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Know your farmer, know your food!

February 10th, 2017

One little known fact about me; I was a vegetarian for six years. It wasn’t a health kick, I simply read a book about food that grossed me out. The book was called, Diet for a New America, written by the Baskin Robbins heir, John Robbins. He walked away from his family’s food empire and inheritance because he didn’t like how the animals were processed and raised. Specifically, he was disgusted by the hormones and drugs used in dairy production.

Many years later, I am back to eating meat. I am now incredibly picky about the source of my meat. I will happily spend an extra few dollars a month to insure that Mad Scientist practices aren’t used on my food and that the animal isn’t tormented while it is living. I was recently turned on to Hilltop Pastures Family Farm. Last summer, I would drive down to the midtown farmers market just to stock my freezer. Last month, as I was running low on meat that I had purchased at the fall farmers market, I realized they delivered twice a month to the Ridgedale Target. How nice to not have to leave the Plymouth or Minnetonka area! What I like about Hilltop Pastures Farm is knowing the animals that I eat were humanely treated and humanely butchered. They were raised with regular farming practices that I grew up with, not within disgusting factory farms.

Humanely Raised

I asked Sarah, the farmer, how her animals are raised and this is how she answered:

“We are a truly small-scale family farm where all of our animals are raised sustainably and organically. All of our animals are raised in the open air, sunshine, and on grass. Farming practices such as these utilize the natural symbiotic relationships between the different species. On our pasture-based farm, cattle, lambs, and goats (ruminant animals) are solely grass-fed and finished. They receive no grain at all. Our chickens, laying hens, turkeys, and pigs are also raised on pasture in addition to receiving a non-GMO grain. This is because they are a non-ruminant animal. Our animals receive no antibiotics or growth hormones, ever! We offer genuine, true farming practices that heal the land and soil and keep our animals and family healthy. We use organic principles when raising all of our animals. The multi species farming practices that we use versus single species is good for the land and the animals. All animals move around on the farm so that they are always receiving fresh grass and its wonderful nutrients. Our animals don’t just have access to the grass, they are on the grass, always. All the animals follow the cows on the farm. The hens are the last to follow so they can scratch at the manure piles. That break up the larva cycle sanitizing the pasture. The hens love the fresh grass and bugs that they find out there.”

Is it just labeling?
As a consumer, one of my big concerns when shopping for groceries is whether I am paying more for pretty advertising, or am I paying for sound farming practices? Finding Hilltop Pastures Farms solved this for me. Since I know my farmer, I know that the money isn’t spent on packaging. It doesn’t have fancy graphics, and it doesn’t have buzzwords. When I asked Sarah about this, she had a lot to say about advertising and farming practices of the fancy big box groceries.

“Our mission statement is: Know Your Farmer Know Your Food. I know in this day and age, life is chaotic and busy. We look for the most efficient ways to get things done. We definitely shouldn’t do that with our health. I know it takes time to research and find good food, but it is so worth it! We aren’t a factory farm pushing out animals every day to keep up with the profit margins. We are small scale. Animals are raised with care and attention. They are allowed to grow at the rate needed for their health and well-being. We are face to face marketing with our customers. We truly feel that you need to know who is growing your food in order to know for sure that it is raised right.

Our mantra is that as consumers we shouldn’t just put our faith in a label! A label on a fancy package in the grocery store doesn’t necessarily mean that the source of that meat was truly being raised in a healthy pasture based system! Eggs and chickens are often “labeled” as free-range, organic, cage-free, vegetarian or any of the other buzz words. The reality is that the chickens are often raised in massive barns with only a small access door to a little area outside that hasn’t seen a blade of grass in years! Chickens eat bugs! They love them! So they are not naturally vegetarians… Beef labeled as Grass-fed is often raised in large feed lots that finish the animals on grain or other high gaining rations. The animal is only exposed to pasture for a few months of its life so it’s allowed to be “labeled” as grass-fed. You get the point, labels are deceptive. The big boys in the food industry are seeing the food revolution happening. They don’t want to give up any of their profits. They are buying organic companies and heavily influencing labeling and production models. Bottom line is if you really want to know how your food was raised you must KNOW YOUR FARMER.”

If you are interested in ordering meat from Hilltop Pastures Family Farms, check out their website Hill I love their brats and bacon. Let them know I sent you.

Pilates is the perfect exercise for your back

February 6th, 2017

Why is Pilates the perfect exercise for your back? It is an exercise system specifically designed to strengthen your deep internal stabilizers, especially your spine. After years of working out at thebig gym, I’ve seen all types of dangerous exercises performed on the main floor to “strengthen” someone’s back or neck. I have all I can do to not walk up to them with a business card since they are going to need me at some point.

The scariest things I see are individuals with poor posture performing weight training exercises. If it’s at the gym, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Individuals pulling their leg to their head in an attempt to “stretch” their hamstrings; and people who complain in my office about back pain but never change their exercise routine – still doing yoga and weights but never feeling better… Even worse, all the money spent at Orthopedic and PT clinics when learning how to use your body correctly is the key. It’s PreHab – Not Rehab. There are better ways.

I highly recommend Deb Dodge at The Pilates Advantage in Medina, MN. I have been referring her clients for quite some time and she and her competent staff are great at developing strengthening programs that work for each person. Her instructors are Pilates Method Alliance certified and this is important in the Pilates field of exercise.

Pilates isn’t going to make you sweat like crazy or build your cardio endurance. It is going to build the muscles that keep your body safe as it moves. While I don’t feel like I have earned a big cheeseburger after my workout, I do feel like it is the most important hour I spend each week. When I leave it as if all my joints have been lubricated.

Again, if you are looking for a knowledgeable, helpful and convenient Pilates studio, call Pilates Advantage. They will get you on the right track for feeling good!

My Posture Pump® Review

February 6th, 2017

When Posture Pump® asked me to review their products, I was initially skeptical. They caught me at a moment where I was having a lot of postural fatigue and the beginnings of chronic headaches. I had just complained that day about burning in my upper back to my own chiropractor. I’ve been under chiropractic care for 25 years and to me it’s as basic as eating broccoli. I don’t necessarily like getting adjusted every week but I know I need it to be healthy.

I selfishly agreed to demo their product. The model I used was the Posture Pump® Deluxe 4100-S. I’ll be honest, the first time was simply miserable. I couldn’t get the head strap to stay in place, it didn’t feel as if the cushions were quite aligned and it was crazy uncomfortable when I pumped it up. When I finally finished the posture pump® routine, my spine felt really vulnerable. Despite being a regular Pilates participant, my spine hadn’t bent that was in awhile. When I finished, I felt light headed and taller. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to the future sessions, but amazingly the next day I didn’t get a headache…or the day after.

After several days of using the posture pump® I noticed my sessions on it getting more comfortable and towards the mid afternoon, I would start to crave it. After consistent use over the last two weeks, my neck feels so much better. My head doesn’t feel like a weight that is too heavy to lift and I have only have had one day with the slightest headache.

I am impressed. I would definitely recommend this product as an adjunct to chiropractic care especially if you are dealing with chronic postural issues from sitting at a computer or staring down at devices all day. It’s really helped me to feel better! If you are interest in your own Posture Pump®, you can visit the posture pump website and use promo code DRG15 for 15% off any of their products. As always, if you are one of my patients ask me first if this is appropriate for you.

Pro Tips:

1) Follow the directions on this exactly. The warm ups are very important.
2) Start with minimal inflation and build gradually over time.
3) As the instructions state, this device is best used before bed. The day I used it before going to work, I regretted it.

Getting back into working out

December 8th, 2016


My patients often ask how to go about getting back into working out after long breaks in exercise. The simple answer is often the best answer. “Just do it!” The most difficult part is simply showing up to the gym. Start by planning a simple half hour into your daily schedule for physical fitness. If all that means is using that time to go on a walk, by all means, please walk. Do not violate that time.

If you are truly committed to getting back into working out and have the time and motivation to do it, pick an activity you truly love that you are capable of doing without hurting yourself. If you are a beginner and you check out the gym class schedule and can pick between a class called “Insanity” or one called “strength training level 1”, be realistic of your abilities and pick the beginner class. The last thing you need when you are getting back into working out is to hurt yourself or become so sore you don’t want to go back for a week.

The key to working out is consistency. If you can consistently carve time in your schedule to do physical fitness activities that work for you, you will be capable of so much more as you age. It’s sad to see people lose their ability to get around with strength and confidence. When I travel to national parks and the other visitors never see anything that can’t be seen from their car, it is sad. There is a whole great big world out there that is only accessible by foot or bike. Seeing those things have been magical moments of my life. If you aren’t able to walk, bike, hike, your world can get very limited.

As we age, you have to fight to keep your fitness. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it” Of course this is true. You truly can’t stop moving because once you stop, it’s difficult to start back up and sometimes you aren’t even capable of it.

When you are just getting back into working out, expect your body to be sore. This is a critical time to partner with a chiropractor so that you can manage small injuries before they turn into big injuries. At Active Family Chiropractic, we always want to help. If you have questions on your own fitness plan and want to know what is right for you, call me. If I can’t help you, I will find someone who can.

Get rid of your headache

November 7th, 2016


This post will give you valuable advice on how to get rid of your headache. There are several types of headaches. Step one is to properly diagnose the headache you have. The type of headache that feels like someone is squeezing your temples, forehead, feels like your head has been shrink wrapped or is making you feel like you have pain above an eye is usually a tension headache. The term migraine doesn’t refer to a “really bad headache”. It refers to someone who gets an aura preceding their headache, nausea, vomiting or speech impairment.

A really bad tension headache, or any tension headache for that matter usually stems from your neck. When the bones of your spine don’t move how they should and become adhered together or you spend a lot of time craning your neck forward towards a screen, you are bound to get a headache.


When you have what chiropractors refer to as “forward head carriage”, your posture needs to change for you to get rid of your headache. When you are trying to change your posture, the first step is to contract your shoulder blades together gently and pull them downwards toward your belt (away from your ears). The muscular contraction in your posture should be happening between your shoulder blades, not in your chest pulling your shoulders towards one another. After your shoulder blades are back and down, retract your chin so it isn’t poking forward. Your ear should be over the middle of your shoulder joint. That is good posture. If you can’t hold it and you find your body quickly fatigues, your spine is the problem and you need a chiropractic adjustment.

Typically my patients who get rid of their headaches benefit from spinal adjustments to change their posture, massage to loosen up the knots present from years of your muscles fighting to hold your head up and then postural exercises and behavioral changes. If you have any questions on how you can get rid of your headache, call my office. You can speak with me directly to find out what will be the best route to help yourself.

Basic Lower Back Stretches

October 21st, 2016

This video is for patients of my chiropractic office that I have sent to this webpage. If you are doing this without my ok, you are doing it at your own risk. These are good stretches for general lower back pain. I tend to do these exact three each time I get off my bike or finish my workouts. I highly recommend stretching post activity. Also, you should hold stretches for 30-60 seconds when stretching statically. If you are one of my patients, ask me if this would be appropriate for you. If you are not one of your patients, talk to your own chiropractor or physical therapist to understand which stretches are safe for you.

Neck Stretches

August 22nd, 2016

Make sure to do these on both sides.

Make sure to do these on both sides.

These neck stretches are great if you sit at a desk a lot or work on a computer. Make sure to do the side stretches on both sides. Call me if you have any questions. Click here for neck stretches

Preventing Neck Pain and Numbness While Cycling

August 17th, 2016


When I give talks on injury prevention to cyclists, we focus on preventing neck pain and numbness while cycling. Preventing neck pain and numbness are the top goals of many cyclists early in the season. As the season trudges on, those of us who have put a lot of miles on are starting to feel the weak and plainly old parts of our bodies.

If your neck tends to give you trouble on the bike, there are several factors to play with. First, please make sure you have a good bike fitting. There are two bike fitters in the area that consistently get awesome reviews from my patients. Chris Balser at Penn Cycle in Minnetonka and Maple Grove Cycling both have bike fitters that are worth their weight in gold. Simple changes like changing out a stem, raising your handlebars or lowering your seat can make a world of difference in how much you enjoy cycling and how far you can ride without pain and numbness. It is worth it to spend a little money with a bike fit expert to focus on preventing neck pain and numbness while cycling. It will save you from creating larger problems later that will require more time and money to fix.

If you are having neck pain, I have a couple simple form tips. First, make sure your shoulder blades are engaged and that you are holding them back and down (away from your ears). Not only will you have more neck pain by cycling in an extreme forward position, if you have a rotator cuff or shoulder problem, rounded shoulders don’t make it better. Also, think about whether or not you have your head cocked back too far. I am all for looking forward versus down, however, there is a happy medium when it comes to extreme extension of your neck. Odds are, by engaging your shoulder blades, you have already helped your neck be in a better posture and this won’t be an issue.

As for hand numbness, equipment changes such as making sure your bike gloves have padding built for the bike you are riding is important. This is especially the case for the gear junkies like me who have multiple bikes. Different bikes need different gloves to take the pressure off. If you are riding a road bike, also make sure you have good tape on your handle bars. If you have just started to noticed the numbness, it might be because your gloves or tape are breaking down. If you have more recreational style bikes, I can’t say enough for the figure 8 handle bars I have seen on the bike trail. I’m sure it takes a lot to get used to them however, it has to help people with upper extremity pain so much by letting them vary their hand position on the handlebars.

There are definitely other things that can cause neck pain and numbness while cycling. To prevent that means to correct the problem causing the pain. Frequently, those of us who are involved in adult athletics but have sedentary jobs during the day have a lot of neck pain and stiff shoulder problems. If you log plenty of screen time at work, you know what I am talking about.

Problems with the alignment or movement patterns of your spine can set you up to have problems that other cyclists don’t. The common attitude is that if I just ignore it or back off on my miles, it will go away. Often this makes it take longer to heal and costs more money to treat. On top of this, sometimes neck pain and numbness can be a cervical disc problem that needs more intensive treatment. Only a licensed doctor can know for sure. Chiropractors are specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions such as these. If you want to live an active and healthy life, it is important to stay on top of potential problems before they get to be big looming problems. If you have questions about your neck pain and numbness and how it is affecting your cycling or anything else, call me. I would be happy to help.

Back Pain from Golf

June 13th, 2016


Those who love the sport are familiar with back pain from golf. As you can see in the picture, with the extreme rotation, a lot of stress is placed on your spine. Even a casual golfer on a par 3 is taking at least 27 swings, plus practice swings plus warm up swings on the range. You can easily put your spine through 150 high speed extreme ranges of motion on the golf course. Considering that, it is no wonder why you have back pain from golf.

There are several things you can do to avoid back pain from golf. The best advice I have is that the healthier you go into the season, the healthier you will come out of the season. If you have an extra 20 or even 40 lbs hanging of the front of your belly, that isn’t a good way to start the season. It intensifies the pressure placed on your spine during your swing. Though I don’t want to minimize the effort it takes to lose weight, its often the easiest and best way to make your back feel better.

Secondly, to avoid back pain from golf, keep your body loose and limber when you play. While I hate walking a course when it is super hot out, walking the course is much better for your back than driving in a cart. It keeps your muscles warm and active. If you ride in a cart for 18 holes, your body doesn’t ever limber up before your swing and once you are back in the cart, it’s another opportunity for it to stiffen up.

Third, stretch when you are done playing. I know that most people like to have a beer with their buddies when they finish their round. However, spending 3-5 minutes stretching after your round will save you a lot of pain later.

If you do find yourself in pain after a round of golf, call me. If we can’t get you in for an appointment right away, please at least ice to keep the inflammation down and walk to keep the mobility.

Back and Neck Pain from Car Accidents

June 13th, 2016


If you have been in one, you know that back and neck pain from car accidents is no joke. I actually became a chiropractor due to back and neck pain from a car accident. The biggest problem with back and neck pain from car accidents is that due to the traumatic nature of the accident causes a chemical inflammation pathway to become activated that doesn’t end quickly.

After sixteen years of being a chiropractor and treating back and neck pain from car accidents, it is my experience that you don’t know the true scope of an injury for a month. Often the patient feels much worse before they begin to feel better. That is because your body continues to produce inflammatory chemicals that make you feel horrible for the first 4-6 weeks.

Other that seeing a chiropractor, my best recommendations are to walk and ice. The ice calms the inflammation from the injury down and gives you relief from the pain. The walking stimulates your body to produce natural pain killers and also keeps you limber and flexible. It’s only natural to feel like curling up in to a ball after an injury like this and waiting for the pain to stop. This is the worst thing you can possibly do, it will only cause you to be stiffer and create more pain.

Your chiropractor will be able to decide what spinal adjustments, exercises, stretches or taping methods are best for you to heal. They will also be able to tell you what further imaging or referrals you need to feel better.

With car accidents, once you are sure that nothing is broken, get to the chiropractor. The longer you wait, the more pain you will have. As always, you are welcome to call my office with any questions about your back and neck pain from a recent (or not so recent) car accident and talk to me about the best course of action.

Attention Chiropractors

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