Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Christmas Message

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays to all!  Déjà vu all over again.  I wrote the following message in 2012.  I just re-read it and can’t believe how it is all the same this year.

"So this is Christmas and what have you done" are some of the immortal words in John Lennon's song, Happy Christmas (War is Over).  It's one of my favorites.

One could likely write an extensive commentary on those words as they relate to our community, society and world.  And that's just the opening line.

The other day, I was partially watching/listening to the t.v. while getting breakfast and preparing to go to the office.  The t.v. show, of course, was all about preparing us for the Christmas "shopping" season.  Alerting viewers to the new have to have products, the best deals, and what's hot.  It's all lights, decorations, Santa Claus and parties.  Between segments the commercials were doing their best to entice with steals and deals. Emphasis was put on the idea that Christmas is all about, merchandise, toys, electronics...yes...stuff!

It gave me pause and I thought..."and so this is Christmas and another New Year", here we go again.
I'll be the first to admit I love the commercial side of Christmas.  I'm a big kid.  I like everything about it, the lights, trees, decorations, food, parties, and presents.  I like receiving presents and giving presents.  I like Santa Claus, his elves, Rudolph, and all the other reindeer.  I like driving around looking at Christmas lights on homes and businesses.  I like hot chocolate, hot cider, cold weather and snow!  There's not much snow in Texas, especially in our area.  In fact, it looks like it will be another hot Christmas.  Its 80 degrees as I write this, but growing up in New Jersey I had plenty of cold and snow.  In fact, some of my fondest memories are walking to the church in the snow to attend midnight mass.  There is a strangely magical and special feeling that you get as you walk in the quiet of the late night enjoying the crispness of the air, and looking at all the homes lit up with their Christmas decorations.  Back then, it seemed as if almost everyone had a nativity scene in their front yard.  The feeling you got was one of true peace and tranquility.

While I enjoy all the fun and commercial parts of Christmas, recognizing it being the perfect time to acknowledge, appreciate, and express in the form of material gifts, it is secondary to the heart, soul and message of Christmas.

As many of you know, I'm blessed to have an extremely diverse group of patients.  I love to hear about everyone's beliefs, rituals, heritage, ancestry, religion and customs.

During a conversation about Christmas and presents, one young patient said they exchange gifts and her cousins put up a tree and decorate.  I said, "but you're Muslim and don't celebrate Christmas".  She replied that the holidays are fun and they like the presents.  So, of course, being the sarcastic person I am, but in a nice way, I said, "If it's all about presents then why not celebrate Hanukkah that way you can get eight days of presents!" Well, we had fun talking about it.  But it caused me to realize there are many people that celebrate the commercial Christmas and the holiday season because for them it's all about Santa Claus and gifts.

The Santa Claus we know and love today is a modernized, commercialized adaptation of the original Saint Nicholas-a real person and a Bishop in the early church.  He believed in and practiced Christ's teachings that we help those in need.   Today, Christmas is more about those in want!
Christians have to navigate the mine field of Christmas, reminding others and ourselves of the history of Christmas, the truth of Christmas, and the reason we celebrate.  Christ, Jesus was born!
I am saddened that we need to commonly justify or clarify the intent of Christmas by saying such things as "the real reason for the season" or the "true meaning of Christmas" or "put Christ back in Christmas".  I guess we are compelled to do this because society as a whole has diverged so far from the truth.

Merry, are those who sell consumables in a country that zealously worships consumerism as their form of religion.  The message of Christian religion-the message of Christmas is virtually being overshadowed, diluted and paved over by the message of consumerism-buy, buy, buy!

The message of Christmas is of a love so powerful that God presented humanity with the greatest gift ever given.  It is a continuous everlasting gift that in my mind comes in three parts. The first is the miraculous birth of a baby, the Son of God, made human, named Jesus.  The second part of the gift unfolds and is revealed as this baby becomes a man who lives amongst us and teaches us daily through his words and actions about the kingdom of God.  Last is the ultimate gift, some 35 years later when the gift is fully manifested in the ultimate sacrifice-the crucifixion of our Lord, Jesus.

Of course, I realize that not all people share the belief that Jesus is the Son of God.  For some He is simply a historical figure and others don't believe there is even a God.  There are many religions and belief systems.  Everyone's entitled to their beliefs.  I can honor and respect them.  But if one is to celebrate Christmas, they should be at least aware, appreciative of, and respectful of the truth of Christmas.  It is the joyous celebration of the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ into our lives.  He came to love, cherish, teach…and eventually die for us.  Now that is a spectacular gift!

God's gift connects us so intimately with Him in a very obvious human way.  It serves as a supreme example-a sort of gift of all gifts.  What larger expression of love can be demonstrated than the gift of a life...a Son?

We should be encouraged and even inspired by God's example to find ways of giving part of ourselves to others who can benefit by what we have to offer.  Our love is free and our time, expertise and talents can be given as gifts.

Understandably, the joy of Christmas that many experience can also be an extreme burden and time of sorrow for others who are suffering from their own problems or from the loss of family. There are people in great need, physically...emotionally.  Perhaps there is some gift that you can give to one of them.  Something you've created or built with your hands-something that has a piece of your heart and soul.

Perhaps it's the gift of visiting the elderly, and sitting quietly as you listen to their stories.  Find someone to connect with this season, in a human way.  You'll not only be blessing someone else's life, but giving an everlasting gift to yourself.

"So this is Christmas and what have you done.
Another year over and a new one just begun...
And so this is Christmas, I hope you had fun.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Let's hope it's a good one without any fear."

I wish blessings upon each and every one of you, your friends and family during this Christmas season and each and every day.  May peace and freedom be yours with health and prosperity following you all the days of your life.

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.  To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224-1274) Philosopher and theologian

Merry Christmas to all who believe and happy holidays to all who believe differently.

Blessings for a beautiful Christmas and New Year,

Dr. Rick Barrett

P.S.  To find people in need simply inquire  with your church, synagogue, The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, nursing facilities, local service organizations such as The Rotary Foundation, Kiwanis International, Lion's Club or your neighbors.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Halt Holiday Heartburn

With the holidays comes a variety of foods, spices, drinks, parties, late night feasts, over-indulging and basic binge eating.  You’re off your normal routine and all of that spells potential problems from your mouth to your gut.

All of which can be unbearable and just no fun.

But what can you do if you suffer from heartburn and digestive disorders?

Big Pharma and their advertisers and many doctors will tell you to take antacids, H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors.  All in the effort to trick your body into telling you it’s okay to eat the quantity and variety of foods that perhaps you shouldn’t be eating.  Not only do antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors sound scary…they are!  They are designed to neutralize stomach acid or block production of acid or deactivate the pumps in the stomach lining producing acid.

This fiddling around with the design of the body, the chemistry and the plumbing is not a good thing.  People need to learn not to tinker with a perfect system.

But you want to eat, indulge, party…I understand.

But what if there was a better way?

A safer way?

Would you want it?

Many would answer a resounding-YES.

The logical way to eat all you want when you want is to identify which foods your body absolutely can’t tolerate.

I’m sorry to say, some of our bodies are sensitive and intolerant to certain foods just as some people can’t handle mold, cats, tree pollen, etc.

Wouldn’t it be wise to determine what your body likes or doesn’t like and stop beating it up by giving it foods it can’t tolerate?  And then punishing it more by throwing off the body chemistry with antacids, H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors.

But of course!

Your taste buds may enjoy a plethora of foods that the rest of your body can’t tolerate.

How do you determine the difference?

Well, you can do a food elimination diet.  But it’s very difficult because you eat one food for four days then rotate that out and eat another food for four days, etc., etc. until you find the foods that your body reacts to.

Or you can simply have an inexpensive blood test performed called the ELISA test which identifies which foods you are sensitive to.  In other words, which foods your body hates or which foods hate your body.  Sensitivities can manifest in reactions up to three days after eating the offending food.  This is different than an allergy which lets you know within eight hours.

In any case, the test is accurate and will provide you with valuable information to get some answers.

Yes, we do the test.  We’ve helped our patients for about twenty years with it.  It is life changing.

Call us if you would like more information or to have the test done.

Okay, what else?

Digestive Enzymes and Probiotics
Those little miracle workers not only give relief but help the body to heal.
Caution, Buyer Beware:  Not all enzymes and probiotics are equal.  In fact, most products in retail stores and online are low quality. 

We only use the highest quality products, approved by research and doctors and only sold to doctors for maximum control benefit and efficacy.

TPP Gastro: nutritional digestive supplement for heartburn and discomfort in the GI tract. 
This comprehensive formulation of herbs, vitamins, antioxidants, and enzymes is designed to soothe GI discomfort and heal damaged mucosa.  It is excellent support for digestive disorders such as gastric reflux, ulcers, gastritis, and IBS.
Clinic applications:
  •   Heartburn
  •    Indigestion
  •  GERD (acid reflux)
  •  Gastritis
  •  Esophagitis
  •  Diarrhea
  •  Lactation* (herbs promote milk production)
  •    Excess mucous production

GastroZyme: the first choice for sensitive patients, this product is well tolerated and works fast to relieve discomfort.  It may be used in place of over-the-counter anti-acids.  Good for discomfort “below the navel”.
Clinic applications:
  •  First choice for chronic diarrhea and extremely sensitive GI tracts
  • Inflammation of the upper and lower GI tract
  • Inflammation and discomfort associated with UTI
  •  Excess mucous production, allergies, colds, asthma, and sinus congestion

TPP Probiotic: this is a blend of six bacteria common to the human GI tract.  This product has been formulated to mirror the proper ratios of these bacteria as found in the healthy GI tract and therefore maintain optimal flora to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort.
Proven benefits:
Comprehensive probiotic formula includes over 5 billion cfu per capsule from 6 different probiotic sources.
GI stable and heat stable microorganisms chosen for their safety and effectiveness to mirror the ratios found in a healthy system.
Jerusalem artichoke is a prebiotic plant fiber that supplies nourishment for good bacteria*.
Lactoferrin is a multifunctional protein known for its ability to support immune system health*.
Supports relief from occasional GI discomfort, reduces problems associated with lactose intolerance, and encourages timely elimination*.
Clinical applications:
  • Prevention and wellness
  • Dysbiosis-absence or imbalance of good bacteria
  • Gas/Intestinal bloating
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Constipation
  • Frequent antibiotic use
  • Weakened immunity
  • Diarrhea
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Viral/bacterial infection

Please remember-any time you introduce foreign substances like medication to the body, you alter its ability to function properly, and risk possible side effects.

I highly recommend the food sensitivity test.  But if the timing isn’t right, at least start with some high quality digestive enzymes and probiotics (we have several available that will serve you well).

Your body will appreciate it, you will enjoy the holidays more and you will be healthier for it.

Blessings for a wonderful Holiday Season as well as a spectacular New Year!

Dr. Rick Barrett

P.S.  I still hope to be the chiropractor you wish you had in the family!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.