How to Enjoy Holiday Treats without Fattening Up

PhotobucketBy Bonnie Pfiester, Fitness Trainer

Everyone knows it’s easy to gain weight over the Holidays. Christmas parties and yummy treats seem to replace exercise and healthy food. Once high calorie foods are in our view it’s hard to get them out of our head.

Although most people admit going off their diet this time of year, we still act shocked at how fat we feel by New Year’s Day. Did we really eat that much?

Over the years researchers have found we don’t gain quite as much weight during the Holidays as we once thought, but we do gain some weight. I feel like I already gained 10lbs just from Thanksgiving alone. There’s no wonder we end the season feeling like a fat Santa.

First, our bellies stay stuffed. Family and social gatherings are always centered on enormous feasts, making overeating a trend of the season. It’s as if we’ll never be able to eat again. Interestingly enough, no matter how disgusting or fat we feel after pigging out we often repeat our actions the very next day.

Another reason we gain weight is because we snack more. Between large feasts and fancy parties are delicious sweets. Chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, fruit cake, Christmas cookies – you name it, they are all floating around every office in the country. Of course we’re going to eat it! We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings right?

The next explanation for fattening up over the Holidays is because we drink more calories like eggnog, cider and hot chocolate. Alcoholic beverages replace water. All the sudden you’ve added several hundred calories to your day in just beverages alone.

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Lastly we feel fat because we don’t workout as much. If we could just burn as many calories running errands as we do running miles we’d be set.

Unfortunately we trade workouts for shopping and our neglected muscles begin to feel mushy. In the end we feel like Santa looks – no wonder gyms are so busy each New Year!

So how can we survive the Holidays?

We have to make time to work out so we can “afford” to eat the extras if we want them. Doing more cardio makes room for more calories and lifting weights helps you to feel nice and firm instead of fat and flabby.

The Holidays are hard for all of us. As my grandmother once said, “you can’t always change your circumstances, but you can change how you respond to circumstances and that’s what counts.”

Average Calories in Popular Christmas Treats:

  • Chocolate Fudge with nuts: 472 calories (1 serving)
  • Pumpkin Pie: 340 calories (1 slice)
  • Pecan Pie: 503 calories (1 slice)
  • One Brownie: 242 calories, (2” square)
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels: 190 (13 pretzels)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie: 210 (1 cookie)
  • Eggnog (non-alcoholic): 343 calories (1 cup)
  • Apple Cider: 130 calorie (1 cup)
  • Nestle Hot Cocoa: 112 calories (1 packet)

Approximate Calories Burned During Activity: (calories vary per individual)

  • Walking: 135 calories per hour
  • Walking for exercise: 230 calories per hour
  • Power Walking: 400 calories per hour
  • Jogging: 600 calories per hour
  • Yoga: 240 calories per hour
  • Aerobics: 400 calories per hour
  • Spinning: 440 calories per hour

bonniefit.jpgBonnie Pfiester is a Personal Trainer, wife to the famous fitness trainer Steve Pfiester of the reality TV show “Fat March”, and owner of the women’s health club Longevity Fitness.

You can enjoy more of Bonnie’s fitness and beauty articles at www.BonniePfiester.com or here at the kitchen table by visiting the Bonnie Pfiester page.

You are invited to leave your fitness and sports nutrition questions in the comments below for Bonnie to briefly answer or write about in future articles.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

21 Free Preventative Medicine Habits!

Doctor#1 Laugh- When we laugh we release endorphins that make us feel good. These endorphins reduce pain and stress. Stress is a common cause of chronic disease.

Maybe you just lost a ton of money in the stock market and don’t feel like laughing a whole lot about it, but can’t you just muster up a deep dark cynical laugh about it? Good. Now that is a start!

Remember, things can always be worse, and we may not have a whole lot of control over them. But, we can always control our attitudes.

Now, go find some other things that are funny. Make your self laugh each and everyday, laugh at your friend’s silly jokes and make up a few of your own. Play some harmless pranks on your coworkers. “Laughter is the best medicine” for a reason. Now is the time to turn off the news and turn on your favorite comedy show. Laughs are free! Go get ‘em.

#2 Get Sunshine-
Why buy vitamins and when you can get them for free? Twenty minutes of sunshine on our hands and face each and every day gives us the needed RDA of vitamin D. Sunshine also boosts our serotonin levels and makes us happy. In order to optimally benefit from “nature’s Prozac” you need to be under the blue sky for 15 minutes, or an hour under a cloudy sky.

#3 Drink Water- Water is free for the most part, delicious, energizing, and prevents horribly uncomfortable conditions like bladder infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. Water also cuts our appetite and helps us feel satisfied. When most people feel hungry, they actually are feeling thirsty. Water immediately rewards you by detoxing your system, and plumping up your cells so you don’t look old and saggy. Drink plenty of water in between meals and shoot for about sixty to eighty ounces of water per day (depending on your size and activity level) to prevent disease.

#4 Sleep- Most Americans don’t get enough of it. Your system restores itself while you are sleeping. Detox and cellular repair occur at an increased rate while you are sleeping. Your immune system also works best while you are asleep, thus you are less likely to be plagued by colds and flu’s when adequately rested. Sleep is free to nearly everyone but med students and the parents of small children. Try going to bed an hour earlier each night if you can. In order to have the energy to exercise, eat right, and be your best—you need to be well rested.

#5 Give Hugs-The price of a hug is free and the benefits are countless. Hugs reduce stress, build community, and nurture both young and old alike. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” Make it a habit to give out twelve hugs a day, even if they are to your self. Everybody needs a hug right now.

#6 Cut back on activities- Chances are you are doing way too much right now. Cutting back on activities and obligations may not only save you money, but save your life by reducing stress and lowering your risk of being in an accident from needless rushing around. Accidents are the leading cause of death in younger age groups. A few minutes less of rushing each day may save your life.

#7 Meditate-Taking five minutes to breathe, ground your energy to the earth, and release your mind of all thoughts is completely free and is a simple way to ensure your day gets off to a good start. Try “Five Minutes to Zen” if you are new to meditating.

#8 Eat Less-If you are overweight, you are eating too much, or too much of the wrong kinds of foods. Switch to a whole foods diet and eat slowly and until you are full. Overeating is ridiculously expensive and costs you much more than just the rising cost of food. Overeating can cost you your health!

#9 Pet your Pet- Well known for lowering both blood pressure and anxiety, interacting with animals is a great way to get you calmed down. Pets are great stress busters, and also serve as free entertainment. Take your dog to a dog park for a free fun relaxing time.

#10 Breathe- Air is still free last time I checked. You cannot be properly energized without sufficient oxygen. Sit up straight and breathe in and out deeply while watching your belly rise and fall. To further release stress try an activity called “Square Breathing”. If stress is killing you slowly, it is time to start breathing.

#11 Phone a Friend- Talking for the most part is free, and talking about our stressors has been shown to be a key feature in various longevity studies. Now is the time to reach out towards others, you are not the only one with problems. Being a friend for someone else and giving of yourself is also a great way to reduce stress. Studies show that those surrounded by a community live longer than those who don’t. Stay connected.

#12 Exercise- Consistently shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, improve well being, attitude and sleep, think of exercise as the hammer and nails in your preventative medicine toolbox. Exercise is the simplest inexpensive way to build your health. You don’t need a fancy gym membership to exercise. Just establish a basic routine of yoga and calisthenics and do them in the same order every day for at least twenty minutes. Then, go out and run, walk, bike, rollerblade, swim or organize a fun neighborhood game of football, basketball, soccer, or tag to burn up some calories.

#13 Play with Children-Engaging your creative mind will help you blow off stress. Most of us are stuck in our analytical left hemispheres all day. Let your creativity loose and take a visit to the right side of your brain. How about an arts and craft project? Research shows that craft products such as knitting reduce stress.

#14 Stretch-With age we lose both muscle mass and flexibility. You can easily sneak in 15 minutes of stretching at the office, in front of the television, or after your workout. At the very least: roll your neck, and stretch your pecs and quads–the muscles that get tight from sitting all day.

#15 Lift Weights-Weight bearing exercise is shown to be MORE effective in treating osteoporosis than the most popular pharmaceutical medications used to treat osteoporosis. So why is everyone on a bisphosphonate you may wonder? Because most people don’t want to take the time to do the work. You can prevent painful fractures in your spine that will occur inevitably from osteoporosis by engaging NOW in daily weight bearing exercise. Try using hand weights when doing lunges, squats, triceps and biceps curls. Push ups and pull ups are also super for driving calcium back in to the bone matrix.

#16 Quit Smoking- Let’s face it. Smoking causes death. Smoking is a leading cause of death. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to PREVENT not just lung cancer, but mouth cancer, lip cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, pancreatic cancer, emphysema, arthritis, heart disease, and every other form of chronic illness. Smoking causes inflammation in the body which is just like throwing gasoline on the chronic illness inflammatory fire. Quit smoking now to save money today, and save your life tomorrow.

#17 Wear your Seat Belt and Helmet-Okay you may not need to do both of these at all times, but the leading cause of death in children and young adults is accidents. It takes you only a second or two to buckle up. That second could save your life. Buckling up is free. Do it.

#18 Write it Down- Freaking out about the economy? Not sure where your next groceries are coming from? Don’t know how you will fill up your car with gas to drive the next car pool? Worried that you are going to lose your house? Just let go from your job? Stressed out of your mind? Write all your worries down in to your journal. Now close the journal, and walk away, leaving your worries in the journal.

Purging yourself of your worries is therapeutic and reduces stress. Use your journal to move through the worry, don’t dwell on it. Dwelling on your worries does not facilitate any transformation processes, it just keeps you stagnant in your stress. Some worry is good. Chronic worrying means chronic stress. Chronic stress means chronic disease.

#19 Wash your Hands- With the cold and flu season upon us, the most important thing we can do to prevent illness is wash our hands. Always wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, before touching your face, after sneezing and coughing, and after using a coworkers office space.

#20 Pray- A strong spiritual connection is always the key to surviving hard times. Researchers have found that chronically ill patients actually benefit from the prayers of others, even when they didn’t know others were praying for them! Whether you are praying for someone else, or praying for yourself, you are trusting Life and trusting God. Regardless of your religious standpoint, it is inarguable that prayer reduces stress for those that believe.

#21 Commit Kindness- Kindness is free, and is the purported driving force that “keeps the world going ’round”. Everyone needs kindness right now. Be kind to yourself, be kind to your family, your coworkers, your colleagues, your friends. Be kind to strangers, to telemarketers, to bill collectors, be kind to the homeless, to children, to adults in need, to pets, be kind to everyone that you encounter whether they deserve it or not.

Now is the BEST time to “Commit random acts of kindles and senseless beauty”. You may have problems, but are they an emergency or an inconvenience? Chances are they are just an inconvenience. Now is the time to reach out not retract in.

Now is certainly not the time to let your health fall apart, frankly none of us can afford it. Instead, follow as many of these simple and free preventative medicine tips to insure that you don’t miss any days of work. Stay positive to prevent stress from facilitating the formation of a chronic disease in your body. During these tough times when many do not have medical insurance, we all need to stay as strong and happy and healthy as possible.

Feel free to forward on these simple tips to anyone else that may benefit.

Reference: http://KitchenTableMedicine.com

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table! Feel free to subscribe, leave comments, or ask me any questions about preventative medicine.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Make Your Exercise Time Count in 3 Simple Steps

By Bonnie Pfiester, Fitness Trainer

Diet and exercise are not hard but take time. Unfortunately time is not something most people have a lot of.

Ironically, people end up wasting a lot of time because they don’t manage their time wisely.

They spend too much time doing one thing, not enough time doing important things or wasting time doing anything and everything but the right thing. When people feel as though their effort does not match their results, they give up.

I want to encourage you! Here are 3 simple steps to help you make the most of your time.

1. Take more time to eat less. You look like what you eat more than you look like what you do. The catch is eating right takes time. The whole process starts with grocery shopping. If you don’t shop well, you can’t expect to eat well. Then you have to prepare the food and do whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy food with you at all times. Packing lunches and snacks are a vital part of avoiding temptation.

Paying closer attention to calories and portion sizes will also require some time but the payoff is tremendous.

2. Take less time to exercise more. Many people invest a lot of time in what they would call exercise, but is often just increased activity. Although activity is good for your health, it’s not as effective for weight loss.

Many people are just going through the motions and wasting a lot of time doing minimal effort. Really burn some calories by turning a long morning stroll into a purposeful power walk. If you do weights, train at a higher intensity with less rest in between.

You don’t have to spend three hours at the gym everyday. Commit to one powerful hour three to five days a week and make every minute count! The more quality time you invest, the greater the reward.

3. Take the time to make sure you are not wasting time. This is a biggie. People spend a lot of time and energy on things that don’t work. Fad diets, weight loss gimmicks, books and fitness magazines often lead you to believe weight loss can be easy. It’s our human nature to try the easy way first. In the end, we just waste a lot of time trying to avoid the inevitable. Other people struggle because they completely go it alone with no guidance at all.

A person who is basically guessing their way through their fitness program is doomed for failure. Don’t waste your time floundering around aimlessly. Invest a little time initially to be properly guided. Hire a professional if you need to. Diet and fitness does work.

If you take time to understand why and how it works, you’ll be a lot more motivated to apply it to your own life.

~Bonnie 
www.LongevityClubs.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

10 Self Coaching Fundamentals

PhotobucketBy Tim Brownson

Author of Don’t Ask Stupid Questions – There Are No Stupid Questions

I was talking to somebody the other day about fluff. I’m not referring to the stuff that finds its way into your belly button, but book fluff or filler. I could easily distill several of the seminal self-development books into a few paragraphs if I was so inclined.

The thing is though, nobody spends $20 on one piece of mass produced paper no matter what words of wisdom are printed on it. So writers have to bulk their books out to deliver perceived value and get people to hand over their hard earned cash.

I’ve decided to unbulk the coaching process and invent a new word into the bargain. Here are ten tips that if you follow will guarantee an improvement in the quality of your life, or I’ll give you your money back.

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#1 Align With Your Values

Unless you know what your core values are you will struggle with blocks in your life. All your decisions are based around your values and what you consider imperative to your life.

For example, if you have a number one value of integrity and work for a business that rips off its customers (even if you are not involved in the actual process) then you will feel uncomfortable either consciously or unconsciously.

There are also away from values, things that you move away from at all costs and again you should know what these are as they can frequently be the reason why you just can’t follow through with somethings no matter how hard you try.

#2 Happiness is Internal

Yeh, yeh, yeh, I know, it’s a cliché. I don’t care though because it’s true. Chase money, possessions, titles as much as you want, but realize that they wont bring you happiness. You already have that if you can be bothered to dig around and look for it. Being in complete alignment with your values will help you find happiness.

#3 Beliefs Aren’t Real

Your belief system is something that you’ve built up over your life. It comes from your parents, your friends, your colleagues and many other sources. It is evolving and changing all the time.

You probably believe in the tooth fairy, but somebody told me only last week, she really doesn’t exist. Disappointing though that is, especially as I have been stock piling my new puppies teeth for a big payday, we just have to accept reality and change the belief.

What false beliefs about your abilities are you holding onto that are holding you back? When you know they are, undermine them, look for counter examples and replace them with more empowering beliefs. After all, if you think you can, you probably can.

#4 The Map Is Not The Territory

This is a presupposition of NLP and critical to understanding and making changes. Just because you view something one way doesn’t make it so. Everybody has his or her own map and theirs is just as accurate as yours. Adopting that one belief will remove conflict from your life.

#5 Use Perceptual Positions

If in moments of introspection you can take a step back and view your life or any given situation from a watchers point of view you will often see things that you can’t see from your angle. It can also be useful to take the 2nd person position, which involves seeing you through the eyes of the person you are talking to or involved with. Most people resist this especially when coming under attack, be different.

#6 Write it Down

Whether it is goals or simply ideas you have on trying to improve your life put them on paper. The sheer act of writing something down sends a message to the unconscious mind that you are serious about what you are doing that it need to get to work on bridging the gap between where you are now and where you want to go.

#7 Every Action has a Positive Intention

This is another NLP presupposition. Even when you do what sometimes seem like ridiculous things there is always a positive intent behind it. It may take some digging to get to it but it is there.

Taking smoking as an example. It can seem self-destructive and often smokers that want to quit will refuse to see the benefits, but they are there. By accepting that your actions are not there to harm you (even self-harm fits into this category) you are infinitely more likely to be able to make changes

#8 Model

If you are unsure how to do something copy somebody that is proficient. This is how children learn to speak and it is how we get good at something quickly. Too many people are frightened of asking for help because they think it makes them look weak. In my not so humble opinion, not asking for help makes you look stupid.

#9 Make Mistakes

Mistakes are feedback, they are nature’s way of telling us we need to adjust to take stock and reconsider. They do not mean we are failure as a person just that we failed at a task. Relish mistakes, hug them, caress them and thank them for dropping by because they are helping you to learn.

#10 Be Kind To Yourself

This is so important to get a handle on. There really is no need EVER to beat yourself up, be kind to yourself like you would a loved one. We all make mistakes, even the super successful make mistakes, try and learn from them and move on. Too many people seem to be great at beating themselves up and terrible at praising themselves. Give yourself some credit from time to time, you deserve it!

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Tim Brownson is a UK qualified Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and certified Hypnotherapist and author of Don’t Ask Stupid Questions – There Are No Stupid Questions.

He coaches both face-to-face in Orlando and over the telephone with clients all over the United States, Canada and ‘back home’ in the UK.

Subscribe to Tim’s free life coaching blog, and stop by his bookstore for more life coaching motivation.

Related Reading:

What is a Life Coach?
How to Quit Smoking
How to Transform Fear

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

How are you Voting for your Health?

Call me old fashioned but I refuse to vote by absentee ballot. I just love Election Day, and to me there is something really special about driving to the same elementary school year after year and filling out my ballot alongside everyone else in my community. There is that certain spirit in the air. That friendly neighborhood free cookie and coffee hour that can’t quite be replicated anywhere else. “Does my vote really make a difference?” I always wonder to myself as I look around the crowded room.

It certainly does to me.

Election time is about much more than voting for the lesser of two evils, it is about taking the time to educate ourselves about the issues.

As I carefully went through my voter’s ballot one last time, I realized, “wow voting is just like making healthy decisions!” Voting can be simple, and voting can be tough. There is that clear section in your voter’s pamphlet that you quickly breeze through, and then there are those decisions that you still aren’t certain about after never ending research and reading. What does this issue even mean? Do I need to hire an attorney to translate this legal gibberish? You may be left even at the last minute to deliberate over what is right and what is wrong.

Whether my vote is actually counted or not, I am left that much more educated as I submit my passionately researched opinions on how this world should be –in to the giant garbage can er…ballot counter.

We are truly blessed in our country to at least be given choices, even if they aren’t the best choices, they nevertheless are still choices. The freedom of choice is what makes America the amazing country that it is. Your choice may not always make the difference in America, but it does make a difference in you.

One thing that always ticks me off year after election year though is the blanket statement “everyone should vote.”

Do you really think everyone should vote? Sometimes I think that people should be forced to take a basic test on the issues and pass it before they can vote. Now I am not saying this to offend people that can’t read. Really, you shouldn’t have to even know how to read in order to vote, illiterate people can and should still be allowed to vote—as long as they are educated on what they are voting about!

What happens when we don’t educate ourselves on the issues and just go blindly vote? Does the thought of hundreds of thousands of uneducated voters making decisions about our government terrify anyone else?

One uneducated vote is actually enough to throw off an entire election.

In this year’s presidential election the “vote was rocked” by all the previously apathetic people that never really cared enough to go out and vote. That is what made the difference. That is what got the underdog in to office. That is what has created a great deal of hope that, “change is coming”, “that race is not an issue”, “that the average person can be president” (well George W. already demonstrated that) and that MLKJ’s dream that “people are not judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character,” has alas come true. At least the majority of the American population is now looking at character and not color. We are progressing!

The votes of the previously apathetic are what has made American history. In all reality that is more amazing than the first African American being elected to office. Apathy is a far bigger problem than prejudice these days. Of course there are still and will always still be ignorance around race, but we have an entire Generation of “X”ers that don’t care about anything except video games and Sex in the City. Young people everywhere are starting to take pride in their country, starting to see that “this is MY country too.” People in Seattle have been dancing in the streets, making eye contact, and some strangers have even been caught making polite small talk despite the start of the nine month rainy season.

Regardless of your party preferences, I think we can all agree that the choice to vote is a right that many Americans take for granted. You shouldn’t just go blindly vote, it is important to educate yourself on the issues at hand, the pros, the cons, and then to support things moving in a positive direction.

Every day, everywhere you go, you are given a choice. You are given an opportunity to vote for your health. Sometimes the choices aren’t that great like “do you want fries with that?” or “diet coke or regular coke” or “pumpkin pie vs mince meat pie” and “sugar or something made from sugar?” But nevertheless they are choices that we should still attempt to think about.

Is Barack Obama right? Is change really coming? Only you can decide.

It’s the synergy of these little daily choices that build us up; or stack up as obstacles in our path.

In naturopathic medicine one of our main nature cure healing principles is to “remove the obstacles to cure”. The body wants to heal. The body wants to repair. It is the intrinsic nature of the body to constantly heal and repair, but the body also requires the right tools, the foundation has to be properly set, and obstacles must be removed from the path of “The Healing Power of Nature” or “The Vis Medicatrix Naturae” or “The Vis” as most naturopaths fondly refer to it. “The Vis is strong in this one,” you can go around joking to all your healthy friends if you want to be nerdy like me.

Obstacles to healing typically come from our unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices. All the white refined food garbage we eat, stagnation, negative thinking, unhealthy relationships, drugs, alcohol, smoking, etc, etc…nag, nag, nag…these are all the roadblocks to healing.

Sometimes the right choices are crystal clear. Everyone knows drugs are bad. Everyone knows smoking kills. Everyone knows 1-2 glasses of wine a day not the whole bottle, right? But when it comes to our diet things can be a bit trickier. We usually are left picking between what appears to be the lesser of two evils. So what would you vote for:

High Fructose Corn Syrup or Aspartame?

Wow!!! Did I really just vote for High Fructose Corn Syrup? Well, I was left no choice when it went head to head with aspartame. *sigh*

Which is the lesser of the two evils? High fructose corn syrup as noted in Dr. Scott Olson’s amazing book about sugar addiction, “Sugarettes” is linked to obesity, diabetes, aging to our arteries, and hypoglycemia. Whereas aspartame, is guilty of causing a “cephalic response” which leads to obesity and weight gain. In the cephalic response the brain is tricked by the sweet taste of aspartame and then tells the pancreas to secrete insulin, despite normal levels of glucose. This insulin dump causes low blood sugar or “hypoglycemia” which makes you hungry, and ultimately leads to being overweight.

Is aspartame not the biggest joke in health “care”? The man made garbage you are drinking to lose weight is making you fat? Yikes the issues can be deceiving, and just like in politics, the government refuses to acknowledge this conundrum, while both the FDA and American Diabetic Association also refuse to acknowledge that sugar causes diabetes (type II) and weight gain. (Source: OlsonND)

Yet another reason that politics mirror health care—you don’t always agree with the government!

Do you trust the government? Do you believe every single bit they tell you? Whether you do or you don’t the correct answer is “you shouldn’t always.” The government has to keep prison and school caffeteria programs funded so the average American best not base their “optimal daily allowance” off what the government says. I think the RDA should be called the MDA for “Minimal Daily Allowance”. The government also only cares about the collective and not the individual. There is no “NDA” (Nicole’s Daily Allowance).

So—now that you have been educated on aspartame vs high fructose corn syrup, do you still want to vote for aspartame? My guess is “no” if you are trying to use aspartame as a weight loss aid.

“Well Dr. Nicole, sugar makes people fat too, and high fructose corn syrup is converted by the liver to fat–all biochemists know that fructose is typically converted in the liver to fat,” you may argue.

Which I would then deliberate back that aspartame has MORE consumer related complaints than any other man made substance we consume. Frankly I don’t even have all day to rattle off the ever-growing list of skin rashes, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, mood disorders, so forth and so on that consumers are reporting to the FDA. Thus I am left to make an ugly vote for high fructose corn syrup.

Rarely in health just like in politics, are we ever given a win-win situation to deliberate over like “soup or salad?” You can’t fail on that choice, unless the soup is a rich fatty cream base with chunks of sausage, or the salad is a lifeless sad case of iceberg lettuce and Thousand Island dressing.

My point with this rambling about voting for our health is that every single day, every place you go you are given the power of choice. Exercise that power with extreme privilege. Educate yourself on the issues. Read one new health tip every single day. Create a new whole foods recipe each day. Our day to day choices do in fact have influence not just on us but on our environment and those around us.

We live in a country where we have the constitutional right to choices, and many of us are not exercising these rights when it comes to our health. It may initially be overwhelming to think about all the diet choices we have to make, but in the end it all boils down to the same thing whether you are voting for a candidate or voting for your health—education. Educate yourself on the issues and then make your decisions based off your values, based off what works for YOU.

The more you educate yourself on the things you choose to put in your body the healthier you will inevitably become. We truly “are what we eat,” and the tritest expression in nutrition should be the motivator behind all your health decisions. What are your values? Who do you really really really want to be? Fat or thin? Healthy or unhealthy? Organic or Polluted? Positive or negative? Fit or fat? Selfish or contributory? Environmental or Apathetic? Believer or Non-believer? Who do you want to be?

You are invited to decide that today.

If you want to prevent disease, if you want to be healthy, if you want to teach your children by example; if you want to be that positive person and most importantly if you want to inspire the people around you by the choices you make—the bigger “votes” although initially tough—become that much simpler.

Hmmm…that gym membership is suddenly worth it, that home cooked meal at the kitchen table is suddenly worth the extra effort rather than just another night of drive through dining. Reading your child a book before bed suddenly becomes a million times more special than drinking a fat glass of wine in front of the television. Maybe that extra 20 cents for that organic apple really isn’t that bad after all when we decided to vote with our consumer dollars against pesticides being allowed to poison our environment and our children, and our children’s environment. Your consumer dollars are always voting too.

It all boils down to living by your values.

What is it that you really value? Life coach and author, Tim Brownson is constantly nagging me…er…um…I mean… he is always INSPIRING me to consider my values, and some of the healthy or environmental things I have previously been in a naturopathic rebellion against have more easily slid into place.

Anyone that has been chronically ill—that has been so sick that they have seen death’s door and made it back again knows the value of their health. If you have visited death’s door you do not take your health for granted. You realize you were given a second chance, you were given life. You choose life and you choose everything that supports the existence of your life. Unfortunately those of us that have not been forced to pay that visit to death’s door, have no clue what the true value is in our health. We may never fully understand until it is too late.

As a result, our health is always a value that will get cast aside with apathy. And apathy is the biggest war we have to wage for this century.

Whether you are traveling, visiting a friend, dining out, or eating at your kitchen table–you are always given choices. Get political, vote for the lesser of the two evils. Use your money as your ballots. That is exactly what keeps us always moving in a healthier direction. That is how we save the environment and ourselves. That is how we prevent disease. One day at a time, one choice at a time.

One healthy vote at a time.

Ha- you thought Election Day was over now did you? Sorry I can’t let you off the hook that easy, voting season has just begun. Now get out there and make your votes count!

“Progress not perfection.”

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table.

~Dr. Nicole Sundene

Related Reading: 45 Years to American Health Care

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Fitness: How to Get Motivated!

October 27, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Exercise, Kitchen Sink, Motivation

Do you ever fall off the wagon with your exercise routine?

Do you feel like you should be exercising but just don’t have the motivation to get started? If so–this post is for you. I chose one of the most MOTIVATING people in fitness to interview, Kelly Olexa the author of “Aim High”.

The following are Kelly’s best tips on starting a new fitness program, staying motivated with your current fitness program, as well as her best exercise tips and tricks!

I hope Kelly’s infectious enthusiasm will be the cure for stagnation across the nation. Read this and then GET MOVING PEOPLE!

Kelly, what are the best ways to motivate someone in to starting a new exercise routine?

To motivate someone to start a new exercise routine, it is critical to first create the right mindset and establish your goal. To do this, one can consider three questions:

#1 If I knew I could not fail, what would I change about my body?

#2 Doing what I am currently doing (eating the way I do, exercising the way I do), will I achieve that goal?

#3 If not, am I willing to do whatever it takes to reach that goal, knowing that if I do the work, I WILL SUCCEED? Once you have that mindset, once you see what you really want, then you develop an Action Plan that maps out how you will achieve the desired results. Taking that “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” and breaking it down into “bite-sized” pieces can be very motivating in itself – because it is easier to see yourself walking down the block first, as opposed to running a marathon. BELIEF in yourself and your capability to achieve your goals is likely the most critical predictor of success.

What keeps you motivated to exercise?

Continually keeping my eye on my goal is what keeps me motivated. To do that, I must continually “feed my brain” with reminders of my goal; whether I focus on pictures of a physique I aspire to, stay actively engaged with other like-minded individuals, read motivating books, watch inspiring movies, etc. If you don’t continually re-focus on your vision, you can lose sight of the goal altogether.

When did you become interested in fitness?

I honestly first became interested in fitness after seeing the movie “Truth or Dare” with Madonna. Seeing her chiseled physique, I knew that THAT was what I wanted to achieve.

Describe your typical work out week:

It has been a continual evolution, but presently I train 6x a week, about 2 hours a day. I weight train first for an hour followed by cardio for fat loss. The cardio is alternated by HIIT one day, then slower steady cardio the next and so on.

What are the 5 simplest fitness tips for busy people to work in to their day:

In this day and age, we are ALL busy. Whether you work or not, have kids or not – that is irrelevant. These are FACTORS to consider, yes, but not EXCUSES to bail out. There is a wealth of information available and myriad different workout programs anyone can follow. They do NOT require a huge investment in time. If you have DESIRE, DEDICATION AND FOCUS, you can do it. So, my 5 tips for busy people:

#1 Set aside one day a week to pre-cook healthy food. Make enough for a week and store in containers for easy packing. PACK YOUR LUNCH. This will save you time and money.
#2 If at all possible, squeeze in your workout in the morning or on your lunch break. It is very easy to be run down and tired at the end of the day. I’ve switched my routine to lunchtime workouts and it made a huge difference!
#3 Squeeze in activity everywhere; take the stairs, park your car farther out, take 4 10-minute breaks a day and do some simple bodyweight moves in your office. It’s easy and it all adds up!
#4 Drink water all day. As you chug the water, you will FEEL healthier and you’ll be WALKING to the restroom more!!
#5 If you watch TV EVER, that is time you could dedicate to working out. If you really want to watch TV and haven’t worked out, do some situps/pushups during the commercials.

What motivated you to start your fitness blog, “Aim High”?

I had been working out on my own and wanted to take things to the next level. I’d been reading other fitness blogs and found myself learning much from them. But mostly, I started my blog for ACCOUNTABILITY. I thought, even if just my good friend Sherry is reading this, who cares? The “world” can see that I am saying this is what I am aiming for, and that accountability is a HUGE HELP!!

If you had only 20 minutes to exercise every day…what would you do?

This is easy. I would do a Circuit Style workout (like Red Carpet Ready or Turbulence Training) which combines weight training and, because you move so fast and don’t stop, you elevate the heart rate and get in a great cardio workout also!

What is your best tip for staying motivated with your exercise routine? Accountability & Support.

For me, when I started my blog, it opened up a whole new world of like minded friends and a SUPPORT network of men and women that constantly encourage me and build me up. A MUST HAVE!!!!

Thanks for your wonderful tips Kelly! If you would like to contact Kelly for private coaching or follow Kelly’s day to day work out routine and diet to keep motivated simply visit her at KellyOlexa.com.

Read more exercise articles.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

What is a Life Coach?

September 9, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Guest Posts, Kitchen Sink, Motivation

If you struggle with making the diet and lifestyle improvements I recommend here at Kitchen Table Medicine, then you may may need some additional coaching.

One way to get the ball rolling is with a life coach. After working in patient care for eight years, I decided that only about 10-15% of us are able to make immediate permanent diet or lifestyle changes (I wish I fell in this group, but I don’t).

The rest of us struggle, fail repeatedly, fall off the wagon, completely give up, look for ways to cheat the system, or never even bother to try at all.

In order to best understand how life coaching may help make the needed changes to prevent disease and improve health, I decided to interview my favorite life coach, Tim Brownson, author of a fabulous little book I am reading right now called “Don’t Ask Stupid Questions-There are No Stupid Questions.”

What is a life coach?

There are a number of different types of life coach, but in essence it is somebody that helps their clients get from where they are now to where they want to be. The big differential between a life coach and say a counselor or psychotherapist is that a life coach looks to the future and doesn’t spend too long digging around in the past.

Coaches are much more goal oriented and also have an inherent belief that the client always has the requisite tools to achieve what it is they want to achieve, they just sometimes need help finding them.

A coach can also help people with accountability. I do a lot of work with people that work for themselves and have no boss to report into. They like having a coach to help keep them on track and to report into.

Why should someone hire a life coach?

If they want to see improvements in their life. Anybody really that wants help fulfilling their potential, setting and achieving goals and just feeling better about themselves can benefit from hiring a coach.

Personally, I also do a lot of intervention work which involves showing people alternate and more empowering ways to look at things and help them change their thinking patterns to be more empowering.

Who needs a life coach?

I think anybody can benefit from a life coach and that’s why some of the really super-successful in society employ coaches. Everybody knows athletes use coaches, but people are often surprised when I tell them that so do Politicians, Captains of Industry, Entrepreneurs, TV celebrities etc.

Who ‘needs’ one is another matter though because defining what somebody ‘needs’ from their life is an individual thing.

What made you decide to become a life coach?

I initially trained because I wanted the skills to use on myself. I had done a diploma on stress management and found it next to useless as I was still stressed senseless, so I took a look at coaching. When I started the training I absolutely loved it and everything just fell into place and from then on in I knew that I was leaving sales.

What is the most common advice you find yourself giving?

I’m not sure if it is one specific piece of advice as such. The one thing that I do with almost every client though is to help her understand her values. In 4 years I have only once had a client that knew accurately what her values were, and that was because she’d been on a Tony Robbins course and done a lot of work round them.

Values are who we are and if we don’t know what are values are and how to live in alignment with them, then we’re destined to live a life of mediocrity and unfulfilled potential. Some people naturally fall into line with them, but most people don’t, or at least that’s how it seems to me.

What is Neurolinguistic Programming?

NLP is probably so misunderstood that I’m really glad you asked me this. I once lost a client when somebody told him that NLP was like Scientology and I had another tell me they thought it was a form of brain washing. I’m just waiting for the first person to tell me I’m the spawn of the Devil. Of course I may very well be the spawn of the devil, but it has nothing to do with NLP.

NLP is a blanket term that covers a number of different skills, techniques and processes designed to help people make rapid change. I actually don’t use some of the better-known techniques like anchoring and the fast phobia cure very often, but I do use the language patterns a lot.

Both the Meta Model of language that looks at specificity of language in a therapeutic setting, and the Milton Model, which looks at artfully vague language, are very useful.

The Milton Model was based on the work of the brilliant hypnotherapist Milton H Erickson and is fascinating because speechwriters use it so often. It allows speakers to say little of genuine meaning so the recipient can apply their own interpretation to what’s being said. The classic use is for horoscope writers, but politicians and preachers also rely on it heavily. In fact some of the really brilliant preachers like Joel Osteen use lots of NLP. Whether intentionally or not (and my suspicion is that it is very intentional), they still use it to manipulate, er, I mean persuade people.

I also do a lot of reframing with clients and that it something that came out of the work of Bandler and Grinder the co-developers of NLP. Reframing is brilliant for helping people feel better about potentially negative situations. There’s a lot more to NLP and I would encourage anybody that’s interested to do some serious research.

Can you send us off with a free life coaching tip?

If a client tells me they don’t know the answer to something, I’ll often ask them “If you did know, what would the it be?” A ridiculous question, but a brilliant one too that I can’t take credit for devising. It usually gets them to shift their thinking and 80% of the time I then get an answer that moves us forward.

If you have any other questions about life coaching you can leave them in the comments here for Tim to briefly answer, or submit them to his website over at www.adaringadventure.com for his weekly “Ask the Coach” feature.

Thanks Tim for being our expert guest this week at the kitchen table!

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

I Have a Dream: 45 Years to American Health Care

It was 45 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech.

You can watch the full video here.

What I ultimately find so inspiring about this historic speech, is how one single speech continues to resonate with so many of us.

“Let Freedom Ring” continues to ring and ripple changes through America still 45 years later.

Dr. King changed how Americans think and act.

He not only changed how human beings treat each other, but more importantly, in my opinion, he changed how human beings allow themselves to be treated by others.

Dr. King most importantly empowered Americans to stick to the constitutional rights that this country was founded on; that all human beings should be treated equally.

“I have a dream that one day this nation

will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident,

that all men are created equal.’”

Forty five years later, on this very same day, an African American accepted the very first presidential nomination in America. As highlighted in an article at the Sun, “King was the first black man who was able to rally a large number of people together, just like Obama is, and the message is still the same. Change.”

Change is the take home message from the “Progress not Perfection” mantra I spout off about at Kitchen Table Medicine.

Remember: You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be making progress.

Progress according to Dr. King would be having a black man elected as president, and progress now according to Barack Obama is, “no longer being dependent on the Middle East for oil within the next ten years.” A goal that sounds lofty and near impossible, but we also know that just about anything is possible. Are all the promises that our presidential candidates make going to come to light? Not likely, but many of them are still possible. They are still important goals to work towards nevertheless.

Maybe the world today isn’t exactly as Dr. King envisioned in his dream just yet. But, we still have seen improvement. Maybe in another 45 years racism will be completely “out of style” once and for all. But, again a lofty goal as we fight the inevitable limitations placed by the evil enemy known as human ignorance. Nevertheless, today we can all celebrate that America finally has a presidential candidate nominated for the person that they are, and not the color of their skin.

“I have a dream that my four little children

will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged

by the color of their skin,

but by the content of their character.”

We are reminded by the combination of this historical speech, and today’s election of Obama as the Democratic candidate; that the most important changes, the most lasting changes, happen gradually over time. These changes also require some sort of initial upheaval to get the ball rolling.

I spend a great deal of time worrying about how the ball is rolling for American health care, and I wonder when, if ever there will be some sort of organized upheaval in light of everyone’s complaints.

What will your health be like in 45 years? Does anyone worry about their long term health but me? If so, tell me what does the big picture of your health look like 45 years from now?

I bet my friend Joe, “The Crotchety Old Man” will probably say, “Doc, I’ll be quite thankfully dead in 45 years.”

To which I would sarcastically retort, “Well that is selfish Joe, I still have old age and social security to worry about, I am left to worry about what is happening to the future of Medicare, and prescription drug costs. I have about 45 years left to worry if I will be able to afford nursing homes, walkers, home blood pressure monitors, support hose, copays, hospital visits, and surgeries someday.” All the things that every senior citizen is gravely concerned about today.

Am I the only one in my generation concerned about these things now?

*Looks around terrified*

The health care system will only continue to down spiral if American youth don’t get concerned about it now. The system is already bad enough, and in my opinion gravely disrespectful to our elderly population. Doctors are put in a precarious predicament as they are no longer reimbursed for doing annual physical exams by Medicare, a prime example of disrespect and disservice to our seniors.

Does that make sense to anybody out there, that our health care system would not want to pay for a wellness “check up” for senior citizens?

Family doctors are left to bill these visits creatively now, while simultaneously juggling all the complaints of the average eighty year old person in an average of twenty minutes or less. Your family doc is then reimbursed about $17 bucks for their time on this visit. When I first started working in the system an entire hour was alloted to these visits, now they are scheduled for twenty minutes. Forty if the patient has special needs or needs extra time.

Most senior citizens need more time not less to discuss their health concerns. Trying to accomplish an annual physical and manage multiple complaints in a matter of minutes sounds like a crazy feat that would be dangerous to perform even at a circus, let alone with someone’s life.

But, a circus our American health care system has consequently become. Pure disorganization and dissatisfaction on all ends–pure chaos. But, please do pay your $20 co-pay before entering the center ring.

Trust me, doctors aren’t happy, nurses are miserable, and patients are dissatisfied with an average of seven minutes spent having their health concerns addressed.

What will American health care look like now if we don’t have some sort of independent movement? I plan to be sticking around here still in 45 more years, and unless I go socialist and return to my Swedish roots, I also unfortunately plan to observe the unraveling of the “American Sick Care System” (as former surgeon general, Dr. Jocelyn Elders notoriously refers to it).

Health care will only get worse if doctors don’t insist on more health care dollars spent on PREVENTION and EDUCATION. Doctors need to spend more time with their patients not less. Patients need to be both educated and motivated to PREVENT disease, and should be rewarded for their efforts accordingly.

Until we find the answer to the American health care crisis, the best thing we can do is strive every single day to prevent disease by living more healthfully. Change begins in the mind of the individual. Politicians and everyone else will in time catch up, just like the Civil Rights Movement.

Just make a few healthy decisions each day, and if we all collectively work together, we can make a change in health care. Each of us should work together to do our part and PREVENT disease.

“I have a dream…

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair

a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform

the jangling discords of our nation into a

beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith,

we will be able to work together, to pray together,

to struggle together, to go to jail together,

to stand up for freedom together,

knowing that we will be free one day.”

How can we achieve freedom from any faulty system if we all don’t work together? Health is the ultimate freedom. Freedom from disease. Anyone chronically ill can tell you what an enslaving system illness is. Disease is a most miserable governor. The good news for those of us that are fortunate enough to be healthy, is that in order to prevent disease you really don’t have to do a whole lot. You just have to have a good “batting average”.

In order to be a “key player” in the all American health care game, you simply have to hit at an average of .333 or 33% or once every three times or so consistently.

“So what if you didn’t have a healthy snack, make it a healthy dinner. Well yesterday didn’t go well, tomorrow is a new day. Maybe you can just work out for 10 minutes today instead of the 30 you think you need…” Some of the most common negotiations I frequently make with people to help them see that they don’t have to do everything. They just need to do something.

All the medical system asks, is that you just be a baseball player when it comes to fulfilling your obligations to our health care system. You don’t have to be a fitness trainer, or an Ironman athlete, you don’t even have to exercise or eat right every day to prevent disease. You should, but you don’t really have to when we are analyzing your individual health as part of a collective system. No one expects you to hit a home run every time you go up to bat. Just get on base with your health every so often. Every third time. We collectively need to agree to do our best to prevent disease each and every day, and that commitment starts with the individual, and together, we all just need to “Always march ahead” as Dr. King so wisely suggests.

“And they have come to realize that their freedom

is inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that

we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.”

Collectively, our preventative efforts reduce the amount of medicine that must be dispensed by pharmaceutical companies and paid for by insurance companies. Our collective efforts will combine to decrease doctor visits and hospital stays, prevent diseases that we already know how to prevent, and likely prevent newer diseases that we don’t know an awful lot about. The more disease prevented, the less burden upon our health care system.

Perhaps I am completely out of line here, and perhaps it is ridiculous to examine the parallel struggles of freeing a nation from slavery in comparison to how our unhealthy decisions and habits enslave each and every one of us each and every day as a nation of unhealthy people in a dysfunctional health care system. But, my hopes are just that with enough effort, in time we can reduce the total number of dollars spent annually by health care. We can be freed of the dysfunctional thinking that “some system by our government is going to take care of us”, when we as individuals should be responsible ultimately for our own care. Preventative medicine is the BEST “individualized health care plan” that works pretty well for everyone. It is simply up to you to get the ball rolling.

Currently, we are trapped in a dysfunctional system, a system that is enslaving all of us as a collectively sick, prescription drug over-abusing, over-using system. Instead, let’s just imagine a world full of preventative medicine, a world where America is not the second most unhealthy nation only to Finland. A world where Americans do not spend the most money on treating disease in order to be the second most obese and unhealthy country in the world.

Let’s instead imagine a world that makes more sense. A world where we collectively, and daily stay dedicated to preventing disease as we know it. A world where we all continuously strive to eat whole foods, exercise, meditate, and sleep properly, a world free of needless heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. A world where America sets the example for how everyone else should be. Where America is a world leader, not a disgrace.

The more we work to prevent disease in ourselves, the more health care dollars will be freed towards the incurable, and the more money that will go towards those that truly need it.

After eight years working in health care, my personal prognosis of the system is dismal, and I pessimistically anticipate it to only worsen with time. In my opinion, the only way to improve it is to inspire individuals to make changes within themselves. Stop expecting the government to take care of you and take your health in to your OWN hands.

We all tend to have an easy time wanting to do these little things for the environment. Everywhere you look these days it seems like yet another company is jumping on the “green bandwagon” for whatever reason. We all wash cans, religiously separate our bottles from our paper, drive slower, buy green, think green, take shorter showers, and turn the water off when we brush our teeth. And we do it all for the environment. We do it for the greater good. We do lots of little things every single day that will likely not have much of a significant impact during our lifetime. We similarly need to make these collective preventative medicine efforts for the greater good of our health care system.

These efforts will also more likely provide us with more immediate rewards. When we free one person from sickness and disease, we free the entire health care system of their disease. When we prevent disease in one person, we prevent disease in the entire health care system.

With one last favorite “I Have a Dream Speech” quote we are reminded,

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.

When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words

of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence,

they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men,

would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of

life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Personally, I am not relying on being able to cash a Medicare check in the next 45 years. My fear is that America, at this rate, will yet again show up as bankrupt to its promises.

Taking your health in to your own hands is the ultimate force driving all “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The pursuit of all three of those things is quite eerily dependent on good health.

img_7478.jpg

A world full of preventative medicine is my health care dream.

Don’t rely on cashing that check.

Ok, I will get down from my soap box now. I am no preacher. Just a doctor.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table.

Today’s discussion question is: What healthy things can you do to alleviate the burden from our sick care system?

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Getting “The Big Diagnosis”

doctorfemale.jpgThe only thing worse than giving “The Big Diagnosis”, is getting “The Big Diagnosis”.

Let’s just stop for a moment and think about what it might feel like to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. How would you feel if you were told that “You have cancer and only six months left to live”?

How would that make you feel?

I hate to be so grim, but in order for us to really practice preventative medicine in our diet and lifestyles, we need to think about what we are indeed actually striving to prevent. We need to stay motivated.

What would it be like to suddenly drop over from a heart attack?

How would it feel to find out you have diabetes and have to give yourself a shot of insulin each and every day, with each and every meal for the rest of your life?

What if you had a stroke and woke up and only half of your body continued to work? What if it left you unable to speak? Unable to express yourself, unable to tell your family that you love them?

None of this stuff is fun to think about, but much of it is highly preventable for the most part.

Most younger people defend their bad diet and lifestyle choices with the declaration that “I don’t want to be old someday, so I don’t care if I die in my 50’s or 60’s”.

As much as such thinking may solve the Social Security problem here in America, it certainly is not doing much for our Sickcare System.

First of all, after spending nine years in health care, I just have to say that most people are not so lucky as to be taken out suddenly by a massive heart attack or stroke. These are less common occurrences.

Most preventable diseases tend to have an insidious course. You may not care about your future well being now, but imagine what it would be like to spend your golden years in a wheelchair. To no longer be able to drive your car. To be bed ridden. To feel like a burden on your family. To always be dependent on someone else to go to the bathroom or change your diapers. To be stashed away in some lonely corner of a nursing home with no one to talk to or visit you all day. What will it feel like to lose all your personal freedoms?

We all want to just pleasantly die of a pulmonary embolism in our sleep. That would be ideal.

Unfortunately it is not realistic.

In order to stay inspired to take care of yourself in a preventative manner, I suggest you think of yourself as three individual people. There is the “Today You”, the “Tomorrow You”, and the “Future You”.

Feel free to diagnose me with Multiple Personality Disorder, but in order to work my way through the rigors of medical school I started to refer to myself as “Today Nicole”, “Tomorrow Nicole”, and “Future Nicole”.

Nearly everything I did for eight years was for “Future Nicole”. I had to learn to tune out the wants of “Today Nicole” because otherwise “Tomorrow Nicole” would be left without food in the fridge, money in the bank, or gas in the car.

You see, “Today Nicole” is very lazy and self indulgent; she just wants to do what is best for right now.

Today Nicole doesn’t feel like exercising, she wants to watch TV in her sweat suit and eat McInflammation. Today Nicole wants to cross everything off her “To Do” list and deal with ALL responsibilities tomorrow. Today Nicole wants to bake under the hot summer sun. Today Nicole does not really care about malignant melanoma. Today Nicole hates grocery shopping. Once there, Today Nicole wants to buy frozen pizza and donut holes not fruits and vegetables. Today Nicole thinks it is fun to eat candy and drink Red Bull all day. At the end of a long day, Today Nicole wants to drive straight home and go to bed. Today Nicole is too tired to fill up the car with gas, she will put that burden off on Tomorrow Nicole.

Unfortunately Tomorrow Nicole is destined to become Today Nicole. Tomorrow Nicole is going to have a very bad day because she was forced to stop for gas which made her late for work. Tomorrow Nicole is going to have an irritable work day without breakfast or lunch. Tomorrow Nicole is going to be looking for some sort of unhealthy indulgence to cancel out the ills of her improperly planned day. Do you see how the vicious cycle of immediate gratification perpetuates?

I believe it is all about setting yourself up nice for later. Most everything I do right now is still for “Future Nicole”.

That may sound dismal and boring at first glance, but think about it… You want to avoid getting the “The Big Diagnosis” right? Well, doing so is not only going to set things up nice for later, but it is also going to make you FEEL GOOD today, tomorrow, and the next day. Preventing disease is as simple as taking a little bit of time out of your day to “buy groceries and fill the car with gas”. Preventing disease means having the forethought to eat your fruits and vegetables, drink pure clean water, order green tea instead of coffee, make the healthiest choice available, cut out fast food when possible, go to bed at a decent hour, keep a positive mental attitude, find abundant joy in the simple little things, and get some form of exercise each and every day.

The more we think about these things, the more they become a habit. Healthy habits form a healthy lifestyle. That lifestyle is the foundation to your future health. All you have to worry about are the little things. The rest is in God’s hands.

Certain genetics and environmental influences may occasionally confound our efforts to prevent disease. However, if or when I get “The Big Diagnosis” I want to at least be able to tell myself “You know what self? Well at least we did everything we could to prevent this from happening. Perhaps all our efforts even prolonged this from happening, or prevented additional suffering. Maybe all our efforts with diet and lifestyle even squeezed out a few extra golden years.”

Preventative Medicine is tough because we want it all now, with a side of ranch to dip it in. But someday “Today You” will inevitably be “Future You”. Hopefully it is a good day when the two finally meet.

What are your greatest fears around getting “The Big Diagnosis” and what are you doing to prevent them from occurring?

~ Dr. Nicole Sundene

Naturopathic Physician
www.KitchenTableMedicine.com

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Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Cellulite Reduction: The Best Treatments

cellulitecure.jpgBy Bonnie Pfiester, Fitness Trainer.

Someone once asked me if I knew of anything that would help get rid of cellulite.

I am proud to say I do!

My answer isn’t a cream nor is it a complicated surgical procedure. My solution is something that has been around for years – diet and exercise.

Surprised?

You see, I don’t believe the issue is always the lumpy fat we call cellulite, but the problem can be magnified by the result of muscle deterioration. The unfortunate combination can leave skin loose and lumpy.

Let’s look at the facts. Women who do not exercise lose an average of 5 pounds of muscle per decade before menopause and a pound a year thereafter. Since cellulite is more common for women, this causes a couple of problems.

Each pound of lean muscle lost decreases your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight. If you already have a problem with cellulite, the slowing metabolism will only make matters worse. Weight gain causes the cellulite to be more pronounced as the fat cells grow.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the firm muscle that once supported the skin and fat is now shrinking. Lumpy fat cells are growing and smooth firm muscle is withering away. Have I scared you into working out yet?

Let me encourage you. Although diet and exercise may not get rid of all the cellulite in the world, it sure can make a huge difference. A low-calorie diet can reduce and manage overall body fat, affecting the size and visibility of cellulite.

Exercising to preserve or increase lean muscle mass can prevent, and even reverse, a lot of the problems. Building lean muscle not only increases your metabolism to help fight weight gain but it builds firm shapely muscle to support and smooth out our aging skin.

Some may argue, but I have seen too many transformations as a result of diet and exercise that are undeniable proof that it can work. Although diet and exercise may not always get rid of the problem completely, I bet it works ten times better than any cellulite cream on the market!

~Bonnie

Bonnie Pfiester is a Personal Trainer and owner of the health club Longevity Fitness. You can enjoy more of Bonnie’s fitness and beauty articles at www.BonniePfiester.com .

You are invited to leave your fitness and sports nutrition questions in the comments below for Bonnie to briefly answer or write about in future articles.

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Are you suffering from a TERMINAL case of “The I Can’ts”?

icant.jpgI would like to make the official announcement that starting tomorrow I am going to fine anyone that says “I can’t” twenty dollars.

As much as this might be an elaborate scheme to support the “Dr. Nicole Early Retirement Plan” I will absolutely need to retire early if I am forced to continuously battle all the negative and self limiting statements that begin with “I can’t”. Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

What is your ONE thing?

March 31, 2008 by Dr. Nicole Sundene  
Filed under Kitchen Sink, Motivation

by Dr. Nicole Sundene

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Are you tired of feeling like you have to do everything with your health all at once?

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get on a healthy whole foods diet and lifestyle?

Are you sick of feeling sick from a refined foods diet?

Have you tried many things only to fail and try and fail again? Well you aren’t alone. From my experience working with numerous patients, friends, family, and even strangers I encounter–only about 10% of us can quickly let go of an unhealthy behavior and develop a new one.

For nearly everyone else, changes best happen gradually over time as you successfully tackle one health goal at a time.

First I would like to officially welcome you to my blog and say thanks for stopping by my “kitchen table” to chat with me and my expert guests about whole foods and healthy living. Second, I would like to give you a starting point of reference for achieving your preventative medicine health goals.  The best way to keep track of the kitchen table is to subscribe to our RSS feed or weekly newsletters.  We do our best to update you between 1-3 times weekly with healthy recipe and lifestyle tips. Our writing team works hard to motivate you to the latest and greatest in healthy living.

I started Kitchen Table Medicine because I realized in my second year of naturopathic internship that all patients essentially need the same things.

We all need clean air, chemical free water, a reduced total load of exposure to toxins, positive mental attitude, adequate sleep, stress management, healing from past challenges, meditation, and organic whole foods.

Many people read the typical “Twelve Point Preventative Health Plan” from their Naturopathic Physician and feel immediately overwhelmed that they have to do it all at once. Really it is much much easier than that. In order to feel healthier, all you have to do is pick ONE thing at a time to work on until you get it down. Once that becomes a habit you are then ready for the next thing. Perhaps the most important portion of my prescription to you is not the herb, vitamin, or drug I am prescribing; it simply is to “Get more sleep, learn to cook whole foods meals, exercise, and tell people to be nice to you”.

You only need to simply pick one thing off that list in order to be successful at accomplishing all those goals. It doesn’t matter what your jumping off point is because the rest is bound to fall in to place. If you don’t believe me then let’s walk through some basic examples… Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

How are you Dealing with Life’s Trash?

A while back in med school I was totally broke and stuck at the grocery store deliberating over buying the small box of kitchen trash bags or the large box.

There was a significant savings in money from buying the larger box. Unfortunately, I was so poor at the time that the three bucks made a huge difference in my mind. After a long process, I thought about it and realized that the “trash in my life” was not going anywhere anytime soon.

I grabbed the large box of kitchen bags because buying the small box of garbage bags in my mind was not accepting the fact, nor making a serious commitment to removing the “trash” in my life.

Regardless if the trash in your life is compulsive behaviors, addictions, depression, anxiety, bad relationships, financial problems or what not, the first step to resolving the issue is to make a commitment to doing something about it every single day over a very long period of time. “Inch by inch is a cinch. Yard by yard is hard” they say… Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Why your Work should Pay you to be Healthy

February 27, 2008 by Kitchen Table Medicine  
Filed under Motivation, Stress, Vitamins, Work Health

PhotobucketA simple tip I recommend to many of my patients that struggle with remembering to take their various supplements, is to simply let their work pay them to take their vitamins!

A smart employer knows that a healthy and happy employee is ultimately more productive and contributory to the work environment.

Most employers will be happy to see you spending your work breaks stretching, running up and down stairs, flossing your teeth, meditating, eating healthy snacks, drinking water, and taking vitamins.

You can simply keep your supplements at your desk, which should ensure compliance with your health regimen at least five out of the seven days each week! Read more

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™

Falling Victim to the Monkey Trap

Moving on in many ways means saying goodbye. The problem is, goodbyes are often hard, even when the place we are headed may be a good place to be. I don’t know why it is so hard to let go of the past, but it is. We prefer the “known” over the unknown I guess. Ironically, we often prefer the known even if the known is not a good place to be.

It may sound crazy, but I believe many of us don’t get to experience a lot of great things in life because we have such a strong grip on the past. This issue can also affect us when attempting to make New Year’s resolutions – especially when it comes to weight loss.

It reminds me the story of the monkey trap. The trap is basically a hollowed out coconut filled with rice. The coconut, which is chained to a stake, has a small hole in it just big enough for the monkey’s hand to go in but too small for his closed fist of rice to come out. Crazy as it seems, the monkey cannot see that freedom without rice is more valuable than being captured with it, and is trapped.

Like the monkey, we are often scared of losing something, like a favorite food or a certain lifestyle. While pride may stand in the way for some, others hold on to excuses. Unfortunately, many people simply accept things the way they are as if there were no other choice. In essence, we are no different than the monkey – trapped by our own decisions.

Sometimes we need to take a closer look at what is standing in the way of our success. What do we have such a tight grip on? What has kept us from making our New Year’s Resolutions stick last year or what prevented us from even making them to begin with? Whatever your answer is, this year is the year to let go so you can move on.

Bonnie Pfeister, personal trainer
www.longevityclubs.com

Photobucket Dr. Nicole Sundene, NMD is a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor at Fountain Hills Naturopathic Medicine 16719 E Palisades Blvd, Suite 205, Fountain Hills, AZ 85268.

She believes we should utilize natural medicines to treat the root cause of disease rather than just treating symptoms, as symptoms are a message of imbalance sent from the body and will persist until they are properly addressed.

For appointments please visit http://FHnaturopathic.com for more information about Naturopathic Medicine services.
©KitchenTableMedicine.com, LLC ™