks you, “are you healthy?” your tendency is probably to reflect on how you are feeling at the time, and if you have no apparent symptoms, you would most likely say yes, I am healthy.

The problem is, many health problems are not symptomatic until they have progressed to a dangerous degree – heart disease, diabetes, and cancer may produce no pain or obvious symptoms for years, while the disease process is advancing.

That’s why it’s so important to choose healthy lifestyle habits – they help you to not only feel better, but to function better. What does that mean?

The word “function” refers to the inner workings of your body – how you utilize the air, food and water you take in, how well you use your sleep time to rest and rejuvenate, how fluidly you move without pain or discomfort, how you handle stress – in other words, how you work.

Anything you can do to improve and streamline the function of your body is good. That’s why regular exercise, good diet and nutrition, practicing stress reduction techniques and keeping your system free of unnecessary interference is so important for your ultimate well-being.

Developing a healthy lifestyle is at the core of this thinking, and chiropractors have been teaching about healthy lifestyle decisions for over 100 years. Ask your doctor of chiropractic what you can do to improve your function, feel better and experience wellness – making that small move can make your life better, starting today!