Baby Boomers Blog

My Photo
Location: Southlake, TX

Eileen Silva, Ph.D., N.D., CTN, is a doctor of Natural Health and Naturopathy, in Southlake, Texas, with a practice in metabolic health, weight, and body balancing. She has been treating patients and teaching workshops on integrative medicine for over 18 years. Eileen has appeared on TV and radio talk shows coast-to-coast, lectured extensively, and has developed a breakthrough technology, colored bar-graph, computerized body analysis program. Her newly-released book, A HEALTHIER YOU, joins her best-selling, FAT CHANCE AT LAST! ---HOW TO GO BEYOND WILLPOWER, in offering lifestyle changes for better health results. As CEO of Hegan Center, Eileen has trained and certified medical doctors and chiropractors for almost a decade. Her innovative wellness techniques have been used to help thousands of individuals achieve weight loss and better fitness. Eileen's programs have also brought enhanced energy, weight balance, and longevity to professionals in corporate wellness programs. Eileen is an active member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Holistic Health Association, and the Health Sciences Institute.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Holiday Gift

I was just thinking . . . It's the Holiday Season, and I want you to be part of a very special project that's helped thousands of people to break through their health challenges and finally take control of their weight - faster than they ever dreamed possible.

But first I need your help . . .

You see, I've just arranged to host an incredible tele-seminar.

I am inviting you to be my personal guest and listen in on this special call - I'm going to make a recording of it as well so even if you can't make the call time, you can hear it afterwards.

I'll tell you a lot more about this valuable call and when it's going to be scheduled soon, but first I need you to tell me what hot topics that YOU want to learn more about during the call . . .

Do you want to understand and overcome any of these symptoms:

> Afternoon fatigue, low energy
> Unexplained weight gain
> Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personality!
> Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
> Headaches, joint or muscle aches
> Addictive behavior of any sort
> Premature graying or wrinkling
> Yeast infections

If you've ever wanted to overcome your biggest health obstacles - now's the time - and, because it's the Holiday Season, it's my gift to you!

I have set up a special web site so you can indicate exactly what critical topics you want to hear about during the call:

After you indicate your major health challenge, you'll immediately be given access to one of my newest Special Reports that have helped thousands of people overcome their metabolic challenges.

To Your Health,

Eileen Silva, Ph.D., N.D.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Healthy Holiday Hints © Dr. Eileen Silva

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly! – Jolly over-fed! Jolly tired! Jolly hung-over! In the festive Christmas season, it’s easy for you to lose sight of your health goals. Rich food, an abundance of alcohol, and less exercise are prime ingredients for a sluggish system. Be sure you get plenty of water, fiber, and exercise during the holidays. Not only will a good walk help keep your system moving, but it also relieves some of the inevitable stress associated with endless holiday celebrations, dysfunctional families, and over-spending. Maybe you can take advantage of the holiday parties to dance the night away at least two nights a week for a great aerobic workout.

Here a nibble, there a nibble, everywhere a nibble, nibble . . . beware that those nibbles are going to catch you! Chocolates, nuts, cookies, and candies --- beautiful to look at --- disastrous to the waistline! If you have fruit available for snacking, especially grapes and berries, you can avoid those tempting candy dishes. Plan to include good veggies (not covered in butter or rich sauces) in the Christmas dinner and cut back on meat, gravy, rich stuffing, and potatoes. Not all traditional seasonal fare is fattening, so make healthy choices, and you’ll be able to keep the nibbles under control.

And, by the way, does your body fat rival Santa’s at Christmas? Some seasonal foods such as turkey, salmon, sprouts, dried fruit and nuts in shells (As they take longer to crack, you’ll eat less.) have definite health benefits, so enjoy these and limit less healthy options like cakes, mince pies and canapés. Avoid fatty sausage rolls and gooey desserts. Sugar makes your blood sugar levels soar and crash, which will increase binge cravings. If you simply MUST have chocolate, select high cocoa content (60-70%). This dark chocolate has much less impact on blood sugar, so you’ll eat less.

Are you wishing for a silent night, but you can’t sleep because you’ve got a stomachache? Indigestion is a common Christmas complaint from overeating rich seasonal foods and attending late dinner parties. Banish the bloat by choosing small portions, not eating several hours before bedtime, and by waiting 20 minutes before deciding on seconds. Eat slowly, chew your food well, and save your beverage for after the meal. If you’re at a late party, look over the hors d'oeuvres carefully, choose fresh over fatty, so that your visions of sugarplums will not keep you awake.

Holiday stress can also contribute to indigestion. Herbal chamomile or lemon verbena teas not only help settle indigestion, but also calm you down. Herbal and decaf teas and coffees won’t jangle your nerves and raise your adrenaline level during this stressful time. Although Christmas is a happy time of year, it does have its stresses: shopping, decorating, family get-togethers, financial problems, and sometimes even painful memories. Plan ahead, exercise regularly, talk things over with friends, ask for help with responsibilities, and keep lines of communication with friends and family open to have a more peaceful Christmas season.

If your Christmas spirits come in bottles, choose your drinks carefully. Creamy cocktails, premixed drinks, and cocktails will kill your diet. Better to go for straight spirits, mixed with low-calorie drinks, or wine. Avoid sugar if you are planning to drink, as it’s harder for your liver to metabolize alcohol when your sugar levels are high, and thus the alcohol will affect you longer.

Definitely not a teetotaler? Although small amounts of alcohol have some health benefits (relaxation and increased production of gastrin and liver blood flow, which help digestion and absorption of your Christmas feast), too much alcohol severely depletes B-vitamins, thus contributing to mood swings and depression. It also dehydrates the body, which leads to that “wonderful” morning-after hangover.

If you normally find a hangover in your Christmas stocking from that work party on Christmas Eve, let me share a few tips with you that might help alleviate, or even prevent, that unwelcome gift:
~ Since dehydration causes many hangover symptoms, drink a liter of water before you go out and then drink twice as much water as alcohol.
~ Mix spirits with tomato juice and eat protein-rich peanuts to slow down alcohol absorption. Avoid fizzy mixers as the carbon dioxide can speed up alcohol absorption.
~ Avoid pre-dinner drinks. Only drink alcohol with your meal.
~ Stick to your chosen drink. For example, don’t mix white wine with red wine.
~ Take a natural liver cleanser capsule daily, starting one month before the party season, to support your liver and reduce alcohol damage.
~ Darker, sweeter spirits are more likely to cause hangovers than clear or pale ones. Hangover symptoms increase in severity from vodka, gin, white wine, whisky, rum, red wine, to brandy.

One last caution for the holidays . . . as you mix and mingle, watch out for those holiday germs. Christmas party smooching, mistletoe mischief, and New Year’s Eve kisses can all deliver more than holiday cheer if your partners have a cough, cold, cold sore, etc. Take extra Vitamin C and don’t spend your whole night hanging out under the mistletoe!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Your Top 8 Christmas Carol Messages for a Safe Holiday © Dr. Eileen Silva

If it’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas in your kitchen, remember that food may not keep cold enough in over-full fridges and freezers to stop bacteria from spreading. You need to make sure you store leftovers in airtight containers and turn your refrigerator and freezer temperatures lower to handle the extra food. Be careful not to leave snack foods out over long periods of time, especially seafoods and foods with mayonnaise in them, as they can spoil easily. If your Christmas dinner is a “come and go,” then be sure to place any foods that are likely to spoil (stuffing, poultry, beans, items with mayonnaise, etc.) in the fridge between visitors and keep them fresh.

If you burn or scald yourself while Rocking Around the Christmas stove, stirring the merrily simmering pots and pans, pulling hot Santa cookies from the oven, or basting that turkey or ham, follow the American Medical Association’s First Aid for Burns instructions: run cool water over the affected area for fifteen minutes and then cover area with a loose gauze dressing. Do not apply creams or ice to the area. Ice can further damage skin tissues.

If you find yourself Up on the Rooftop, please don’t fall! When installing Christmas lights on the house or in trees, please remember these safety tips so that your White Christmas is snow, not cast material:
· Climb on a sturdy ladder instead of a chair or a box to reach high places.
· Never stand on the bucket shelf or above the advised steps on a ladder.
· Face the ladder when climbing up or down.
· If you are using ladder to install outside lights, use wooden or fiberglass ladders near power lines and electrical wiring as metal ladders conduct electricity.
· Use a ladder that extends 3 feet over the working surface and set the ladder on a firm, level surface, avoiding soft or muddy ground.
· If you are going to be lifting sacks and boxes heavy enough to rival Santa’s bag, remember to spread the load evenly between your arms and lift with your knees, not your back.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly . . . not with cuts, stabs, fires, or electrocution! Beware of accidents when you are decorating that beautiful Christmas tree and those garland-draped rooms. You may be cut, stabbed, or electrocuted, while cutting the tree trunk or branches, reaching into the branches to decorate, plugging in lights, or you might fall reaching for the heights. Speaking of trees . . . be aware that a dry tree is dangerous! Pull your hand along a branch to the end. If you have only a few needles in your hand, it is a fresh tree and less likely to burn.
Other tips to avoid tree fires:
· Shake tree off before taking it inside to get rid of dead needles.
· Set tree away from fireplaces, heaters, heating vents, or stoves that can dry it out.
· Saw at least on inch off the bottom and keep tree in water deep enough to rise above the cut.
· Use tree lights that bear the Underwriters' Laboratory (U.L.) label.
· Check light strings for signs of wear and tear.
· Do not use frayed lights or operate with missing or broken bulbs.
· Use no more than three sets of lights per extension cord.
· Do not place the cords under rugs or in paths of travel.
· Turn off the tree when you’re away from the area.

If Mommy kissing Santa Claus has ever happened by candlelight at your house, remember that candles are a regular source of house fires. Make sure your candles are several feet away from flammable objects, and never leave them burning when you leave home or go to sleep. Keep children and pets away from burning candles and be careful of hot melted wax when moving candles.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire are fine, but never burn Christmas wrapping paper and boxes in your fireplace. Wrapping paper and boxes blaze up with excessive heat, which may damage your chimney and cause a fire in the wall. Burning these items leaves a film in the chimney that can damage it. Do not burn branches from the tree in your fireplace. Dry trees throw off a tremendous amount of heat and can create a dangerous fire. Avoid burning any soft woods, especially pine, fir, or cedar as they burn hot and fast, leaving a pitchy coating in the chimney that can actually blaze up itself. Restrict your use of soft woods to small amounts for kindling to start the fire, and only burn hardwood logs like oak, ash, or mesquite.

Here Comes Santa Claus! . . . down your chimney! Have your chimney cleaned regularly and inspect it annually for mortar cracks, loose brick, or cracks in the chimney liner. Don’t build a fire that is too large for your fireplace to accommodate safely and make sure you have good ventilation. Build your fire in the rear of the fireplace and always use a fireplace screen. Never leave a fire unattended or set furnishings, clothing, papers, or anything else flammable within four feet of the fireplace.

That Winter Wonderland outside is beautiful, but not if you don’t have a warm house to observe it from. Christmas is a dangerous time for house fires. Space heaters, especially too close to trees, curtains, bedding, etc., overloaded electrical sockets, oversized Christmas tree lights, dried-out Christmas trees, unattended candles and light strings, inappropriate material in fireplaces, and greenery too close to fireplaces or heaters are all potential fire sources. Check your smoke detectors. If battery powered, change the batteries twice each year. The Fire Department suggests that you change the batteries when you adjust clocks for Day Light Savings.

So there you have it: 8 musical memories with 8 major safety tips to help you have the holidays you always dreamed of.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Fat Busters' News Bulletin © Dr. Eileen Silva

Are you a Fat Buster? Do you avoid buying foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol? When you go grocery shopping, do you read “Nutrition Facts” panels for assistance in selecting healthy foods for your family? If so, I have great news for you! As of January 1, 2006, the FDA will require that manufacturers list the amount of trans fats on Nutrition Panels.

Why do you need to know this? The shocking truth is that trans fats have always lurked in our foods, unpublicized. Manufacturers make trans fat when they add hydrogen to vegetable oil --a process called hydrogenation that turns liquid oils into solid fats like shortening and hard margarine. Hydrogenation increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats. With no way to measure trans fats, careful shoppers like you and I have been buying foods laden with them.

Why should you care about trans fat? What harm does it do? Trans fat, like saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, raises the LDL cholesterol that increases your risk for coronary heart disease. Although saturated fat is the main dietary culprit that raises LDL, trans fat and dietary cholesterol also contribute significantly.

Why do health books recommend that we include fat in our diets if it’s so bad for us? When eaten in moderation, fat is important for proper growth, development, and maintenance of good health as it is a major source of energy for the body and aids in the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as carotenoids. In addition, as any good cook knows, fat provides taste, consistency, and stability and helps give us that happy, full-tummy feeling.

However, there are “good” fats and “bad” ones, just as we have good and bad blood cholesterol. Saturated fat and trans fat raise LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and corn oil) do not raise LDL cholesterol and are beneficial when consumed in moderation.

In which foods does trans fat lurk? Mainly trans fats are found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, snack foods, candies, salad dressings, baked goods, and other foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. You know . . . all your favorite foods. Even some dietary supplements like energy and nutrition bars contain trans fat from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as well as saturated fat or cholesterol.

Up until now, you had no way to identify the levels of trans fat in your foods, but now you will be able to identify the amounts of all three fats in your foods. When making food choices that will be low in saturated fat and cholesterol, remember that the combined totals of saturated and trans fats along with cholesterol should be low . . . 5% of the Daily Value or less is low and 20 % or more is high. I want to assure you that trans fats, although present in many of the foods we eat, are not “essential” to any healthy diet.

If you are sadly crossing your favorite foods off your grocery list, you may be wondering what you can serve instead. Fear not, you still have a few good choices left:
· Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do not raise LDL cholesterol levels and you can eat them, in moderation. Sources of monounsaturated fats include olive and canola oils. Natural vegetable oils (such as olive, canola, peanut, corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower oils) have no trans fats and are high in good fats.
· Select alternative fats: olive, canola, soybean, corn, and sunflower oils, soft margarines, nuts
and fish, lean meats and skinless poultry.
· Feel free to serve your family fish, as most fish are lower in saturated fats than meat. Some fish, such as mackerel, sardines, and salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids help fight against heart disease.
· Serve a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, chicken and fish, non-fat or low-fat dairy products.

If you cook at home, select lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas. Choose non-fat or low-fat dairy products and foods that have a low % of bad fats. Cooking your own meals helps you better control the type and amount of fats you eat.

However, if eating out is one of the great joys of your life, don’t despair. You can still cut down on trans fats when eating out by eating less fast food and by asking before you order in a restaurant if they will cook your food in natural vegetable oils. If you choose wisely, avoiding fried foods, for example, you can eat out and still have healthy meals.

Avoiding trans fats does provide another benefit that I think you will enjoy! Fats are high in calories; 9 calories per gram, making fat the most concentrated source of calories. By comparison, carbohydrates and protein have only 4 calories per gram. Therefore, replacing harmful fats with healthy foods will naturally result in dropping a few pounds of “ugly fat” and reduce your tendency for health problems.

In January, when manufacturers reveal the presence of the ghostly trans fats on nutrition labels, become the “Fat Buster” for your family and enjoy the multiple benefits of healthier eating.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Twelve Ways to Conquer Sleep Disorders © Dr. Eileen Silva

Do you wake up refreshed in the morning without the use of an alarm clock and feel energetic all day? If you don’t, you may not be sleeping enough (adults need between 7.5-8.5 hours a night of sleep) or you may suffer from a sleep disorder that affects 60 million Americans: insomnia. If you have insomnia, you probably experience difficulty falling asleep, waking up too early, waking up during the night and having trouble going back to sleep, or un-refreshing sleep. During the day, you may have difficulty concentrating or feel sleepy, fatigued, or irritable.

Obviously a significant life stress (losing a job or a loved one, divorce, or moving), illness, or environmental factors (noise, change of bed, the neighbor’s late night party) can throw off your normal sleep schedule, and health conditions (depression, heartburn, cancer, asthma, arthritis, etc.) can cause insomnia as well. Once these situations resolve themselves, your sleep schedule should improve.
However, if these problems are not present, and you still cannot sleep, perhaps some of your daily, and nightly, routines contribute to your sleeplessness. Diet, environment, and routine are three areas that commonly affect sleeping success. Here are some healthy tips that many experts agree can improve the amount and quality of your sleep.

1. Don’t go to bed hungry! Have a light, early dinner or a light snack, but avoid a heavy meal before bed, as going to bed with a full stomach can disturb sleep. Warm milk, dairy products, carbohydrates, and foods high in tryptophan (an amino acid) like turkey or bananas may help you sleep. Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-6 hours before bedtime. Spicy foods may cause heartburn, which leads to difficulty falling asleep and discomfort during the night. Try to restrict fluids close to bedtime to prevent nighttime awakenings to go to the bathroom, though some people find milk or herbal, non-caffeinated teas to be soothing and a helpful part of a bedtime routine.

2. Avoid caffeine! This includes chocolate, caffeinated sodas and teas, and coffee. Caffeine delays sleep and increases the number of times you awake during the night. It generally remains in your body from 3-5 hours, but can affect you for up to 12 hours.

3. Give up smoking! Nicotine is a stimulant that can cause difficulty falling asleep and waking in the morning, and even nightmares. If that’s not bad enough, smokers experience withdrawal symptoms for nicotine while asleep and experience sleep disturbances.

4. Forego that “night cap!” Alcohol may help you to get to sleep, but it will cause you to wake up throughout the night, even if you aren’t aware of it. Alcohol also contributes to snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. Although you may consider alcohol as a sedative, it actually disrupts sleep, causing nighttime awakenings.

5. Is your room an inviting place to sleep? Make your sleeping environment a place for healthy sleep – cool, quiet, comfortable, attractive, and orderly. Use clean, comfortable, and allergen-free bedding and pillows and a quality mattress. Keep the temperature cool, but not cold, and the room dark, quiet, and well ventilated for a restful sleep environment. If light is a problem, invest in blackout curtains, eye shades, or a sleeping mask. Install dimmer switches in bedroom and bathroom, keep them low at night and high in the morning. Experiencing bright light at a regular time in the morning should help you wake up and then feel sleepy at the same time every night. If noise is a problem, invest in earplugs, a fan, or a white noise machine to cover up interruptive sounds.

6. Don’t balance your checkbook right before bedtime! Avoid activities that cause excitement, stress, or anxiety. Quiet bedtime routines like reading, listening to music, or taking a bath are helpful to relax and wind down before sleep. Conduct these activities in dim light to signal the brain that it is time to relax and get sleepy.

7. No pushups right before bed! Although daily exercise is a desirable asset to wellness, try not to exercise during the 3 hours before bedtime to avoid stimulation that could make falling asleep more difficult. Exercise also raises your body temperature, causing it to take longer to reach the cooler temperature associated with sleep onset.

8. Sex or sleep only! The bedroom is not an office! Using your bedroom only for sleep and sex strengthens the association between bed and sleep. Your body needs to “know” that the bed is associated with sleeping. Do not engage in activities that cause you anxiety and prevent you from sleeping. If you associate a particular activity or item with anxiety about sleeping, omit it from your bedtime routine. For example, if looking at a bedroom clock makes you anxious about how much time you have before you must get up, turn it to the wall. Avoid TV or laptop computers, and if you find reading helpful, make sure to use a very small wattage bulb to read by. Train your body to understand that this is the place and time to rest.

9. Early to bed, early to rise! Limit daytime naps to 30-45 minutes. Your sleep-wake cycle is regulated by a "circadian clock" in your brain and the body's need to balance both sleep time and wake time. A regular waking time in the morning strengthens the circadian function and can help you get sleepy at night. That is also why it is important to keep a regular bedtime and wake-time, even on the weekends when there is the temptation to sleep-in.
10. Count sheep, not problems! If you have trouble lying awake worrying about things, try making a to-do list before you go to bed, and then put those problems to bed for the night. If you can't fall asleep for over 30 minutes and don't feel drowsy, get up and read or do something boring in dim light until you feel sleepy. Stressing over whether or not you are getting enough sleep will just make matters worse. Relax, and you will eventually fall asleep.

11. No middle of the night TV! If, after awakening in the middle of the night, you cannot get back to sleep within 15-20 minutes, leave the bedroom and read, have a light snack, or do some quiet activity (not TV). Return to bed after 20 minutes or so. Avoid looking at the clock if you wake up as this can make you anxious. As I said, turn it to the wall!

12. No weekend sleep binges! Because of the high-paced lifestyle most of us lead, you may have difficulty getting enough sleep. Ongoing lack of sleep causes sleep deprivation, which runs up a sleep debt that you must pay back or your sleepiness will continue to worsen. However, avoid trying to pay up by weekend sleep binges as this will result in the disruption of your circadian rhythm.

Make quality sleep a priority! Follow these guidelines and develop your own bedroom environment and regiment for healthy, restful sleep. Happy dreams!