Although smoking is often touted as an expensive habit, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to aid in quitting smoking can seem like an expensive purchase as well. However, the use of NRT products to quit smoking can almost triple a smoker’s chances of success.
“Your best chances for success in quitting smoking are using a medication and counseling,” says Dr. Tom Peterson, smoking cessation expert and chair of Tobacco Free Partners. “You don’t need to go at it alone just because money is tight. The first option is to consider purchasing ‘store-brand’ NRT products.”
Allegan, Mich.-based Perrigo is a pharmaceutical company that manufactures and distributes most of the over-the-counter medications, including store-brand nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. Perrigo estimates its store-brand over-the-counter NRT products save consumers, on average, 42 percent over comparable brand name products.
To find even more savings, individuals can regularly monitor retailers’ circular flyers and websites, and retailers will often discount NRT products.
The decision to stop smoking is an important one. Below are some tips to get started:
• Follow a support plan. Personalized plans are available at smokefreehabits.com.
• When the desire to smoke strikes, do something else.
• Carry things to put in your mouth, like gum or hard candy.
Written by Dr. John P. Monahan, PT, DPT, Quality Care Physical Therapy, Inc.
Snow is falling in our beautiful mountains and we need to get our bodies ready. It’s important to prevent injuries. The first step to prevent an injury is getting your equipment tuned up and to be truthful of your weight when your bindings are set. Inaccurate weight will cause the tension to be wrong and may release your bindings too early or late causing an injury on the slopes.
You also need to get your body tuned up before skiing. Exercises to train your body to get ready for the slopes are lunges, wall sits, leg press, hamstring curls and balance work. The most common injury while skiing is a tear of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL. Our office has seen many of these injuries recently and prevention is very important to keep your knees healthy this season. Your hamstrings are a key component for prevention of ACL injuries that we tend to forget while working out. Balance and agility are also important components of your workout. Attending an aerobics class or ski conditioning class can decrease your risk of injury.
Once you are on the mountain, take a few moments to stretch you quadriceps and hamstrings. You can stretch your quads by pulling your heel to your buttock. Stretch your hamstring by resting your heel on your bumper and leaning forward. Another way to loosen your legs is to quickly shake your legs back and forth for 30 seconds causing a relaxation of your leg muscles and getting blood to your legs. Think of a ski racer getting ready to race downhill. He quickly moves his legs back and forth to ready his legs for quick movement.
Lastly, remember to match your energy level to the snow conditions, weather and your abilities. Take a rest when you are tired. Many of our patients have torn their ACL on the last run of the day when their bodies were tired. Are you going to hit the slopes or are the slopes going to hit you?
What if we need to take care of our beneficial intestinal bacteria (flora) as if they are pets? That we need to inoculate ourselves with them regularly, feed them properly and avoid things that harm them. What if we treat ourselves as mini-ecosystems and focus not on sterilization but instead on inoculation to maintain our health? Perhaps even some of the modern day illnesses such as autism, Asperger’s, ADD/ADHD, asthma or eczema could be moderated or cured by living symbiotically with these bugs.
Why is that?
While the image of humans as walking Petri dishes is far from romantic, the fact that there are more bacteria in our intestines than cells in our bodies speaks to the importance these little creatures have on how we function. We have evolved with these bacteria for the past several million years and we wouldn’t survive without them. Like many things in natural medicine, this is not so much a new discovery as a re-emergence of something which has been occurring throughout history. Over the past century, our collective flora has been disrupted by increased consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates, and then made even worse by the overuse of antibiotics. But at this point in history, our culture has begun to move past the war on bugs and has even started to embrace them.
For evidence of this, look no further than probiotic enhanced yogurt in TV commercials. Yes, keep your bugs healthy and happy and they will reward you.
I’m going to propose that many “modern” diets (Atkins, Paleolithic, Specific Carbohydrate, or just plain low-carb) improve the intestinal environment for our little friends.
While weight loss is typically the reason behind these dietary changes, they all include limiting the consumption of simple sugars which feed our flora and increasing beneficial fats instead.
Some dietary sugars or fiber is necessary, but the overabundance of sugars and simple carbohydrates in the Standard American Diet (SAD) allows both good and bad bugs to flourish in our digestive tract.
Many of the dominant flora have a positive influence on our health, but other species which are only supposed to exist in small amounts will, given the opportunity, multiply and become intestinal bullies.
But autism and attention deficit disorder – how are those related to our buggy friends? We have come to realize that these little critters influence such diverse things as intestinal health, tolerance to allergens and even immune system stimulation. Naturopathic medicine has long addressed food allergies, but what we have come to see is that sometimes intestinal dysbiosis (growth of bad bacteria) can make these food allergies worse or the bacteria can produce toxins which we react to directly. When our intestines are inflamed and unhappy, the incidence or degree of food allergies increases.
And many modern diseases such as autism, ADD, eczema, auto-immune conditions and asthma have been shown to sometimes be caused by, or contributed to, by food allergies.
Easy ways to address the balance of our digestive flora include limiting dietary sugars and simple carbohydrates, and limiting antibiotic use when possible.
In addition to this, incorporating fermented foods (with “live active cultures”) and/or taking probiotics are good ways to make sure that our protective petri dishes continue to nourish us into the future.
Should we continue to use antibiotics? – Of course, when needed. Were the “superbugs” created by us from the overuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock? – Again, yes.
The point is that being healthy and staying healthy requires both the propagation of good bugs as well as the avoidance of bad ones.
We need regular ingestion of good bugs, and we need to do what we can to make it less hospitable for the bad bugs.
The bacteria which have evolved with us for millions of years and lived in our bodies long before the agricultural revolution will be just fine with our new diet.
For an assessment of your intestinal health and to reestablish a positive relationship with YOUR bugs, contact Health Moves.
Dr. Kraft is a Naturopathic Doctor and licensed Acupuncturist. He may be reached at: Health Moves, 17311 135th Ave NE Ste. C-800, Woodinville, WA 98072. Phone: 425.402.9999 or www.HealthMoves.org.
Written by April Bettinger, owner of Nip Tuk Remodeling
The baby boomer generation makes up an estimated 76 million people – roughly one-fourth of the U.S. population. This means that either you or someone you love is part of this aging group. According to Eye on the Boomer, a recent survey by the Ocular Nutrition Society, almost as many baby boomers say they worry about losing their vision as those who say they worry about having heart disease or cancer. What’s more, 78 percent of those surveyed ranked vision as the most important of the five senses. Yet, more than half of the survey respondents ages 45-65 said they don’t typically have a recommended annual eye exam, and even fewer are aware of important nutrients that can play a key role in eye health.
Experts recommend that disease prevention, including lifestyle modification, attention to dietary intake and vitamin supplementation must become a greater focus of primary vision care. Studies indicate that proper nutrition promotes healthy eyes, however many American diets are found to be deficient of the critical nutrients that help protect eye health.
“If people are at risk for heart disease they typically make lifestyle modifications,” says Dr. Jeffrey Anshel, president of the Ocular Nutrition Society. “This survey found that people are as concerned about their eyes but do not know the simple steps they can incorporate into their daily lives to take care of them.”
• Vitamin supplements can be used for your eyes, too
While people take a variety of different supplements to support their health, vitamins specifically formulated to help protect the eyes are often not in the mix – and for many people, they should be. While more than half of those surveyed are taking supplements to protect their joints, bones or heart health only 18 percent say they take supplements to support their eye health.
“As we grow older, the need for certain vitamins and nutrients to support the eye increases – the survey revealed low awareness of these essential nutrients,” says Anshel of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. He adds that there is a “need for greater education on the lifestyle modifications that baby boomers can incorporate into their daily lives, including proper nutrition, to help safeguard eye health as they age.”
To help protect eye health as they age, Anshel recommends people aged 45-65 take the following steps:
• Stop smoking, exercise regularly and wear sunglasses with UV protection
• Make an annual appointment with an eye doctor
• Eat foods rich in eye healthy nutrients, such as tuna or salmon for omega-3s and spinach, kale and broccoli containing lutein and zeaxanthin
• To help overcome shortfalls in the diet consider a vitamin supplement specifically-formulated for eye health
To learn more, please visit ocularnutritionsociety.org.
The average American eats over 150 pounds of sugar each year. Picture it. How much do you weigh? Do you want to eat your body weight in sugar this year? If you sneak treats throughout the day, get irritable or shaky when you don’t eat for three or more hours, or can’t stop after one piece of candy or chocolate, you may have a sugar addiction.
When you eat sugar and simple carbohydrates the effect is multi-fold. The sugars upset the mineral balance in your body; enzymes lose the ability to digest your food properly; your immune system is negatively affected; you can develop food sensitivities and allergies; and ultimately, you begin to feel sick.
It is possible to break the sugar addiction. First, start with 30 minutes of positive self-care each day. Exercise, take a yoga class, walk the dog, set aside time every day to do something you enjoy. You’ll need these healthy habits to fall back on when your addiction tries to take control.
Eat breakfast every day, and not sugary cereals, breads, rolls or waffles. Opt for scrambled eggs with vegetables or hearty oatmeal with nuts and seeds. Leftovers from dinner can also make a delicious, nutritious breakfast.
Pay attention to how you feel as you kick the sugar habit. Drink water, not coffee, to get that energy boost. Feeling down? Get out in the sun. Have a massage or chiropractic adjustment to help you relax.
You may find that you begin to lose weight with your sugar-free lifestyle, which is a nice benefit, but your real focus should be on healing so you can improve your life.
Don’t be mistaken thinking that sugar replacements are okay to eat. Products such as honey and NutraSweet still cause your body to react as though you’ve eaten sugar. Don’t let your brain trick you into eating sweets of any kind. Have a craving? Eat a ripe banana or some fresh strawberries. Better still, get out of the kitchen and go for a walk.
As you ride this rollercoaster you may find that you slip up occasionally. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t give up in frustration. Focus on your positive self-care activities, remove yourself from the offensive food and jump back on that wagon. It will take some time but with commitment you’ll learn to control your cravings. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible to break the sugar habit, to feel better, increase your energy, regulate your moods, and improve your overall health. How you feel is up to you!