HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Hi folks, it’s Dr. Krieger here! I wanted to give you a few of my personal favorite tips and tricks to help you stay healthy during the holidays.
Don’t let the crisp, winter weather keep you inside. As Montanans, we have an appreciation of the great outdoors and the Big Sky. We all know the benefits of exercise – weight management, elevated mood and cardiovascular health – to name just a few. Stay active by participating in winter sports such as: cross country skiing, ice skating, hockey, downhill skiing, snowboarding, broomball, snowshoeing and winter hikes and exploring.
Take Quick Trip Somewhere Local
You can also take a day trip to the Lewis and Clark Caverns, a short ride west of Bozeman to Whitehall, and try your hand at spelunking and exploring these natural and awesome limestone caverns. These family friendly caves are open seasonally, but offer special candlelight tours during the holidays. Call 406.287.3541 for more information and to reserve tickets. I did the candlelight cave tour a few years back and it was so magical – they have the caverns especially decorated for the holiday season!
KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN
Hand washing is probably the most simple thing a person can do during the winter months to stay healthy and to protect yourself from catching colds and flus. Using soap and water is still the best practice, but alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used. However, you should avoid hand sanitizers that contain Triclosan. Triclosan is a common added antimicrobial agent in many hand sanitizers. This chemical has been shown in studies to lead to antibiotic resistance as well as to interfere with hormone metabolism and cause harm to the immune system.
Make sure that you properly wash your entire hands – palms, back of hands, nail beds and between and around all fingers for at least 30 seconds. Do this before preparing food and eating and after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose. Another easy idea to help keep your hands clean is to sneeze into the crook of your elbow and avoid the use of your hands altogether.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
During the holidays, we are reminded to offer charity to those in need. It is also equally important to make time for yourself in order to help with stress management during these busy times. Do something for yourself that makes you happy. Such as getting a massage or a pedicure, enjoying a long bath with bath salts and candles, watching your favorite movie, a weekend getaway to the local hot springs, reading a new book or cooking a special meal for yourself. You can also take a few moments each morning to remind yourself what you are grateful for in your life. Studies have shown that this promotes overall happiness and wellbeing.
Another way to stay healthy during the holidays is to alternate between warm and cool temperatures. Indicated for colds, flus, muscle and joint pain, sleep disturbances and weight loss. This technique assists in detoxification and supports overall wellness and immune function. This service can be compared to a “whole body” contrast hydrotherapy treatment. It is one of my personal favorites and I feel AMAZING afterwards.
Alternate time in a sauna (15 minutes) with taking a dip into a cold plunge pool (about 60℉) for 2-3 minutes as tolerated.
Repeat the sauna/cold plunge at least 3 times.
Remember to end on cold for best health benefits.
You won’t regret taking the time out of your schedule for this. People often report instant improvement in overall health after a single treatment!
Anxiety, depression, and anger. These mental health “symptoms” run rampant in our modern-day culture. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are some of the most prescribed medications in our country. An article published by the American Association of Naturopathic Medicine reports that “20.9 million American adults suffer from a mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.” While many of these medications are life-saving and life-improving, many people are looking for alternatives to medications or ways to make their medications work better.
At Spring Integrative Health we find that combining all of the tools (conventional medicine, pharmaceuticals, natural and holistic interventions) get the BIGGEST results. Here are our top interventions for vibrant mental health:
1. Manage Stress
Stress is the NUMBER ONE contributing factor to anxiety, depression, frustration and anger. Our lives in the United States are full of family, society, and personal pressure to perform at our peak levels at all times. Also, many of us have a history of trauma or dysfunction in our lives. These are huge contributing factors to our total stress levels. Talk to your mental health provider and/or doctor on ways to manage your stress from a physical and emotional level. (We are huge fans of Meditation and Mindfullness here at Spring).
2. Treat the Whole Body
3. Reach Out
Isolating when you are feeling blue or anxious can often make the symptoms worse. Having a good team of counselors, doctors, friends and family has been shown to have a positive effect on depression.
4. Check Your Vitamin Status
Often nutrient deficiencies will increase your risk for developing depression and anxiety. Being deficient can also make these feelings worse if you are already experiencing them. A doctor can check for levels of vital nutrients in your body such as folate, B12 or vitamin D.
At Spring Integrative Health we take a multidisciplinary approach to your mental health. We believe health encompasses good physical, mental and emotional health!
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues please reach out! 406-586-2626 or Contact us here on our website!
3 Tips to make ‘back to school’ a Simple Transition
It’s that time of year again! The sound of zipping backpacks, a sack lunch thrown together at the last minute and a kiss out the door while scrambling to the bus. Sound familiar to anyone else? Here are my favorite go-to ideas and tips when it comes to creating a calm and enjoyable transition for yourself and the kiddos as they head back to school!
1) Create a fun and relaxing Breakfast Experience
This means waking up a few extra minutes earlier to be prepared for when your kids roll into the kitchen. I love the tradition of lighting a candle for breakfast just as a gentle reminder to sit down (even it its for 3 minutes) and enjoy some family time together.
Be sure your kiddos prioritize eating a healthy breakfast (which means you are modeling the same thing.) My favorite non-cereal quick and easy breakfast ideas are:
- Avocado toast. We use ‘On the Rise‘ sourdough bread, or you can use any bread of your choice. We top with hemp seeds or let the kids choose a fun and different topping.
- Smoothie. Quick and easy. Click here for lots of smoothie ideas
- Oats. Overnight oats are popular as you can make them the night before and it makes for a very easy morning. However, you can also thrown some oats on the stove top for 5 minutes and have a delicious meal. I create a topping bar including collagen, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, nuts, raisins etc so they can decorate their bowls and make them delicious!
2) Lunch Time
Pack the lunch the night before. This takes discipline to get into the habit of doing, however I strongly doing this right along side dinner clean up. The kitchen is already a mess with lots of food out on the counters so it’s simple to add in this step. I find it much easier before bed than trying to scramble something along side my morning cup of coffee.
When it comes to lunches made at home here is my formula for a gluten-free/dairy free lunch. (While my kids aren’t sensitive to these foods, I try to limit them in our home because they tend to get more of these foods out of the home.)
A) Protein. My go-to favorites include roasted chicken, deli turkey, salami, a grass fed hamburger patty.
B) Veggies. Kids love crunchy anything so I usually will add in some carrots, broccoli, celery, cucumber or bell peppers. By adding in a fun dip like hummus or ranch it will make those veggies much more enticing.
C) Chips. There are so many healthy chip options so get creative! Our current favorites are cassava chips, simple mills crackers, rice crackers, apple chips or organic corn tortilla chips.
D) Sweet. My kids love apples so that tends to be a staple (sometimes with peanut butter) but other good sweet options are a fruit leather, ½ of a healthy protein bar ( I like Perfects Foods Bars or G2G bars.) Once a week they can choose a special treat like Annie’s bunnies or gummies so they feel like they are eating like the other kiddos.
E) Drink. WATER is a great option always. Kids don’t need any more sugar in their diets, especially when it comes to drinks. So skip the fancy Gatorade or sports drinks and stick to water. If you child is feeling left out you can make an electrolyte drink at home that tastes amazing with a noon tablet, or I will offer my kiddos homemade kombucha a few days each week to spice things up.
*If your kids are requesting hot lunch or in high school and wanting to eat out, try encouraging them to make their own lunch at least once a week. This gets them into the habit of making food for themselves which is an ESSENTIAL part of growing up. These skills are just as important to math and science for their life past high school!
3) After school snacks
This is one of my favorite childhood memories! Although usually an after school snack meant a microwaved s’more or cookies. I try to keep the fun but also keep the snacks healthy. My go-to is a huge plate of chopped veggies with a few different dip options. Ranch, hummus or my homemade almond hummus are fan favorites. You can also chop of some fruits to add to the veggie plate. When in doubt thing REAL WHOLE foods. Less packages, and more of the real stuff. And don’t be afraid to ask your kids to help you chop and make the snack.
It’s that time of year… mid-July when we have the brief window of long summer days and shorts and T-shirt weather! If you anything like me, then you try to PACK in the fun while the weather is so beautiful. With this, comes the possibility of ‘summer burnout.’ Think back to back camp trips, finishing those hikes or races you have wanted to do for six months, long days on the river, family reunions, travel and the list goes on! How can we avoid summer burnout?
Balance is key and this is something I teach my clients about on a daily basis. I call it the 80/20 balance. 80 percent of the time do the best you can when it comes to your diet and lifestyle. Eat foods you know will nourish your body and the other 20 percent of the time give yourself the grace to enjoy life! Have the glass of wine, the dark chocolate, the BBQ foods your neighbor cooked up for you etc.
Keep reading to learn my top 5 tips to avoid summer burnout!
1) Plan your week.
Look ahead in your calendar and see what you have coming up. If your social calendar is full be sure to build in space for some downtime. If your calendar includes a lot of dining out, ask to pick the restaurant so you can enjoy your social time out but are still nourishing your body for your 80% balance. And, if you are a Bozeman local, here are four amazing restaurants for healthy, real food in Bozeman.
2) Prioritize hydration.
It’s so easy to start the day with coffee, but I challenge you to drink a 16 oz glass of lemon water upon waking FIRST. And for extra credit, you can follow that with an ancient Ayurvedic recipe that will support the body’s natural detoxification process. This tea is made from cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Simply take ½ tsp of each spice and steep in hot water to make a tea. 20 oz daily.
3) Make a to-don’t list.
This might sound strange but it’s a really effective strategy to help you keep a balance throughout the summer. You don’t have to say yes to every social engagement, to every family member, to every farmer’s market, live music or festive event. Giving yourself permission to say no can be profoundly helpful!
4) Don’t derail yourself when out of your normal routine. Traveling, playing or camping can be harder to balance since you are out of your normal routine. We have all been there… sitting by the campfire and indulging in a few s’mores when that isn’t something you would ever typically eat. And of course, by eating a little sugar it starts the intense cravings for more more more. Eating healthy while camping can be easier than you think! I suggest always prioritizing veggies while camping. This can mean raw chopped veggies with some fun dips like hummus or my ultimate favorite cilantro almond hummus dip. I also love making ‘veggie packs’ in tin foil to throw on the campfire. Simply chop up your favorite veggies and drizzle with avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap in two layers of foil and you have a delicious and nutritious side to go with your camp meal.
5) Try this delicious ‘Summer Dreaming’ Recipe. This can easily be made in a high powered blender. Click here for Recipe!
If you have more questions about Emily Potter FDNP please click here to learn more!
Autumn is in the air and my family is “falling” into our cold-weather routine. I like the consistency of getting up at the same time each morning and getting the kids ready for their daily activities, making lunches, attending athletic events, and making homemade dinners. My husband and I fall into our routine of pick-ups and drop-offs, and we get a little more time as a couple with the kids in school, which is nice. But what I don’t like about the “back-to-school” season is the onset of colds, junk-food school snacks, rushed dinners, and my uncanny knack for over-extending myself.
Join me on the Whole Life Cleanse, a journey through each area of life and how to get rid of what is not needed and enjoying the items that nourish us.
Cleansing is not just about physical detox, but about feeling healthy in all areas of life–at work, with friends and family, with the products in your home, with diet, and with your personal routine.
Start by shopping smart. As you restock your pantry and shelves with school year snacks and other food fuel, make healthy choices; organic, whole food ingredients and BPA-free containers for storing leftovers and lunches-to-go. We also shop smart when restocking cleaning supplies such as dish soap, detergents, tampons and paper towels. We chose soaps and detergents that are free of artificial scents and dyes so we aren’t picking up unnecessary toxins from our dishes and through our skin. Unbleached, organic cotton tampons are a gentler choice and lower the female body-burden of potential toxins for the gals in your household. Using recycled paper goods like paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper is one way to support the environment, which in turn supports the joy we derive from our beautiful natural world.
Once the larders and shelves are stocked, we make a mindful effort to find time to slow down each day. Busy, active kids and working parents can make this a real challenge. My husband and I find time to meditate together just after we put the kids to bed. This routine helps us unwind and touch base with our home world each evening. As for kids, reading a bed time story, or taking a moment before meals to say Grace or hold hands in silence can be just the right amount of slow-down that busy kids need.
Cleansing doesn’t have to be all about food, exercise, and a strict regimen. Feel free to start slow! Pick one or two of these things to focus on each week or month, sometimes that really is the only way these things can happen. Oh, and lastly, please don’t forget to get outside and enjoy our beautiful Bozeman fall before winter hits!
Read more from this series:
By: Lindsay Herron, Co-Founder, Buckaroo Organics
One of the best parts about The Whole Life Cleanse is getting RID of the things we don’t need. Less is better in my opinion; less clutter, less garbage (more recycling!), less stress, AND LESS TOXIC EXPOSURES. We all want less toxins in our household products for ourselves, our kids, and our planet. So, I recruited a home-chemical expert, the owner of Buckaroo Organics, to write this edition of The Whole Life Cleanse, and give us the down and dirty on laundry chemicals. Take a look…
The Dirty Truth about Poisons Potentially Hiding in Your Laundry Room
Laundry is not what I would call a glamorous chore but one done out of necessity. So whether you are folding that monstrous weekly mound of clothes or are on-top of it–folding just as the buzzer rings– you expect the clothes you’re folding to be clean, right? One look at them and we are pretty confident that the dirt is gone, but what about the things we can’t see? What about the residues left behind by synthetic chemicals and fragrances that irritate our skin and are harmful to our health? Or what about the water waste that exits our houses and pollutes ground water? As a mom, the more I learned about common products being used daily, the more I became concerned with the findings.
I feel like I’m always digging out of the never ending mound of laundry, so I wasn’t too shocked to learn that the average family washes approximately 80 pounds of laundry per week. But when I stepped back and widened my perspective, I have to say, I was a little surprised to learn that in the U.S., alone, roughly 35 billion loads of laundry are done each year. I had to stop and think about this for a minute (and break out my calculator). Wow, that is 17.5 billion cups of laundry detergent….if you’re using the recommended amount. That is A LOT of detergent moving through OUR homes! Some is still clinging to our favorite jeans and bed sheets and the rest is being discharged into our water systems and eventually finding its way into our ecosystem. When I looked at it from this perspective I was deeply troubled. Could the detergent that I was using really be thatharmful? …well, here is a snippet of what I found. The following are the 4 worst compounds commonly found in leading brand detergents (very common, check yours).
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) & sodium laureth sulfate (SLES): are both inexpensive and very effective foaming agents, which is why they are used in many leading brands. They work great as a detergents, but are both also known skin and eye irritants, especially when used for extended amounts of time (…like every week when you do your laundry). They’re present in most shampoos, cleaners, hair coloring products, liquid hand soaps and cosmetics so surely both have been thoroughly tested….and they’re safe, right? Well, not so much. SLS was proved not to be carcinogenic when tested on animals during short-term studies (1). However, a large amount of documented studies (16,000) claim it to be extremely hazardous to our health. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews, research studies on SLS have shown links to irritation of the skin and eyes, organ toxicity, developmental/reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and biochemical or cellular changes along with possible mutations and cancers.
SLES was tested by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) and the American Cancer Society and was deemed non-carcinogenic. However, another little known and much more harmful chemical, 1, 4-diaoxan, often accompanies it, 1,4-dioxane.
1, 4-dioxane, is a known carcinogen(2). It’s known to cause cancer and has been found to be potentially toxic to your brain and central nervous system, kidneys, liver and respiratory system, according to the CDC. Two-thirds of all laundry detergent contain some level of 1, 4-dioxane. The FDA encourages manufactures to remove it, but they are not required to by law. 1,4-dioxane is nasty stuff, water filters can’t remove it and it resists natural biodegradable processes. It’s harmful to people and pollutes our water supplies; very harmful to the ecosystem.
NPE (nonylphenol ethoxylate ) Like SLS and SLES, NPE is an inexpensive nonionic surfactant frequently used in laundry detergents. NPE is an endocrine disruptor due to its ability to mimic estrogen and disrupt the body’s natural hormonal balance. When your body absorbs NPE, it can’t tell the difference between NPE and estrogen. The body can absorb up to 60% of what is put onto the skin or what residue is left in your fabrics. Exposure to NPE has also been associated with increased levels of breast cancers(3).
Phosphates, these guys are everywhere! Phosphates tend to be the principle cleaning ingredient in many detergents and household cleaners. They are designed to break down dirt particles and remove stains by softening the water and allowing it to penetrate the grime and lift it away. However, they create environmental hazards when discharged in great volumes into our water supplies (remember the 17.5 billion cups of detergent being used annually in the U.S.). Phosphates are difficult to remove from wastewater and often end up in rivers and lakes, where they increase algae growth and choke off waterways. This suffocates fish and other aquatic life by literally starving them of oxygen.
And as if the four compounds listed above weren’t enough of a concern, there are others that add to our laundry list of harmful ingredients found in leading brand detergents:
- Linear alkyl sodium sulfonates (LAS), a.k.a. anionic surfactants
- Petroleum distillates (a.k.a. naphthas), which have been linked to cancer
- Phenols, which can cause toxicity throughout the entire body
- Optical brighteners, which cause bacterial mutations and allergic reactions, and can be toxic to fish
- Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)
- EDTA (ethylene-diamino-tetra-acetate), a persistent organic pollutant
- Artificial fragrances, which have been linked to various toxic effects on fish and animals, as well as allergic reactions in humans
I know most of us don’t think of laundry detergent much past adding it to our shopping lists and looking for a jug that is on sale. I didn’t until recently. But for me, as a mom of three and someone who loves our planet, the more I read and learn, the more the data proves. Many of the ingredients are KNOWN irritants, highly likely carcinogens and pollute and damage our water systems. It’s a mission for me to create a safe environment for the ones I hold dear, and is why we developed Soapberry Suds; a laundry detergent families can trust.
Our laundry detergent, Soapberry Suds, uses certified organic soap nuts, or soapberries as the surfactant. It truly is nature’s soap. No synthetic chemicals, not phosphates, sulfates, or dyes. It is scent free and risk free. All biodegradable, even the packaging is compostable or recyclable. Better for you and better for Mother Nature! It is hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t cause skin irritations, because we only source the best ingredients to get the job done. I invite you to learn more about Soapberry Suds at http://buckaroo-organics.com
(1) CIR publication (1983). “Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate”. International Journal of Toxicology 2 (7): 127–181
(2) 1,4-Dioxane (1,4-Diethyleneoxide). Hazard Summary. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Created in April 1992; Revised in January 2000
(3) Soares, A., B. Guieysse, B. Jefferson, E. Cartmell, and J.n. Lester. “Nonylphenol in the Environment: A Critical Review on Occurrence, Fate, Toxicity and Treatment in Wastewaters.” Environment International 34.7 (2008)
The Whole Life Cleanse: A Family Approach to Detoxification and Balance
Creating balance in your life may seem impossible at times. We are all busy with a multitude of tasks such as walking the dog, making lunches, grocery shopping, laundry, work projects, dishes….the list goes on! Balance is about increasing the “good stuff” in life and managing the things that cause physical or mental stress. But who has time for cultivating serenity, clean living, and balance?
In my experience, balance is something that has to be woven into the fabric of daily living or it will simply not happen.
This blog series is about the approach my husband, my kiddos, and I have taken to create balance in our lives and to create a healthy home. Life is happening to all of us…illness, work, school, stress. The Whole Life Cleanse is about changing our perspective and increasing our resources so that when times get tough we have enough stamina, reserve, and balance to weather the journey.
The Whole Life Cleanse is also about keeping our day-to-day activities fulfilling and non-toxic. This is not always easy and I admit we are not always perfect at my house. We have days we eat donuts, the kids watch too much TV or I skip my work-outs. Being perfect is something I try NOT to do–It stresses me out. So, I live by the 80-20 rule…if I can take a healthy approach to life 80% of the time, then the 20% of donut-eating days are okay. I always tell my patients, “you have to live in this world,” and for our family that means eating a donut or two.
But for the other 80% of the time, I will outline strategies we use for balance. Tips on how to reduce home chemical exposure and healthy dietary suggestions that the whole family will like. I will also give you tips for reducing toxic relationships, cutting back on the technology “drain” and some key tips for stress management. So stay tuned…
Read more from this series:
We had a patient write us a letter that was so good, we had to share it!
I can’t give enough praise to the team at Spring Integrative Health. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Dr. Bonville through another staff member. I had a prior unpleasant experience with a naturopathic physician and I was hesitant to encounter another. I had run out of options with every doctor pointing at the other when I thought I’d try again because I had nothing to lose.
During my first appointment Dr. Bonville listened to my health history and ordered a set of tests. My results were the intolerance of several types of food. She instructed me that my body would be going through a “detox” upon omitting these foods from my diet and if I had any questions she would be readily available to assist me. I took her up on that and emailed her several times a day with questions regarding what I was experiencing or if certain foods were ok. Not ONCE did I feel like a burden. Not ONCE was I made to feel like my questions were silly even though I had already asked. And not ONCE was I ignored. My body through scary and alarming processes for a few weeks. Dr. Bonville was able to help guide me through with support and information, and still continues to guide me as I progress forward in health.
Dr. Bonville changed my life in one office visit where countless other physicians failed over the span of 18 years. I am finally able to pursue a life of health instead of the continual struggle of roadblocks I had been running into.
I can only tell you the staff here are committed to their patients. Besides the resources they have on hand, and the resources they will guide you to, they are starting up a support group for those of us who have food intolerances. I do not know of any other practitioners that would go to these lengths to see that we are being taken care of. If you’re tired of not having answers or a lack of direction, Spring Integrative Health may be your answer.
We feel very lucky that we were able to make such a significant difference in this patient’s life.