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Category: nutrition/diet

How to set goals to relieve pain and actually reach them

How to set goals to relieve pain and actually reach them

Goal Setting – a topic that comes up every January (or perhaps December for my fellow ambitious entrepreneurs. I see you!).

You might be wondering, why do I need to set goals to relieve pain? Or, I don’t need this, I know I want to get rid of pain.

Okay, that’s cool and everything but the importance of setting a goal is to give you some direction, kinda like GPS, so you know where you are going. This helps you figure out which things you need to do daily or weekly to get closer to where you want to be.

Without actually setting a goal, it’s like getting in your car and just driving without a destination. While it’s fun and exciting along the way, you probably won’t know where you want to go.

Step 1: Choose where you want to go. This is your end goal.

In order to choose the right goal for you, many things come into play.

How much time do you have to dedicate?
How bad do you really want it?
Are you willing to make changes to your lifestyle or current habits?
How quickly do you need it to happen?


These are just a few questions you need to start thinking about.

When it comes to chronic pain, the shortest amount of time it takes (typically) to heal is 3 months to a year with a strategic plan working with a practitioner. Working on your own without any help, it could take 1 year to several years. Just some things to keep in mind when you choose your timeline.

You also want to make your goals SMART.

Specific – exactly what you want to achieve

Measurable – using objective measures to know when you have reached your goal or can see yourself making progress, for example a pain scale from 0-10.

Achievable – something that is actually possible for you depending on where you are on your health journey.

Realistic – you can’t hit your goals magically. There is work involved no matter what it is you want to do. How much effort are you willing to put in? It has to make sense with your lifestyle and what changes you are willing to make.

Time-bound – You want to have a loose deadline. It doesn’t need to be set in stone. This just gives you an idea of how much work it might take to get there. If you choose 3 months from now, you’ll be working a lot harder than someone doing the same thing as you but chooses the slow path of 1 year to reach the same destination. Neither one is wrong. It depends on what you want.

Take some time and write out what you want. Here’s an example below to give you some more guidance:

Jessica has been feeling pain for 4 years now. She has tried a bunch of stuff at home but she hasn’t really found anything that really takes the pain away. It is always temporary relief and she wants a better solution. An actual fix to the problem. No more band-aid solutions or pain meds. This is Jessica’s goal broken into it’s SMART components:

S – manage pain to the point where daily activities are pain-free

M – get down from 7-8/10 constantly to a 1-3/10 occasionally

A/R – I am willing to spend about 1 hour a day to reach this goal and make all the changes necessary by following a plan laid out for me

T – I can do this within 3-4 months since I am working with a coach or practitioner

Now that you have your end goal, we can work backwards from there to know what is needed to get to it.

Step 2: Figure out which areas you need the most support in

In this case, Jessica in the example above wants to speed things up as much as possible. Why be in pain longer than is necessary!? She’s willing to spend the money in order to save time and achieve better health so she can actually feel good. She’s done the whole lone-wolf thing and she’s over it because she’s in the exact same position as she was 4 years ago, maybe even slightly worse.

Jessica has an idea of where she is going because she set up her goal. Now when she works with her coach or practitioner, they can give her the next steps to take and in the right order so she isn’t wasting her time.

If you are doing this on your own, these are the areas that you will need to look at and make some changes for yourself:
Quick Pain Relief

Find something that works for you to relieve pain quickly at the beginning. This can also be helpful on the days where the pain gets worse and you feel like you are moving backwards in terms of progress.

Nutrition

Following an anti-inflammatory protocol or at the very least, removing the processed foods, sugar, and alcohol causing inflammation.

Your Environment

The environment you surround yourself in – both people and things. Are they toxic? Full of chemicals? Negativity? Try to avoid, minimize, or remove these from your life.

Get Aligned

Increase the positivity and get aligned with your soul. Gratitude and affirmations can move things forward here as well as looking at what you spend your time doing. Do you really love it?

Stress

Address the stress. Not stressed? Your body probably would tell you otherwise. Just because you don’t perceive stress mentally, it doesn’t mean your body can’t feel it physically. Meditation and breathwork can be really helpful.

Move your body every. single. day!

This is non-negotiable. It can be anything you love – walking, yoga, dancing, weight-lifting, running, whatever it is. Stretching is helpful but it won’t solve your problems.

Posture

It could be helpful to look at your posture. Change positions frequently. You don’t need perfect posture.

Sleep

Are you sleeping 7-9 hours a night? Do you wake up feeling stiff, sore, tired, or achy? Are you waking up through the night? Can you find a position to sleep in that’s comfortable? What bed and pillow are you using? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep? Try working on your sleep.

Support Your Entire Body

Make sure you are supporting your ENTIRE body and all its systems. Pain isn’t a separate thing. Everything you do/do not do can contribute to your pain. This is why you need a holistic approach to get rid of it for good. That includes your lymphatic system, liver, and guts.

Strengthen

Strengthen your body. Do specific exercises for the area of concern. If you have back pain, you need to do back-specific exercises. These don’t need to be boring or hard. Look into mobility exercises and core strength.

Supplements

Add in supplements once you’ve done the above. Work with your practitioner to choose what’s right for you and your specific needs. Popular ones can include magnesium, fish oils, and curcumin.

Now that you know what areas you might need to look at, focus on the top 3 things that are in need of the most support and start there. Once you hit those 3 goals, focus on 3 new areas.

Step 3: Break down the areas into smaller monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

For example, working on your sleep. Here is how you could break that down.

Lets say your sleep is totally garbage and you can’t remember the last time you slept well. This might be your current biggest priority. If you are willing to spend even 15 minutes a day working on your sleep, that’s better than nothing.

Breaking down that 15 minutes you’ve dedicated to sleep:

Monthly goal:

This month I want to go from sleeping at 1am to 11pm.

Weekly goal:

I will spend each week focusing on one particular habit to change in order to do this in one month – reducing screen time, incorporating a bedtime routine, blocking blue light, and reducing caffeine intake during the day.

Daily goals:
Week 1: Reduce screen time
  • no screens 1 hour before bed
Week 2: Incorporate a bedtime routine
  • incorporate relaxing things into a short bedtime routine such as meditation or breathwork
Week 3: Block blue light
  • install or setup blue light filters on all screens after sunset (including the phone, computer, TV, tablet, etc.)
Week 4: Reduce caffeine
  • no caffeine after 12pm each day

Now that you are sleeping better, you might notice that you have less stiffness in the morning, more energy throughout the day so you can get more done, you feel better when moving your body, and you are able to fall asleep faster. So many wins! Oh, and of course – less pain 😉

Be Consistent

After doing these tasks consistently (consistency is key), you start creating new healthy habits. For more info on how to create healthy habits that stick, make sure you read or listen to one of my fave books, Atomic Habits by James Clear.

This is how you make changes stick and this is how you get closer to your goals.

In no time, you’ll be feeling much less pain by actually focusing on the things that will get you closer to that goal instead of following the advice of Dr. Google or that Insta influencer with that bomb new unsustainable workout routine that has nothing to do with your health goals.

Need help? Book a free call with me. I’d be more than happy to help you how to get closer to your goals, even if that doesn’t mean working with me.

Disclaimer

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

Turmeric has so many great health benefits. I love adding turmeric to my dishes for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. This recipe can be used as a side dish to your fave entree!

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 whole garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Instructions

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.     On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, garlic, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
3.     Spread evenly and roast 25-30 minutes, until desired tenderness reached.

Tag me on IG in your recipe creations @dr.dainapatel

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

magnesium deficiency

So, how do you actually know if you have a magnesium deficiency?

These are some of the signs and symptoms that may be related to magnesium deficiency:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Twitching
  • Charlie horses (intense cramping of the calf muscles)
  • Tight and stiff muscles
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Low bone density (osteoporosis, osteopenia)
  • Chronic pain

Here’s what you need to know about magnesium deficiency and why it’s so important for your health:

  1. Up to 90% of North Americans may be deficient in this important mineral.
  2. Magnesium is depleted in our soils so it is hard to get from food sources.
  3. Magnesium is used in over 800+ functions in our bodies.
  4. Without magnesium, your muscles cannot relax.
  5. Stress and exercise will deplete magnesium faster.
  6. Alcohol, certain medications, and supplements may reduce magnesium or interfere with absorption
  7. Gut disorders, food sensitivities, or allergies may reduce magnesium absorption

Here are some foods that contain magnesium:

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, brazil nuts, etc.)
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard
  • Legumes (ie. peas, soy, lentils, etc.)

Source: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Food-Sources-of-Magnesium.aspx

Here are some other ways that you can get magnesium on top of food since food sources alone may not be enough:

  • Epsom salts bath
  • Magnesium oils or lotions
  • High quality professional supplements from your licensed healthcare practitioner

If you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency, speak to your healthcare practitioner today to find out what is best for you.

Never make any changes to your health without speaking to your healthcare practitioner first. Never start a supplement without consulting your healthcare practitioner. There may be interactions with some supplements or medications. Please read the disclaimer.

Black Bean Dip with Salsa

Here is the recipe for my black bean dip with salsa. It’s a quick snack that’s fun to share. Healthy and full of protein and fibre. Vegan, gluten free, plant based, whole foods, dairy-free, easy to make. Enjoy!

Salsa:

Ingredients

2 Diced tomatoes
1 tsp Minced garlic
1 tsp Jalapeno, finely minced
2 tbsp Red onion, diced
Pinch of salt
Cilantro (chopped, about 2 tbsp or to taste)
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste (about 1/4-1/2 of a lime)

Directions

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to your taste. Set aside while you make the black bean dip.

Black bean dip:

Ingredients

1 can organic black beans
3 tbsp diced red or white onion
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp minced jalapeno
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp cilantro
1 tsp of your fave hot sauce (I used Encona hot pepper sauce)

Directions:

Saute onion in 1 tsp Chosen Foods avocado oil until soft on medium or medium low heat in a medium pot. Add seasonings, jalapeno, hot sauce, and black beans. Cook until soft. If you want, mash some of the beans with a potato masher for a thicker sauce. Add cilantro and serve hot with tortilla chips. Top with salsa or serve on the side.

*Disclaimer: All products are bought with my own money and I am not affiliated with any of the companies nor am I sponsored by them. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This just means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product. This does not cost you anything and it just helps me run my website. Nothing in this post is considered medical advice. Please speak to your health care practitioner when implementing a lifestyle or diet change. See Disclaimer.

What your plate should look like

What your plate should look like

Canada’s new food guide came out a couple months ago. It was updated for the first time in YEARS. While it is not perfect, it does include better recommendations compared to the old one.

Some of the key take-away points are:

Approximately 50% of your plate should consist of veggies, 25% high-quality carbs (including fruits, whole grains), and 25% healthy proteins (including nuts/seeds, legumes, organic tempeh, organic tofu, grass-finished local beef, organic skinless chicken breast, wild-caught fresh salmon).

Choose water as your beverage (not milk/juice/pop).

Choose more plant based proteins (ie more lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, organic tofu, etc) over animal based proteins (ie pork, bacon, sausage, etc.).

Eat more fruits and vegetables – about 50% of the plate should be vegetables and fruits should be included in the 25% of high-quality carbohydrates.

Include whole grains – be careful if you are gluten-intolerant, as many people are.

Click here to learn more about Canada’s Food Guide

If you’re interested in working with me or learning more about how a plant based diet may help with chronic pain, be sure to book a FREE 15 min Discovery Call with me.

For plant based recipes, click here. For a FREE checklist of pantry staples to help you transition to a whole foods plant based diet, click here and send me a DM on Instagram with “Plant based pantry staples” and I’ll send it over.

How fibre can reduce your risk of heart disease

February 25, 2019 | Daina Patel, DC

North American diets are famous for being high in sugar and fat, both which contribute to the high rates of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and many other conditions. Too many meals with processed foods (such as white sugar, white flour, preservatives, artificial colours and flavours, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) and saturated fats (oils, butter, dairy, deep fried foods, coconut oil, etc.) can have a large impact on your health. This type of diet is directly related to poor health.

It’s not easy to change the way you eat overnight and just wake up and be healthy. The key is to slowly increase healthier foods and slowly decrease the foods that can cause a lot of health problems. One easy way to reduce your risk or to reduce further problems if you are already experiencing these condition is to increase the fibre in your diet. 

Dietary fibre is categorized generally as soluble (dissolves in water) and insoluble (does not dissolve in water). It is best to eat both types of fibre and get it from a variety of different sources. 

Soluble Fibre Sources:

Fruits (apples, pears, stone fruits, berries, dried fruits- figs, raisins, etc.), oats, seeds (flax, sunflower, chia, etc.), nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.), peas, lentils, beans (black, kidney, lima, etc.), potatoes (white and sweet), avocados, veggies (brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips, carrots, etc.)

Insoluble Fibre Sources:

Wheat bran, whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, etc), nuts, beans, veggies

For more sources of fibre and the amount per serving, please visit: 
https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Food-Sources-of-Soluble-Fibre.aspx

When buying packages items (such as whole grain bread), here is a simple rule to follow as to whether the item contains enough fibre: 

5-to-1 Rule for Packaged Items:

https://nutritionfacts.org/2018/05/08/follow-the-5-to-1-rule-for-packaged-foods/

Start off slow when you increase your daily fibre and drink plenty of water to help ease digestion. 

Combining diet with exercise is the best way to reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. It has been shown to help reduce blood sugars and cholesterol on blood tests. It can also be helpful in reducing risk of cancers! There are many benefits to fibre but in a nutshell, it will improve your health overall. 

Resources:

Dieticians of Canada – https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Food-Sources-of-Soluble-Fibre.aspx

Dr. Michael Greger – nutritionfacts.org

*Disclaimer

Do I really need to take fish oils?

Everyone always recommends taking fish oils for the Omega 3 fatty acids for various reasons, such as: brain, heart, eye health, depression, arthritis, and other inflammation/pain conditions. Omega 3s are essential fatty acids (EPA and DHA) which cannot be produced in the body. This is why it is often advised to take a supplement, especially for those who do not consume fish.

The Omega 3s components that are needed by the body are DHA and EPA. DHA is important for brain and eye health while EPA is great for any inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, or post-injury. High EPA formulations are great for pain management.

Research supports that high EPA fish oil supplements may be helpful to reduce inflammation which can directly reduce pain. This is especially noted in cases of arthritis as well as pain originating from a spinal disc. (See research articles below.)

Omega 3s are also found in plant-based foods such as flax seeds and chia seeds in the ALA form. ALA cannot be used in the body and must be converted to EPA and DHA. This means you may not be getting enough EPA and DHA if you are only consuming ALA.

vegan ala dha epa flaxseeds omega 3 fish oils

Vegan & Plant Based Omega 3s

Vegans and vegetarians have a much harder time getting in the necessary amounts of DHA and EPA since these are not typically found in vegetarian or vegan food sources. However, many more companies are able to get DHA and EPA from algae. Not only is this a vegan/plant based source of DHA and EPA, but it can also reduce the strain on the environment due to the fishing industry. Fish oils can contain many chemicals, heavy metals, and toxins that can be found in our oceans, and subsequently in fish. There are some really good vegan/vegetarian sources of these essential fatty acids. My favourite one is the NutraVege (see image below) by Nutrasea Canada (Ascenta). Not only does it taste great, but there is no fishy taste at all because it doesn’t come from fish! There is also an added benefit of taking an algal oil vs a fish oil. The risk of contaminants such as toxins or heavy metals being present in algal oil is low.

vegan omega 3 fish oils epa dha

If you would like to buy this product, you can do so via my dispensary at Fullscript:

Purchase products through our Fullscript virtual dispensary.

PMID: 16531187
PMID: 26925896

Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored and is not an ad. All products were purchased with my own money. Any products listed are personal favourites. This is not to replace any medical advice. Please see Disclaimer post.

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