Why Lab Testing?

If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

  • H. James Harrington

When it comes to your health, the last thing you want to base your care on is a hunch. Any healthcare provider will tell you that when it comes to treating or managing sickness, you need to acquire all the information you can in order to make the most appropriate decision. Because of this, every single patient that comes through our doors is required to go through an extensive examination process including an in-depth history, various health questionaries, a comprehensive physical exam, and most often, laboratory blood testing. If this sounds like a lot, that’s because in order to know where you are going (better health) we have to know where you are starting. Think of it another way, can any GPS tell you how to get somewhere without a starting destination?

At LifeLogic Health Center, we analyze your blood work differently than most other healthcare providers. Laboratory tests are routinely returned with a report that gives your lab value, that laboratory’s reference range for the specific marker, and then a positive/negative indicator based upon whether your value is inside or outside of that laboratory reference range. Most healthcare providers assess a patient’s laboratory findings based upon whether a marker is positive or negative. The problem with this is that most laboratory reference ranges are created based upon that given lab’s testing pool (everyone that the lab has tested for that specific marker). A laboratory testing pool is usually made up of sick individuals, because healthy people don’t get their blood tested regularly. What does this mean? This means that your lab results and your health is being compared against sick people, not the healthy people that you aspire to be like.

At LifeLogic Health Center we analyze our blood work against functional or optimal ranges, comparing your lab work to what it should “optimally” be. Our optimal ranges are not something we arbitrarily created, but are rather ranges supported in the latest scientific research. By comparing your results against an optimally functioning individual, we can identify health concerns long before they become illness or disease. When lab testing is combined with a thorough history, health questionnaires, and a comprehensive exam, you are able to paint a very clear picture of the possible causes for your current state of health. All this information allows us to create an individualized treatment plan for you and gives us tools to check your progress throughout care to ensure that we are helping you on your road to optimal health.

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Healthy “Potato Chip” Recipe Your Kids Will Love!

As every parent knows, the greener, crunchier, and healthier a vegetable is, the less likely you are to get your children to eat it. That’s where the art of vegetable disguise comes into play! I know that most parents have tried sneaking broccoli into their child’s macaroni & cheese at least once! It’s all about getting your kids to eat something that tastes great, then telling them it’s healthy after the fact. This gives you the opportunity to educate them about the health benefits of different foods that they may not have been willing to try otherwise.

We came across this recipe for kale “chips” that is amazing for children and adults alike. It almost seems sinful to eat something that tastes so good and is so full of nutrition. Kale is loaded with, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1 & B2, and fiber. It is a good source of calcium (this is a great way for children with or without dairy allergies to get their daily calcium intake), and amazingly, one portion has 192% of your daily Vitamin A requirement! Among other things, vitamin A has been proven to help improve eyesight and protect against skin cancer.

Do a little online research to find out some more health benefits and you’ll be convinced that kale is a superfood that your whole family should be eating. Thanks so Lisa Lillien from the Cooking Channel, this recipe will surely become a family favorite!

Baked Kale Chips

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups fresh kale leaves
  • Dash salt, plus more as needed
  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Place the kale leaves on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray. Spritz with olive oil spray and sprinkle lightly with salt.
  • Bake in the oven until crispy, 5 to 12 minutes, for a potato-chip-like snack.
  • Eat up!

PER SERVING (entire recipe): 64 calories, 1g fat, 212mg sodium, 13g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 0g sugars, 4.25g protein

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In health and happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

The Importance of Water

Recently, a doctor published an article in the British Medical Journal stating that there is not enough evidence to prove the importance of drinking 64 oz. of water per day. This doctor has caused quite the stir as people debate about the scientific, and not so scientific, reasons behind the necessity of proper hydration levels. It is important to note that her article was not disputing the health benefits of drinking H₂O, it was simply stating that there is no “real” evidence that drinking more water makes you healthier. (She was also suspicious of the bottled water companies who were making these claims.)

Just to clarify the topic a bit, let’s look at some water facts. About 60-70% of the human body is made up of water, and it also covers between 70-75% of the Earth’s surface. Another interesting fact: a person can live over one month without food, but can only survive for about a week without water. This information alone begins to build a strong case for the importance of adequate hydration levels.

From a health standpoint, water has many important functions. It helps regulate blood pressure, eliminates toxins, helps keep your skin soft, and assists in carrying important nutrients and minerals into your body. A safe recommendation for water consumption would be to simply drink water when you’re thirsty. Your body is smart and it will let you know when it’s time to chug some clear stuff, so don’t ignore the signals. Also, make sure you stay away from soda, tea, coffee, etc. as these drinks usually contain large amounts of caffeine and sugar, both substances that can contribute to dehydration.

Making sure you drink enough water when exercising can help you avoid muscle cramps, detoxify harmful substances from your body, and keep you cool. Be sure not to drink too much, as water intoxication can lead to serious health complications. This happens when water dilutes the sodium levels in the bloodstream leading to an imbalance of water in the brain. Some serious signs to look out for include headaches, personality changes, changes in behavior, confusion, irritability, and drowsiness. This is not usually a concern for the average person, but exercising hard while only drinking water and not replenishing electrolytes can lead to this condition. Remember to stay hydrated, but more is not always better. As a side note, try drinking water from refillable bottles that don’t contain BPA (a compound found in many plastics) to avoid chemical build-up in your body and reduce landfill waste.

Another suggestion for your entire family is to try the water challenge and drink only water for a week. Notice the amount of money you save by not buying other beverages and be sure to watch for unexpected changes in your health (for the better). Share your results and be sure to challenge those around you to do the same!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

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Diagnose This!

This weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with my family and friends for a wedding. As I caught up with people I haven’t seen in quite awhile, I began fielding health questions about all different types of aches, pains, and health conditions plaguing those around me. I began noticing a trend in all of my conversations: people are obsessed with having a diagnosis. I literally heard the statement, “I’m so relieved that my doctor finally gave me a diagnosis.” What?!? Why would anyone ever want to have a disease? Have we been that conditioned by our medical model of healthcare that we expect to only feel well once we have something wrong with us? Most folks I spoke with didn’t even know much about their treatment post-diagnosis, they were just relieved to know that other people were suffering from the same symptoms. As a doctor, my challenge to my patients is to always ask the question “why?” If someone tells you that you have something wrong, ask about the circumstances that occurred to cause your problems in the first place. If someone gives you a vague response, be responsible and find the answers from a reliable source. You may be surprised to find that although a disease may sound complicated, the cause for it may be less intimidating than you think. More importantly, you may find treatment options that, although unconventional, may not only make your symptoms disappear but may also prevent them from happening again.

In health & happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

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Nuts for Coconuts!

Some people love it, some people hate it. No matter your preference, coconut has many researched health benefits that make this delicious treat even more appealing. It has been used in countries around the world for every ailment from asthma to ulcers, and has been scientifically proven to yield some incredible healing potential. Published studies have proven that coconut can kill bacteria that causes throat infections, UTI’s and other infections as well as destroy viruses that cause diseases such as influenza, herpes, measles, and many more. Sounds pretty good, right? On top of all of this, the saturated fat in coconut oil has been proven to actually prevent heart disease! This is by no means even close to all the benefits provided by this little natural gem. It helps with everything from diabetes, to obesity, to reducing inflammation. You can read about all of the different impacts coconut can have on your body by visiting the following website: www.coconutresearchcenter.org/

Here are some great ideas to help incorporate coconut into your family’s diet. Just remember to use natural coconut, not the kind dusted in powdered sugar:

  • Make a trail mix of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and coconut flakes
  • Add shredded coconut to the top of your favorite cookies or cakes
  • Blend coconut into a smoothie with banana and pineapple for a tropical treat
  • Use coconut oil in bakery, stir fry’s, and anywhere vegetable oil is used
  • Bread fish in coconut flour and fry in a bit of coconut oil for a tasty fish dinner

There are many ways to use coconut, and more recipes online than you can imagine. Try coconut this week and give your family the gift of health!

In health & happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

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What Does Your Sleep Says About You?

Whether or not you’re getting a good night’s sleep can say a lot more about your health than you may think. New research shows that the more erratic your sleeping patterns, the higher risk you have of developing Alzheimer’s. This debilitating neurological disease happens when there is a breakdown in the area of the brain responsible for converting short-term to long-term memory (the hippocampus.) One major hormone responsible for breakdown of the hippocampus is cortisol. Cortisol’s job is to regulate blood sugar levels and coordinate sleep/wake cycles, also known as your circadian rhythm. Changes in this cycle occurring in the presence of altered levels of cortisol can happen during times of high stress or poor blood sugar regulation.

Does this sound like you? High stress, erratic sleeping patterns, poor eating habits? It sounds like most of the American population! Fortunately, you can affect your blood sugar/cortisol levels/circadian rhythm by doing a few simple things:

  1. Never expose yourself to blue light before sleep. Blue light can alter the production of the hormones responsible for helping you get and stay asleep. Common blue light sources include alarm clocks, cell phones, computers, and televisions.
  2. Eat every few hours. Eating 3 meals per day with snacks in between can help regulate your blood sugars and keep cortisol levels low. Although this can help prevent future cortisol issues from arising, saliva testing must be done to determine current cortisol levels and to help your healthcare provider determine the proper course of care.
  3. Relieve some stress. Although this is way easier said than done, taking small steps to reduce your stress load can include going on short walks, going to the gym, or just walking barefoot in the grass while your kids play outside.

Reducing stress, regulating blood sugars, and helping to control your sleep patterns will all take some commitment, but will give you a priceless payoff for your long-term health.

In health & happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

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Destination: Health

Health, like life, is a journey. No one wants to be sick, and because of this everyone at some point decides to work on becoming healthy. This journey towards health, like any other journey, involves detours, wrong turns, and possibly road blocks. The one constant in any successful journey is a known starting point. Think about it, how can you know where you are going when you have no idea where you are coming from?

If you think about Google maps, Mapquest, or even your GPS, every single one needs a starting address in order to give you directions to your destination. If you final destination is health or wellness, then you have to be aware of where you are starting. You may have the most amazing directions (health advice) on the planet, but if you aren’t sure of where you are beginning from, those directions won’t get you where  you want to go.

A perfect example of this is counting calories. If you look at health magazines, the internet, or even talk to many fitness trainers, losing weight is achieved through following a simple formula. The formula is: burn more calories per day then you take in. Sounds simple, and honestly it is the simple in some cases. Here is the hiccup: are those calories being spaced out over the course of the day (eating every few hours), are you getting enough calories so that your body has what it needs to function, or is there a underlying issue which may be slowing down your metabolism? Thyroid disorders, food intolerances, bad blood sugar control, stress, detoxification issues, and inflammation will all limit the body’s metabolism and it’s ability to burn stored fat for fuel. These factors will make a simple dieting equation incredibly complex very quickly.

The only way to ensure that all the hard work you’re putting into getting healthier is worth it is by getting yourself checked out by a doctor for any of the above issues. We use lab testing in our office exactly for this purpose; once we know how our patient’s body works, then we can give them the shortest, fastest, and most appropriate set of directions to get them to their destination of wellness.

In health & happiness,

Dr. Brian & Dr. Sarah

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