Batch Cooking Basics

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Sticking to a healthy weight loss routine is never easy. A career, family, and other obligations make it tough to prepare natural, nutrient rich meals with fresh ingredients everyday. The trick is to never cook just one meal. The trend of batch cooking or batch prepping has caught on in recent years for good reason. Cooking several healthy meals at once and storing the leftovers make diet adherence much more convenient. Finding the time to cook every single day in today’s world is unlikely, but once or twice a week is more than doable. Choose one day on the weekend and one night during the week after work instead of watching TV. Using this method makes most the week full of easy grab and go meals that can be mixed and matched.

Below are a few batch cooking ideas that can make healthy living and weight loss easier.

1.       Cook several pounds of meat at once. Crock pots or just broiling can be really helpful tools.

2.       Stir fry a bunch of your favorite vegetables together.

3.       While everything is else is cooking, turn on a rice maker and make a lot of rice, roast a bag of potatoes or sweet potatoes, and/or hard boil a carton of eggs.

Basically cook what you cook normally, but just cook more of it. Tinker with the seasoning to switch up the meals each day. Also keep in mind most foods freeze and later defrost really well.

Benefits of Tart Cherry

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Benefits of Tart Cherry

1.       Mitigate Effects of Gout – It can possibly fight inflammation and reduce blood levels of uric acid, which can produce gout.

2.       Improves Sleep – Tart cherries are full of melatonin, which can help improve your improve the quality of sleep as well as the amount of the sleep you get each night.

3.       Boosts the Immune System – Antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds are plentiful in tart cherries.

4.       Eases Recovery from Workouts – Tart Cherry is very high in potassium, which can help maintain blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle recovery.

5.       Regulates Metabolism – More research is needed, but some studies indicate that supplementing with tart cherry can promote weight loss and act against the development of obesity.

Please note: If you drink tart cherry juice, it’s important to look for juices that are 100% cherry juice without added sugars or other sweeteners. In our office we promote and carry Carlson’s Tart Cherry supplements. I prefer the capsule form for convenience and cost savings versus juice.

Supplements to Prevent and Fight UTIs

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Recently a patient asked what could help their recurring urinary tract infections aside from tried and true cranberry juice. There are several supplements that can help treat or prevent this condition.

1.       Cranberry Juice – The “no sugar added” not from concentrate brands are recommended. Also cranberry extract capsules may be more convenient and less costly.

2.       D-mannose – It’s a natural sugar that prevents bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract lining. It usually comes in a powder form.

3.       Saw Palmetto – Extract from a type of palm tree that has shown some benefit for the urinary tract as well as the prostate and perhaps even sore throat, cough, insomnia, and hair loss.

4.       Probiotics – Good beneficial bacteria.

5.       Oregano Oil – Fights E. coli a type of bacteria often found in urinary tract infections.

6.       Allicidin (Garlic) – Another anti-bacterial supplement that can disable and incapacitate E. coli bacteria

7.       Vitamin C – It never hurts to boost the immune system.

8.       Drink plenty of water

How Functional Medicine Can Increase Your Energy

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     At some point or another we’ve all probably felt tired from sleep deprivation, from stressors, or from being overworked. These are some pretty simply explained causes for tiredness, but what about some of the more complex sources? If you’re suffering from a chronic condition or disease, there are several lifestyle changes that can make you feel more awake.

1.       Light Exercise

     If you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the day, it can help to move around. Get up from your desk, walk around the office, stretch, and even work at a standing desk if possible. I know it sounds counterintuitive to exercise when you’re out of energy, but it can stimulate both your body and your mind. It boosts circulation and increases the release of hormones that make you feel more alert.

2.       Sleep Hygiene

      This sounds like an obvious one, but don’t underestimate the value of good healthy sleep. Most adults should be getting eight hours of sleep each night. Of course going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning help immensely. If I feel I can’t get to sleep I use natural supplements like melatonin and smooth valerian (which are available at my office). I find these tend to be less habit forming than prescription sleep medications. The most helpful tip I can probably give is to get rid of screens at least an hour before sleep. This includes TVs, phones, laptops, and tablets.

3.       Coffee – Drink or Avoid?

     I’m a proponent of coffee to naturally improve concentration and increase energy, but in general it’s a good not to make it a daily habit. I love a cup of coffee before a workout, usually with some healthy fat like coconut oil, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter to keep me satiated. But if you drink it every day you may tend to gradually increase intake and become dependent. This may lead to a host of other problems like adrenal fatigue. The way to maximize the benefits of coffee may be to make it an occasional solution.  

Get Rid of "Text Neck"

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If you use a smartphone or a tablet, there's a good chance you've experienced neck pain associated with prolonged use. It makes sense when the average human head weighs about twelve pounds and tilting your head forward adds even more pounds of stress on your neck. The pain is annoying and muscle strain is uncomfortable, but perhaps the worst side effect is potentially changing the neck's natural curve over a period of time. Below are my 5 easy tips for avoiding "text neck."

1. Raise your devices to eye level, so your head doesn't tilt down.

2. Sit up straight with proper posture and avoid hunching shoulders.

3. Take breaks and stretch.

4. Exercise often for good spine health.

5. Of course don't text and drive because "text neck" pain will be the least of your problems.

5 and 1/2   Also check out my video below about the text neck exercises, adjustments, and traction available at our clinic.

The problem is most prevalent with children. If you click here to read my Instagram post from last week, you'll also see a video of my son Grant getting an adjustment after feeling pain from an hour of ipad use. At this point I couldn't imagine life without my smartphone. Heck sometimes I write this blog on my smartphone. Nevertheless "text neck" is so common that the easy treatment steps listed above should be discussed more (unless everyone inexplicably decides to go back to the dark ages of using pagers or flip phones).

 

 

 

Clif Bars Vs. Snickers Bars

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"Energy Bar" =

Candy Bar

It’s imperative to be a careful shopper if you’d like to eat healthy food. Many food products have misleading labels that lead customers to believe the product is healthy. A perfect example of this practice is the Clif Bar. Marketed as an “energy bar” it contains 23 grams of sugar, 1 gram more than a Snickers bar. It’s true Clif bars will give you energy, but in a similar way a Snickers bar will spike your insulin levels up for a while before an inevitable crash.

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Always Read the Nutrition Facts

If you look closely at the ingredients of the Clif Bar above, you’ll see that the first ingredient is “Organic Brown Rice Syrup,” which is another way of saying “sugar.” It’s very convenient to have a bar if you’re hungry, but beware of misleading branding. Always read the nutrition facts for sugar content, fat content, carbohydrates, etc. Companies like Clif, Larabar and PowerBar market their products to make them look healthy when in actuality they’re more like candy bars. Quest is a company that makes some pretty decent bars and you may even see me snacking on them in the office from time to time. At my clinic we also offer our own “Advanced Health Systems” bars that have 15g of protein and still manage to taste great even with little sugar. And in reality none of the bars mentioned are much more easily portable than a good hard-boiled egg, a bag of your favorite nuts or seeds, or a container of Greek yogurt.

Below are the nutrition facts for a Cliff Bar and a Snickers Bar

 http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/clif-clif-bar-118077706

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/clif-clif-bar-118077706

 http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/mars-snickers-bar-48g-125427516

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/mars-snickers-bar-48g-125427516

Benefits of Using a Foam Roller

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Top Five Benefits

1.       Improved Movement and Flexibility

Performing form rolling exercises before a workout can contribute to better flexibility and range of motion. This is significant because muscles are less likely to be damaged or pulled when foam rolling exercises are a part of the warm up routine.

2.       Injury Prevention

The second benefit is related to the first. Foam rolling performed with stretching can prevent several common injuries. Improper movements that cause injuries are less likely to happen.

3.       Improved Circulation and Blood Flow

Rolling stretches and loosens muscles where blood flow may be somewhat blocked. Better circulation is fundamental to general health and wellbeing because blood carries oxygen through the body.

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4.       Reduced Soreness and Recovery Time

Recovery time can be considerably reduced by foam rolling before an intense workout. This applies not only for fitness junkies, but for desk workers as well. If your job entails sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, you are well aware of the soreness at the end of a long work day.

5.       Reduced Stress

Research has shown a correlation with foam rolling and cortisol (stress hormone) reduction.

A Safe and Simple Detox Cleanse (without Starvation)

     Detoxification is something that the body does naturally and the majority of detoxification takes place in the liver. Due to the standard American diet and the proliferation of certain chemicals and pesticides, many people benefit from a cleanse program that gently and slowly supports the process of metabolic detoxification. The problem is a majority of the programs  are either scams, not based on clinical science, dangerous, or all of the above. Some illegitimate programs claim the healthy way to detox is fasting from all food while drinking nothing but lemon water, cayenne, and maple syrup. Not only are those kind of extremely restrictive diets unhealthy, they are especially unsafe for those suffering with diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease. Furthermore they upset the sodium, blood sugar, and potassium levels in the body.

     The cleanse that I promote in my office is one of the few great detox programs that allows you to eat food while you detox and is one hundred percent safe. It’s called The PaleoCleanse Plus. It includes a powder taken twice daily made up of the precise combination of nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, herbs, and extracts that support the detox process. The PaleoCleanse isn’t specifically designed for weight loss, but it can often occur. The fourteen day cleanse requires the elimination of sugar, gluten containing grains, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol from the diet. Patients will also be replacing some meals with the PaleoCleanse shakes, so this lower caloric intake is likely to result in weight loss for many. Each cleanse comes with a food schedule and healthy snack and meal options, so there’s no guesswork involved when it comes to eating. I walk my patients through this process step by step during their consultations.

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     The one downside is some patients experience headaches during the first few days of the cleanse, which is due to caffeine and/or sugar withdrawal. The powder is intended to give the body everything it needs to get through this initial discomfort as quickly and painlessly as possible. I advocate my patients with a sweet tooth or a coffee habit to try to cut down on sugar and caffeine consumption for a few days prior to starting the cleanse. As always I will also offer nutritional and lifestyle guidance that will keep the patient’s toxic burden low and make sure their body’s detoxification mechanisms work well for the long haul.