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Everyone’s Meditating – Are You?

It seems like you can’t glance through a piece of media without being encouraged to join the legions of those who meditate, being promised relief from the relentless stress, chattering mind and jangled nerves that are part and parcel of our every day lives.

Just today, You Tube returned over 1.4 million hits when I entered the search term “meditation training”. Likewise, there are dozens of smartphone apps for various kinds of meditation, with compelling names like Calm, Headspace, and Smiling Mind ~ ahh, just saying the names begins to affect me as I imagine what that a smiling mind feels like… Similarly if you look for podcasts, periodicals and books related to meditation, you will be abundantly rewarded with many intriguing choices.

Searching PubMed (the trusted source for scholarly, research based, peer reviewed medical journal articles) you will find well over 25,000 distinct publications solely devoted to meditation research. Many of our top academic institutions have dedicated entire research centers to the study of mindfulness meditation alone, including UCLA, Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

But meditation isn’t just an ivory tower pursuit ~ not at all! There are many excellent outreach programs for teaching meditation and related self-regulation skills to those experiencing the extreme stress of active duty military, homelessness, and prison life. There are programs too numerous to name that offer mindfulness as a healing path through the difficulty of humanitarian work, first responders working in crisis, those serving in disaster relief, medical patients suffering with chronic pain, trauma and loss as well as for the healthcare workers who serve them.

Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the Huffington Post have recently run articles on CEOs who meditate, highlighting an impressive array of innovative meditation based initiatives springing up inside all kinds of corporate environments. And it seems that everyone from the Boston Red Sox to the Seattle Seahawks, Hugh Jackman, and Oprah all practice meditation regularly. Even the legal profession has recognized the benefits of mindfulness meditation and offers several programs for its professionals to help them deal with their unique stressors.

Clearly, meditation is HOT!

Care to try a little? Get comfy in your favorite chair, close your eyes, feel your breath coming in and going out, and just watch what your mind and body are doing. No judgments or commentary required, just observe; and if you do find that you’re talking to yourself ~ please be gentle, kind, compassionate. And then just come back to observing the mind and body, letting go, settling into the present moment with ease. Repeat as many times as the mind wanders away. You ask “How do I do that?” Well, that’ll have to be for another post…

If you haven’t begun you own meditation exploration, no worries, we’ve got you covered! Shortly after the first of the year, Revitalize will be offering an evidence based stress reduction program utilizing mindfulness meditation. In fact it’s the very same program developed at the UMASS Medical Center that began the whole mindfulness revolution, and I’d love to see you there!

Mindfully Yours ~ Victoria

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REVITALIZE’S NO FAIL NEW YEARS’ RESOLUTIONS

New Years Day is usually thought of as a day to reflect on your past year, and plan the year ahead. Many people make a habit of making resolutions. Statistics say that while 45% of people made resolutions for 2015, only 8% actually kept them. That is not a very high success rate! Often it is that the list is too long, or that they are unrealistic. Most commonly, the resolution involves some sort of self improvement. We at Revitalize are all for self improvement, but we also don’t want people to create another thing to be stressed about! So, as I was reflecting today, I wanted to share my list of NO FAIL new years resolutions for you to consider.

1. Try to sweat nearly every day. Many people have the resolution to work out more either for loss or cardiovascular health. It always seems that the gyms are totally packed in January, but by March a lot have already quit coming. Why not expand it to just breaking a sweat? Sweating is one of your body’s detoxification methods and is very important for health and weight. It could be running, but it could also be Hot yoga, or even a sauna.

2. Strive for 10 minutes a day of stillness. I recently finished a 10 day free trial of a meditation app. While I have a long way to go to control my thoughts, I really loved the 10 minutes of sitting still and taking deep breaths. That is really great to lower your heart rate, and even lower your cortisol. Many stressed people don’t have time to commit to a Mindfulness Stress Based Reduction (MSBR) class that has shown in clinical trials to have health benefits, but we all could find 10 minutes a day, couldn’t we? I varied the time of day- it wasn’t always in the morning.

3. Think about eating clean. Instead of counting calories or fat grams, think about just eating food in its native form. If it was around 100 years ago, its safe. If you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients in it, then maybe you should pass. This takes the pressure off of having to stick to a diet. If you just concentrate on eating clean most of the time, chances are you will be more successful.

4. Allow yourself enough time to sleep. In todays busy 24/7 world, many of my patients don’t get enough sleep. Even if you feel like you don’t need a lot of sleep to function, your body still needs 7-8 hours to restore tissues and for certain reactions to happen in the body. If you aren’t getting that much sleep, consider just adding an extra 15 minutes a week and gradually working up to 7-8 hours. There were actually studies on night shift nurses and those that slept < 6 hours a night had a higher risk of breast cancer! Your body makes Melatonin, a powerful anti-oxidant, while you sleep. If work is crazy, at least try to catch up a little on the weekend.

Here is hoping you have a Happy and healthy 2017!!

 

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Thinking Ahead: 2017 Planning Already?

Next month will be January! The New Year. And even though December can see some of the busiest calendars of the year, it’s a great time to begin considering what changes you might want to make once all the holidays and festivities have come to a close for a bit.

I like to ask people what they do to take care of themselves, and a reply I often hear is “I don’t really do anything to take care of myself”. What??!! You HAVE to take care of yourself!! Indeed, in an essential way, no one else will, and more importantly, no one else really can ~ this one is all yours.

So, perhaps as this year begins to wind down, you might consider what you can do next year to take care of yourself in a bigger way. Self care is at the heart of much of what we ask patients to do when they step onto the Functional Medicine path, because not even the best doctors, healers or helpers can make changes for you.

One of the key concepts in Functional Medicine is the idea of the “total body burden”. This is basically all the accumulated toxins, pesticides, additives, harmful chemicals and other “new to nature molecules” that make their way into our everyday lives and therefore into our bodies.

Did you know that there are over 84,000 chemicals currently used in the US, and the vast majority of them have never been safety tested? That’s right. And when the Centers for Disease Control routinely tests people for chemicals, they find that most of us have about 200 chemicals that our bodies have to try and recognize, detoxify and eliminate on an ongoing basis; that’s a lot of work! And many of these chemicals are related to the very health problems we’re trying most to avoid: cancer, diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain, thyroid disease, hormonal imbalances, infertility, behavioral problems and the like. Yikes!!

But, don’t be discouraged!! There are a lot of steps we can take to reduce these toxins, to lower our total body burden. One great way to start doing this is by buying organic whenever possible. Studies have shown that eating an 80% organic diet can reduce the amount of circulating pesticides in the body by nearly 90% in only 3-5 days! Now that’s good news!

Shortly after the first of the year Revitalize will be launching a 6 week Cleanse ~ a way to re-set your body after all the holiday excesses, lose a few pounds, feel lighter and healthier and to shed some of those toxic chemicals. Each week, we’ll be talking about things that impact our weight and wellness such as hormones, stress, sleep and environmental toxins.

So, maybe you’ll decide that this year you’ll make a commitment to lowering your total body burden, do a January kick off to mark your journey’s beginning, and join us in eliminating that which no longer serves us or our healthy intentions. Call to find out more about our January Detox and do some serious self-care next month ~ you’ll be glad you did.

Wishing you a great holiday season!! Victoria 🙂

 

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Staying Well At the Holidays

 

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Much of what you see about “holiday survival” talks about eating healthy food at home before party- going, how to fit a pared down workout schedule into an already crammed schedule, and making DIY gifts to give your budget a bit of a break. These are great ideas, and if they serve your particular needs this year, by all means, have at it and enjoy!

However, if you’re predisposed to any kind of holiday funk or if this year has been particularly challenging and you think you could benefit from something a little different, here are a few thoughts.

Our expectations of “the holidays” are often way overly ambitious, even if we aren’t completely conscious of them. A lot of people just feel several shades of blue around the holidays and don’t realize what might be driving that. Many of us have very different lives than we once had around the traditions we used to celebrate and this can leave us feeling somewhat less than festive and sparkly. Self-care and compassion are just the ticket for these kinds of holiday moods.

As the deep, lush darkness of winter approaches, the timing is perfect for a more intuitive use of your waking hours, perhaps spending some of your precious time in contemplation, introspection or prayer, and allowing the pull of silence and stillness to draw you into its nurturing, healing circle. Honoring the last of the Autumn as it passes, getting closer to nature, mindfully participating in the changing of the seasons ~ these are all activities that will nourish your soul and refresh your body and mind.

And if you’ve been experiencing challenging life changes, are dealing with illness or loss, or are caring for others during their difficulties, it’s especially important to take a little break, a holiday in fact, from all the rushing around, the shop ’til you drop mentality, the pressure to attend every gathering. Instead, if you can, make it a sacred time for yourself, unplug from the screens always grabbing your attention, take naps, make hot teas and bone broths, write in a journal, pick up one of those marvelous coloring books for grown-ups and express all the beautiful colors of your heart on the paper ~ how might that feel for a change?

And if you’re lucky enough to be flush right now, that’s wonderful! You can further enhance that feeling of fullness and wholeness and make an investment in your own personal account for a rainy day by honoring the wisdom of our ancestors, who very likely stayed at home more often, closer to the fire during this turning of the year and celebrated each other, the silence and the continuity of life as it surely will bring a new season in just a few short turns ‘round the sun.

Here’s to Happy Holidays! ~ Victoria

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REVITALIZE WEIGHT LOSS GROUP

What to Expect from the Revitalize Weight Loss group class:

It starts with a TWO WEEK detox. You will learn about how toxins affect your weight and will start with a medically supervised cleanse.

Next, you will follow up with TWO WEEKS on a Paleo weight loss program. During these weeks we will talk about stress and nutrition.

The Final two weeks we will discuss exercise and meal planning. You will be taking a packet of all natural weight management supplement to control cravings and help you burn fat. The packets will last an additional 6 weeks to keep you going.

Along the way we will have special perks: Food to try and other wellness ideas.

The cost is $699- payable either in one lump sum or 3 installments of $250, $250, $199. You can always just start out committing to the 2 week detox with us, but remember space is limited!

Please preregister either via portal message or phone (855) 829- 8315.

No refunds or exchanges. Payment is due prior to the class so we can order in the product for each participant

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Revitalize is Now Offering Genomic Testing and Advice!

Pharmacogenomics and epigenetics is a new emerging field. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003 we have the technology to map your DNA- the strands that contain all of your genes. This leads to more personalized medicine. Sometimes it leads to earlier diagnosis. Other times it can help you make decisions to postpone or avoid certain medical conditions.

So who needs to get genetic testing?

1) Any patient with a personal or family history of breast or uterine cancer. Hormone levels influence breast and uterine cancer. There are certain genes in our body that can change, making the enzymes that help get rid of estrogen not work as fast. This results in higher levels of estrogen that could potentially stimulate growth of breast and uterine tissue. If unbalanced, this could increase the risk for cancer.
2) Anyone who has had an adverse reaction to a medication, especially an antidepressant. We have a genetic test that tests your enzymes that metabolize medications you take. If these enzymes work too fast or too slow, it will affect how you feel on medication. For example, if you took a pain medication and your enzyme worked faster, you would not have as much pain relief since the medication would be out of your system too quickly.
3) Someone who is on antidepressants or has anxiety. The Alpha Genomics test lets you know if the medication you are taking is the right one for your body. Also, certain enzymes that deal with your neurotransmitters (or hormones in your brain). If you can’t recycle these neurotransmitters, they can leave you anxious or depressed. Natural therapies can help.

We offer two types of genetic testing. The first, EpigeneticsRX, tests about 30  different genes and is aimed at seeing how your body detoxifies.

The second test is a more comprehensive test. It looks at over 300 genes, and looks at detoxification, allergy, neurotransmitters, cardiac and lipid diseases. This one is not covered by insurance and costs $340.

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Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your pineal gland and is most commonly associated with sleep. It actually causes drowsiness and lowers your body temperature when it is time to go to bed. It gradually rises during the night with a peak at 2:00-3:00am. B vitamins are essential building blocks for melatonin. So if you are deficient in B vitamins, you are likely deficient in melatonin.

Not only does melatonin affect sleep, but it aids the immune system, is an antioxidant, balances the stress response, helps prevent cancer, improves mood and stimulates the production of growth hormone. There are also some studies that indicate if you do not sleep at least seven hours per day, your risk for heart disease increases. Individuals with heart disease were actually shown to have lower melatonin levels.

Women going through perimenopause are likely deficient in melatonin, which is related to the fluctuations in estrogen and testosterone during this time. Other causes of melatonin deficiency include: alcohol, caffeine and certain medications. What can you do to naturally increase melatonin? You can exercise and eat bananas, rice, tomatoes and walnuts. Melatonin is not recommended if you are pregnant, nursing, have an autoimmune disease, mental illness, or suffer from leukemia.

Here at Revitalize, we can check your melatonin level via saliva and determine a treatment plan specifically for you. Come get your level checked!

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Sign Up Now to Hear Dr. Tara Scott’s Presentation on Hormone Replacement

Dr. Tara Scott will be delivering two presentations on Hormone Replacement: What Does the Evidence Say?

The first presentation will be held Tuesday, March 3rd at 6 pm at the Mustard Seed Market in Montrose. The second presentation will take place at the Mustard Seed Market in Solon on Wednesday, March 4th at 6 pm.

Sign up for free online at www.MustardSeedMarket.com or visit Customer Service at either location.

According to Dr. Scott, there is so much conflicting information circulating around about hormone therapy. Patients have a difficult time discerning whether there are benefits or harms.

Dr. Scott will discuss the different menopausal hormones, symptoms of imbalance, and the current clinical research on hormone therapy so you can make an education decision that is right for you!

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Toxic Chemicals in my Lotion?!!!

Hormone balancing can be more difficult to achieve with some patients for a variety of reasons. Lifestyle, adrenal function and even the chemicals introduced into our body can interfere with progress. There are several chemicals that are actually toxic to our body and are known to interfere with our body’s hormone system. These chemicals could be introduced to our body through diet, personal care products, or from our environment. So often it is helpful for a person to assess their toxic load when trying to optimize health.

Chemicals to Avoid in Personal Care Products
Parabens – These are strong endocrine disrupters and are known to mimic estrogen. As a result, many have been linked with breast cancer. They are used in products as a preservative and can be found in MANY products. Anything listed that ends in paraben should be avoided (Methylparaben, tetramethylparaben, etc.).

Oxybenzone – This is an endocrine disruptor as well, and is the active ingredient found in most sunscreens. It also causes our body to create free radicals which increase our risk of cancer.

Aluminum – This is a heavy metal that can bio-accumulate in your system to a toxic level and has been linked to breast cancer. It is found in most deodorants.

Synthetic Dye – These are derived from coal tar and petroleum and are categorized as a carcinogen. They can also be contaminated by heavy metals. This is toxic to our brain. Examples are FD&C Blue 1, Yellow 5 & 6, Red 33, etc.

Dimethicone – This is a siloxane, which is an endocrine disruptor and can impair fertility. It has been linked to uterine cancer.

Triclosan – This is actually a pesticide and is an endocrine disruptor. It also disrupts thyroid function. It is the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps.

This is not an all-inclusive list of chemicals that should be avoided, but it is some of the major endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are a class of chemicals that disrupt your hormones. They can mimic a hormone, causing symptoms of elevated hormones. As a result, the body does not produce as much hormones since it perceives the levels as high. They can also disrupt function of reproductive organs causing cancer or infertility. They should definitely be avoided with hormone imbalances.

Diet Related Chemical Exposure
In order to reduce the amount of chemicals in your food, you should choose organic when possible. It is especially important to consume organic when consuming the dirty dozen, which are peaches, apples, bell peppers, potatoes, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes, spinach and lettuce. Also, avoiding preservatives whenever possible is a good way to decrease your toxic load. Food dyes are also toxic to our bodies. So the best advice is to eat whole, real food. Avoid processed foods as they often add many additives to get them to be shelf stable. Also choose meat that has no added hormones or antibiotics. A good assessment if a food is real food – does it have an ingredient list? Are there more than three to five ingredients listed? Do you recognize all those ingredients?

It is hard to live in a bubble so we never get exposed to ANYTHING. But remember, our skin is the largest organ in our body. We can definitely minimize our risk if we just commit to eating whole foods and reading labels of what we put on and in our bodies.

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Sign Up Now for Presentations by Dr. Tara Scott

Join me, Dr. Tara Scott, Tuesday, February 24th at 6:30 pm at the EMP Education Center. I’ll be giving a presentation on Why is Weight So Easy to Gain and So Hard to Lose?

During this complimentary seminar, I will discuss how various hormone imbalances and personal genetics contribute to weight gain. I invite you to come and learn how the providers at Revitalize can help you determine how you should eat, what form of exercise is best for your and address hormone imbalances so you can achieve optimal health.

The EMP Education Center is located at 4565 Dressler Road NW, Canton, OH, 44718. RSVP to info@revitalizemed.com. Questions? Call 1-888-829-8315.

Dr. Tara Scott is a board certified OB/GYN and board certified by the American Academy of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Scott is passionate about helping patients feel their best – inside and out.

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