Shoes are for women what cars are for men.
Most women feel more glamorous and confident when wearing a pair of high heels. And just like a man doesn’t want to leave a sleek sports car sitting undriven in his garage, a woman doesn’t want to leave her beautiful high heels sitting unworn in her closet. Yet many women feel forced to do just that because of significant pain that often comes from wearing them.
High heeled shoes can create excess pressure on the plantar surface (sole of the foot) which can lead to metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain), excess stress on foot joints, as well as painful calluses and bunions. Walking in high heels can also cause plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon damage and muscular imbalances in the legs and feet that can contribute to knee pain, heel pain (plantar fasciitis) and hammer toes.
Discouraged? Don’t be, because it’s time to get your gorgeous Manolo Blahniks and your Christian Louboutins off the shelf and back on your feet where they belong. Here are my top expert tips for making your high heels comfortable.
1. Get the right fit.
When was the last time you checked your shoe size? The size of your foot can change as much as one full size over the years, especially after you have children. Have your feet measured at least once a year for both width and length to make sure you are allowing for these natural changes. Be aware that shoe sizes vary among different designers, so be ready to try on different sizes and styles to get the right fit.
Our feet tend to swell during the day, so shoes that feel fine in the morning may be painful by 5 p.m. You can alleviate this problem by shoe shopping in the late afternoon or early evening. Try on both shoes in the store and be sure to stand up and slowly walk around the store checking for fit and comfort.
Next check the materials of the shoe. Look for leather, suede or nylon mesh materials that will bend and stretch with the foot as you walk. Consider insoles for added foot comfort and to reduce the impact on your knees.
2. Consider heel height and shape.
While you may love the way a towering stiletto can make you feel, it’s best to avoid heels that are greater than three inches in height. When you wear a heel greater than three inches, your foot tends to slide forward. To compensate for this forward motion, a woman will unconsciously push her body backward which results in her tightening her hip and knee muscles.
Research has shown that arthritis of the knee is twice as common in women over men, and some of that blame is undoubtedly due to high heels. In addition, consistently wearing high heels over three inches could lead to the shortening of the muscles in your calves and in your back.
So what styles are best? Generally, the thicker the heel, the better it is for your feet. In addition, look for a thicker sole or bit of a platform under the toe area. A slight platform minimizes the angle and pressure on the ball of the foot. Check for some padding at the toe area which will reduce pressure on the toes as you walk.
Have you noticed that you can walk far more comfortably in your high heel boots than in your other heels? High heels with the most coverage of the foot tend to be the most comfortable. Choose styles that fit the shape of your foot, have a rounded to box and offer enough material to hold your foot in place. Look for boots, pumps and shoes that have straps across the toe area, arch and ankle.
3. Work on your posture and gait.
Have you ever noticed how some women seem to walk effortlessly in high heels while others walk slowly and unnaturally? Walking correctly in high heels may take a bit of practice, but once you get it, it can make all the difference in comfort. Your gait should follow the same heel to toe pattern that you follow when you are barefoot. Here are three tips:
- stand up straight instead of bending your trunk forward
- engage your core muscles
- stay relaxed through your hips and knees
I also recommend that you see a physical therapist for a posture evaluation and gait analysis in order for you to see how you can improve your overall posture with and without high heels. Take some time to practice walking correctly in your high heels at home before you go out. When walking up stairs, use your back leg to balance and push yourself upward.
4. Strengthen the muscles in your feet.
Many women find that if they perform a few simple stretching exercises they can alleviate much of the pain and discomfort associated with wearing high heels. Here are three I recommend:
- Stand barefoot on your toes for 15 to 20 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times.
- Without your heels on, draw the letters of the alphabet with your ankle in the air.
- Put a pencil or a towel on the floor and try to grab it with your toes.
After wearing your high heels, try performing some light stretching of the Achilles tendon and foot muscles followed by gently massaging the foot using your favorite skin lotion. This practice will increase blood flow in the foot and will relax your foot muscles. By using a moisturizer, you also will help prevent skin problems that can occur when your toes have been kept in a narrow shoe toe box.
5. Carry flats for long-distance walking.
Most of the foot and leg problems that occur with high heel shoes are due to consistent and long-term wear. Try to minimize the time you spend wearing your heels. Keep a pair of go-with-anything flats in your desk drawer, in your briefcase or in your car for occasions when you have to do a lot of walking.
Kick your shoes off when you can during the day and take a few minutes to stretch your ankles and your toes.
Also try to alternate wearing different types of heels and heel heights each day. You will give your feet and legs a break if you choose a flat or kitten heel to wear several days a week.
Here are some other high-heel-friendly exercises to try at home:
Counter Top Stretch:
Place both hands on a counter surface. Step back a few feet so that you can lean onto the surface in a yoga plank position, all in one line. You will feel a slight stretching in the backs of your calves and thighs.
Inhale and exhale two times, then lean back by hinging at your hips, keeping your back ﬂat. You will feel a slight stretch from your shoulders and your spine as you take two deep breaths. Return back to the initial plank position and start again. Repeat four times. At the last plank position, step towards the counter before standing to avoid straining your low back.
Tennis Ball Roll:
This exercise is great for tired arches and for softening the fascia under your feet. While standing up, place a tennis ball under your right foot. Gently put your weight onto the ball, starting at the back of your foot, rolling it towards your big toe, then rolling it back to the heel. Continue this motion for each toe for a total of two to three minutes. Repeat with your left foot.
Point and Flex:
This exercise should be done slowly and gently, as it works small muscles that are prone to cramping.
- Sit with your right leg outstretched
- Point your toes downward, then turn them towards you
- Hold this position for four seconds
- Push your heel away while your curling toes
- Hold for four seconds
- Repeat eight times
- Repeat on left side
This exercise helps to maintain alignment between your feet, ankles and shins. Place one hand lightly on a chair positioned at your side. Stand in bare feet, hip width apart and parallel to each other. Slowly rise up onto the balls of your feet as high as you can. Avoid rolling out to the sides and keep your toes ﬂat, not curled. Hold this position for a few seconds before slowly descending. Repeat eight times.
Aarzoo Patel, P.T.
A burgeoning force in the world of Physical Therapy, Aarzoo Patel has continued NY Chiropractic & Physical Therapy's established lead of comprehensive physical therapy treatment and post-surgical rehabilitation in New York.
Educated in India, Aarzoo has dedicated herself to studying a plethora of techniques and disciplines to help structure customized rehabilitation plans for her patients. As part of her education, Aarzoo has practiced Sports Physiotherapy, Maitland's Clinical Reasoning and Manual Therapy Approach, Integrated Soft Tissue Mobilization, and Kinesio & Essential Taping Techniques. She is currently studying for her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.
In addition to creating exercise plans for her patients to use at home, Aarzoo and her team of Physical Therapists also teach strengthening techniques, proper posture and body mechanics during everyday activities, and also assess patients for irregularities such as muscle imbalances.
Nearly 9 million U.S. adults resort to prescription sleeping pills.
In an effort to get that elusive good night’s sleep, one out of every eight American adults resorts to using sleeping pills, according to data from a five-year study of about 17,000 adults by the Centers for Disease Controls.
The use of sleeping aids is just one example of the ways many Americans are turning to medications for the relief of common ailments. While I believe pharmaceutical drugs play an important role in modern medicine, many prescription medications can be ineffective or, even worse, can cause a host of other symptoms. Therefore, I encourage my readers to first look to alternative and natural remedies. Here then is my list of 9 Natural Remedies for Common Ailments.
Our plugged-in culture is experiencing levels of sleep deprivation like never before. CDC research indicates that only one third of Americans get the recommended seven to nine hours of rest each night, and some estimates show that about 10 percent of the population suffers from chronic insomnia.
Popular sleep medications, such as Ambien and Lunesta, which belong to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, are known to cause daytime drowsiness and disrupted REM sleep. These pills can be highly addictive and many people experience a phenomenon called "interdose withdrawal," which requires them to increase their dosage intermittently to achieve the same effect.
Natural ways for getting a better night’s sleep include sticking to a bedtime routine, exercising regularly and avoiding caffeine consumption in the evening. I also recommend adding the goodness of tart cherries to your diet. Cherries are rich in melatonin, a natural antioxidant with a long history of helping to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Drinking tart cherry juice daily could help reduce insomnia and the time spent awake after going to bed, according to a study led by Russel J. Reiter, Ph.D., a biomedical scientist with University of Texas Health Science Center and an authority on melatonin. As a natural source of melatonin, tart cherries – in dried, frozen or juice form -- help regulate the body's sleep cycle and increase sleep efficiency, the study found. Cherries are also rich in other antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, so you also get you other health benefits. I recommend Solaray organic tart cherry juice, also available in supplement form.
As another non-medicinal aide to sleep, I also suggest listening to delta wave binaural beats music as part of your bedtime routine to promote relaxation and sleep (something mentioned in my If you want to Boost Testosterone, Read This).
2. Allergies & Hay Fever
"Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine,” wrote Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine. I have helped many of my patients resolve their allergy issues – and indeed a host of chronic health problems -- just by modifying their diets. I encourage my patients to take control of their health by making real changes in their lifestyles.
For example, certain foods, including sugars and refined carbohydrates, are known to suppress the body’s natural immunity and to contribute to inflammation -- factors that cause allergies to flare-up. On the other hand, foods such as ginger, garlic and turmeric have anti-inflammatory properties.
If you suffer from hay fever, you might want to give the tear-inducing green Japanese condiment, wasabi, a try. A member of the horseradish family, wasabi contains allyl isothiocyanate, which promotes mucus flow. Consider adding wasabi to sushi or add a dollop of horseradish to a sandwich to help alleviate allergy symptoms.
One of the best time-honored treatments for allergy sufferers is to drink a steaming, soothing cup of peppermint tea. Peppermint tea's essential oil acts as a decongestant, and contains anti-inflammatory and mild antibacterial properties as well. Full of calcium, vitamin B and potassium, peppermint tea can give your immune system a boost. Menthol, which is naturally present in peppermint tea, also is a muscle relaxant that can help relieve stress and help you fall asleep.
3. Cold Sores
Although they appear on the outside of our mouths, cold sores are caused by what’s going on inside our bodies. Cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1, which is usually acquired in childhood through contact with infected saliva. This virus is believed to lie dormant in the body until it is activated by cold symptoms, sun exposure or stress.
Canker sores, which unlike cold sores are caused by a bacterial infection, are small, painful white areas surrounded by a halo of red that develop inside the mouth or on the tongue. Cold sores are highly contagious, while canker sores are not. While we can’t keep cold sores from recurring, we can ease their discomfort and hasten the recovery process with probiotics.
I recommend Dr. Ohira Probiotics to my patients suffering from unsightly and painful cold sores. Probiotics, which are concentrated tablet forms of beneficial intestinal flora, work to heal the digestive system by limiting the amount of “bad” bacteria and increasing the amount of “good” bacteria.
4. Muscle Cramps
Sometimes they can follow a work-out and other times they can develop seemingly out of nowhere, but painful muscle cramps are usually caused by the overuse of a muscle, dehydration, stress or fatigue. Here are some natural remedies:
Increase the amount of minerals in your diet. Low levels of electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, can cause cramps. Good sources of magnesium are whole-grain (sprouted Ezekiel) breads and cereals, nuts and beans. Bananas, oranges and cantaloupes are good sources of potassium. For more calcium, eat dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnips and collard greens.
Muscle cramps are often caused by simple dehydration. Remember that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. I recommend that you drink before, during and after exercise for proper hydration. Keep fresh filtered water handy throughout the day. Consider replacing your sports drink with coconut water for added nutritional benefits. Coconut water is low in calories, fat-free and cholesterol-free, and it contains more potassium than four bananas.
To help relax a cramping muscle, pour a half cup of magnesium rich Epsom salt into a warm bath and soak. Another option is to find the center of the cramp and press into this spot with your thumb, the heel of your hand or your loosely clenched fist for 10 second intervals. You should feel some discomfort, but not serious pain. Repeat several times until the pain diminishes.
Consider taking whole-food Vitamin E supplements to ease the pain of nighttime leg cramps. According to several studies, vitamin E improves blood flow through the arteries, which can lessen cramping.
It the most common skin disorder in the United States with nearly 50 million people -- many, but not all of them, teens – struggling with its embarrassing consequences. When pads, creams and face washes don’t help, many people resort to prescription medications.
The swelling and redness that can occur with acne is often caused by a type of bacteria that can be killed by exposing your skin to different types of light. Blue light is the most commonly used wavelength, although a combination of blue light and red light can also be effective. The blue light treatments also shrink sebaceous glands, which decreases oil production.
I recommend the Sirius SS-77 Aurora Light Therapy System. Available from various online retailers for home use, this system has three interchangeable treatment panels designed for fighting acne as well as signs of aging and hyperpigmentation.
Also look to your diet for acne triggers. The body sheds toxins from what we eat through the liver and through the skin. It is interesting to note that acne is much less of a problem in non-Western cultures, where sugar, fructose and refined carbohydrates are consumed in much lower amounts.
A great way to fight acne and to improve your skin’s overall condition is by eating a diet of raw, living foods. Try blending fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking them as a tasty juice or smoothie. After a few weeks of your body shedding these toxins, your skin will look and feel healthier.
6. Chapped Lips
The main cause of chapped lips is dehydration. You can do your lips – and the rest of your body – a favor by increasing your fluid intake.
Dry air can also contribute to chapping. Instead of store-bought lip ointments, apply a few drops of sweet almond oil, aloe vera or olive oil to your lips. Cucumber slices are also a great remedy for chapped lips. With 90% water content, cucumbers can gently hydrate and refresh the tender skin around the mouth. Cucumbers contain caffeic acid, an antioxidant that prevents the formation of free radicals and therefore protects lips from sun damage.
Keep in mind that dry, cracked lips could be a side effect of a medication you are taking.
7. Congestion & Coughs
Eucalyptus oil has amazing properties for treating a number of respiratory problems, including common cold symptoms such as cough, runny nose and sore throat. Obtained from the leaves of the evergreen eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia, eucalyptus oil is a potent powerhouse. The oil is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
A homemade gargle of eucalyptus oil in warm water makes an effective mouth rinse for a sore throat. The oil also may be applied topically to the chest to get relief from congestion. Simply massage several drops onto the chest; the aroma and vapors will calm the throat and dilate the blood vessels.
8. Body Odor
Americans plunk down nearly $3 billion on deodorants and anti-perspirants each year, and most of them don’t realize that body odor can be a symptom of acidic conditions caused by diet.
Here are a few common triggers:
- Red meat -- Your body needs to work hard in order to digest red meat. Over-eating it can lead to excess perspiration.
- Low-carb intake -- A diet lacking essential carbohydrates can lead to a greater release of sweat in the body and the release of chemical called ketones in your bloodstream which lead to unwanted odor.
- Dairy products -- Excessive consumption of dairy products can lead to release of hydrogen sulfide and methyl mercaptan in the body which can trigger odor.
- Spicy food -- Over-indulging in garlic, onions or curries can lead to excessive sulfur in your food intake, which will be eliminated through skin's pores and breath.
- Excessive caffeine and alcohol -- When you consume chocolate, soda, tea, coffee or alcohol in excess, at least 10 percent of it will be left unprocessed causing perspiration and possible odor.
Foods that help to restore the body’s natural pH include: green leafy vegetables, tofu and tempeh, apple cider, apples, lemons, limes, yams, spinach, turnip greens, broccoli and raw, unprocessed nuts and raw goat cheese.
9. Acid Reflux
The terms “acid reflux” and “heartburn” are often used interchangeably. Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acids rise up into the esophagus, while heartburn refers to the burning sensation the condition causes. Acid reflux medications such as Nexium treat symptoms but do not address the underlying causes of the problem and can create unpleasant side effects.
Acid reflux is usually caused when we over eat acidic foods without eating enough neutral or alkalizing foods to restore the body’s pH balance. Here are two great safe and natural remedies:
- Ginger -- Used for centuries to ease symptoms of morning sickness and seasickness, ginger is an anti-inflammatory that relieves gastrointestinal distress. In China, for instance, ginger, which is the root, or actually the rhizome, of the plant Zingiber officinale, has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset for more than 2,000 years. Grate some ginger root into your juicer or add some into your cooking.
- Fennel—With its distinctive mild licorice flavor, fennel is rich in phytoestrogens and has been used to treat colic, irritable bowel syndrome and digestive discomfort. Slice the thin white bottom part of the bulb into salads or add fennel to your favorite recipes.
I hope that this list has given you some new ideas and information for fighting some ordinary ailments with alternative remedies. I encourage you take charge of your own health with simple lifestyle changes. The next time you have one of these problems, I hope you will try a natural treatment first – perhaps heading to your grocery store or farmer’s market before heading to the pharmacy.
I know all too well how painful and debilitating back pain can be.
At the age of 16, I was involved in a very serious car accident that left me with multiple fractures of the neck as well as a broken mid- and lower- back. I was hospitalized for several months, underwent lumbar surgery, and as a result, I had to be homeschooled for two years.
My surgeon warned my parents and me that I would require ongoing Chiropractic Care and Physical Therapy to manage the chronic back pain I would likely suffer for the rest of my life. If I had not taken control of my own health, I would have remained part of a staggering statistic -- one of the 65 million Americans who suffer from back pain.
Studies estimate that 25 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 experience frequent back pain. As you might expect, there are many causes of low back pain, including degenerative changes (such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis), mechanical faults and muscle strains. Symptoms can range anywhere from localized low back pain to numbness or tingling in your lower extremities.
Some causes of the pain are difficult to diagnose, so many patients seek temporary relief with pain medication, anti-inflammatories, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or cortisone injections. It is important to realize, however, that although these medications may address symptoms temporarily, they do not address the root cause of the pain.
Today, I want to share with my readers 5 Surefire Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain, which are each proven to be effective and are infinitely more powerful when used together as a treatment regime. It is my hope that this information inspires you to take control of your own health and to help you recognize that there is a way to free yourself from a lifetime of chronic pain when you are willing to commit to making these changes in your lifestyle.
1. Movement is Medicine
Most people who experience severe or chronic back pain assume that rest and inactivity is the best remedy. What they don’t realize, however, is that a specific exercise program is what will cure them of their pain.
What freed me of my chronic back pain was movement in the form of specific exercises designed to strengthen the deep layer of my abdominals. This layer is made up of the internal oblique muscles and the transverse abdominis muscles which provide lateral and rotational support to the trunk. When contracted, these muscles combine forces to create a cylindrical force, sort of like an internal corset, to stabilize the lumbar spine.
People suffering from low back pain often feel a loss of control of these deep abdominal muscles. When the facet joints or other structures in the spine become injured, the large back muscles can spasm and cause pain in lower back, resulting in limited motion. One of the most effective exercises to target these hard-to-reach abdominal muscles is Clinical Pilates. While many people think of Pilates as a way to tone and to develop muscles, it is also an excellent tool for strengthening the body’s core. A recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Therapy found that patients with low back pain who performed regular Pilates-based exercises over a 12-month period reported a significant decrease in pain and disability.
I also recommend SpineForce 3-D Rehabilitation Exercise Technology for treating back pain. This therapy targets and strengthens all 180 deep intraspinal stabilizer muscles of the back simultaneously. A 2007 medical study conducted by LPG Systems in Nice, France, found that an exercise program including SpineForce offered “significant improvement for patients with chronic low back pain” as compared with traditional exercise programs.
2. Switch to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Inflammation on the body’s surface -- such as localized redness, heat, swelling and pain – is part of the body’s natural response to an injury or infection. Inflammation brings nourishment and more immune activity to the site, but when an inflammation persists, it can cause illness or be a sign of an underlying problem.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, lack of exercise, genetics and exposure to certain toxins such as secondhand tobacco smoke. But did you know that what you eat can also contribute to chronic inflammation? When eating a healthy diet of foods that provide vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber and protective phytonutrients, you can work to reduce inflammation in your body.
My top choices for anti-inflammation foods are:
- Good Oils – Olive oil is rich in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that keeps inflammation down. Other healthy alternatives to vegetable oil are grape seed and avocado oils. Try using these heart-healthy oils in your cooking and on your fresh salads.
- Salmon – The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, sardines, anchovies and trout help suppress inflammation throughout the body and therefore can help relieve pain.
- Garlic – Garlic in the diet has been shown to work in reducing swollen joints and resulting inflammation.
- Dark organic chocolate – Look for brands that are at least 70% pure cocoa for the best results in anti-inflammation.
- Green tea -- Whether you drink it hot or cold, green tea is a natural for its inflammation-reducing antioxidants.
- Ginger -- A study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia found that consuming fresh ginger can reduce muscle pain after exercise by 25 percent.
- Supplements – I always tell my patients that the best way to obtain essential vitamins and minerals the body needs is by eating a fresh food diet rich in fruits and vegetables. In the event you do need supplements, however, consider adding ginger and turmeric in powdered form. I recommend the Organic India and Solaray brands.
3. Be Mindful of Workplace Ergonomics
With many of us spending more and more of our time in front of a computer screen, back pain due to poor ergonomics is more common than ever. Stress and simply poor positioning can cause or worsen pre-existing symptoms. In fact, missed work because of back pain may cost employers about $7 billion a year, according to recent study.
Here are some basic tips for better computer-related workplace wellness:
- Position the top of your screen so that it is at eye level.
- Tilt your screen back about 10- to 20 degrees to keep the same focal length as your eyes scan from the top to bottom of screen.
- Position your screen no closer than 20 inches – or about an arm’s length -- from your eyes.
- Position your keyboard so that its top is level with the height of your elbow.
- Slightly tilt your keyboard back so that your wrists remain flat while you type.
- Use a wrist rest to keep your hands and wrists relaxed.
- Rest your eyes periodically by focusing on an object 20+ feet away.
- Use an easily adjusted chair and try to vary the chair you use, if possible.
- Take breaks to stand up and stretch your back and arms from time to time.
In general, try to stand more while you work. Remember, the eyes lead the body. Move your screen – whether it is a laptop, a phone, or tablet – to where it is easiest to view for better overall posture.
4. Keep Well Hydrated
You know that drinking plenty of water is good for your overall health, but did you know that dehydration can specifically contribute to back pain?
Since our bodies are comprised of mostly water, it makes sense that a lack of water will cause negative symptoms. Some people who have been experiencing agonizing back spasms notice relief by simply increasing their fluid intake. When the body doesn’t get enough water, our muscles can form and collect lactic acid, causing stiffness and soreness in the back and possibly putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. The results of a recent study show that participants who were well-hydrated experienced more pain relief after spinal manipulation than those who were dehydrated.
What this means is that one of the simplest ways to reduce back pain is to increase your daily intake of fresh, filtered water. Water cushions and lubricates joints, keeps skin cells plump, delivers nutrients and protects the intestinal tract lining. Water helps our breathing and works to manage our body temperature and brain functions. Remember that by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. I recommend that you drink before, during and after exercise.
5. Don't Underestimate the Importance of Postural Correction
A great deal of back pain can often be traced to poor posture. We’ve talked about workplace ergonomics, but consider other ways you move. Exercise is important, but even more important are the myriad of small repetitive movements we make throughout the day.
If, like many of us, you had a mother who frequently admonished you to “Stand up straight!” she was right. As a rule, we Americans have turned into a nation of slouchers, and we are paying the price for it in back pain. Repeated slouching prevents those core muscles we talked about from doing their job in keeping our body aligned. Here are some simple steps to better posture:
- Stand upright with your head facing forward
- Keep your back straight
- Balance your weight evenly on both feet
- Keep your legs straight
- Keep your knees and hips level
- Keep your feet flat on the floor; use a footstool if needed
- Use a small cushion to support the small of your back when necessary
- Start with your feet apart, with one leg slightly forward to maintain balance
- As you lift, bend your back, knees and hips slightly without stooping or squat and allowing your legs to take the strain
- Try to keep the weight close to your waist
- Avoid twisting
- Know your limits
Poor posture places stress on the spine, and we can reinforce this pressure with certain exercises. Crunches and sit-ups, for example, can involve too much flexion of the spine and can lead to disc problems. Some great exercises for better posture are lumbar bridges and planks.
I hope that these ideas have given you the encouragement to realize that you can do something about your chronic back pain. Don’t mask your symptoms with medications or resign yourself to a lifetime of pain. When you make these and other healthy lifestyle choices, you will not only feel better, but you will have the satisfaction that comes from taking charge of your health.
My wife has beautiful skin.
She has the type of skin that has a lit-from-within quality to it. In fact, her skin looks the most beautiful without a trace of make-up on it, as it does when she first wakes up in the morning.
While many women spend hundreds of dollars on expensive facial creams and on expensive facial treatments in an effort to have the kind of skin my wife has, Susan’s skin is naturally radiant because of what she puts in her body, rather than on it. She likes to think of her daily vegetable juice and fruit smoothies as her “facials,” since they cleanse her body on the inside and allow her to rid her body of any toxins that can be the cause of premature aging, wrinkles or a dull complexion.
As a doctor and as a nutrition and whole-body wellness expert, I have seen many women transform the look and feel of their skin simply by reforming their diets. It is not a coincidence that Asian women, like my wife, are known for their flawless skin. The typical Asian diet, which consists mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods, is the key to their radiant appearance. Today, I would like to share with my readers a list of 10 nutrient dense super foods that can not only give you a glowing complexion, but can prevent signs of premature aging and foster whole-body wellness as well.
Did you know that you can help your skin by eating more pineapple? Pineapple contains bromelain, which not only aids in digestion but also helps your body form more collagen. More collagen means more new skin cells for softer, smoother skin. In addition, the bromelain in fresh, ripe pineapple helps to cleanse the blood of toxins and contributes to better circulation.
Cooking or canning destroys this powerful enzyme, so be sure to eat your pineapple raw. Also, the tougher center of the fruit contains the highest concentration of bromelain, so in addition to eating the wonderful softer sweeter parts of the pineapple, cut up some of the center stalk to eat or toss them into the blender as part of a tasty smoothie.
Commonly used as a distinctive spice in Indian cuisine, turmeric (or haldi as it is known in India), offers multiple benefits for the skin. As a paste, turmeric can help heal wounds, such as small cuts and burns, and it makes a great exfoliate.
Turmeric contains antioxidants that help stimulate new cell growth and help maintain the skin’s elasticity. The sunny-looking spice also is known to heal and prevent dry skin, to diminish wrinkles, and to keep acne at bay. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory -- so it will help with any puffiness or swelling you may have.
Turmeric looks a lot like ginger, but it is bright orange on the inside. Try grating it into vegetable dishes or multi-grain rice dishes. Or try it with hummus. It’s great added to vegetable juice as well.
The pear is quite simply a powerhouse for your skin. Rich in fiber, an essential nutrient for your skin, pears are also packed with copper, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamins C, E, B and K. Pears also are moderate sources of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin, which help protect the body from harmful free radicals.
There are many types of pears, with the most common varieties including: Anjou – red or green varieties with a sweet taste; Bosc – golden color with a honey-sweet flavor; Bartlett - yellow or red varieties, often found in fruit salads; Comice - green, often with reddish spot-colored areas, sweet; Seckel – small green-olive colored pear with very sweet flavor.
Pears are great to eat on their own or in salads. Try them with raw goat cheese, vegetables or other fruits.
Vitamin C helps to heal damaged tissues and to minimize deep lines and wrinkles. When you think of vitamin C, you usually think of oranges, but did you know that cabbages contain about 11 percent more vitamin C than oranges by weight? Cabbages are also packed with vitamin A, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines on your face.
To reap the most nutritional benefits of the cabbage, cook it lightly. Try steaming the vegetable or sautéing it. Or eat raw sauerkraut, which is simply fermented cabbage or kimchi, which many Asian women eat on regular basis for beautiful skin and to promote a healthy digestive flora. I recommend the Wildbrine brand.
Carrots are high in vitamin C and in beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is one of the most important nutrients for healthy skin. It helps repair skin tissue and protects against the sun's harmful rays. Vitamin A also helps prevents wrinkling, acne, dry skin, blemishes and an uneven skin tone.
Crunch your carrots raw, in a salad or add it to your juice for a delicious, sweet flavor.
The healthy properties of watercress have been written about since ancient times. A rich source of beta carotene that helps fight skin-damaging free radicals, watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges when you measure gram for gram. It also has four times more vitamin A than apples, tomatoes and broccoli; more vitamin E than broccoli; more calcium than whole milk and more iron than spinach.
All that and it is super easy to add to your diet. Just add some to your favorite Ezekiel sprouted bread sandwich or in your salad. Watercress also can add extra flavor and nutrition to soups and sweet potatoes.
7. Raw Coconut Oil
Recent studies show that coconut oil, the most nutrient dense part of the coconut, is loaded with antioxidants that help fight the cell-damaging free radicals that contribute to premature aging and disease. Coconut oil is a great substitute in the kitchen for butter or vegetable oils. Use it in your favorite baked goods or for cooking eggs. Because it tolerates high temperatures well, you can use coconut oil one-for-one in place of butter or other oils in most recipes.
You also can apply coconut oil directly to your skin as a natural moisturizer. I recommend that you look for a raw, organic cold -pressed version like the one offered by Sunfood.
Need more proof? Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr said in an interview: “I will not go a day without coconut oil."
Fresh lemon not only tastes great, but it can support the work your liver does in cleansing your body. Since the liver is the main detoxifying organ we have, it works to clear up skin blemishes and acne. So eating more lemons can help you have clearer skin.
How to add more lemon to your diet? Squeeze a wedge or two of lemon into your glass of water for flavor, nutrients and detoxifying benefits. Use fresh lemon juice on a tossed salad or on your steamed veggies. Or add small chunks of lemon to your next fruit salad.
The citric acid and vitamin C in lemon peel help promote healthier skin by removing the impurities found in skin cells. Antioxidants in lemon peel detoxify the skin, making the peel beneficial for treating pimples and acne. For an invigorating facial scrub:
• Cut a large lemon into two to four pieces, squeezing the juices into a bowl.
• Cut up the lemon peel and mix it into the juice.
• Add a teaspoon of raw honey and apply it to your face.
• Leave mixture on for about 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
The nutrient MSM (Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane) is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound found in all fresh raw foods. Interestingly, it appears to be rain-based, since studies show it to be deficient in foods grown in greenhouses and in those grown through irrigation.
Long-known for its benefits to our joints, MSM helps to increase flexibility and to hasten an athlete’s recovery time from injuries. MSM also is important for the skin. Because it works to build collagen, MSM helps to create smoother skin, thicker hair and stronger nails.
Most Americans do not get enough MSM in their diets because the compound is rapidly lost when we cook our food. A great way to add more MSM to your diet is by taking it in powder form, especially in combination with foods that are rich in vitamin C. I recommend Sunfood and Doctor’s Best as two good brand choices. Try mixing one tablespoon of the powder with two cups of filtered water or fresh fruit juice.
Along with spinach and chard, beets belong to the chenopod family, and it is amazing how much nutritional value is packed into this one food. Beets are a fantastic source of anthocyanins – a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation, slow down the aging process and help prevent wrinkles.
Beets are high in folate, which is known to help stimulate and repair new cells. New skin cells mean the skin looks and feels smoother and has better elasticity. Beets also contain nitrates that contribute to blood flow and help you have a healthier glow. If you need another reason to add beets to your diet, they are a tonic for the liver, which works as a purifier for the body.
Heating beets decreases their antioxidant power, so eat them fresh and raw by adding them to your daily juice recipe. Cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash them thoroughly before adding them to a tossed salad. For a side dish, sauté the leaves along with garlic and extra virgin olive oil until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender.
Supermodel Skin Secrets
When you read about the lifestyles of today’s top models and celebrities, you’ll find a growing interest in plant-based diets, consisting of many of the same foods listed above. Supermodels like Gisele Bunchden, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Miranda Kerr and Valentina Zelyaeva realize the effect the food they eat has on the appearance of their skin.
In addition to eating fresh vegetables and fruits, these supermodels also nourish their skin by drinking plenty of water and fresh organic juice to flush away toxins and to promote cellular renewal. I like to keep a glass carafe of filtered water with several slices of lemons, cucumber and oranges in it handy to drink throughout the day.
Drinking coconut water is another great choice, as you will get some of the amazing health benefits of coconut while keeping hydrated. Coconut water, which is the clear liquid that is extracted from young, green coconuts, contains two important minerals that help balance fluids in the body -- sodium and potassium.
Although popularly associated with sex drive, testosterone is responsible for a chain reaction of a multitude of important physiological occurrences. Boosting and regulating this wonder-hormone can lead to a healthier life filled with increased assertiveness, virility, strength and less doctor visits.
A decline in testosterone occurs in men after the age of 45, and is most recently dubbed as "viripause," or "andropause," a male version of the woman's dreaded menopause. Along with the decline of this essential hormone, testosterone receptors are less acceptant of testosterone in the blood. Protein binds itself to the hormone, rendering it useless. This has been known to not only cause lack of libido and erectile dysfuction, but also muscle atrophy (loss in strength), osteoporosis, and chronic fatigue.
There are different ways to boost your testosterone levels, some including synthetic remedies like anabolic steroids, which have actually caused infertility in men. Below I discuss the natural remedies found in whole foods and lifestyle changes, which are not only more effective, but longer-lasting, inexpensive, and, most importantly, safe.
There are 3 Different factors for effectively boosting your testosterone
1. What you eat
I focus a lot on what to eat in this blog for a good reason: what you eat can change the outcome of your lifestyle, and improve the overall quality of its practices. Eating foods high in zinc, like raw milk, kefir, beans, grass fed meats and wild fish, can make a huge difference in the production of testosterone, well into your late adulthood. Studies like those done by scientists at Wayne State University, have found that older men taking zinc supplements for six months had a higher testosterone count than young men who had restricted zinc for 20 weeks.
Another food supplement you can incorporate into your diet for a boost in not only libido, but strength, is ground Maca root. Taking it in pill form is not very effective, so be sure to mix raw organic Maca powder in with a smoothie every day. Without changing overall testosterone, Maca is noted as possibly increasing the number of "free testosterone," a necessary component of strengthened libido that flows through your blood stream.
Avocado is a superfood that men need to invest in for heart health, and especially for testosterone levels. Along with nuts and some vegetables, avocados are high in B6 and folic acid, testosterone friendly vitamins. Consuming avocados will also lower your LDL cholesterol while raising testosterone in the body. This clears arterial pathways, making your free testosterone more readily available for its receptors.
2. What you do
How active you are can affect the testosterone levels in your body. Overweight males are reported to have lower levels of testosterone than active ones, which coincides with their muscle mass, and lack of degenerative diseases. Short and intense exercises have a positive effect on increasing testosterone levels, and are even more effective in preventing their possible decline. Even exercising for only 20 minutes a day can change your testosterone levels, and the results are almost immediate!
Testosterone does so much more than simply increase your sex-drive. While helping you burn off body fat, this hormone can even help increase lean muscle mass and bone density. Men do not require much estrogen to repair and build bone mass, but it is absolutely necessary to have an adequate amount of testosterone in the body in order to make the conversion into estrogen. Muscle mass is dependent upon testosterone for its ability to enhance strength and endurance, which occurs through increasing red blood cell concentration, bringing oxygen to your cells more readily.
Weight training is the most commonly recommended way to boost testosterone levels, along with squats and intensive interval training. For men looking to build muscle, don't over-train. Lean muscle mass is exactly that--lean--and while you may not be "bigger," you will certainly be stronger, with muscles more defined, and healthier in comparison to steroid-pumping gym goers.
3. How you feel
The hormone that has the ability to change your body composition, hair growth, voice depth, skin clarity, and sex drive is, as a functioning part of the physiological mechanism of your body, capable of changing your mood. Testosterone can effect the opiods in the brain that are necessary for mood elevation, making you either excited and emphatic or fearful and irritable. Regulating its levels is essential for men's mental health, especially due to a number of healthcare professionals noting how depressed men are often linked to low testosterone levels.
In turn, boosting your mood in different ways can increase the level of testosterone in your body. Focusing on different activities to do so is essential for maintaining a healthy level. Stress is a large factor in the reason why testosterone drops, and can be remedied with proper management, such as healthy habits like running, meditation, listening to alpha wave binaural beats music and communicating with your friends, family, and significant others.
Although recently listed as one of the top resolutions in my 10 Must-Do Resolutions for Better Health, the many benefits of infrared light have long been known to those in the medical profession, especially those throughout Europe. As an avid user of an infrared sauna, I can properly advocate for the power of this phenomenal healing light. In an effort to further explore the possibilities of its benefits, I've incorporated an Infrared Cardio Bike called the PhysioRED into NYCPT's very own Wellness Center.
This is a futuristic, state-of-the-art cardio machine inside of an infrared chamber that has been known to produce life-changing occurrences like the ones listed below. Each deserves their own highlighted description, as they introduce you to a completely specialized way of changing the outcome of your whole-body wellness. Along with a hefty price-tag, and a steep importation cost from its manufacturers in Europe, it is no wonder that the PhysioRED Infrared Cardio Bike is only readily available at a limited number of facilities like our own!
1. Boosts Weight Loss
Doing a vigorous cardio exercise within the infrared light chamber of the PhysioRED "burns calories at the speed of light." With 2,800 watts of infrared light penetrating to the tissue of your saddlebag thighs, flabby arms, belly pooches and love handles, a significant metabolic change begins to occur that intensifies your workout.
A transformation of composition transpires as the cells produce ATP synthase (an important energy-producing enzyme), and fat is converted to energy at an accelerated rate. The weight, quite literally, begins to melt off as you sweat within the chamber, and your metabolism increases dramatically in response to infrared light exposure.
2. Increases Muscle
The unique power of infrared light supports the fitness demands of those looking to gain and retain lean muscle mass. Less exertion is required when performing on the PhysioRED Infrared Cardio Bike, meaning you are not likely to lose muscle mass while burning calories.
Muscle health is essential for training and conditioning athletes. The infrared rays of light target areas of your muscle tissue, and as it is absorbed into the cells, your muscle begins to heal itself, enabling you to exercise more frequently, and build muscle quicker during training season.
3. Detoxifies and Prevents Aging
Detoxification is an essential part of whole-body wellness, and an integral component of my lifestyle philosophy. Through detoxification, your body will begin to show significant improvements in skin tone, amount of daily energy, immune system functionality, and muscle tone. Infrared stimulates the "DNA synthesis in fibroblasts," which repairs elasticity in the skin, reversing the adverse effects of aging. This paired with the other physical changes you undergo within the infrared chamber can mean more vitality through the later years of your life.
Often confused with UV rays, infrared light is, in fact, at a completely different end of the spectrum. Infrared cardio is 100% natural and completely safe, making it perfect for detoxification. Fat cells and toxins that are typically trapped are released into the blood stream as you pedal within the infrared chamber. The lymphatic system, being actively stimulated by the combination of infrared light and cardio, transports the toxins through the circulatory system for excretion. This can occur either through the pores, or digestion. The fat in your system is also readily burned off as you continue to do cardio!
4. Increases Cardiovascular Health
PhysioRED is the perfect machine for those looking to get back into shape after having long lived a sedentary lifestyle. Its non-weight bearing, simplistic, reclining exercise allows for you to maintain a preferred heart rate as you exercise. Under the supervision of our Physical Therapists and Doctors, you will gradually increase your working rate as you feel the benefits of this device.
Your extremities dilate under infrared light, causing you to experience an increase of blood flow to organs. This vasodilation will help clear arteries with less vascular resistance, preventing the onset of heart disease.
5. Accelerates Rehabilitation
For those who are injured on the job or need post-surgical rehabilitation, infrared light has the ability to improve the rate at which you heal. Once again, the specialized, non-weight bearing exercise does not strain the body, and builds up muscle along with connective tissue that may have be damaged. Infrared light penetrates your skin, muscle and tissue, releasing nitric-oxide and stimulating circulation. This delivers greater amounts of oxygen and nutrients to your injured cells, eliminating any toxins and cellular waste, relieving pain, as well.
Machines utilizing gentle infrared rays have been used for newborn incubation, post-surgical rehabilitation and pain-relief. Its harmless vibration of energy is readily accepted, as it resonates throughout the body, soothing ailments and generating positive tissue growth and cell rejuvenation.
I always emphasize to my patients that they have to make a personal choice, and true effort to change their lifestyle. With a fresh New Year, you now have the perfect opportunity to actively work toward whole-body wellness. Make the most of every day by implementing new habits, and challenge yourself on a different level. Use my below recommended New Year's resolutions as a blueprint for your year-long self-reformation. Doing even only a few of these recommendations can mean relief from long lasting ailments, and long desired weight loss.
1. Start Juicing
This makes a huge difference in energy levels, skin complexion, and immune system health. Juicing twice a day can rejuvenate cell growth at a far quicker rate than if you were struggling to eat your recommended daily intake of vegetables whole, or cooked. You can actually begin to look younger when you juice, which, by default, increases your intake of vitamins and minerals! Another shocking improvement from juicing is the prolonged feeling of satiety. Due to proper nutrition, your body requires less food, and thus no longer experiences premature hunger signals sent out by your brain.This allows you to function optimally for longer periods of time, and without cravings!
2. Revolutionize your Detoxing
There are new ways to detox that actually accelerate the process, while providing a host of benefits. An Infrared cardio machine, called the PhysioRED, can burn a remarkable amount of calories in just a single session. Infrared light is completely natural, and a safe way to accelerate your metabolic rate, by making fat more accessible in the body as energy. It also oxygenates cells, readily nourishing them, and flushes out toxins from the body.
I've long been an advocate of Infrared technology, and incorporating cardio equipment in with this unique part of the light spectrum takes exercise to a completely different level. In addition to the detoxifying properties of the PhysioRED, you'll see a physical change in your muscle definition, as well as significant weight loss. For those who suffer from discomfort and soreness, Infrared cardio can actually decrease tissue inflammation, relaxing the body as it absorbs the soothing Infrared light. PhysioRED is exclusively offered, in the local area, at NYCPT's Wellness Center; every session is supervised by our team of medical experts, and recommended for a variety of patients.
3. Invest in a Mini-Trampoline
Exercising on a mini-trampoline even for just 10 minutes a day--something possible for most people of all ages--involves an aerobic phenomenon known as rebounding. Rebounding utilizes over-all body strengthening, especially by engaging your muscles as you ready to jump. Upward force creates improved body tone, as well as increased cardiovascular health.
This is another part of my morning routine, and something I've researched as a naturally detoxifying habit. The force created from jumping stimulates your lymphatic system, pushing toxins down and cleanses the circulatory system. The act of jumping on a mini-trampoline is also perfect for those recovering from injuries, as it is weight-bearing, but involves low-level impact. This can even build bone mass, and prevent osteoporosis!
4. Hydrate with Citrus Fruits
Every night I slice up one or two oranges and lemons, put them in a glass carafe filled with filtered water, and let it sit until morning. Warm water is easier for the body to ingest, and along with the citrus ingredients, enhances your detoxification and digestion for the day. Lemons cleanse the liver and boost your immune system along with the oranges, which clears the skin and improves overall demeanor.
Doing something as simple as drinking warm water with lemons and oranges every morning jump starts weight loss, and actually transports fat from your body. This kind of resolution is an easy habit to incorporate into your day, especially since its preparation occurs before you go to bed at night, and can be done quickly before leaving for school or work.
5. Go Organic and Alkaline
In most of my blog entries I stress this--and there's a good reason for it. Organic foods do not contain any harmful pesticides or growth accelerators. The farms they come from must abide by a specific set of guidelines that protect consumers from ingesting toxins that are used in the mass-production of farmed goods. With this, Genetically Modified Organisms are prohibited, which can be a detriment to your health on multiple levels. I will always endorse eating organic; it's the only kind of food I feed myself and my family.
Alkaline based foods are those that enable your bodily fluids to maintain its proper pH levels, like most fruits and vegetables. In doing so, you can prevent many illness, such as cancer, heart disease and even osteoporosis. This is a great change to undertake, and goes hand-in-hand with the other resolutions I've recommended!
6. Filter Tap Water
Bottled water does not only contain BPA, a toxin known to cause cancer, but it is said to cost 240-10,000 times more than the mere pennies-per-gallon that you can get from filtered tap water. That, and considering a mere 13% recycling rate leaves bottled water a bleak option for living a healthy, mindful life.
A high-quality water filtration system is a great way to start small when changing your dietary habits. It's cost effective and filters chlorine, lead, and bacterial contaminants from drinking water. My family uses the Berkey Water Filter System, but a more affordable filtration system, like the Pur Advanced Water Filter, is just as good. Changing the way you consume water can lead to overall greater health, especially over the course of time. Purchasing a glass travel bottle makes it easy to take filtered water wherever you go, and ensures that there is no BPA leakage if you leave it in a warm spot.
7. Start Taking Whole-Food Supplements
I get a lot of questions about the kind of supplements someone should be taking, and while there are a lot of options out there for aiding your diet, there are two I'd recommend to start off with once you've made this resolution. Dr. Ohhira's Probiotic formula helps to maintain your digestive function, while balancing pH levels in the bodily fluids. It is a great supplement for accelerating the absorption of nutrients, and also effectively boosts your immune system response. Another helpful supplement is Garden of Life, Vitamin Code RAW D3. This will be sure to improve bone health, protect from breast and prostate cancers, as well as aid in your digestive processes.
I always stress the use of supplements. They are another quick and sure way to accelerate your whole-body wellness. Digestive health allows for your body to focus on the break-down of fat and build up of muscle, while giving you a greater boost of energy throughout the day.
8. Cut Down On Dairy
While I don't readily preach restriction, dairy is simply not good for you, and a threat to your overall health. It is mucous forming, and creates acidic build-up in the body. Due to this, and the need to break down the complex proteins in dairy, your body will be less capable of digesting healthy, nutrient-dense food. It also blocks you from proper vitamin absorption.
Dairy can build up in your system, causing detrimental blockages, and purification in the intestinal tract. Replace dairy with health alternatives, like almond milk. To ween yourself off, it may be wise to instead use raw goat cheese, like that made by Mt. Sterling, which contains less lactose than cow's milk. Kefir, made from the yeast of cow, sheep or goat milk, also contains very little lactose after its final fermentation. The enzymes in kefir help to digest the lactose that does remain, lessening the chances of purification and other possible adverse health problems. They, in moderation, are the best dairy to use, especially in the process of removing dairy from your diet.
9. Detoxify your Home
As described in my previous post, 5 Toxic Cleaning Products You Should Toss, there is a significant importance in ridding your home of harmful cleaning materials that are still somehow sold in mass quantities. Even before "spring cleaning" hits you should make a conscious effort to phase out dangerous cleaning products with brands like Method, Seventh Generation, Clean Well, and Citra Solv. Doing so can prevent asthma attacks, neurological disorders, reproductive disorders, liver and kidney damage, and many other serious health problems.
Adding plants to your home can help cleanse the air you breathe. Plants absorb the toxins in your home, and in turn expel oxygen, making your home smell fresh, and thus improving the health of you and your family. Ideal plant species for this are the Areca Palm, or the Baby Rubber Plant, which emits high oxygen content, requires filtered sunlight and infrequent watering.
10. Start a Workout Routine
This is usually everyone's first and foremost New Year's resolution. Its benefits are undeniably important, and even just 30 minutes a day of exercise can change your life. My philosophy is, and always has been, that movement is medicine. Use it to improve your over-all health, and you'll see a difference that prescriptions can never quite achieve.
Clinically proven exercise regimens, like those done with TRX, Clinical Pilates, Power Plate, and SpineForce are core-engaging, with optimized results for any body type, or health condition. The NY Chiropractic & Physical Therapy Wellness Center is adequately equipped to handle any of those who wish to make this resolution a reality, by providing top-notch training and regimens developed by our team of medical experts.
Baking cookies with your children for Santa is a long-held tradition the night before Christmas Eve. The below recipes are a great way to keep your traditions in place, while teaching your children the importance of healthy choices, sweets or not. My son, although 5, has begun to recognize the importance of eating healthy, and is aware of ingredients that may not be beneficial for him, such as sugar or dairy. You can teach your children, too, through integration of healthy foods. They will become more cognizant of their intake, and you will have helped create a more aware and responsible consumer.
Keep in mind that a lot of the pre-packaged, uncooked baked goods are often filled with preservatives, and added sugar, as well as high in saturated fat. Their refined ingredients are difficult to digest, and beyond the taste, really don't provide you with much more than temporary satisfaction. With each highlighted ingredient provided, I'll show that you can incorporate the best of health foods in the typically least healthy of sweet snacks!
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 2 tbsp arrowroot
- 3 tbsp ground flax seeds* soaked in 3 tbsp warm water
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup dates
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 2 tbsp molasses
Directions: Pre-heat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl mix ground flax seeds with warm water. Let it sit until the mixture thickens and gels. In a food processor or mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Then add flax mixture, dates, and melted coconut oil and remaining wet ingredients. Sprinkle a cutting board or counter top with almond flour (do not use coconut flour or arrowroot because it will dry out the cookies). Roll out the cookie dough with a rolling pin until it’s flat and even. It should be about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. Use holiday cookie cutter to cut out as many gingerbread cookies as you have room to do. Place the gingerbread cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll the remaining dough into a ball and use the rolling pin to roll it flat again. Cut out more cookies and repeat this process until the dough is gone. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Let cool.
Dates are not only a delicious ingredient to use, they also have a host of health benefits. A few of these revolve around remedying digestive issues, heart problems, anemia, diarrhea, cancer, and sexual dysfunction. This sweet fruit contains calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorous, copper, manganese, and many other healthy vitamins and minerals that you want a lot of in your diet. Dates can revitalize the body easily, and are rich in dietary fiber, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption, and protects the colon from cancer-causing chemicals.Those who focus on eating healthy tend to incorporate dates into their diet for the wonderful texture they add to any dish.
How to Make Healthy Icing for Your Christmas Cookies
- 2 3/4 cups of xylitol, ground in high speed food processor to a powder
- 2/3 cup of solid palm or coconut oil
Directions: Mix palm/coconut oil with xylitol powder and add coloring.
You can use different vegetables to color your frosting, such as carrots (yellow/orange) or beets (variants of red/pink/purple). It's helpful if you have a juicer, since you could just use the juice of the fruit/vegetable, but you can also blend and strain foods for their pigment, as well! This is an ingenious way to get the right color, and add sweet, natural flavoring to your holiday cookies!
- Heaping 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 5 drops vanilla liquid stevia
- 1/2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 Tbs. lucuma powder
- Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Directions: Add almond butter, raw honey, stevia, vanilla and salt to bowl. Stir until all is mixed, add in powders, and mix again. Stir until lumpy, or throw into food processor. Mold in rectangular contained. Add topping, if so desired. Chill for a half hour and then slice into brownies.
I've talked a bit about the benefits of raw cacao in one of my previous posts, Dr. Piazza's Post-Workout Protein Shake Recipe, but this super food deserves an encore for its use in holiday treats. From improving heart function, alleviating stress, to being an aphrodisiac, raw cacao is a euphoria-inducing food that's long been cherished by ancient cultures. By being high in antioxidants, sulfur, magnesium and essential fatty acids, raw cacao also helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer.
Holiday Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup sprouted wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raw almond butter
- 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup raw chocolate nibs
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together sprouted flour, baking soda, Celtic Sea Salt, and cinnamon. Set aside for later. Use a mixer to combine the almond butter and brown sugar. Mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the almond milk and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients, continuing to mix. Stir in the oats, dried cranberries, and chocolate nibs. Roll cookie dough into tablespoon balls and place on baking sheet. Flatten balls down with your hand. Bake cookies until they are browned. Remove and cool for a few minutes before serving.
Cranberries, even when dried, are great for satisfying a sweet tooth while providing nutrition. Consuming dried cranberries can strengthen your immune system, as well as improve cardiovascular health. Urinary tract infections are better avoided when you consume cranberries, as well, due to preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. Their calcium content can prevent tooth decay, and they are filled with antioxidants!
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup raw peanut butter
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup dates (pitted)
- 1 vanilla bean (split & scraped)
- splash water or almond milk
- Celtic Sea Salt (optional)
- Add almonds, peanut putter, dates, and vanilla to a food processor and blend until the mixture is dough-like. It may appear to be slightly dry, but it should stick together. If it’s really too dry, add a small splash of water or almond milk and mix it in with your hands.
- Set aside a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment. Use your hands to form the mixture into small balls.
- After you’ve finished all of the dough, it’s time to make the criss-cross! Press down gently with a fork to create the pattern. Sprinkle with a hint of sea salt, if desired.
Peanut butter has a cult following that has brought it up to par with chocolate. It is a great ingredient for baking, and in moderate portions, good for you. Peanut butter like that made by Jif and Skippy are high in sugar, trans-fat, and emulsifiers like diglycerides. These are added to give the creamy texture associated with peanut butter, but are not true to the natural state of peanuts once they have been crushed. Although it provides an aesthetic product that patrons feel comfortable purchasing, it can be unhealthy for consumption.
My Peanut Butter Cookies use natural peanut butter, which consists of purely the good stuff, like vitamin-E, protein, and heart-healthy, unsaturated fats. This kind of peanut butter doesn't overwhelm the taste buds, and is a nice snack to make with your children (plus you won't feel guilty letting them munch on it)!
- 2 cups of raw cashews (soaked, rinsed, drained)
- 1 cup of almond meal
- 3/4 cup of dates (de-pitted)
- Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
- 1/4 cup organic syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of cherries (de-pitted)
- 1/2 cup of strawberries
For the crust, blend almond meal and dates together until mixture sticks together. Smush mixture into a 6-8 inch pie dish. For the filling, blend cashews, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla until silky smooth. Scoop filling over crust. Freeze for at least on hour. For the topping, blend cherries and strawberries. Add a little maple syrup to adjust sweetness (optional). Defrost cheesecake in the fridge for 45-60 minutes, until the centre is cold but not frozen. Slice and serve with a hearty drizzle of the fruit topping
Cashews, a nut found in the Brazilian Cashew Apple, are lower in fat than most nuts. Almost three quarters of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, and consists of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is great for heart health. These nuts are great for diabetics, too, by helping reduce triglyceride levels. Due to being high in copper, cashews cause great antioxidant defenses and energy production. Copper can also help to support collagen and elastin, which increases flexibility in your bones and joints.
Dr. John Piazza, Aarzoo Patel, PT, and the staff at NY Chiropractic and Physical Therapy wishes you a joyous holiday. In the spirit of the holiday season, Tony Award nominee and broadway superstar Constantine Maroulis has recorded a cover of Cloverton's rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah,' specially for our patients and readers!
Being one of the most aggressive markets, the beauty industry is wrought with products that are wrongfully tested, contain toxic materials, and are falsely advertised to boost sales. You, the consumer, are herded into stores with attractive advertising that often misleads you to believe you're reversing the signs of aging, and nourishing your skin. It's expensive, no matter what, and the possible risks of damaging your skin, hair, and internal organs is extremely real.
As we get older, we become hyper-aware of our appearance, and are more willing to pick up whatever we think may retain the elasticity in our skin, make our hair shinier, or teeth whiter. Like with everything I recommend, I, above all, hope to leave you a more educated, inquisitive buyer of personal products and food. Here are some recommendations for ways to detox your grooming essentials, and give your appearance a healthy make-over.
Fluoride is a poisonous component of tooth paste that allows this product to fluoridate water, protecting your teeth from cavities. While doing this, fluoride also puts you and your family at risk for tooth discoloration, stomach aches, rashes, and impairs your glucose metabolism. Toothpastes that contain fluoride (most toothpastes on the shelf at your local supermarket) are required to have a warning label, and despite their placement, still dominate the tooth care aisle.
I recommend using Desert Essence's Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste. Tea Tree Oil is a natural antiseptic, that gently, yet surely, cleans your teeth. It also soothes other oral sores and cuts you may have. This toothpaste freshens your breath with natural peppermint oil, and really leaves your mouth feeling clean all day, unlike that lingering, sugary taste that sits in your mouth after using fluoride toothpaste.
Facial Cleansers and Lotions:
There are so many different options with face lotions and cleansers, that it's difficult to sift through all of the high-end products to find what really works, and if it's safe to use. Everyone's skin is different, and should be approached as such, but there is an over-all abiding truth about skin care: you should be using natural products to nourish your skin.
Propylene Glycol, a filming agent known to prematurely age the skin, is still somehow present in almost all skin creams, including anti-aging ones. There have been advancements in alternative, natural filming agents, but they are being brought to market at a slow pace. Other toxins, like phthalates, which I've described in my Toxic Cleaning Products post, are also included in many skin creams. As previously noted, they have been said to cause disruptions in the development of male and female genitalia.
Some of the best products to use are provided by The Body Deli, which uses raw, organic ingredients in their products, does not test on animals, ever, and the results are amazing. All of their products are highly potent in antioxidants and vitamins, and deliver all of that great, fresh, nourishment to the body right through the skin. They provide a multitude of different skin care items that can be used on your hair, body, and face, as well as some other health supplements.
Shampoo and Conditioner
Although glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate have cancer causing agents, they are still present in some shampoos, and are mainly included for their foaming qualities. Polysorbates are also dangerous for you, and found mainly in conditioners. This solvent leaves residue on the skin, upsetting the balance of your skin's pH levels, and causes irritation. Amodimethicone is a silicone barrier-like polymer that makes your hair smooth, yet blocks your scalp from breathing.
The best way to avoid these kinds of harmful ingredients is by making sure to purchase safe shampoo and conditioner, like those made with Acure Organics. This company uses fair trade, natural and organic ingredients like Argan Oil, which hydrates, enhances elasticity, provides antioxidants and vitamin E, and nourishes your hair thoroughly.
Anti-perspirants sold on shelves at your local super markets are cancer-causing, mostly due to the aluminum content. Aluminum has also been connected to the development of Alzheimer's disease, and side-effects reminiscent of this debilitating condition. On top of this, aluminum and antiperspirants in general are blocking your pores, preventing your body from ridding itself of toxins, and creating a slew of health problems.
Soapwalla Kitchen has a deodorant cream, which is "all-natural, yet powerful," something often overlooked with natural deodorizers. Using fine vegetable based powders, clays, lavender, peppermint, and tea tree oil, I apply this cream daily, and have never had any adverse effects from it. It not only deodorizes, but also protects the sensitive skin in the underarm area.
Shaving cream, like all the other grooming products, are filled with different ingredients for bonding the solution together, and making it adhere to your skin for a pleasant, smooth, feeling. Propolene glycol is one of these kinds of ingredients, but is used in brake fluid and antifreeze, making it extremely dangerous for one's face. For some reason, shaving creams also contain Triethanolamine (TEA), which keeps water and oil from separating, but adversely irritates your delicate facial skin.
Instead of a foaming cream, I use an all-natural shaving gel, called Dr. Bronner's Magic Shaving Gel. This includes all organic ingredients, as well as coconut oil, which lotions the skin and provides a host of vitamins and nutrients (something mentioned in Dr. Scarano's 7 Must-Read Healthy Pregnancy Tips). Most shaving creams leave your face feeling raw, but this gel conditions your skin as you shave, a perk most creams claim to have, but do not.
Probably one of the most notoriously harmful hair-care products, hair spray is also one of the most frequently used items in one's morning regimen. Hairs spray causes excessive dryness, dandruff, can trigger allergies, and even affect hair growth. Most of this has to do with the alcohol content of the product, but can also be due to product build-up on the scalp.
My wife and I like to use Aubrey Organics' Herbal Hairspray, Natural Missst. It doesn't contain any plastic compounds, and uses herbal derived holding agents. Natural Missst also has B vitamins, which actually strengthens hair, as well as beta-carotene, linolenic acid, and natural oils.
If you're not close to any locations that sell these products, purchase them offline. They're priced almost the same, and are definitely worth the wait. You should be aware that toxic ingredients are, undoubtedly, in your personal care products, and are seeping into your blood stream, right through the skin. After accumulating over time, these allergens, reproductive toxicants, carcinogens and neurotoxins become aggressive, and cause possibly deadly diseases.
Take the time to look at the labels and ingredients in the products you use. With my recommendations, your hair and skin will start to show signs of renewed health as you incorporate them into your life. It's all about replenishing vitamins and minerals, and that's exactly what these products readily offer.
The holiday season comes with a slew of guilt. Each dinner you are presented with choices that are steeped in tradition and delicious temptation. It is unnerving for most, and often, in the end, you give over to your desires and fill yourself with dense, rib-sticking foods that are devoid of any nutrition.
Take charge this year and make Thanksgiving your chance to stop the vicious holiday cycle of guilt. Choose foods that enhance your meal, not diminish it. And while this is a time to indulge your tastes, do so in a way that both honors your traditions, and benefits your health. To aid in this, I've come up with a few suggestions that take your Thanksgiving feast to the next level.
Get an Organic Turkey
Animals who are brought up in mass farming conditions are mistreated from birth until they are slaughtered. Feed often contains animal byproducts, and poultry are treated with an arsenic based feed to promote a more visually appealing flesh. All of that, and we haven't even broached the antibiotics that are pumped into animals to ward off diseases which run rampant in these conditions.
Eating meat isn't wrong, but you must be aware of what has been fed to the animal that is feeding you and your family. Buy from an independent farm, like those in Vermont, who raise turkeys in humane conditions. By grazing in on organic feed and grass, your turkey is more likely to not only be better for you, but actually taste better!
I've provided a Free Range Roasted Organic Turkey Recipe, which can help make this Thanksgiving the best yet. Your turkey will be noticeably more tasty, and moist when you follow these directions.
Free Range Roasted Organic Turkey
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 7 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
- Ground black pepper
- 1 12-16 lbs. free-range turkey
- 1 cup water
- 3 Tbs. unsalted organic butter, melted and divided
Preheat oven to 450º F. Combine onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sage, thyme and pepper in a bowl. Mix and set aside. Take turkey from bag and remove neck and giblets from the body cavity. Rinse bird with cold water. Pat cavities lightly with a paper towel and rub neck and body cavities with salt.
Stuff 1/2 of a cup of the vegetable mixture inside neck cavity, and the other half inside of chest cavity. Scatter remaining vegetables in roasting pan. Add water to roasting pan. To secure truss, tie the drumsticks together. Lift wing tips up and over back, tucking them under the bird.
Place turkey in roasting pan and brush with 1/2 of the melted butter. Let roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, basting ever 30-45 mins. When the turkey is done, the thickest part of the drumstick will feel soft. If you are using a thermometer, the temperature of the thigh should reach around 150º-160º F.
Start Your Meal Off the Right Way
As mentioned in my 7 Eating Habits of Healthy & Lean People, eating light to heavy increases digestive function. For a day that celebrates eating, I strongly recommend following this rule. To enjoy the day fully, and eat as meals are served, eat moderately, and start with a light appetizer like my Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. I like to use Bragg's Organic Vinaigrette Dressing on mine. You could also lay out raw vegetables with some hummus.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash cubes
- 5 Tbs. olive oil, divided
- Himalayan Pink salt
- 2 Tbs. organic butter
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups spinach/arugula
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400º F. Peel and cut butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes, place them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sea salt (to taste). Mix thoroughly, coating squash with oil and salt. Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Remove and let cool.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, stire in brown sugar and pecans. Saute, stirring frequently for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it completely cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, and the remaining olive oil. Add salt and pepper to paste. Combine salad, squash, pecans and cranberries in serving bowl and pour dressing over before tossing.
Make Memorable Side Dishes
Mashed potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce are your typical Thanksgiving sides. While these are very tasty, there are alternatives that taste just as good, but have greater nutritional value. Candied yams seem to be how sweet potatoes make an appearance during Thanksgiving. However, instead of piling on marshmallows, which are often made with gelatin, and massive amounts of sugar, try my Mashed Sweet Potatoes, or Mashed Cauliflower. It's great to prepare a Fresh Cranberry Sauce, as well, and adds that sweet note to the dinner.
Despite corn's diverse reputation, it's a great nutritional addition to your Thanksgiving table, as long as it's organic. However, if you would like to shake it up a bit, try String Beans with Almonds. The almonds add a wonderful crunchy texture to the snap of this string bean side.
Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons grated ginger root
- 1/3 cup almond milk, at room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons organic butter, cut into pieces and softened
- Salt & pepper to taste
Cut sweet potatoes into cubes and boil in a pot of water until you can stick a fork through them easily. Whip with remaining ingredients and serve.
- 2 large heads of cauliflower
- 15 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/3 cup organic butter, melted
- Salt and pepper
Cut apart cauliflower and steam until tender. Steam garlic, as well. Drain cauliflower and then toss in a large bowl with butter, salt, pepper and garlic. Put the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
String Beans with Almonds
- 2 lbs. of fresh green beans
- 1/4 cup of cold pressed olive oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/3 cup of sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Boil beans in a large pot of water until tender. Drain beans and place them in a bowl of ice water. Wait 5 minutes and then drain them. Place aside. Put olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. stir in half of the thyme and garlic powder . Add string beans and toss until heated completely. Place mixture into a bowl and sprinkle on almonds with the rest of the thyme.
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
- 12 oz. bag whole cranberries
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange
- 2 Tsp. orange zest
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1/4 cup of liquid stevia
Rinse cranberries and orange. Zest orange and juice. Add juice and stevia to a pot over high heat for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and bring to a boil. Berries will burst, so be sure to cover with a lid, opening to stir every few seconds. Stir in zest. Boil until all of the berries have burst and the mixture is like a chunky soup. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes, then serve!
Have a Vegetarian Option
If you're entertaining company, you're more often than not going to have a vegetarian guest amongst holiday visitors. A great way to accommodate these guests is with a Hearty Vegetarian Stew. This stew is perfect for the occasion, and can be eaten with some sprouted bread for dipping!
Hearty Vegetarian Stew
- 3 tsp. cold pressed olive oil, divided
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. of Himalayan Pink Salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 8 oz. white mushrooms, chopped
- 15 oz. organic corn
- 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 14 oz. chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
Heat two of the teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it starts to brown. Add garlic, coriander, salt and pepper, stirring, for about a minute. Add the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and mushrooms. Stir until the mushrooms are tender (should be about 5 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes and chickpeas to the mixture. Bring to a boil and them reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Serve with your choice of garnish!
Wind Down with a Raw Dessert
Something sweet and savory after a big meal caps the night off perfectly. Before I started being more mindful of my food consumption, I was a big pumpkin pie fan. Pumpkin pie is stuffed with sugar and processed ingredients, and pumpkin puree is often kept in a can that may leak toxins into the mixture over time.
Desserts are a great meal to experiment with raw ingredients. I've come up with a delicious Raw Pumpkin Pie recipe that perfectly balances the ratio between rich and sweet, while not filling you up to the point of combustion.
Raw Pumpkin Pie
- 2 cups macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, or any other chosen nuts
- 1 1/2 cups of dates
- 4 cups of pumpkin meat, cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 cups of banana slices
- 3/4 cup of raw, organic honey
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
For crust: blend nuts in a food processor. Add dates and blend until mixture is sticky. Try adding some of the honey to get it sticky enough to hold together when pressed with fingers. Mold crust mixture into pie plate until evenly layered.
For filling: Blend filling ingredients on high speed until you have a puree. You may want to add pumpkin to the blender slowly, in order to make sure you don't burn the blender out. Pour filling into your crust and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Making sure that your Thanksgiving is successful should include using ingredients that are not only delicious, but also going to give your guests a better idea of how to make a life of sustainable wellness possible, year round. You don't have to compromise your health during the holiday season, especially with the wealth of resources at your fingertips over the internet, and through this blog.
Have a healthy, and happy Thanksgiving, from me and all of the staff at NY Chiropractic & Physical Therapy.
We share a common knowledge that household cleaners are toxic in large doses. When considering the frequency in which you wipe your counters down, wash your hands and dishes, or clean a pet stain, it's possible that you could be poisoning your family slowly through the indirect ingestion and inhalation of toxic chemicals in cleaning products.
It's assumed that if it is brought to market, a cleaning product must have gone through specific rigorous testing. However, studies done by the Environmental Working Group on the manufacturing of household cleaning products has shown that ingredients in products are not required to meet any kind of safety standard before being brought to market, and often omit many of their ingredients from labeling.
In an effort to dispel the falsified comfort level people have when using household cleaners, I've provided a list of ingredients for review. I hope to make my readers confront the reality of the side-effects that occur from exposure to these harmful ingredients, and utilize cleaning alternatives that can reduce hidden toxins in your home.
The Green Lie
First and foremost, keep in mind that most products claiming to be "green" are just being commercially designed to appeal to consumers. This comes with the recent interest hike in green products, and was bound to occur as a result of companies trying to save money, yet appear as providing an elevated product. Trusted alternative products are those provided by companies like Method, Clean Well, Seventh Generation, and Citra Solv, which you can purchased in Staten Island's local stores, like: Target, Staples, Stop and Shop, Taste Buds, Walgreens and Shop Rite.
1. Air Fresheners and Fragrances
Cleaning products that include the vague word "fragrances" on their labelling are most likely omitting the dangerous ingredient phthalates. Phthalates are in soaps, air fresheners, countertop cleaners, plastics, lotions, and even perfumes. Phthalates have been known to produce difficulties in the development of male genitalia and cause problems in sperm production.
Considering the amount that children teethe as infants and toddlers, and how often we eat or make contact with our mouths after touching surfaces recently sprayed by air fresheners, it's no wonder that this possibly cancer-causing toxin is getting so much recognition as an ingredient to avoid. If you're concerned with your home smelling fresh, invest in organic essential oils, like those provided by Young Living, a company that's been suggested in Dr. Victoria Scarano's 7 Healthy Pregnancy Tips blog. To avoid phthalates leaking into your food through plastic containers, store in glass containers, or use a glass water bottle.
2. Antibacterial Handsoaps and Dish Detergents
When something is labelled, "antibacterial," it is more than likely made with triclosan, an ingredient meant to prevent bacterial contamination. This toxin has been linked to skin irritation, antibiotic resistance, and endocrine resistance, a component of breast cancer.
Considering the constant usage of dish and hand soaps, the prevalence of the side effects of triclosan are being widely recognized by consumers and health awareness organizations. Method Gel Dish Soap is equally priced to common soaps, giving you an even greater incentive to introduce it to your home.
3. All-Purpose and Window/Glass Cleaner
The sweet smell in your all-purpose and glass cleaners can be attributed to 2-butoxyethanol, a glycol-ether that is known to cause fatigue, pulmonary edema, severe liver and kidney damage, and often times, a sore throat. All purpose cleaners are used often, and kept at an easy-to-reach location, making exposure to this harmful toxin very real. Side-effects can occur in the human body over periods of long-term exposure, without our really recognizing the true culprit. There are guidelines to regulate window cleaners at the workplace, bringing to light the need for tight control over the usage of this product.
As mentioned above, both Method and Seventh Generation offer all-purpose cleaners that double as window and glass cleaners. However, you could also mix some white vinegar with filtered water to wipe down glass and counter tops.
4. Dry Cleaner
If you have pets, small children, or your carpet just needs a deep clean, often times you'll get it dry cleaned. What lurks in the dry cleaning liquid is a notorious toxin called perchloroethylene, or PERC for short, and it's one of the more aggressive toxins in your cleaning products. This is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that infiltrates your body through inhalation. You can experience behavioral changes, kidney damage, dizziness and impairment of coordination.
The list goes on with the possible side-effects of PERC, including the slew of reproductive disorders and developmental deformities that can occur. Your sperm cell structure can alter, have reduced fertility, or menstrual disorders. All of this, and we haven't even breached its ability to cause cancer, or more specifically, it's strong connection to bladder cancer.
Sprinkle baking soda on spills to lift a stain. Vacuum off after about 20 minutes and then assess how bad the stain is. If it's still visible, or you'd like some more reassurance that it's gone, try Seventh Generation's all-purpose cleaner.
5. Oven and Drain Cleaners
Also known as lye, sodium hydroxide is a toxic ingredient often used in oven and drain cleaners. It aids in the breaking down of blockages and buildup without adversely affecting ovens and drains.
While it is useful in the quick dissolution of blockages, there are many side-effects that show through symptoms like lung inflammation, severe pain and vision loss, possible vomiting, and necrosis. In the process of cleaning your oven, this chemical radiates throughout the house, and is inadvertently ingested by you and your family.
In drains, use baking powder and vinegar, cap it and wait til the foaming dies down. To be sure it worked, you may want to snake it. Otherwise, there is a drain cleaner by Biokleen that is safe to use, and environmentally sound. For ovens, you can always use baking soda, as well. Mixing it with water creates a paste that, with a little scrubbing, cleans your oven with no harmful side-effects.
With my experience in training, I've found that two of the most important aspects of my job are facilitating the recovery of our patients, and finding innovative equipment that helps get the best results. Rip Training changed my perception on training completely, and I immediately got my certification so that I could show others how to benefit from this amazing tool. Over time, I've discovered its uses were similar to TRX in that it is buildable, but perfect for conditioning.
The creator of Rip Training, Pete Holman, was a US National Champion in Taekwondo, and captain for the US National Taekwondo Team. Being a professional MMA fighter, he was exposed to cutting-edge exercise equipment and techniques to enhance his competitive talents over the years, but wanted more out of his workout. Holman went on to create the Rip Trainer. He now trains and lectures on this innovative exercise tool, bringing other athletes and trainees to a whole new level of fitness.
1. Builds Up Metabolic Conditioning
Being a trainer, it's important to show clients and patients how to build up stamina. Certain exercises allow your body to build up and store energy at a greater rate. This enables you to exert more energy for any given activity. Rip Training exercises are among those considered to improve cardiovascular health, meaning there is an enhanced transport of blood to your working muscles. With this, your body better utilizes energy with the improved efficiency of the metabolic pathways, making you burn calories even after a workout is completed.
The key to achieving proper metabolic conditioning is to do high-intensity, short duration exercises, like those done with the Rip Trainer. Any of the exercises you do with this tool can be tailored to perfect your metabolic system. It is designed for building to your chosen fitness/endurance goal!
2. Broad Accessibility
Many beginners I meet with are weary of tools like the Rip Trainer. They second guess their ability to use it. Yes, it seems daunting at first, but I always stress that the Rip Trainer is easily accessible due to its buildability. You may not be as agile as Drew Brees, or other famous athletes shown using the Rip Trainer, but you can grow through exercises that are tailored for your specific needs, and can improve your physique exponentially.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is to work with a client or patient, and build a workout regimen that gleans visible results. The regimens vary, but results that occur from using the Rip Trainer are all equally as impressive. It has a notable effect on athletes, rehab patients, or the average person who hasn't worked out regularly before!
3. Reduced Risk of Injury
When working with clients patients who lead an active lifestyle, I always stress to them that the best way to reduce the chance of injury is by building core strength. Stability, endurance and coordination are driven by your core's strength, and can make or break your chances of an injury. Don't take any chances, because the slightest misstep paired with inadequate strength recovery might ruin your ability to perform optimally. Rip Training is specifically designed to work your body asymmetrically, with exercises that simulate everyday tasks and athletic techniques, preparing you for situations that may cause injury.
An exercise that I like to use that really takes a core workout to the next level is the Rip Windmill. By standing sideways to the anchor and using an alternating grip to draw circles while squatting up and down, you engage your abs, hips, the scapular muscles in your shoulder blades, and lower back. Although it sounds really simple, it is a challenging exercise, especially if you're doing them properly, in quick, short intervals.
4. Enhanced Sports Conditioning for Athletes
If you are a professional, amateur, or high school athlete, Rip Training is perfect for you. TRX Suspension Training and Rip Training has worked its way into most sports, and is used by professional athletes in the NBA, MLB, NFL, MMA and NLL. Rip Training has proven, over time, to enhance the competitive edge of professionals and amateurs alike. Now that it is available at NY Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, it can change the way teams in the New York metropolitan area play sports.
I encourage you to be a part of the Rip Training experience, no matter what your caliber of athletic talent. Even if you are in great shape, you will see your body transform to an even leaner, more toned physique! With that being a definite plus, sports conditioning with the Rip Trainer doesn't stop there. It's about being light on your feet, increasing your range of motion, and coordination, and having greater strength during all of it.
5. Improved Rotational Force
During your everyday life you are producing rotation to complete actions. Some actions, such as picking up your child, lifting boxes to a shelf, or raking leaves in your front yard require a certain amount of rotational force for completion. Age and a sedentary lifestyle can impede on your ability to complete these tasks with the right amount of force, resulting in possible injury.
The Rip Trainer builds power for rotational force, making everyday tasks easier, as well as preventing future injury. The Resistance Cord has 3 levels of resistance to build upon strength as you gain it. Due to being developed by someone who focused on rotational force as a key benefit, you'll be sure to see results.
Danielle Benyik, Rehab and Conditioning Specialist
An experienced fitness trainer, Danielle Benyik brings a strong background of various forms of fitness to the Wellness Center at NY Chiropractic & Physical Therapy. For over a decade she has been creating custom workout plans to help maximize workout efficiency, increase stamina, and improve the overall well-being of her clients. Danielle is the only locally certified TRX Trainer, with NYCPT being the only local facility providing Rip Training.
I used to eat a low-carb high-protein diet.
I restricted my dietary intake, missing out on the nutritionally satisfying meals that are abundant in the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that my body craved and benefited most from. With adding these carbs, I'm leaner and more toned now than I ever have been before. My personal experience, and the nutritional impact of these foods is why I'm sharing this list with you today.The carbs in this list are highly digestible, nutrient dense, and a great source for sustained energy. Don't cut out carbs, reassess them, and incorporate the best choices to make the most of your diet.
1. Organic Fruit
As I've recommended in my previous blogs, it's best to eat fruit alone, and early in the day. Doing so helps increase your chance of swift digestion, clearing a path for the more dense foods you eat as the day goes by. This aids in the building of your abs through muscle repair provided by nutrients in fruits.
Some fruits, like apples, plums, blueberries, and cranberries are high in ursolic acid, a nutrient that helps by enhancing your hormones to secrete insulin that increases muscle weight (while keeping overall weight down). It helps reduce the chances of muscle atrophy, and has been tested exclusively in its ability to do so. Muscle atrophy is the decrease or wasting away of muscle due to malnutrition and aging. The best way to prevent this is through exercise and a high intake of whole, raw foods, like fruits and vegetables.
Studies by the University of Michigan's Dr. Seymour involved rats who ate a diet high in blueberries, and found that they lost fat in their abdominal region. Other improvements involved glucose control, and a lessened risk for heart disease. This is because fruits high in anthocyanins, like blueberries, can alter how your body stores and digests sugar.
Lentils are a powerhouse carbohydrate, since they are filled with molybdenum, folate, fiber, manganese, iron and protein, among many other nutrients. Rather than being fortified, lentils are naturally consisting of these nutrients, ensuring that your intake is naturally plant-based.
By presenting nutrients that all work in tandem in your body to bring cell nutrition to your organs, lentils are a quick way to get everything you need, when you need it. Lentils contain virtually no fat, which is perfect for a post-workout dinner. The dietary fiber in lentils carries out waste that can bloat you after a meal. Your abs will be more pronounced when you incorporate this food into your diet.
This is another food I've mentioned in the past that can act as a terrific alternative to commonly consumed carbs devoid of nutrients. One cup of quinoa provides 36% of your recommended daily carbohydrates. Because these carbs are digested slower than "empty" carbs, like that in white rice, white bread, and white pasta, you have more energy to burn throughout the day.
Quinoa is a super food, and while high in carbohydrates, it is also considered a "whole" protein, although it is not from animal origin. It is a food high in amino-acids, including lysine, an essential component of protein in the body. If you are looking to define abdominal muscles, you will need this specific kind of protein to do so. Quinoa doesn't have all of the setbacks of dairy and meat, which is known to back up digestion, and it is even more effective in helping grow muscle.
4. Rolled Oats
Rolled oats are created when you steam oat groats and roll them out to be flat. By doing this, the natural oils in the oats are preserved, yet easier to cook. Oat groats, although equally as healthy, take quite a long time to cook. I like to eat rolled oats after I've had my fruit in the morning, making digestion easier. Avoid instant oats at all costs; they have a higher glycemic index than natural rolled oats, and can spike your blood sugar levels. I like natural, raw, rolled oats like that provided by Blue Mountain Organics.
What is special about this brand of oats is that they maintain their concentrated nutritional value since they've never been steamed or exposed to high temperatures. Eating oats can lower your cholesterol, help you maintain a stable sugar level, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and even boost your immune system!
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a wonderful alternative to potatoes, especially because they contain no saturated fats or cholesterol. They are a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. These vegetables are "stem tubers," or "tuberous roots," organisms that utilize storage organs to make them reoccur annually. In doing, so these vegetables store a greater source of the vitamins and nutrients that we extract during digestion.
Sweet potatoes are the highest among other root-vegetables in beta-carotene, which is a high-antioxidant compound. Due to that, you will have better acute eye-sight, glowing skin, and be protected from lung and oral cancers. Pantothenic acid, B-6, B-1, niacin and riboflavin are all included in sweet potatoes, and are essential vitamins found only in outside sources that your body needs to replenish itself. It's a great starch to eat if you're prepping to do a high intensity workout.
6. Sprouted Bread and Pasta
Sprouted bread consists of grains that have been partially grown (or "sprouted"). For this to happen, the sprout must digest some starch inside of the seed for fuel in order to shoot out of its shell, making the overall grain lower in starch. This means the bread it will eventually be cooked into is higher in protein than your typical loaf. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid, something known to prevent minerals from absorption, making digestion easier.
Due to having a lower glycemic index than regular breads, your blood sugar levels will be better controlled when you switch over to sprouted grains. With more protein in this bread, you will have greater amino-acids working on repair and assimilation.
There are also several different kinds of pasta that you can eat which are gluten-free, and easily digestible, like those made of brown rice, sprouted grains, and quinoa. This kind of pasta tastes virtually the same as processed pasta, with the exception of their nutritional value. I've covered the benefits of eating alternative pasta extensively in other blog posts (see: Dr. Piazza's Healthy Pantry Makeover), but it's worth noting again that both brown rice, sprouted grains, and quinoa are high in a myriad of nutrients, including, but not limited to fiber and iron.
The key to that coveted 6-pack, and really the overall building of muscle mass, is digestion. You have to select carbohydrates that will further enable the digestive process begun with vegetables. Doing so takes energy away from having to process foods, and focuses it on building the muscle definition that you want to see-- especially in your abdominal area. Food is fuel. What you put into your body will show through your features, like muscle definition, skin color, and tightness.
During the course of pregnancy, a woman experiences a multitude of physical changes. Skin expands, joints misalign, and new hormones secrete to prepare yourself for the development of new life. Pregnancy is an exciting time in any woman's life, but it can be arduous and painful if you don't cater to what your body is experiencing. Make the most of it by treating your body right, and read my list of helpful health tips that I've compiled from my personal and professional experiences.
1. Use coconut oil
Although coconut oil is popularly known for reducing stretch marks, using it during your pregnancy can provide you with countless other benefits that carry on post-natal. I suggest using Sunfood's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, which is both raw and organic.
Internally, coconut oil can improve digestion through making absorption of vitamins and amino-acids easier. Coconuts also contain lauric-acid, which protects the immune system of the fetus. Moms whose diet has a healthy intake of coconut oil can increase the nutritional value of their breast milk exponentially. Coconut oil is easier for infants to digest, as well, since it can be more easily absorbed into their underdeveloped bodies.
The benefits seem endless when considering coconut oil. You can even use it to soothe your infant. It helps relieve diaper rash, and gets absorbed into the body straight through the skin, optimizing its healthy qualities.
2. Take safe supplements made with organic materials
When shopping around for prenatal supplements, be sure to keep in mind that GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) are being used in many of the choices you may come across. It is highly possible that the feedstock for microorganisms in vitamins with fermentation are from GMO's. Luckily, you can easily buy organic, whole-food based supplements online, with brands like New Chapter and MegaFood, which safely provide vitamins like iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and potassium.
While taking some supplements is recommended, you should be getting the majority of your nutrition from its natural source. It is the best way to derive nutritional value while pregnant.
3. Keep exercising
A lot of women (especially first-time moms) are fearful of exercise being too strenuous on the body. While you shouldn't be doing high-impact exercise, practicing yoga, walking, or other forms of light exercise is perfect for mom-to-be. Strengthening the muscles you use during labor make delivery easier, and have been known to quicken the birthing process. Exercise also ensures cellular nutrition, enables removal of waste, stabilizes the spine, and reduces inflammation.
Pilates, a form of therapy that has proven more helpful than even minimal intervention medicine, is a great way to exercise while pregnant. Many of the leading local Obstetricians/Gynecologists refer their patients to the Clinical Pilates program at our Wellness Center. We treat many pre/post-natal women who are looking to stay fit and ease lower back pain from the shifting of weight during pregnancy.
Most women are concerned about regaining their pre-baby physiques, which can be difficult to do, especially if they suffer from diastasis recti, a common condition that occurs when the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen so much that they separate. While possibly causing a slight bulge (known more commonly as a "pooch"), many women suffer from lower back pain, as well, which can make even routine tasks difficult. Matt Nelson, our Rehab/Conditioning Expert, has developed a specific protocol for his pre/post-natal patients that involves balance, coordination, and core exercises, treating diastasis recti effectively.
4. Step up your nutritional intake
When pregnant, you are expected to take a host of prenatal vitamins that ensure adequate fetal health. This brings to light how important it is to receive vitamins and minerals from an organic source. GMO's can contain harmful and toxic ingredients that might jeopardize the health of your child, as even trace amounts can be absorbed during fetal development. Many companies produce GMO's to cut costs, but at the price of your health.
What to eat:
I recommend our pregnant patients follow Dr. Piazza's nutritional advice by obtaining their vitamins and minerals from actual whole-food sources, such as:
- Foods that are high in folate and folic acid, like beans, leafy greens, asparagus, avocado, oranges, and strawberries, which are integral for the development of the neural tube and the spinal cord.
- Iron filled foods like kale, soybeans, spinach, and quinoa that help form hemoglobin, and carry oxygen to the blood.
- Green, leafy vegetables can also provide calcium, an important nutrient for building bones.
- Spinach, pumpkin seeds, organic dark chocolate, and cashews are high in zinc, boosting immunity for you and baby, while promoting cell growth.
- Bananas, avocados, almonds, grapeseed oil, and dates are good sources of choline, which contributes to the development of the baby's nervous system.
- Seeds like flax, chia, hemp, mustard oil and seaweed provide an abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids for structural cell building.
- Sprouted grains, legumes, brown rice, and broccoli all have fiber, important for aiding digestion, and in the prevention of constipation.
- Hemp seeds, asparagus, artichokes, and eggs have your recommended intake of protein that also provides the amino acids for cell construction.
It is important to recognize that you are eating and excreting for two, so be sure to increase your intake of vegetables and fruits for optimized digestion. The more you go, the less bloated you'll be!
5. Treat your body
Relaxin is a hormone that your body secretes when you are pregnant, which loosens the soft tissue in your body. In doing so, your uterus and abdomen can expand to properly fit the growing fetus. What begins to occur as this happens is the expansion of your pelvic bones, and in almost every case, the misalignment of your spinal column and joints. As your abdomen expands, your center of gravity shifts, and a host of physical ailments can persist unless you are treated properly.
There are several different kinds of therapies that you can do to ease the discomfort and pain from the rapid physical changes brought on by pregnancy. Getting adjusted by a chiropractor is endorsed by the American Pregnancy Association, non-invasive, and can realign your spine and joints, relieving back pain and sciatica. Also: invest in a Soft Form Maternity Belt for support while you sit. This is especially helpful if you work an office job!
Other APA endorsed therapies are those like acupuncture, which can prevent morning sickness. Physical Therapy is another great option for pregnant women, since it helps you work on posture, stimulate nerve involvement, and maintain flexibility. These therapies are based upon pain relief, and enable you to live a full life during pregnancy.
6. Sleep better
This tip seems to be a give-in. Everyone wants to sleep better, but for pregnant women, it can be extremely difficult to have a night of restful sleep, especially in the last months of pregnancy. Set the mood for sleep when you head to bed by indulging yourself in some aroma therapy. Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell and taste, and certain scents can settle your mind, as well as your stomach. Make sure to use especially diluted amounts of recommended organic oils made by companies like Young Living, with scents like lavender, chamomile, and rosewood, which all have sedative qualities.
It's important to sleep on your left side, as sleeping on your right side can obstruct the umbilical vein that brings blood to your uterus. A tool you can use for to make sleeping on your side more comfortable is a pregnancy pillow. I even used this for nursing after I gave birth! I would recommend the Comfort-U Maternity Pillow, which features a large rectangular pillow separated in the middle for you to position your body. With the side pillows placed under your belly and lower back respectively, it is much easier to have night of restful repose.
I cannot stress enough the importance of drinking water during pregnancy. Water facilitates the process that enables the absorption of essential nutrients. It transports the vitamins and nutrients, along with minerals and specially secreted hormones to your cells, eventually reaching your baby.
As I noted before, you're excreting for two, which means there's even more waste that will need to be expelled. Drinking water helps dissolve waste products and flush out your system. In doing so, you can eliminate all of the bloating that occurs with pregnancy.
There are other ailments that accompany pregnancy, such as itchiness, bloating, and heat-flashes. All of these can be solved by hydrating adequately. Water moisturizes your skin from the inside out to prevent the discomfort of scaly skin, expels fluids from your body for less bloating, and regulates your body's cooling system.
Along with filtered water, every pregnant woman should drink Coconut water, a naturally sterile beverage filled with health-boosting properties. Make sure to purchase coconut water not from concentrate, like Nirvana Coconut Water. This beverage contains almost no cholesterol, and is filled with electrolytes that replenish your body's natural salts.
Victoria Scarano, D.C.
Dr. Scarano has been practicing with NY Chiropractic & Physical Therapy for over a decade. Specializing in the area of pre-natal and perinatal care, Scarano has a loyal following among expectant mothers due to her extensive experience with the Webster Breech Turning Technique.
Board-certified in both Chiropractic medicine and Physiotherapy, Dr. Scarano is a graduate of Life University College of Chiropractic. She received a Bachelor of Science. from Moravian College. Dr. Scarano is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association, and the Vice President of the Staten Island chapter of the New York State Chiropractic Association.
Habits engage our lifestyles, give us a foundation to build upon, and can, at times, shape our perception of the world. While it may not be written in stone, there are habits you can pick up that can help you live the lifestyle of Healthy & Lean People. The habits discussed today focus on food consumption-- an integral part of our lives. Our body and mood reflects what we eat, and you can learn to consume nutritious foods in a way that can actually change your life. Learn these habits, integrate them into your everyday life, and reap benefits like health and youth.
1. Hydration is Key:
The importance of hydration is often stressed to us when we're young. It's said that a person can live a few weeks without food, but only 3 days without water.
Chances are, like most Americans, you're probably addicted to soda. You crave the bubbly snap of each sip of Coca-Cola, as it coats a palate conditioned for sugar and starch. Consider the amount of soda you would have to consume to satiate thirst-- it's especially difficult, since soda often contains caffeine-- a natural diuretic, that actually dehydrates you throughout the day.
Beverages like Coke are made of ingredients that could strip the paint from a car. That alone should be enough of a reason not to drink it, but in a nation of sugar addicts, soda is the #1 culprit of causing diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay. While using the high-fructose corn syrup of genetically modified plants, soda impedes liver function and digestion, while storing fat.
Water, on the other hand, cleanses your system of toxins, aids with digestion, and carries nutrients to your organs. Water has been known to be an anti-aging component, since it reduces wrinkles and lubricates the joints. It's easily accessible, cheap, and the benefits are countless. Healthy & Lean People utilize water exclusively as their beverage of choice, and it is obvious in the glow of their skin, lean muscle mass, and youthful appearance.
2. Stock Up on Probiotics
Probiotics consist of live cultures, and can provide your body with good bacteria. This may seem unappetizing at first, but it is one of the essential steps that the Healthy & Lean take to bring their wellness to a higher level.
The most well known food that Healthy & Lean People eat to get their intake of probiotics from is fermented raw vegetables, like cabbage, beets, cucumbers, etc. Products like Wildbrine Miso Horseradish Kimchi are great to use on top of salads and meals, and are also available in Thai and Japanese variations. It's spicy and flavorful, and provides you with the probiotics necessary for easy digestion. If you don't have the palate for kimchi, try raw sauerkraut. You can also get your probiotics from supplements like Dr. Ohhira's Essential Formulas, which are capsules for easy ingestion. Many of these products are sold locally, at Tastebuds on Hylan Blvd., and also chain supermarkets like Wegman's and Whole Foods.
If you want to live your life as the Healthy & Lean do, you must incorporate this kind of food into your life. Using raw vegetables is the best way to live healthy, as animal products can be treated with toxic preservatives, or are of questionable origin. Buying low-quility fermented food products may also be unwise, as they can be filled with preservatives and high in sodium.
3. Powerful Food Combinations
Healthy & Lean people make sure to combine foods to receive the utmost nutrition from a meal. It is important to combine for the accelerated weight loss and detoxification that it incites. Certain ingredients can work in tandem to bring nutrients more readily to your organs, such as avocados and tomatoes, which, when eaten together, can make the antioxidants of tomatoes more bioavalable through the fats in avocados.
Lemon and kale is another combination that Healthy & Lean People use for their benefit, especially since they eat a primarily plant-based diet. The vitamin-C in citrus fruits, such as lemon, converts the iron in kale into a form of iron like that in red meats and fish! This iron is easier to absorb than that in meats, and thus does not exhaust the body in a way animal products do.
There is a general rule of thumb when considering the overview of food combinations. Greens can be paired with nearly anything (and should, since they help the digestive process). However, fruits should mostly be eaten alone, in the morning, but can also be paired with vegetables, as well (as described above). Grains with fish should be avoided, as they don't induce digestion properly. This, and many other combinations will be described further in a future post I'll be writing.
Food pairing is an inherent talent of the human race. Lean & Healthy People not only pair food to taste, but also to ensure the most rapid nutritional intake of any given meal. Exploring the pairings of certain foods can create a medley that resonates throughout your entire body.
4. Go Plant-Based
The most well known Healthy & Lean People are celebrities with plant-based diets, like Olivia Wilde (pictured above), Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tobey Maguire. Others, like former President Bill Clinton, noted that a significant amount of weight was lost when they adopted the diet!
In other blog posts I've commented on the importance of adopting a plant-based diet. It can make you look younger, have more energy, and fight illnesses associated with aging. The real temptations of a poor diet are taste-rooted, since you are not actually receiving all the nutrients your body craves.
Perhaps you are a healthy person who goes to the gym several times a week, is at a healthy weight, and enjoys a omnivorous diet. You could look and feel even better if you changed to eating only plant-based foods. Not only that-- you could look and feel better longer, since your body would not age as quickly. "Whole" proteins like that in meat and dairy can be found in plant sources, if you're looking to bulk-up. You do not have to resort to the harmful ingredients of whey and creatine (something I've mentioned in my previous blog post, Dr. Piazza's Healthy Post-Workout Protein Shake Recipe).
Do not be led astray by false marketing: there is no miracle concoction that will make you healthy --just stick to the basics of nature-- plant-based foods. Healthy & Lean People have the best of both worlds with a plant-based diet. While they are lean and attractive, they also have the health benefits associated with giving the body exactly what it needs, and how it needs it.
5. Eat Greens Before Meals
The fiber in vegetables keeps you regular, while the nutrients are absorbed almost directly into your body. Raw food is a wonderful way to get your body what it needs. Healthy & Lean People use this little trick to make sure the foods they eat exit quickly, rather than sit inside the body (which takes up energy and makes you gain weight).
Some great greens to eat are spinach, kale, cucumbers, cabbage, or lettuce. You can pair it with seasonings of your choice, and maybe even a little raw goat cheese to add some flavor! Raw or lightly steamed vegetables are great, too, for the abundance of enzymes that help the body process foods quickly. I usually eat a few stalks of celery before a meal if I'm not in the mood for salad, or don't have time to prepare anything.
Greens introduce the enzymes necessary for jump starting the digestive process. On top of that, eating greens before meals reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.
6. Eat Light to Heavy Throughout the Day
Most believe that eating heavy in the morning allows your body the entire day to burn it off. In reality, what you're doing is piling on dense, indigestible foods early on in the day. As you continue to eat, your system becomes backed up with countless other dense foods, creating discomfort, bloating, and constipation. This process could even cause you to gain weight!
What Lean & Healthy People know, and actively practice, is eating light to heavy as the day goes on. I would suggest trying a smoothie or juicing in the morning instead of a bacon egg and cheese.
Detoxification occurs mostly during your sleeping hours, so it's wise to aid that process with a green smoothie in the morning. Easy digestion from eating light to heavy is key to staying youthful, and maintaining energy throughout the day.
7. Know Your Superfoods
Superfoods contain a multitude of nutrients that your body needs, but can't create. They are easy to digest, and organic in their origin. Some of the best superfoods are goji berries, avocados, chia seeds, pomegranates and brown rice! Healthy & Lean People make sure to stock up on these foods when grocery shopping. They even include them in their smoothies, and are thus ensured better health, slimmer frames, and a clear, youthful complexion as they age.
To be a Healthy & Lean Person, you have to make sure that you are facilitating safe nutrition through the superfoods you consume. If you buy non-organic products, whether or not they are superfoods, you can harm yourself and your family. Many companies are trying to capitalize on the superfood uptick, and yet do not provide organic products for you to purchase.
Clean your fridges and pantries. Indulge in the organic markets in your area. Supply is only controlled by demand, so demand better! Healthy & Lean People are successful in being in shape and maintaining youth because they take the time to educate themselves on their nutritional choices. There is a multitude of superfoods that are available to replace all of the unhealthy options you may feel anchored to.
My journey began in the third grade when I switched schools; after filling out my health forms, the doctor told my mother that I was overweight. Although I was very active and played sports, my eating habits were careless. Diabetes became a possibility, (especially considering it runs in my family) but I disregarded that.
At this point in the school year everyone had their own cliques, making me an outcast. I eventually worked up the nerve to try and be friends with the “popular” kids, and I will never forget the nickname they gave me that stuck from 3rd - 8th grade:
they called me “chins;” every day, of every school year, relentlessly, along with many others. Lost and upset, my eating habits worsened. I would dream of being muscular, but I was without any confidence or self-esteem that made me feel I could do so.
Upon entering 9th grade, I weighed in around 250+ lbs. That first day of school I felt the worst I ever had in my life. My first class was global history, and as the teacher called out names to familiarize faces, I took a seat in the back. When he said my name he looked up and did not see my hand raised. As he repeated my name, a little laughter was heard, and a voice came out from seemingly nowhere, saying “That’s the fat kid in the back.”
As a teenager, my life felt over at that point, but it was not the end of the abuse for my first day. After entering the gymnasium of about 300 kids, I took a seat next to some football players. One turned and said, “What are you doing here, you don’t look very athletic.” In total shock and embarrassment, I put my head on my chest and didn't look up until the bell rang. During this time I was working at a deli where I would indulge my stresses, and eat constantly. Shortly before September of junior year the deli closed, and I began as an intern at NYCPT, later to be hired.
Every day from 3rd grade until junior year I was picked on, constantly, losing count of the cruel nick-names and fat jokes. At an all time low, my only escape was work: the one place where I was not just an employee, but a part of a larger family. Like I said, I always dreamed of having a nice body that I could feel comfortable in, but never had the drive, ambition, or confidence to push myself toward my goal.
Dr. Piazza had proposed a challenge, an office wide version of “The Biggest Loser,” complete with a cash prize. Seeking to finally reach my goal, I tried doing it on my own, but soon realized everyone was seeing results except me. Contemplating giving up, I decided to take a chance and ask Dr. Piazza for help.
From that point on he became not only my boss, but also my mentor, my drive, my confidence, and my ultimate source of success; turning to him was the best decision of my life.
Dr. Piazza created a Nutrition Reform Diet Plan for me, along with a comprehensive workout regimen. Every Saturday was training day, and whether we hit the gym, or used our office training equipment, Dr. Piazza and I were always up and working out by 7 A.M. I appreciated the way he always pushed and motivated me.
Dr. Piazza guided me through the purchasing the foods necessary to sustain my weight loss. By introducing me to a new world of healthy eating, I learned about the vitamins and proteins that were found in certain foods. As outlined in the Nutrition Reform's shopping list, I learned about the anti-oxidants in 85% dark chocolate, and super-grains like quinoa. My palate opened up to new flavors! It didn't feel like a diet anymore, but instead became a new way of life. Every question I had was answered in depth, and delivered with genuine and sincere words, as if he was doing it for himself.
The pounds flew off! With a total loss of 21 lbs. in 8 weeks, I actually won the competition! With a newly established confidence, I never stopped working on my health; I continue to follow Dr.Piazza’s advice, and he always pushes me to work harder. Over a year later, I've lost upwards of 75 lbs. I have met my personal goal, but to this day, I’m never quite satisfied. I am still making improvements; between using my work environment to my advantage, such as our Wellness Center’s exclusive equipment, and by making sure to reference Dr. Piazza’s Wellness Blog, I continue to learn, and improve.
I owe my thanks and success to Dr. Piazza, and all of the staff at NYCPT, for always supporting me and congratulating me on every milestone I reach. I have a new life, new health, new look, and restored confidence in myself.
To all our patients on the journey to losing weight, and living a healthy life, I want you to know anything is possible. You are never too old, or too injured to turn your life around. The only way to go is up, and at NYCPT, Dr. Piazza and the staff are behind you 100% of the way. Thank you Dr. Piazza for changing and increasing my quality of life. I am the healthiest I have ever been, and it feels great. Much love to my NYCPT family.
It is important, after exercising, to replenish your body's supply of amino-acids, which are organic compounds that help build muscle and repair tissue. The best way to do this is with a protein shake. However, most believe the kind of protein they need can be found in meat and dairy, and use powders like creatine and whey. This simply is not true.
While you can get what's called "complete" protein from meat products, it can also create an array of health concerns. Dairy and meat do not protect you from diseases like Osteoporosis, despite popular belief, and can even increase your chances of developing heart disease and cancer.
Another shocking fact about dairy is that it can actually make you age faster. Animal products strain the liver, and our digestive system with uric acid. "Complete" protein makes your body work to deconstruct it for absorption, taking away from the replenishment of muscle tissue.
Government and large dairy companies push the supposed benefits of meat and dairy with little concern for the health risks. With that being said, most ask:"what can I use to supplement protein if I'm not getting it from animal products?" There are two alternatives that are plant based, an important factor when considering how to give your body the nutrition it's craving:
Produced from the Cannabis plant, hemp protein can provide the human body with essential fatty acids, linoleic acid, omega-6, omega-3 and, of course, amino acids.
This kind of protein is easy to digest, due to it containing globular proteins, which dissolve easily in the body. While being low in saturated fats, hemp protein reduces the risk of heart attack and certain types of cancer.
Raw Brown Rice Protein
Brown rice is free of gluten, solvents, GMO's, radiation, artificial flavors, preservatives or colors, according to the Sun Warrior website.
Other ingredients: Acai Berry
This superfood has another 8 grams of protein (more than your average egg), and an anti-aging component called anthocyanin.
Paired with the improvement of your skin, nails and hair, acai berries offer your daily intake of important vitamins like B-12.
Acai berries rose to their level of fame with studies done on their ability to destroy cancerous cells, boost the immune system, and lower blood sugar levels. This is certainly a handy ingredient to use for the improvement of your health!
These tiny seeds are not just the "superfood of the Aztecs," but are also possibly one of the richest sources of fatty acids found in nature.
Chia expands after consumption, giving you a feeling of being full, and allows for your body to properly process the nutrients you've ingested.
While being a great source of fiber, chia seeds can be ingested whole, used as an egg replacement for baking (it creates gelatin when you let it sit in water for a few minutes), and protect the body from free radicals!
Raw chocolate, or cacao, while sweet and tasty, can offer a wealth of benefits that not only will make your smoothie more palatable, but boost your day! Cacao is notorious for its anti-oxidant content, and also for the lowering of blood pressure.
With alkaloids, beta-carotene and linoleic acid, cacao increases brain activity, optimizing your functionality for the day.
Dr. Piazza's Healthy Post-Workout Protein Shake Includes:
1/4 of a cup of either Hemp or Brown Rice Protein Powder
2 cups of unsweetened almond milk or water
1-2 Tbs. chia seeds
1/2 frozen acai smoothie packet
liquid stevia to sweeten
1 Tbs. raw cacao (if you're a chocolate lover! If not, use 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or vanilla extract)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!
There are many protein-filled vegetables that you can combine to get the amino-acids you need post-workout. Along with the above mentioned protein, you can also use:
- And legumes like peas
All of these vegetables have the bottom line of easy absorption. With the redistribution of energy, you'll be shocked at your increased stamina during and post-workout!
Even professional body builders have been known to follow a plant based diet. Greats like Jim Morris, Bill Pearl and Amanda Reister, further dispel the myth that vegetable proteins make you weaker than whey or creatine.
SpineForce 3-D Rehabilitation Technology
This is a truly unique piece of equipment that we use exclusively at the Wellness Center. My patients love it, and each experience is able to be tailored to their specific needs.
Biomechanically engineered by Europe's leading scientists, SpineForce 3-D Rehabilitation Technology has been extensively tested by Exercise Physiology Researcher JB Fabre.
Otherwise known as the Huber Motion Lab, SpineForce is a comprehensive exercise tool that targets and recruits the 180 deep spinal muscles that support the spinal structure, and your core. With the proper direction, you can achieve a multitude of positive results on this revolutionary machine!
Weight Loss ✔
SpineForce exercises are designed to target the core muscles along the lower part of your body, while the moving column works your upper body. This is perfect for patients who are interested in weight loss!
By creating a unique cardio experience through the full engagement of different muscles on the SpineForce's oscillating platform, you can reduce cellulite, lose weight, and sculpt your physique!
This machine is an efficient way for you to reach target weight loss goals, as you to focus on the tasks in your personalized routine. With over a hundred studies conducted, SpineForce has been proven to show a decline in body fat percentage, as well as shrinkage in overall measurements.
Tissue degeneration and the loss of bone density occurs as you age, causing fractures and the decline in posture. With your balance thrown off, you have decreased mobility and range of motion, which can be a noticeable disturbance in trying to take part in activities.
In my experience, SpineForce has been the best way to combat this kind degeneration. The oscillating platform of the SpineForce causes your body to react by engaging the stabilizing muscles along your spine, as well as by putting pressure on your skeletal system, strengthening your bone mass.
By challenging your musculo-skeletal system, the tissue in joints strengthen, giving you the ability to prevent injury compatible with the aging process.
Sports Conditioning ✔
The SpineForce Huber Motion Lab has the ability to condition athletes, whatever their respective sport may be.
The platform and moving column adjust to work your body symmetrically, optimizing the fluidity of your athletic performance.
I have seen this machine do more than simply give a good workout. Your mind and body are challenged simultaneously to give you a simulated experience similar to what you may face when on the field or court.
SpineForce has developed a conditioning protocol for various sports, from golf, to baseball, basketball, or tennis. Due to being a customizable routine, you and your conditioning expert can target whatever weaknesses you may have, making a positive difference in your training.
The feedback screen on the SpineForce column allows you to focus on your problem areas of performance, and correct yourself through musculoskeletal reeducation.
Physical Therapy ✔
SpineForce offers physical therapy and rehabilitation for post-surgery, trauma, orthopedic conditions, forms of arthritis, geriatric conditions and various neuromuscular disorders.
While the amateur and professional athlete can use this for conditioning, someone in need of post-surgical rehab, and other kinds of physical therapy can also use this tool to regain muscle function in a way that may even exceed their previous abilities.
I use the adaptable equipment of the SpineForce to accelerate recovery time for my patients. While redefining your understanding of how to exceed previous functionality, the SpineForce builds full-body support through the strengthening of core muscles.