Welcome to Dr. James Wilson's Adrenal Fatigue Blog

Gourmet Healthy Smoothies featuring Adrenal POWER Powder–Pumpkin Pie, The Red Gringo, and The Cocolotta

Do you take Adrenal POWER Powder? If not, here’s what you’re missing: a quick-acting, natural energy boost doubled with vitamins, minerals, herbs, and glandular extracts to support your stress response system. (Want to know exactly what’s in it? Look here.)

Adrenal POWER Powder can be mixed into milks and certain juices for a quick fix, but our resident chef Scott Brynaert developed some healthy gourmet options that are well worth the time (we’re still speaking a matter of minutes). These smoothie recipes went through rigorous office testing, and we can say with anonymity that each recipe is no less than excellent. Try them yourself and let us know what you think!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Adrenal POWER PowderPumpkin Pie Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup goat yogurt
  • Cinnamon (To Taste)
  • 3 tbsps. maple syrup
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 scoop of Adrenal POWER Powder

Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Serves 2-3.

Red Gringo Smoothie with Adrenal POWER PowderThe Red Gringo Smoothie

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 Tbsps. almond butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/2 red beet (peeled & chopped)
  • 1/2 apple
  • 1/2 pear
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup goat yogurt
  • 2 Tbsps. maple syrup
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop of Adrenal POWER Powder

Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Serves 2-3.

Cocolotta Smoothie with Adrenal POWER PowderCocolotta Smoothie

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 4 Tbsps. flaked coconut
  • 1 Tbsps. coconut oil
  • 1 scoop of Adrenal POWER Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps. maple syrup

Combine ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Serves 2-3.

Go here for more info on Adrenal POWER Powder

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The Not-So-Good Effects of Caffeine

The Not-So-Good Effects of Caffeine

iced coffee by Flickr user Jess GambacurtaI’m shocked by the amount of practitioners making diet and lifestyle recommendations to their patients without discussing the effects of coffee and caffeine. For one, coffee tends to exacerbate high blood pressure symptoms. Over the years I’ve seen the coffee/high blood pressure link in many of my patients, particularly coffee drinkers on blood pressure medication(s). Are you on a Beta blocker or other heart medication, and drink coffee? I recommend mentioning it to your practitioner, because you are taking one drug to regulate blood pressure in addition to drinking another ‘drug’ which can also have an effect on heart rate. Coffee can heighten anxiety, worsen heart palpitations, and increase the likelihood of insomnia, to name a few. Moreover, those with adrenal fatigue and chronic high stress will experience harder crashes between cups, as the caffeine overtaxes the adrenal glands and leaves them deflated (and you feeling flat).

Physiological Effects of Caffeine on the Body

  •  Exhaustion - By increasing adrenaline levels, coffee can lead to complete exhaustion. This lead to compounded problems such as a weakened immune response, anxiety and panic attacks as you get more and more tired, relying more on caffeine to pull you out of the slump.
  • Heart health - Increased production of cortisol and adrenalin helps to constrict blood vessels, causing the heart has to pump harder and leading to high blood pressure.
  • Sleep disturbances – Coffee consumption can make you groggier in the morning, causing you to reach for the coffee again to get going. Do you feel like you need coffee first thing out of bed? Your adrenal glands might be in need of a tune-up (Dr. Wilson’s adrenal fatigue questionnaire is a good start)
  • Digestive issues - Caffeine irritates the stomach lining, causing excessive production of stomach acid, which can lead to a variety of digestive disorders. Moreover, research has shown a definite link between coffee drinking and ulcers and heartburn.
  • Hormonal disturbances – Higher incidence of PMS and menopausal symptoms including tension, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, depression and breast tenderness.
  • Neurological disturbances – Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of excess caffeine and also of fluctuating caffeine levels throughout the day.
  • Nutritional deficiencies – Frequent coffee intake can cause a significant loss of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B and C, calcium, iron, and zinc. Remember how coffee irritates the lining of the stomach? This also reduces uptake of nutrients. If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, this can be especially bad.

An important note: this blog isn’t meant to scare you from drinking coffee in moderation, rather make you aware of the negative effects regular use of caffeine can have on your body.

About the Author:

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specializes in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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8 Things You Can Do to Make Daily Life Better (and Healthier)

When it comes to good health, much of it relies on the little day-to-day things we do to take care of ourselves. With busy jobs, kids, and increased stress, it can be easy to skimp on these things, but we always pay the price with low energy and higher stress. Here’s a guide to 8 things to not skip or skimp on for a feelgood, low-stress day.

Stay hydrated – I know, you hear it all the time, but are you really drinking enough water? The general guidelines are men should drink about 3 liters (13 cups) a day, women about 2.2 liters (9 cups), with more in summer and less in winter. An easy trick is to keep a larger water bottle with you, so you’ll have more on hand if you can’t refill often.

sleeping womanGet your sleep – It’s not always possible, but try to get to bed at about the same time every night. The most important thing is aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Higher subjective ratings of stress during the day are associated with poorer sleep. Conversely, poorer sleep is associated with higher ratings of stress during the day. Have difficulties sleeping? Our sleep tips might help.

happy toothLove your teeth – Giving your teeth some daily TLC can help save you from the stress of expensive dentist visits later. Along with your gums, your teeth are essential to keep you in great shape. Remember: brush in soft, circular motions, making sure to get the tongue as well. Flossing once a day is also recommended. Soft bristle brushes are preferred, and you should replace it often (at least every 3 months). Your breath should smell clean—one sign of a healthy digestive system.

Eat healthy food – Food is your fuel for the day, so healthy, food is essential to keep going. Take a look at what you eat daily: is it prepared, fresh, from things you recognize? If not, work on eating better. If you need some inspiration, we have some quick and tasty breakfast meals and lunch ideas on our blog.

Do something daily that makes you happy – When you feel happy you feel less stressed and more confident in yourself. And when you stress less, your body is less susceptible to acute or chronic illness. Sometimes finding that happy place can be tough; here are 6 things proven to improve happiness in case you get stuck.

cat washing its face by Flickr user J i J yWash and moisturize your face – It might seem silly, and a “women’s thing” (if you mind the commercials for face wash), but a clean face is a fantastic way for everyone to beat tension. Wash with a gentle cleanser and remember to moisturize your skin regularly; this will help keep your skin looking good in the long run. I recommend using a natural moisturizer like aloe vera or Jojoba oil, and avoiding the chemical-laden ones.

Watch your posture – Look at how you are sitting right now, slumped over in a chair?
Be mindful of how you sit and stand – it will almost certainly have long-term effects on how you breathe, as well as determining your musculo-skeletal health.

How are your bowel movements? – It might seem like a weird question to ask, but it deserves your attention. Do you go every day? Do you have any difficulty? At times are there days in between? If so, get checked out—many serious health conditions have origins in poor bowel function. It’s nothing to be embarrassed over (we all do it), and you’ll feel better for sorting it out.

About the Author

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specializes in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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10 Healthy and Tasty Lunches To Fit Any Schedule

salad by Flickr user slightly everythingNow that you’re eating breakfast like a king with our quick and healthy breakfast ideas, let’s talk about lunch. It’s argued that we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper to maintain energy levels and a healthy weight. That doesn’t mean we have to put on a powered wig and a frilly shirt before eating, though if you want to we won’t stop you. What it does mean is we should be serious about our lunches, and not settle for something from a vending machine because we think it’s all we have time for. We’ve put together a list of healthy and tasty lunches that you can make quickly the night before, which also means one less thing to worry about in the morning.

Greek Pita Salad – Start with a bowl of leafy greens (red lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.), then add 2 tbs crumbled feta cheese, 1/2 c garbanzo beans, cucumber slices, chopped whole wheat pita, and dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You can also add chicken, or use it in place of the garbanzo beans.

Tuna, Hummus & Tomato Sandwich – Spread organic/homemade hummus (easy recipe here) on your choice of bread, then add tuna, tomato slices, cucumbers, spinach leaves, and any other bright colored vegetables you want. If you want to go breadless, pile everything on a lettuce leaf instead.

Lentil Salad Pita – Mix lentils, diced carrots, diced red pepper, cilantro, salt, pepper, and a bit of olive oil, and place mix into a whole-wheat pita. You can also go breadless with this lunch and put the mix on a romaine leaf or bed of mixed greens.

Spinach Strawberry Salad – In a bowl of baby spinach and red lettuce add sliced strawberries, sunflower seeds, broccoli florets, diced hard-boiled egg, garbanzo beans (or another healthy source of protein), then toss and dress with your choice of healthy vinaigrette. You can make a quick one yourself with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and dijon mustard.

Spicy Black Bean Burrito – Put black beans, avocado slices, diced red onion, cilantro, and red pepper slices on a whole-wheat tortilla, sprinkle with hot sauce, wrap and enjoy.

Turkey Salsa Sandwich – Add low-sodium turkey slices (organic of possible), avocado slices, and baby spinach to your choice of healthy bread, then top with fresh salsa (you can make your own quick salsa by mixing diced tomatoes, onions, and jalapeño and adding lime juice and salt)

Veggie Sub – Take a whole-wheat sub roll, add a thin layer of hummus spread, then add sliced cucumber, tomato slices, shredded carrot, alfalfa sprouts, and any other vegetables you enjoy.

Three Bean Salad with Kale – Take a bowl of chopped kale and add chopped avocado, kidney beans, black beans, and white beans, then dress with a squeeze of lemon and lime juice.

Veggie Delight Plate – Add tomatoes, bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, and any other bright colored veggie to a plate with a side of Greek yogurt for dipping. Add hard boiled eggs, turkey, chicken, or salmon for protein.

Raw Broccoli Salad – Add 1 tbs wholegrain mustard, 1 tbs vinegar, and 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil to a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Chop a head of broccoli into florets and add to the salad bowl. Cut up 1 avocado into chunks and add to bowl. Toss contents of bowl to evenly distribute dressing. Add a handful of almonds to top for extra protein and healthy fat. Recipe adapted from the Stone Soup blog

And here’s a list of sides and snacks to go with those healthy lunches:
healthy snack ideas that are also adrenal-friendly

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10 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Meal Ideas

 

10 Quick and Healthy Breakfast Meal Ideas

blueberry muffins

Image credit: Flickr user sling@flickr

There are many excuses to skip breakfast: not enough time, too busy, not hungry, I’ll snack on something later. Problem is, there aren’t any good excuses to skip breakfast. And there are plenty of good reasons not to. It may sound like a cliché by now, but breakfast really is king. A healthy breakfast provides steady energy for the day, helps maintain weight, and helps curb the craving to snack on junk food throughout the day. Still not sold? Here are some healthy and quick breakfast food ideas that can fit into even the most hectic of schedules:

  • Natural peanut or almond butter on your choice of bread or toast, topped with mixed berries (try strawberries, raspberries and blueberries for an antioxidant boost)
  • Hard boiled eggs – To mix it up and not get egg burnout, try adding toppings and condiments. Some healthy add-on ideas: hummus, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa, diced vegetables, and the classic sea salt and pepper
  • Plain Greek yogurt with healthy add-ins. Some ideas: honey, nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts), mixed berries, granola, oats, chopped apples, cinnamon)
  • Egg and salmon sandwich – Put smoked or cooked salmon (leftovers!) on a whole wheat English muffin with an egg or egg whites, then top with an onion and tomato slice
  • Whole wheat bagel (or other healthy variant) topped with reduced fat cottage cheese, sprinkled with flaxseed, with a side of mixed berries
  • Jumping Ginger Smoothie – This smoothie is packed with vegetables and other high-nutrient foods, can be used as a morning energizer, and still has a very high tasty factor
  • Breakfast rice bowl – Trust us, this tastes better than it sounds. Take some leftover brown rice (you can also use barley, rye, red wheat, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, or millet) and add in some honey, cinnamon, and sliced apple. Super quick, plus it’s a great use for leftovers.
  • Gluten- and dairy-free blueberry or almond muffins – These are office favorites and disappear quick whenever they’re brought in. What’s more, you can’t tell they’re free of gluten and dairy. But, you can tell they are highly delicious (and possibly habit-forming).
  • Mediterranean sandwich – Take a whole wheat pita, add a layer of hummus, then tomato slices, goat cheese and sliced almonds. Trip to Malta optional.
  • Scrambled eggs with chilies – This scramble can be made in less than 10 minutes, plus you get the health benefits of eggs, tomato, and chilies. This recipe also has a whopping 17 grams of proteins for good energy.

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Burnout Prevention and Defense Tips

In our previous blog, we showed you what the 4 stages of burnout feel like. Now we move on to the good stuff: things you can do to avoid and counteract burnout.

Burnout Prevention and Defense Tips

  • Never eat starchy carbohydrates (breads, pastas) by themselves. Reduce or avoid  caffeine, sugar, alcohol and white flour products. As harsh as it might sound, coffee and other highly caffeinated drinks should be avoided as well. This includes energy drinks and ‘magical’ shots.
  • Eat the foods your body needs, not what you crave & feel guilty for afterward. Recognize the foods that make you feel bad, and keep a mental list of them.
  • Avoid weakness foods or foods you feel addicted to.
  • NEVER skip breakfast in the morning! Your energy levels depend on it.
  • Avoid or reduce foods you know or believe you have an allergy or sensitivity to.
  • Don’t push yourself to exhaustion; recognize when you are fatigued and need to take a break to relax.
  • Try sneaking in a 20 minute relaxation period 3 times weekly between 2 and 4 PM. Massage, reflexology or meditation are some options.
  • Try to be in bed BEFORE 10:00PM, and allow yourself to get 7-9 hours sleep. Sleep in on your days off whenever possible.
  • Don’t be harsh or negative with yourself. Avoid the blame and shame game.
  • Take the power and responsibility of your health into your own hands. Realize you are the one who needs to decide to regain your health.
  • Don’t expect any job or relationship to fulfill all your needs.
  • Don’t let your life be ruled by your job. Constant overtime and never disconnecting will impact negatively on your ability to do the job in the long run.
  • Don’t overwork in an effort to avoid dealing with personal or relationship problems.
  • Maintain an active personal life; don’t give up your hobbies and me time.
  • Learn to say no before you take on more than you could/should handle.
  • Accept the fact that you cannot be everything to everybody.
  • If you work in the helping professions, remember that you cannot take responsibility for other people’s problems. They have to do so themselves. All you can do is point them in the right direction.
  • If you can’t change jobs, accept this and work around it. You’d be surprised at how well you can take a negative and reframe it into a positive.
  • Learn to set boundaries and stick to them.

About the Author

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specializes in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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The Four Stages of Burnout

The 4 Stages of Burnout 

According to Wikipedia, burnout is a psychological term that refers to long-term exhaustion and diminished interest in work. These are the 4 typical stages of burnout. I invite you to read each one carefully and see if any sound like you. You can also view my burnout checklist to see if you could be heading towards burnout.

1. The Honeymoon Phase

During this phase, your new life seems to be the answer to all your problems. You feel happy, energetic, and excited about work. Nothing seems out of your reach, and you willingly take on any task, no matter the size. Eager to please, you meet any request with enthusiasm. Life is good, and nothing much seems to get you down or create negative thoughts.

2. The Reality Check

directional caution signThe utopian daze is starting to wear off, and you start to see cracks in your new life. You notice people talking about others behind their back, you’re staying later and later despite working more, or your boss is giving you grief about the overtime you’re working. You may feel like you are always picking up after everybody. The occasional head/neck/backache may start to creep in, and you may be taking more pain medication than usual. You may also notice your coffee and alcohol intake levels rising. You can’t remember your last day off, and the thought of going to work reminds you of this fact. But, you tell yourself that today is just an off day, and tomorrow will be better.

3. Disillusionment Phase

sign reading Danger thin iceYou’ve gone from feeling enthusiastic and energetic to exhausted and irritated. You may be experiencing drastic changes in your diet, weight, and sleeping pattern. Sex doesn’t have the same thrill, and often doesn’t seem worth the effort. Your partner has become a stranger, with communication down and frequency of fights up. You may even be sleeping in different beds, or if you don’t cohabitate spending less time together. Some people in this phase develop compulsive behavior patterns with regards to casual sex, drinking or drugs, partying, gambling or shopping. Your anger level has probably risen, and you may notice yourself taking it out on other people. Anxiety and depression become familiar feelings and you often feel ill, tired and just plain worn out.

4. Red Alert Phase

stop signThis final stage is serious and without intervention could end in serious chronic illness, or even death. At this stage, life can seem pointless with no hope for betterment. You are completely exhausted and feel like your mental and physical abilities are failing. This often includes an overwhelming sense of failure, a loss of self-esteem and lowered confidence. You feel powerless to take charge and are constantly overwhelmed. Your home and family life could be severely strained or disrupted entirely. In extreme cases, one or more family members may be exhibiting extreme behavior, including criminal activity.

If you feel like you’re in this category, it’s important to seek help immediately. Remember: there is no shame or disgrace in seeking help when needed. Even if you feel yourself slip into phase 2 or 3, talk to someone about it. Remember the adage: a trouble shared is a trouble halved. In the next 2 weeks, look for blogs on nutrition and lifestyle changes that can also help with burnout.

About the Author:

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specializes in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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Dr. Bakker’s 7 Tips for Dealing with Tension and Anxiety

Dr. Bakker’s 7 tips for dealing with tension and anxiety

1.      Talk it over

two seniors in chairs talking by a fireplaceWhy do you think many people come to see health-care practitioners? This is because every patient will naturally talk about the physical symptoms they have, but will also launch into how they feel emotionally and issues they face with family, friends and employers. Many confide about what is bugging them, and by talking it out it helps to relieve the strain and tension. Communication allows a person to see their worries and concerns in a different light. You may notice that by talking about your worries and problems with somebody you trust you will often begin to see a clear path. Bottling things up only creates destructive “self-talk” with problems going round and round in your head. You will become a lot less tense, stressed and anxious by discussing issues affecting you, so talk it over.

2.      Escape for a little while

Have you ever lost yourself in a good movie or book? Escaping mentally is a great way to alleviate mental pressure and stress. If you have a really important meeting or engagement coming up, escaping for 10 to 20 minutes before the event can work miracles in terms of you being more focused and centered on the mental task at hand. A brief trip like a walk in the park or along the beach is wonderfully refreshing and only takes minutes. Why escape with a glass of wine or rely on recreational drugs and physically punish yourself? People want to free their minds, and by allowing your mind to escape with a book, a musical instrument, prayer, a walk or whatever technique you have developed you will have a “pressure release valve” from the stress and strain of day to day living.

3.      Work off your anger

male tennis player about to serveHave you ever felt so angry that you hit an object like a cupboard door, or thrown an object down whilst swearing shouting? Well, you are not alone. If you find yourself using anger as a general pattern of behavior, it is important to remember that anger will always leave you feeling sorry and foolish in the end. If you feel like screaming or lashing out at somebody, try to hold off for just a few minutes, and like most strong emotions it will soon pass. Instead of acting out, busy yourself with some physical exercise like gardening, a long walk or a game of tennis. Working the anger out of the system this way, along with talking it over, will leave you much less tense and more prepared to handle your conflicts and problems more intelligently. Stress has a way of working in on the psyche making some people literally snap. If you regularly “defuse” your anger, you will find that you can act calmly and rationally even under the toughest conditions, and better deflect tension.

4.      Are you a perfectionist?

Is your way the highway? Then give in occasionally. Have you noticed that sometimes it is just easier to agree with somebody, even though you KNOW they are wrong and you are right? I have, and it has made me realize that winning doesn’t really matter; keeping the friendship does. Do stand your ground on what you believe is right, but do so calmly and make allowances for the fact that you could be completely wrong. The result will be a huge relief from tension along, with the satisfaction of achievement and maturity. In the end, who cares  if you really were right or wrong? One of my favorite sayings goes: “People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” If you truly care about your own stress levels, be aware that when you engage in conversation with somebody else that their stress levels will very much influence yours. If you stay calm and the conversation remains calm, you both leave calm and stress-free with a lot less tension.

5.      Do one thing at a time

person juggling many priorities and tasksWe seem obsessed these days with being able to do two or more things at once, and keep lists of all the tasks we want to complete. Many people are so busy with their own lives but manage to keep on saying “yes, I can do that” and later think “why on Earth did I say yes??” So before you promise to do something for somebody else, first look at your time and needs and make sure you can take on extra work without extra stress. To people under tension, an ordinary work load looks so huge that it’s almost painful to tackle. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, try to tackle the most important task first; you will find that rest flows easily. For example: if you have 10 things to do, just write them all down and mark them in priority with 1 being critically important, 2 moderately and 3 can wait a few days to a week. You have just clarified your priorities and set your mind at ease. And doesn’t it feel good when you can cross that list off? Do one thing at a time and do it well, then move on. By learning when to say no and completing tasks you set yourself you have more “you” time to relax. Are you obsessed with checking emails continually? Learn to slow down and be less accessible by way of phone or email. It is important to remember that you need time to work and time to relax. Try not to blur the whole thing; it can get a bit messy that way and you and your family will suffer.

6.      Go easy with criticism                                                    

How hard and critical are you with yourself and others? I have found that tense people are often critical people. They tend to be hard on themselves and others. Do you expect a lot from others and then get disappointed when they don’t deliver? Some tense people I have observed can even be considered to be “control freaks” at times. Instead of being critical of others, search out and point out their good points and help them develop their weaknesses without exposing them. Nobody likes to be criticized; do you? Emotional stress and tension is often felt subconsciously with thoughts and feelings about events or people, creating mind-body patterns such as jaw clenching, teeth grinding, insomnia and muscular tension throughout the body the next day. In addition, emotional stress also causes adrenalin to be released, causing muscles to fire up and be tense resulting in pain and more anxiety. By being nice to others, they in turn will be more pleasant towards you and will feel more relaxed because less conflict will occur, and the result means less tension.

7.      Regular TPM (twenty peaceful minutes) sessions

closeup of man meditating on yoga matHere’s where I am asking for a commitment: I would like you to start regular relaxation sessions for yourself at least 3 times weekly for about 20 minutes at a time. Now be honest: is 60 minutes a week too much? Some folk may spend three times this much just doing something frivolous, like watching TV idly, surfing the internet, chatting on the phone or wasting time by procrastinating. How would you like to have a sense of inner calm and reduced tension and irritability like you haven’t experienced for years? It is so simple, just pick a carpeted floor, not a bed, and lie down on your back. Take your shoes off and loosen your waistband. Make sure you won’t get disturbed—no kids or phones around you, etc. I want you to just relax and take a nice slow deep breath in, being sure to breathe in “through your tummy.” Don’t breathe in a shallow pattern. These mini siestas will rejuvenate your energy, allowing you to stay relaxed and focused well into the evening instead of collapsing on the sofa never to stir again until bedtime.  The ultimate time to have your TPM sessions are between 2 – 4.00pm. This is because cortisol (a main stress hormone) is at its lowest point of production during the day and you will naturally feel a sense of “three thirty-itis.” With these sessions, your heart rate will drop, your digestion will relax and you will soon start to experience a sense of inner calm. With a sense of inner calm comes a release of tension; you will actually become aware of the muscles that tighten up when you are more relaxed.

I think that it is as important to schedule these relaxation sessions as it is to schedule your weekly business meetings. The most progressive organizations realize that a highly productive workforce is not achieved by people pushing themselves until they drop. You don’t need to lower your performance standards; you just need to recognize that being at home with the kids or being at work and expecting a high level of productivity requires a high amount of energy, which in turn requires your body to recover as well. I “must be available” is the passionate excuse today for having a cell phone or computer with us at all times. Do you “have to” monitor urgent calls, most of which aren’t urgent at all? By making sure you take regular “time out” from your busy life, you will start to begin to replenish your mental and emotional energy levels and actively diffuse tension in your life.

About the Author

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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Are Sad Kids Sick Kids? Immunity and Emotional Health

Are Sad Kids Sick Kids? Immunity and Emotional Health

  • Despite your best efforts, do you feel like your child(ren) gets sick more often than other kids?

    woman blowing sick kid's nose

    Image by David Castillo Dominici

  • Does it feel like he or she get sick at certain times throughout the year, without fail?
  • Does your child experience recurrent cough, asthma or eczema?

A less effective or poor-performing immune system can have many causes, such as a nutrient-deficient diet, antibiotic-containing foods, environmental chemicals, pharmaceutical drug use, exposure to secondhand smoke, stress, and malnourishment.

Psychological Health and Your Kid’s Immune System

couple verbally arguing

Image by David Castillo Dominici

American psychologist James Pennebaker, Ph.D. discovered that children who reveal their feelings, anxieties and secrets to their parents, guardians and/or friends have healthier psychological profiles, better immune defenses, and less instances of acute or chronic illness. Another researcher, Psychoneuro-immunologist George Solomon, also found that children who assert their needs and feelings have stronger immune responses, as well as the ability to faster overcome a wide range of diseases usually associated with immune dysfunction. This puts the old adage “children should be seen, not heard” on its head.

Does your child seem easily stressed out, anxious, or unhappy? Don’t be afraid to talk with them about how they’re feeling on the inside. When our child becomes ill, we tend to look on the outside for what’s going on; we must not forget that emotional responses have a huge effect on the immune response. As a general rule, happy kids are healthier kids. Constant arguments or other problems at home may create a “background noise” in your child’s psyche that produces low grade and sometimes chronic stress, which can lead to a weakened immune system. Moreover, these problems will often cause a disharmony in the body that can make certain muscles tighten on themselves. This can affect both the bowel muscles (resulting in digestive tract problems such as poor digestion and constipation) and the respiratory tract (resulting in issues like asthma or coughs).

DO I Need to Give My Kids Antibiotics?

It makes sense to use natural treatments for ear infections, viruses, sore throats, and coughs. Reserve the antibiotics for life-threatening diseases, such as meningitis and pneumonia, though these can be caused by viruses too, and then antibiotics are completely ineffective.

It’s staggering how many children receive antibiotics, even for minor injuries like a small cut on the finger! The popular approach in traditional medicine is still that we are under attack by viruses and bacteria, and they should all be killed because they are the root cause of infection and illness. What’s overlooked is that inside our own bodies there are microorganisms which are hardier and more adaptable than we are. In fact, we have over 400 species of bacteria in our large intestine alone!

In my practice I’ve seen my fair share of children with acute ear nose and throat problems, and I can tell you categorically that antibiotics only hinder a child’s recovery from an acute illness. My experience is that antibiotics create a frustrating cycle of treatment that is hard to escape. I’ve yet to experience this with my 4 kids, as they’ve responded well to basic herbs such as echinacea, goldenseal, astragalus, licorice, etc, and homeopathic medicines for acute infections. Your child may respond better to natural remedies as well, so please do consider the naturopath or your health food shop before rushing to the doctor with your child every time they develop an acute infection.

About the Author

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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Why do I have to feel worse before feeling better?

time machine sign by Flickr user cathski

Seems legit, right?

It seems cruel, but sometimes it seems like your body punishes you for doing the right thing. For example, many people, when starting their journey to battle adrenal fatigue, start to feel worse before feeling better. They’re watching their diet, monitoring their lifestyle to eliminate and reduce stress, supplementing with good nutrients, yet are worse for the wear than before. To get a better understanding of why his happens, we’re stepping into the time machine to pay a visit to one of the pioneers of modern medicine — Hippocrates. Hippocrates (c. 460 BC – c. 370 BC) was credited with being the first to argue that diseases are caused naturally, not by godly acts. He put forth the idea that diseases are the product of environmental factors: things like a low-nutrient diet, harsh weather and bad habits. And all this more than 2,000 years ago, in an age when most people believed the Earth was flat and you could fall off the edge.

To explain the worse before better puzzle, Hippocrates put forth the idea of the ‘crisis.’ A crisis in the healing process meant a turning point in the patient’s condition; these would occur at multiple set points during the recovery process, especially toward the beginning. He realized these setbacks would often happen after treatment because it stimulated the body’s ‘vital principle’—the force that animates living beings—which would throw off the recovery process. A crisis could manifest as a bowel irritation, headache, low-grade fever, severe tiredness or a skin rash to name a few. Severity also varies, with symptoms ranging from mild to sometimes severe. In my practice, I generally find that in chronic cases a patient may call or email me around the three day mark to ask if it’s normal to feel worse before feeling better.

Hippocrates by Flickr user El Bibliomata

Contrary to popular belief, Hippocrates was not an animal storage company.

As a practitioner himself, Hippocrates was passive yet observant, basing his therapeutic approach on “the healing power of nature.” Hippocrates believed rest and immobilization were the two most important aspects of the recovery process. He also believed that the physician needed to be kind to the patient and intend no harm; these tenants are upheld today, and are known (surprise!) as the Hippocratic Oath. The treatments Hippocrates used on his own patients were (mostly) gentle, with an emphasis on keeping the patient ‘pure’ and sterile. Patients were encouraged to rest and take it easy to minimize any crises during the important healing process.

So in this present day, how do you go about minimizing your own crises after starting a treatment? You go low and start slow with treatment, especially if you have been chronically unwell. Your body will need time to slowly adapt to the changes you are introducing, so be patient. Don’t act in haste and quit your treatment right away because you think it’s not working; these setbacks are temporary, and if you can push through them you will be rewarded for your efforts.

About the Author

Dr Eric Bakker, NZ naturopathic physicianEric Bakker B.H.Sc. (Comp.Med), N.D, R.Hom. is a highly experienced naturopathic physician who has been in clinical practice for 25 years. Eric is passionate about improving people’s lives through proven wellness and lifestyle principles, natural medicine practice as well as public and professional practitioner education. Eric specialises in candida yeast infections, as well as adrenal fatigue, and thyroid disorders. Dr. Bakker has written one of the most comprehensive books on yeast infections called Candida Crusher. Website:  candidacrusher.com  You can complete his online survey to determine if you have a yeast infection here, or link through to his many You Tube videos: www.yeastinfection.org  Dr. Bakker’s Blog:  www.ericbakker.com

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