As a practitioner of health; I try my best to be a leader and set a good example for my patients.
Just a disclaimer: I’m not perfect, nor is anyone. Some health conditions are beyond your control; others are within your control. Either way there is no judgement for ANYONES current health status.
Health is a journey, not a destination. There are MULTIPLE factors in health. It’s not as simple as “eat healthy” or “exercise”. There are social factors, genetics, hormones, environmental exposures, addiction, mental health and MORE.
Some people may find these tips extreme while others may find these not extreme enough. Health is not one size fits all. These are the ways that I personally do my best to keep MY body in optimal condition; this is what works for me. This does not mean that I do not stray from this. This does not mean that this is exactly what would work for you.
The reason that I took the time to write this blog is to hope that you find something useful out of it or encourage you to make some necessary changes for your health and wellness. My passion is helping others on their journey to health.
I simplified my go-to’s into 6 ways that I do my best to stay healthy.
1. Sleep: If I am not sleeping well, how can I expect to function optimally? My goal is to get to bed by 10PM and I wake up about 7AM. I am someone that NEEDS my zzz’s. Some people can function on less sleep than that. I have tried, it does not work for me. I need 8-9 hours of sleep to function optimally. I listen to an audiobook that is relaxing to me and fall asleep within thirty minutes. Fun fact: An excellent side effect of acupuncture treatments is improved sleep.
2. Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals in food are lacking due to a depletion of healthy soils. Supplementation is often necessary even if you are eating healthy. Ways that I supplement: I take magnesium powder daily, Vit. D (yes, all PNW folks need Vit. D) and ascorbic acid (Vit. C) powder daily with my smoothies. During this particular flu and virus season, I have been diligent with my daily smoothie. I will post the recipe below. It includes a very large serving fruits/veggies along with elderberry syrup and supplementations.
I listen to my own body as far as digestion goes and whether or not I need extra probiotics. If my digestion is smooth, I don’t typically feel I need anything “extra”. If my digestion is off in any way, I will add kombucha or a spoonful of sauerkraut for a few days at a time.
Fun fact: We provide vitamin B12 shots for our patients that have digestive complaints and are suffering from low energy. B12 shots are easily absorbed into the body because it does not have to pass through the digestive tract.
My diet is mostly plant based, definitely not ALL plant based. I try to make veggies and fruits the main part of my diet. Mostly, because I do not like to cook and I feel great when I eat mostly plant based. We do not have a pantry, nor do we have a microwave. We don’t need one; the majority of our food does not come from boxes or pre-made items.
I eat fish, eggs (fresh from our chickens), rice, beans.. very simple foods. I eat very limited dairy and limited gluten. I try to stay hydrated with plain water throughout the day. It’s very important for daily energy and flushing out the things the body is trying to get rid of. If you are a coffee drinker (like me) and/or drink alcohol this is especially important to drink enough water throughout the day. Alcohol can throw off your gut flora as well as raise inflammation in the body; I try to avoid it for the most part.
Most of my day is walking around in the clinic, I rarely sit when I’m at work. So, I consider that part of my movement for the day. Walking is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body. One of my favorite past times in our family is going on various trails or just walking around exploring neighborhoods and different communities. Getting out in nature is my favorite way to exercise.
I also do crossfit locally at Waypoint Fitness for strengthening and high intensity training. I am not a competitive athlete when it comes to crossfit; but, I do enjoy getting out there having fun, feeling stronger and healthier.
If pain is preventing you from exercising, please contact us. We are experts in treating pain.
6. Find time to relax
An important way to stay healthy is to find some down time. Our lives are BUSY. Find something that you enjoy doing that is relaxing such as reading or just relaxing on the couch with family, yoga, taking a bath or some kind of down time to yourself if you are an introvert and with family or friends if you are an extrovert. Or both! Most of our patients value the quiet time in our clinic while treating their chronic pain condition.
Let me know if you have any questions or if you read this blog, let me know what you think! Did you learn anything valuable or are you going to try something new in your diet or routine?
My Green Smoothie Recipe:
Load your blender with lots of spinach leaves. Add about two cups of water, add vitamin C powder (about a tablespoon) and BLEND. After you blend the spinach leaves you will have plenty of room for the rest of the ingredients.
I add about a cup of frozen mango, a few tablespoons of elderberry syrup (I carry locally made Syllings Elderberry in our office if you are looking for some), a cup of blueberries (or any other berry I have on hand), I add a whole avocado if I have a ripe one available or a banana. Sometimes I squeeze a whole lemon into the smoothie (especially if you are wanting the extra Vit.C!). BLEND. :)
There is no "set" amount, add more water as needed. The smoothie is very kid and adult friendly.
One of my favorite things to treat in clinic is sciatic pain. This is a real pain for patients and I’m happy to help.
Sciatic pain is pain that radiates down the leg. This type of pain can be described as numbness, tingling, burning, shooting pain, weakness, or constant pain in the buttocks. This pain occurs when there is an impingement or compression of sciatic nerve in the lower back. A tight piriformis muscle can also cause sciatic nerve pain.
Acupuncture can help by activating the bodies natural painkillers (endorphins) and increase the blood flow to the area. Increasing the blood flow and circulation to the area is essential to healing chronic or acute pain. Acupuncture relaxes the muscles surrounding the spine and surrounding areas. These mechanisms together help to to relieve the nerve compression to reduce or eliminate the sciatic pain.
Sciatic pain is just one of the many pain conditions we treat in our office. If you know someone suffering, please send them our way!
Migraines are a neurological disorder
My story: Kourtney Zamora, L.Ac. My family and kids are MY reason. My reason for keeping myself healthy and my reason for wanting to help others along their journey.
I personally know what it's like to suffer with pain and migraines. I used to suffer with migraines about 3-6 days per month with tension headaches 10-15 days per month. That's a lot! If you know how debilitating a migraine is, it can really take a lot out of you. This went on for a decade.
With dietary changes and acupuncture I get maybe 2-3 migraines per YEAR. It's life changing. It takes a little bit to go through the journey, but we can change our path. You really don't have to suffer. I get so much more quality time with my family and that to me is worth so much.
Acupuncture at The Pines
At The Pines Acupuncture, Gig Harbor we treat migraines with a holistic approach. Migraines are debilitating and it's important to find the cause. When treating migraines naturally, you need to get to the root cause of the migraines. Some people are sensitive to different foods, some are sensitive to stress, others have menstrual migraines and the list goes on. My job is to present this information to you so that we can investigate your unique set of symptoms. I help patients navigate healthier choices and give nutritional advice that is tailored to each patient in COMBINATION with acupuncture to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. You really don't have to suffer!
Migraines are a type of headache that have real and definite changes to the brain. Previously, migraines were thought of as a disorder of the blood vessels in the head as the primary source of pain. We now know that migraines involve nerve pathways and brain chemicals! Since migraines are a neurological condition, they can come in waves and flare ups. You can do many things to keep these flare ups minimal or non-existent with enough persistence.
SEEDS -Limit migraine triggers by having great ‘headache hygiene’
Sleep: Regular sleep cycles.
Eating: No processed foods. Low histamine. High alkaline foods, low acidic foods.
Exercise: 3 thirty minute sessions per week, get your heart rate up!
Drinking: 6-8 cups of water daily, proper electrolyte balance, limit caffeine and alcohol.
Stress: De-stress daily! Yoga, acupuncture, hot bath, meditation, hiking, ect.
Eat all the colors! Mango, pear, kiwi, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, banana, cherries. Kale, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, swiss chard, sweet potato, zucchini. Grass fed meat and pasture raised eggs. Fresh fish, rice, quinoa.
Drinks: Ginger tea, almond milk
Oils: Cold pressed coconut oil (for cooking) or olive oil (salads).
Refined sugars and refined wheat.
PROCESSED FOODS! Including processed meats (deli meat, cured bacon)
Avoid cheese, most dairy. Limit wine, coffee and chocolate.
High histamine foods- fermented foods, leftover foods, walnuts, cashews, vinegar.
The role of acupuncture in migraine treatment:
Acupuncture is a great natural alternative to reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines. Acupuncture can treat migraines without the use of harsh pharmaceuticals with a long list of side effects.
By stimulating specific points on the body a wave of natural painkillers release from our brain in response to the nervous system. Acupuncture relaxes muscles in the neck and shoulders, reduces stress and reduces cortisol levels. Many people receiving acupuncture fall asleep during their treatment or feel a deep sense of relaxation over their whole body.
-Kourtney Zamora, EAMP
Acupuncturist at The Pines Acupuncture in Gig Harbor, WA