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healthy-holiday-desserts

Expand Holiday Dessert Choices Without Expanding Your Waistline

December is the month for desserts! However, if you’re trying to watch your calories, the holiday dessert bars can become quite a field of land mines. Not all desserts have to be high in calories, sugar, or fats, though. Here are some suggestions so that your can enjoy those sweets without the regret later!

Healthier Holiday Desserts

  • Berries and Cream. A bowl of fresh berries with a small dollop of whipped cream or sour cream satisfies a sweet tooth without breaking the calorie budget.
  • Dark Chocolate. Eating an ounce of dark chocolate a few times a week will be satisfying and provide flavonoids. Dark chocolate has less sugar and more cocoa than milk chocolate. Look for chocolate that is 70% cacao or higher.
  • Yogurt Parfait. Add a few berries and nuts to a parfait glass of yogurt for an  enjoyable treat.
  • Pineapple Dole Whip. Freeze 20 oz. drained pineapple chunks for a couple of hours. Add the pineapple, ¼ c. of almond milk, a teaspoon of lemon juice and lime juice, and a ¼ c. of a natural sweetener to a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Bites. Put pomegranate seeds in the bottom of 12 lined muffin cups. Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top. Repeat layers of pomegranate seeds and chocolate and finish with more seeds. (Will use 2 ½ c. of seeds and 5.25 oz. of chocolate). Top with a pinch of sea salt. Refrigerate until ready to eat.
  • Chocolate Dipped Apple or Banana Slices. Spritz the apples with lemon juice and freeze the bananas. After dipping in chocolate, roll them in nuts for an added bonus.
  • Fruit and Cheese. Pair come cheddar, brie, or goat cheese with dates, figs, applies or any other firm fruit.
  • Poached Pears. Simmer the pears gently in lemon water, apple juice or other liquid. Top with cream or crème fraiche if desired.
  • Baked Apples. Baking brings out the natural sweetness of the apples. Add raisins for more sweetness. Top with some cinnamon.

 

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you enjoy some healthy holiday desserts this season!

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/refined-sugar-what-to-use-in-its-place/

http://maronewellness.com/super-bowl-party-food-playbook/

http://maronewellness.com/eating-healthy-even-holidays/

water-in-fruit

Could Dehydration Be Contributing to Your Back Pain?

All around us we hear about the danger of dehydration and the importance of drinking plenty of water. But did you know all the problems that dehydration can cause? Here are some of them:

 

  • Impaired brain function
  • Cramping of legs and feet
  • Dry skin
  • Increased fatigue
  • Limited mobility
  • Headaches
  • Decreased flexibility

 

Looking at this from a chiropractic standpoint, some of these issues directly affect the spine. Between each of our vertebrae, we have a small disc which is designed to cushion the bones. It allows us to bend our spine without those bones rubbing against one another. The center of this disc is filled with nearly 75% water. As we go about our daily activities, we are constantly putting pressure on those discs (due to gravity). When those discs are compressed, some of the water is squeezed out. This is natural. However, if we don’t rehydrate our bodies, then this water is not able to be replaced properly. This leads to back pain, limited mobility, and an increased risk of back injuries.

 

Avoiding Dehydration

 

So one cause of back pain can be as simple as not getting enough fluids. Water is the best option, but if you don’t like the taste of water, try adding lemon. Or try a few raspberries or other fruit with a sprig of mint in sparkling water for a change.

 

High-water content fruits and vegetables are also good. Some that top the list are watermelon and other melons, oranges, grapefruit, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and Romaine lettuce.

 

It was once thought that coffee and tea, since they have a diuretic effect, are not good; however recent studies have shown that the hydrating effect of these beverages outweighs the diuretic effect.

 

Dehydration can have more far-reaching consequences than we might see at first. So be sure to get those liquids for–amongst other things–a healthy spine!

 

See also: http://maronewellness.com/back-pain-overlooked-cause/

http://maronewellness.com/which-plastics-are-safe-for-food-and-drinking/

wallet-in-back-pocket

Back Pain: An Overlooked Cause

Today we hear a lot about ergonomic chairs, and desks to avoid back pain. We practice good posture to keep us looking good. And then we wreck it all by putting a fat wallet or a cell phone in our back pocket!

 

When you sit on a wallet or cell phone, it causes your pelvis to be higher on one side than the other. This creates extra stress throughout your entire spine, including the muscles and nerves that run up your back. The stress can be the cause of many complaints:  pain anywhere in the back, neck pain, sciatica, or headaches, to name a few.

 

No matter how good your posture is, or how well designed your office furniture is, if you are sitting on a wallet or phone all day long, it will cause pain. If you are getting chiropractic adjustments, it can also limit the effectiveness of the adjustments. Likewise, exercise, yoga, or any other technique may help with symptoms as you had hoped.

 

The best solution is to put wallets and phones in your front pocket or carry them in some other way. Your back will thank you!

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/sciatic-pain/

http://maronewellness.com/low-back-pain/

http://maronewellness.com/how-are-you-sitting-while-using-your-computer/

Refined-sugar

Refined Sugar: What to Use in Its Place

Refined sugar is everywhere around us these days. In 2001 the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter reported that Americans spent $21 billion on candy—more than the gross national products of Lithuania, Costa Rica, and Mozambique combined! There has been a rise in Type 2 diabetes that experts are now calling an “emerging epidemic.” The FDA estimates that approximately 2/3 of the sugars we eat come from those added to processed foods.

Refined Sugar Alternatives

Overuse of refined sugar is obviously an issue. And we all crave sweets, but we do not have to give them up completely. Several sweeteners available today, eaten in moderation, can quench our sweet tooth without ruining our health.

 

  • Barley Malt: Can be purchased as a powder or as a syrup. Very concentrated—1/8 tsp. replaces 2 tsp. of refined table sugar. Good for those on a weight-loss regimen or with diabetes or hypoglycemia.
  • Honey: Contains anti-oxidants. Has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Rich source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Blackstrap Molasses: Rich in iron and minerals. Is a byproduct of sugar refining. It is the “good stuff” left over after all the nutrients are refined out of regular sugar. This is one of the best sugar substitutes.
  • Brown Rice Syrup: Similar in texture to honey. Good for people with diabetes. Made by fermenting and boiling brown rice.
  • Stevia: Also known as honeyleaf. Completely safe. Calorie-free. Available in liquid or powdered form. Does not affect blood sugar metabolism. In powdered form, ¼ – ½ tsp. equals a cup of refined sugar.
  • Unsulfured dried fruit: Can be used on top of cereals instead of sugar, or the dried fruit can be cooked, pureed, and mashed to use in baking as a sugar replacement. (This can be done ahead and then when ready to use, soak in boiling water to soften and rehydrate.)

 

Sugars, in any form, should be kept to a minimum in our diet.  Some other foods that help to reduce cravings for sugar include whole grains, sweet potatoes, squash, apples, and bananas.

 

What are you doing to reduce your refined sugar consumption? We’d love to hear your comments!

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/13-tips-help-keep-healthier-eating-new-years-resolutions/

http://maronewellness.com/21-days-to-a-clearer-mind-and-increased-energy/

http://maronewellness.com/inflammation-a-leading-cause-of-weight-gain/

eat-less-feel-better

5 Tips to Help You Eat Less and Feel Better

Diets that create various ways to make you eat less aren’t easy to follow! Sometimes just making a few lifestyle changes can help you to get rid of those unwanted pounds just as well. Here are a few ideas:

 

  1. Don’t try to multitask while eating. Whether you are checking emails, watching TV, driving, or doing any other activity while you eat, your mind is distracted by the other activity. When this happens, you will miss your body’s signals of satiety (fullness) while you are eating, which then leads to overeating. When you are truly hungry, stop your other activities and focus on the process of eating. You will enjoy your food more and be less apt to eat more than your body needs.
  2. Prepare food from scratch as much as possible. Food coming from the perimeter of the grocery store is more healthful than the boxed, bagged, and frozen prepackaged foods that are available. Most fruits and veggies will give you their best health benefits if eaten raw. Eat as many of them as close to nature as possible.
  3. Add a bowl of soup to your meal. Beginning your meal with a broth-based soup will help you to feel more full before you get to the other, higher-calorie courses of the meal so you will eat less of those.
  4. Use some psychological helps to keep you from overeating. Serve your food on a smaller plate so it looks like you have more food. Rather than serving your meals family style, use a buffet format. When you fill your plate away from the table, you have to think twice before getting up to get seconds.
  5. Stop eating as soon as you feel satisfied. Don’t wait until you feel “stuffed.” It takes your body 20 minutes to digest the food to the point that your brain completely registers that you are full. If after 20 minutes you are still full, then get a small portion of something more to eat.

 

These are a few tips to help you eat less–but not by any means an exhaustive list. We’d love to know the things that have worked for you as well. Please comment and share them with us!

 

http://maronewellness.com/super-bowl-party-food-playbook/

http://maronewellness.com/7-tips-make-weight-loss-successful/

migraine-headache

Are Mine Migraines or Tension Headaches?

 

Any type of headache can be quite painful. Sometimes when people feel an especially painful headache, they tend to automatically think it is a migraine. (According to the Migraine Research Foundation, as many as 1 in 4 households have a family member who suffers from migraines.) However, even if it is quite painful, your headache may not be a migraine; It could be a tension headache instead..

Are My Headaches Migraines?

 

If you are suffering from frequent headaches and want to know what type they are, these are some questions you can ask yourself:

 

1. When did the headaches begin? Most migraines begin between early childhood and the teen years. Tension headaches can begin at any age. If you are older and are just beginning to experience headaches, they are probably tension headaches.

2. Where are you feeling the pain? Migraines usually form on one side of the head, however tension headaches will usually form on both sides with pressure at the front of the forehead. This distinction is a major differentiation between headache types.

3. What type of pain are you experiencing? While both types of headaches can cause intense pain, tension headaches usually produce a dull achy pain or pressure around the scalp. Migraines typically produce a throbbing, pulsing pain.

4. Are you experiencing other symptoms in conjunction with the headaches? If your headache is a migraine, you will probably experience additional symptoms such as nausea, light sensitivity, dizziness, pain down the arms (or only one arm), or “seeing” bright lights. These symptoms, though, are not usually connected with a tension headache.

5. Are you able to keep up your regular schedule? With a tension headache, you can probably still work, just with discomfort. With a migraine, it is hard to do anything. Most migraine sufferers will retreat to a dark, quiet room that will block out light and sound until the headache has passed.

6. Do anti-inflammatories take care of the pain? If they do, you probably have a tension headache. Most migraine sufferers find that nothing will work besides just waiting for the headache to run its course.

 

Fortunately, the majority of headaches that people suffer are tension headaches. The above analysis can help you to determine if yours might be a migraine. However if the pain persists, or if you have experienced a head injury, don’t guess; be sure to seek medical care for your headaches, including chiropractic care.

runners-on-bridge

Running and the Benefit of Chiropractic Care

According to a 2016 study, over 64 million people in American either jog or run for exercise. This makes running one of the most popular forms of exercise. Running requires very little equipment, can be done almost anywhere at any time, and can be done solo or with others, which seems to contribute to its popularity.

No matter how much or how little running you do, there is a likelihood that at some point you may become injured. Although it is a great form of exercise, running can be hard on the joints, especially the ankles, knees and hips.

Chiropractic Benefit for Runners

When those injuries do occur, some ice and pain medications can be of help. A chiropractor can also be of assistance for you. Here are five ways that a chiropractor can help you.

1. A chiropractor brings ease through treatment to the soft tissues around the injured joints after a strain/sprain.
2. Chiropractic manipulation can be applied to joints of the extremities as well as the spine.
3. Chiropractic treatment helps the body to heal itself. The modalities that a chiropractor uses will break up restrictions and increase blood flow to the injured area. Sometimes treating one area of the body actually stimulates the healing in another area.
4. A chiropractor’s work reduces the length and severity of pain and helps you to manage the pain that persists. Patients are able to reduce or eliminate pain medications after treatment.
5. Injuries often happen because something wasn’t just right in the body to begin with. Preventative chiropractic care will help to ensure that the body is in proper alignment so that re-injury doesn’t occur.

Running, whether you do it for weight control, stress relief, or just fun, is a great form of exercise. Hopefully you will never sustain any injuries while you are running. The best way to reduce the chances of injury is to be sure you are wearing the proper shoes, be sure to stretch before you begin, and see a chiropractor to keep your body in proper alignment and functioning optimally.

If you have any questions about how chiropractic care can help you to recover from injury or avoid injury in the first place, please give us a call or schedule a free consultation. We would be happy to talk with you.

Backpack

Backpacks: Choosing Wisely for Your Child’s Well Being

The Back-to-School sales are in full swing now, and it is time to be finding the perfect backpacks for your children’s upcoming school year. While your children are probably more interested in the fashion statement they are making, parents need to be concerned about the ergonomic value of their choice. Students sometimes carry their entire locker contents on their backs every day. This frequently leads to neck and back issues as well as muscle and joint strains, especially if not carried correctly.

 

Sizing

The most important key is to choose backpacks with the right fit. Good quality backpacks use “torso length” as a sizing tool. The bag should cover your child’s torso length from the shoulder straps to the bottom of the bag. To determine this length, measure your child’s back from his C7 vertebra (the bone that sticks out when you bend your neck forward) down to the top of his hip bones (approximately waist level). If the backpack tags do not tell you the torso length, you may need to bring a tape measure with you to the store. (The torso length does not necessarily correspond with a child’s height. A tall person can have a short torso length and vice versa. Some backpacks may have an adjustable torso length; others are fixed.)

 

The width of the backpack is also important. The backpack should not be wider than your child’s back. Click this link for a chart which gives general guidelines for sizes vs. age. Remember, however, that each body is different, and children do not all grow at the same pace.

 

 

Style

The next key to good backpacks is the style. They should have broad shoulder straps with good padding. Be sure the pack has straps for both shoulders so that the weight can be distributed evenly on both sides of the body. You also want to see that the weight inside the pack is evenly distributed. Choosing one with lots of dividers, pockets, and extra compartments will keep the contents stationary and well balanced and will also make the load feel lighter.

 

 

Loading

The total weight of a filled backpack should not exceed 15% of your child’s weight. For example, a 60 lb. child should not carry a load of more than 9 lbs. (For small children, 10% of their weight should be the upper limit.) If you see your child bending forward when he is wearing his backpack, it is overloaded.

 

Where each item is placed in the bag is also important. Put the heaviest items so they will be closest to your child’s body; put the lighter items toward the outside. Use the various compartments as much as possible rather than dumping everything in the larger central compartment. It is a good idea when you go shopping to carry some extra items with you to put in the pack to see how comfortable it feels before you purchase.

 

Backpacks tend to accumulate junk from day to day. Be sure your child is cleaning it out regularly so that he is not carrying any more weight than is actually necessary. Each day have him take inventory to see what items he needs for that day and leave everything else out of the bag.

 

 

Wearing

The backpack should not go below the waist. Shoulder straps need to be adjusted to keep the pack close to the body and high on the back. Be sure your child is actually using both straps so that the weight inside is evenly spread to both sides of his body. A waist strap is also good to help relieve shoulder pressure and to keep the pack from swaying. Your child should use this strap as well if his backpack has one.

 

Backpacks have become an indispensable part of school life. Choosing one wisely makes a big difference in so many aspects of your child’s school day. Wishing you and your children a great, pain-free school year!

 

Photo by Austin Nicomedez on Unsplas

banana-ice-cream

One-Ingredient Ice Cream

 

 

It has been a hot summer so far! So a cold dessert sure hits the spot–and you can get one without sacrificing your health. A very quick and easy ice cream can be made from only one ingredient: bananas!

 

How to Make Banana Ice Cream

 

Get some bananas which are ripe enough to be sweet. Cut them into slices and freeze overnight, or at least 4 hours. Take them out and put them into a food processor. It will take a bit, so be patient. It will go through stages: crumbly, then gooey, then smooth but with chunks in it. Periodically scrape down the food processor. Eventually the chunks will smooth out, and you will end up with a rich, creamy ice cream.

 

This dessert can be eaten right away, but it will be soft. If you prefer your ice cream more solid, transfer it to an airtight container and put it in the freezer until it firms up.

 

For Some Variety:

 

This basic recipe can be spiced up by adding other ingredients to change the flavor. Here are a few ideas:

 

Toward the end of the blending of the ice cream, add in one of these:

 

  • A tablespoon or so of peanut butter or Nutella.
  • Some chopped almonds or other nuts.
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger.
  • Honey (Or combine peanut butter and honey)
  • Frozen strawberries, peaches, or other fruit. (You can also add more fruit on top.)
  • 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder per banana and ¾ tsp. of vanilla.

 

We hope you enjoy your summer. Let us know your favorite “flavor” of ice cream!

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/13-tips-help-keep-healthier-eating-new-years-resolutions/

http://maronewellness.com/health-improvement-program/

quick-meal-ideas

Meal Maker: A Tool to Make Cooking Easier

We recently came across a website that we thought you might find helpful. It is hosted by Nimali Fernando, M.D., M.P.H, or “Dr. Yum,” as she calls herself. She has a pediatric office in Fredericksburg, VA where she focuses on helping children eat healthier through her Dr. Yum Project. To learn more about her program, check out her website at https://www.doctoryum.org/.

 

Meal Maker Machine

 

On her website she has a helpful tool for your own kitchen. She calls it a Meal Maker Machine–it helps you make a quick, nutritious meal with the ingredients you already have in your kitchen or can readily find. When you open up the Meal Maker Machine page, it presents you with several types of meals: Stir-Fry Maker, Curry in a Hurry, Super Soup Maker, Busy Night Bake, Salad Maker, Power Pasta, and Yum Bowl.

 

To use it, begin by clicking on the type of meal that sounds good to you. For example, if you choose the Stir Fry Maker button, you are given several options. You can choose the oil you want to use. Next you choose the aromatics, then the protein source, any veggies, which type of sauce and seasonings you would like, as well as some additional options to “yum-ify” your meal further. When you have completed the options, a recipe is created with the specific ingredients that you chose. Below the recipe, they have even provided a short 2-3 minute video with tips on how to make the recipe.

 

Recipes

 

If you don’t want to make your own recipe, you can go to the Meal Maker Machine Recipes section. There you have options to choose recipes that are already created. You are able to narrow the search by dietary restrictions if you have any. Some of the options include gluten free, allergy-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, carb-conscious, or budget-friendly. Once you have made your choices, you will see several pages of photos of food. Just click on any photo to get the recipe.

 

We can all use a little extra time these days. Hopefully this will make your meal planning and preparation a little easier. Try it out, and let us know how you liked it!