Trace Minerals: Tiny Powerhouses

From the hair on your head to the bones that support you and the blood that runs through you, your body relies on minerals for optimal health and functioning. Minerals are broken into two categories:  macrominerals and trace minerals. Since the body cannot make minerals, we must get them from food or water.

What are trace minerals?

Many foods and vitamin formulas contain the major macrominerals, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. The challenge is trace minerals, such as selenium, copper, manganese and molybdenum. There are over seventy known trace minerals, many of which scientists continue to study to understand the critical role they play in human health. These are not commonly added to vitamin-mineral formulas.

Why are food sources are no longer enough?

There was a time when non-processed foods, like dark leafy greens (and others), provided all the minerals we need. But today, that’s not the case. According to The US Department of Agriculture and other researchers our food remains relatively stable in terms of vitamins but deficient in minerals, particularly trace minerals, which we need for optimal health.
Symptoms of mineral deficiencies are varied and can surface at any time.

Trace mineral deficiency symptoms can include:

  • GI issues: constipation, bloating, diarrhea, poor digestion
  • Poor immune function
  • Impaired cognitive function: memory, learning, brain fog
  • Muscle issues: pain, spasms, cramping, weakness, restless leg syndrome
  • Heart issues
  • Generalized pain, weakness or fatigue
  • Developmental delays or behavioral issues

 So, how do we address this dilemma?

Eat healthy, non-processed foods, especially dark leafy greens, vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes and lean proteins. Supplement with a good quality multiple vitamin and mineral formula (macrominerals) and use a separate trace mineral formula. Trace minerals are acquired from the mineral rich waters found in certain oceans and seas around the globe such as the Great Salt Lake and the Australian Ocean. They can also be plant-derived. These can be taken as a capsule, liquid, powder and even added to your water. We can easily test your mineral levels should we suspect a deficiency or imbalance. Ask me about the best product and dose for your optimal health.

Fear, Vulnerability & Courage

Today, I had the privilege of teaching my son the meaning of courage.  While watching “Toy Story”, his new favorite movie, “Mama, what’s courage?”  My eyes lit up when he asked me the question.  Finally!  The chance to connect with my baby boy in the way I know best: speaking and translating emotions.  I told him that courage is a moment during which we feel scared, but we choose to act despite the presence of fear.  We feel fear but we are able to overcome it and to engage in life fully.

This conversation inspired me to write about some of my own experiences of fear and how to let the emotion guide us to courage.

1. Notice it’s happening

The first step in shifting a fearful reaction to a response of courage is to recognize, cognitively, the experience of fear.  It’s amazing how easy it is to be so caught up in the experience that all objectivity is lost, which leads to reacting without ever knowing what was happening.  Learning how to become aware of and label an emotional experience as it is occurring is the first step in behavior modification.  Becoming aware of an experience starts by observing and objectively describing the facts as they are happening.

2.  Feel it in your body

The next step is the most courageous of the three – allowing oneself to be vulnerable by FEELING something scary.  In order to prevent automatically shifting into a protective, warrior mode, it is necessary to fully experience the physical sensations arising in the body.  Although it can take time, learning how to sit with and *FEEL* emotions moving through the body is a critical skill.  This step is arguably the most important for decreasing emotional reactivity while at the same time increasing emotional confidence and competence.

3a.  Transform through vulnerability – Decoding the emotion

Once the peak of the emotion wave has passed, usually no more than 90 seconds, it is possible to shift from sitting with the physical sensations of fear to considering what the emotion might be attempting to communicate.  One of the most influential analogies I’ve read regarding the information that emotions carry is in the book, “Radical Acceptance”, by Dr. Tara Brach.  Dr. Brach describes the experience of inviting Mara, a mythical demon, to tea.  This is exactly what this third step is all about.  After sitting with the fear, the vulnerability has become far less uncomfortable and tolerating the emotional discomfort in order to understand its purpose feels much more manageable.  Rather than reacting, we now have a choice: we can avoid helplessness, dependence, or even paralysis and consider what it might be like to “interview” the fear.  By understanding the message fear brings, we can determine the appropriate course of action.

3b.  It’s an alarm not a command

An amazing mentor of mine once used the analogy of anxiety and fear being like waking to a dog barking in the middle of the night at a random sound.  Fear and its physical manifestation–anxiety–are an alarm, just like a dog.  We express gratitude for its vigilance and communication and then we investigate for ourselves with this new awareness.  We look for clues that the dog may be giving us (direction she is looking, intensity of alarm, etc) and then we gather additional environmental data to make a decision regarding what action to take, if any.

The ultimate message is that we have a choice!  Although it can take time to learn how to interpret the purpose behind fear, practicing the steps above allows the pieces to align easier and easier.  Fear and courage are inextricably linked.  They are the yin to the others yang.  Recognizing that fear cannot exist without courage, and vice versa, is an incredibly empowering awareness.  Allowing yourself to experience and sit with your fear allows your body calling forth your best, your most courageous self.

Innovative Living: A Mindful Design

Living a creative life goes much deeper than expressing ourselves through art, music and dance–it is designing our lives, our work and ourselves in a way that brings us peace and a profound sense of joy. [Read more…]

10 Sugar Detox Tips

poison sugar cube
1.
Sleep

Getting the optimal amount of sleep for your body helps to manage blood sugar and energy levels.  When energy levels dip, sugar cravings skyrocket.

2. Drink water

Stay hydrated to make sure you’re feeling hunger and NOT thirst.  These physical sensations are very similar and are often confused for one another.

3. Be prepared

Having the right foods on hand and prepared can mean the difference between feeling confident and completely overwhelmed and emotionally vulnerable to giving into cravings.

4. Enlist a friend

Experiencing this challenge with the support of a co-worker, friend or family member can make all the difference and set you up for success.

5. Learn to enjoy herbal tea

You can drink an unlimited amount of herbal tea (without caffeine).  Finding a favorite, luxurious tea can help to fulfill cravings.   Some teas are naturally sweet and quite yummy!

6. Protein

Always reach for the protein first, then fat, then veggies. That’s how you build a plate whether it’s a meal or a snack.

7. Prep Snacks

When splitting up prepared meals, set aside a small quantity in a container for a snack.  When snacks are mini meals they are often more filling than single food group items (only nuts, or only fruit).

8. Go for a walk

Distracting with physical activity can help to curve cravings and re-focus your attention on your goals.

9. Reduce caffeine

Caffeine puts a lot of pressure on the adrenal glands which also strongly influence sugar cravings.  If you’re struggling to stay track, focus on reducing your caffeine intake especially over the first week.  Over time, you will notice an increase in energy, decreased need for caffeine and ultimately better functioning adrenal glands and therefore a decreased need for sugar derived energy surges.

10. Breathe, meditate or just relax!

Stressing about anything, especially a healthy lifestyle shift such as this detox will only make you crave more sugar!  Stress depletes the adrenal gland (see above’s explanation of #9).  Do your best to stick to your original goals, if it’s just not effective revisit your intention and shift it slightly to better represent your needs and set you up to succeed.

Decongesting Warming Socks

warm socks

Warming socks are a form of hydrotherapy that is used as an alternative to drugs in managing symptoms associated with upper respiratory conditions including congested sinuses, headaches, migraines, sinus infections and sore throats.  They are also beneficial for any chronic, painful inflammatory condition, especially of the feet.

This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat.  It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment.   It is a simple technique that helps to stimulate the immune system to prevent and fight off infection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 pair white cotton socks

1 pair thick wool socks

Towel

Warm bath or warm foot bath

Here’s how to do it:

1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure

to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.

2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as

effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Warming can

be accomplished by soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or

taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes.

3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.

4. Place cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed.

Avoid getting chilled.

5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry

in the morning.

Warming socks are effective for people of any age from children to the elderly.  This protocol works best when repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed by your physician.

Delicious Dairy and Gluten Free “Mac & Cheese” Recipe

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Vitamin C and Nutrient IV

Nutrient IVs are loaded with vitamins, minerals and potent anti-oxidants that help to boost your energy, immune system and general well being.

Nutrient IVs, also known as modified Myers’ cocktails, consist of high dose vitamin C, Calcium, B5, B6, B12, B Complex, Folic Acid, Selenium, Magnesium, Zinc, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals.  Nutrient IVs can also contain a combination of amino acids, homeopathics and powerful anti-oxidants, if appropriate for your symptom picture.  The combination of nutrients depends on your physiology and how it relates to your specific health goals.

[Read more…]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Things you look at change

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, also known as CBT, is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapeutic treatments.  The underlying concept behind CBT is that our thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in our behavior. For example, a person who spends a lot of time thinking about airplane accidents, may find themselves avoiding air travel. The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach you that while you cannot control every aspect of the world around you, you can take control of how you interpret and deal with things in your environment.

CBT has been proven to be especially beneficial in the treatment of anxiety/phobias, depression and other mood imbalances.

CBT can help free you from the shackles that keep you tied to your fears and self doubt.  Create the life you’ve always wanted to live – begin by transforming the way you choose to see the world.

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate CBT into your healing journey, contact Pura Vida Natural Medicine and schedule an appointment with Dr. Lamb.

 

Healthy Gut, Happy You!

GI Love imageThe foundation of good health starts with a healthy, happy digestive system. The gut is where many of the most important processes happen in the body such as eliminating toxins, absorbing [Read more…]

Hug Therapy

Puppy HugHugging a loved one has tremendous health benefits, such as reducing stress chemicals, raising a female’s oxytocin levels, and lowering blood pressure and heart rate.  In fact, the American Psychosomatic Society recommends a 10 minute hug or hand-holding between romantic partners because of its positive effects on stress.  If done in the morning before work, the results can last [Read more…]