Surely Prevention Is Better Than Cure, Right?

Nowadays I view my illness as a blessing. A blessing for many reasons, such as immense gratitude for every healthy day I have, for being able to truly appreciate the friends and family I love and for finding a purpose in life, one in which I can help others fufill happy and healthy futures.

But what if we never had to suffer in the first place? What if ‘we’ as a society took a different angle on healthcare and rather than treat the symptoms of an illness when it occurs by covering it up with a concoction of pills, we look at how we could prevent the illness in the first place? To be honest I’m not just talking about headaches, this is a much wider issue. In fact I am sure this has to do with the global obesity epidemic that is plaguing the world right now which leads me back to my original question. Surely prevention is better than cure, right?

Right! The further I delve into the health care field the more I learn how effective preventative measures actually are, however the sad thing is that they are hardly ever practiced, especially amongst our doctors.

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America spends trillions of dollars on treating disease but not a dime on preventing it? Someone explain to me where the logic is in that? Perhaps that has to do with the 300 billion dollar drug industry? I know, I know, it’s a taboo subject, but can you tell me that the drug companies would encourage preventative measures such a lifestyle and diet changes whereby the patient would need less or maybe no pharmaceutical drugs anymore? Just saying.

So if I were to tell you that there was this magical new drug on the market which could have the following effects on your health would you take it?

  1. It could reduce type 2 diabetes and blood glucose levels
  2. Lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol
  3. Help control your weight
  4. Reduce your risk of certain cancers
  5. Strengthen your bones and muscles
  6. Improve your mental health and reduce your risk of depression
  7. Help you live a healthier and longer life
  8. It could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  9. Prevent falls in older age

Of course you would! Well I would that’s for sure and do you know what this magical drug is? PHYSICAL EXERCISE! Yep, can you believe it?

A regular moderate exercise program is enough to give you these incredible health benefits! The other amazing aspect to preventive medicine is that we normally take one pill to treat one condition, whereas preventative measures such as exercise doesn’t just treat one condition, it treats multiple and this is just physical exercise I’m talking about. What if we then throw in the mix some stress management tools, healthy eating, a regular sleep schedule and my god, you might just have yourself a chance at better bill of health.

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The view from my morning beach walk.

So I’m not telling you to negate medicine as in so many cases it is vital and the medical professionals deserve to be recognised for their amazing work but what if we could in so many cases, prevent medical treatment due to simple lifestyle changes and re-education and help reduce the strain on our health systems? My god I think we could seriously change the world from ‘sick care’ back to the world of ‘healthcare’ again.

Personally I think this would be most beneficial if we could start this early in schools. Rather than drilling into us when Henry VIII died and when the Battle of Hastings was (which I can still never remember to this day), surely it would be more effective to teach children proper life skills that they can take on into adulthood, to allow children to create a healthy and balanced life for themselves and their families in the future?

Can you imagine if we taught kids in school all about healthy food and how to cook and prepare it, how to look after their bodies, fuel and nourish themselves, how to find a form of exercise that they love, how to create healthy relationships and how to manage stress. Can you imagine what effect this could have on the sick care system that we know today? I predict that there would be a serious outbreak of health! That’s what would happen.

So in the meantime as preventative measures begin to get recognised in our world today, I am proud as a Health Coach to be part of raising awareness in how effective preventative measures can actually be. Not only could we save ourselves a lot of money, but at the same time our health care systems that are currently under enormous strain could maybe start to breathe a sigh of relief.

As Benjamin Franklin wisely once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. And by god I think he was right.

#HealthCare #Preventatives #Medicine #Lifestyle #PhysicalExercise

 

 

How To Ensure Healthy Eating Doesn’t Become An Unhealthy Obsession

If we were honest with ourselves, I’m sure we could all admit to going through a time when we were super strict and regimented with our diet and what we ate, whether we did it to lose those 10 pounds to get back into those favourite skinny jeans or whether we just wanted to try out the latest ‘raw food vegan’ trend as one of the glossy magazines said it would leave our skin glowing.

Whatever the reason, these huge shifts in dietary habits without you knowing, could quite easily go from a healthy intention to an unhealthy obsession without you even realising it.

Just have a think back. Have you ever turned down an invitation to go out for dinner with friends because the menu didn’t have anything on it that you could remotely eat on the current ‘healthy’ diet that you were adopting at the time? Well if so, just be aware that if this became a regular pattern of behaviour it could be the beginning of orthorexia nervosa, a mental condition that can end up significantly impairing one’s daily function.

The disorder is characterised by anxiety, ritualistic thoughts and behaviours and excessive pickiness around food with a fixation on nutrition as a means to avoid other life situations and as a result the person may feel guilt, self loathing and socially isolate themselves. Like anything, when healthy eating is taken to the extreme it can actually become unhealthy for you.

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Healthy eating should compliment your life, allowing you to feel and function at your absolute best, however if healthy eating starts to dictate what you can and can’t do and limit your life then it’s no longer a healthy habit.

So in that breath I wanted to give you a couple of positive ways to help you maintain a healthy, yet balanced approach to healthy eating;

  1. 90/10 Rule 

I love this one and a rule I personally live by. So the gist of it is eating healthy and the foods you know nourish your body 90% of the time then allows you to treat yourself the other 10% of the time.

Remember, it’s the choices we make the majority of the time that count. So personally I tend to eat well when I’m at home and cooking for myself but when me and my husband go out for lunch or for a coffee now and again, that’s when I will treat myself but completely guilt free! And I don’t just mean a sweat treat, it could be a slice of some homemade hot crusty bread with melted butter, a sprinkle of goats cheese on your salad or perhaps your favourite glass of red, just something you that makes you smile, otherwise what’s the point?

Food is a pleasure in life and there for us to enjoy, so let’s not forget that. Life is all about balance right, which leads me nicely on to my next point.

2.  It’s All About Balance

So for me, the trick to finding balance in the way I eat is by listening to my body. Personally for health reasons I find that a predominantly plant-based diet works best for my body but this doesn’t mean that I can’t be flexible, no, no no! In actual fact I would class myself as a “flexiterrean”.

Some days I tend to feel my body craving some more grounding foods, (it’s normally red meat or eggs) but I understand that this is simply my body’s way of telling me that it’s missing something. We should not be scared of cravings, quite the opposite in fact, we should embrace them and learn to respond to them, that is unless you body is just shouting “CARROT CAKE” at the top of it’s lungs 24/7 in which case that might be something you need to address! Trust me, you don’t need to spend your life counting grams of carbs, fat and protein in each meal, just trust your gut and let your body work out the rest. That’s what is was designed to do, balance itself.

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    3.  Do Not Punish Yourself

After implementing the 90/10 rule, it only works if you embrace the 10%. Go mad if you like! Have that carrot cake with the extra cream cheese frosting just because – because you can and deserve it. However if you spend the proceeding hours punishing yourself and trying to work out how many calories were in that fab slab of heaven and how many minutes on a treadmill it’s going to take you to work it off, then you might as well have not bothered.

Society has taught us this cycle of depriving and starving ourselves from all of the foods we love, followed by feeling guilty and bad when we ‘give in’ to temptation. We need to break free from this negative cycle and try and create a better relationship with the food we eat and our bodies. Try practicing your 10% guilt free. It actually feels invigorating when you do.

4.  Eat Whole Foods Rather Than Counting Calories 

Who really wants to live life counting every calorie that they take in? Life is seriously too short for that. Constantly assesing how many grams of fat, carbs and protein you are eating and writing it down throughout your day then putting it into a fancy app to calculate how many calories you have left over for diner? Urrrrrgh, not me and guess what? When you eat whole foods, clean plant based foods that haven’t been processed or refinded one hundred times over and a ton of sugar added to them, then there is no need to count calories, fats, carbs or whatever it is your counting! I

f you are eating a high quality, nutrient dense, clean diet high in plant foods then there is no need to worry about the the grams of this and that. Your body is getting exactly what it needs. Real food! Relax a little friends, delete that app and embrace more beautiful whole foods and your body will thank you for it.

  5.  Become a ‘Flexiterrean”

Now I think some of these obsessive habits can occur when we decide to commit ourselves to a certain ‘diet’. God there are so many dietory theories nowadays. You could be vegan or paleo, high carb or low carb, keytogenic or atkins, low fat or low protein, the list is endless but for me this rigidity in eating a certain way can bring about challenges in day to day life, especially in social situations. I sure don’t want to miss out on a friend’s birthday just because they are having it in an all you can eat meat fest of a restuarant. This is why I adopt the flexitterrean approach.

Whilst adopting the 90/10 rule I would use this 10% to relax , especially in social situations so I can enjoy myself and not feel restricted. So why not give it a go? Test out your flexitterrean muscles today.

So that’s it, a few sure fire ways to ensure healthy eating doesn’t turn in to an unhealthy obsession. Remember friends, healthy living should not be ‘diet’, it should simply be a healthy way to live your life.

#HealthEating #Nutrition #HealthyHabits #CleanEating #HealthCoach

 

 

Could This Be A Cure For Your Tension Headaches?

So I wanted to fill you in friends on what’s been going on with me recently as I realised I haven’t done a blog to update you with my migraine/headache progress for a pretty long time now. The good news is that my migraines continue to decrease! Yay! I know, amazing news right? To the point now where I had two whole months migraine free in February and March, a little blip with two migraines close together and now I have just completed another month migraine free which I am over the moon about. I continue to eat an unprocessed, whole foods, plant-based diet as much as possible which I know has been a huge contributing factor to the continual reduction in my migraines.

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Now for the not such good news. Even though I have effectively been migraine free for long periods of time, my old pain has been replaced with a whole new type of pain. A flippin’ annoying daily, can’t get away from, never ending type of aching pain. Hello tension headaches! So in the past I have always been a sufferer of tension headaches but this was pre migraines and never, ever anywhere close to the extent that I am having them at the moment. You see, before I suffer a migraine my neck tightens up, it remains tight during the migraine and even after the migraine has gone it still hangs around like bad smell that I can’t get rid of! Gee thanks migraine. As a result I develop a tension headache and this is the cycle I have been stuck in now for so very long. The funny part now (well I guess it’s not actually that funny) is that I’m not even having the migraines to cause the neck pain anymore but I’m still having these daily tension headaches. I guess after four years of my neck tightening and releasing on constant repeat it has just had enough, and I don’t blame it, I have to.

So over the past few months with the advice of my doctor I have had chiropractic sessions which seemed to help temporarily but the pain would always return, physiotherapy sessions which I can only describe as four months of massaging torture and some acupuncture thrown in for good luck. It doesn’t matter what I have tried, it only seems to make matters worse as the whole of my neck feels constantly bruised and tender to touch. Most days I wake up feeling like I’ve done ten rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson even after such a simple task as going for a gentle walk.

That said, I have recently been given a beacon of hope by my chiropractor that I wanted to share with you. She advised me that several of her patients have been having a treatment through an Orthopedic Consultant that she has been working with whereby the doctor injects a mixture of cortisol and an anti-inflammatory medicine into the neck joint to help reduce the inflammation and therefore the pain. The way my chiropractor described it was that sometimes when you have had chronic pain in an area for a long time, the nerves are so used to constantly firing due to being in that overworked state, that sometimes they need resetting. She advised that three of her patients that had undergone this procedure had felt incredible results. So with a glimmer of hope in my eye, I made my appointment with the specialist hoping that this might actually be the answer.

After an MRI Scan and one x-ray later, my results came through and it was as expected. I was diagnosed with severe neck tension. The doctor explained that naturally the spine through the neck should naturally resemble a nice “S” shape, mine looked more like an “I” and like someone had put a steel rod through my neck as it was in a dead straight line. The doctor explained that the joints were under a lot of pressure, dehydrated and were surrounded by inflammation which would be causing my pain and that I was an excellent candidate for the CT guided facet injections. Finally, it all began to make sense. No wonder the flippin’ physio didn’t work as the problem was at the joint and not the muscle, the muscle was tense as a result of the tight joint.

So luckily, thanks to the amazing healthcare here in Dubai, it wasn’t long before I was at18362828_120332000631829155_1995271059_o the hospital having the treatment. It was a simple procedure that took about 40 minutes which involved having four injections into my neck, two on each side. Once the needles were in I was then put back in the CT scanner to make sure that they were exactly in the right place at which point the doctor then injected the medicine into my neck. Piece of cake if I’m honest. Well, after having three rounds of Botox with 36 injections at a time, any injection nowadays feels like a doddle.

The full treatment consists of 2-3 rounds of injections and I was advised by the doctor to book in my second set 5-7 days from the first. The third set is normally due a couple of weeks after the second. So yesterday I had round two and I have to say that over the last few days I haven’t had any shoulder pain like I normally do. None, not even an inkling! So I honestly feel like the treatment has already hugely helped me. I can however still feel some tension at the top of my neck, around the occipital area but he advised me that the third set could be put directly in to there and done as a local procedure instead of going to the hospital which is great.

It’s funny actually, as about the time that I went to see the chiropractor and she suggested these injections I had just watched Dr Joel Saper do his talk about The Neck and Migraine at The Migraine World Summit. He advised that we have to treat the problem in the neck separately to the migraine, as two different issue’s even though they do interlink. For me this was a sign from the universe pushing me to seek out these injections, and I’m so glad I did. I thought I would share this treatment with you all friends as it might be of use to others who may be struggling with severe tension headaches. Maybe it’s something that you could ask your doctor about? Well, I will keep you updated with my progress friends.

Never forgot, when you think all is lost, there is always hope out there and some kind of new treatment to try…

 #TensionHeadache #Hope #Pain #Healing #HopeVsHeadaches #Treatment