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Fibromyalgia: What You Need to Know

Posted on October 6, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Pain, pain go away, don’t come again another day. If you find yourself singing a similar tune, and other possible causes for pain have been ruled out, you may be suffering from fibromyalgia.


I myself suffered from fibromyalgia for 14 years before healing myself, and today I’m going to share with you how I did this.


What is fibromyalgia?


Fibromyalgia is a term that was “coined in 1976 and refers to pain in fibrous tissue” (Lessard-Rhead 2013). This definition is pretty vague, as a variety of underlying conditions or incidents could contribute to “pain in fibrous tissue”. Thus, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is only made if “pain is widespread for more than three months, and exists in at least 11 of 18 specific muscle sites”. “Any other possible cause for the pain must also be excluded” (Lessard-Rhead 2013).


What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?


You’ve likely gathered this by now, but the main symptom of fibromyalgia is “diffuse muscular pain”. Malaise, or a general “unwell” feeling, is another symptom (Lessard-Rhead 2013).


Like I said above, all possible causes for widespread pain have to be ruled out before a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made. This can be difficult to do, and sometimes “pain from abdominal organs, due to its ability to refer to muscle groups, can be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia” (Lessard-Rhead 2013). Hypothyroidism can also cause all of the symptoms mentioned above, so be sure to rule it out before jumping to fibromyalgia.


What causes fibromyalgia?


The exact etiology of fibromyalgia is largely unknown, though there is speculation that it may have a “viral origin”. This speculation comes from the fact that many people experience fibromyalgia onset following a bout of the flu.


Here’s the science behind the theory: A person becomes infected with a specific virus known as “influenza virus type A”. The body produces antibodies in response to this virus. Sometimes, these antibodies may “cross-react with antigens in the autonomic-nervous system (ANS)”. In short, this means the ANS is inflamed, and this “leads to many of the symptoms seen in fibromyalgia” (Lessard-Rhead 2013).


Another prominent etiology theory is that fibromyalgia results from gut dysbiosis. The theory goes that dysbiosis allows for the production of toxins, which prevent cells from making energy using aerobic respiration (aerobic means oxygen is present). Instead, cells have to use anaerobic respiration (anaerobic = oxygen is not present). This produces less energy, but lots of lactic acid. As the lactic acid builds up, “muscle fibre pH lowers, leading to pain and excessive fatigue after minor exertion” (Lessard-Rhead 2013).


There is another, more likely etiology for fibromyalgia: that it is an autoimmune disease. As a fibro sufferer, I was able to heal myself by diet and meditation. Almost all illnesses and disease start in the gut, which affects our immune system. When our immune system is not functioning as it should be, we open ourselves up to all sorts of illnesses. I actually got 5 autoimmune diseases after the Epsein-Barrr virus which wiped out my immune system. By eating a whole food, plant based diet I was able to reverse these.


What can you do about fibromyalgia?


As I mentioned above, diet and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the intensity of symptoms you experience, or may even heal you completely.


As with all autoimmune diseases, there is an element of inflammation in fibromyalgia. Thus, following an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation, and with it pain and fatigue. Probiotics may also help restore healthy gut bacteria and help combat dysbiosis. However, taking probiotics is not enough. To properly address dysbiosis you must take the proper steps to heal the gut. Adrenal support is another important factor to address, as many people with fibromyalgia are suffering “adrenal exhaustion” (Lessard-Rhead 2013).


Tackling fibromyalgia is best done from a holistic perspective. Playing with your diet is tricky business, and definitely should not be undertaken alone. I cannot stress enough the importance of seeking guidance from a holistic nutritionist to ensure you’re getting the proper nourishment. To find harmony today, contact Harmony in Health



References:

Brenda Lessard-Rhead (2013): Nutritional Pathology

What You Need to Know About Hypoglycemia, Diabetes, and Diet

Posted on September 22, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)


Are you diagnosed with hypoglycemia or diabetes, or at high risk of developing either disorder? If so, consider addressing your symptoms from a holistic viewpoint. You may or may not be surprised to hear that minimally altering your diet can have maximal effects on your health.


There are also lifestyle factors that can contribute to reducing symptoms associated with hypoglycemia and diabetes. These are outside the scope of this blog post, but you can learn more by contacting Harmony in Health


I must emphasize, if you are currently taking medication for diabetes please do not stop doing so without consulting your physician. The guidelines outlined in this post can be undertaken while you continue taking medication.


First, let’s review what hypoglycemia and diabetes are.


What are hypoglycemia and diabetes?


Hypoglycemia occurs when the body cannot metabolize sugars correctly and blood sugar levels are too low (Murray 1994). Glucose (a form of sugar) is the brain’s primary source of fuel, so it is not surprising that the brain is one of the first areas you will see symptoms if your sugar levels are low. Symptoms include “depression, anxiety, irritability, blurred vision, excessive sweating, confusion, etc.” (Murray 1994).


Diabetes occurs when the body cannot metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins correctly and blood sugar levels are too high after fasting (Murray 1994). There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I diabetes occurs when “the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin”, whereas Type II occurs when “the cells of the body become resistant to insulin” (Murray 1994). Symptoms of diabetes include “frequent urination and excessive thirst and appetite” (Murray 1994).


What does diet have to do with hypoglycemia and diabetes?


Today, most people consume what is known as the “Western diet”. We consume a lot of fat, refined sugar, and animal products, and very little dietary fiber. In case it isn’t obvious to you (though we hope it would be), this is not healthy! We’re taking in a lot of refined carbohydrates, which “are the most important contributing factor to diabetes and reactive hypoglycemia” (Murray 1994)!


Why is this the case? Let’s look at what happens when we eat refined carbohydrates.


When you eat refined sugar, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar. To combat this, the body tells the pancreas to secrete insulin. The insulin lowers blood sugar levels, often causing the symptoms of hypoglycemia listed above. In response to the dip in blood sugar, the body tells the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine, which increases blood sugar. If this is happening repeatedly over time, the adrenal glands get tired, so to speak, and cannot muster up enough energy to respond. This lack of response is what leads to hypoglycemia – without the epinephrine to increase blood sugar, it remains low. If refined sugar/carbs continue to be eaten regularly, the body will become insensitive to insulin, or the pancreas will also become tired, and hypoglycemia turns into diabetes (Murray 1994).


By following the Western diet, you are literally eating yourself to a state of ill health. But, just as diet can contribute to the development of hypoglycemia and diabetes, so too can it contribute to symptom management.


What diet should you be following?


When it comes to hypoglycemia and diabetes, a diet known as the “high complex-carbohydrate, high-fiber diet, or HCF diet”, has proven most effective. This diet is “high in cereal grains, legumes, and root vegetables, and restricts simple sugar and fat intake” (Murray 1994).


This diet has proven to promote many positive changes in people with diabetes, including (Murray 1994):  


  • “Reduced abnormally high after-meal blood sugar
  • Increased sensitivity of tissue to insulin
  • Reduced low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), cholesterol that increases the risk of atherosclerosis – or the buildup of cholesterol-containing plaque in the arteries
  • Increased high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), cholesterol that lowers the danger of atherosclerosis
  • Reduced triglycerides (stored fat) and progressive weight reduction” 


For more information on how to follow the HCF diet and still get an adequate intake of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, contact Harmony in Health today! 



Reference:

Michael T. Murray (1994): Diabetes and Hypoglycemia: Your Natural Guide to Healing with Diet, Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Exercise, and Other Natural Methods

Arthritis: Adopting a Holistic Approach to Healing

Posted on August 19, 2017 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)


When I was a young girl, I used to notice how my grandparents would stand up after a prolonged period of sitting. They’d make little groans and slowly stretch and pop their creaking bones and joints.

“Never get old”, they would tell me, “all you get are the aches and pain of arthritis”. Growing up, I believed developing arthritis was a cold hard fact for anyone over the age of 60 or so. It was ingrained into me to enjoy my freedom and mobility now while I was still young and able to move with abandon.

But this societal way of think must be stopped. The ability to stay active, be it by playing sports, dancing, or traveling the world, should not be limited by age. I’m not disputing the fact that many older people develop arthritis (and some younger ones as well), but the mindset that developing arthritis = no physical activity needs to be altered.

You may argue that older people who have arthritis do not shy from activities due to lack of interest, but instead from sore joints. I cannot dispute the pain that’s associated with arthritis, but I can show you how a holistic approach to treatment can dial down the volume of that pain, and get you back to movement.

First, let’s review what arthritis really is.


What is arthritis?


“The word arthritis literally means inflammation of a joint.” (Kendall-Reed & Reed 2011). The very word encompasses the symptoms associated with arthritis: “inflamed, stiff, swollen joints” (Kendall-Reed & Reed 2011).

All cases of arthritis involve inflammation, but the source of that inflammation in the body varies. Hence, there are a variety of different types of arthritis. The classification of arthritis by type is not an exact science, but it does help estimate how the disease will play out and what it will look like.

The different types of arthritis include (Kendall-Reed & Reed 2011):


  • Osteoarthritis – primary and secondary
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Crystal associated arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Infectious arthritis 


 It is beyond the scope of this blog post to discuss the etiology of the different types of arthritis in detail, instead we will focus on how a holistic approach can be beneficial for arthritis as a whole.

For best results, you should take a holistic approach to arthritis treatment. This involves exploring physical treatment methods, dietary treatments, as well as supplement options before resorting to medications and surgery alone. Please note, I am by no means telling you to stop taking medication for your arthritis, but I am advising you to complement your medical regime with other treatment methods, which happen to be more natural.


Physical Treatment Methods


If you’re diagnosed with arthritis, it is likely that your doctor has discussed physical treatment methods with you. These include things like resting the sore joint, applying ice and/or heat, and applying ultrasound. It also entails physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, and yoga.

Some of these are excellent techniques to apply on your own when you’re experiencing a flare up. They may help turn down the volume of the pain so you can ignore it while doing the activities you enjoy. Combining these treatment techniques with a targeted diet and supplement regime is an excellent way to prevent symptoms from occurring in the first place. Like most things, a multi-pronged approach to managing the symptoms of arthritis is best.


Dietary Treatments


On a more general level, weight loss will benefit most people suffering from arthritis. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to reducing impact and stress on the joints. If you’re looking for weight loss tips, contact Harmony in Health to discuss specifics.

More specifically, people with arthritis should follow what is known as an anti-inflammatory diet. Don’t be confused by the term “diet”. This is not a way of eating adopted for a short period of time, I am advising you to eat in this fashion throughout your life. Think of it less as a diet and more as a lifestyle. The anti-inflammatory diet is based on the scientific understanding that certain foods contribute to, or cause, inflammation. These foods are reduced or eliminated. Inflammatory foods include nightshade veggies, dairy, gluten, eggs, citrus fruit, non-organic meat, and processed foods/sugar. For more information, please see our previous post on the anti-inflammatory diet here


Supplement Options


I’m not a huge proponent of taking a host of supplements. If you follow a healthy diet, you should be getting many of your vitamins and minerals already. However, the high levels of inflammation associated with arthritis may not be tamed by diet alone. This is where supplements can be useful.

The following supplements (with no/minimal side effects) help reduce inflammation and pain, and may also “protect against further arthritis damage in the future” (Kendall-Reed & Reed 2011):


  • Glucosamine sulfate
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • MSM
  • Ginger
  • Devil’s claw
  • Curcumin 


Another supplement I would recommend is Juice Plus. It is a whole food-based supplement containing vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants that your body can immediately use, as well as Vitamin D. To learn more, or purchase Juice Plus, click here. For a more detailed analysis of the role each of these supplements plays in arthritis, or for more information about treating arthritis holistically, contact Harmony in Health


Reference:

Penny Kendall-Reed and Stephen Reed (2011): Healing Arthritis: Complementary Naturopathic, Orthopedic & Drug Treatments

Why We All Need to Make Time For Fun

Posted on July 22, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)






When was the last time you had fun? As a child, fun generally wasn’t hard to come by. Our minds are plastic and our creative neurons are firing away left, right, and centre. Our younger selves could be amused for hours examining ants, poking beetles, or creating a castle from a mud puddle. Raking leaves was an adventure, not a chore, and rather than try to diminish the work, we would go looking for more, knocking on neighbours’ doors asking for their leaves; after all, the bigger the pile the larger the fun to be had.


Each hour was a new adventure, each day a new universe to be explored or conjured up in our imaginations. But as we get older, sometimes fun falls to the wayside as we begin studying or working diligently. Instead of Saturday morning cartoons, we’re focused on monthly budgeting. When we look at mud we don’t see the building blocks of a magical land, only a potential mess.


We become so focused on making money, getting healthy food on the table, or getting our kids to various activities, that sometimes we forget to carve out time for fun. But it’s so important to make this time! Not only does fun help with stress, it also keeps us feeling and looking younger! No matter what your age, there are various benefits to play. Let’s look at some now.


Play can (Robinson et al. 2017):


  • "Relieve stress” – having fun and playing can make you feel good at a chemical level! Playing makes the body release endorphins, which are natural pain relievers and happiness hormones.
  • Improve brain function” – playing brain games like chess, Sudoku, puzzles, etc. actually improves the brain’s performance and can help ward off memory problems down the line. If you’re playing these games socially with friends and family, there’s another component: a potential decrease in stress and depression. Anything from euchre, to Prisoners of Catan, to something as simple as dominos can challenge the brain!
  • Stimulate the mind and boost creativity” – You likely understand that when children are playing and having fun, they’re able to do their best learning. This same logic is true for adults. If you’re having fun and in a relaxed atmosphere, you retain information better than if you’re feeling rushed and stressed. “Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and problem solve.”
  • Improve relationships and your connection to others” – Engaging in play with other people may allow you to get to know them better. Laughing and playing together can trigger feelings of “empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy”, all of which are important when connecting and building a relationship. Furthermore, if you think of play as a mindset rather than solely an activity, you may be able to feel more comfortable around new people if you put yourself in a relaxed, playful mood.
  • Keep you feeling young and energetic” – I mentioned this already, but I’ll repeat it because it’s so important. Isn’t feeling and looking young the one thing that everyone covets as they age? Well guess what? Play may be your answer! While it’s no miracle elixir that will reverse gray hairs and eliminate wrinkles, play can boost your energy levels and “even improve your resistance to disease”. Sign me up! 


Listing all of the benefits of play is beyond the scope or capabilities of this blog post, but I think you’re starting to understand the point: play is fun and so beneficial to engage in. If you’re having trouble incorporating play into your life, consider hosting a game night with friends, or joining a new club. Make time to go out with your friends/family/children and try new experiences. Play doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, it can be as simple as throwing a Frisbee around the lawn, or jumping through a sprinkler on a hot day. Whatever it is that makes you smile, make time for it.


What do you like to do for fun? Tell us in the comments below! For more tips on how to incorporate play and fun into your life, contact Harmony in Health.  Now shut down your computer and get your play on!


References:

Robinson et al. (2017): https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm

Food Combining: Why it Matters

Posted on July 7, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

When was the last time you thought about whether the food you were putting in your mouth was healthy? Probably not that long ago. But have you ever considered whether the combinations of food you’re eating are healthy? Probably not, but you should be!


Let me tell you a little story. Several years ago I was teaching a vegetarian cooking class. Unbeknownst to me, one of the attendees believed he was allergic to one of the ingredients I was using, let’s say it was rice. His belief stemmed from the fact that he always got severe stomach pain after eating rice, so he surmised it must be an allergy. He didn’t mention anything to me in this session however, and he ate the dish we prepared, including the rice. The next day I received a phone call from his wife, who was quite surprised over the state of her husband. Not only did he feel no stomach pain after eating the rice, he actually stated he’s never felt better.


So if this man wasn’t allergic to rice, why was he getting stomach pains when he was eating it other times? The trick, in this case, is to look at what else he consistently ate alongside the rice: meat. “Oh, so he’s allergic to meat?” you say? Wrong! He’s not allergic to either ingredient, the stomach pain is simply a result of improper food combining.


When eaten in conjunction, grains and meats do not digest well. The rice is a carbohydrate and digestion begins in the mouth, whereas meat is a protein and digestion begins in the GI tract. The rice sits in the stomach while the body is trying to digest the protein, where it ferments and may even rot. This means the food may not be fully broken down, which, over time, can be problematic in the instances of leaky gut, and can contribute to the development of allergies. (If you missed our previous blog post about this, you can read it here.)


There are four cardinal rules of food combining:


  1. Eat fruits on their own
  2. Do not combine proteins and starchy vegetables (you can combine proteins with non-starchy vegetables)
  3. Combine starches with non-starchy vegetables
  4. Do not eat more than one protein per meal 


In my story above, you can clearly see that there are marked benefits to food combining. Apart from ridding the symptoms of stomach pain and flatulence, proper food combining can (Quizlet 2017):


  • “Increase metabolism and weight loss
  • Promote proper digestion and food breakdown
  • Desensitize the body to reduce allergies
  • Repair digestion” 


If you are interested in seeing the benefits of proper food combining for yourself, contact Harmony in Health for some great tips on how to begin!

Food is Making Our Children Sick

Posted on June 30, 2017 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

This may or may not come as a shock to you, but today’s children are the sickest they’ve been in history! Everything from allergies, to respiratory problems, to conditions involving chronic inflammation are on the rise in youth. What’s to blame for this troubling pattern? Why everything around us of course! From the heavily sprayed, genetically modified food that we’re eating, to the polluted air that we’re breathing, everything around us affects our health.


Let’s Talk About Food


This day and age, children (and adults too!) are pummelled by opportunities to eat processed, unhealthy foods. If you’re not driving by a McDonalds, you’re watching a commercial for Burger King on the TV, or listening to an ad for Wendy’s on the radio. Unhealthy, processed snack foods for kids are plastered with their favourite cartoon character, so they’re begging you to have it.


The problem is, unhealthy eating has become so mainstream, that the parent who denies their children sugary drinks or treats may actually be the minority. But poor food choices do have consequences, and we’re beginning to see them worldwide. For example, there has been a huge flare in paediatric inflammatory bowel disease in young children in India. You can read the full article here. This rise has been correlated with the increased consumption of processed foods.


And here’s the kicker; even when you think you’re making the right choice by filling up on veggies, fruits, and meat prepared at home, many of those products are chalk full of chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics. If that’s not enough, the produce is likely genetically modified.


So What’s The Answer?


Are you feeling confused about the right course of action? Many people feel the same way, and I’m here to give you an answer! You can help promote your child’s health (and yours too) by opting for organic produce. If you’re finding it hard to get your kids to eat enough fruits and veggies, Juice Plus+ is an excellent whole food based supplement that provides nutrition from over 30 different fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is a great addition to a healthy diet, for children and adults alike! To put it simply, Juice Plus+ “helps bridge the nutrient gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day” (Juice Plus+ 2013).


This blog merely touches on the sickness we’re seeing in today’s children. Blood sugar disorders and weight gain/obesity are also on the rise. It’s important to remember that combating any illness, including digestive and respiratory problems, a strong immune system is crucial. If you would like more information about this, contact Harmony in Health today!

Why You Should Choose Organic

Posted on June 23, 2017 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

The question of whether or not it is important to buy organically grown fruits and vegetables is one that arises often. I often hear people questioning the authenticity of organically grown food and whether it’s really worth the extra money. Maybe you’re reading this asking yourself the same thing?


Let me tell you a little story. I once bought non-organic grapes at the grocery store. I brought them home and washed them like I would any other fruit, but after washing I noticed a residue on the skin of the grape. I washed those suckers FIVE more times and guess what? The residue never left. So then I popped one in my mouth and was surprised to find the inside of my mouth burning! I’ve never reacted to grapes before, so why was it an issue now? Was it really the grape causing this unpleasant sensation? NO! It was the chemicals on the grape’s skin. The ones that would not come off no matter how long and hard I washed them. Guess what? Those chemicals wouldn’t have been on organic grapes. I could have saved myself a lot of trouble and discomfort had I opted for those in the first place.


So the first reason you should choose organic is to avoid the copious amounts of chemicals crops are heavily sprayed with. Here’s a few more reasons why choosing organic foods is beneficial for your body:


  1. Organically grown food is more nutritious than its non-organic counterpart. 
  2. Organically grown food tastes better! To an extent this is personal preference, but I bet you’ll prefer a chemical-free strawberry grown in rich, balanced soil to one heavily sprayed and struggling to survive in soil depleted of nutrients.
  3. Organically grown foods are guaranteed to not be GMO (genetically modified).
  4. Organically grown meat is free of the added hormones and antibiotics pumped into conventionally raised cattle and poultry. 


 Choosing organic food over its counterpart benefits more than just you. By making this decision, you’re also supporting the environment. Organic foods must be grown in nutrient-rich biodiverse soil, and the designation does not allow for any toxic chemicals to be sprayed, which could harm both the crop and soil. By keeping our soil healthy and focussing on crop rotation to return nutrients into the ground, wildlife can flourish and the ecosystem remains balanced.


Furthermore, by choosing organic you’re choosing to promote and sustain agricultural diversity. By increasing the varieties of different fruits and vegetables, we are increasing their probability of surviving against pests, diseases, and other pitfalls that may wipe out an entire variety in one fell swoop.


So you now have a better understanding of why organically grown food is best. But maybe you’re still questioning the cost of buying organic. While buying all organic is ideal, there are certain fruits and vegetables that are higher in contamination than others. These are known as The Dirty Dozen, and this is a good place to prioritize buying organic if you can’t afford to do it all.


An important note, it’s easy for anyone to grow their own non-gmo organic food in a Tower Garden! If you missed our previous post about Tower Gardens, check it out here.  If you have any questions about organic food, or would like some more information, contact Harmony in Health!

Harmful Household Products

Posted on June 14, 2017 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Chances are, you clean your house regularly and are mindful of dust, germs, and other pesky things invisible to the naked eye. If so, kudos to you, but you might be unaware of how hazardous these products can be.

Many accepted household products are actually very reactive and contain ingredients that can be bothersome for children and adults alike. (And pets too!) Let’s go through a couple of these products:


Room Sprays like Febreze

You may think you’re making the room smell like a field of lavender, but sprays like Febreze actually work by shutting down the olfactory senses! What does this mean? It means that the odour is still in the air, you just can’t smell it anymore because that sense is “turned off” so to speak. So now you’re not only breathing in the odour molecules, but also the various chemicals in the spray as well. Spoiler alert, these chemicals should definitely NOT be inhaled! The ingredients list is nasty, including acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, BHT, propylene glycol, and 1,3-dichloro-2-propanol. The effects of these chemicals range from allergies and skin/eye irritation, to hormone disruption, cancer promotion, and even brain/nervous system disruption! And if you need yet another reason to ditch the Febreze, it doesn’t kill bacteria when sprayed. I think it’s safe to say the only place this household staple belongs is in the trash!


Commercial Dryer Sheets

Similar to Febreze, these sheets are chock full of artificial scents. When we constantly stick our clothes and bed sheets in an environment saturated with these scents, it’s no surprise that they then transfer to our own bodies and we find ourselves and our children prone to rashes and/or respiratory disorders.

If you’re reading this right now and saying “Wait, how am I supposed to get that gentle breeze scent without my dryer sheet?” I’ll tell you right now that hanging your clothes on the line is the only way to get an authentic “gentle breeze” scent. Not only will this save you electricity, but hopefully you may also find skin and respiratory irritations clear up as you ditch the chemicals!

If you’re not a fan of hanging your clothes on the line and still insist on using some sort of scent in the dryer, I urge you to make or buy some all-natural dryer balls. You can add drops of essential oil to the wool balls, giving you and your clothes a natural scent that is safe for both of you.


Are these products two of your household staples? If so, you’re going to want to switch to a natural alternative without all the nasties mentioned above. If you need help finding a suitable product, contact Harmony in Health for suggestions!

Remember, just because everyone else is using a product does not mean you should be too. It’s all right to be different and use a natural product instead of a commercial one. Your health is your responsibility, and it’s up to you to stand up for it and take care of yourself! Dare to nonconform!

The Dangers of Heatstroke

Posted on June 14, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

If you’ve ever suffered from heatstroke, or know someone who has, then you understand the very real danger that’s associated with the condition. Those lucky souls who have been untouched by it are more likely to be lacking this awareness.

Because many people don’t realize how dangerous heatstroke truly is, today’s post will shed some light on the dark side of the hot weather everyone seems to love.


What is Heatstroke?

Very basically, heatstroke is a form of injury due to heat. It occurs when one’s “body temperature rises to 40°C or higher” (Mayo Clinic 2014). Often, the body has overheated due to over exerting yourself on a hot summer day. For some, all it takes is being outside for prolonged periods in hot temperatures, and the symptoms of heat stroke begin to appear (Mayo Clinic 2014).


What are the Symptoms of Heatstroke?

Anyone, regardless of gender or age, can suffer from heatstroke. People afflicted will display some or all of the following symptoms (Mayo Clinic 2014):


  • High body temperature – as mentioned above, your body temperature will be at or above 40°C 
  • Altered mental state/behaviour – you may be confused, agitated, irritable, delirious, exhibiting slurred or delayed speech, stuttering, or showing signs of memory loss. Seizures and coma can also occur.
  • Altered sweating – depending on what causes the heatstroke, your skin can be hot and dry or it may be hot and moist. (The former is the case if heatstroke results from hot temperatures, the latter is if it results from overexertion.)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin – reddening skin is a result of your high body temperature
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fast heart rate – the heart is beating hard trying to cool down your body, putting it under a lot of strain.
  • Headache” 


 Heatstroke needs to be treated immediately. If you think you have heatstroke, get yourself indoors or in the shade immediately! If you are too incapacitated to do so, try to tell someone else what’s happening, and they will get you there. You need to cool your body down as soon as possible. Do whatever is necessary, from removing clothes to submerging yourself in cold water or laying cool cloths over your body. Even after these precautions are taken, the effects of heatstroke can last for days and even months! If left untreated, heatstroke can lead to serious organ damage or death (Mayo Clinic 2014).


How Should You Stay Safe?

You have to be extremely careful in the hot weather and bright sun to avoid heatstroke. Even if you think you’re being careful, understand that heatstroke can still sneak up on you.

It’s best practice to avoid strenuous exercise outdoors in hot, humid weather. Instead of running, trying going for a gentle walk or sitting outdoors in the shade. If you’re someone who is more easily prone to heatstroke, I would recommend avoiding any prolonged activity in hot temperatures, even if you’re just standing and have access to shade.

Now that you understand the symptoms of heatstroke, be sure to check both yourself and others regularly when you’re spending time under the sun. For more summer safety tips, contact Harmony in Health today!


References:

Mayo Clinic (2014): http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/basics/definition/con-20032814

The Sun: The Good & The Bad

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The summer season is upon us and the hot weather is here to stay! Lately, I’ve seen a lot of conflicting information out there about how to stay safe in the sun. Some articles are promoting ample use of sun block, while others are quick to point out (correctly I might add!) the harmful ingredients these concoctions actually contain.

Are you feeling confused about how to handle the sun? You’ve come to the right place! Read on to hear about the good and bad of the sun, and what you should be doing to stay safe this summer season.


The Good

The sun is so important for many reasons, not just for vitamin D purposes. Here’s a list of good things the sun can do for us (SunFriend 2015):

  • “Cheer us up by boosting serotonin – the “feel good” hormone
  • Reduce heart disease
  • Prevent diabetes
  • Beat SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Help prevent MS 
  • Prevent cavities
  • Relieve aches and pains
  • Reduce risk of cancers
  • Boost fertility
  • Give you more energy
  • Ease IBD – inflammatory bowel disorder
  • Beat period problems
  • Help skin conditions
  • Boost the immune system
  • Help you lose weight” 


The Bad

The “bad” side of the sun is well documented and hyped up in the news. I’m speaking about the correlation between sun exposure and cancer risk. In an effort to avoid cancer development, people slather on sun block to “protect” their skin from the sun – but there’s a dark consequence to this action, because sun block also blocks your body’s ability to make vitamin D. This is crucial. Here’s a little known but extremely important fact: the risks associated with vitamin D deficiency can actually far outweigh those associated with skin cancer. Thus, sun block is not the answer!

Furthermore, there’s a “bad” side to sun block as well. (In fact, it could be argued that there’s only a bad side to those mixtures). If you ever read the ingredients on a tube of sun block, then you’ll quickly see that these “skin protectors” are PACKED with nasties...including CARCINOGENS! (That’s right, you’ve been slathering something on to protect against cancer, which actually contains cancer-causing ingredients!)


So What Should You Be Doing?

While I’m suggesting you ditch the sun block, I’m not suggesting you forget about staying safe in the sun. If you’re going to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time, the best thing to do is cover bare skin up with clothing.

If that’s not an option, or you don’t want to cover up, then you can use a natural sun protector like Harmony Body Butter. This helps protect the skin from the sun (and can even be used in the water!). Unlike sun block, Harmony Body Butter lets the skin absorb UVB rays, thereby allowing it to make vitamin D.

Remember, all you need is 15-20 minutes in the noon-day sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D. You DO NOT need to stay exposed long enough to burn (or even tan) your skin. If you’re thinking staying out longer is beneficial because you’ll get even more vitamin D, think again! Your body can actually only make a set amount of vitamin D each day – around “10,000 to 25,000 IU” (Vitamin D Council 2017) – and this is easily attained within the timeframe mentioned above.

Contact Harmony in Health for more sun safety tips!


References

Vitamin D Council (2017) https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how- do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/

SunFriend (2015) https://sunfriend.com/blogs/news/48281409-15-reasons-why- the-sun-is-good-for-you


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