Healthy Habits Do Pay Off!

We all know we should eat more vegetables and fruits and exercise regularly to be healthy. However, does that really mean we will live longer? For those who have colon cancer, the answer appears to be "yes". While this study looked at 992 stage 3 colon cancer survivors, I think it's highly likely that the rest of us would benefit from more vegetables and less time spent sitting. Of the 992 people followed for 7 years, 335 people had a recurrence of their cancer and 256 people died.

What were the healthy behaviors?

  • Eating at least 2 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Choosing whole grains instead of refined white flour and rice
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Exercising at least a half hour a day, one hour preferably
  • Drinking alcohol moderately 

Does that sound hard to do? Start slowly. Work on getting more vegetables daily. In the summer, fresh greens are readily available and taste great. Get at least 1 cup every day with a healthy fat such as a high quality olive oil. 

Cancer treatment is most likely a lot more painful and time-consuming than working on improving healthy habits. If you want help improving your health and preventing disease, find an appropriately trained practitioner in your area. This is what I do with people - help them figure out how to improve their health. It's a life-long practice.

Read more info about this study at Colon Cancer Survivors Live Longer With Healthy Habits

July Availability and Updated Info

I will have minimal availability during the month of July 2017. I will not be able to schedule new client consults during that time but will have several appointments available for people who are seeking follow up.

Please note I have changed rates and info regarding my services. Please check out the buttons on the Consultations page, "Consult Options" and "Cancer Support Consult".

If you've been meaning to schedule a follow up but haven't gotten around to it, give me a call! I'd love to see you.

If you are looking for some inspiration for summer fun, here is an article from one of my favorite magazines, Experience Life, 50 Ways to Make the Most of Summer.

Some of my favorite things about summer:

  • Growing plants and flowers
  • Lightning bugs
  • Drinking coffee on my balcony in the morning
  • Not wearing socks
  • Sun rising so early

 

Quick and Easy Stress Relief

Tired? Grumpy? Feeling strung out?

My current coloring project

My current coloring project

Need something easy to do that will take the edge off and bring you some peace and quiet? The latest mind-body practice is coloring – yes, just like your kids with their markers or crayons. Who knew that something this simple would be great for improving your energy and stress level?

When you color, or do other mind-body practices like meditating, it puts your brain into “the zone” which brings down the stress hormone cortisol. The technical term for getting into “the zone” is the relaxation response.

We can thank Herbert Benson MD for making the power of the mind a respected part of medical research and treatment. Prolonged periods of stress and elevated cortisol can lead to many health problems, not to mention making you feel grouchy and tired.

An important and often over-looked aspect of managing chronic diseases, especially chronic pain, is engaging our mind’s role in healing. Simply fostering the belief that you and your thoughts are the foundation of healing can lead to great improvements in health and well-being.

What can you do to engage the relaxation response in your daily life?

  1. Visit this page, Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response, to learn how to relax.
  2. Incorporate a daily activity such as meditation, deep breathing, coloring, yoga, or other calming practice to help manage stress and anxiety. Pick something you enjoy doing.
  3. Be patient with yourself as you develop a new habit. Give yourself at least 3 weeks to see noticeable improvements and commit to doing your chosen activity most days of the week.

Managing stress better = better cortisol regulation = many health benefits:

  • Better Sleep
  • Better blood sugar and weight management
  • Better skin
  • Better moods
  • Better blood pressure
  • Reduced pain

If you’re doing back to school shopping for your kids, pick up a box of new markers for yourself and a coloring book. Your homework is to spend 20 minutes tonight coloring. Find a free download to color here.

How to Feel Better in a Million Easy Steps! - Blog About Pelvic Pain

How to Feel Better in a Million Easy Steps! - Blog About Pelvic Pain

Sara K. Sauder’s blog about pelvic health is a great resource whether or not you have pelvic pain. If you do experience pelvic pain, you’ll be even more pleased to check out her blog. I like her posts because they are informative and her writing style is entertaining.

The other thing about this particular post that caught my attention, aside from the great, common sense advice, is that I had just started reading Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, MD. Mind-body medicine is not a new concept to me and was fortunately a big part of my medical education. However, I need to incorporate it more consciously into my personal and professional life. While I don’t think we can just wish away our problems, I do believe our thoughts are a powerful and necessary part of healing.

Shedding Light on Tablets and eReaders at Bedtime

Does the use of eReaders and other electronic devices at bedtime interfere with sleep?

How many of us use eReaders, smart-phones, or other electronic devices before bed? I am certainly guilty of using my laptop right up and into bedtime. I’ve had people ask if using eReaders are a better choice than TV or laptop screens at night. While I didn’t think so, I wanted a more solid answer. The radio program, Science Friday, did a nice piece about this topic on January 16, 2015.

How does this affect our sleep and therefore our health? Exposure to the light emitted from screens makes it take longer to fall asleep, delays or decreases the release of melatonin, and reduces the amount of the REM phase of sleep. How does that translate into real life? The main point is that you are not getting good enough sleep and this contributes to feeling tired. Just as drinking a couple of cups of coffee or caffeinated soda before bed can keep most people from falling asleep, so can looking at a glowing screen, by an hour and a half. Downstream, poor quality sleep contributes to heart disease, difficulty managing weight, increasing the risk for certain types of cancers, productivity at work and home, stress management, compromises the ability to drive safely, and ability to be a patient, pleasant person to be around.

Our culture does not value sleep, however, it is fundamental for our health and well-being. Sleep is when our body releases hormones that help us repair from the wear and tear of daily life. This is when our skin repairs itself. If you want beautiful skin, make sleep a priority. It’s far less expensive than fancy creams and has many other benefits. Our immune system works hard when we’re sleeping which is why it is an important part of fighting off germs and reducing cancer risks. I consider sleep one of three foundations, along with food and movement, of great health.

Take a listen to the 12-minute podcast. What do you find most challenging about getting a good night of rest? What have you changed in your routine so you can sleep better?

Science Friday Podcast – listen here

"Tablets and smart-phones are starting to replace books and alarm clocks on the night stand. Sleep researcher Charles Czeisler, an author of a new sleep study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes how using this technology before bedtime can shift your circadian rhythms, and gives tips for adjusting your electronic devices to improve your sleep."

A few signs your sleep routine might need a little help:

  • Need an alarm to wake every morning
  • You dread the alarm going off and hit snooze more than once
  • Need coffee or other caffeinated beverages to be a functional, friendly human being
  • Chronic dark circles under the eyes
  • Need a sleeping aide to fall asleep more than once a month
  • Frequent colds or infections
  • Difficulty managing weight
  • Frequent cravings for carbohydrates and sweets
  • Generally feeling blah or lethargic which is not due to an underlying medical condition
  • You have young children and can’t remember the last time you were able to sleep through the night – have faith that some day you will sleep again!

A few basics of sleep hygiene:

  • Lower or eliminate overhead or bright (task) lighting in the evening to send signal to your brain that its time to wind down for the night
  • Routine at bedtime, including going to bed at the same time every night
  • Wake at the same time daily
  • Realize that you can’t make up for a work week of poor sleep on the weekends, or vice versa
  • Keep the bedroom a few degrees cooler
  • No TV or other screens in the bedroom and put electronics away an hour before bed
  • Eliminate as best you can any light sources in the bedroom (alarm clocks, outside lights)
  • Develop health promoting stress management strategies
  • Avoid alcohol 3 hours before bedtime
  • Exercise regularly, ideally 150 minutes a week
  • Avoid large meals close to bedtime, a small snack with protein before bed can help regulate blood sugar though (a few nuts, slice of turkey, Greek yogurt, etc.)
  • Make the easiest changes first and work up to the most challenging ones

Yes, it can be difficult to overhaul your evening routine and break life long habits. If you want better energy, better health, glowing skin, and hopefully a longer life, work on getting a better night of rest. I know you can do it!

Sincerely,

Dr. Thiel

Honey and coffee for your cough? Sweet medicine!

A natural cough remedy you can make at home

Coffee with raw honey

Coffee with raw honey

We are quickly descending into the season of runny noses and coughs that can drag on and on. Last night, I started to feel the dreaded tickle in my throat and had been sneezing throughout the day. At first I thought it was allergies (my office needs a good dusting), but the tickle told me otherwise. I started taking a mushroom extract and had a big bowl of miso with purple cabbage and shiitakes for dinner. I also went to bed with my warming socks, my favorite nature cures remedy for colds and headaches. When I have a mild cold, the above usually takes care of my symptoms, typically in a day or two I’m fine.

What can you do to soothe a cough that won’t go away? If you don’t want to take an over the counter syrup and cough drops just aren’t cutting it, honey and coffee can provide relief. Not too long ago, a study compared an oral steroid to honey and coffee and a control group (they didn’t get either treatment) for people who had a cough that lasted at least 3 weeks after their cold. Those who received the coffee and honey combo did just as well as those who received the steroid. If you’d like to read the study, here is the link.

Want to make the natural elixir for yourself?
Here’s the recipe from a review of the article in the Natural Medicine Journal:

  • 500 g honey (about 1 lb)
  • 70 g of instant coffee (about 2.5 oz dry weight or 13 T or 6.5 oz liquid measure)
  • Mix the honey and coffee and add 1 T of it to 1 cup of warm water and drink it 3 times a day, about every 8 hours.

Want more natural remedies for cold season? Let me know what your favorite home remedies are for feeling better.

Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any individual and does not take the place of seeking medical care from a licensed medical provider.