Monday, February 28, 2011

Being healthy is a revolutionary act!
I am disgusted by the dietary mis-information in our society and feel it is negatively impacting our kids. I believe the public's confusion is because they are not aware that there are two main camps in the diet industry, both trying to influence government policy. There are the American Dietetic Association who have the calorie in-calorie out, check and balance ideology, along with the low fat, low calorie approach to diet they espouse. On the other hand are the low carb diets of various types; high protien, high fat, high protein-high fat, adequate protein-low glycemic, etc.... After extensive reading for my own edification and to care for my children, I am fully on the side of the low carb diet and low carb lifestyle! The low fat, low calorie craze is clearly not working with more than 60% of our population overweight and obese, but more importantly, it leaves too much room for confusion about what is healthy. The labels of many incredibly unhealthy foods are massaged into being full of low-fat, whole grain goodness. In reality, kids and adults should have 15-20gr of protein with every meal, fill half their plates with vegetables, include no more than 1o0 -120 gr of carbohydrates per day (no more than 40 gr per meal, preferably from fruit, high fiber, and whole grain sources), and don't worry about fat, except trans-fat. If this diet is combined with moderate exercise 3-4 times per week it is a recipe for a healthy life. And from now on, when McDonalds is trying to sell you on an All Fruit Smoothie with 75gr of carbs, choose the Ice Cream cone instead. It has one third the sugar, more protein, and at least they know they are getting a treat. By the way, those carbs are most of what kids would need in an entire day. This is not about kids getting fat, it much more serious. Due to obesity, our children are the first generation that may not live as long as their parents. I hope this has piqued your curiosity enough to do a little more reading.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Three causes of your neck and back pain and how to prevent them.

Increased curve in the upper back: This position can cause everything from neck pain and headaches to upper back pain, lower back pain, decreased respiratory capacity (you like to breathe, right?), and shoulder, arm, and wrist problems. Overall, individuals with this posture suffer from lowered energy or fatigue. This posture is absolutely preventable or correctable in most people. You can start by avoiding slouching; your ear should always be aligned over your shoulder and your shoulder over your hip. Then you can move into stretching the upper back frequently; including lying backward on an exercise ball, stretching your chest by holding onto a door frame and letting your body pass through, and working your core to keep better alignment. Avoid or look for alternative positions in activities involving significant amounts of flexion. Maybe you could read a book or work your laptop lying on your stomach. Perhaps position your car seat so that your head is in constant contact with the head rest. These small changes can have big benefits over your lifetime.

2) Translation to the side: This position results in the normal center of gravity shifting over to one side. Often it is accompanied by sharp pain right above the hip on the side you shift toward, and you may also experience tightness and muscle spasms on the side you are shifted away from, as those muscles go into overdrive trying to pull you back to center. The long term consequences include increased weight-bearing and wear down through the hip and knee on one side, reduced capacity for rotation, and decreasing balance. Though this position may be due to auto accidents or injuries, long term one-sided sports conditioning, asymmetrical work duties such as working at a grocery store and always shifting over to grab items, or even receptionists who hold the phone to one ear can create these abnormal chronic postures. You will need professional help to correct this but can attempt to mitigate the damages by paying careful attention to your form when working out, working, and doing one-sided activities like shoveling or raking. When possible, always attempt to work both sides of your body equally.

3) Anterior head carriage: Just as holding a bowling ball close to your chest is much easier than holding it away from your body, your muscles struggle to hold your head upright when it juts forward. This position fatigues your muscles, causes headaches, and limits your ability to breathe deeply. Avoid this condition by keeping your ears over your shoulders. Common contributors include; sleeping with too many pillows, poor computer work position, and slumping during your commute.