Missing Information about the Drugs You Take

I am a very strong believer in using pharmeceutcial drugs only when absolutely necessary.  I see the amazing innate healing power of the body express itself in patients everyday in my practice, without drugs or surgery.  Yet, too many people are taking too many drugs, hoping for some type of quality of life improvement.  How is someone supposed to make a life-affecting choice about what to put in their body without full disclosure of all information available?

Unfortunately, the massive drug corporations have an unyielding power to control the research that is reported about their products.  The drug companies usually just let you see the favourable results toward their drug.  By seeing only the positive research and none of the neutral or negative results from drug trials, your doctor, your pharamcist and you are unable to make a fully educated decision about the chemicals you are putting in your body.

Ben Goldacre, in this TedMed talk, explains how the pharmaceutical companies are controlling the information.  The information that you as the consumer need to make an informed choice.

“We cannot know the true effects of the medicines that we prescribe, if we do not have access to all of the information.” – Ben Goldacre.

As Dr. Goldacre suggests at the end of the video, we need an action plan.  We need all trials for humans including older trials, for all drugs in current use to be published and we need to tell EVERYONE about this problem.  For more information please send a request to info@alltrials.org.

Yours in health,

Dr. Vanda

The Toxic Baby

We are surrounded by chemicals and the list of harmful exposure just seems to be growing daily.  Bisphenol A was banned in Canada in 2010, followed by the European Union in 2011.  The United States is currently debating its usage in plasticproducts such as baby bottles, but to date, you can still buy products with Bisphenol A in stores in America.

We all want the best for our future generations.  Here is a great video that explores some of the exposures and risks to todays generation.

Filmmaker Penelope Jagessar Chaffer was curious about the chemicals she was exposed to while pregnant: Could they affect her unborn child? So she asked scientist Tyrone Hayes to brief her on one he studied closely: atrazine, a herbicide used on corn. (Hayes, an expert on amphibians, is a critic of atrazine, which displays a disturbing effect on frog development.) Onstage together at TEDWomen, Hayes and Chaffer tell their story.

Mmmmmm Watermelon!

I love watermelon! This may not come as a surprise to my friends who know me well, or those who got to the fruit salad buffet late after I had picked all the delicious watermelon pieces out – every day.  One of my earliest memories of childhood is sitting outside in the warm sun and having a watermelon-eating contest with my brother. I’m pretty sure I won.

With summer approaching and with the day’s getting longer and hotter, I thought I would share some amazing facts about watermelon, why it’s so good for you and why you should cut one open today!!

Citrullus Lanatus otherwise known as watermelon is believed to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa.  Egyptian hieroglyphics on the walls of depicted the first watermelon harvest nearly 5000 years ago.  Watermelons were often set in the burial tombs for nourishment in the afterlife.  From Egypt, watermelon spread throughout the Mediterranean Sea, by merchant ships.  Eventually watermelon’s made their way to China in the 10th century, which today remains the world’s number one producer of watermelon.

Watermelon is recommended to help handle the heat of summer.  It helps to cool you off and hydrate you.  The fruit is low in calories and contains many nutritious benefits such as lycopene.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant (also found in tomatoes), which has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.

Watermelon also contains high amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.  Vitamin C can give the immune system a boost against viruses and bacteria invading the body.  It also helps prevent premature aging by protecting you from free radicals.  Vitamin A is important for healthy eye function and also helps lymphocytes in the body, which are infection-fighting white blood cells.  Vitamin B6 helps the body produce antibodies to help the immune system fight diseases.  Vitamin B6 also helps maintain normal nerve function and helps to form new red blood cells.

Watermelon has a high potassium content as well.  Due to this fact, watermelon will originally quench your thirst, but over time the potassium will act as a diuretic, to help flush any toxins out of your body.  Combined with the beta-carotene in the watermelon, this will give a cooling anti-inflammatory effect to help flush contaminants through the urinary tract.

I have included some recipes to use with your watermelon this summer!  Happy eating!!

Watermelon Pina Colada


2 cups watermelon puree

1/2 cup chunked pineapple

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

3 cups ice

2 tablespoons cream of coconut


Mix all ingredients together in a blender.

Blend until desired consistency and serve. For an adult version add rum!


Makes 4 to 5 cocktails.

Mediterranean Watermelon Salad



6 cups torn mixed salad greens

3 cups cubed seeded watermelon

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 dash cracked black pepper


In large bowl, mix all ingredients except oil and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad mixture with oil. Garnish with pepper.

Happiness – How To “Get” It and Keep it!

Happiness – How to “get” it and keep it!

 1. Express Gratitude:

Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”!  Get in the habit of being thankful for what you have!  Appreciate everything you already have in your life, whether it is people, things or experiences.  If you are not appreciative for what you already have in your life, nothing will ever be “enough” for you.  You will continually chase more and more but not value everything you have going on for you right now.  I’m not saying you don’t want to strive for more, richer, better “stuff”, but act as if you already have it in your life and be thankful for it.   By giving thanks for things that you want in your life, it programs your mind that these things are already reality, and you’ll be amazed at how it sometimes just seem to “magically” appear within your life.

2. Chose Hope not Fear:

H.O.P.E. – Happy, Optimistic, Positive, Experiences

F.E.A.R. – False Evidence Appearing Real

Optimism:  [op-tuh-miz-uhm] noun:

  1. A disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and expect the most favorable outcome.
  2. The belief that goodness pervades reality.

Disposition: [dis-puh-zish-uhn] noun:

  1. Natural mental and emotional outlook
  2. Predominate or prevailing tendency.

So to be an optimist, one can have a prevailing tendency to see the positive in most things.  You have the tendency to see the silver lining of an event and make the most of it.  Some people come by this naturally, but it can be learned.  Start off small and whenever anything that your first perceive as negative happens, catch yourself and try to list what positive outcomes could happen due to that event occurring.  At first it may seem like you are grasping at anything that could be positive, but over time it will become easier to see the light and not the darkness in events that take place.

With hope comes more hope.  With optimism comes more optimism.  With happiness comes more happiness.

 3.Practice Random Acts of Kindness:

Pick up something someone dropped, hold a door open, carry someone’s groceries, put money in their parking meter…it doesn’t have to be much, but just even the smallest act has a positive effect on everyone involved.

Whether you are the recipient of an act of kindness, the giver of an act of kindness, or someone random who happened to witness the act of kindness, you are all affected almost equally in the same positive way.  Everyone involved with the kind act receives the same mental lift from Serotonin, the “happy” neurotransmitter.  Serotonin is released in the brain, which is a natural mood elevator.

My grandfather always used to say, “you are part of the gang you hang with”. This is so true when it comes to how the people you spend time with effects your mood and ability to be happy.  So surround yourself with kind, gentle and positive people, you may find yourself happier because of it!

 “You are always living a reflection of whatever you are outputting.  And so, if you get into a little pocket where a lot of people are being rude, it’s probably because you are being rude – or because you have been aware of people being rude.  Nothing ever happens to you that is not part of your vibration!” – Esther Abraham-Hicks

 4. Develop Healthy Coping Strategies:

A coping strategy is how you actually deal with life and its ups and down.  Having a healthy strategy to help deal with stresses that occur in life can add happiness to your reality.

Let’s list some negative coping strategies first.  They may initially reduce stress but when done for a long time, may do damage.

  • Smoking
  • Drinking in excess
  • Overeating or Under eating
  • Oversleeping
  • Procrastinating
  • Using drugs to be stimulated or to relax
  • Isolating yourself from family, friends or activities
  • Zoning out for hours in front of the TV
  • Being overly active – must constantly be doing something

Healthy Coping Strategies

  • Avoid Unnecessary Stress – Eliminate things that you know cause a stressful reaction.   Could be such things as driving a different route home with less traffic, ordering your groceries online to avoid the supermarket rush, being prepared for everything you need to do in one day to prevent extra “running around” and multiple trips home if you forgot something.
  • Adapt to the stressor – If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude about the situation you are in.
  • Adjusting Your Attitude – How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. Each time you think a negative thought about yourself, your body reacts as if it were in the middle of a tension-filled situation.  Your physiology actually changes to mirror your thoughts.  Muscle tension increases, blood pressure rises, cortisol production escalates.  Negative thoughts = negative body physiology.  Positive thoughts = Happy, healthy physiology! Your mind believes what you tell it.  If you keep telling it negative things all day, your overall attitude is negative.  If you say good things about yourself, you are more likely to feel positive.  Henry Ford said  “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”

Healthy Alternative to help Relax

  • Go for a walk
  • Spend time outdoors in nature
  • Call a good friend
  • Play with a pet
  • Read a great book
  • Listen to uplifting music
  • Write in a journal
  • Meditate
  • Get adjusted
  • Exercise
5. Write your Goals:

People have more happiness when they have certainty than upheaval and chaos.  By having a written plan, you have a road-map to help carry out your purpose or passion in life.  Having goals helps to clarify and organize the wants, needs and desires of your life.

How to Write your Goals:

First figure out your Purpose by asking these two questions: “Who do you want to be?” and “What do you want to do?”  Once you figure out your purpose, divide your goals into five categories: Personal, Professional, Financial, Community, and Play.

When you have written goals, you have some certainty of where you want to go and what you want to attain, the choices of how you get there become easier.

6.Take Excellent Care of Yourself:

Your body is the only place you have to live in.  Take care of your body and your body will take care of you.  You need to maintain a balance of nutrition, exercise and rest.  In other words, you need to Move, Eat and Rest Well.

One way that proper nutrition, exercise and rest help to maintain ones happiness is through blood sugar levels.  With the epidemic of Type II diabetes in the world today, one must learn to control their blood sugar levels.  If this is not properly balanced, your mood can become tired, cranky and easily overwhelmed with mundane things in life.   If you don’t feel good physically, your focus, feelings and fatigue will affect how you feel.

Exercise is a proven stress reliever and releases endorphins, which do elevate your mood and make you feel less pain.  I do believe Reese Witherspoon’s character in one of my favorite movies said it right:  “Exercise gives you endorphins–endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands… they just don’t.” Elle from Legally Blonde

Also stay well hydrated.  Chronic dehydration can alter many things in your life, so increase your water intake to at least eight glasses of good, clean water a day.

7. Present Time Consciousness (PTC):

Learn and move on from your past, plan yet don’t stress about your future.  Worrying about tomorrow, takes away today’s strength.  Concentrate on the now of life.  Too often we get caught up in the “tomorrows” or the “yesterdays” baggage.  Learn to truly focus on what you are doing at this very place and time, and have gratitude for it.   Love this very moment for this moment is your life.

“The most powerful time in your life is NOW!” – Dali Lama

Love, light and laughter,

Dr. Vanda 

Incredible India

I have been to India four times now with Palmer College of Chiropractic as a faculty doctor.  For those of you unfamiliar with the program, doctorial students who are three to six months away from graduation, volunteer their time and money to go around the world to help open free Chiropractic clinics.  This marvelous phenomenon happens three times a year and I have had the privilege to go on six trips now, one as a student and five as a faculty doctor.

We have seen some amazing people with some extraordinary problems in India.  Even though the people we see are suffering, they are so grateful for my care that they receive.  I don’t know who has the greatest healing on these adventures, the patients or me.

I thought I would post some pictures of a couple of the patients I helped to see in India.  Some of the stories are heartbreaking, but overall they all manage to keep a glimmer of hope of health.

This is what this beautiful little girl’s right hip looks like inside.  It’s not there…a severe bone infection ate her femur away, but she still loves everything life gives her.

Helping to realign a girls pelvis after she had leg lengthening surgery to give her one more inch in height.  You can see where they broke her legs and repined them so she would grow more.

India is incredible.  The heat, dust, smells, children, love and laughter.  There really is no place like it, and moments like this really make it all worth it!

Why Water?

You need water to live.  It helps with every function in your body.  It is the major component in muscles, blood,bones and your brain.  Yet, a question I still get asked a lot in practice is “How much water should I be drinking everyday?”.  It’s a simple question, yet the answer varies based on your activity level, your health and even where you live.

Water is vital to the proper function of your body.  It helps to flush out toxins and waste, it helps carry nutrients to your organs, tissues and cells and it helps to keep things “moisturized” in your body – like your joints, throat, mouth, and nose.

Yet, as much water you intake through beverages and food all day, you lose just as much.  Through breathing, perspiration, urinationand bowel movements, you have to continually replenish the water reserve in your body or you will become dehydrated.

Dehydration can lead to all types of problems including a dry, sticky mouth, chapped lips, thirst, sleepiness or tiredness, dry skin, headaches, constipation, dizziness or lightheadedness.  So if you are feeling any of these symptoms, have a large glass of water to help restore your water balance.

One of the easiest ways to determine how hydrated you are, is by urine colour.  If it is clear or light yellow, you are hydrated; dark yellow or amber coloured, you may be suffering from dehydration.

Most people have heard about the 8×8 rule of water.  Drink 8, 8oz (~230mL) glasses of water a day or about 2L of water in total.  Another way to to figure it out is to drink half you body weight in ounces of water…So if you weigh 150lbs (68kg’s), you should try and drink 75 ounces (~2.2L).  The math isn’t quite as easy in metric.

Not just water counts as fluid.  Food intake can account for about 20% of your fluid intake, where if you eat more fruits and vegetables this may increase.  For example, foods such as tomatoes and watermelon are almost 90% water.  Other beverages such as milk and juice count as well.   Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and tea, can count towards your daily intake, as long as they are drank in moderation.  If you consume more than 5-7 cups a day (500-600mg of caffeine) that’s when the diuretic or dehydrating effect can occur.  Unfortunately, caffeine can make you jittery, anxious and unable to sleep if consumed in large amounts.

You need to increase your daily levels of fluid if you are exercising.  For short exercise periods (less than an hour) increase by 500mL or about 2 cups of water.  For longer exercise periods (more than an hour), increase fluid intake by what type of activity you are doing, intensity and duration.

Another factor that may increase your need for water is the environment you live in.  Hot and humid areas can make you sweat thereby increasing the amount of water you need.  Elevation can also play a part because it may trigger more urination and more rapid breathing, making your body use more water then normal.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you need additional water to hydrate your baby!  The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant ladies drink at least 2.3L (~10 cups) and breastfeeding moms drink around 3.1L (~13 cups) of fluids a day.

Illness with vomiting, diarrhea or fever also increases your need to stay hydrated.  You may also consider oral rehydration beverages such as Gatorade, Powerade, Pocari Sport Drinks or rehydration salts.  Other conditions that require more water intake are kidney stones or Urinary Tract Infections.  Consultation with your doctor may be necessary for some conditions.

Overall the best drink of choice is WATER! It is calorie-free, caffeine-free, readily available and just what your body wants and needs.  Go have a glass now…your body will thank you for it!

Yours in Health and Hydration,

Dr. Vanda

Forward Head Posture

One of the most common posture problems today is Forward Head Position/Posture. For every inch (2.54cm) that the head moves forward from its natural position, the upper muscles of you back and neck has to support TEN more pounds (4.5 kg) of weight. Forward head posture is one of the leading causes of neck and shoulder tension, pain and headaches. Forward head posture develops over the years as a result of an injury to the neck such as a sprain or strain of the cervical or upper thoracic spine. These injuries along with bad habits such as a poor sleeping or sitting positions, overuse of a mobile device such as texting or playing video games where the head is flexed at an acute angle for extended periods of time. Other causes such as heavy backpacks, sleeping wrong on a couch or reading at night with too many pillows all can lead to the epidemic of forward head posture. The repetition of multiple forward head movement combined with poor postures or situations and/or trauma causes the body to adapt a damaging forward head posture.


Forward head posture occurs when the head shifts forward from your body’s centre of gravity, to compensate the upper shoulders and thoracic spine move backwards causing the hips to tilt forward. This causes a domino effect with your posture, which leaves your spine out of alignment.


Forward head posture not only aesthetically unattractive, but it can damage your health. Long term stress on your cervical spine can lead to muscle strain, disc herniation and osteoarthritis of the spine, as well as affecting your overall wellbeing. Rene Cailliet, the former Director of the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Director at U.S.C., has done extensive research into the area of posture and he states that “your body follows the head…your head held in a forward position can pull your entire body out of line.”

Cailliet has research that shows forward head posture reducing a person’s lung capacity by 30%, the gastrointestinal system is affected by the upper cervical tension, especially the large intestine. Also when a forward position of the cervical spine is present, the body becomes stiff and rigid and the entire range of motion is affected. When range of motion is affected, endorphin production decreases so overall pain and discomfort increases affecting the health and mood of the patient.


If you are suffering from forward head posture, you should be examined by a chiropractor who can evaluate your spine to check for any misalignments which may be causing the improper posture. Other simple things that you can do to help improve are correcting the ergonomics at work, home, school or in the car.


Doing a quick ergonomic check to make sure that you are sitting straight, not hunching over a computer or in your car seat. First, if you are actually conscious of the problem, it is easier to identify problems that are contributing to it. One quick tip is to sit up very straight and set your car mirrors, then as the day goes on, if you check your rear-view mirror while driving and can’t see anything, adjust yourself – not the mirror!

This is why we are making an effort in the Emirates to educate the public about the damaging effects of forward head posture and what people can do about it. We see more children with forward head posture than ever before. This can be detrimental to their overall health and wellbeing, now and in the future.

If you have any questions about your own posture or the posture of your child, please do not hesitate to contact me or another chiropractor in your area.

 Dr. Vanda