Building Resilience

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By Victoria Whisman LMFT

Here at Solstice Integrative Medicine we believe in the importance of building resilience as we deal with life’s ups and downs… If you are reading this that means you are one of our valued clients. It also means if you are working with us you are striving for positive change in your life. You want more health, more vibrancy, more aliveness. We are here to help you find that.

As a psychotherapist, one of the practices I teach involves building resilience. The more resilience we have the more we can cope with any situation. I start in therapy by asking my client to identify a place in the world or fantasy that makes them feel calm. It can be real or imagined. It can be the beach, the forrest, the house when the kids are gone and it’s all picked up. We sit with this calm place and really marinate in all the feelings it brings up. For some it is a sense of peace they haven’t tapped into in a long time. For others it is simply a break from the chaos of their normal monkey mind. I encourage all of my clients to imagine this place for at least 30-45 seconds 3 times a day. By doing this we create new neural pathways that gravitate towards this sensation. When we meet intolerable situations in our day to day life or in our psyche, this is a mental place we can come to and ground ourselves. By doing so we can shift out of a nervous system that is activated and into our parasympathetic nervous system that is relaxed.

“Taking in the good is not about putting a happy shiny face on everything, nor is it about turning away from the hard things in life. It's about nourishing well-being, contentment, and peace inside that are refuges you can always come from and return to.”

― Rick Hanson, Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

GMOs: Genetically Modified Organisms in Our Food Supply

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by Kia Sanford MS

It is unnerving that three of the top five crops grown in the US are now mostly genetically modified. The number one crop, corn, is now 86% GM. Although only 12% of the yields are considered to be consumed directly by humans, over 80% is consumed by livestock and we consume them or their products. The number two crop, soy, is now 93% GM and 79% of all the edible oil consumed by Americans is soy oil. In addition, the following crops are also GM: cottonseed (93%), canola (90%), sugar beets (95%), as well as nearly all Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and crookneck squash.(1,2)

Traits of GM crops

There are basically two main ways that GMOs are designed: 1) to create a plant that is herbicide tolerant (63% of GMOs); and 2) to create a plant that generates its own pesticides internally (16% of GMOs). About 21% of crops are designed to do both.

Industry Claims

Claims by the companies responsible for this technology, and the creation of the pesticides and herbicides that are used on these crops, assert that GMOs are perfectly safe for human consumption based on the use of some of these pesticides topically on crops over the past decades. As an example, Bt toxin (Bacillus thuringiensis) has been used as a spray on non-GM crops without research into long term effects on human health. Yet, the industry claims that by creating a plant that produces its own Bt toxin, it is essentially the same thing. However, the problem is one of both toxin concentration which is much higher in GM crops, and the alteration of other parts of the organism in ways that have not been studied for long term effects.

Because one of the main purposes of GM crops is to enable them to withstand the application of a specific herbicide (#RoundUp), testing was initially done with the active ingredient (#glyphosate) against human cells. Glyphosate interrupts a specific energy production pathway (#Shikamatein plants thereby killing them. The findings indicated that no harm was caused to human cells and so the company (Monsanto, and now Bayer) was granted permission to sell this herbicide to the public. It is now the most widely used herbicide on the planet by both the general populace and by industrial agricultural corporations. The big problem is that the Shikamate pathway of energy production is used by the bacteria that inhabit the human microbiome so ingesting foods and food products soaked in glyphosate residues is akin to taking low dose antibiotics every time you eat. This is likely one of the key causes of the dramatic uptick in GI issues since the introduction of GM foods to our food supply.

Places you might not think to look for GMO ingredients:

  • Medications

  • Supplements

The application of genetic engineering is possible in the following ingredients of food supplements. However, it is not possible to make general statements whether or not biotechnology was used in a specific product and to what extent.

  • Vitamins and provitamins: vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, biotin

  • Amino acids: cysteine, lysine, tryptophan, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, glutaminic acid

  • Secondary plant metabolites: Plant sterols (phytosterines)

  • Soy protein

  • Brewing yeast

  • Enzymes (like amylase, lipase, lactase as digestive agents)

  • Flavours

  • Papaya

  • Emulsifiers: soya lecithin, soybean polyose (E426)

  • Filling agents: cellulose, ethylcellulose (E 462), dextrin

  • Acidity regulators: citric acid

Resources:

  1. http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/cropmajor.html

  2. “Seeds of Deception” by Jeffery Smith

  3. GM Watch website https://gmwatch.org/en/

  4. Non-GMO Project website https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/what-is-gmo/

Nutrition and Skin Health

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You’ve all heard it before: beauty comes from within. I’m here to say it’s true in SO many ways, especially if you are talking about the skin. As the largest organs of the body, the integumentary system (which is comprised of the skin, hair and nails) plays a huge role in keeping us safe from external invasion, and it helps detoxify internal systems for their proper function. We don’t normally think of the skin as an organ, but it is. Its main jobs are to protect the body from damage by providing a waterproof layer and protection from dehydration, cushioning for internal structures, protection from invasion by infectious organisms, temperature regulation, and provide sensory information. It also provides one of the body’s main avenues of waste excretion. 

From a nutrition and lifestyle standpoint, there are a whole host of things that can and should be done to help the skin do its job to the best of its ability for us. Probably the most important thing we can do on an hourly basis is to stay hydrated. Drinking pure clean water is essential to keep the skin moist, to help it expel toxins through perspiration, and to retain its elasticity. One of the things we forget about is that perspiration part. In order for the skin to be able to expel toxins from our tissues, we actually need to sweat. So, yes, exercise is part of the necessary elements to maintain skin health. We need to sweat out the toxins that accumulate at the base of our sweat glands so they don’t fester and become sites of bacterial growth. This is one of the players in the development of some types of acne. Another vehicle to get us sweating is using a sauna or hot tub. Here at Solstice Integrative Medicine we offer the use of a state of the art infrared sauna to assist you on your path to health. Call Dr Blake to schedule a session.