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Sleep and You

Sleep. Unlike diet and exercise, it is something that should be an easy sell. After all, who doesn’t like sleep?! Sadly, it’s something few of us get enough of in both quantity and quality. This is a bigger deal than you may think.  A good night’s sleep is anywhere between 7-9 hours and anything less than 5- 6 hours is usually considered too little for a healthy night’s rest. Here are some reasons a good night’s sleep is so important.

Weight and Nutrition

When you regularly don’t get enough sleep,  your chance of obesity increases by 21%. Research has shown that even short term sleep deprivation causes us to gravitate towards larger portions of high calorie,  high carb foods while eating and even when grocery shopping. It also slows your metabolism while causing your appetite to increase. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a combination of poor food choices and  lower metabolism would cause weight gain and result in poor nutritional outcomes. Also, you are more likely to catch a cold or other infections from your lack of sleep. There is also a firm belief that this sleeplessness could increase your likelihood of diabetes, stroke and cancer.

Appearance

The most obvious side effect is your eyes. They can become bloodshot, droopy, puffy and develop dark under-eye circles. This is so common that there are entire lines of beauty products targeting these problems directly. Beyond your eyes, a lack of sleep can cause wrinkles, increase age spots and discoloration. This is due to its interference in the production of collagen, the key protein that keeps your skin youthful and healthy.

Mental Health

Anyone who has pulled an all nighter even once in their life shouldn’t be surprised by this disturbing fact.  Controlling everything from your cognitive functions to your emotions, when your brain is affected EVERYTHING is affected. A poor night’s sleep can have you struggling to make decisions, concentrate and recall things, as well as severely slowing your reaction times. It can also cause depression and mood swings. In many ways sleep deprivation can be similar to being severely intoxicated.

As you can see, a good night’s sleep is probably the most important thing we can do to help keep ourselves healthy.  

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Vermont Likely to be Labeling Food with GMO Ingredients

Corn-Golden-Beauty

Corn-Golden-BeautyThose sweet cobs of corn that go so well with steak on the grill may not be so SWEET for your healthl!!! At least Vermont is on the right track. That innocent looking cob of corn, yellow squash or zucchini at the grocery store is most likely GMO, unless you are purchasing organic.  GMO foods have been shown to be harmful to humans, animals and the environment but despite growing opposition, more and more crops are being genetically altered.  If you avoid eating processed foods you are already ahead of the game, because according to the latest study published in the New York Times, “More than 90 percent of the nation’s corn, soy, canola and sugar beets — from which the bulk of the nation’s sugar is derived — are GMO, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association has estimated that some 80 percent of foods found in grocery stores contain ingredients made from such crops. ”  Non GMO Labeled foods or USDA Organic foods contain no GMO food ingredients. Although it may be impossible to avoid GMO foods completely, here is the top 10 GMO products you are likely to see at the grocery store.  They are Corn (corn, corn oil and corn products), Soy (soybean oil and soy products), Dairy (because cows are fed GMO corn and soy, buy organic here), Sugar (sugar beets), Yellow Squash (buy organic), Zucchini (buy organic), Canola (canola oil), Papaya, Cotton (cotton oil), and Aspartame (artificial sweetener you need to avoid). 

 

 

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Time To Take Out The Cellular Trash

lymphatic-system

 

lymphatic-system

Have you been sitting too long? Time to Take Out the Trash!!! Did you know that the lymph system is the body’s garbage disposal system. Along with fighting disease, the lymph system gathers waste and excess fluid from cells and blood vessels. The only clincher: Unlike the vascular system, it does not have a large pump like the heart. It relies on skeletal muscles and movement to pump this “garbage” up to be dumped into the venous system so that it can be excreted out of the body. So, do your body a favor and take out the trash periodically!! Keep Moving throughout the day, do not remain sedentary for more than an hour. If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods- Get up, stretch, and walk around the office.  Setting a timer to go off every hour, perhaps on your phone, can remind you to get up and move!

 

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Feel Better Now

When people feel good about their health they can save money and not complicate life with unnecessary medical care.

People who are physically fit and physically invested in their health “know” they are healthy because they feel it. This is not an intellectual matter as the medical and supplement industries wish you to believe. Real health is experiential, meaning you actually feel better, look better, and function better. It is not at all abstract or a conclusion based on test numbers.

It is imperative to our survival that we “sincerely feel” healthy and avoid the cognitive traps wherein we can argue that our laboratory test numbers (abstract surrogate markers at best) are better and therefore we must be healthy. This is a set-up for supreme failure because we live in a physical world, not an abstract world. For instance, the Twinkie-induced comfort (the artificially derived feeling as a mixture of highly processed sugar and fat hit the brain) is very real in a physical sense, therefore not likely resisted for an abstract proposition such as to improve our surrogate health markers or avoid diseases in the future. This scenario is even less concrete and infinitely more troubling in that society and the medical system make us believe (feel) we are most likely victims of our diseases. This is not true and I urge you to feel differently!

There are distinct anatomical structures in our nervous system which connect us to our vital organs, much of it below our level of consciousness. Therefore the health we create in our lives is intrinsic knowledge, the physical, intellectual and emotional context of our lives. I consider this physical realism wherein we sense we are either building a stronger, more vital context for life, or we sense we are building a weaker, disabling context for life. In the biological world (where we reside), there is no middle ground, no static state – we are either building ourselves up or tearing ourselves down, and we feel it.

When we feel better about our health, we tend to feel more secure about everything. Feeling your best can take many forms, from less aches and pains to a better functioning heart, all of which depend upon your health – your physical form and function. Feeling positive (even just an attitude) enhances everything in life, but also improves us physically in of itself, especially our immunity and cognitive function.

You sculpt your health, your body, your mind and your life. You can feel as good as you wish to.

 

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Helpful Tips to Help Kids Eat Natural Foods and Stay Active

DSC 9833

DSC 9833We all worry about the health of our kids. Just walking down the grocery store isles filled with processed foods in colorful packages, the newest gummies, roll ups, cereals, sodas, cookies, muffins, chips.. you know the drill, we have all been there and it is almost impossible to not break down and give in to some of their pleas.  I find it helpful to simply stay out of those isles!!  Try going to the produce section first and filling up with their favorite fruits, nuts and veggies.   Anyway, here are some helpful tips from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine to encourage better food choices along with ideas to stay more active. 

Remember Flavor and Eye Appeal are the Foundation for Success.

  •      vary the shapes of veggies, cut-out shapes, curls and circles rather than sticks
  •      make wraps rather than sandwiches
  •      provide healthful “dips” like hummus or lowfat ranch for veggies, nut butters
  •      serve meals in eye catching dishware or lunch boxes  

Involve Kids in Food Selection and Preperation.

  •      kids and teens are more likely to eat foods they help select and prepare
  •      Use shopping trips as a time to talk about new and nutritious foods
  •      allow kids to experiment and create novel ways to prepare foods

Eat Breakfast Every Day.

  •      Little time for breakfast?  Put together the night before
  •      have kids help set out plates, wash and cut fruit and veggies
  •      keep breakfast simple, or prepare home-packed breakfast to go

Make the Most of School Lunches.

  •      explore opportunities for tasty, good nutrition
  •      look at and compare nutritional choices in regular and a la carte foods 
  •      talk about sensible choices

Pack a Lunch from Home.  This is usually the answer to inadequate school menus and meals.

  •      include a lean protein, veggies, fruit and healthy fat
  •      keep nutritious lunch “makings” on hand
  •      encourage kids to pack their own lunches, selecting a variety of foods

Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time and Keep them Handy.

  •      prepare and bag single servings of healthful snacks  on the weekend to make good choices easy during the week.  Have children help
  •      keep nuts, fresh and dried fruit, veggies with dip
  •      pumpkin and sunflower seeds, low-fat cheese, yogurt, nut butters

Offer New Foods Multiple Times:  Kids Often Have to Try New Foods Several Times Before Deciding if they Like Them.

  •      vary preperation
  •      try only small servings at first
  •      include the new food with their favorite recipe
  •      have kids pick and choose which new food to try

Move It Everyday:  Help Children Get 60 Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Exercise Daily.

  •      create a routine, hike, walk together daily, or play outdoors.  
  •      be a role model
  •      participate in community and school physcial activities and sports
  •      involve kids in active household chores

    

 

 

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