Dr. Theresa Martez' blogspot

Inspiration For Healthy Living

AhhhhChoo–Spring Allergies Driving You Crazy? April 5, 2011

Filed under: 1 — Theresa Martez @ 6:04 PM

Well, it’s about that time again for the sneezing, sniffling, watery eyes, and constant congestion.   For those of you that suffer with allergies and hayfever, you’re not alone—about 50 million Americans also deal with this.  Here are some easy things you can do to improve your symptoms:

  • Start washing out your sinuses:  When pollen is active in the air, it’s breathed in and then sits in the sinus cavities.  Washing out the sinuses with a Neti Pot or Simply Saline helps remove that pollen and decrease symptoms. I recommend doing this twice per day.
  • Remove the pollen:  Pollen congregates on household surfaces (like dust), clothing, pets, hair, etc.  Making an effort to remove the pollen in your home will help with symptoms.  Start by dusting all of your surfaces and then check your windows, screens, and furnace filters.  If you have been outdoors, change your clothing right away. Consider a shower before bed. Bathe your pets often and consider a shorter haircut for the dog.
  • Cut down on dairy: Dairy tends to increase mucous production. With mucous production under control, there will be less symptoms from allergies.
  • Quercetin and Vitamin C:  These two supplements help to stabilize mast cells. Mast cells are found in your body and they tend to “go crazy” around histamine (small molecules in the body released by the immune system in response to pollen).  If the mast cells are stabilized, there will be less symptoms.
  • Eat your good bacteria every day:  Probiotics (good bacteria) help to populate the intestines with friendlly bacteria that are very important for maintaining a good immune system.  If the immune system is strong, the body is better able to combat allergens. Make sure to find good quality refrigerated probiotics.  10 billion CFU’s per day (in divided doses) is a good goal.

Hopefully, the Northwest will have a better allergy season this year, compared to 2010.  Good luck with these suggestions and I would love to know how they work for you!

 

Hard work paying off–Organic Gardening June 13, 2010

Filed under: Organic Gardening — Theresa Martez @ 9:17 PM

We have had an unbelievably wet spring here in the Pacific NW, along with some cool temperatures.  Thankfully, our garden is flourishing!  The fence is completed and the ground cover is down. Now, we’re just waiting and watching things grow.  The Yukon Gold and Red potatoes love their new home and are growing quickly.  Other veggies that are doing well, include the carrots, beans, onions, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. 

Due to the cool temperatures, we’ve had to re-start some vegetables in the garage—this would inlucde cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, celery and romaine lettuce.  We also have tomatoes growing in the garage.  We will plant those in the beds after three weeks of good growth (and hopefully higher temperatures during the day and night).

On a frustrating note, we have some new uninvited guests visiting the garden areas.  We have three non-intimidated rabbits, slugs, and moles.   The rabbits have eaten all of the Kale and many of the growing sunflowers—and luckily they haven’t gotten inside the fence (yet).  We’re going to try to put up a 2 foot fence around the perennials, sunflowers, and herbs/kale to combat the varmits.  We’re also going to try some ways to combat the slugs—it involves beer!

 Here’s some pictures of the finished product. Once things grow some more and we start harvesting, I’ll post something else with pictures.

 

Organic Gardening–Phase 2—plus a recipe for organic fertilizer April 15, 2010

Filed under: Organic Gardening — Theresa Martez @ 8:30 PM

MY OH MY how things have changed in just three weeks!  We’ve got a couple of things going on right now.  First, we’ve been extremely busy, trying to build a picket fence.  I can’t believe how much work goes into building a fence from scratch.  While it’s a lot of work, I hope that it will pay off by keeping unwanted animals out.  My husband is the master-mind behind the entire fence. I am just the master painter!:)

Secondly, we’ve got plants growing in the garage and things we’ve already planted outside. The plants in the garage (arugula, broccoli, celery, romaine, iceberg, and brussels sprouts) are growing quickly. They love the heating mats we’ve placed under their pots.  Outside, we planted potatoes, carrots, sunflowers, and scallions. We had a freeze here in Snohomish a couple of nights ago, so I hope everything will survive!   This coming weekend, we plan to plant the rest of our seeds or plants from the garage outside. 

I had a question from a patient who has been inspired to start an organic garden.  She wanted to know where to get manure for fertilizer.  Here’s the answer:  1. If you’re going to use manure, you want to make sure that it is from a known source where it comes from grass-fed animals (basically, making sure that the animals aren’t given antibiotics and other chemicals). 2. Use compost instead—you can get organic compost from Home Depot or Lowes (look for Cedar Grove Compost—a company out of Everett!).  3. Supplement the compost with an organic fertilizer.  Here’s a recipe for organic fertilizer:  4 parts cottonseed meal or canola-seed meal, 2 parts bone meal, 1 part kelp meal, 1 part garden lime. 

Once things grow some more, I’ll make another post.  OR .  . .maybe I’ll post some pictures of our fence when it’s done.

 

There’s A Connection Between Beer and Bone Health? April 14, 2010

Filed under: Peri-Menopause — Theresa Martez @ 7:49 PM

 

Believe it or not, beer intake may help to increase bone density in women. A study done in 2009 by Pedrera-Zamorano, JD, et. al. and published in Nutrition (2009;25(10):1057-1063) , stated that beer intake was associated with a significant increase in the speed of sound transmission through ultrasound—hence, increased bone density.  In this study, 1697 women were either classified as non-drinkers, light drinkers, or moderate drinkers. They also had to state their likely type of alcohol consumption (wine vs. beer), whether they smoked cigarettes, drank caffeine, and their daily nutrient consumption.

Several studies have been done on beer intake and bone health. Studies done a number of years ago linked the silicon content of beer with increased bone density, howver this new study links the phytoestrogen content with greater bone density.  Phytoestrogens, isolated from hops, has been shown to be helpful for hot-flashes (associated with menopause) and may lower the risk of breast cancer.

I know, I know, you’re curious as to HOW MUCH beer you can have to get the benefits.  A similar article was written in April of 2009 by Tucker et al., which included 2719 men and women (post and premenopausal). 1-2 beers per day was associated with increased bone density in both men and women.  Women that drank more than 2 beers per day had greatly increased bone density.  Men, on the other hand, had decreased bone density with more than 2 beers per day.

While it appears that phytoestrogens in beer can be beneficial for good bone density, alcohol consumption of any kind is associated with an increased risk in breast cancer.  Due to this risk, I can’t advocate for increased beer intake for women . . . unless it’s non-alcoholic beer.  I know what you’re thinking . . .  BOO!  Hiss! BOO!

Thanks to Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO for his commentary on this study, provided by NaturalMedicineJournal.com.

 

Organic Gardening–My Family’s New Hobby March 22, 2010

Filed under: Organic Gardening — Theresa Martez @ 9:02 AM

One garden plot

My husband was so excited by our tiny little vegetable garden last summer, that he was inspired to think bigger. He came up with the idea, and gently coaxed me to get on board with a larger organic garden.  I’m very proud of  his idea and it makes me giggle a bit, mostly because I’m the Naturopathic Doctor and usually think more “organically”.  One of the main reasons for growing our own food is a goal of eating “clean and more nutrient-rich” food.  Surprisingly, the Pacific Northwest has pretty poor soil, so we have to do a lot of extra work to make the soil ready to produce nutrient-rich food.  Becuase of the abundance of rain in the NW, this tends to wash away all of the nutrients in the soil.  The food we are going to produce is technically organic (not certifiable yet) and should be better than the vegetables you can pick up from a local grocery store.  Here’s some reasons to eat out of your own garden:  Fresh fruits and vegetables, no trasnport time, more nutrient-rich, and the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve grown your own food!

In 2009, our garden produced small pumpkins, cucumbers, sunflowers, and about 10 pieces of good lettuce. This year, we are adding potatoes, green beans, arugula, carrots, scallions, romaine, broccoli, dill, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, celery, garlic, zucchini, squash, and Walla Walla onions.

Last September, we did a load of back-breaking work to create 8 garden plots measuring 8 feet by 4 feet. Our yard has very poor soil, or should I say clay. In order to have garden plots that would produce good vegetables, we had to dig out all of the clay and rocks and replace it with garden soil, compost, and nutrients. Trust me when I tell you that it was HARD work!

Our 8 garden plots

At our current stage in the process, we’ve started some vegetable seeds in peat pots in our garage. Seeds need a specific temperature/environment in order to sprout and then be transplanted into the ground.  We intend to transplant those pots after the last frost (according to the almanac, it’s April 15th).  Starting vegetables inside before the frost has the main purpose of giving some vegetables extra time to grow. For example, celery needs 110 days to grow after being trasnplanted outside.  The vegetables that don’t need to be started indoors include pumpkins, cucumbers, potatoes, garlic, onions, sunflowers, and herbs.

Our starter pots in the garage

My goal is to blog about the steps involved and our progress on the garden.  If you have any questions, comments, or tips, please don’t hesitate to speak up.  Don’t be surprised if you see our “extra” vegetables being sold in the office this summer!  YUM!

My boys--preparing a part of the garden

 

Ultrasound Therapy? But I’m not pregnant! March 1, 2010

Filed under: Physical Medicine — Theresa Martez @ 8:57 PM

 When you think of ultrasound, you’re probably thinking of diagnostic ultrasound to look inside of a pregnant uterus or another organ like a gall bladder or kidney. You may be wondering why I would need an ultrasound unit, since I don’t treat pregnant women. Therapeutic ultrasound is a little different. I’m really excited about my new “toy”, a Mettler therapeutic ultrasound unit.  

Ultrasound uses sound waves to penetrate ligaments, tendons, muscles, fascia, and scar tissue.  Energy absorption in soft tissue can penetrate about 3-5 centimeters (depending on the varying frequency–1-3MHz). 

Ultrasound can help to increase blood flow, break adhesions (or scar tissue), reduce inflammation, break up calcium deposits, reduce nerve irritation, warm muscular tissue, and ultimately reduce pain.   

This therapy is great for wound healing, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, chronic joint swelling, muscle spasms, bursitis, osteoarthritis, shingles, low back pain, thickening of fascia in the hand (Dupuytren’s contracture), among other things.  As an added benefit, ultrasound can be used to drive in certain medications through the skin (as opposed to an injection).  Sounds like a better option to me!

Treatment lasts about 5-10 minutes, depending on the area being treated.

I’m sure you’ll notice the machine when you come to see me at your next visit. I’ve seen it do some pretty amazing things for stubborn injuries and areas that don’t seem to respond to massage therapy.

Photos taken from http://mettlerelectronics.com/therultra.htm

 

It’s TIME to get your sweat on February 4, 2010

Filed under: Exercise — Theresa Martez @ 10:03 PM

Lately I’m feeling like a broken record (or scratched CD) when I talk to my patients about the importance of exercise. I can’t figure out if people are just sick of hearing about it, they feel like they don’t have time, or if they just don’t want to exercise.  I can definitely understand not having enough time.   We all have busy lives.

Humans were not meant to sit at a computer all day. Just like most dogs that crave a daily walk and require an energy expenditure, humans need that also (even though we may ignore it). Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many options these days that include things like Zumba, Yoga, hiking, karate or martial arts, step aerobics, elliptical machines, water aerobics, basketball leagues, soccer clubs, rowing, wall/rock climbing, tennis, Moms with strollers clubs, racquetball, ballroom dancing, cycling, spinning, cardio dancing, and games on the Wii for exercise.  Do any of these sound interesting?  Most of these are available at your local YMCA, club, or recreation center.

If you value your health, you’ll consider adding exercise to your life. For all of you that already accomplish this daily task, I send you a huge cyber high five and hug. You’re awesome for even reading this article.  For those of you that need to add this to your life, I just offer one last word of advice:  Don’t take your health for granted!

In case you haven’t heard, here’s a list of reasons to exercise:

  • Weight loss
  • Endorphins help to stabilize your mood—especially for anxiety and depression
  • Increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain
  • Decreases stress hormones like cortisol (cortisol contributes to belly fat)
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Spruces up your sex life
  • May improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels—-which in turn reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Increases bone density to decrease chances of osteoporosis
  • Prevention of Type II Diabetes
  • Prevention of Cancer

Things to think about before you start your program:

  • Commit to 3-4 days per week for a minimum of 3 weeks. In my opinion, it takes three weeks to get used to an exercise routine.
  • Start an exercise journal and write down all of your activity
  • Start with 20 minutes per day and schedule this on your calendar
  • Aim for “moderate” exercise like walking, swimming, light aerobics, weight lifting, etc.
  • An “I’ll get around to it” attitude doesn’t work.
  • Once you’re feeling good with 20 minutes, increase your time by 5 minutes every week until you reach 45-50 minutes.
  • If you feel like you don’t have time for a planned work-out, try doing simple things like always taking the stairs, mow your lawn with a push-mower, park far away so that you have to walk, or adopt a dog so that you make yourself go for a walk.

 Still haven’t convinced you to exercise yet?  Send me an email and maybe I can convince you further!:)

Disclaimer: As always, when starting a new exercise routine, please check with your doctor prior to starting.

 

 
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