We’re back with another amazing monthly newsletter, packed with good information and plenty of entertainment!
Here are the articles featured in this edition:
- Page 1: What are You Willing to Do to Feel Better?
- Page 2: 4 Simple Steps to Create a Pallet Garden
- Page 3: 7 Places to Walk This Spring
- Page 4: Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Here is the downloadable link to view the newsletter in .pdf format:
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Finally, below are all of the articles in plain text. Enjoy!
What are You Willing to Do to Feel Better?
It seems like now days everything worth having or achieving is simply too hard for most of us. I’m not being cynical here, I think this is just the way it is. This is the way we’ve been conditioned to think. For example, let’s look at the standard weight-loss advice, which goes something like this: “If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more.” For the record, this is horrible advice and doesn’t actually work. And even if it did work, how many of us want to do it? Seriously, you’re going to tell me to work out regularly and then not eat much, which means I’m going to be really hungry and annoyed. That’s bad for everyone!
Then you turn on the TV and hear about a new weight-loss pill that is guaranteed to help you lose 30 pounds in 30 days without changing anything. Sign me up for that! Like I said, we’ve been conditioned to think 2 things: first, whatever you’re trying to achieve (losing weight, feeling better, etc.) is simply too hard, and second, there’s a much easier solution that doesn’t involve any work or difficult decisions.
There has to be some middle ground, right? I’ll get to that soon, but first let me give you more to think about… I work with a lot of good people who would love to feel better in general. They struggle with joint pain, sore muscles, difficulty exercising and difficulty controlling their weight. And do you know what most of them tell me? “I’d do anything to feel better and lose weight.” Have you ever gotten to that point of frustration where you’ve thought the same thing? If only you could have less pain, more energy and lose a little weight. Then you could really enjoy life and get out there are do things!
So what really stands between you and your goals? 2 things:
- The right information (aka the “how”)
- 1 or 2 key decisions
That’s it! That’s all you need to feel better, lose some weight, and lead a more active and fulfilling life. Now let’s test out your comfort zone a bit. If I gave you the right information about how to achieve your goals, would you be willing to make 1-2 tough decisions? “Well, Luke, that really depends on what those decisions would be.” What if I told you that part of the equation was cutting out certain types of foods, like simple carbs, refined sugars, processed foods and dairy products? Are you still listening, or have I just pushed you too far?
I recently had a close friend who finally decided to try going dairy-free for 30 days. He knew his stomach was sensitive to dairy, so this seemed like a good place to start. His results were amazing! Although he’s not overweight to begin with, he lost about 12 pounds, and more importantly the pain he’d been experiencing in his stomach, low back and shoulders resolved significantly. All after cutting out dairy for 30 days! For my friend, this could be just the tip of the iceberg. What if he continues to avoid diary for a long period? How much better will he feel if he drastically cuts his carbs and avoids gluten as well? We don’t really know, and that’s the whole point of this article.
At the end of the day, just like my friend, you’ll never know how good you’ll feel until you give it a try. Your personal body chemistry is unique to you. You might not feel better at all after going dairy-free for 30 days. No big deal, try going gluten-free and cutting carbs for 30 days. Keep trying until you find what works best for you. So next time you find yourself saying that you’d do anything just to feel better, ask yourself the next question: “What am I willing to do to feel better?” And if you need ideas or just want some encouragement and support, please reach out to me (email is best: Luke@GordonPhysicalTherapy.com). I love to help people with this, and I love to hear the stories.
4 Simple Steps to Create a Pallet Garden
Are you looking for a fun and inexpensive way to grow some food and/or flowers this spring but don’t have a lot of room for a garden? If you said “yes”, I have a really cool idea for you: the pallet garden! I’m not much of a DIY person, but this idea looks really easy, and the outcome is really cool looking. Here’s how you can make your own pallet garden at home:
- Gather your materials: you’ll need a pallet, 2 large bags of potting soil, a small roll of landscape fabric, a staple gun, and enough flower, herb and/or veggie starts to fill the pallet. You might also get some sandpaper if you want to sand the edges of the pallet a bit to avoid splinters.
- Staple the landscape fabric: if you’re going to stand your pallet up when you’re finished (versus laying it flat on the ground), make sure to staple the fabric to the bottom of the pallet, in addition to covering the entire back of the pallet. If the fabric is somewhat thin, you may want to use a double layer. And when it comes to stapling, the more the better! The last thing you want is for the dirt to fall out when you stand the pallet up J
- Plant the top of the pallet: insert your starter plants all along the top row of the pallet, and make sure they’re all in snugly. After that, fill up the rest of the planter with your bags of potting soil in preparation for the next step.
- Plant the other rows: as you fill the other rows with your plants, make sure you pack them in very tightly and fill all the available space.
Once you’ve completed these 4 steps, water the soil and again make sure everything is very well packed into place. Carefully bring your pallet garden into an upright position. If you’re worried about the soil and plants coming out of the pallet at this point, some sites recommend that you leave your pallet flat for up to a week, which allows the soil to settle and the roots to take hold (I would recommend this for your first time, but it’s up to you!). Alternatively, you can always just leave your pallet flat on the ground and use it as a mini raised bed. If you do a quick Google images search online, the possibilities are endless! One last thing: if you end up making a pallet garden, please share your pictures with us on our Facebook page. We’d love to see how your project turns out!
7 Places to Walk This Spring
Now that Spring is in the air, it’s time to get outside and get some exercise! This is truly as exceptional time of year in Spokane, with the trees in full bloom and the birds making their return. And yes, we did get snow not too long ago, but there’s nothing better than enjoying a walk on a sunny, crisp spring day.
Earlier this month, I asked my fellow co-workers to share their favorite places to walk this time of year. Here’s what we came up with:
- Serena: Manito Park. One of the largest and most beautiful parks in the area, Manito is a wonderful place to explore this time of year. The duck pond should be completely thawed, and the other gardens will be bursting with life any day!
- Ashley: Bowl & Pitcher. This is part of Riverside State Park and one of the most popular spaces to “get out of town” without going very far. Numerous walking and bike riding trails are available.
- Kathy: Big Rock (Rocks of Sharon). I still haven’t been here, but it’s definitely on my list this spring! From what I hear, the trails offer amazing views of large rock structures, as well as the Palouse.
- Roberto: Centennial Trail (east of Argonne). This stretch of the trail usually stays above water, which is a nice bonus this time of year J You can access the trail by going east on Maringo near Argonne or by going a little further east on Upriver Drive, just below Arbor Crest Winery.
- Joe: Palouse Falls. This one’s a bit of a drive, but most people will tell you it’s well worth the trip! Breathtaking views of the falls are available, and you can camp for the night.
- Star: Dishman Hills. Another one of the easiest ways to get away from the sights and sounds of the city, this is a personal favorite of mine as well. You can also hike to the 2 ponds, which are full this time of year!
- Me: Downtown to the Falls. Looks like we’re sticking with a water theme! If you’ve never been to the falls during the spring, it’s an easy walk from the nearby parking lots, and the river is simply amazing!
There you go: 7 awesome ways to get outdoors this spring so you can get some exercise and soak up your daily dose of Vitamin D! If you find a new favorite, make sure you take some pictures and share them with us on our Facebook page J
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
It’s been several long months now since most of us have really had any significant amount of sun exposure (unless you’ve been traveling!), and a lot of us are ready to break out of the “winter blues”. Seasonal depression and lack of energy are just 2 of the common signs that you may have a Vitamin D deficiency. Other signs that you might be a little low on this important vitamin include aches and pains (very similar to fibromyalgia), frequent infections and malaise (not feeling well in general).
So what is Vitamin D, and why is it so important? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that your body produces when you expose your skin to the sun, specifically to UVB rays. It has several functions in the body that have been well researched, including: regulation of mineral absorption (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus), immune system modulation, and anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. Although this vitamin is very well known, it’s estimated that up to 75% of Americans are deficient. And if you talk to local health practitioners, many will tell you that this number is even higher in the NW due to our weather (this is also why vampires love it up here…).
Now that you know how important Vitamin D is for your body, here are the top 3 ways to get your full amount:
- Safe Sun Exposure: getting a good dose of healthy sunshine each day is the best way to get your fill of Vitamin D. 20 minutes/day of direct exposure on your face and arms is estimated to be all you need. So make sure to get some outdoor time each day, and keep in mind that you’ll need more exposure in the winter months when the sun is lower on the horizon. Also keep in mind that sunscreens block the UVB rays, so do your best to expose your skin naturally (and of course avoid burning!).
- Diet: your body can absorb small amounts of Vitamin D from certain foods, such as cold-water fish (sardines, anchovies, herring), as well as beef and pork liver. Yum!
- Supplementation: high-quality supplementation may be needed for those of us who just don’t get enough regular sun exposure. Make sure you choose a D3 supplement, preferably one without extra additives.
One last thing about Vitamin D: if you suspect that your levels are low, the only way to truly know is to get a blood test. It’s very difficult to start supplementing if you don’t know how much you need. I tested myself in February and found that my level was extremely low at 19, so I’ve been taking a pretty high dose since that time. I plan to retest soon to make sure my levels have improved and haven’t gone too high (there is risk of too much Vitamin D as well). The optimal range varies depending on who you ask, but most sources recommend 40-70 (check with your physician).
Now that Spring is officially here, I hope you’re able to get as much Vitamin D as you need by getting outside! You can find me out in the garden or playing with the kids for my optimal dose J