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The Easiest Way to Get Pregnant!

If you have been struggling to get pregnant, it's no secret that diet plays an important role in your journey to fertility. Women are often placed on super-strict diets that require the complete elimination of their favorite foods. While a nutritious diet is important, drastic changes can be stressful and overwhelming.

And if the doctor doesn't bother to take your constitution into account, the results can be disastrous.  

Since I am all about making things easy, I want to share the simplest way to get pregnant...

Can you guess?

Eat one egg every day.

That's it. Fertility diets can really be that simple.

In my practice, I come across a lot of women who mention that they want to have a baby. So without me giving them a complete fertility treatment, I share that the easiest way to increase their fertility is to add an egg to their diet.  

And 80% of the time, it works!

Now if you are among the other 20%, please don't stress! There is nothing wrong with you, but you just may need some extra help.  

To find out a little more about easy tips for fertility, please feel free to join our Hope & Healing Fertility Facebook group! If you'd like some more personal attention about your fertility struggles, I would encourage you to shoot me an email!

How do Balanced Chakras Increase Fertility?

You are probably aware that you need to be healthy physically in order to conceive a healthy baby.   Mothers-to-be are often placed on strict diets that will not only nourish their babies, but will also nourish their bodies to support a developing baby.

But did you know that there is an energetic principle to fertility?

No... Not just in having energy to do the "baby dance," or in a New Age "woo woo" way.    

Good energy/Qi/Prana is important for very practical reasons. Your chakras, for example, are directly related to your endocrine system, which produces and regulates hormones. And if you've been struggling with infertility, you know the importance of balanced hormones.  

If you aren't familiar with your chakras, they act as energy vortexes that help to facilitate the circulation of Qi, or vital energy, through your body You have seven major chakras, and they are each associated with their own function, element, endocrine gland, and color.

Fun, huh?'

So let's start at the "Root..."

Root Chakra

With your Root Chakra, Muladara! This grounding energy center is associated with the Earth element and the color red.  It is located at the base of the spine, in the perineum - the thin membrane that separates your vagina from your anus. You can become aware of your perineum when you perform"Kegal" exercises.

Your Root Chakra is associated with safety, security, and having a strong sense of belonging. It is linked to your adrenal glands and when imbalanced, fear, neediness, and self-destructive behaviors, such as addictions are the result. I don't think I need to say how problematic addictions can be for a developing baby... But I will say that it is important that your foundation is strong, so your baby can be supported.  

Sacral Chakra

The Sacral Chakra, Svadhisthana, is associated with the water element and the color orange and located in your uterine area, right below the navel. In TCM, this area is known as the "Dan Tien, a major focus point for Qi Gong and Tai Chi practice. This is is the place where your baby will grow!

Svadhisthana is responsible for your reproductive organs: your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. While it is true that your Sacral Chakra is associated with sensuality and sexuality, it is also connected to creativity and manifestation. Any imbalances will appear as guilt, poor self-esteem, insecurity, and lack of emotion.

Solar Plexus Chakra

The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, is associated with fire, is yellow in color, and is located in from your solar plexus to your naval. It is the center of your personal power, your will, confidence, judgments, and discipline. Manipura is the seat of your ego, and how you perceive yourself in the world.

May I ask a personal question... Why do you want a baby?

While I am certain that your reasons are heart-felt and genuine, some women may find that they experience problems because they have placed so much of their identity in having children. Let go of your personal image and you may find it easier to conceive. By releasing your ego, you also release your anxiety and can begin to enjoy your journey to creating a happy, healthy baby.

Your Solar Plexus Chakra is connected your digestive and metabolic systems, specifically, the pancreas.   Your pancreas controls your blood sugar and plays an important role in managing conditions such as PCOS, and preventing gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

Heart Chakra

The Heart Chakra, Anahata, is extremely important on your journey to a family. This chakra holds your peace, love, and joy, not just for yourself, but for your partner and your baby! Anahata is usually green in color, although may be pink in some cases. It is located in the center of your chest, and is charge of your thymus gland, which is important in the regulation of the immune system. Anahata also controls your heart, lungs, and your upper burner in TCM.

This chakra serves as a connection between your upper and lower chakras. As it provides a transition of Qi between your Earthly body and you aspirations, spirituality, or Higher Self, but acts as a center for love to radiate.   When there is an imbalance in your Heart Chakra, you may experience defensiveness, jealousy, and unforgiveness. Or you may be a desperate people-pleaser and focus all of your energy on getting people to accept you. When Anahata in harmony, your baby will grow and develop with all of the love, peace, and joy you could imagine.

Throat Chakra

Your Throat Chakra, Vishuddha, allows for the purification and passage of energy between your head and your body. This gland is associated with the thyroid. If you thyroid is underactive or overactive, this can cause problems with conception. The main function of this sky-blue chakra is authentic expression and communication. Speaking your truth and setting boundaries are essential for a strong Vishuddha.  

Consider this...

On your fertility journey, there is a chance that you may encounter a couple of naysayers and people who "mean well" but are overly critical and putting their noses where they don't belong. If you decide to get acupuncture for fertility, they will tell you to get IVF. If you choose IVF, they will tell you to get acupuncture. And that is only before you are pregnant!  

And while this is a bit funny, if you are not able to set boundaries and enforce them, then you will allow these people and circumstances to get in the way of the happiness of your family. You matter. You deserve to be heard.   You don't need to be mean, but tell them to buzz off... Nicely.  

Third-Eye Chakra

The Third-Eye Chakra, Ajna, is located between your eyebrows. Though its color is usually indigo, it can sometimes appear as purple.   Ajna is responsible for imagination, visualization, intuition, and critical thinking. It is associated with the pituitary gland, the master gland that controls your entire endocrine system.  

Imbalances may manifest as living in a fantasy land, overindulging in psychic delusions, or on the opposite end, lack of clarity and completely rejecting anything spiritual.

This chakra will be important on your fertility journey because it will allow you to visualize your goals and help you to connect to your own wisdom and trust yourself. 

Crown Chakra

Your Crown Chakra, Sahasrara, is located at the top of your head. It's color is purple, although in cases of extreme connection to your creator, may manifest as white or even gold. The function of your Crown Chakra provides you with a higher state of consciousness and connects you to God, the Divine, your Creator.   You don't have to be religious to experience this connection... All you have to do is ask for it.

Sahasrara controls your pineal gland. This tiny gland produces melatonin and seratonin, both hormones that are responsible for your body's inner rhythm. Unfortunately, the pineal gland has a tendency to calcify as we age. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that good melatonin can be a little bit pricey?

Imbalances in your Crown Chakra may manifest as close-mindedness, cynicism and derision to spirituality; or conversely, extreme disconnection with your body and obsession with spirituality.

So why is Sahasrara so important on your journey to fertility? This journey will be filled with challenges and trials. And even after you have your baby, parenting can be intense. Having a connection with something greater than yourself will give you the strength to carry on when times get tough. And this connection will help you to see the bigger picture.

If you would like to learn a little more about fertility, or how a balanced chakra/endocrine system can help you on your journey, please feel free to shoot me an email or join our Facebook group, Hope & Healing Fertility!

Healthy Foods for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

How Diet Impacts Fibromyalgia Syndrome

If you suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome, you most likely experience extreme fatigue and digestive problems in addition to pain. While it is important to have a diet that fights inflammation, it is also important to eat foods will not exacerbate your digestion and make you feel worse. If your digestion is problematic, it is more difficult for you to adequately absorb nutrients from food.

An optimal diet plan for someone with fibromyalgia syndrome is based on whole foods and is high in consumption of fruits and vegetables. Though you don’t have to be a vegetarian, it is beneficial to include a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

But that’s not saying anything new.

When it comes to an anti-inflammatory diet, there are many different opinions on what works. Many thrive on 100% raw vegan diet and others feel that they need to consume meat in order to be healthy. Depending on you and your personal beliefs, a sensible middle ground can almost always be reached.

However, there are certain foods that help fight pain.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These polyunsaturated fatty acids must be consumed in foods because they are not made by our bodies. Omega-3’s are important for a healthy circulation, nerve conduction, and are beneficial to the integrity of cell membranes. Not only do omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation, they also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They are found in foods such as fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and dark green, leafy vegetables.

Proteins

Proteins are essential for the building and repair of tissues in the body and are easy to obtain in the diet. Proteins are found in meats, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, whole grains, and vegetables. Fish is a great source for protein because unlike red meat, it does not create as much inflammation. However, game meats such as venison and bison don’t seem to cause as many problems as beef. Consume in moderation and see how you feel.

Can you get enough protein from vegetables? Yep! Don’t go by me… Go by the American Dietetic Association (1) and the American Heart Association (2). And for those with sensitivities to soy, protein can be found in other plant-based sources such as beans and legumes. Lentils, peas, chick peas, black beans, and kidney beans all have high amounts of protein. Adzuki beans are not only high in protein, but are particularly beneficial for inflammation. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, contain a high amount of protein as well as other nutrients that fight inflammation. Watch the salt in some of these products.

Whole Grains

Though certain grains may cause problems in people with sensitivities, consuming whole grains provides many important B vitamins and beneficial nutrients. Oats, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and barely provide energy and help to neutralize inflammation. 

Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables contain necessary vitamins and minerals that our bodies require to function. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K help to fight pain. Vitamins B and C both work to stimulate neurotransmitters which help to regulate the body, making it stronger and more resilient. Important minerals that can relieve inflammation are zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Some vegetables that may benefit those with fibromyalgia include kale, mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, spinach, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels’s sprouts, and cabbage contain nutrients that can keep our bodies healthy.

Certain fruits are powerful for pain relief. Dried fruits can actually increase inflammation at times, but this may have more to do with them containing sugars or other preservatives. Fresh fruit is best, but frozen can work just as well. Juices are okay… But they are often highly processed and lack fiber. Check to see that they are from 100% juice. Fruits that will benefit pain include papayas, pineapples, cherries, apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons and limes, and avocados.

                                                  Nightshades and Pain                                                  

Though vegetables in the nightshade category contain many nutrients that help to relieve pain and inflammation, some may find that these foods may exacerbate certain symptoms. If you find yourself experiencing pain and discomfort when eating foods such as tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, and white potatoes, you may be sensitive to a chemical called alkaloids which exist in nightshades. For people with sensitivities to alkaloids, they can contribute to inflammation in joints and interfere with nerve function and digestion.

To help manage your symptoms, it may be beneficial to either reduce them or eliminate them completely from your diet. If these foods don’t bother you, by all means, eat up!

Foods for Good Digestion

Ensuring proper digestion is critical in managing fibromyalgia syndrome. Heartburn and acid reflux not only cause pain and discomfort, but they can also erode the esophagus and digestive tract. Irritable bowel syndrome, often experienced by people with fibromyalgia, wreaks havoc on the body with its alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Constipation prevents proper elimination and can cause a buildup of waste, feelings of sluggishness, and fluid retention. Diarrhea can dehydrate the body, adversely affecting the balance of electrolytes.

It can be challenging to find foods that react well with your constitution because each person is affected differently. Some of the foods listed above, while wonderful for fighting inflammation can seriously aggravate digestion. Fruits and vegetables are great. However, some cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli can create gas and bloating.

A great way to enjoy vegetables and reap the maximum benefits and reduce digestive discomfort is to steam them slightly. It breaks them down so your body can better absorb them. True… some of the nutrients will be destroyed, but your body will be better able to absorb the foods that it consumes.

There are certain foods which are a little "safer" for most people, such as oatmeal - not the pre-packaged instant type. Healthy oatmeal may require a little more time and effort to prepare, but the health benefits are worth it. Oats have a lower glycemic index and act as a good overall tonifier. Water with lemon is usually pretty mild, though drinking water at room temperature is better if you have a delicate digestive system.

Consume with Caution

There are certain foods in every diet which should be reduced or eliminated entirely. With fibromyalgia syndrome, the negative effects of these foods can be experienced with greater intensity. Though these foods may not need to be removed completely, there are certain foods you may want to limit. Alcohol, caffeine, red meats, dairy, and pre-packaged foods are inflammatory. White flour and white sugar may also create excess inflammation. Sugar-substitutes, such as aspartame and saccharin can be more harmful to our bodies than regular sugar.

Fried and greasy foods are known to make you sick, but the over-use of "healthy" oils can also contribute to pain and inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil and flax seed oil are usually beneficial, but should be consumed in moderation and not be exposed to high temperatures.

So what works for you?

Its trial and error when finding a diet that works for you. If you find a health care provider who can work with you, please take advantage. There is no "one-size fits all." But look out for practitioners who are striving to make a profit or are pushing extreme diet plans. Also be careful of practitioners who will not work with your dietary beliefs. Look for plans that are sensible and well-rounded.

Understanding how foods affect our bodies is important for everyone. By paying attention to how our bodies react to different foods, we can become empowered in taking control of our health and wellness.

If you found this information helpful, please share! If you would like to learn more about how I could help you, please shoot me a message or call at 412-860-0246!

References

"Vegetarian Diets." American Heart Association., 28 11 2011. 16 Mar 2012.http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Vegetarian-Diets_UCM_306032_Article.jsp.

"Vegetarian diets." Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 109. (2009): 1266-1282. 

Five Healthy Ways to Boost Your Qi!

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

Sometimes you are just feeling "blah." You feel completely off and can't seem to get your energy up. You are so overwhelmed with exhaustion that you feel it in your bones. Your digestion is sluggish and you may be experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or symptoms of IBS. Worse yest, you are always getting sick!

What's going on?

Most likely you are experiencing a common condition in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) referred to as Qi deficiency. The good news is that there are many ways to boost your Qi naturally so you can feel like you again!

But what is Qi and how does it keeping you healthy?

Qi, more commonly known as Chi, is the fundamental energy that sustains life and makes things work. According to TCM principals, Qi is the substance responsible for keeping us alive and making our bodies move. It powers respiration, digestion, circulation, and elimination.

When Qi is imbalanced or depleted in our bodies, we get sick. If we are injured, Qi (and Blood) stagnates or "gets stuck." If the injury is sustained for too long, then the Qi (and Blood) becomes deficient.

Qi circulates throughout our bodies in channels known as Meridians. We cannot see this system, but research is being done and it's visibility is being shown in Quantum Physics. Some scientists have identified it as the Primavascular System.

So now that you have a little bit more of an understanding of what Qi is and what is is responsible for in your body, let's talk about five ways you can boost your Qi so you can stay healthy and live a healthy life!

  1. Eat a Healthy Diet                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This doesn't mean to go on a diet, rather commit to eating sensible and well-balanced meals that give your body energy.    And a healthy diet for one person may not be the same for another.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   However, there are a few basic rules to eating well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     First, stop eating crap! All the cookies, crackers, and chips contain chemicals that clog your arteries, make you gain weight, and suck your energy because your body has to work extra hard to digest. This doesn't mean that you can't treat yourself, but when these "treats" happen once a week or even once a day, this can be a problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Another basic tenet is to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables. Two of the healthiest diets, Paleo and Raw Vegan, have one thing in common, they are both high in fresh fruits and vegetables.   Fresh fruits and vegetables will give you most of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, plus a good dose of fiber to keep you regular with good digestion!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Chew your food! There is a saying that the "stomach has no teeth."   In our society, it is considered "hip" to be "on-the-go" or "too busy" for meals. That attitude comes with consequences. If you don't take time to chew and savor your food, you don't digest as well. This means that in addition to not absorbing your nutrients, you will also be more likely to experience gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.                                                                                                                                              
  2. Move!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I I know that this may seem counter-intuitive, but if you don't take time to exercise, your energy will continue to decline in a rapid spiral. And this doesn't mean that you have to go all out at the gym. Try walking 30 minutes after meals. Maybe something gentle such as Yoga or Tai Chi?   If all you can do is some light stretching, please do it. You won't get better if your body continues to stagnate. If you have a pre-exisitng condition, by all means, consult a trusted health care provider.                                                                                                                                                             
  3. Practice Qigong/Tai Chi                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Qigong and Tai Chi are internal martial arts that cultivate Qi, and develop strength and stamina. So if you were a sickly kid or have lived a life that was hard on your body and spirit, practicing Tai Chi and Qigong are absolute necessities. To learn a little more about them, click here                                                                                                                                                                      
  4. Acupuncture                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         And I'm not just saying this because I'm an acupuncturist. Acupuncture can stimulate points on your body that will help to increase your energy and get you out of pain. Many times acupuncturists will offer adjunctive therapies such as moxibusion, cupping, therapeutic massage/Tui Na, or dietary counseling. Many often prescribe herbs. If you are afraid of needles, acupressure can be almost as useful. Many massage therapists and chiropractors will often integrate acupressure into their treatments for maximum relief.            
  5. Turn Off and Tune In                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           By this point, you have most likely heard about how cell phones give you cancer, how microwaves poison your food, and you will need glasses if you sit too close to the television. So I'm not going to lecture about that.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 But with all the craziness out there, the constant stimulation of our cell phones, iPADS, computers, and television can make it very difficult to tune into yourself.   And because it's hip to be "on-the-go," the pressure to conform can be overwhelming. Seriously, how many of your Facebook friends are really going to grab a coffee with you? Granted, some may live across the globe, but for the most part, no. The constant bombardment of the simulated reality of your "friends" and "followers" can leave you feeling disconnected and ungrounded. And when that happens, your energy can easily become drained.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 And the constant electromagnetic radiation and heat can be damaging to your eyes... Okay, I lectured after all.

These are just a few of the ways you can boost your Qi. If you would like to learn a little more, send me a message and we'll talk!

If you feel this was helpful, please share or send me a message!

Top 5 Safe Supplements to Fight the Flu

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

I get it. When you have the flu, you don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone coming into the office. You feel crappy and want to rest – which you should! But other than acetaminophen or ibuprofen, there really aren’t any over-the-counter medications that can help to relieve your symptoms. And because the flu is a virus, you really shouldn't be taking antibiotics. Fortunately, there are basic supplements available that can help to boost your immune system and get you back on your feet.

1. Mushrooms

As a food, mushrooms are a wonderful source of B vitamins, trace minerals, protein, and fiber.  They are a great source of beta-glucans, which are miraculous polysaccharides that keep your immune system strong.   While they are a tasty addition to soups and stews, taking a combination of them in a supplement is a powerful when to fight the flu .Popular types of mushrooms that are in supplements include: reishi, shiitake, cordyceps, maitake, oyster, cremini, and lion’s mane mushrooms.  

Reishi mushrooms are a powerful way to fight chronic disease. Their anti-inflammatory properties help to not only fight the flu, but can benefit people suffering from asthma, bronchitis, cancer, heart disease, cholesterol, hormone imbalances, adrenal fatigue, and mood disorders.  

Shiitake mushrooms are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.  They protect your DNA from oxidative damage and are beneficial for not just the flu, but many other conditions, which are anti-inflammatory.  Shiitake mushrooms provide energy and can help you to balance blood sugar.  They contain all of the essential amino acids, linoleic acid, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese.

Cordyceps mushrooms increase stamina and endurance and are used in anti-aging nutrition, because they help the body produce ATP.  ATP is essential for helping our mitochondria function at optimal levels.

Maitake mushrooms are not only key components in fighting the flu, but can also help to reduce the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. 

Oyster mushrooms help to reduce muscle aches and joint pain. They are a great source of iron, and help to prevent anemia.

Cremini, or white button, mushrooms contain linolenic acid, and minerals such as copper, potassium, protein, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). 

Lion’s Mane mushrooms stimulate the immune system, along with promoting the growth and function of nerve cells. This mushroom is also good for joint inflammation (arthritis), and gastrointestinal problems.

2. Vitamin C

This one is pretty obvious, but it's a "tried and true" remedy and deserves to be one of the top five.  The trick is in getting the right vitamin C.  First, be careful with chewable tablets, because they often contain sweeteners such as sugar or worse (i.e. fructose, dextrose, sucralose, and other horrible concoctions).  Secondly, the type of vitamin C that you take is important.  The Linus Pauling Institute will beg to differ, but I personally advise my patients to take approximately 1,000 mg of Ester C with bioflavonoids.  Not that ascorbic acid is bad for you, but Ester C is natural and the bioflavonoids help your body to absorb it, and it’s also a little easier on your stomach.   However, you can take more, but once you start to get loose stools or diarrhea, you should back off on the dosage.

3. Oregano Oil

The extract of the oregano herb is commonly used to treat all respiratory problems in addition to the flu, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, pneumonia, and bronchitis.  The active oils in oregano, thymol and carvacrol, have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Oregano oil is also great for digestion, as it calms nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  It also stimulates sweating, a natural detox mechanism that can help to reduce a fever. 

4. Vitamin D3

Taking vitamin D3 is especially important in the winter or in climates with very little sun. Vitamin D3 is a steroid which naturally balances the hormones in your body, while stimulating your immune system.  Unless you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, take the D3 as opposed to D2.  Your body will better absorb this natural form and you decrease your risk of toxicity.  A safe dosage is 2000 IUs, but I take 5000 every day – some people take more.  Vitamin D reduces the level of cytokines, inflammatory proteins, while increasing the amount of antimicrobial proteins that destroy viruses. Taking vitamin D3 may help to prevent the flu from developing into full-blown pneumonia.

5. B Complex

Taking a B complex everyday will not only help fight the flu, but it will increase energy, nerve conduction, and circulation.  There are eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12), and I recommend that patients take them all together in a complex form, unless otherwise indicated by blood work.  This prevents you from developing an imbalance in your system.  Vitamin B5, especially helps to support the adrenal glands, thereby providing you with the ability to fight off infection and make a full recovery.  Also, it is a good idea to take methylated B vitamins, as they are better absorbed in the body.

These supplements are usually safe to take and in most circumstances, do not interfere with medication. However, if you are taking certain medications, it would be a good idea to talk with a trusted health care provider before adding any to your diet.

If you have any questions, please call or shoot me an email and I will be happy to talk with you!

Fight the Flu!!!

Flu season has arrived a little early this year. It seems like everywhere you go, someone is coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose. You hope its just allergies, but then you start to hear about people being sick to their stomach!

Then one morning, you wake up coughing and sneezing. Your muscles ache and your head is spinning. Your stomach lurches and you know...

You have the flu.

So what do you do?

Don't spread it to others!

If you are sick, please call off work. You need to rest and it's no good to be getting your coworkers since. Besides, how good of a job can you really do when you have to keep putting your head down?

Wash your hands. Please! We are not children and it is just plain disgusting when people do not wash their hands. Hands should be washed after using the bathroom, before meals, and really any other time they need to be cleaned. It’s not a bad idea to wash your hands after entering your house because you were probably handling car keys, money, gas pumps… Many objects carry germs.

For those who do not know how to perform this procedure, work up a good lather with soap and sing “Happy Birthday” two times. Alcohol can also be used for disinfection.

Cover your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze. Kids in preschool are taught to cough into their elbows. If you do cough into your hands, please wash them.

Try not to touch your mouth or eyes if you are at risk of coming into contact with the flu.

Eat a nutritious diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Basic nutrition can help to prevent and treat the flu. Eating a wholesome diet provides your body with the nourishment it requires to fight the flu and enhance recovery.

Hydration is essential. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your electrolytes balanced and help flush the virus from your body. To give your body an extra cleanse, try adding some fresh-squeezed lemon.

Food may have to be consumed to tolerance, but it is important to keep up your strength. Broth is a gentle and effective food that helps your body receive essential nutrients. Try to add some vegetables, beans, or chicken if tolerable. Barley and rice are also good additions. If you must get canned broths, try to use those low in sodium, sugar, and preservatives.

If you can tolerate them, try to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. To improve digestion, cook or steam your vegetables slightly. Garlic and onions boost immunity and combat bacteria and viruses, so add them to your diet.

Certain foods, such as dairy, should be avoided. Milk products create phlegm and can make symptoms worse. They produce excessive mucous and slow digestion. If you are worried about calcium and vitamin D, drink almond, rice, or coconut milk.

Avoid sugar. Bacteria feed off of sugar and though the flu is caused by a virus, a weakened immune system can give bacteria the opportunity to thrive.

Snuggle Up with a Cup of Tea...

Teas have so many healing properties and there are so many to choose!   There's a tea for everything! My two favorite teas for the flu are ginger and peppermint. They help soothe aches and pains, are naturally free of caffeine, and can calm an upset stomach.

Another reason I like ginger and peppermint is that they work very well with the basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Ginger is warming and will rev you up if you are cold, weak, and experiencing chills. Peppermint is cooling and soothes many upset stomachs as well as relieves headaches.

*Tip* Look at your tongue! If it's red, drink peppermint, and if its pale, drink ginger! 

Or Bullet-Proof Coffee!

You might want to skip this one if you have the stomach flu. But if you have a cough, sore throat, aches and pains, give it a try. Now there are many different types of "Bullet-Proof" Coffee, but the way I like mine is black with about a half teas-spoon of coconut oil.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe and natural method of preventing and treating the flu. Your body will be more resistant to fighting infections and better able to eliminate any pathogens that are making you sick. If you do contract the flu, you may feel a little worse after your first treatment, but your follow-up visit should alleviate the unpleasant symptoms.

If you have the flu, you may be more sensitive to needles and their insertion. Your treatment should not use too many needles, and you may want to ask for the extra thin needles.

Ask your acupuncturist about moxabustion and cupping. Moxabustion involves burning the herb mugwart over your body like incense. Moxa will nourish your body and its warmth provides relief over aching muscles. If you do have the flu, smokeless moxa may be preferable.

Cupping is a procedure involving the use of suction cups, either glass or plastic. The suction helps to draw the pathogens out of the body and increases circulation.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care is another way to fight the flu. It stimulates the nervous system, which increases circulation, boosts immunity, and improves health. Adjustments combined with trigger point therapy can also help to break up mucous and relieve sore muscles. Your chiropractor may also provide a hot pack or light muscle work.

Don’t forget, your chiropractor is an educated physician and they do possess extensive knowledge on your anatomy and physiology. They simply rely on more natural methods as opposed to drugs to get you feeling better.

Get plenty of rest so you can stay strong!

What's the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu?

Though the symptoms are similar, colds and flus are caused by two different viruses. The common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused by the rhinovirus. Like the flu, which is caused by various influenza viruses, symptoms may include cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, chills, aches, and fatigue.

Flu symptoms tend to be intense and in severe cases can result in pneumonia and hospitalization.

The flu is transmitted through the air when someone coughs or sneezes. You can also become infected if you touch a contaminated object. The flu is contagious before symptoms appear and can continue to be spread for up to a week.

Flu Shots: A Good Idea?

To prevent the flu, a vaccination is often suggested. The CDC recommends everyone over six months should be vaccinated. But as a health care provider and lover of science, I must disagree.

Let me clarify that I am not against vaccinations. I have been vaccinated against hepatitis B and my daughter receives most of the recommended immunizations. I would rather take the risks associated with a vaccine than her getting measles or polio.

But not so much for the flu.

Flu vaccines do not prevent against all strand of the virus. And there are many different strands circulating each season. Influenza A, B, and C are broken up into various subgroups and to prevent against all of these strands would be difficult. Only a few strands of the virus are selected for immunization. Even if you receive a flu shot, you still have a good chance of catching a strand that you were not vaccinated against.

And don’t forget that viruses mutate. Even if you receive the right vaccination for the strand that you were exposed to, the virus may be altered by the time it gets into your body and you still get sick.

For many people the side effects of the flu shot produce the exact same symptoms as the virus itself. This happens because strains of the inactivated virus are injected into your body. Though the symptoms may not be as severe, they can still make you sick.

Some people may feel it is necessary to receive a flu shot. The flu shot can be a good way to prevent any serious conditions, such as pneumonia from occurring. For high-risk populations such as people with weakened immune systems and chronic lung diseases, a flu shot may be the best option. To find out more, ask your health care provider for information regarding what’s best for you.

In order to fight the flu this season, you do not need to rely on excessive medications. There are so many natural ways to prevent and treat it. Talk with your health care provider about finding the one that’s right for you.

Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

Is your New Year’s resolution to finally quit smoking?  If so, you are in luck.  There are so many ways to quit and it seems like society is finally on board with helping you kick the habit.

And it’s no wonder!  Smoking is not only dangerous, it is also one of the most difficult drugs to quit. To say that withdrawal symptoms are intense would be putting it mildly!

If you decide to quit smoking for New Years, you have so many resources at your disposal! These include nicotine gum, the “patch,” hypnosis, counseling, group therapy, and electronic cigarettes.

Acupuncture can also help. In fact, there is a procedure that involves five needles in your ear and is used to help you with addictions. NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) is a "tried and true" protocol commonly performed by both acupuncturists and drug addiction counselors and typically produces highly successful results.

Acupuncture calms the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation and will get you through the first 3-4 days of detox. As the chemicals leave your body, acupuncture will help you cope with physical sickness you may experience.  Once the nicotine and other chemicals are no longer in your body, you should begin to feel better physically. 

The emotional and mental process of quitting smoking is much more difficult. At this point, your treatment plan will change and you will focus on the stress and anxiety and psychological response that you will have. Different acupuncture points may be used and you may be able to start to lengthen the time between your treatment sessions. Combining acupuncture treatments with support groups, coaching, or counseling may also be beneficial.

When you are ready to quit, you will. And just because it doesn't work one time, doesn't mean you shouldn't try again. Be kind to yourself. Though acupuncture is very helpful, having a good support system and a positive attitude is the best medicine.