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Results May vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Below are merely personal stories and do not guarantee success.

Curb your eyes from controlling your palate through mindful eating!

February 1st, 2017

It is certainly hard to resist yourselves when hoardings advertising famous brands of delicious, mouth-watering desserts catch your eye when we are traveling. At that moment, we may ignore giving it a second look, but the name and details get registered in our subconscious mind. The next time we hop into a dessert parlor, we would certainly like to give it a try, making the advertising agenda for the product by the dessert company successful; the reason why they had put up the hoarding, to attract consumers.

This is how you get trapped each time due to your senses fulfilling your temptations and indulgences. The temptations become even more irresistible when one is sincerely striving to stick to a weight loss diet regime. And then we realize that the mind makes even more compelling demands to go for that extra slice of cake or chocolates when we have made up our mind to give up on them. This happens when we impose on ourselves to follow strict diets or make ourselves believe that we have to go through this austerity to get into better shapes.

How to successfully stick to your diet

A successful weight loss diet program can be judged by the fact that it doesn’t make us feel that we are on a “diet”. The more natural & realistic changes suggested in the diet, the most compliant one can be to it and find successful results.

Mindful eating, also called as intuitive eating, has its basis in the Buddhist teachings. It is a solution to deal with those irresistible temptations at the same time ensuring that we meet with success in our fitness journey. Forced deprivation can only lead to binging on junk foods later. Mindful eating makes us accountable for the food choices we make and not merely going by our sensory dictations. Mindful eating involves paying full attention to the activity of eating, without getting distracted by other activities such as watching TV or staring at our smart phones. The concept of mindful eating is to make ourselves enjoy the food we are savoring and pay attention to the minute details of food.

Components of Mindful Eating

Eating with attention and in silence

It is necessary to pay attention to the flavors, texture, and aroma of our meals when we are having meals. In this way, we are actually able to relish the eating experience. Often, we are unaware of what we eat since we are preoccupied with other thoughts & happen to just rush through our meal times, often just gulping in food.

Eating slowly

It is necessary to chew the food we eat properly; at least each morsel can be chewed 4-5 times. In this way, we can sense the satiety signals sent to the brains through our gut, and we can experience that we have reduced our portion sizes consumed in each meal automatically.

Distinguishing hunger cues from mental cravings

Whenever we get an urge to binge on junk foods, it is necessary to introspect & ask yourself how you are feeling – anger, hatred or frustration. Only if you are feeling hungry, then go for the food. In this way, hunger cues can be differentiated by cravings.

How Fiber Can Be Your Weight Loss Companion

October 24th, 2016

Chia seeds in bowl with measuring tape.

Fiber and Weight Loss

Reaching your weight loss goal and maintaining a healthy weight is vital to ensuring general well-being, as well as preventing a number of disease conditions. In order to lose weight, it is imperative to control the number of calories you consume daily. However, this is easier said than done, especially with the majority of fad diet programs.

This is where fiber becomes your weight loss companion.

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage, is the indigestible portion of food found in plants. This type of carbohydrate helps you feel full without adding extra calories into your diet. As a result, a fiber-rich diet is easily adaptable, and individuals are able to maintain their weight loss in a sustainable manner. A study by the University of Massachusetts Medical School found out that by simply increasing fiber consumption to at least 30 grams a day, individuals were also able to lower their body response to insulin. The insulin hormone increases the ability of the body to store fat and as a result makes it hard to maintain weight. Again, fiber is very complimentary to weight loss.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, while the soluble fiber absorbs water forming a gel-like substance. This chemical process aids in fat reduction through the digestive system. Both are effective in maintaining weight loss. However, the soluble fiber can also slow down the absorption of sugars into your blood stream. Which again, assists with your weight loss goals.

The best sources of fiber to increase in your diet include;

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes (with skin)
  • Bran cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Vegetables

Apart from the natural sources of fiber, you can also get fiber in form of supplements. These can be essential if you are unable to get enough fiber from your diet. However, before taking any form of supplement, it is important to consult your doctor and find out what is right for you.

Apart from weight loss, fiber has a number of other health benefits:

  • Heart protection

Fiber reduces the body’s cholesterol levels helping reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber, such as oatmeal, attaches itself to the cholesterol particles taking them from the digestive tract and out of the body.

  • Diabetes protection

Dietary fiber does not spike the blood sugar levels since it isn’t well digested. This lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Increased fiber intake in pre-diabetics can stop the progression of the conditions and in some cases completely reverse it.

  • Healthy bowel movement

Fiber bulks up the stool allowing for a smooth movement through your system and also helping guard against such discomforts as constipation and diarrhea.

To achieve significant weight loss results, however, you will still need to watch your calories and exercise, regardless of the amount of fiber you consume.

What is Sciatica

August 9th, 2016

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Contrary to popular belief, sciatica is not an actual medical diagnosis.  Rather, sciatica actually refers to the symptoms of leg pain that originate in the lower area of the back, traveling through the glutes, and radiate down the large nerve in the back of each of the legs.  This large nerve is termed the “sciatic nerve,” hence the name sciatica for the condition associated with this condition.  The pain may additionally be associated with numbness, tingling, or weakness as well.

There are various conditions that can cause sciatica symptoms.  Some of the more common conditions include degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, a lumbar herniated disc, and spondylolisthesis.

Common Symptoms of Sciatica

Just as sciatica can come from a variety of back issues, its symptoms can also vary widely.  Most often, individuals suffering from sciatica will experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain leg that worsens when sitting down
  • Sharp, shooting pains that may make it difficult to walk or even stand upright
  • Radiating pain that travels down the leg, which can travel all the way to the toes
  • Constant pain in one leg or glute (rarely in both)
  • Difficulty moving the feet, toes, or legs, typically accompanied with numbness or weakness
  • A searing or burning leg pain

The pain can be infrequent to constant, and can be merely irritating to completely incapacitating.  The symptoms associated with a particular individual’s condition is most commonly dependent on the location of the nerve being pinched.  On a positive note, despite how disabling and painful sciatica can be, it is rare that permanent damage results from the issue.

Sciatica and the Sciatic Nerve

The reason sciatica can be so debilitating is because the sciatic nerve is the largest single nerve in the body.  It is made up of nerve roots that branch out from the lower spinal area and then combine to form what we term as the “sciatic nerve.”  The symptoms of sciatica occur when the large nerve is compressed or otherwise irritated close to its point of origin.  This in turn causes issues with the rest of the nerve that travels down through the leg all the way to the toes, hence why sciatica is able to impact such a large region of the body.

Onset of Sciatica

Sciatica is most commonly found in middle aged individuals.  It is rare to see someone under 25 suffering from sciatica.  This is due to sciatica typically developing over a long period of time, rarely attributed to a particular injury.

The majority of those who suffer from sciatica will recover within weeks to a few months.  Surgery is not typically required, though other nonsurgical treatments are available that can provide relief.

If you believe you may be suffering from sciatica, consulting your doctor is strongly advised.  Your doctor can ensure your sciatica is not being caused by a serious medical issue and does not require immediate medical attention.  With how vital the sciatic nerve is to the body, it is always better to play safe than sorry when it comes to issues associated with it such as sciatica.

Senior Living: Preventing Falls

July 12th, 2016

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As we age, the various systems of the body that help us to maintain balance lose their efficiency.  Loss of hearing can impact coordination.  Loss of sight can make it more challenging to see steps or other terrain.  The nerves that carry information to the brain can fray and deteriorate over the years, slowing reaction time.  Decreases in strength and flexibility can make things such as standing, walking, and getting up from sitting down more challenging.

As you can see, there are a variety of factors that increase the risk of falling as we age.  However, there are precautionary steps that one can take to try to minimize their risks.  The American Chiropractic Association has recommended some of the following tips to help minimize the risk of falls:

Check Your Home for Safety Risks

Approximately a third of all falls happen within the household.  The most common concern arises from trips over objects on the floor.  You can find various home safety checklists around the web to assist you in finding what specific risks you may have in your household.  Ideally, this should be done with another family member or healthcare provider.  By minimizing potential hazards and fall risks, you can dramatically improve your chances of preventing injury.

Exercise Regularly

Some type of exercise regimen is a vital component needed to prevent risk of falling.  There are plenty of ways one can exercise, regardless of physical shape you are in at the time.  For those who have had a fairly sedentary lifestyle, starting out with walking or water aerobics can be a good way to get the body moving again.  As your physical condition improves (or if you are already relatively active), you can do jogging, group exercise classes such as step or yoga, or bike riding.

Research has shown that even a basic exercise routine can significantly decrease one’s risk for falling and other injuries.  In addition, it also helps to improve overall quality of living by improving various systems of the body.

Have Your Doctor Review Your Medications

Some medications can increase your risk of falling.  Medications can cause issues such as dizziness, light-headedness, and can impede regular brain function.  While one medication alone may not be associated with this type of risk, sometimes the combination of two or more medications can be the cause.  Sometimes even combining medications with over the counter medications can be the culprit as well, such as cough medicine or pain-killers.  Your doctor can advise you on what may increase your risk of falls by reviewing both your medications and daily lifestyle.

Have Your Vision Checked

Vision impairment can make it harder to notice things such as an incline in terrain or obstructions in your path.  It can also alter your depth perception, making it harder to see how close things actually are.  Checking your vision can ensure that any vision issues are corrected to help reduce your chances of falls and other injuries.  If you do require glasses, be sure to clean them regularly as well, as even small smudges can prevent one from seeing a potential danger.

Weight Loss Supplements Backed by Science

June 15th, 2016

Weight Loss Supplements - Core

It would be great if we could just walk into our local supplement or vitamin store and pick up a reliable, effective weight loss product.  Regretfully, many weight loss products are gimmicks and as such, it can be very difficult to find something that truly works.  Luckily, researchers are constantly testing products and today, we bring you some of the latest research on some products proven to be effective in those studies.

Chitosan

This is a product that is obtained from shells of various crustaceans and insects.  It is found in the wine making industry as a fining agent that helps prevent spoilage.  It is also used in the medical field as an effective antibacterial agent.  Research has shown chitosan reduces the absorption of fat, making it an effective part of a weight loss program.  It also has the added benefit of reducing cholesterol.

HCA (Hydroxycitrate)

This supplement is actually a salt that is extracted from the rind of dried fruits, primarily brindal berry and garcinia cambodia.  It is an ingredient found in many weight loss supplements found on the market today.  Research has shown HCA reduces the absorption of fat, inhibits appetite, lowers bad cholesterol levels, and increases the metabolism of fat.

Mango Seed Fiber

Just as the name describes, this product is extracted from the seeds of the African mango tree.  This fiber has been used as a weight loss remedy for quite some time, but has recently gained popularity due to research backing its effectiveness.  Studies have shown this fiber to help people lose weight while also reducing cholesterol levels at the same time.  It has also been shown to be promising as far as a treatment for both preventing and treating diabetes.

Beta Glucan

Yet another fiber on the list of effective supplements, this soluble fiber is extracted from a variety of sources, including algae, mushrooms, and various yeasts.  Regardless of the source the fiber is obtained from, all seem to offer the same benefits.  The research on beta glucan has shown it to be effective for weight loss, and, just as with mango seed fiber, lowers cholesterol as well.  It too has shown to be a promising supplement to regulate diabetes or altogether prevent it as well.

Why Protein

While most supplements do not promote whey protein as a weight loss supplement, various studies have shown it to be effective in helping individuals lose weight.  This is mainly due to the fact that most people do not have enough protein in their diets and as such, whey protein is a great way to boost their dietary protein content.  Additionally, while fat contains 9 calories per gram and carbohydrates contains 4, protein only contains 3 calories per gram, making it a great way to fill up on less calories.  Since protein is also harder to digest than fat or carbohydrates, it helps to keep you full longer, making it easier to regulate one’s calorie intake while still feeling full.  Whey protein also has a very comprehensive amino acid profile, making it great to utilize in conjunction with an exercise regimen as a recovery product.

Family Exercise at Home

May 27th, 2016

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Family Exercise at Home

By the statistics, children are spending more and more time in front of a TV or buckled into a car seat.  This type of sedentary activities can lead to learned behaviors that may carry on to their adulthood (sedentary lifestyle or obesity).  In addition, regular activity ensures healthy development and strengthening of a child’s lungs, heart, muscles, and improving their motor skills.

Since exercise is good for everyone, below are some examples of some activities the entire family can do, not only helping to improve the health of your children, but your own in the process as well:

Turn on Some Music and Dance

While many people lack the audacity to dance in public, few hesitate to dance around at home with their kids.  You can find songs that the kids know or anything that they just want to get down to.  Getting engaged with your children during dancing gets them working their entire bodies and is a great way to have fun with the kids while getting into better shape.

Go for Pre-Dinner Walks

Going for a walk with the family is a great way to get some exercise in as well as share your day with the family.  This can be done any time of the day where you have a solid 20-30 minutes of free time available.  Ideally, walks are best before meals, as after meals, the blood is used digesting the food in your belly and as such, less is in the muscles for exercise.

Make Chores into Games

Sweeping can be turned into a game of wiping away dust monsters.  Putting away chores can be made into a game where the toy box is a safe area and the floor is going to turn into lava.  There are plenty of ways that just about any household chore can be turned into a game, making it a family event that the kids will actually enjoy.

Get Some Exercise During Commercials

By making up childish nicknames for things like push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and the like can turn it into a fun event for the kids.  During breaks, the family all does them together until the show comes back on.

Make Daily Activities a Workout

When you go to the supermarket, have your child walk instead of riding in the shopping cart.  Take the stairs instead of the escalator whenever possible.  Park at the far end of the parking lot for an extra walk.  There are plenty of ways to turn daily routines into a physical activity.

Have a Sports Night

Find a regular family event to get the family up and moving.  If you have a Dave & Busters nearby, play the physical activities, like air hockey, basketball, or other physically demanding games.  Play laser tag.  Go to your local batting cage.  You can even make up games for at home, like cards with activities on it that each family member draws from.  You can even get a premade deck such as this from fitdeck.com.

Physical Rehabilitation for Parkinson’s Disease

May 2nd, 2016

Parkinsons

Parkinson’s is a debilitating disease whose symptoms include: tremors, slowed movement, restricted range of motion, balance issues, and more.  While there are a few hypotheses that seek to find the cause of Parkinson’s, the best research to date has shown it to be a combination of both environmental exposure to toxins combined with genetic factors.  Although Parkinson’s is something that is hard to predict, there are steps that can be taken to slow this disease and continue to live a high quality of life for years and years to come.  Since initial symptoms of the disease varies greatly from individual to individual, treatment also differs considerably.  A physical therapist will assess the medical documentation provided by the healthcare professional as well as other health and lifestyle questions to find the most effective plan for the client’s needs.  

One form of therapy that is consistent regardless of the individual is aerobic exercise.  The exercise is typically focused on what is termed “learning-based” exercises, which is intended to protect the body from further neurological damage.  These exercises will challenge a variety of muscles in the body while at the same time engaging the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, etc.).  One of the intentions of this type of exercise is to stave off the balance issues associated with Parkinson’s, as many of the exercises seek to improve posture, core strength, and overall health.  

The exercises will be challenging and may even seem a bit daunting to some clients at first, but the benefits are well worth it.  The therapist will seek to challenge the client in a variety of ways, doing a variety of different exercises.  Some of the types of exercises the client might do on their own to help themselves are:

  • Dancing
  • Step classes
  • Sports
  • Yoga
  • Various outdoor activities

The therapist may also encourage the client to do some exercises outside of therapy, such as walking, swimming, or simply finding ways to include more physical activity throughout one’s day.  While the activity can seem frustrating to an individual as they become more and more challenging, pushing through that difficulty is what helps to fight the effects of Parkinson’s.  

While strength training can be advantageous for a person dealing with Parkinson’s disease, this is something that will most likely be done (at least initially) under direct supervision of the therapist.  The intention of strength training is to maintain muscle mass and strength.  In addition, strengthening specific muscles can also improve posture and in turn, balance.  

Another important element of therapy is stretching.  Stretching helps maintain flexibility, improves blood flow through the muscles, and is a great way for the client to fight Parkinson’s.  The therapist will determine what stretching exercises are best suited for the client and may also recommend some stretching be done outside of appointments as well.

While Parkinson’s disease is a tough condition to battle, there are professionals out there who can help.  Though we are still trying to find a way to prevent or cure the disease, therapists and other healthcare professionals are constantly researching more effective ways to battle the disease and help their patients live the best quality of lives as possible.  With proper therapy, many people with Parkinson’s can continue living their lives for years or even decades without any significant impact.  So, if you or someone you know is suffering from this disease, make sure that they are getting the proper care and taking steps with a professional to keep themselves in the best health as possible.

Knee Health: What Causes Knee Problems?

April 12th, 2016

If you suffer from knee problems – or simply want to ensure you don’t have them in the future – there are multiple things that you should avoid.  By avoiding these things, it can provide relief for your ongoing issues, or it can dramatically prevent you from having issues with your knees in the future.

  • Being Overweight

One of the most damaging things you can do to your knees on a regular basis is to be putting excessive weight on them.  Studies have shown that for every additional pound of body weight, there is an additional five pounds of force exerted on the knees.

Another concern about being overweight is the increased risk of osteoarthritis.  In fact, research conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) found that two in three adults who are obese will suffer from osteoarthritis at some point in their lives.  In case this isn’t concerning enough, being overweight also accelerates the progression of other forms of arthritis in the knees as well.

Considering that being overweight can make it more difficult to do exercise to try to lose the weight, it is typically suggested that overweight individuals start out with low-impact exercise.  For example, a stationary bike or an elliptical machine put substantially less stress on the knee joints than a treadmill or stair climber.

  • Overexertion

Know your limits and in the process, protect your joints.  While it can be tempting to try to rush through a physically challenging project, listen to your body and don’t push beyond what your body can handle.  Signs of having overexerted the knees typically show up as pain in the knee cap or tendonitis.

Another issue related to overexerting one’s body – that can cause knee injury – is overtraining.  When the body is repeatedly pushed and pushed and inadequate rest is given to the body to recover, this is when overtraining can set in.  An overtrained body is far more susceptible to injury, as it compromises the body’s ability to repair damage and even compromises the immune system.

So, be sure to both know your limits and give your body breaks to recover when you know you have pushed it.  If you are physically active, be sure to have a healthy diet to support the body’s needs.  This should typically be a balance of moderate to high protein intake, moderate to high carbohydrate intake, and low to moderate fat intake.  Also, be sure to not neglect sleep, as that is the time when your body actually recovers from the damages it suffered during your daily activities.

  • Don’t Ignore Knee Pain

As we age, it is inevitable that we get occasional aches and pains here and there in our body.  However, when the pain is significant or recurring, this is a sign that you should have your knees checked for injury.  The longer you procrastinate on having an issue like that checked, the higher the risk of causing further damage or worsening the condition that is causing the pain.

Most doctors recommend that if joint pain is causing you to be unable to do regular daily activities, it is time to get it checked.  If you are able to do your regular activities but the pain or discomfort is making it difficult, this could be a sign that you are doing too much during your daily activities.  Try to ease back on your activities and see if the condition improves.  If it does, most likely you need to just ease things back.  If it doesn’t, then it is likely time to talk to your healthcare professional to find out what is causing the problem.

Knee pain is never a pleasant experience and can often change a person’s lifestyle completely. Use these simple tips to ensure you prevent knee pain or catch it in its infancy. Preventing or stopping knee pain and challenges will help you get back to the things you love!

Diets: Why they don’t always work

March 11th, 2016

Weight loss man and womanWe all know people who have gone on a diet at some point in time or another.  However, how many of those individuals that you know of actually kept the weight off?  Dieting can become a vicious cycle for some, losing weight while on the diet, then gaining it back after they come off the diet.  The problem is that once they come off the diet, they go right back to the way they used to eat. This, in turn forces them to also go back to the way they used to look.  So, if diets aren’t the way to go, what is?

For starters, a diet will kill your metabolism.  On a diet, your body doesn’t know it’s on a“diet.”  Your body’s interpretation of a diet is that you are starving it.  As a result, the body begins to burn less and less fat (which is hard for the body to burn), and instead starts burning off muscle (which is easy to burn).  The concern is that each pound of muscle you have can burn up to an extra 50 calories per day, so losing that muscle means your body will now survive on less calories and will keep doing this until it feels like it’s in a safe range.  So, in the process of losing weight, you also lose muscle and kill your metabolism.

At the end of the diet, you reached your weight loss goals and are done dieting.  So, what do you do now?  Start eating the foods you like to eat.  However, now your metabolism is even slower than when you started your diet and you have even less muscle.  Since the body is going to be afraid to build up the metabolism again in case it is once again “starved,” the first priority will be for your body to pack on stored energy (aka fat).  This process is why not only do people who go on diets usually gain all the weight back, but end up gaining even more weight than when they started!

Now, this is not to say that a moderate diet can’t work, but there are certain caveats:

  • The first is that you should include is some sort of weight resistance exercise and cardio while dieting to prevent muscle loss and keep your metabolism up.
  • DO NOT make your diet a temporary eating habit change or your results will also be temporary! You don’t need to stay on a diet all your life, but take into consideration that your eating habits prior to your diet is what caused your weight problem to begin with.  You can’t go back to eating like you used to. Instead, you will need to pay more attention to what you eat.  Keep a daily dietary log and see how you can improve it.  Even better, speak to someone qualified to give nutritional advice, such as a licensed nutritionist.
  • Make lifestyle changes to maintain your goals. Limit your television time each day.  Find ways to engage in more outdoor activities.  The more active you are, the more calories you will burn off each day, making it easier to maintain your weight.

While dieting can be effective at losing weight, the best kind of diets are those that don’t trick your body, but that supplement an exercise program to lose weight smartly long-term.  

Chiropractic Solutions for Pinched Nerves

March 1st, 2016

Chiropractic Solutions for Pinched Nerves

What is a pinched nerve?

A pinched nerve is usually – though not always – the result of bad habits. The real cause of this often-painful condition is normally either a bone pressing against a nerve or a muscle interfering with the nerve’s ability to function correctly. Due to today’s often-sedentary lifestyle, pinched nerves are becoming more common. They can be the result of bad posture, such as frequently crossing your legs, for example. Intensive computer work or playing video games for too long can also lead to pinched nerves.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve

The typical sensation that is a warning of a pinched nerve condition is also referred to as “pins and needles”. It’s that sensation that we all have from time to time when we experience numbness in a part of our body. We often say that our arm has gone to sleep. This is because the nerve has stopped sending signals to the brain, so nothing is felt. Another symptom – which is more serious – is pain. The pain from a pinched nerve can be severe and can negatively affect your daily routine.

What can be done?

If the problem is minor, such as in pins and needles, it will normally pass quickly. However, if the pain persists, then treatment may be required.

There are many options for the treatment of pinched nerves. One can rest and intermittently use ice to reduce swelling. This is appropriate for relatively minor situations. Many doctors will simply prescribe pain medications and let time take its course. The problem with this is the many side effects linked to dangerous pain medications.

Today, the preferred treatment by many health care professionals for pain management associated with pinched nerves is chiropractic care.

What can a chiropractor do for pinched nerves?

One part of the philosophy of chiropractors is that medicine in the form of pharmaceutical products treats the symptoms of a situation, rather than treating the cause. The symptom of a pinched nerve is pain, so doctors will prescribe painkillers. Chiropractors will treat the cause of the problem. In the case of a pinched nerve, the long-term pain can be reduced and even eliminated by finding how the situation occurred and resolving it.

Through massage and gentle manipulation of the affected area, the impact of the bone pressing against the nerve can be reduced. This is through re-positioning of the bone, which may have moved out of its normal alignment.

Pinched nerves can occur in many different parts of the body, but normally, the common theme is that the cause is a misaligned bone or swollen muscle. Chiropractic help can easily treat both of these causes. The big advantage is that there will be no side effects from this natural form of treatment.

Of course, there are a couple of severe possibilities of pinched nerves where surgery is the only solution. However, these cases are very rare, and will be carefully explained to you by your chiropractor.

Your body is like a car, sometimes it needs adjustments because parts have a tendency to shift. Your chiropractor is your body mechanic.

If you think you have a pinched nerve, don’t wait! Visit a chiropractor and have a chiropractor solve the problem, not just mask the symptoms with harmful medication.