Archive for Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise Safety – 5 Ways to Begin Moving Again

Has it been a while since you were able to exercise? Even with the best intentions, life can get in the way. Before you know it, it’s been months since you were able to flex your muscles and build up a sweat. Now you’re eager to get back into the groove—but guess what? Your body isn’t too happy about the prospect of having to work again! You might need tips for exercise safety.

Senior citizens practicing exercise safety
Consider what happens to your body when you don’t exercise. When they aren’t used beyond the requirement to simply breathe, lungs tend to lose their elasticity. Lack of exercise causes your blood vessels to shrink, meaning decreased blood volume and less ability to draw oxygen from the blood cells. When that happens, your heart works harder just to get oxygen to your muscles. There goes your heart rate!

Equally important is how inactivity can lead to joint pain.

But even if you’re anxious to get back into shape, the last thing you need is to strain muscles or tendons in the effort. That would throw you right back out of the exercise mode and be painful, to boot.

Our Garland Chiropractic Clinic is all about being healthy and pain-free, so we have some tips to help you with exercise safety and ways to achieve your “back on the treadmill” goal.

  • Before you start any exercise program, Consult with your Doctor to determine your health ‘base line.’ Be sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that exercise could exacerbate.
  • Keep your goals realistic. Don’t set yourself up for failure or disappointment by reaching for perfection. If you need to lose weight, go after the pounds a few at a time. Know your own body shape and accept that you might not end up like that model on a magazine cover. If you want to build muscle, strengthen yourself gradually and don’t focus on six-pack abs. The idea is to be slimmer, healthier, and energized.
  • Start Slowly! It took time to lose your physical edge; it’s going to take time to regain it. If you push yourself, you might stress parts of your body that aren’t ready for such attention. It’s OK to return to the same type of exercise you’re used to, but do so at a lower intensity. Intersperse your run with periods of walking. Break up aerobics with a few minutes of rest. If you do warm-ups, stretch them out so your body really has a change to loosen up. Same thing with cooling down. And keep the amount of time you engage in any exercise to a minimum until you’ve built up the strength and energy for longer periods.
  • Commit to a schedule. The easiest way to stick with a plan is to make it a habit. Select a time that works for you and try to keep it set aside strictly for that purpose.
  • Find an exercise buddy. You want exercise to be fun, so if you enjoy it more having a companion share the experience, then ask a friend to join you. It could make it easier to monitor yourself than if you do it alone. If you don’t have a human friend who can spare the time then bring along your dog if you’re running or walking.
  • Above all, be patient! Your body is adaptive, but don’t push it! And if you feel you have pushed it, ask your doctor to look you over to be sure you’re OK to keep exercising. He or she might recommend that you ease back, or they might recommend certain exercises that will help you get in shape without stressing your body.

Dr. Mixon and our staff at Texas Spine & Wellness know how everything connects in your body and can help you with exercise safety. We know common stress points and can help you avoid problems. Allow us to help you plan an exercise program that will enable you achieve your fitness goals without injury. Give us a call us at (972) 840-2520 and set up an appointment today.

Artificial Food Colors: Pretty, But Are They Safe?

The basic definition of a food color additive is “any dye, pigment or substance which when added or applied to a food, drug or cosmetic, or to the human body, is capable (alone or through reactions with other substances) of imparting color.”

Girl holding a lollipop with artificial food colors
That’s pretty straight forward. Artificial food colors color food. However—why is coloring food important to begin with? With or without an additive color, the food to which it is applied has the same nutritional value. Well, it isn’t about nutritional value, but economic value. Foods without color simply don’t sell as well. Food companies recognized early on that food has to be appealing to look at as well as tasty, so food color additives, especially for processed foods, came into being.

As part of our healthy body focus, diet suggestions are included in our approach to individualized programs that we offer through Texas Spine & Wellness.

Let’s discuss food color additives, their place in the food chain, and how they can affect health.

The Why of Natural Food Colors

There is one word that describes what color has to do with diet (at least in terms of natural food): phytochemicals. These elements, whose only natural occurrence is in plants, provide additional health benefits past what you get from basic nutrients. And the interesting thing—some of those elements are indicated by the color of the food! The blue of a blueberry represents specific phytochemicals, and the belief is that those phytochemicals act in conjunction with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber inherent in fruits and vegetables to increase their health impact.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) indicates that phytochemicals might perform as antioxidants, and may well work to neutralize substances that cause cancer. Just how everything works together hasn’t been determined, but it’s a good idea to incorporate a nice rainbow of foods into your diet to have a good variety of phytochemicals and nutrients.

The Why of Artificial Food Colors

Farmers markets and the produce sections of most grocery stores are picturesquely colorful with the foods they display. The kitchens of the health-minded boast some colorful edibles, as well. In fact, almost everything we eat or drink adds to the rainbow aspect of our diets.

Those health-minded folks already know that bright colored fruits and vegetables are about more than eye appeal, that they’re essential for promoting good health and lowering the risk of disease in the human body. But not all foods are colorful, especially processed foods.

picture of healthy fruits and vegetables

People don’t find gray appetizing and brown isn’t much better. Pink generally makes people think of raw meat, while bluish colors aren’t popular at all. It’s believed that these colors actually depress appetite. By enhancing the appeal of colorless or off-colored foods, artificial food color additives make processed foods a viable commodity.

Another reason for the inclusion of artificial food colors is to replace color when it’s lost due to exposure to air, light, moisture, extremes in temperature, and poor storage conditions. Sometimes there are natural variations in color and the food company wants a specific product to have a standard color. Colas are expected to be brown, and margarine yellow, and that great mint ice cream must be green. Almost all processed foods are enriched with color additives.

And it works. Studies indicate that around 90% of American food budgets go toward processed foods that, after being butchered or harvested, have been altered in some way by treatment, stripping, or refining. Many of these foods don’t appear on the “what’s healthy?” list, but if it tastes and looks good, people buy and consume it with gusto!

Unfortunate Issues of Artificial Food Colors

While natural food colors are healthy and safe, the same can’t be said of all artificial food colors. Some of the issues attributed to artificial food color include increased hyperactivity in children, the possible worsening of asthma symptoms (Yellow No. 5), and cancer in test rats (Red Dye No. 2). FD&C Yellow No. 5 and sulfating agents can cause an allergic reaction (food intolerance) in some consumers. Blue No. 1 and No. 2, red No. 40, yellow No. 6, and yellow tartrazine are common artificial food dyes that have been banned in Europe. The suspected issues: brain and behavioral issues, thyroid and adrenal cancer, and chromosomal damage.

Europeans are far more cautionary regarding the use of artificial food colors, and in the mid-2000s they urged companies to remove the color additives from food products. However, in the United States the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all ood color additives to ensure 1) they’re safe to eat, 2) that they contain only ingredients the FDA has approved, and 3) that the additives are accurately labeled. In spite of the prevailing beliefs and standards in Europe, the FDA continues to approve the use of artificial color additives because they consider them safe as long as they are used properly. In the United States you’ll actually find these additives hidden in boxed macaroni and cheese, some sweet snacks, soda, cereal, energy drinks, and most ice cream.

Are There Alternatives to Artificial Food Colors?

It’s interesting to look at a couple of examples that show the differences between the artificialfood color additives used in the United States and the natural color choices the United Kingdom prefers.

  • Fanta orange soda:
    U.S. Red 40 and Yellow 6 dyes
    U.K. pumpkin and carrot extract
  • Kellogg’s Strawberry Nutri-Grain Bars:
    U.S. Red 40, Yellow 6, and Blue 1 dyes
    U.K. beetroot red, Annatto, and Paprika extract
  • McDonald’s Strawberry Sundaes:
    U.S. Red 40 dye
    U.K. strawberries

Of course, these aren’t the healthiest foods to consume even when natural color additives are used. However, the comparison serves to show that there are options. Unfortunately, synthesized food dyes are easier and less expensive to produce than their naturally produced alternatives, and American food companies tend to focus more on the bottom dollar than on health concerns.

The FDA uses available science to determine whether or not there is “a reasonable certainty of no harm.” A reasonable certainty is not a certainty, but that’s the level of FDA safety coverage. The main regulation the FDA has managed is that artificial food color additives should be used only at their intended level and for their intended purpose.

Where to Go from Here?

Popular foods such as Froot Loops cereal, Pop-Tarts, Cheetos, Hostess Twinkies, and numerous other snacks use artificial food dyes. It’s difficult to cut out foods you enjoy. Whatever your favorite processed foods, start by cutting back and easing them out of your diet at a pace you’re comfortable with. If you don’t want to cut them out entirely, restrict yourself to only an occasional indulgence.

Check labels carefully and when you can, find a substitute food that either doesn’t contain the color additive you’re concerned about, or which appears to at least contain less of that given color additive. Some grocery chains, including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, make it easier by refusing to sell foods with artificial coloring.

The best approach, of course, is to eat only natural, whole foods. In most cases, it’s simply suggested that you add as much of those foods to your diet as you can. Just make sure to include “rainbow” fruits and vegetables to ensure a diet that supports good health. Talk to us at Garland Chiropractic Clinic, and in conjunction with any exercise rehabilitation, massage therapy, or other chiropractic measures your health requires, we’ll help you plan the best diet possible to achieve an active and fit lifestyle.

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Healthy Skin: How to Achieve and Maintain It

Skin defines us. It’s’ our largest organ, serving as the protective covering that supports the life of all our other body parts. Even our hair and nails are skin extensions that provide additional protection.

What Skin Does for Us

Besides being the most obvious body part that we present to the world, skin performs a number of crucial tasks:

image of healthy skin

closeup of female face. young woman beautiful girl taking care of her dry complexion applying moisturizing cream isolated. beauty treatment.

  • Prevents germs from reaching and injuring our internal organs
  • Helps maintain our immune system
  • Supports sweat glands that regulate body temperature
  • Works with the nervous system to provide a sense of touch
  • Alerts us to danger via sensitivity to pain, pressure, cold and heat
  • Manufactures Vitamin D, which promotes absorption of calcium essential to bone and teeth development
  • Repels water but allows the absorption of oils that prevent cells from drying out

How about hair and fingernails?

  • Hair cushions us from minor blows
  • It helps block the sun
  • It provides warmth
  • Hair can alert us to something touching us
  • It helps alert us to changes in the temperature
  • Helps to keep foreign objects out of those places where we don’t want them!
  • Fingernails are a protective plate for our fingertip sensations
  • They are “flattened claws” that make grasping things easier

How We Damage Our Skin

Finding someone who has completely supple, soft, and flawless skin is, in truth, impossible. Living is hard on skin! Winter is cold, harsh, and drying; fast foods and an unhealthy diet affects skin; and sleep deprivation makes skin problems related to the immune system worse than normal.

Bad habits don’t help. Smoking causes wrinkles. Sun exposure dries and wrinkles skin. Stress affects how we treat our skin, such as scratching, lip biting, or picking at nails. Poor hygiene affects skin health. Taking long hot showers deprives your skin of needed oils. For women, not removing makeup before bed is terrible for pores! Even touching your skin too often, especially the face, can trigger acne and pimples.

To make it worse, many commercially prepared skin care products contain ingredients that are NOT good for your skin. In fact, some harbor potentially carcinogenic constituents. Here are just a few of those scary elements:

  • Isopropyl alcohol – this is used in hand lotions, after-shave, some hair color rinses, and other cosmetics. This substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac!
  • Mineral Oil– unfortunately, all oil sold as “baby oil” is made from mineral oil, which is derived from crude oil! Mineral oil is actually a coating that prevents the skin from breathing and absorbing moisture.
  • Polyethylene glycol – this chemical is an active ingredient in de-greasing products used on machinery and in ovens. It strips moisture from the skin and is a potential carcinogen.
  • Propylene glycol – this wetting agent is a major antifreeze component. The form used in personal skin care products is exactly like that used in antifreeze! This chemical, which breaks down protein and cellular structures, is found in make-up, lotions, hair products, mouthwash and toothpaste!
  • Sodium Lauryl Sufate (SLS) – this skin irritant, which is used in testing laboratories, car wash soaps, and degreasers, is a major constituent in cosmetics, hair conditioners, and toothpaste, and is a large percent of your shampoo and foaming products. Studies have shown SLS “easily penetrates…the skin and…maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain.” Potential toxicity to the body exists.
  • FD & C Color Pigments – there are many pigment colors that cause skin irritation and sensitivity, and some that deplete the body’s oxygen and can cause death! Colors able to be added to foods, drugs, and cosmetics are derived from coal tar and are carcinogenic.
  • Fragrance – fragrance added to a product can contain up to 4,000 synthetic ingredients! Some of them can affect the central nervous system and cause headaches, rashes, coughing, dizziness, skin irritation, and, in some cases, behavioral changes. What doesn’t have fragrance added? Think of deodorants, sunscreens, shampoo, and numerous skin and baby products.
  • Chlorine– this chemical doesn’t appear in skincare products, but chlorine is found in water from your tap, in your shower and pool, in laundry products, food processing and many other items. Exposure is a bygone conclusion. Chlorine can exacerbate a wide variety of health conditions, including anemia, asthma, hay fever, diabetes, heart disease, and irritation of the mouth, nose, eye, lung, skin, and stomach.

Natural ingredients for better skin

Let’s face it—we lather, slather, rub and spray our bodies with skin care products every day. Our bodies are like sponges that absorb much of the chemicals we expose ourselves to. Even if only small amounts are applied, constant use adds up.

Considering how damaging many skincare products can be, it’s important to check the labels of products before you buy. Better yet, focus on skincare products that contain only natural ingredients that are known to be good for skin health. But don’t be fooled by the mere use of the term “natural.” Look for ingredients that you know are natural and wholesome!

Beta Carotene, found in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables, is a great skin nutrient. Green tea extract has high levels of antioxidants that sooth skin. Licorice extract has anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for skin redness. Colloidal oatmeal treats skin irritation and replenishes skin. Soy helps skin look brighter and lightens discoloration due to sun damage. Vitamin C fights signs of aging and is essential for smooth, firm skin. Willow herb is an anti-irritant that soothes conditions such as eczema and rosacea. It also kills the bacteria responsible for acne. Witch hazel is an old-time remedy that makes an excellent ingredient in skin-toners and moisturizers.

Fight wrinkles from the inside out with Collagen Hydrolysate

Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
Collagen hydrolysate supplies three amino acids found in our skin – proline, hydroxyproline and glycine. Although the reports of firmer skin are mainly anecdotal, the collagen supplies a great source of easily digestible protein. It is a best selling product within our Garland Chiropractic clinic, primarily because it has helped so many people with joint pain issues.  When taken at night, it can also help people achieve a more restful night of sleep.  The recommended dosage is one rounded tablespoon both morning and night.  You can buy collagen through our office or online here.

Last—but certainly not least!—use natural moisturizing lotions to pamper your skin into health. The best way to assure the ingredients are really natural is to make your own. Here are some easy but effective recipes:

  • Moisturizing honey masks –
    1) Spread a generous scoop of honey over your face. Rub it in and let it sit from 5 to 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
    2) Combine 1 tablespoon of buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 egg yolk. Rub it on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
  • Honey skin lotion – Mix a spoonful of honey with a teaspoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Apply to dry skin areas and let it sit for 20 minutes. Clean off with a warm washcloth.
  • Coffee scrub – to smooth dry, rough patches of skin, combine 2 cups of coffee grounds, 1/2 cup raw sugar or sea salt, and 2/3 tablespoon of massage oil in a small bowl. For a nice scent, add cinnamon or vanilla extract. Apply to wet skin in a circular motion. Rinse.
  • Sweet citrusy lip balm – Melt 3 tablespoons of cocoa butter in the microwave, then add 3 or 4 organic chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil and 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract. Mix well and place in a small container.
  • Whipped coconut oil body buttler – Place 1 cup of solid coconut oil into a mixer bowl. Run the mixer on medium- high for a few minutes. The coconut oil softens as it whips, and will have the texture of whipped butter! Add lavender or peppermint essential oil for scent. Store it in a jar and use like any body lotion.

Dr. Mixon and the our team of health professionals believe in a holistic approach to help you achieve the good health you want for an active, full life. If you would like to learn more about our chiropractic services, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or our nutritional products, please give us a call at (972) 840-2520.

 

Dr.