Breaking Through the Wall and Seeking a Healthy New Normal?

 

Are you just over the world being turned on its ear? Disillusioned, confused and worried? Wondering who to trust with so much conflicting information about how to maneuver through this pandemic? 

 

Healthy strategies to handle the new normal are based on the foundation for overall well being: emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health. 

Emotional Health

 

Constant worries about an invisible enemy stalking your friends, family and you is exhausting.

 

The continuous need to make difficult decisions, such as the question on whether to send your children to school (assuming schools open in the Fall) is draining. The inability to hug your close friends and family is frustrating. How can you improve your emotional health in the midst of such assaults?

Stressed Woman
Picnic in the park
  • Invest time in positive relationships – have a physically distancing visits at a park (maybe even a picnic in the park!)
  • Call your best friend to let him or her know you love them

 

  • Do things which bring you joy (maybe something creative like painting rocks or silly like dancing in the living room to the tunes from your high school years)
  • Exercise (it can be extremely satisfying to hit a heavy bag, just a thought)
  • Keep a journal – write both what is upsetting you and for what you are grateful
  • Practice mediation – which can help you learn how to still the relentless noise in your mind

 

Physical Health

 

Has it been challenging to leave the comfort of the couch? Does the fridge whisper to you that treats await within?

Does your brain whirl at night when you should be sleeping? Diet and supplements, movement and sleep are the underpinning of your physical health. One being out of balance affects the other. 

 

Couch Potato Dog

Improve the amount and quality of your sleep by:

  • Prioritizing sleep (being in bed) for at least 7 hours a night
  • Creating a nightly ritual
  • Limiting caffeine in the day (from coffee, tea, soda and chocolate)
  • Establishing a meditation habit, which will help you learn how to still your racing thoughts
  • Making your bedroom a sleep haven (a dark, cool, cozy room without your device within)

 

Sleeping Baby and Puppy

Increase your odds of establishing the habit of moving during the day by:

 

2 people hula hooping

  • Finding physical activities you enjoy (gardening, walking the dog, hula hooping)
  • Working out with a buddy (can both take a virtual exercise class together!)
  • Hiring a personal training / a virtual personal trainer
  • Blocking out exercise time in your schedule and keep your date with yourself
  • Eliminating potential obstacles (such as laying your exercise clothing the night before)

 

You are what you eat. Supercharge your health by:

  • Filling your plate and snacking on a wide array of fruits and vegetables
  • Finding inspiration from health food Instagram accounts and trying new recipes
  • Drinking plenty of water (try various infused water, like cucumber mint or strawberry water)
  • Incorporating healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins in your meal planning
  • Taking supplements to boost your overall health and immune system

 

A healthy plate of food
Frowning face in a cup of coffee

Mental Health

 

How full is your cup today? Do you feel as though you are stretched to your limit? Is the relentless anxiety, overwhelm and fear wearing you down? Is healthy living possible when navigating dark times? How can you improve your mental health when dark thoughts, secret shame and undermining insecurities flood your mind?

  • Talk to a professional (via telehealth visits) about your pervasive worries and learn healthy coping strategies
  • Vent to a good friend about what is overwhelming you right now
  • Avoid toxic people / situations (which may mean limiting watching news programs)
  • Embrace your inner 5 year old and have a royal temper tantrum. Enjoy it to the max and then let it go.
  • Have compassion for yourself and others. The collective is simultaneously experiencing extreme stress. Be kind to all. 

 

Telehealth Visit
Spiritual Health

Spiritual Health

 

Spiritual health is achieved when you feel at peace with life, when you are able to find hope and comfort during dark times. Spiritual health helps you experience life completely. Spirituality is different for everyone. While not everyone believes in the existence of a deity, realizing that you are not the center of everything and focusing on the larger world or universe around you will enhance your spiritual health. Some of the benefits of spiritual wellness are obtaining clarity on self, happiness and purpose, deepened connections with others, experiencing more inner peace, and increasing your resilience.

You can improve your spiritual health by:

 

  • Meditating which allows you to be still with yourself, listening to the quiet voice within
  • Spending time in nature in quiet reflection and thought
  • Being creative, silly, joyful, and spending time exhaling and having fun
  • Performing random acts of kindness and listening with your heart
  • Radical self-care, eliminate toxic influences and relationships and respect the temple which is your body.
Meditation

The four cornerstones of your health are interwoven. One area being unbalanced will negatively impact the others. On the flip side, shoring up a neglected area will positively improve the whole of you. Focusing on the habits which will create a strong and healthy you will offer you the best chance to thrive during this pandemic.

 

To your health.
Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

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Thrive In Uncertain Times

In March 2020, governments responded to the rapidly spreading coronavirus by shutting down the world. Schools closed. Non-essential businesses locked their doors. Travel was restricted.

Essential workers (doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, police officers, postal workers, truck drivers) faced exposure while everyone else sheltered at home, either alone or with direct family.  Many workers were furloughed or lost their jobs as bars, restaurants, non-essential retail, hair salons, hotels, and more ceased operation. Others quickly learned the technology required to work remotely.

Closed sign
Woman Working at Home with Kids around her

Many parents of school age children suddenly had to both work from home and homeschool their kids. Many parents have developed a new appreciation for their kids’ teachers!

 

Normal flies out the window and in its place is fear of getting a serious illness, working in a different way or unemployed in an uncertain economy, with children constantly under foot or being completely isolated.

Over the months, the number of cases and deaths have grown. Rapid opening leads to spikes in case, followed by spikes in deaths. 

 

Fear for our physical and economic health plagues us.

 

Can you say stressful?

Handling Emotional Stress

How did you handle the swirl of stress and emotions? Is a newly found passion for baking treats and enjoying those creations helping to sooth the anxiety (emotional eating to the rescue)? Since the gyms are closed, has exercise ceased (motivation to move disappeared)? Have you caught up on all of your favorite shows and discovered a number of new ones (couch potato time)?

 

Having an emotional temper tantrum is a reasonable response to these extraordinary circumstances. Eating without concern for calorie count or health helped many handle the relentless pressure. Cocooning on the couch compensated for the disappearance of their routine.  Watching amusing entertainment provided many the needed escape from the frightening daily reality.

Did emotional eating and other less than healthy coping methods help you to navigate these first few months of living in the middle of a pandemic? Now, over four months later, is the realization that this is our new normal dawning? The understanding is growing that our lives are not being upended for a short stretch, but instead we are in the middle of a marathon.

Baking Cookies

Surviving (Maybe Even Thriving) Today

 

What do we need to do to survive living with this potentially deadly disease in our world and communities for the duration? 

Coronavirus Health Guidelines

Continue Following Health Guidelines

First step, we all need to follow the medical guidelines to wash our hands, wear masks in public and maintain a physical distance from each other to reduce the spread of this virus.

Dust Yourself Off

Second step, time to stop having an emotional temper tantrum and embrace a healthy response to the constant stress, unease, and uncertainty. Don’t strive for perfection or make “a chocolate will never pass these lips again” declaration. Time to pick yourself off the floor and move towards a healthier response.

Moving Matters

 

The goal here is a healthy balance. A funny comedy followed by a dance party in the living room. Want to feel better? Move it! Start or end the day with a gentle yoga routine and/or stretching and/or cardio and/or strength training. There are wonderful online yoga and exercise classes. Many gyms have created virtual exercise classes. Call your gym to see if they have online classes. 

Here are some resource to give you an idea of what can be found to help you get strong, flexible and in shape (let them know that Calmglow told you about them):

Moving Matters

A Little Zen

Moving your body helps release stress and other stress management techniques such as journaling, meditation, and taking a moment to breath deeply are great help towards reclaiming a healthier you. A moment of calm can even help you sleep. And with a solid night of sleep under your belt, you can handle so much more!

You Are What You Eat

 

Next we turn our attention to what’s cooking in the kitchen. After all, food is the foundation of our health.

 

Getting creative in the kitchen

One of the benefits of working remotely is that we have more time to spend in the kitchen creating tasty, healthy food. While many turned to experimenting with baking and desserts when the lockdowns began, let’s now challenge ourselves to make delicious, healthy, comfort food. The Mediterannan Diet is one of the healthier diets with an added benefit that it is not based on elimination of a category of foods, such as carbohydrates.

The Mediterranean diets incorporated the traditional foods enjoyed in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea: Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. While most are more familiar with the foods of France, Greece, Italy and Spain, there is inspiration to be found from each country: Morrocan Tagine, Turkish Chicken Kebab, Lebanonese shawarma bowls and more.

When you are planning your cooking adventure, think about adding a rainbow of color to your plate: red peppers, purple cabbage, orange sweet potato, green broccoli, and yellow squash.

You can make your diet more Mediterranean-style by:

 

  • eating the rainbow of color of fruits and vegetables (organic, if possible)
  • eating whole grains and legumes 
  • eating lean proteins (fish, chicken, plant-based)
  • eating less meat and dairy products
  • choosing healthy fats, such as olive oil and nuts

 

To enhance the flavor of your meals (and the fun of your culinary adventure), add fresh herbs and spices. A tip: before starting on this kitchen adventure, purge your spice cabinet of old spices. Spices lose their flavor as they age.

 

A tip: watch your portion sizes. Too much of even a good thing can undermine your efforts.

A Mediterranean Feast

 

You have finished with your emotional temper tantrum. You are shaking your tail feathers, finding zen moments in the midst of COVID chaos, and dining on delicious (maybe even homemade!) dishes. One more area to improve: the home in which you are sheltering-in-place.

 

Pictures of rooms in a home

Make Your Home A Comfortable Nest!

Surround yourself with the objects that bring you happiness. Clear the clutter and the chaos. Play music that brings you joy or soothes your soul. Fill a vase with fresh flowers. Diffuse citrus, floral or spicy oils. Open the windows. Put a bowl of summer fruit on the kitchen table. Chill a pitcher of water with slices of cucumbers and mint to enjoy when the temperature rises. Toss a soft throw over the back of the sofa so you can wrap yourself in warmth on a cool morning. Place twinkle lights inside to enjoy once the sun sets.

 

Your home is your sanctuary and now you are spending more time there than usual. Make it a place you hate to leave.

Do not plan to change everything at once. Let go of your emotional temper tantrum. Make changes to bring balance back. Consistent, small steps create huge improvements. Create the health lifestyle that supports you during this new normal. 

 

To your health.

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

 

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4 Phases of COVID-19 Protection

 

As our communities start to open up and the shelter-in-place orders are modified, our risk of encountering and becoming infected with the coronavirus increases. In studying COVID-19, researchers have discovered that there are four phases for which distinct responses create the best outcome:

 

Prevention – support is focused on immune surveillance and reduction of baseline levels of inflammation, and to improve outcomes if the patient becomes infected.

 

Infection – support emphasizes immune activity against infection.

 

Escalating Infection – support is focused on anti-inflammatory measures.

 

Recovery – support is focused on resolving inflammation, inhibiting fibrosis and other forms of tissue damage, curtailing losses of function, and restoring and reoptimizing function.  A concern at this phase is that patients have been observed to relapse back into the escalation inflammation phase. It is essential for clinical surveillance to continue well into what may appear to be the Recovery Phase.

 

Cattleman riding the fences

 

Prevention

 

Just as a fence is placed around a pasture of cows to protect them from outside threats such as wolves and coyotes, our immune system is our defensive fence protecting us from outside invaders. Cattlemen ride their fences regularly to ensure that the first line of defense has no breaks, gaps or weaknesses. Calmglow helps patients uncover any weaknesses in their protective fence and to create a plan to reduce or eliminate those weaknesses.

 

Calmglow’s task during the prevention phase is to support our patients in anticipation of the possibility that they’ll contract the virus. This is accomplished by A) identifying and addressing ways to reduce baseline inflammation, and B) identifying and addressing deficiencies in key nutrients that are central to healthy, robust immune system activation. Calmglow orders full labs and work up for patients and uses the information obtained to address any disease, condition and/or inflammatory process which may encourage escalating COVID-19 viral disease processes.

Foundational Reinforcements For Our Defenses

These are the daily habits, healthy practices and foundational support which focus on anti-inflammatory and antiviral support and on strengthening our immune systems so that our bodies can mount the response needed to protect you should you become infected with the coronavirus.

Sleep – 8 to 9 hours of restful sleep nightly promotes an anti-inflammatory and antiviral state. If you are having a difficult time getting a restful night’s sleep, consider taking  Melatonin 3-10mg nightly, as needed.                        

Stress Reduction – persistent high stress levels are inflammatory and reduce the body’s immune function, measured by high or flat cortisol levels with elevations of epinephrine and norepinephrine (the stress hormones). Daily meditation helps to reduce stress. Try the “Calm” app. Call our office to discuss available adrenal support supplements.

 

Blood Sugar Control – Insulin resistance, obesity and sugar imbalances are associated with inflammation.

 

Anti-inflammatory Diet – improving diet by avoiding high fat (trans fats), fried, processed foods, chemical additives, and added sugar.  Eating a diet rich in nutrients has been shown to reduce inflammation. Consider a high quality nutrient dense diet that focuses on eating multicolored vegetables and fruits, rich in healthy fats (no beef or pork even if it is grass fed or naturally prepared).

 

Microbiome / Gut Bacteria Balance – Unbalanced of the GI microbiome bacteria has been shown to be a source of systemic inflammation and plays a symbiotic role with lung microbiome. Consider adding daily fiber (Herbulk 1-2 doses a day), diet rich in colorful vegetables and fruit, prebiotic foods, and daily probiotics. Of course, avoid cigarette/cigar/THC smoke and air pollution (may need a HEPA filter at work and home to keep the air cleaner).

 

Exercise – physical activity has long been known to be critical for proper function of all physiological systems. The right intensity is critical with moderate levels effective at lowering inflammatory markers, while high intensity does not.

 

Immune supportive vitamins and minerals – call our office to discuss available immune supportive vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Zinc, Vitamin C, Quercetin, and Fish Oil.

 

Identify and manage any on-going diseases  – if left uncontrolled they may increase your risk of driving you into the Escalating Inflammation Phase of COVID 19 disease process.

Virus around a man

 

Infection

As we shift from sheltering-in-place and are out in the community more, we most likely will come in contact with the coronavirus and despite practicing personal distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing, we could become infected with the virus. The focus for the early stage of the infection is on anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support and shoring up the components of immune system function that are essential to fight the infection. 

 

If you have a health complication such as asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, you are at higher risk to have a severe infection due to having an inefficient and over burdened innate immune system. 

 

In addition to individuals with underlying health concerns, there is a correlation between viral load and severity of the resulting illness. Therefore, healthcare workers who have more exposure to the virus have a higher risk of developing a severe illness. 

 

The goal at this phase is to keep the infection from escalating into the more dangerous and potentially fatal phase. 

Garbage Truck

 

Our innate immune system employs defenders called macrophages. Macrophages are our body’s garbage trucks; they get rid of the trash. A macrophage has the ability to locate and ‘eat’ particles, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. One concerning aspect of coronavirus is that it delays activation of, and even kills, our macrophages before it can activate our adaptive immune response.

 

To counter the virus’ ability to undermine key immunity responses, at this phase our focus turns to the foot soldiers of our immune system and providing additional antioxidant support.

 

Two specific white blood cells,T helper type 1 (Th1) cells and Natural Killer cells (NK), play a key role in antiviral immunity. Th1 and NK support each other’s activation. T helper type 2 (TH2) cells may improve TH1 antiviral response by improving stress chemistry (cortisol and norepinephrine), sleep regulation, asthma, and GI tract inflammation. 

 

Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria and archaea. Glutathione is capable of preventing damage to important cellular components caused by reactive oxygen species such as free radicals, peroxides, lipid peroxides, and heavy metals. GSH and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) play particularly important roles in antioxidant support in COVID-19. GSH appears to play a key role in supporting both the immune surveillance and anti-oxidant/anti-inflammatory components of the strategy for addressing care for patients with COVID-19. 

 

In addition to continuing all of the Prevention phase recommendations, supplements which aid TH1 and NK cell support and NAC and GSH may be recommended. Call our office to discuss additional immunity support supplements such as Th1 support, Th 2 support, Baicalin-containing  botanical medicines, licorice root, Echinacea extracts and others. 

Escalating Infection

 

One of the complications caused by this phase of the infection is too much inflammation in the respiratory system which can prove to be fatal. A Chinese respiratory expert described COVID-19 as involving a “large amount of very sticky mucus in their small airways.”  The  goal of this phase is to help the patient stay away from manifesting the excessive inflammatory cytokine production and tissue destruction associated with sepsis, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and cardiovascular events. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a type of respiratory failure characterized by rapid onset of widespread inflammation in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and bluish skin coloration. Natural approaches here are supportive, not primary. The unfolding disease process can escalate rapidly.

 

Natural anti-inflammatory supports are:

 

  • Potassium – maintain a balanced blood potassium level (do not take extra potassium unless directed to do so by your practitioner).
  • Turmeric  – which has documented antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is found in Curcum-Evail.
  • Resveratrol – which has been documented to reduce inflammation. Resveratrol is in Phytomulti and should be taken twice a day.
  • Quercitin – a plant pigment (flavonoid) is found in many plants and foods, such as red wine, onions, green tea, apples, berries, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort, American elder, and others. Quercetin has low bioavailability and therefore requires special formulations to achieve clinically effective blood levels. We suggest a product called D-Hist 1, take a capsule twice daily.
  • Boswellia – efficacy of bromelain in reducing inflammation and inflammatory diseases has been documented in many studies. 
  • Sulforaphane – a plant extract (obtained from cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage) known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. 

 

Call our office for more information about the natural supports which are anti-inflammatory and which boost your immune system.

Recovery

This virus does not leave easily. Many people who were believed to have recovered from the worst of the disease have relapsed back to the escalating infection phase. Many of those who relapsed subsequently died from complications of this virus.

 

Continued care and continuing to support your immune system while in the recovery phase is essential.

 

Note: not all supplements should be taken by someone with hypertension and other health concerns. Safety and dosing of any recommended supplements have not been evaluated for pregnant women. 

 

Although there is much to be learned about COVID-19 virus, substantial knowledge of the immune system and clinical tools that support the immune function and help to prevent and treat this escalating viral disease exist. Each of the supplements recommended have their own specific concerns when mixed with other pharmaceutical drugs that you may be taking. Do not embark on use of these supplements without discussing your health condition and other medications with Calmglow. 

 

While avoiding becoming infected by this virus is everyone’s goal, it would be foolish not to be prepared. Before leaving the safety of sheltering-in-place and widely venturing into the community, call our office to schedule an appointment to discuss how you can best boost your immune system.

 

At some point in the future, this virus will be in our rearview mirror (be it due to a vaccine or acquired immunity). Until we reach that point, let’s best arm our immune system to defeat COVID-19.

 

To your health.

 

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

 

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5 Lifestyle Pillars For A Vibrant Life

 

With the news and social media feeds filled with stories of mounting cases of COVID-19 and staggering numbers of daily deaths caused by this virus, feelings of fear and dread are a reasonable response. To combat the paralysis of overwhelm and despair, arm yourself with the knowledge to improve your immune system and overall health, and implement the 5 lifestyle pillars for a vibrant life.

In an earlier blog, we focused on the recommended supplements that could help most everyone boost their immune system and which could help prevent becoming infected and could lessen the severity of the disease.

 

This blog will focus on how to take charge of your health by focusing on improving these 5 lifestyle pillars.

 

Bag of Groceries

Nutrition:

As Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1826 in Physiologie du Gout, ou Méditations de Gastronomie Transcendante: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Translation: Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.]

 

The modern saying is: “You are what you eat.” So what should you eat to support a vibrant life and to boost your immune system?

Fruits and Vegetables

Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. The colors of the food rainbow are red, purple/blue, orange, green, and white/brown. The reason to eat the variety of colors is because each color has its own unique disease fighting properties.  Each day have 9-13 servings of a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables to obtain a wide array of phytonutrients to boost gut microbiome.

Fruits and Vegetables at a market
Beans and Whole Grains - Fiber

Dietary Fiber

Years ago, many a grandmother advised her grandchildren to eat more roughage. Roughage is what we call fiber, the indigestible part of plant food, the soluble and insoluble fiber. Those grandmothers were wise women. A high-fiber diet has many benefits: helps maintain bowel health and normalizes bowel movements, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and helps maintain a healthy-weight. Consume a minimum of 28-35 grains of fiber daily, preferably from whole foods.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate numbers.There are two ways to get more good bacteria into your gut: fermented foods and dietary supplements. The most common fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics, or have probiotics added to them, include yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread and some cheeses. Probiotics can help balance the friendly bacteria in your digestive system, prevent diarrhea, boost your immune system and reduce belly fat.

Probiotic Food

 

In addition to eating a rainbow of color fruits and vegetables, high fiber foods and probiotics, avoid foods high in saturated fat, added sugars and salt, which are known to negatively impact your immune system.

 

Images depicting ways to reduce stress

Stress Reduction and Stress Management

Even before our lives were upended from COVID-19, many Americans reported living with moderate to high levels of stress on a regular basis.  While stress may be unavoidable, it can be managed. Small changes in your responses to stress can improve your resilience. When you find your shoulders up at your ears and your jaws clench, lower your shoulders, loosen your jaw and try one (or all!) of these stress reducers:

 

  • Take deep breaths, center yourself and visualize yourself somewhere which brings you joy (a mountain meadow, a window overlooking the beach or an amusement park).
  • Take a walk outside or put on fun music and dance. 
  • Grab a piece of paper and write down something for which you are grateful.
  • Pause and consider if this is something you will even remember five years from now. 
  • Call a friend and catch up.
  • Do something creative (write, draw, knit, cook, color).
  • Watch a funny movie and laugh without restraint. 

 

Figure sleeping

 

Sleep:

Deep, restful sleep for seven to eight hours daily is extremely important for optimal health. Sleep is as essential as food and water for survival. During sleep your brain stores new information and your body repairs your cells (that’s why it is called beauty sleep!). 

 

Practice good sleep hygiene: keep a regular sleep schedule, turn off all screens (phones, TVs, etc.) and keep devices out of your bedroom while sleeping, and make sure your room is a cool, quiet and dark place.

 

Figures depicting various exercises

 

Exercise:

 

Our bodies are designed to move, not sit at a desk all day and on the couch all night. Figure out what you enjoy doing from running miles to walking blocks to swimming in the ocean or backyard pool to having a dance party with your kids to weeding and planting in your garden. If you enjoy the activity you’re most likely to spend time doing it! A wide variety of exercise options can be found on the internet. Try something different: yoga, pilates, zumba, or crossfit.

 

Image depicting various types of social connection

Social Connection:

Humans are social creatures. While we may be physically distancing right now, we need to still have social connections. Have fun with those sheltering in place under your roof. Walk around the block and wave at neighbors (while maintaining a safe distance). Visit those who are isolated at home by talking through a window so as to keep a safe distance. 

 

Think of other ways you can use technology to maintain human connection during this time of social distancing. While social media can help keep tabs on friends, make an effort to also call friends and family. Set up a Zoom happy hour with your bookclub. Arrange a video conference with far flung family members for a visit. Play multiplayer video games with friends from near and far. 

 

A vibrant life is built on a foundation of these 5 lifestyle pillars. Dial in your diet, stress, sleep, exercise and social connections and you will be on the path to optimal health and wellness.

 

To your health.

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

 

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Super Smoothies

Smoothies are ubiquitous and can be a healthy meal replacement. They can be found at fast-food restaurants, airports, malls, grocery stores and more.

Are all smoothies created equal? Not at all.

 

The smoothies found at fast-food establishments contain ingredients such as artificial flavors, cellulose powder, sugar, and modified food starch. Smoothies created at juice bars or establishments known to be healthier are better than those found at fast-food if you order carefully (such as adding organic fruits and vegetables and avoiding additions such as ice cream, frozen yogurt or sherbet).

 

Chemicals in test tubes

The best smoothies meal replacements are those made at home and can help make “food as medicine” delicious and nutritious. Why? You know what ingredients are in your homemade smoothie and can add herbs and spices, whole fruits, seeds, and other ingredients to increase the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties, and provide other health benefits. 

Smoothies are simple to prepare at home. Here is Calmglow’s Super Smoothie recipe.

Ingredients and equipment

  • Blender
  • Spice grinder (coffee grinder used solely for grinding spices and seeds)
  • Cheesecloth and Kitchen twine or spool of thread for sewing or a tea ball
  • 2 quarters cold tap or spring water
  • Herbs and spices (personal preference combination of the following):
    • Two tablespoons of Gotu Kola leaf  
    • Two tablespoons of lemon balm leaf  
    • Two tablespoons of dried hawthorne 
    • Two tablespoons of dried elderberries  
    • Two tablespoons eluthero (Elutherococcus senticosus or Siberian ginseng) 
    • Two tablespoons of white willow bark 
    • One tablespoon powdered ashwaganda root 
    • One tablespoon powdered shatavari root  
    • One tablespoon slippery elm bark powdered 
    • One tablespoon of fresh rosemary chopped 
    • One teaspoon of fresh ground turmeric  
    • One-half teaspoon of fresh ground cinnamon or cinnamon stick
  • Tea (one of the following: Green tea, Nettle tea, Licorice tea, Detox tea or Herbal tea)
  • Three-quarters cup of organic berries or one-half cup of  organic berries and one-quarter cup other organic whole fruit (pineapple, banana, peach, melon, pear, mango or organic, unsweetened applesauce)
  • Two-four oz of chilled, pomegranate juice, unsweetened purple grape juice, acai juice or other “just” juice (preferably organic)
  • One to two tablespoons of whole golden flax seeds (not brown, which are bitter), ground in the spice grinder
  • Protein (two tablespoons or recommended portion of whey, pea or rice protein powder, or one-half cup of non-dairy yogurt or kefir, or whole oats soaked in non-dairy milk overnight in the refrigerator)
  • Recommended portion of PhytoGanix
  • ¼ cup of crushed ice, if you like your smoothie cold

 

Equipment and Ingredients for super smoothie

Healing Sachet

Adding a Healing Sachet to the brewed tea will accentuate the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in the smoothie, balance blood sugars, offer adrenal gland support, and positively affect the ability of your body to heal and rejuvenate.  A Healing Sachet is created by cutting a square of the cheesecloth, adding your personal preference herbal and spice combination from the list above, and tying it together with kitchen twine or thread or putting the herb/spice/tea blend in a tea ball.

 

If you are using loose tea leaves, add 4 tablespoons of tea leaves to the Healing Sachet.

Directions

Healing Sachet tea liquid is made by adding the Healing Sachet (and 4 tea bags, if not using loose tea leaves in the sachet) to two quarts of hot water. Simmer in two quarts of hot water for 10-15 minutes then cover and turn off the stove and allow it to cool 20 minutes or so. Strain and discard the loose tea. Store in the refrigerator. This stays good for a week to ten days. 

 

Change the flavor of the Healing Sachet liquid by changing the tea and/or spice/herb combination, which will add taste variety to your smoothies.

 

Use 4-6 oz. of the chilled Healing Sachet liquid for your smoothie. Place it in a blender. 

 

To the blender add the juice, berries or fruit & berries, ground flax seeds, protein, Phytoganix, and crushed ice (if using). 

 

Blend until it is of the right consistency for you. 

 

Enjoy!

 

To your health.

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

Berry Smoothie
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Path For Changing Habits

You have vowed to start making healthy changes in your life. You rid your pantry of anything not healthy.  You joined the local gym. You bought supplements and promised yourself eight hours of sleep. You started out with great determination. 

 

Weeks later, you have lost that momentum and are back where you began.

 

Why?

 

Realize that change is not easy but is possible. Your habits, good and bad, are engrained because they serve a purpose and are done repeatedly.  The definition of a habit in the Oxford Dictionary is a thing that you do often and almost without thinking, especially something that is hard to stop.”

Person in the mirror

 

Start with the person in the mirror

 

What are your thoughts on changing your habits? Do you feel that habits can be changed or that habits are permanent? Mindset is powerful. You create what you believe. If you believe that habits are permanent, changing habits will be impossible. Each habit is first created and then retained by repetition. As a baby, you did not feel the need to brush your teeth daily.  Most adults brush their teeth daily. Between birth and adulthood, the habit of brushing your teeth daily was created and is retained by daily repetition. Replacing a bad habit starts with creating a good habit and repeating the new habit until it is engrained. Simple but not easy.

 

All habits serve a purpose 

 

List all of the healthy habits you want to adopt and the bad habits you want to eliminate.  A list to create a healthier life could include diet rehaul, daily exercise, regular meditation, drinking enough water, more sleep, and spending more time with friends and family. A list of bad habits could be drinking too much alcohol, not exercising, too many drive-through meals, craving sweet treats, and too much coffee and soda.

 

Look at the habit you want to change. These habits serve a purpose. What purpose do they serve? Does the daily glass of wine help to reduce stress? Do you find exercise uncomfortable? Is the fast-food meal the quickest answer when hungry? Were sweet treats a reward for childhood accomplishments?

Hitting boxing bag

 

 

Once you understand the underlying purpose, a different solution can be found. For example, instead of a glass of wine to reduce stress, take a boxing class.  Imagine your annoying co-working while hitting the heavy bag.

 

Hook a new habit with an existing habit

To increase the likelihood of success, link a new habit to an existing habit. Say you want to start to take supplements, have the supplement bottles and an empty glass next to your toothbrush.  Add taking your supplements (new, desired habit) at the same time as brushing your teeth (established habit). 

Toothbrush in bathroom

 

Celebrate Incremental Progress

Break the new habit into incremental steps and celebrate the achievement of each step. Starting a new exercise program could include these incremental steps:

 

  1. Picking the exercise program to start
  2. Pulling out (or buying) the clothing and equipment needed
  3. Blocking the time on the calendar for the exercise program
  4. Dressing in the exercise clothing
  5. Doing the exercise program the first time
  6. Doing the exercise program the next day
  7. Doing the exercise program for a week
  8. Doing the exercise program for a month
  9. Returning to the exercise program after being sick
Lacing shoes

Eliminate Obstacles and Plan for Triggers

Set yourself up for success by eliminating obstacles and plan for triggers. An example of eliminating obstacles is to remove from your house any foods which are not on a healthy eating plan, before starting a healthy eating plan. If you know that going to a movie triggers the desire to have a big tub of popcorn, have a plan in place before you walk into the movie theater (maybe buying a small bag of popcorn or go to the movies after eating, when too full for popcorn).

Accountability and Tracking Progress

Having an accountability partner will increase your odds of success. Knowing that someone is supporting you along your journey can help you navigate some of the challenges inherent in adopting a new habit or eliminating a bad habit. In addition to updating your accountability partner, tracking your progress can help you acknowledge how far you have come.

 

Accountability Partner

 

Realize that any regression does not mean complete failure.  Creation of a new or recommitment to a stalled good habit can start any day. Each time a new habit is performed makes it closer to that habit becoming engrained.

 

What healthy, new habit will you start today?

 

To your health.

 

Dianne Hinton NP, PA, IFM-C

 

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Always get clarity and understanding…

Dianne has always help me understand the complicated issues of hypothyroidism, understanding the symptoms and long term effects. She has helped with my dietary needs and overall well being. Highly recommend if you are still feeling the symptoms even if your on traditional medications.

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The best part of talking with new patients…

I have worked with Dianne Hinton at Calmglow for 4 years. I receive calls from new patients every day. I think the best part of talking with new patients is that I give them the knowledge and hope in knowing that I–like all of Dianne’s staff–was her patient before her employee. I think that says a lot about Dianne as a practitioner. She is very compassionate and caring towards each individual patient.

— Cindy Toste

Diane Hinton saved my life!

After over a year of traditional doctors misdiagnosing and mistreating my illness, Diane immediately got it right. She identified the root cause of my illness, and I went from being chronically ill to healed and healthy in less than a year. Diane listens to and cares for her patients like no one I’ve ever known. I highly recommend her for diagnosing the true health issues, rather than just treating your symptoms.

— Sarah Hayes

My husband and I just love Calmglow …

Just what is Functional Medicine?  Simply put…. I call it getting to the “cause” of a health issue. Rashes, High Pressure, Arthritis, Obesity, Insomnia, and Fatigue are a few of the issues she’s helped us with.  But what I really like best is; she doesn’t say “here, take this pill” and it’ll “treat the symptoms”.  She treats the “cause” of those symptoms so they truly go away without requiring “pills”.  Our bodies are healing, and the we feel we’re the healthiest we’ve been in a long time! What we’ve discovered about the manner in which our bodies “had been” functioning previously, from the in depth tests she recommends, was pretty astounding. We’ve learned so much since starting to see her as our practitioner, I would never choose to go back to an Allopathic doctor!