Category Archives: health

How to Counter Flat Feet

Flat feet. It’s something you may hear mentioned, but do you know a lot about it? It is a very common to have issues dealing with your arch, but how do you know if it affect you?

Let’s find out if you have flat feet first:

1. Get your feet wet.

2. Stand on a flat surface where your footprint will show, such as on a concrete walkway.

3. Step away and look at the prints. If you see complete imprints of the bottom of your feet on the surface, then you’re likely to have flat feet.

Seems silly but it works! This is the less precise way to test it. Doctor offices have more tool, but this can be a great starting place.

Most people are born flat-footed and they have no problem concerning their feet or any joints related to their feet. Others may have a stretched or torn tendon, nerve problems, or possibly a broken or dislocated bone causing them to become flat-footed. While some women become temporary flat-footed from pregnancy, one of the many joys gained from childbirth.

If you were born with flat feet you might get along just fine in life and in footwear.

If you have flat feet or fallen arches because of age, nerve damage, or tendon damage some of the remedies may help. Symptoms can be big or small depending on your body. The safest bet is always to go to your doctor and find out for sure.

Some options to help you cope with flat feet include:

· Physical Therapy

· Pain Relief Medication

· Rest and Ice down

· Shoe Modifications – Braces, Cast

One final interesting item, what does it mean to have fallen arches?

Years of using your feet to walk, run, and jump eventually may take its toll. One of the eventual consequences could be a fallen arch. The posterior tibial tendon becomes weakened after long-term wear a tear. The posterior tibial tendon is the main support structure of the arch of our feet. The tendon can become inflamed (tendinitis) after overuse – sometimes it can even become torn. Once the tendon is damaged, the arch shape of the foot may flatten.

Flat feet isn’t the end of the world. If you feel like this could describe you, please consider consulting a doctor to see what the next steps will be for you. Don’t forget! Solid footwear is always a good step!

Common Foot Issues for Diabetics

Patients with diabetes are prone to getting certain foot issues because of the resulting neuropathy or peripheral vascular disease. The neuropathy and vascular disease causes nerve damage and restricted blood flow which can lessen one’s ability to have sensation in the feet or take much longer to heal from an injury, especially if it is a cut. The damage to the nerves and the weakening of the tissue from reduced blood flow can increase one’s risk of various foot conditions and infections.

What are some foot issues that diabetics are prone to getting and in which they need to watch for?

  • Athlete’s Foot. With Athlete’s foot, a fungus can cause germs to enter into the skin via cracks in the skin. Symptoms include cracking, itching and redness. Athlete’s foot can be treated with a variety of medicines, with the most common treatments coming in the form of a pill or a rub-on cream.
  • Nail Fungal Infections. Nail infections are harder to treat than Athlete’s Foot. With fungal nail infections, the nail may get discolored, become thick or brittle and weakened to the point where the nail begins to crumble. The most common nail fungus treatments include topical ones spread directly onto the toenails and pills that can only be prescribed by a doctor. Fungal infections can be caused by the moist and warm environment of shoes and injury to the toenails.
  • Calluses. Calluses are a hardened build-up of skin which is often on the underside of the feet. The uneven or incorrect distributions of weight, skin abnormalities or ill-fitting shoes cause calluses. Various treatments are available including prescribed medications, cushioned shoe insoles and using a pumice stone when bathing to gently scrub off the built-up tissue. Calluses should not be cut or sliced off with a sharp object as infection can result.
  • Corns. Similar to calluses, corns are also a build-up of hardened tissue on the feet. The only difference is that corns develop between the toes and near bony areas. Rubbing with a pumice stone or taking prescription medication can treat corns. Topical treatments and cutting off the corns with a sharp object are not good ways to remove corns.
  • Blisters. Blisters are painful pockets of puss that often develop on the bottom of the feet, and on the toes. The most common causes of blisters are ill-fitting shoes and wearing shoes for long periods of time without socks. Against your instinct, popping a blister is the worst thing to do. Popped blisters can quickly and easily lead to infections that will take a diabetic longer to heal from.
  • Bunions. A bunion is when the big toe begins to grow crooked, angling toward the second toe. Because the big toe grows crooked, the portion of the toe that attaches it to the foot can become callused, sore and red. The area can also become hard. Bunions can be hereditary or they can be the result of an ill-fitting shoe such as high heels with a narrow area for the toes. Foam padding, toe separators and surgery are common cures for bunions.
  • Foot ulcers. A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore, which can become infected. Foot ulcers can result from minor scrapes, cuts that heal slowly or from the rubbing of shoes that do not fit well. Early intervention is important in treatment. Ask your doctor for advice on how to best care for your wound.
  • Hammertoes. Hammertoes are toes that are curled under the feet due to weakened, shortened tendons of the toes. Hammertoes can impede one’s ability to properly walk and run as well as contribute to other foot problems such as sores, blisters and calluses. Corrective footwear and the use of splints are common treatments for hammertoes. In severe cases, surgery will likely be needed.
  • Ingrown toenails. Ingrown toenails are those with edges growing into the skin. Ingrown toenails often result in pain, swelling, pressure and drainage. They also can quickly become infected. Improperly trimmed toenails, intense physical activity such as running or walking, pressure of ill-fitting shoes and the constant crowding of toes are the most common causes of ingrown toenails. Prescription medication, properly trimmed toenails and surgery are common treatments for ingrown toenails.
  • Plantar Warts. Plantar warts are painful calluses usually on the balls of the feet or heels. These warts are caused by a virus.

Food, Friend or Foe?

The subject of food is a wondrous topic for debate and discussion, since food is relevant to all of us. People eat food for many different reasons: nutritional, emotional and even social. Within these motivations is a goldmine of information for raising our consciousness about food. Is food my friend or my enemy? What is driving me to eat? What is my soul hungry for? What do I truly need? Ultimately, what we eat is a personal choice for each of us.

Our food choices and motivations for eating can have a positive or negative effect on our health, especially over time. There is an old saying, “eat to live, don’t live to eat.” This adage warns us that eating can take over the focus of our lives, rather than choosing to enjoy food as a form of nourishment to fuel our energy. When a person becomes obsessed or compulsive in their thinking about what foods they eat, then unacceptable foods may be perceived as “the enemy.” Mental judgments about foods can create so much stress in the body/mind complex that they ignite fear in the system, which may compromise the body’s immune functioning. Food then becomes a foe rather than a friend. This belief that certain foods are shameful or forbidden can be handled in a more positive way. Consider my friend Leela, who eats for nutritional reasons.

Leela was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years back. She had to have surgery and follow up physical therapy. As soon as she received the cancer diagnosis, she started researching how to improve and change her diet to be more life sustaining rather than eating a cancer-inducing diet. She took responsibility for her future by eating consciously. This new regimen encouraged health and wellness by eating living food. By eliminating sugars, fats, GMOs, meats, dairy and processed foods, and eating fresh organic vegetables grown locally, she came alive again. She eats organic food now and takes a myriad of herbs and supplements, drinks life enhancing green drinks, and carries filtered water with her. I have been at a couple of social functions with Leela, and observe her when she cannot get the foods she prefers and instead, has to eat non-organic food. When this happens, I observe her blessing the food and asking for her body to be rejuvenated from it. She allows the light of consciousness to guide her to eat mindfully, rather than worrying that pesticides from non-organic carrots are going to kill her. She laughs and says, “The fear of food is more harmful than the food choice itself, so let’s just enjoy it!”

Emotional eating is a common practice for many of us. In this case, food often vacillates between being the best friend or the worst enemy. Emotional eating can include: dieting, over-eating, under-eating, bingeing, purging or eating compulsively. During times of stress, food may be the one friendly comfort that is available and handy. However, using food as a tool to numb our feelings doesn’t enhance our wellbeing. It may lead us into a cycle of restricting food through the week only to binge on pizza and rice dream over the weekend. Instead of food being a friend and healthy companion through our lives, it becomes the enemy that must be defeated. Consuming food rather than dealing with uncomfortable emotions is a pattern that we can change over time. Eating mindfully starts by asking, “What am I truly hungering for?” Maybe a walk and a talk are more aligned with our emotional wellbeing.

How about social eating? Eating in restaurants with friends is a frequent social activity. Since healthy choices are limited in many restaurants, these times call for creative ingenuity to adapt what is on the menu to our particular dietary needs. Some restaurants are OK with this and others frown upon changes to the regular menu. I go to a Thai restaurant regularly with friends and order steamed broccoli and brown rice with a fresh veggie roll, rather than rich, spicy dishes. When the food arrives, everyone is happy with the meal they chose and nobody seems to care that I am eating differently. We socialize at restaurants to visit and share our lives with each other. Food is simply the conduit for that to happen. We can choose to order foods that work for us without compromise. This habit has helped me relax around food and eat things that I know will make me feel nourished and alive.

Foods A Breastfeeding Mother Must And Must Not Have

Being a mom is not easy, you have to make a number of sacrifices, you have to be sure what you are eating, whether it is good for your baby or not and the list goes on. Moderating your diet plan is essential not only during the nine months when the baby is in your womb, but even after that until the time you breastfeed. This is because your baby will get all the Nutrition, Vitamins and Minerals from you; therefore, you have to eat healthy, as a wrong food choice may affect your baby health. If you just be the new mommy and confused how to maintain regular meals and what food items you need to limit while breastfeeding, so, this article is for you. Here we discuss the list of foods a breastfeeding mother must and must not have.

Foods To Include –

  • Green Vegetables And Seasonal Fruits: Green leafy vegetables and fruits both may offer plenty of nutrients and are rich in Vitamin, Calcium and other minerals. Including them in your regular serving may ensure the supply of all the nutrients and vitamins to your baby and helps you stay healthy and fit. Also, it increases the production of milk in your body.
  • Nuts And Seeds: These are a rich source of protein and fiber and many other minerals and vitamins as well, and if you are a vegan, so, you should add it to your diet. It not only satisfies your hunger pangs, but also ensures the good health of your baby.
  • Water: Water is important to turn everything you eat into milk. Drinking enough quality as per your body need may ensure the proper supply of milk to your baby, which helps to keep them healthy. Just because water is important, doesn’t mean you need to over drink, have it when you feel thirsty. Not only water, you can have unsweetened and non-caffeinated beverages.

Foods To Avoid –

  • Caffeine: For every mother to be or a breastfeeding mother coffee is a big no. You shouldn’t have it as it may keep your child irritated and never let them sleep properly, which is not good for their health. Coffee or any other source of caffeine like chocolate must not be in your diet until the time you are breastfeeding the baby.
  • Peppermint: Almost every one of us loves peppermint and for sure use it in regular meals, but having it when you are breastfeeding is not advisable because it reduces your milk supply.

Coconut Oil and Its Healing Capabilities

Coconut Oil is generally used for cooking purposes but it has many different applications which include some healing capabilities. Whether you use it on its own or as a key ingredient, there are many ways to incorporate it in your life.

Coconut Oil can be used as the following remedies:

• It is able to reduce the appearance scars and stretch marks. Rub it on the area on a daily basis to benefit from this.

• If you have hard cracked heels, you can use coconut oil to soften your heels.

• Head lice can be an issue with most kids. Use coconut oil to treat for lice.

• You can use it to treat certain fungal infections.

• It can be used to improve Parkinson’s disease as well as to lessen the effects of Dementia.

• Use it to improve Osteoporosis as well as to improve your memory.

• For babies that suffer from nappy rash, you can use it as a natural remedy by gently rubbing it on their bottoms until the rash disappears.

• If you have tired eyes, the coconut oil can be used to reduce the puffiness around the eyes.

• If you are prone to bug bites then you can use it to relieve the itching caused by these bug bites.

• It is also a good way to heal various bodily wounds.

• You can use it to help lower blood pressure.

• It is a natural way to get relief from painful or uncomfortable haemorrhoids.

• If you have the flu, you can use it as an added ingredient in cold syrup or in a sore throat cure.

• Coconut oil can be used as a first aid remedy to stop or to prevent nose bleeds.

• Use it as a natural testosterone booster. This will aid with muscle building activities.

• It can be used to kill off Candida yeast growth as well as to help cure bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.

• Use it to decrease an insulin spike or to stimulate your thyroid.

• For those with belly fat issues, it can be used it to burn fat around the stomach.

Coconut oil is a natural ingredient that has many healing properties for the human body. It has a multitude of benefits and applications which you can use in your daily activities. Remember to always get the advice of a doctor before taking any sort of home remedy and apply it to a small area first to check whether you do not have any allergic reactions to this ingredient.

Healthy Eating – Is Food Healthier When It’s Raw?

One question many people wonder about as they go through their diet plan is whether they should be eating raw food as often as possible. While you may not take it so far as to adopt the raw food diet approach which can be very restrictive in a sense and hard for many to stick with; you may question whether not cooking particular foods is a wiser move.

What’s the verdict?

The Benefits Of Raw Foods. First, let us consider the benefits of eating raw foods. The main advantage is they have not been altered in any way. More and more people realize the value of eating foods in their natural state and eating raw food takes this one step further. Even naturally occurring foods like carrots and broccoli are altered somewhat when cooked. And, this changes their nutritional profile.

Some foods tend to leach nutrients when they are heated, especially when they are boiled. Usually, this is the case with vegetables, so choosing to eat vegetables raw is often recommended. Otherwise, it is good to eat other healthy natural foods such as…

  • yogurt,
  • fresh fruits,
  • nuts,
  • seeds, and
  • oils

often, as these are nutrient-dense foods.A Note On Cooking. This said, do keep in mind some foods benefit from cooking. For instance, take sweet potatoes. You cannot eat these raw, so you have to cook them to reap their nutritional benefits. The same goes for lean protein foods. You are not going to be eating raw chicken anytime soon – or at least you definitely shouldn’t!

Having cooked foods in your diet can help you take in more nutrients when the food cannot be eaten raw. And even still, some foods are better when cooked, and oil is added: this includes foods containing fat-soluble vitamins. Kale, for instance, may be slightly more nutritious when you lightly cook it and add a small amount of olive oil. The oil will help with absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, E, and K. If you eat kale raw, you will not get as concentrated a dose.

Your Approach. So yours should be a balanced approach – eat some foods raw and some foods cooked. Use variety in your diet. More often than not, this is the better way to approach your eating plan.

Many people do find eating foods raw does tend to help reduce digestive stress as well so, on those days where you are feeling bloated and gassy, that may be even more reason to opt for including raw foods more often.

Keep these points in mind and consider including some raw foods in your diet this week. You may have a lot to gain by doing so.

How Do You Keep Your Brain Healhty?

If you are already over 40 you may have started to think about the possibility of your cognitive abilities decline as you age. Do you have a family member with dementia or Alzheimer’s? maybe you have seen it first hand.

We should do everything that is in our power to ensure that we do not become victims of the same preventable disease. Dementia can be prevented even as we age, taking the necessary healthy nutrients. There are people who as they become older they don’t suffer from any form of cognitive impairment and they even become sharper.

The Biggest problem is that people don’t know what they have to do to keep their brain functioning well all their lives.

The Brain is not Alone

You have to be aware that the Brain is not alone, it is not a separate unit from your body, it is completely connected to all your organs. It is like the director of the orchestra and is vital to the correct functioning of our body. However the Brain cannot direct properly if the organs are sick or are not present. When that happens additional pressure is put on the Brain and does not have all the resources to work, which then has a negative effect on your Brain function.

Exercise your Brain

We all know how important regular exercise is for our body to work properly as well as our muscles. If you fail to exercise your muscles will atrophy quickly. The same happens with your brain, if you don’t exercise it, it deteriorates and increases your likelihood of experiencing memory loose or dementia.

Brain exercise can be done in different ways, such as doing puzzles or problems that need to be resolved by thinking.

Brain Supplements?

Few nutrients can actually cross the brain and blood barrier. It is the function of your organs to send the right nutrients to it in a way that crosses the blood barrier that can be used to keep your brain nourished. Most of the ingredients in the brain supplement exist to support general health which therefore helps the brain.

But some brain supplements are beneficial for the nervous system health and the brain.

What to do to keep your brain health?

  • Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet
  • Get the proper physical exercise
  • Exercise your brain regularly
  • Focus on the health of all your body organs and systems to keep your brain healthy.
  • Take some Brain Supplements

Manage Stress Without Stress

Stress is an uneasy experience which affects our health in a negative way. The simplest way of coping up with stress would be modifying or removing its source, which is not always possible. However there are some techniques which decrease your stress level significantly. Successful coping with stress is dependent on many factors. A person’s perspective of control on the situation, his personality, availability of support from friends and family and social circle are some very important factors which play a crucial role in the moderation of stress. Resilience of a person also makes him more or less susceptible to stress. More resilience, tolerance and optimism are some individual qualities which help a person to handle stress effectively. Under a stressful situation a person can utilize many strategies which focus on taking steps to alleviate or modify stress. Let me explain to you about them.

1. Management of body reactions

When you are stressed your muscles feel tightened and heart rate increases. You can feel tension building up in your body and mind as well. Now here in this condition, relaxing the body may help to a great extent. Do this by the following ways:

a. Exercise: This can range from anything like swimming or running, yoga etc.

b. Meditation: this is a spiritual and scientific way of balancing your intense emotions. Meditation promotes clarity of thoughts and improves concentration and the power to think and act rationally.

2. Modifying effective behavior by the following methods:

a. Slowing down. Try to do things in the natural and relaxed pace. Trying to do things in a hurry and worry makes us make mistakes which in turn increase stress even more.

b. Organize. Set your priorities and manage your schedule so that you can get things done in time with minimal confusion and time lag.

c. Accepting and identifying one’s limits and abilities. Set up realistic expectations and goals for self. Don’t take too much pressure.

3. Seek Social support. A close and healthy relationship with our friends and family keeps us emotionally stable and happy. Talking and sharing about problems with close ones gives us inner strength and guidance.

4. Practicing mindfulness. Whatever activity you do during the day, may it be work, eating or even drinking a glass of water, do it mindfully. This helps us in refraining from negative and intrusive thoughts and also helps us in completing the activity for maximum benefit.

5. Being Optimistic.

By having a positive outlook towards life, we seek opportunities even in difficulties. It becomes easier to find a way out of difficult phases of life. Along with this acceptance also helps a long way.

6. Revaluating Goals. Many people work so hard to achieve their goals that one day they reach the burnout point and reach to the point of a breakdown. This is not a good thing as we need to be healthy and free enough to reap the benefits of our success. So we need to identify our limits and restructure our expectations and be little gentle on ourselves.

7. So the next time you feel tensed and stressed, remember to take long breaths, count to ten and think about following the above mentioned techniques. Hope they will help!

Five Keys To Good Mental Health

First of all, I want to say that I’m not a mental health professional. I was a high school social studies teacher and in education for 34 years, and I do have Mental Health First Aid certification, but still, these suggestions are only personal opinion and do not represent professional advice.

• The first recommendation deals with sleep. Most professionals recommend eight hours of sleep per night for adults. More than eight hours may lead to depression or at least sluggishness. Less than eight hours may lead to anxiety or nervousness. However, I maintain that sleep does not have to be completed in one block of time. Personally, I sleep for about three hours, work on projects for an hour or two, sleep for another one or two hours; then I nap once or twice during the day when I’m tired. Sometimes naps last an hour, sometimes only ten minutes. I think the key is to sleep when your body tells you it needs rest. Of course, I’m semi-retired, and my schedule may not work for most professionals.

• A conscientious diet is helpful for mental stability. I recommend a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids. Those can include, most nuts and seeds, but most helpful are walnuts, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseeds, and soaked chia seeds. I like to soak my chia seeds in milk overnight and that combination ends up similar to a tapioca pudding. Cold water fish provide substantial omega-3 fatty acids – sardines, salmon, trout, char, and herring lead the parade in this area. Avocado is another helpful food in this area. Low fat proteins are helpful including beans, chicken, fish, and turkey. Of course a diet grounded around fruits and vegetables is important, and finally probiotics are helpful for digestion. Those can include pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt.

• Another important step includes respect – respect yourself, treat yourself, and value yourself. Find a hobby like fishing; go to a nice restaurant or a movie once a month, keep a journal of your thoughts, or even go shopping.

• Exercise is another important aspect that bolsters your self-esteem and overall mental health. An outdoor walk, especially in a park or the woods – that provides, fresh air, strength, and the sun can provide much needed vitamin D to stave off depression.

• Finally, it is helpful to engage with others face-to-face. Conversation can provide a feeling of worth. It is beneficial to get off the smart phone and deal with people in person.

How Do You Know When You’re Done With Therapy?

As a therapist in private practice, I’m asked constantly how long therapy is going to take, and how often a client will have to come to sessions. People still see a trope about therapy on tv showing stereotypical psychoanalysis where people are expected to come several times a week and see the same analyst for years at a time. I read an essay recently written by a real psychoanalytic psychiatrist about refusing to take on new clients if they already have a psychiatrist- the argument being that since it is such an in-demand specialty, that patients should just work out their issues with their current shrink and be happy they are getting care at all. This essay also reinforced the idea that therapy means working for years and years with the same therapist.

But the field of mental health has come a long way since Freud, and psychoanalytic psychiatrists aren’t the only clinicians out there. In many states, other behavioral health clinicians, including mental health counselors (LMHC’s) and marriage and family therapists (LMFT’s). These master-level clinicians are able to treat clients, submit to insurance, and in the case of cognitive behavioral therapists, are providing a mental health treatment style that is as effective as medication for treating anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, sexual dysfunctions and more. And here’s a little known secret- insurance panels don’t cover years pf psychoanalysis because cognitive behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is effective in a relatively short amount of time.

Not making progress with your therapist? Change and insight probably aren’t going to happen over night, but if your therapist isn’t able to show the progress you’ve made, or set some tangible goals to reach, it might be time to start looking for someone new. Feedback Informed Treatment is one tool that counselors are using to measure the work you’re doing in your psychotherapy sessions. When you get to guide the session by measuring how things are going in your life, and how things are going in the session, then talking to a therapist becomes actual therapy and not just that stream of consciousness from days of psychoanalytic yore.

I liken therapy to learning a language. If you’re learning a new language, you can’t expect to be fluent overnight. By learning the basics in therapy, and practicing at home, then really using the language in your day to day life, you’ll be on your way to fluency. But even when you’re fluent in a new language, that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to learn. How does that translate to therapy? You might start with one therapist and learn some things – but by all means – continue with another therapist when you need some booster sessions and build on that! Therapy can be evidence-based but still isn’t so simple as – you have this diagnosis, and now you’re cured. But the benefits of therapy don’t have to take years on the couch to achieve!