Let's talk about something controversial.
There has been a push in our society to move towards a meat-less diet, the idea being that red meat isn't healthy for us and we're making a positive impact on the environment by decreasing the output from the mass feedlots that contribute to the carbon dioxide in the air. I am for moving away from feedlot animals for a few reasons: they are grown in unsanitary, unhealthy conditions, they are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, and the animals live generally miserable lives.
What I am also for is not eating the synthetic meat that has now exploded onto the shelves in our grocery stores, and here's why: this "meat" is full of chemicals, additives, and preservatives (soy and genetically engineered yeast, to name a couple) to make this lab-grown product taste like a genuine burger, sausage, bacon, whatever. But have we really made a healthier choice when we choose this? We are really only trading one chemical for another.
Here is my opinion: if you're going to eat meat, eat the real stuff. But source it from a small, local ranch or farm, where they are raising the animals in an organic way. The meat tends to be grass-fed, and may be grass-finished. The quality of this meat is leaps and bounds away from the feedlot meat or the synthetic stuff.
When we talk about chemical stressors and mitigating what our bodies deal with on a daily basis, the quality of your food absolutely has an impact on this. The old adage "you are what you eat" really is true. Choosing locally sourced, organic, grass-fed meat is going to be the healthiest option. Triple L Ranch is a favorite in the office, but there is also others like Mannix and Oxbow here in the Missoula area.
If you have any questions, let us know!
In health and wellness,
The month of January we are focusing on gut health! What you eat on a daily basis absolutely plays a role in your health. Specifically what I want to talk about is something called prebiotics. These are foods that induce the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. These are different from probiotics. Think of probiotics as the healthy bacteria, and prebiotics as the food for the healthy bacteria.
Prebiotics come mostly from carbohydrates, mostly as fiber, that we can't digest but the gut-healthy bacteria do. Foods high in prebiotics include: legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, and onions. Including these foods in your diet will ensure that you are keeping the good guys in your gut happy and fed.
Probiotics are a buzzword right now in the health community, but it is also important we are covering all of our bases when it comes to our gut, meaning that we are supporting our digestive health by eating prebiotic foods too.
In health and wellness,
Information from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#bottom-line
Welcome to 2021!!
Let's talk about new year's resolutions real quick. Typically set to start on Jan 1st, beginning of the new year, we have high hopes that between 11:59 pm and 12:00 am we become a new person who has more motivation to exercise, lose weight, hit our goals.
Here's the debbie downer moment though: If you wouldn't have done it on a random Tuesday in December, you won't magically be motivated to keep up with your resolution now. You aren't a new person. You are still you. But remember that what most matters is to get back on the bandwagon after you fall off, because you will inevitably fall off. You are human.
Goals keep us moving and growing. The key with goals though is that your WHY has to be strong enough to keep you going when life gets tough. Take some time to dig into why you are setting a particular goal and you will be on your way to crushing your goals!
And as always, we are here to support you on your health journey!
In health and wellness,
Wishing all of you a happy holiday season from all of us here at Primal Practice!
2020 has had quite the highs and lows and it is our hope that you are able to shed whatever is holding you back and bring your good into the new year. Your health is one of your greatest gifts. We want to celebrate YOU for being committed to your health and wellbeing.
Thank you for continuing to choosing us to be on your health team! We are so grateful for each and every one of our clients!
Cheers to 2021!
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
Dr. Liz, Dr. Morgan, and Aimee
Physical stressors - let’s talk about exercise. Caveat here, I am NOT an expert on exercise science. I am sharing my opinions on what I have learned. Why is it so important to make sure we are moving our bodies? We all know that we should do some form of exercise. But why?
When we exercise we are actually putting stress - good stress - on our bodies. This is what causes our bones to grow and remain strong, as your body lays down bony tissue in response to the pull of gravity and stress. This is why muscles improve in strength and tone, because your body is increasing the size of the fibers in your muscle to better resist the stress. Increasing your heart rate improves your cardiovascular health as your heart improves its ability to pump blood with more efficiency. Increased white blood cell count has been found after exercise, which improves your immune response.
Here’s where my opinion comes in. I recently heard from a medical doctor, Dr. Ben Lynch, on true cellular physical fitness. He gave the example of a young well-muscled biker versus a 70 year old who walks their dog daily. The point he made was aesthetically we think the biker is more fit than the walker. However, if you were to take an inflammatory profile of each person, the hardcore athlete will have higher levels of inflammation than the walker. Exercise is stressful on the body. Like I said it’s a good stress, but if we don’t allow our body to have recuperation from stress, this leads to inflammation in the body as the state of the body stays in a fight-or-flight response.
Think about it - our ancestors generations ago didn’t run for fun. They ran because they were in danger. So if we constantly run, our primitive mind thinks we are in a stressful situation. The point here is that moving your body should be the end goal. The physical aesthetics are not a true measure of fitness.
Movement keeps life in your body. Have a daily movement practice. And make sure you are honoring where your body is at.
In health and wellness,
Most of us have some sort of day job, where we spend a number of hours each week working. How we treat our bodies while at work contributes to the physical stressors we experience.
Are you sitting? Are you standing? What is your chair like? How is your desk arranged? Do you talk on the phone? Are you typing a lot? Is your computer screen at face height? Do you sit most of your day? Are you staring at a blue computer screen most of your day? Are you lifting items? Do you do repetitive motions?
Take an assessment of your workspace. It is worth your while to ensure that your work area is setting you up for success. You likely spend enough hours there during the week that the microtraumas are adding up. Low back issues are the number one reason people call in sick to work. Think of the wear and tear on your spine from sitting, standing, or lifting in poor posture.
These things may seem small or insignificant but that is why they are called microtraumas. They are little things that add up over time. But these are the important things that matter!
In health and wellness,
We are now focusing on our physical stressors, more simply known as traumas. In October we focused on chemical stressors, aka toxins. In November we focused on mental stressors, aka thoughts. For the last month of the year we are focusing on the third and final T!
Macro and microtraumas are the physical stressors we experience. This ranges from car accidents, sports injuries, hard falls, and surgery to postural habits, exercise and movement routines, and workplace ergonomics. This is the stressor most of us have a grasp on, because these are the things that will cause us to feel the most discomfort and tension in our body.
So, what can a person do to minimize their physical stress? Well, we can't predict when major trauma like a car accident is going to occur, but we do have control over our microtraumas. Case in point: what is your posture like right now as you're reading this?
Text neck is a real syndrome we see! Take a look around you when you're out in public and observe the people you see looking at their phones. How far forward is their head? Now imagine doing that multiple times a day, every day, for your entire life?! That's microtrauma, repetition of a small stressor that adds up over time.
Body awareness of your microtraumas is the first step towards reducing this stress on your body. So, as you're reading this, straight up your spine, pull your head back over your shoulders, plant your feet flat on the floor, and take in a nice big belly breath. There! You're already on your way to reducing your physical stress!
In health and wellness,
P.S. Due to text neck, chiropractors are actually starting to find people are growing what looks like a tiny little horn on the base of their skull, due to their bodies trying to stabilizing the forward head posture. How crazy is that?! Your body is so intelligent! But also, don't let it grow a horn either!
Mindset. Is it just a trending thing or is it something of importance? Both, I'd say. Mindset work is nothing new. Training your mind has been something that cultures have done for a millennia. More attention is being directed to our thoughts now though in our society, which is a great thing. Mental health is no longer brushed under the rug and is getting addressed openly as it should be.
I am not saying a person can think themselves out of depression, but taking care of your thoughts does play a role on our health. Mental stressors, more simply known as thoughts, affect your physiology. Do you perceive that you are in a scary-stressful situation? You have physiologic changes as a result, such as increased heart rate, more rapid breathing rate, and increased blood pressure. Are you in an exciting-eustress situation? Are you in a freeze-depressed state? Are you feeling calm? Any emotion or thought you have will be exhibited in your body. You cannot have a thought and not have it affect your body.
Your thoughts are powerful. We could dive into quantum physics and energy particles here, but I'll save that for another blog ;) The point is is to implement in a mindset practice. It doesn't have to be complicated. It could be you sitting for 5 minutes on your bed before you go to sleep just doing nothing. Check in with yourself on your day. When you take the time to pause and observe what is in your mind, that in itself is a mindset practice.
Too often we are so busy, buzzing through our day, and this leads to a cycle of buzziness (see what I did there?) and we are checked out from what we actually need because we are so caught up in what we "should" be doing in our day to day lives. That's stressful! Meditation, journaling, therapy, BodyTalk, spending time in nature, taking a break from social media, your favorite self-care practice, all will contribute to a mindset practice. This will have a positive effect on your body, your health, and your quality of life overall!
In health and wellness,
At your initial Report of Findings in our office, as a part of your care plan, you were given recommendations for moving your body, your diet and supplement intake, and your mindset. Each of these areas are important for supporting your healing journey. We cannot remove the stressors you experience daily - the physical, the mental, and the chemical, but we are working to help your body be more adaptable to those stressors.
How you handle your mental stressors and your mindset is a piece we talk about during that visit. We give each client an affirmation related to either one of their health goals or one of their body complaints. Not everyone is into affirmations, but if it helped your body move further towards optimal wellness, why not give it a try?
We use a book written by Louise Hay called Heal Your Body that has affirmations for every area of your body and many different kinds of complaints. Here are a few examples:
Anxiety: Due to not trusting the flow and the process of life.
Affirmation: I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe.
Headaches: Invalidating the self. Self-criticism. Fear.
Affirmation: I love and approve of myself. I see myself and what I do with eyes of love.
Sacrum subluxation: Loss of power. Old stubborn anger.
Affirmation: I am the power and authority in my life. I release the past and claim my good now.
Let us know if you want an affirmation to try for yourself!
In health and wellness,
I am sitting in bed writing this, drinking my morning matcha-mocha with cacao and ginger (coffee- but making it healthy!), and preparing for my day. Today is the day of my annual cancer screening. Nothing I do today will affect those results. Today is the culmination of every little thing I’ve done to support my health over the last year. Today is basically like submitting my project, but I won’t know the score until sometime next week.
But first, let’s go back to what got me here!
When I was almost 16, I started exhibiting what some would call abnormal symptoms. Other people just called it “being a teeneager”. I was sick or on the verge of sickness constantly, but it was chalked up to just the germs in school. I was sleeping as soon as I would get home from school, waking up for dinner, and then going back to sleep, waking up again just to go to school, but that called just a growth phase. I was breaking out in hives and rashes and prescribed topical creams instead of looking at the why behind the what. I had swollen lymph nodes and pain in my joints, obviously growing pains and germs. I was in the doctor’s office every week with some new symptom that was eventually explained away as ‘normal’.
After going to the doctor every day in one week, my family physician made the connection and referred me to an oncologist. At 16 years old. My oncologist had worked his entire career helping those with cancer and had prescribed THOUSANDS of people the exact same drugs and protocols as he was about to prescribe me. I was sent for labs, x rays, CT scans, to meet with surgeons and anesthesiologists and I was scheduled for an immediate biopsy of the tumor growing in my neck.
My first encounter with all of the tests was indicative of my experience. I felt unheard. While in pre-op the nurse blew the vein on my hand and didn’t listen when I said it hurt. With my hand filling with saline, I kept calling for someone with tears streaming down my face. The pain was unreal. Finally, the anesthesiologist came in and looked at my hand. After being given sedatives, I don’t remember much else.
The biopsy confirmed the oncologist’s suspicion. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After a day or two of recovery, I was scheduled for another surgery to place a portacath in my chest. The chemo they were going to use was so strong that they couldn’t administer it through a vein as it would destroy it. It had to go straight into my heart. The day after that I had a bone marrow biopsy, and let me just tell you, it's not very fun. I still have scars on my hips from the needles. Life became one medical procedure after another.
12 doses of chemotherapy, a month of radiation, too many shots and needles and blood draws to count, and a gazillionty x rays and CT scans later, I was pronounced “in remission”. Yay! But, what exactly does that actually mean? It means that I’m alive, Hodgkin's Lymphoma didn’t kill me but I have an increased risk of secondary cancer. I was supposed to start getting mammograms done at age 25 (hello, more radiation). I have lung damage from one of the chemo treatments that is known to be a pulmonary toxin. I have damage to my lungs from the radiation. I have an increased red blood cell count because my body isn’t getting enough oxygen, so it started making more red blood cells to carry more oxygen to my tissues (which is pretty cool when you think about it). I have damage to my chest and breast tissues from the mantle field radiation. I have an increased risk of cardiac problems such as heart disease, heart failure, and pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardial tissues). I have permanent cognitive and memory issues due to what is lovingly referred to as “chemo brain”. I have PTSD from the oxygen masks and nasal cannulas used in the hospital. I developed a latex allergy. And, I get to go in annually to have labs drawn to see where my numbers are at.
There is absolutely nothing I can do to go back and change anything that’s happened to me in the past. I do not blame my parents for the amount of drugs pumped into my body. This was the only way presented to us to save my life. My parents aren’t doctors and they didn’t know how the side effects from the “treatments that saved me” would have an effect 20 years down the line.
You might have guessed that I’m in the immunocompromised camp at higher risk for complications and death from COVID-19. But, contracting COVID-19 isn’t what scares me. I’m not scared of getting sick, because my health is my responsibility and I take it very seriously. I know that nobody else can make me sick, not even those people who are unmasked. I take vitamins D & C daily, upping my doses when I feel a little run down or get a tickle in my throat. My diet consists of organic vegetables and locally raised meat. I limit the amount of toxins I am exposed to. I spend time outside in nature. I move my body. I get adjusted weekly, more than once if I need extra support.
It’s the standardized one size fits all treatments that mainstream medicine is handing out. It’s that medicine is a big business and bonuses are handed out to doctors depending on their chosen treatment plan. It’s that we aren’t given true informed consent about the statistics and side effects of medications and treatment options. It’s that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the U.S with 251,000 deaths reported in 2018. It’s that people don’t stop to consider why somebody is making choices for their own health, but instead judge and shame them for not towing the line.
2020 has shown us how unhealthy we, as a collective society, really are. Each person will struggle with their own health challenges, and it will be an individual response to those challenges that will get them well again. A rising tide lifts all boats, and this is no different to your individual health and the health of the community. Don’t wait until the health screen to start taking responsibility for your health, by then it’s too late.