Seven Tips to Establish a Habit

Posted by on Feb 28, 2015 in Health | Comments Off on Seven Tips to Establish a Habit


Seven Tips to Establish a Habit


Image by snugsomeone @ DeviantArt

For many of my patients, my advice comes down to something that seems so simple: change your habits. Whether it’s smoking, over eating, inactivity, or inappropriate stress responses, they must choose to change.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

What does science tell us about changing those patterns of behavior? How long does it take to reverse years of bad habits? 

Below, I outline seven ways to ease yourself into establishing a healthy habit.

  1. Handwrite your lists

    Simon Sinek in his presentation about why Good Leaders Eat Last, talks about the importance of making lists (among other things). Our bodies are programmed to accomplish physical tasks, like throwing a spear at our dinner. Most of what we do in day to day life is not physical however: plan a meeting, answer emails, make reservations for business trips. Throwing the spear is more gratifying for our brains. Making physical lists and crossing items off of those lists can give your brain the similar satisfaction of throwing a spear.

  2. Interrupt routines

    By using “if then” statements we can begin to reprogram our behavior. Heidi Grant, PhD discusses how this works with exercise. In one study, 91% of participants using the “If Then” method were still exercising months later. For example, “If today is Tuesday I will walk 2 miles”.

  3. Simplify

    This study supports that we should think in terms of the big picture of what we want to accomplish (macro goals) and use day to day to day activities to motivate you (micro goals). For instance, if you want to write a book (macro goal) start by writing 1,000 words every day (micro goal).

  4. Eliminate Roadblocks

    Examine  what’s standing in your way and plan around it. Example: my goal is to attend a yoga class early every morning. However, I find myself wanting to sleep in rather than get up and get dressed. The plan around this is to wear my yoga clothes to bed and have my shoes and bag with my mat at the foot of the bed ready to go. Avoid sleeping in by making it easy to get out of bed and out the door in the morning. Dr Jeremy Dean goes into more detail in his blog.

  5. Find Accountability

    Tell others what you are doing. Tweet about it, put it on your wall, let your coworkers know, and let your close friends know. If you find that someone else has similar goals… keep each other accountable. This effect was described in the 1920s and the the term coined in the 1950s: Hawthorne Effect. There are whole communities designed around this principal. This one uses allows you to set a goal in minutes. 21 habits will have you commit to 21 days and $21. For each day you meet the commitment you earn a dollar back. If you don’t meet the goal the money is donated to charity. 

  6. Visualize Success

    Recent neuroscience studies reveals that when we imagine ourself doing something, it triggers the same regions of the brain as when we are physically doing the thing. This suggests that the more we imagine ourselves performing a task, the stronger the neural connections will be to actually perform the given task. This study looked at increasing fruit intake through visualization. Try imagining yourself eating more vegetables, exercising more, even sleeping better. Perform this visualization exercise every day. Amy Cuddy, in this TedTalk, shares that even our body language can shape who we are. Men who stood in front of the mirror in a “Superman” pose and imagined themselves being stronger gained more muscle than those that assumed a “smaller” stance.

  7. Give it 12 weeks (or more)

    The idea that it takes 21 days to establish a good habit is probably flawed. There’s more data to support that breaking a bad habit can be done in as little as 21 days. This study highlights that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days with the average being 66. Of note, missing one opportunity did not materially affect success.

My father used analogies often when we were growing up to drive points home. I find myself using them in my day to day life to explain difficult concepts to patients.  One that I frequently refer to when describing disease processes is as a maze. Early in any disease process the walls of the maze are low, there are plenty of gaps in the walls to change paths and the walls are low. The further we progress down a disease’s path, the higher those walls become and the fewer opportunities we have to change paths. Changing the way we live our lives can be difficult. Without that change, we are bound to stay on the same path we have always been.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Dr Jeffrey Davis is a Family Physician and the owner of Prairie Health and Wellness. He’s married to a wonderful woman who has given him four beautiful children.

Breathing and Sleep

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Health | Comments Off on Breathing and Sleep

Breathing and Sleep

Usually when we think about breathing, it is not something we do consciously and focused. I am giving you two breathing techniques to help calm the mind, reduce stress and relax.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

The first technique is called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, which is alternate nostril breathing. It is easy to do! You just need a few quiet minutes to start. It is a wonderful way to slow down at the end of the day.

1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.breathe
2. Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm open to the sky or in Chin Mudra (thumb and index finger touching).
3. Place the tip of your index finger and your middle finger of the right hand between the eyebrows, your ring finger on your left nostril and your thumb on right nostril. You use the ring finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for right nostril.
4. Press your thumb on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
5. Now, breathe in from the left nostril and press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
6. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. That is one round of Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
7. Complete nine more rounds by alternately breathing through both nostrils.

Every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout the process and continue taking long, smooth breaths without strain or force. There are many benefits to this type of breath. It helps relax the mind and ease the body. It works therapeutically for circulatory and respiratory problems. It releases stress. It helps harmonize the left and right sides of the brain assisting in concentration. It also helps to purify and balance the energy channels of the body. Blood is purified of toxins. It helps reduce anxiety, depression and other mental illness.

Five Minute Breathing Meditation

Another type is a simple five minute breathing meditation. You can easily do this technique whenever you need to quiet the mind and focus. It is a breathing technique with a calming mantra that you recite in your mind. The mantra Om Ah Hum is a common Buddhist mantra that has a long history but is explained as body, sound, mind that is symbolized by the three words of Om Ah Hum. You can do this type of breathing without a mantra, but makes it easier to focus on breath and not other thought distractions, by using the mantra, as you breathe.

1. Sit in a comfortable, quiet position without gadgets or 5minutesinterruptions.
2. Relax your shoulders, rest your hands where they are comfortable, drop your head slightly and close your eyes. You can rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth to keep it moist.
3. As you take a deep breath through your nose, say the word ‘Om’ in your mind.
4. Hold the breath for a moment and imagine the word ‘Ah’.
5. You can exhale through the mouth or nose as you think of the word ‘Hum’.

As you breathe in deeply, concentrating on the mantra as you hold the breath and exhale, it will help you get into a meditative state. Try this technique for five minutes. You will notice you body at ease and your mind settled.

It takes a lot of practice to do these breathing techniques but they are so beneficial for you! As we tend to get easily stressed during the holidays, it is important to take a few minutes for ourselves and focus on our breathing. It is an easy way to reduce stress when life gets hectic!

Love and light, Toby

Toby Hostetter, board certified body guru at Shine Salon in Wichita, aromatherapist, and lover of all things organic. Call 316-687-7070 to schedule and appointment with her.

PHW Product Review – Viracid

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 in Health | Comments Off on PHW Product Review – Viracid


PHW Product Review: Viracid 

Cold and flu season is officially here! We’re beginning to see more sniffles, coughs and colds. If you missed our post about ways to support your immune system or need a friendly review, read up on awesome ways to give yourself a healthy boost through the winter.

Shouldn’t I just take an Antibiotic?

A question we hear on a daily basis is “Do I need an antibiotic for my cough/sinus congestion/sore throat?” Nasal congestion, sore throats, coughs/bronchitis are most commonly caused by viruses. Rarely will cold symptoms be caused by a bacterial infection. “But once I start taking an antibiotic I start to feel better!” I hear many of you thinking. The truth is, by the time we feel bad enough to contact the doctor for an antibiotic, the virus has about run its course and we’d be starting to feel better whether we would have started that antibiotic or not. Unless you are immunocompromised or have some other health condition that puts you at a greater risk to develop complications from a viral infection, it’s almost always a better idea to treat symptoms in a supportive way rather than rushing for an antibiotic.


Which brings me to our first product review for a supplement we recently started carrying at Prairie Health and Wellness, just in time for those nasty cold symptoms that may come knocking on your door. Obviously we are big on prevention (refer back to those awesome ways to support your immune system we blogged about earlier), but sometimes those viruses get the better of us. Viracid is a supplement that is part of a protocol we recommend when those unpleasant cold symptoms attack.



Available in capsule form, Viracid contains immune-boosting vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc. It also contains a synergistic blend of botanical extracts that have been shown to stimulate virus-killing immune cells, and contains extra antioxidant support to help extinguish the inflammation that contributes to those unpleasant cold symptoms. And the really cool thing about Viracid? Not only is it used acutely when we already feel terrible, but it can be taken in a maintenance dose throughout cold and flu season to help strengthen the immune system before we begin to experience the dreaded cough and congestion. There is no need to suffer through the symptoms of a virus and there are much better and healthier ways than treating with an antibiotic (which don’t kill viruses anyway)! At Prairie Health and Wellness, our integrative approach can have you feeling better (and healthier!) in no time.

Step back into fitness

Posted by on Nov 16, 2014 in Health, Nutrition | Comments Off on Step back into fitness

Life Happens

bootcampWe try to avoid it but sometimes life gets in the way and we let excuses take over. A day of exercise missed turns into a week, which turns into a month and sometimes a year or more. During this time we tend to fall of the wagon of healthy eating and feel as though we have reached a point of no return. Each passing day of not exercising makes it more difficult. Without realization we begin to gain body fat, we lose all the lean muscle we have built. It isn’t until we see pictures of our self on vacation or at a family reunion that we realize we have changed, changed in a way we are not proud of. It is in this moment of realization that we are inspired, more than ever before, to begin working out and eating healthy. But where do we start? It has been weeks, months and sometimes years of no movement. We are unaware of our limits at this point and have even forgot how to “train”.

No time like the present

Don’t let time away scare you! Kalene (from GoTimeTraining) has a few tips and tricks to get back on track and out of a rut.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Check out your weekly agenda. Where do you have breaks in your day or where can you carve out wasted time to fit in exercise? Set aside an hour 3-4 days per week in which your primary goal is to MOVE.

Step 2: Move

Simply moving is more than you are currently doing. Test your cardiovascular strength with a simple walk around the block. If this is easy, gradually increase the walk to a jog or light run. Movement will make your body and mind feel better.

Step 3: Resistance Training

Resistance training helps to build lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass the more calories one burns at rest. (i.e. more bang for your buck) Incorporate resistance training into your regimen. This can be a weight or bootcamp class at a local gym, hiring a personal trainer or educating yourself enough on proper resistance training and form then conducting it on your own.

Step 4: Stretch

Your muscles are most likely tight and not moving through their proper range of motion. Incorporate a dynamic warm up, proper cool down and stretching throughout the day to keep you limber and mobile. A great form of stretching is yoga. Check out for Yoga videos you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Step 5: Eat Right and Hydrate

Nutrition is key to losing weight and properly fueling your body for exercise. Meals consisting of protein, fats and carbohydrates will properly fuel and replenish your body. Hydration is also key to continuous energy. You will be exerting more energy than before. You will most likely break a sweat or two therefore it is important to replenish with plenty of H2O.

Step 6: Sleep

Sleep is overlooked in this overworked world we live in. The added work load of exercise you are putting on your body will need time to rest and recover which is done while sleeping. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night in order to wake up energized and able to repeat your newfound passion for exercise on a daily basis.

Step 7: Don’t give up

Do not give up when you feel as though you can’t take anymore. Instead focus on the positives and tell yourself by doing this for YOU, you will be one step closer to a health, happy you.  It takes approximately 21 days to break old habits and form new ones. When that alarm goes off an hour earlier than you are used to it will be tempting to hit the snooze button. But wait! Remember the feeling you have after a good workout. You feel accomplished, energized and like you are able to take on the world.

I hope this inspires you to get out of a rut and get moving. As owner of GoTimeTraining my passion lies in helping others reach their health and fitness goals. As a team, we have dedicated our lives to educate and inspire our community to make a lifestyle transformation centered around health, fitness and nutrition.

Check out our blog,, for more fitness tips and tricks and don’t be shy, stop in to see us for a FREE bootcamp, register here.  

In health and happiness,

Kalene Smith
Owner GoTimeTraining
ACE Certified Personal Trainer

Broccoli Sprouts and Autism

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in Health, Nutrition | Comments Off on Broccoli Sprouts and Autism

Mom’s were right! Eat your Broccoli.

Phytochemical Extracted From Broccoli Sprouts Shows Promise For Autism Symptoms 

broccoliAutism spectrum disorder (ASD) describes a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits and communication difficulties, repetitive behaviors and interests, sensory issues and in some cases, cognitive delays. While it is currently unknown how many people have ASD, it is estimated that 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys) are affected by this condition – and the incidence appears to be rising. Science does not know the exact cause of ASD but most researchers agree that genetic and environmental factors play a role.

 With no drug or medication available to treat the core symptoms of ASD, many are turning to more conservative methods. Doctors are starting to recognize the significance of diet, the importance of reducing inflammation, and the improvements seen by correcting key nutrient deficiencies. Research shows there is a huge gut-brain connection; so establishing a healthy gut has also been helpful for children with ASD.  

 A study was published last month that showed promising results in young men with ASD being treated with a phytochemical known as sulforaphane, a naturally occurring substance found in broccoli sprouts. In a placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study, researchers were able to show that daily administration of sulforaphane for 18 weeks to 29 young men with ASD had significant improvement in symptoms compared to the 15 young men who received the placebo. The study even went further to show that when these young men discontinued the use of the sulforaphane, their symptoms returned. While this study had a small subject group (only 44 young men), this is encouraging news for many who are affected by ASD.

 The decision to use sulforaphane in this study was based on its ability to reverse abnormalities associated with ASD, including oxidative stress, depressed glutathione synthesis, reduced mitochondrial function and oxidative phosphorylation, increased lipid peroxidation and neuroinflammation.

 While I wish I could say, “Go gorge on broccoli sprouts…” (which may not be a bad idea anyway), the therapeutic dose is delivered much more efficiently and effectively in supplement form. At Prairie Health and Wellness, we carry BrainSustain for Kids which contains sulforaphanes and other anti-inflammatory, brain-supportive goodies. This supplement is not only intended for children with ASD, as it was designed to enhance brain development and performance in children. This comes in a powder that is easy to add to any breakfast or snack-time smoothie, and does not contain any wheat/gluten, corn protein, soy protein, yeast, fish/shellfish, animal or dairy products, artificial colors or sweeteners, or preservatives.

Kristen Marvin, ND is a graduate of National University of Health Sciences with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a guest blogger at Prairie Health and Wellness.

Boost Your Immune System

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 in Health | 2 comments


Man with flu

7 Ways to Boost Your Immune System During Cold/Flu Season


1.     Cut Back on Sugar

While this is especially difficult during the holiday season (Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies…) one of the best things you can do is limit your sugar consumption. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body and leads to suboptimal immune system performance. Get creative this year and look for healthier versions of holiday treats. Think less “processed” ingredients, and more “whole food” ingredients.

2.     Physical Activity

Daily physical activity/exercise has many obvious benefits – it helps regulate blood sugar, promotes healthy weight and fights depression. It also makes for a strong immune system. Don’t fret – marathon training is not necessary. Research shows that even short bouts of exercise stimulate immune-functioning cells. Shoot for 25-30 minutes of physical activity daily.

3.     Get Adequate Sleep

Believe it or not – lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don’t get sufficient amounts of sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus, such as the common cold or flu. Do yourself a favor and make sleep a priority – your immune system will thank you, and you’ll decrease your chances of catching that dreaded bug.

4.     Reduce Stress

Easier said than done, especially during the holiday season!  Stress suppresses immune function – so discovering ways to find your Zen is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system.  Consider meditation, deep breathing and yoga to help you deal with crazy kids and “well-meaning” mother in laws this holiday season.

5.     Vitamin D

We hear a lot about vitamin D these days, and for good reason. Research is revealing multiple benefits of having sufficient amounts of vitamin D, one of them being a strong and properly functioning immune system. At Prairie Health & Wellness, we recommend having your vitamin D level checked at least once per year.  We then can recommend specific dosing based on your needs in a safe and effective manner.

6.     Vitamin C

Another super vitamin for supporting those immune-fighting cells!  Studies show that by taking vitamin C at the onset of cold or flu symptoms, the number of days you’ll be under the weather may be shortened.

7.     Probiotics – Beneficial Bugs

Another fascinating area of research – did you know that our human cells are outnumbered by bacteria almost 10-to-1…trillion!!!??? We’re starting to learn more about these omnipresent microbes, and while some types of bacteria can certainly make us sick, many “beneficial bugs” can help keep us well.   Maintaining a proper balance of favorable bacteria is key to a happy and healthy immune system.


Kristen Marvin, ND is a graduate of National University of Health Sciences with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a guest blogger at Prairie Health and Wellness.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Posted by on Oct 7, 2014 in Health | Comments Off on Breast Cancer Awareness

mymosaicHistory of Breast Cancer Awareness

As we’re sure many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.   We start seeing a lot of pink – from little pink ribbons pinned on our shirts to pink merchandise and Races for a Cure.

Did you know the original idea behind bringing awareness to breast cancer actually started with a salmon-colored ribbon? And that the woman behind the salmon-colored ribbon intended it to shed light on the fact that the National Institutes of Health was only contributing 5% of their annual $1.8 billion budget to cancer PREVENTION?  

While raising money for cancer research can hardly be considered a negative thing, have you ever wondered just exactly where that money goes? If you’re purchasing pink, the majority of your money is benefiting the company behind the product – not breast cancer research.


We challenge you to “rethink pink” when purchasing various products from companies sporting the pink ribbons. “Pinkwashing” is a term given to companies taking financial advantage of breast cancer awareness, and what’s worse is that these companies are selling products that may contain substances KNOWN TO PROMOTE CANCER. A bit contradictory, right? Here are a few examples:

  • KFC “Buckets for the Cure” – The National Cancer Institute associates increased breast cancer risk with “high intakes of well-done, fried or barbequed meats”…
  • Avon “Breast Cancer Crusade” – The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database categorizes more than 140 of Avon’s products as high hazard due to the presence of hormone disruptors and other possible carcinogens.
  • Campbell’s Soup “Cans for Cancer” – The lining of these cans contains bisphenol-A (BPA), a substance linked to breast cancer tumor growth.
  • Mike’s Hard “Pink” Lemonade, Seasonal Edition – Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol have been linked to breast cancer.

The list goes on and on. What can you do? Think before you pink. Ask questions. Even better, donate directly to a reputable cancer research organization.

We’re not totally against pink. We view Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a time to bring attention to ways that we can educate people on how to PREVENT breast cancer.

 Join us Monday, October 13th at 6:30pm as Joleen Zivnuska presents on an Integrative Approach to Preventing Breast Cancer.

Kristen Marvin, ND is a graduate of National University of Health Sciences with a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a guest blogger at Prairie Health and Wellness.