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functional health

Functional Medicine: What Is It?

A 49-year-old man was experiencing cramps, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety, and had trouble sleeping. He went to the doctor and had the routine blood work done. Everything came back normal. Since he was not able to find a good solution to the symptoms he was experiencing, he chose to try the principles of Functional Medicine. The practitioner had lab work done. This showed his unique biomarkers which revealed the deficiencies in the major systems of his body.

His Functional Medicine report showed that his body needed more magnesium than the average person. After seeing the results, he increased his magnesium intake. Within just a few days, his fatigue had vanished. The dark circles under his eyes were gone. His blood pressure readings were lower. He began to see his blood sugar stabilizing. With these changes, he felt much better in just a short time.

Each one of us is as different as our fingerprints. We each have unique biochemical characteristics. Two people can experience the same symptoms, but it may be different imbalances in their bodies which are contributing to those symptoms. Using Functional Medicine is like listening to your body talk directly to you. It helps you to find the deficiencies in your body that you need to bring it back to full health.

5 Basic Principles of Functional Medicine

  • Each one of us is a unique individual.  This includes our genetic makeup as well as biochemical makeup. Functional Medicine treats the individual, not the disease.
  • FM is science based.  Science is learning that each system of the body is interconnected with every other system. By viewing the various systems as an integrated whole, FM recognizes that a symptom in one part of the body may be a manifestation of an underlying issue in another part.
  • Your body has an innate intelligence. Once any interference is eliminated, your body has the ability to regulate and balance all of its systems.
  • Your body has the ability to heal and prevent most of the diseases of aging.
  • Health is more than absence of disease; it is a state of immense vitality.

Mainstream medicine is trained to diagnose and then find medications to match the disease. The goal of Functional Medicine is to help patients with chronic illnesses find the most effective options with the fewest side effects. We work to find the root cause of your symptoms or disease and use holistic or alternative medicine approaches to help you reach optimal functioning.

Call us at 864-963-9304 for a free consultation today.

Photo courtesy of Pineapple Supply Company on Unsplash

9 Tips to Help Prepare Healthy Meals FAST!

After a long day at work followed by your kids’ soccer practice, it can be really tempting to call out for pizza rather than putting something nutritious on the table. Nutritious food just seems to take a lot more time to prepare. With these tips, though, you may find that a healthy meal can be a lot easier than you think!

 

Meal Planning Tips

 

  • Plan ahead. Sit down once a week and plan your meals for the next week. Take into account those day which are going to be especially busy, and plan something simple for those days.
  • Do your grocery shopping once a week. After you plan your meals for the week, write out a grocery list for all the ingredients you will need to prepare those meals. This will save tons of time by avoiding those extra trips to the store to pick up those items needed for a last-minute meal.
  • Prep your produce all at once. Find a time shortly after you bring the groceries home to do any necessary dicing and slicing necessary for the week’s meals. Measure out the amounts you will need for each recipe and label the container. Or have a “Monday” container, a “Tuesday” container, etc. that you will use each week for that day’s chopped produce.
  • Be sure that you keep your pantry and freezer stocked. Keep staples on hand. When they get low, put them on your grocery list. When you open a box or jar of any item you use regularly, put it on your list so you will be sure to have it when the opened item is used up. Be sure the things you are stocking are healthy—beans, whole grains, whole-grain pasta, frozen fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.
  • Double up. When you make a recipe, plan on doubling or tripling the recipe. You’ll have a meal for that day and more to put in the freezer for a quick, already-prepared meal another night.
  • Take advantage of the simplicity of a slow cooker. The ingredients can be dumped in the slow cooker in the morning,. When you get home, a nice, warm meal will be waiting for you.
  • Use shakes. For really busy days, find some good smoothie recipes, and have a healthy smoothie as a meal replacement.
  • Some types of food are naturally easy. Tacos, stir-fly, or pasta dishes are usually quick to make. Find several variations of these to keep it fresh.
  • Have some “go-to” meals. Make a list of the quick healthy meals that you have prepared that your family especially enjoyed. Keep those ingredients on hand so you know you always have something you can put together to keep nutritious meals on the table.

 

Please let us know if these are helpful to you or if you have additional tips to add that have worked for you. We’re all in this together to keep our bodies healthy!

 

See also:

Use the Color Wheel to Plan Your Menu

Meal Maker: A Tool to Make Cooking Easier

13 Tips to Help You Keep Your “Healthier Eating” New Year’s Resolutions

Eating Healthy Even Through the Holidays

21 Days to a Clearer Mind and Increased Energy!

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

grow-your-own

8 Vegetables to Plant This Spring

If you want to improve the nutritional quality of your food, there is no better way than to grow it yourself! You know the produce is fresh, and you can control the quality of the soil it grows in. Since spring is just around the corner, it is time to be thinking about what to plant in that garden. Here are some ideas for some vegetables and when to plan them:

 

Arugula

This plant adds a nice zest to dishes! The seeds should be planted as soon as the soil is workable. They will grow fast—you should have a harvest in 3-4 weeks. You can replant it every 2 weeks until the weather becomes too hot.

 

Beets

There are many varieties of this vegetable. You can venture into new territory and try a yellow or white variety instead of the classic red. These provide an early summer harvest. They like a bit of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to help them along.

 

Broccoli

Broccoli is filled with anti-oxidants and is a nutritional powerhouse. It can be transplanted as early as 4 weeks before the last frost date (which in our area is April 15). Broccoli will take 50-100 days to harvest.

 

Carrots

Who doesn’t love a great snack of carrots! The seeds can be planted as early as two weeks before the last frost date. Plant them deep in loose soil. If you want baby carrots, they can be harvested in 30-40 days. For full mature carrots, they will require 50-80 days.

 

Peas

Peas come in several varieties: English, green, sugar, or snap. It might be fun to experiment and try all of them! These can be planted 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Approximately 55-70 days later, you should be ready to reap your harvest.

 

Lettuce

This vegetable can be grown at any time. Begin your planting as soon as the soil is workable. It prefers partial shade, so it will grow in areas where some other things won’t do as well. Lettuce is sensitive to cold, so if we have a cold snap, covering them with blankets can protect them.

 

Onions

No matter which type you prefer, these can be planted early. Onions do best with time-released fertilizer.

 

Radishes

These can be planted in between other veggies, because they don’t require much room. They need well-drained soil, and no feeding is necessary. Radishes grow quickly, so check them often. They should be picked once they are an edible size to avoid becoming bitter. Plant them as early as 4 weeks before the last frost.

 

What are you going to plant this season? Anything unusual? We’d love to hear your gardening stories—they’re an inspiration to us all to get our hands in the dirt!

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/3-tips-for-pain-free-gardening/

http://maronewellness.com/more-tips-for-pain-free-gardening/

 

colorful-fruits

Use the Color Wheel to Plan Your Menu

We always seem to be on the lookout for one “superfood” that will solve all of our health problems. However, the truth is that health comes best through a variety of foods—especially in a variety of colors, because each color offers different nutritional benefits. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain both antioxidants and phytochemicals which can reduce the risk of many chronic health issues including cancer and heart disease.

These are the different colors along with the foods that fit into that category and the health benefits they bring.

 

White

Foods

Bananas

Cauliflower

Garlic

Mushrooms

White onions

 

Benefits

The natural plant pigments in these foods have shown in studies to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. They also reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

 

Orange and Yellow

Foods:

Apricots

Cantaloupe

Carrots

Mangos

Orange Peppers

Papaya

Peaches

Pumpkin

Sweet Potatoes

Yellow Peppers

 

Benefits:

These foods contain carotinoids that help to keep our eyes healthy. Orange and yellows reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease and also provide an overall boost to our immune system.

 

Red

Foods:

Beets

Cherries

Cranberries

Pink Grapefruit

Pomegranates

Raspberries

Red Cabbage

Red Grapes

Red Peppers

Rhubarb

Strawberries

Tomatoes

Watermelon

 

Benefits:

This color contains lycopene and anthocyanins. Lycopene is helpful in reducing the risk of cancer, particularly prostate cancer, and anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants that keep our cells protected from damage by free radicals.

 

Green

Foods:

Artihokes

Asparagus

Avocados

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Green Cabbage

Kiwi

Lettuce

Green Onions

Peas

 

Benefits:

Greens are rich in anti-oxidants which promote eye health, reduce risk of cataracts, and protect against some types of cancers.

 

 

Blue and Purple

Foods

Blackberries

Blueberries

Eggplant

Prunes

Plums

Purple Grapes

 

Benefits

Blue and purple foods contain anthocyanins which protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

 

Each color has its benefits. If we make sure we get a good balance of all of them, we can increase our chances of vibrant health!

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/eating-healthy-you-can-stick-with-it/

http://maronewellness.com/10-tips-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget/

 

Photo by ja ma on Unsplash
A-Cup-Of-Tea

The Best Teas for Your Health

This is great weather for a hot cup of tea! Not only does tea warm you up, but it can also contain some important health benefits. If you choose herbal or lesser processed teas, these are some of the primary benefits of many popular teas.

 

Rooibos

Pronounced ROY-boss, this tea comes from Africa and is known as red tea. It contains alpha hydroxy acid which is used to regain youthful looking skin. It has anti-oxidants with anti-inflammatory properties which help to alleviate pain caused by inflammation. Rooibos contains ingredients which work as a broncodilator to help with allergies and asthma. The Quercetin in Rooibos can even prevent allergies from triggering in the first place. This tea also has been shown to help control diabetes and support heart health.

 

Chamomile

This herbal tea has a number of uses. It helps with insomnia. It boosts our immune system. If you get a cold, a cup of this tea can relieve your symptoms. Chamomile is known for relieving digestive issues such as indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, and nausea. Applying it to the skin can treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, or dandruff.

 

 

Peppermint

Even though there hasn’t been much research done on this herb, it has been used for years to settle an upset stomach, relieve a headache, soothe irritable bowel syndrome, and to help with breathing.

 

Ginger

Ayurveda refers to ginger as the universal medicine because it is good for so many things. It helps the body absorb nutrients. IBS and stomach pain can be alleviated with ginger. It is also used for weight loss, to fight cancer, and to help diabetics manage their glucose levels. Ginger is helpful for better circulation and digestion. It can protect against Alzheimer’s disease. One of the benefits it is most known for is its ability to reduce inflammation.

 

Echinacea

This herb fights the flu. It lowers blood sugar. Research is promising that it may lower blood pressure. It is also known for reducing inflammation.

 

Nettle

Those with osteoarthritis find a friend with nettle in reducing their inflammation. This herbal tea is also a good blood cleanser. It helps the body to rid itself of stored toxins. Nettle also helps to lower blood sugar and reduce allergic rhinitis.

 

Green Tea

Although it is not an herbal tea, green tea has been shown to improve brain function in the short term as well as lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s in the long term. Green tea has been shown to increase fat burning and boost metabolism. It also kills bacteria which can cause bad breath and dental carries. It also shows promise of lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

 

Herbal teas are powerful medicine. As with any other herb, be sure to check with your health professional before adding them to your diet. Some of them can also cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. It is wise to begin slowly and give your body time to react to the tea before you drink additional cups.

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/rosemary-herbal-memory-remedy/

http://maronewellness.com/healthy-benefits-turmeric-curative-spice/

http://maronewellness.com/can-you-stomach-ginger-binge/

http://maronewellness.com/herbal-remedies-chronic-sinusitis/

 

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

holiday-parties

Holiday Overeating? Eat These Foods to Help

Have you overeaten or eaten more than you intended to over the past few days/weeks? If so, here are a few good foods to help get your body back to normal and feeling better quickly.

 

  1. Yogurt. In our gut we have “good” bacteria that help to digest food and “bad” bacteria that can potentially be harmful. When we eat poorly, the “bad” bacteria can overtake the “good” bacteria. Eating yogurt helps to put “good” bacteria in our gut to counteract the “bad.” This will help to prevent gas and diarrhea.
  2. Ginger. Ginger stimulates the production of saliva, bile, and gastric enzymes. These keep food moving from your stomach through to your small intestines to reduce gas production. One of the best ways to get ginger is to make a cup of ginger tea. It is also good in salads and smoothies.
  3. Salmon.  The Omega 3s are good for your heart, which can be stressed with an unusual diet. The protein in salmon helps to stabilize blood sugar and may prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal that is overloaded with carbs.
  4. Nuts. Several types of nuts are good for the heart. Almonds and walnuts are some of the best. The Vitamin E in nuts also protects the arteries.
  5. Bananas. Much holiday food is loaded with sodium. Bananas will help to lower blood pressure which can rise after a sodium-rich meal.
  6. Green Tea. The flavonoids in green tea assist in lowering LDL, the “bad” cholesterol and also help to get high blood pressure back to normal.
  7. Spinach. The Vitamin B2 in spinach helps to metabolize fat. Our bodies have to work hard after a binge; B2 gives our body a boost. The vitamins in spinach also fight disease and infection which can develop as a result of being around large groups of people. Spinach is best either raw or lightly steamed.
  8. Water. Last but not least, is water. This liquid is better than anything else in flushing out your system after overeating. It aids in digesting food and softens stools to keep things moving along. If you are suffering from indigestion, try using seltzer water for the calming effect of the fizz.

 

We wish you a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully these ideas will make it even better!

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/

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/

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/