Health Articles

Not now, Mommy's not feeling good...

Feel worn out?  Tired?  Got the cold or flu the kids brought home from their friends?


The day-in and day-out demands of life can leave a person feeling not their best, and then it's even harder to be a patient and loving role model and parent. Add onto that, lack of sleep, consuming extra caffeine and sugar for energy, hitting the fast food places and processed frozen dinners too many times a week, all leave our immune systems susceptible to whatever is going around at the time. 


Energy:

Caffeine is a wonderful "kick me in the butt and get me out the door" drug, but sadly, over time it actually has the opposite effect on us. Caffeine triggers our adrenal glands to go into "Fight or Flight" mode. That's the mental alertness that adrenaline gives us. After awhile the adrenaline slows down in our body, and we feel tired and hungry, esp for something sweet - because our blood sugar levels have dropped. So we reach for more caffeine or something with high sugar, and which may have high fat in it. We are in a daily relationship with chemical stimulation. Caffeine and sugar manipulate the same neurochemical channels that amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin do.


However, our bodies are not designed to be in constant "Fight or Flight" mode every day.  It depletes our adrenal system, and messes with our hormone production, like overworking the soil on a farm. 


You can determine your adrenal function and hormone function by asking around for a doctor that leans more towards holistic health and they will likely have a saliva test that you can take. Blood tests only show a result if your adrenals are completely burned out. If your doctor discovers that your adrenals are taxed, they could also find that your hormones are a bit off kilter. If they recommend a prescription hormone, your holistic doctor will likely prescribe a bio-identical hormone. Most Compounding Pharmacies can fill the prescription.


The adrenal glands are located just on top of the kidneys. The adrenals are an integral part of the endocrine system. You can support the endocrine system through exercise and diet as well. 


"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".


Exercise increases oxygen.  Cardiovascular exercises in particular, more fully feeds the oxygen-starved and sleepy brain cells, and increases lymph flow.  Without strong lymph flow, waste can build up within the body leading to the accumulation of toxins.


As you add exercise to your lifestyle, you will likely feel more pleasurably awake, alert, and aware. It is important to note not to over-exercise because that can also exhaust your adrenals.


Find movements that make exercising fun for you. Choosing to exercise several days a weeks for a total minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes per week is recommended for the needed health benefits.


Choose healthy foods instead of sugar and processed foods.


Here are some ideas to wet your appetite and support your adrenal function. 


In supporting the adrenals and blood sugar, it is recommended that a person eat several small meals, instead of one or two large meals each day. The best thing for achieving sustained energy throughout the day is start your day with your largest sized meal which is a high protein meal with some carbs and veggies - think dinner, instead of breakfast items. Homemade freezer meals are a great way to make this happen. Lunch is a medium sized meal with veggies and fruit, and dinner is a light meal, mostly veggies and only a small serving of protein. 


If you like to have dessert (like me!), try to have it in the afternoon instead of after dinner. Go for dark chocolate with the lowest sugar content possible. This will give you a nice daily dose of antioxidants. Check out Ghirardelli Dark Chocolates and organic dark chocolates found in health food stores - yum!! 

To further help curb your sweet tooth you can choose to drink fruit smoothies (no added sugar), eat fruit, and dried fruit. Remember that dried fruit size can be deceiving, the fruit looks smaller, so it's easy to eat twice as much. However, you'll also eat twice as many calories. Read labels and purchase the ones without added sugar/corn syrup and without the sulfur dioxide - which can trigger an asthma-like reaction in some people.


Eat plenty of fresh and lightly steamed vegetables and their juices as they contain minerals to prevent fatigue.


Pantothenic acid is particularly important, as a deficiency may result in adrenal atrophy. Some examples of foods that are rich in pantothenic acid include:

     whole grains      cauliflower     salmon

     legumes             broccoli         sweet potatoes

                               tomatoes


In restoration of the adrenal gland function one should include potassium rich foods and avoid foods high in sodium. This will help to keep the sodium/potassium balance in the body. In the standard American diet, people tend to overconsume sodium. Researchers recommend a dietary potassium-to-sodium ratio of greater than 5 to 1. The Recommended Daily Allowance of potassium is 3 to 5 grams per day. Some examples of foods that are rich in potassium include:

    oranges             grapefruit        sweet potatoes

    bananas            cantaloupe      white potatoes

    beets                 avocados        white beans


Feel free to add a handful of heart healthy nuts and seeds and some berries to add diversity to your snacks and salads.


And remember to find some time for self-care and perhaps explore developing a mindfulness practice. It's as easy as sitting in a quiet and undisturbed space for 3 minutes everyday, gradually adding time on and working up to 15 minutes or more.


Please be aware that I am not offering medical advice and you should always see your doctor to discuss any symptoms and treatments. If symptoms are severe or persistent, please take care of yourself and see your doctor!


Healthy habits are built on inspiration and motivation. It takes dedication and about 60 days of consistent routines to create a new healthy habit and 6 months to make it automatic. This where most people find their weaknesses and where a certified health coach is of greatest assistance.


I am here to help guide you to find your inner strengths and for you to be the best you can be for yourself, and for your family. 


Please click here to Book Now and I can support you in your goals!!


Here's to your health!

- Sharon Lundholm, MA   


Love Letters

I highly recommend Sharon. I have been an on and off smoker and also needed to lose weight. I didn't realize how much I needed a health coach til my doctor told me I was heading down a bad path, but I could not just stop my bad habits. Enter Sharon and with her guidance I suddenly had an understanding of how I got here and why I've been stuck all these years. She helped to educate me on healthy choices and finding the motivation within me to keep moving myself, one step at a time, towards better health. With the plan we developed together and her support I'm happy to say that I quit smoking and am eating and sleeping better than I have in years. And my bonus for making these changes is that my aches and pains have even decreased considerably. Hire her. Seriously. You won't regret it! 

 - Mike H, Wisconsin

After being diagnosed with a-fib and other heart issues, I knew I had to take my health a lot more seriously and was recommended by a friend to Sharon for health coaching. Sharon was very knowledgeable and helped me understand what I can do to create a heart healthy lifestyle. I loved that we developed a plan together, she really listened to me. Her accountability kept me on track. Overall, having Sharon as my health coach was the smartest and most helpful thing I've done for myself in years. Highly recommend. 

 - Tom G, Illinois

Peri-menopause was kicking my ass. I had every symptom in the book. A 

co-worker recommended Sharon. At our first meeting, I finally felt heard for the first time in a long time. My doctor just blew me off at my last appointment and Sharon listened. Really listened. I cried. She told me there was hope. I cried some more. Sharon worked with me so I better understood what was going on hormonally in my body and let me know there were several different strategies for moving through the change with grace. She recommended a different doctor and the three of us worked together to find the root causes and to create a holistic treatment plan that really worked. Honestly, without Sharon, I would still be a cranky, exhausted, anxiety-ridden hot mess! She's the best!

 - Cynthia C, Wisconsin

A Personal Story, and how
Health Coaching saved my family

My kids used to be hyper. But they are not now - and we don't use medicines. No need to. But I get ahead of myself . . .


My oldest started being hyper around the age of 2, and sometimes it seemed as if he could truly climb walls. We noticed that sometimes it peaked after eating certain foods, but with the chemistry lab type ingredient labels now days - it was totally unclear what he could be reacting to. He wasn't a good sleeper either. He tossed and turned, and seemed to easily awake at any given time. He also did teeth grinding. He talked non-stop, and loud! And then there was the constant picking on his brother who is two years younger. That poor baby had his older brother laying on top of him, tipping him over, giving him a push, trip, slap or pinch, or anything else his impulses told him to do. I just assumed it was because they were so close in age and the oldest was jealous. "Boys will be boys". I also hoped that it wasn't ADHD. And then there was this little laugh that he had sometimes, especially at times when it seemed like no amount of discipline helped. Life continued as a constant row of "No, No, NO!" "Stop!" "Get off your brother!" "Stop hurting your brother!" As the younger one got to be around the age of 2, then the two of them would go at each other non-stop. They were in a wrestling match most all the time. Sometimes it was fun, other times it wasn't, and I was the on-demand referee. It was so loud in the house, our dog decided to become an outdoor dog!


Luckily for everyone, when my oldest was 4, I read an article in my Mothering magazine (www.mothering.com) about ADHD, food allergies and the Feingold Association. I was sure there was something to this. I immediately jumped online, went to www.feingold.org and read their website front to back! I was amazed how many food additives have crept into our foods and that we Americans have just taken it for granted that everything the food industry sells us is safe and written on the labels.


Artificial colors,

Artificial flavors, and certain preservatives:

TBHQ (used esp. in frying oils, and is often a hidden ingredient in oils listed on labels),

BHT and BHA (used esp. in nuts and bakery goods, and also can be an ingredient not found on labels although could be in nuts and as a preservative for packaging food.)


All are made from petroleum!


Yep! That's right - crude oil! As a conscientious mom, that blew me out of the water. I have been giving my beloved children petroleum!! and didn't even know it!! How can the food industry sleep at night?!


As a health coach that believes in the power of lifestyle medicine, I was convinced this was the issue and ordered my membership materials that day. The day I got the researched Food Shopping List I was excited and nervous. The food list is free of TBHQ, BHA, BHT (listed OR hidden), artificial colors and artificial flavors. I created a shopping list of my meals for the next week using only the products on the list. This took time, but I just had to give it my all. It also took extra time to shop, but since I was mostly just having to change name brands, it wasn't as hard as I thought it might be.


After eating a 100% clean diet for a week, a very noticeable new calm was in the house. What a miracle! It was as if they had grown up - but in reality, the food that I was giving them no longer contained petroleum. The food I gave them was no longer making them angry and they could now control their impulses. I cleared out my cabinets of everything that was not on the Food List. Again, this took some time, but I knew it was what had to be done. The Food Bank loved me that week!


Then I took a tip from www.FlyLady.net and I went to the main grocery store I used and wrote out what products were in what aisles. I then took the Feingold Food Shopping List to my computer and typed in all the products that we would eat, as they sat in each aisle. Within the time of my children's afternoon naptime (or perhaps 2 naps), I had completed my new and improved grocery list.


Shopping went so much faster now. Any food additives sensitivity or food allergy questions that I had were immediately answered on the member's online bulletin board. I got recipes galore and at every meal I always felt so thankful and grateful for finding the Feingold Program. For us personally, it saved our family. It saved us from ADHD . . . and all the pharmaceutical experimenting! Every child is different, it is possible that your child may need additional medical support.


If an infraction occurs, ie - consuming offending foods, drinks as well as products that come in contact with the skin - we end up with 5 days of reactions: behaviors that we thought we had seen the last of come straight back. Kids can have reactions that start about an hour after consuming the food - like my kids, or kids may not have a reaction start til a day later. That makes that detective work harder, but not impossible! Some kids react more at the beginning - like my kids, others react more towards the end. Some kids react more dramatically than others and some kids have more sensitivities than others. About 4 - 6 days of reactions is the most common time frame. Kids are not alone in having food allergies. Adults can suffer as well.


On more than one occasion we've had infractions. One time, right after we had just started, we were visiting my parents and I had forgotten the Feingold's Fast Food list. We decided to stop at McDonalds, and since I had no idea what was ok to order and what was not, we got fried fish and french fries. I didn't know this then, but their frying oil is preserved with TBHQ (as are most restaurant frying oils). The boys went from little gentlemen to a week's worth of hell on wheels right in front of my parent's eyes. They stopped asking me if I was sure they had food additive sensitives after that week.


About a year after we started, after a restaurant dessert had tempted us, we ended up with a reaction. My oldest, went through his laundry list of poor impulse control, poor sleep and bad behaviors, and was finally on day 4 of his reaction - which meant that he was in and out of the reaction by that point. I mentioned to him that I noticed that it looked like he was doing better and wondered how he felt inside. He replied, "GGGggggrrrrrrrr" in a very angry tone. Here he was, feeling still so angry inside, but able to control his impulses today. How angry did he feel for the past 3 days while at the heights of his reaction? How terrible to be constantly yelled at to control your impulses when you simply cannot. I was shocked, again, at how the food choices - that I have control over - affect him. How awful of a life it would have been for him, to be angry all the time just because of the food he ate, that I served him!! At that moment, I recommitted myself to the Feingold Program 100%.


Since starting the Feingold Program, we have also discovered that our children have other food additive sensitivities as well. Sodium Nitrate (found in bacon, lunch meats, etc) also makes them angry for a couple of days. Apples, which have a naturally occurring insect repellent in them called salicylates, have to be limited to one serving a day. Corn syrup (which there are 12 different names for!) makes them hyper for a good few hours or so. Kids (and adults) can react to other types of food additives and to foods that have gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy) in them. The Feingold Association website is a wonderful resource for helping families with any kind of food additive sensitivity or food allergy. Their researched Food Shopping List shows all these other potential food allergens as well.


In every group that we are involved in, I find kids that are either already using the Feingold Program or need to have their families learn about the Feingold Program. Food allergies and food additive sensitivity have grown so common place, that based on my dealings with kids in groups (and I'm in several), I would safely say that close to half of the kids in any group would benefit from researching food allergens and food additive sensitivities, and the 100% commitment to follow through. So, if you find yourself resonating with our family's story, trust me, you are not alone!


I ask you, look at your children, look at yourself, your honey . . . Does any of this resonate? Does it seem that no discipline seems to help?? Sleep problems? Teeth grinding? An odd laugh after lacking impulse control? School problems? Hyper? Non-stop talking? Suspect food additives sensitivities or food allergies?


Your answers and miracle may start by clicking on this link: www.feingold.org


And you also have my support as a lifestyle medicine Certified Health Coach!


- Sharon Lundholm, MA