17 Natural Ways to Beat Insomnia

By Dr. Kneale

It’s 3 a.m.

You’re tossing and turning searching for that magic spot to drift off to peaceful sleep.

No luck.

It’s 5:00 a.m. and you are still wide awake.

7 a.m., your eyes are puffy, your head is foggy and you stumble out of bed feeling heavy and listless.

You head to the coffee shop before work; the only way you know how to push through the day.

As evening approaches, you know it will be another excruciating long night.

How long can you go on like this?

 

Common Symptoms of Insomnia:

  • Heartburn at night
  • Irritable during the day
  • Regularly overwhelmed
  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Lack of energy with easy tasks
  • Fatigue even after a good night sleep
  • Forgetfulness
  • Tendency to be accident prone
  • Lack of joy, feeling melancholy
  • Symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome (uncomfortable tingling in legs when sitting or resting in the evening, can include arms)

 

 

Tried all the Usual Advice?

Sleeping pills help pass the night by faster, but you still feel unrefreshed.

Going to bed earlier only extended an already long night.

Drinking a couple glasses of wine did absolutely nothing to aid sleep.

Do you feel like there is nothing left to try to improve sleep? That it is hopeless and you are just going to have to live with it?  Don’t give up just yet.

What if I told you that there are some surprising ways to enhance sleep?

You do not have to keep suffering night after night watching the clock go ever so slowly.

 

 

Solution for long lasting sleep night after night

Get a hair test and start on a mineral balancing program to alleviate the root cause of insomnia. Remedies are only helpful temporarily for sleep.

Let me explain.

I have had many clients that could not sleep and it was related to their body chemistry. For instance, copper and mercury toxicity are common and both can cause sleep issues. Another is how your body burns foods (oxidation rate). If it is too fast, you will need a food plan and targeted supplements that help balance your oxidation rate.

Leslie had suffered for many years with insomnia. She had tried everything from sleeping pills to hypnotherapy. Nothing worked. Due to years of lack of sleep she could only work part-time, was sick often and could not make plans ahead of time for fear of being ill.

Leslie’s hair test revealed copper toxicity (copper was 21, normal is 2.5!). She also needed calming minerals (calcium, magnesium and zinc). She started adding healthier food choices, targeted nutritional supplements and coffee enemas. Within two months she noticed she was able to get a good night of sleep every few days. It continued to improve. After 1 year on the program her retest revealed copper had come down to 3 from 21! She was sleeping well most of the time with an occasional bad night.

 

Insomnia and I were close friends for more than 20 years. I was usually awake at 3 a.m. cleaning, reading or doing something to occupy the night hours. Not surprisingly, I just thought insomnia was part of the rest of my life.  My hair test revealed extreme slow oxidation (very low energy), a need for calcium and magnesium and other nutrients to help my adrenals. All heavy metals were considered too low, meaning that I did not have enough energy to detoxify; they just stayed in my body causing health issues. It took about 2 1/2 years, but I eventually slept every night like a baby. No sleeping aids needed. Not one. Ever! I stopped driving my family crazy about my bedtime routine. Over those two years my hair test revealed an improved oxidation rate (how your body burns foods you eat and turns it into energy), improved adrenal and thyroid activity, inflammation indications improved and many heavy metals eliminated!

If you are just starting a mineral balancing program or are not sure if it is for you, see below for a list of remedies.

 

17 Natural Sleep Remedies

1. Near infrared sauna

Why does it work? The infrared sauna inhibits the sympathetic nervous system. This is the system that we refer to as the “fight of flight”. Many people are stuck in the sympathetic mode so their body just does not calm down, making it impossible to fall asleep or even relax. The warm heat can relax the muscles and the nervous system. It helps the body unwind before bed. There are many other health benefits too numerous to list here.

Sauna Fix

For sleep: 20-30 minute sauna session before bed. These recommendations are for adults only. Children under 6 should not use a full near infrared sauna due to immature sweat glands.

2. Take a warm shower or bath

Researchers have found that fluctuations in our internal body temperatures regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, the 24-hour cycle that controls metabolism, sleep and other bodily functions. [1]

Enjoying a warm shower can increase your body temperature slightly. Once you get out of the shower and head to a cooler bedroom, the difference in temperature causes the body to start to cool down which signals the body to relax. The blood vessels dilate allowing the muscles to relax. You begin to feel tired, drowsy, and ready for your comfy pillow. A warm shower of 5 to 10 minutes before bed (at or below hot tub temperature of 104 degrees) is one way to help prepare the body  for sleep.

3. Decrease EMF (electromagnetic field) in your bedroom

For some people (many of my clients with adrenal fatigue), EMF can interfere with going to sleep and staying asleep. EMF’s are wireless energy fields that surround electronic devices. These fields are completely invisible, odorless and tasteless, but harmful.

Devices that give off a strong electromagnetic field:

  • Computer (laptop, desktop)
  • Cell phones
  • Cordless phones
  • Cordless phone base
  • Cell towers
  • Smart meters
  • Wireless routers
  • Electric clock radio
  • Refrigerator
  • Hair dryer

 

What to do?

Keep technology out of your bedroom as best as possible.

Sleep with your head away from the wall facing the center of the room to avoid wiring in walls.

Turn off WiFi when you go to bed, even when you are not using it, the WiFi currents continue to run.

Turn off any wired electrical devices such as T.V., stereos and even your plug in clock. Get a battery operated alarm clock and keep it on the other side of the room away from your head.  Put your cell phone on airplane mode as that will help reduce EMF. Even better, keep it outside of your sleeping area.

Add EMF protective shielding devices  for cell phone, computer and others.

For further information on EMF and protective devices click link: EMF Experts

4. Caffeine

This one is a monster culprit for many people. Caffeine is a stimulant and can disrupt sleep.

You may be someone who cannot have any caffeine otherwise it interferes with sleep. If you suffer with insomnia or any type of sleep issue try stopping caffeine altogether and see what happens.

Maybe you can have caffeine but not after a certain time of the day.

If I drink green tea after 3 p.m.  I pay for it that night!

It does not mean that you cannot partake in your favorite drink; you just might have to enjoy it sooner in the day or get a decaffeinated version.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid all caffeine products after 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

5. Reduce Pain

I realize that this might not be a simple task, but if pain can be lessened, sleep will improve.

Back pain, leg pain, arm pain, any type of pain can make it difficult to sleep or stay asleep.

Here is a list to help reduce pain:

  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture/acupressure
  • Foot reflexology
  • Physical therapy
  • Hellerwork
  • Rolfing
  • Tapping technique
  • Craniosacral
  • Stay hydrated ( drink spring or carbon filtered water)
  • Massage
  • Wobenzyme N (proteolytic enzymes) This one takes about a month to notice
  • Epsom salt bath

6.  Dinner and Snacks

Eating too late can interfere with sleep because your body is working on digestion rather than sleep.

Start paying attention to what you eat for dinner and snacks before bed.

Get a journal and write down what you are eating daily to become aware of any food patterns that are causing sleep problems (may take a couple of weeks or more).

If you are hypoglycemic and wake famished during the night, eating a snack right before bed may help you stay asleep rather than raiding the refrigerator at 2 a.m.

 

7. Reduce Worry and Mental Stress

  • Write it down: sometimes this can help take it off your mind
  • Talk to your significant other, a friend, or a coach/counselor Global Nutritional Healing Counselors
  • Meditation: there are so many online and some are just a few minutes. Free on YouTube: Inner Peace, The Honest Guys, Headspace 100 videos
  • Realize that you only have control of yourself. This one can take a huge burden off of your shoulders.
  • If you are religious you may have some other way of reducing stress such as praying, reading scriptures
  • 5 second rule: This one I give credit to Mel Robbins. When you notice that you are heading down the rabbit hole and going to end up in panic mode,  catch yourself and count down from 5. After the countdown think of something that you are grateful for or something that you are happy about in your personal or business life.
  • Add exercise: walking, biking, light jogging, weight lifting, swimming a few times a week

8. Mattress

I’m embarrassed.

But I have to share my story with you.

I knew I had a bladder infection. I could feel it in my back. Nothing worked and the pain grew to include my kidneys. Standing up straight was painful.  After 2 months I decided to see my doctor. She confirmed no bladder or kidney infection. She then stated “maybe it is your bed.”

It was my bed! Our bed was about 10 years old.  We purchased a new bed and guess what? The back pain miraculously disappeared.

 

 

9. 30 minutes of sunlight daily

Let’s face it,

spending so much more time in-doors, we miss gaining the benefits of the sun.

We obtain better light outdoors even if it is raining, hailing or snowing. Just wear the appropriate clothing and get outside.

Sunlight assists in balancing our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock) by producing melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Do not have 30 minutes?  Go outdoors for a few minutes as every little bit helps.

Live in a place with not many sunny days? Try a day lamp: Happy Light

10. Clean sheets

Washing your bed-sheets once a week can eliminate bacteria, skin cells, and germs that we as humans normally have.

I really do not know why this works. I have many clients report that they feel cleaner or are more excited to go to bed when the sheets are fresh and clean. This may have to do with allergies or the immune system. There is something to it so give it a try and see if it works for you.

11. Sound Machines

These work beautifully if you are a light sleeper. It really does fade out noises from neighbors, storms, hotels, and the night owls in your family.

Some have beach sounds, rain, and calming frequencies.  Here are a few great sound machines:

Sound and Sleep Mini battery operated option

Ultra Portable Sound Machine

Big Red Rooster plug in or battery operated

12. Sleep in separate bedrooms

There is a common myth I want to squash right now. Sleeping in separate bedrooms does not ruin your marriage.

I have clients that have separate sleeping quarters and have a strong, healthy relationship.

Many couples tried for years to make it work. One couple expressed that he liked to stay up late and watch TV. His partner had to have complete silence and needed to go to bed early.

Another couple was struggling with snoring. They tried to have the snorer fall asleep last. It didn’t work and just created more stress for both.

A side note here: loud snoring and/or long pausing between breaths while sleeping are not normal and should be checked by a doctor. It can be a sign of sleep apnea.

13. Calcium and Magnesium

Most people do not get enough calcium and magnesium. These are calming minerals and are easily depleted by stress.

A sign that you are low in calcium and magnesium is that you may be able to fall asleep but you do not stay asleep.  Leg cramps can be a clue that you need magnesium.

William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.” [2]

Magnesium helps GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors help calm the brain and nervous system. Magnesium helps to activate the GABA receptors. Why is that important for sleep? Inactivated GABA receptors can contribute to many sleepless symptoms such as remaining uptight, racing thoughts and muscle cramps.

Good sources of calcium include dairy products (preferably organic or raw), green leafy vegetables, and sardines.

Good sources of magnesium include beans, nuts and seeds (preferably butters as they are easier to digest), and green leafy vegetables.

Avoid magnesium oxide and calcium carbonate as they are not good for helping with sleep. Some affordable trustworthy brands are Solaray, Nature’s Made and Now .

14. Gaba

GABA ( Gamma-Aminobutyric acid ) is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. It enables the body and mind to relax and fall asleep.  GABA is found naturally in kefir, yogurt, lentils, almonds, fish, citrus, berries, broccoli, spinach and tempeh.

 

You can purchase GABA as a supplement to promote sleep. 100-200 mg and higher doses is what has been seen to be effective in scientific studies. I usually recommend 500-750mg at bedtime: GABA 500mg,  or GABA 750mg

15. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes naturally. There is no daily recommended amount for melatonin, but it is usually sold in amounts of 1 mg to 10 mg. Take melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime.

 

Melatonin regulates night and day cycles (sleep-wake cycles). Darkness triggers the body to produce more melatonin, this signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. Adding melatonin as a supplement might help sleep.

Here are a few: Natrol 10mg, Nature’s Made 3mg, Natrol 1mg

Please skip this one if you are dealing with RLS (restless leg syndrome) as it can worsen symptoms. Also avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.

16. 5-HTP

An amino acid which is naturally produced by the body. 5-HTP produces serotonin, which can be converted into the hormone melatonin.  Melatonin plays an important role in regulating sleep. 5-HTP levels begin to rise in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the morning to help wake you up.

5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production, an important sleep-regulating hormone.

Start with a dose of 50–100 mg two times per day and increase to the appropriate dose over a two-week period Sleep aid: 100–300 mg, 30–45 minutes before bed. Stack with GABA to increase effectiveness.[3]

Natrol 200mg, Nested 100mg

17. CBD oil (Cannabidiol)

CBD is a phytonutrient found in the hemp plant. It is non-psychoactive which means it does not get you high as it does not contain THC.

CBD has the ability to reduce anxiety, which can be helpful in diminishing sleep difficulties and improving sleep quality. If you suffer from anxiety, this may be a good one to try. Anxiety and sleep — “Cannabidiol may hold benefit for anxiety-related disorders,”[4]

 

CBD may increase overall sleep amounts, and improve insomnia, according to research. CBD has been shown to reduce insomnia in people who suffer from chronic pain. [5]

 

Here is a list of top picks of CBD oil brands for 2019: Best CBD Oil Brands 2019

 

A common mistake when adding sleep remedies is expecting them to work immediately. One night is not enough time to figure out if something is working or not. Give it at least a week to see if it is truly helping or not before moving on to the next remedy.

 

Here’s to your sleep!

For more information about the author: DrKneale.com

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is strictly educational and is not, in any way, meant to be prescriptive or to constitute professional medical advice. The information provided is designed to be used in conjunction with the guidance of a healthcare professional. The author assumes no responsibility for any presumed health effects associated with using this information. Always check with your doctor before taking natural supplements if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any ongoing medical concerns, or are currently taking other medications.

 

[1] UT Southwestern Medical Center, Temperature rhythms keep body clocks in sync

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101014144314.htm

[2] Poleszak E. Benzodiazepine/GABA(A) receptors are involved in magnesium-induced anxiolytic-like behavior in mice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18799816

[3] Shell W1Bullias DCharuvastra EMay LASilver DS .A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19417589

[4] Perm J. 2019;23. pii: 18-041. The Permanente Journal

[5] Dr. B .The Sleep Doctor. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2017/08/10/understanding-cbd/

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Warning: Food is not Enough Anymore

By Dr. Kneale

You may have heard that taking vitamins and minerals is a waste of money and that you can get everything you need from your diet. They say, if you eat a variety of foods, you’re covered. Or if you are following a nutrient-dense diet full of great quality foods there is nothing to worry about.

Our grandparents did not need any supplements and they lived a long and healthy life. Why are we not seeing the same results?

I see clients every day with symptoms such as fatigue, skin issues, brain fog, exhaustion, as well as hair loss, digestive issues, migraines, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, and adrenal burn-out.

The list goes on and on.

I have clients experiencing bone loss in their 20’s, arthritis in their 30’s, diabetes in their teens and constipation in toddlers.

In my youth, I never heard of anyone with cancer; nowadays, it is rare to not know someone confronted with this deadly disease.

What has changed?

Our environment and lifestyle have changed immensely over a short period of time and continues to do so.

Why foods alone is not enough

1) Depleted Soil

Growing the same crops on the same land year after year will rob the soil of nutrients.

If we grow our fruits and vegetables on soil that is depleted of vitamins and minerals it will produce depleted fruits and vegetables. Soil is no longer rested and replenished; instead it is exhausted of nutrients and grown using petrochemical fertilizers that enhance growth. Admit it…you have seen an orange that looks like it has been taking steroids! Our foods are grown for quantity rather than quality.

The Organic Consumers Association cites several studies with similar findings of swindling nutrient levels in our food:

  • A Kushi Institute analysis of nutrient data from 1975 to 1997 found that average calcium levels in 12 fresh vegetables dropped 27 percent; iron levels 37 percent; vitamin A levels 21 percent, and vitamin C levels 30 percent[1]

(My note here: these are significant decreases in only 22 years!)

  • A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.

“Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly,” reported Davis, “but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.” There have likely been declines in other nutrients, too, he said, such as magnesium, zinc and vitamins B-6 and E, but they were not studied in 1950 and more research is needed to find out how much less we are getting of these key vitamins and minerals.[2]

Are you seeing a trend here? There is a “reliable decline” in many vital minerals and vitamins in the foods we eat. Our modern foods may fill the void of hunger but they are not building our bodies to maintain health.

2) Modern Food Quality (or lack thereof)

Our food supply is bombarded with thousands of artificial flavors, color enhancers, sweeteners, softeners, and chemicals to preserve it. Many are GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in small quantities. What has not been tested is how much we can tolerate safely and the interaction of having a toxic cocktail of more than one at a time which is common.

Two common toxins in our food:

Aspartame: technical name for the brand names such as  NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. Some common symptoms: dizziness, nausea, headaches, rashes, anxiety, and more.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. [3]

MSG (Monosodium glutamate):  A flavor enhancer added to Chinese food, canned goods, vegetables and others. MSG has been used as a food additive for decades. Over the years, the FDA has received many anecdotal reports of adverse reactions to foods containing MSG. These reactions — known as MSG symptom complex[4] — include:

  • Headache
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Numbness, tingling or burning in the face, neck and other areas
  • Rapid, fluttering heartbeats (heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Weakness

 

All of these chemical variations to our food supply lowers the nutrients in the food we eat.

3) Toxic Exposure

We are exposed to toxins in the air we breathe, skin care products, make-up, EMF (electromagnetic fields: cell phone, Wi-Fi, etc..), food, water, and our body produces toxins.

We have to have essential nutrients in our body to be able to get rid of any toxins we are exposed to. When we do not have what we need, our body will use replacement parts to keep going. If your body needs zinc in the pancreas to make insulin and zinc is not available, your body will use a replacement part (toxic metal or less preferred mineral) in its place. Good news: the body keeps going. Bad news: replacement part is just that, a replacement part, so it does not work as well or as long and it is very common to notice unwanted symptoms.

4) Food Traveling Long Distance

All fruit and vegetables are picked before they are ripe so that they do not spoil by the time they get to the grocery store.  Many nutrients are supplied when our foods are ripe. From there, they have to travel many miles and lose more vital nutrients in transit.  If it is coming from another country, the food may be sprayed or irradiated to improve the shelf life. Food irradiation (the application of ionizing radiation to food) is a technology that improves the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects.[5]

5) Diets to Lose Weight

There are so many diets. I cringe to even say the word, mainly because most are terrible for our health, especially if the goal is to lose weight. Starving yourself of nutrients to lose weight can lead to a plethora of health issues.  When you are restricting calories, it is easy to become malnourished in minerals and vitamins. Do you know of someone who has lost a lot of weight but still looks and does not feel healthy?  One reason why is that they became nutrient depleted.

6) Poor Digestion

What we put in our mouth, our digestion has to deal with. Eating refined foods and chemicals has harmed our digestive system. There are many scientific studies that have shown that we absorb fewer nutrients from our foods as we age. Digestive enzymes naturally decline as we age. These enzymes help to break down and absorb nutrients from the foods we eat.  As a result, many people do not absorb nutrients well.  This creates a viscous cycle.

7) Athletes

Guess what happens when we exercise? We require more nutrients. I was working with a marathon runner that started getting many muscle cramps, shortness of breath when running and other symptoms. He had been running since he was in his teens, and is now in his 40’s. His hair tests showed he was low in many minerals. After improving his mineral balance with excellent quality mineral and vitamin supplements, his symptoms disappeared and he was able to enjoy running again.   I am not a big advocate for excessive exercise, but I have clients that live for it. Without enough nutrients, exercise and training can damaged your body and can cause injuries and other health issues.

 

8) Stressful Lifestyle

Stress alone uses up many more nutrients. It can deplete zinc, calcium, magnesium and others. Zinc can be eliminated from the body within hours of stress. Many people are rushing through their day; eating on the run.  Bad eating habits combined with lack of regular meals is like withdrawing from our bank accounts without making regular deposits.  Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system (fight of flight) which tends to use up nutrients more quickly and can impair digestion.

9) Health Issues

Do you suffer from any health issues? The body requires many nutrients to stay healthy and function well. Low nutrients in the body hinders our ability to heal.

I had a client that had a wound on his leg that would not heal. Shortly after he started taking the correct minerals and vitamins for his body, the wound healed completely.

10) Following the RDA (recommended daily allowance)

The RDA is the minimal amount you need of all vitamins and minerals. We want optimal health, not just enough mineral and vitamins to avoid showing symptoms. That would be like having a broken leg and asking the doctor to fix it so you could just walk. We would want our leg working optimally to be able to run, dance-not just sit. Do you want vibrant or just ok health?

11) Not Eating Organic

(Do a comparison at the local store of organic and non-organic cost)

What is organic food? Food that has been grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, bioengineered genes (GMOs), petroleum-based fertilizers, and sewage sludge-based fertilizers.

 

This next section is from Organic Food and What you Need to Know[6]

Organic produce contains fewer pesticides. Chemicals such as fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides are widely used in conventional agriculture and residues remain on (and in) the food we eat.

Organic food is often fresher because it doesn’t contain preservatives that make it last longer. Organic produce is often (but not always, so watch where it is from) produced on smaller farms near where it is sold.

Organic farming is better for the environment. Organic farming practices reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.

Organically raised animals are NOT given antibiotics, growth hormones, or fed animal byproducts. Feeding livestock animal byproducts increases the risk of mad cow disease (BSE) and the use of antibiotics can create antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Organically-raised animals are given more space to move around and access to the outdoors, which help to keep them healthy.

Organic meat and milk are richer in certain nutrients. Results of a 2016 European study show that levels of certain nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, were up to 50 percent higher in organic meat and milk than in conventionally raised versions.

Organic food is GMO-free. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide.

Non organic foods have fewer nutrients and more toxins due to processing.

12) We Simply don’t eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables

Most people do not eat enough fruits and/or vegetables. We get many needed vitamins and minerals from both. In my practice I encourage a variety of vegetables and some fruits.

Center of Disease Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2010: A diet high in vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk for many leading causes of death and can play an important role in weight management.

This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, in 2009, an estimated 32.5% of adults consumed fruit two or more times per day and 26.3% consumed vegetables three or more times per day, far short of the national targets (which was 75%).

These findings underscore the need for interventions at national, state, and community levels, across multiple settings.[7]

The belief that we get all of our nutrients from foods was once a valid argument, but sadly that is not the case anymore.

I have worked with over 30,000 clients and ALL of them benefited from taking nutritional supplements. Benefited how you might ask? Symptoms disappearing (see testimonials on this site), more energy, thinking clearer, and  simply just enjoying life.

To know how much and which supplements to take please click link: Which Supplements to Take

More information about Dr. Kneale DrKneale.com

[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soil-depletion-and-nutrition-loss/

[2] Journal of the American College of Nutritionwww.jacn.org

[3] Dr. Mercola, Nov. 2011 Most Dangerous Substance Added to Food

[4] What is MSG? Is it Bad for You? Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

[5] Food Irradiation: What you Need to Know https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm261680.htm

[6] https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/organic-foods.htm/

[7] Center of Disease Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Sept 10, 2010 http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm5935.pdf

 

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OT Meets Raising Lions

As an OT, I have searched endlessly for an effective behavioral approach for children with sensory processing challenges. I was lucky enough to meet Joe Newman, author of the book Raising Lions. In a short period of time, I was on a trajectory to work with him, adopt his philosophy of addressing behavioral challenges, and assist in entraining his approach within the communities that I work within.

 

It is the responsibility of all adults working with children to address behavior. In my opinion, it is important that the child and the adult feel emotionally safe to express themselves and that everyone feels respected. Without these healthy boundaries, deep connections will be difficult to foster and children will struggle to understand the balance between their needs and wants and those of others.

 

In my practice I work with many children that have sensory modulation challenges.

Sensory modulation refers to the brain’s ability to respond appropriately to incoming sensory stimulation in order to maintain an appropriate level of alertness so that the child’s responses match the situation within a reasonable range. Some children over-respond to sensory stimulation causing strong emotional reactivity, impulsive action, and intense physical responses such as crashing, bumping, excessive touching, excessive movement, and/or loud singing or talking. These children often have poor emotional control and can become oppositional and irrational in their behavior. On the other end of the spectrum are the children that are under-responsive. These children are passive and often miss sensory cues. They have difficulty with keeping up with peer interactions and often need support to complete daily activities. These children are prone to having passive tantrums. Due to their chronic low arousal, they become accustom to others initiating tasks for them or in some cases doing the tasks for them. It can be challenging for adults to recognize these children’s level of ability because they will express they don’t know how to do something or that the task is outside of their abilities even when it’s possible that they could do the task.

 

I believe we need to recognize these children’s struggles, but we can’t let this block us from seeing their capabilities. These children need both empathy in regards to the challenges they face, but also good boundaries and effective tools so they can learn needed developmental skills.

 

In OT, we work with children with sensory modulation challenges by presenting them with different types of therapeutic sensory activities that have either an excitatory and/or inhibitory properties so the child can learn how to get into and maintain a level of alertness that allows them to interact with their environment in a meaningful and productive way.

 

When working with children with sensory modulation challenges, we also have to address the behaviors that arise due to the nature of these challenges. With the Raising Lions approach, I have found success in helping children learn impulse and emotional control because of the opportunities that the method provides in comparison to other behavioral approaches.

Here is why I feel the method is effective:

 

  1. It’s relational. As an occupational therapist, we work not only with the whole person, but the dynamical responses within the child’s relationships. Raising Lions is a relational approach. It respects the child’s autonomy, but also works towards interdependency with others.
  2. It’s non-judgmental. Children with sensory modulation issues are usually up against a lot of criticism because their behaviors are typically inappropriate during their daily interactions. Raising Lions approach provides boundaries in a non-judgmental way so the child doesn’t start to take on the image of the villain, class clown, or helpless victim to name a few.
  3. It’s a non-stimulation protocol. Getting stickers, losing tokens, and long explanations are all excitatory mechanisms for a child with over-responsive modulation issues. These approaches may work short term, but usually become ineffective over time. The child heavily relies on these systems and they often do not correct the actual issue, modulation. The Raising Lions method allows the therapist to stop all activity in a very neutral and natural way. You can then have the child re-enter the activity or therapeutically change the factors to achieve what we call the “just-right challenge” so the child can achieve regulation. Basically, it allows the child an opportunity to harness his/her ability to manage incoming stimuli without adding more stimulation, which prevents over-stimulation.
  4. It gives the parents and the child a blue print and clear options. Children with modulation issues typically don’t respond to standard parenting practices such as time outs, sticker charts, and long talks about behavior. It’s because these children are responding to impulses and their actions are typically ahead of their thinking. The child’s states of dysregulation can dysregulate the family system, leading parents to strategies such as bribing, threatening, caving in or other desperate attempts to gain control of the situation. Raising Lions helps parents to learn to stay calm and neutral. It helps the parent to regulate and detach from the child’s behavior, which creates an environmental opportunity for the child to learn how to modulate in small durations of time. It helps the parents do the same, and the therapist and…it’s a win-win!

 

Examples of how I use the protocol in therapy sessions:

  1. I want to get Johnny ready to do some coordination activities, but he’s crashing and rolling on the floor and grabbing everything in sight. His mother tells me he started off his day like this and also reported he had a hard day at school. I’m thinking he is over stimulated and I want to give his sensory system some organizing input. He decides out of a choice of two activities that he wants to bounce and roll on a therapy ball while listening to a song with a steady beat. While doing this, Johnny starts to sing in a loud voice and he begins to slam his hands loudly against the ball. Instead of telling him to stop, lower his voice, or take the ball away, I ask him to take a minute. I turn off the music and wait for him. When he is done, we return to the task. I continue to do this until he shows modulation while on the ball. Johnny is learning to regulate in two ways. One he is taking the small breaks which allows him to make a different choice in how he’s interacting during the task and two, he’s learning how to use offered tools in an effective way to positively influence his neurology.
  2. I have asked Suzie to start practicing her letters in her handwriting book. She has already done some preparatory sensory work to get her ready for this task, but Suzie really dislikes writing and she definitely doesn’t like to use a pencil grip. While writing, I notice her move the pencil grip up the pencil. We have already discussed the purpose of the grip and she knows it is part of the process so I don’t lecture her. I ask her to take a minute. She returns and I then notice that she is writing the letters excessively large and she is looking at me to see my reaction. I calmly ask her to take another minute and when she returns we redo those letters. Using the Raising Lions approach in this situation is helping Suzie move through the discomfort of using muscles she is not use to activating due to the grip and it is also helping her to learn emotional control during a non-preferred task.
  3. Bobby is playing a game with his sister Katie. He is really competitive, especially when he’s playing his sister. Before starting, we discussed whether his alertness level was high, low or just-right. He tells me his engine feels high and he picks an activity from a choice of 2 things (running and crashing into the bean bag or jumping on the trampoline). I know Bobby has trouble sitting still so I also give him a cushion with texture that gives him a consistent regulating input. However, Bobby starts to lose and I can see a change in his behavior, which is the start of a potential explosion. I ask Bobby to take a minute. His sister then laughs and makes faces at him while he’s taking a minute so I ask Katie to take a minute as well. In this situation, the Raising Lions approach is used to give Bobby a moment to pause before the anger of losing sets in and gives him a chance to make another choice. It also lets him see that there are boundaries for his sister too, which helps him to see his sister also needs minutes to adjust her behavior. I find this a powerful choice especially for children that are frequently in trouble or villainized.

 

Raising Lions has been such a wonderful addition to my therapy practice. I am now able to slow down and to make more purposeful decisions in approaching children. Although most of the children I work with are initially upset about taking a minute to reset, they start to recognize the pause instead of the punishment, the choice instead of the demand, and the relationship instead of just themselves.  When this starts to happen, so many other positive changes occur.  Here’s to all the Lions!

 

Michaela E. Gordon, OTR/L

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Just Right Challenge

By Michaela E. Gordon, OTR/L

Occupational therapists are known for using the term “just-right” challenge. The term  was originally coined by occupational therapy Dr. Jean Ayres and later used in other occupational therapy frameworks. The just-right challenge can be looked at from many different points of view and becomes a little more complex when assessing this in children. I say this because adults have such a large influence on the environments they present the children with. For instance, every adult has their own individual perception of the world and what they find easy and challenging. The adult then has to either pair their point of view or shift their point of view in order to create situations that aren’t too easy for the child that there is no satisfaction in the activity, but also not too hard that the child feels so frustrated they stop trying to meet the challenge. To press further on this, there are also so many different types of parenting, teaching, and coaching styles, which adds another layer of complexity when it comes to challenging our children with some adults presenting with an authoritative outlook, some with a passive outlook, and some with a balanced outlook. How the environment is laid out for the child will influence how he/she perceives stress, how they go about completing tasks, how they interact with others, and how they see themselves and their abilities.

 

For simplicity, I offer an analogy of how I approach creating a just like challenge for children.  I see myself, the adult, as the earth and the children as the seeds. As the earth, I am a steady, enduring medium in their environment. I am taking it all in, monitoring by sensing what is going on inside me, what is going on around me, and sensing how the child is sensing the situation. I know as a seed, they are going to need just enough sun, just enough water, and just the right timing for the blooming of the flower to occur. If we overdo or underdo during a time of growth, we take away opportunities for the flower to bloom and to flourish. Again, we are monitoring, pacing, and making the child feel safe as we plot out the environment.

 

As we know, life is organized and disorganized all at once. The best is when we see the seed coming out of the ground, starting to sprout. However, there are other times in the process where either us the adult or the child have complications that arise and we have to problem solve not in a way that fixes the situation and makes it perfect, but challenges us as we patiently wait for the development of what we planted.  Perhaps there was a lack of water or maybe the sun didn’t come out one day. Sometimes that happens. Perhaps the flower is feeling lonely or they are upset because they are not growing as fast as other plants. The flower may not want to wait and they want to be a full grown flower RIGHT NOW! We get it right? But our job isn’t to just fix all that for the child or to bear down on them with unrealistic expectations. We can’t neglect the flower and we can’t pull the flower up from the ground and make it grow. It just doesn’t work that way. Our job is to be that steady ground, never wavering, showing up, shifting with what comes up in the moment. And in all honesty, it feels good to meet a just-right challenge. Enduring roadblocks, boredom, and some uncomfortable feelings is worth it when you begin to master and adapt to what shows up.

 

Here are some tips for creating just-right challenges:

  1. Give yourself just-right challenges! Where are you too hard on yourself and where can you implement a little more discipline? Once you have an idea how you operate, then you can observe how your child operates.
  2. Make a list of child’s strengths and weaknesses. Where do they thrive and where are things hard for them?
  3. Once you know your child’s strengths, really highlight those! We all have a purpose, talents, and gifts. Put them in just-right situations and let them shine!
  4. Once you know what is difficult for them, create situations that you feel are doable and allow for room to adjust to either something more simple or complicated. Example #1: Your child is afraid to ride their bike. You have been pushing them to ride out on the street, telling them it is not scary, encouraging them that they can do it. You see they can sit on the bike and even pedal the bike, but looking down that long sidewalk seems daunting to them. This is showing you, the challenge is too hard, even if it doesn’t make sense to you. You would make the challenge easier by practicing pedaling in the driveway. Then the next challenge would be riding to a cone you put out or a certain crack in the pavement and with each mastery, going a little further. Example #2: Your child despises handwriting. They may cry and scream, refusing to participate. Once you get them to the table, they scribble on their book or do everything but practice making the letters. You might not know if they find it boring, meaningless, or maybe it is really hard them. So your next step is to explore. The next time handwriting practice comes around, you don’t avoid writing in the book, but you add a fun element. Perhaps they can make their letters with chalk and use a wet sponge to write over the letters. Maybe you write letters on their back with your finger and they have to write out what they think the letter was. These additions will help not only help them sensory-wise by adding different tactile mediums, but will also make the task feel more playful and purposeful. Once you have done this, then you write just a few letters or words and you can graduate the amount over time. Another example is having them trace letters if the task is still too hard.
  5. Just-right challenges add up! It might seem at times what you are doing isn’t making a difference or that it’s taking a long time to master a skill. However, all kids benefit from persisting and embracing challenges. Remind your children of how far they have come and how far they can go.
  6. Allow frustration and failure. These are ok things to experience and they will not hurt your child! I am not talking about extreme frustration and failure because that’s not just-right. It can be so hard to watch a child struggle, but I feel when I let them struggle, I am really telling them that I trust them, that they got it, and I know they can move through whatever the challenge is. It’s very empowering to the child.

 

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” -Lao Tzu

 

 

To find out more about the author please go to: Michaela Gordon

 

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Hair Mineral Analysis and Your Oxidation Type

By Dr. Heather Kneale © June 2018

Using Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) we can assess:

  • Rate at which your body releases energy from food (metabolism)
  • Feedback on if the diet is correct for your body chemistry
  • How to improve your energy with food guidelines and specific supplements

Dr. Paul Eck, biochemist and founder of ARL (Analytical Research Labs), was the first person to identify and correlate hair mineral ratios with oxidation types.

There are two oxidation types: Slow and fast.


Slow Oxidation

HTMA reveals:

  • A Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) ratio that is > 4
  • A Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg) ratio that is < 4.17

80% of all hair charts show slow oxidation.

An individual that releases energy from foods too slowly. To help a slow oxidizer get more energy we have to speed up the oxidation rate.

Diet includes: high-quality proteins, preferably organically grown cooked vegetables, and a moderate portion of specified complex carbohydrates. These foods help to improve blood sugar, support the adrenals and thyroid activity, and improve energy levels.

There is not one diet plan that fits all. We are recommending a guideline to get you started.  We do not know the exact recipe that is going to work for you. Over time and working with your practitioner, you will get to know what foods are best for you.

Common symptoms of slow oxidation:

  • Sweet cravings
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Chronic allergies
  • Low energy
  • Low mood
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Do not sweat easily
  • Tendency for constipation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tend to feel cold
  • Cold feet and hands
  • Can carry weight in lower body (hips, thighs)
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Underactive adrenals

Fast Oxidation

HTMA reveals:

  • A Calcium/Potassium (Ca/K) ratio that is < 4
  • A Sodium/Magnesium (Na/Mg) ratio the > 4.17

An individual who releases energy from foods too quickly.  To help give a fast oxidizer more long lasting energy  we have to slow down the oxidation rate.

Diet includes: high-quality preferably raw fats and oils. They also need plenty of cooked vegetables and some high quality animal protein daily. They require less carbohydrates than slow oxidizers. Sugars and refined starches are particularly harmful for fast oxidizers.

Common symptoms of fast oxidation:

  • High blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Sweat easily
  • Inconsistent energy
  • Oily hair
  • Oily skin
  • Flush, reddish appearance
  • Water retention
  • Can carry weight in the abdomen and trunk
  • Aggressive personality type
  • Frequent or loose stools
  • Nervous energy
  • Anxiety
  • Tend to be warm
  • Excessive activity of the thyroid
  • Excessive activity of the adrenal glands

Mixed Oxidation

It is a transition state into either slow or fast oxidation. A mixed oxidizer often experiences a combination of symptoms from both fast and slow oxidation and may need a mixed food plan.

A mixed oxidizer has an erratic metabolism. To give more energy we need to stabilize the oxidation rate.

Our go to cookbook is , Joyful Cooking, by Joy Feldman.

Your oxidation type can be determined from a properly performed HTMA.

What is your oxidation type? Click here to Find a practitioner

 

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Lunch Box Ideas for Back to School

Lunch box ideas for back to school

Joy Feldman, NC JD

 

Summer vacation will be coming to end shortly and soon the streets will be dotted with large yellow school buses heralding “back to school.” With that transition comes lunchtime meal prep. Packing nutritious lunches that your kids will eat can be a daunting task, but I am here to offer some help. Ok y’all, do not stress.

 

Let’s get those kiddos in the kitchen with you and let’s get creative! Have some fun and don’t take on this task as yours only. Children are capable of helping you assemble their lunches. Start slowly with having them assist you a few days a week and soon they will love learning how to pack a lunch.

 

But wait, there is an added benefit here. When your young people are empowered with the task of taking responsibility for their lunch, they begin to learn about foods and its important relationship for their developing bodies. Yippee!

 

Below I have some lunch box suggestions:

 

  • Spread Almond Butter on a mutli grain burruito wrap, then place assorted berries and banana around the wrap. Drizzle with honey. Then roll up.

 

  • Spread creamy boursin cheese, inside a whole wheat pita pocket, then fill with roast turkey slices, baby spinach and cucumber slices.

 

  • Pack a container with avocados mashed with lemon juice; top with a layer of shredded Monterey Jack before sealing. Fill 2 small whole wheat tortillas with shredded rotisserie chicken and sliced romaine lettuce and store in resealable plastic bags. Assemble at lunch.

 

  • Thread skewers with grape tomatoes, cucumber chunks, cooked shrimp and toasted whole wheat bread cubes. Pack with pesto sauce for dipping.

 

  • Toss diced roast chicken breast with pesto, diced mozzarella and sugar snap peas. Place in an airtight container and pack with a whole wheat hot dog bun.

 

Here’s to your health!

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