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Intermittent Fasting: Benefits and Methods

Recently a health trend called Intermittent Fasting has begun topping the charts in popularity. People are using Intermittent Fasting to lose weight, improve their health, increase brain function, and to simplify their lives. Its popularity is likely at least in part due to the fact that it is easier to sustain in a busy lifestyle than most “diets.”

 

Many benefits are confirmed by studies with people using this plan. Intermittent Fasting will reduce obesity and protect against diabetes. It has been shown to protect nerve cells from degeneration. A 2009 study found that elderly adults had improved memory recall after three months of reduced caloric intake. It has also been shown to improve depression and other mood disorders, reduce cholesterol, slow the progression of some cancers, and reduce insulin resistance.

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

 

The concept behind Intermittent Fasting is that you eat during a specified time period and then fast the rest of the time. Intermittent Fasting can be done in several different ways.

 

One popular method is the 16/8 Method. This means that you fast for 16 hours and then eat only during an 8-hour window of each day. For example, skip breakfast (except for coffee or tea without cream or sugar). Then eat only during an eight hour window later in the day, such as between noon and 8:00 p.m. or 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

The 5:2 Diet consists of eating only 500 – 600 calories on two non-consecutive days of the week and then eating normally the other five.

 

A third method is the Eat – Stop – Eat Method. With this choice, you pick one or two non-consecutive days (24-hour periods) per week to fast. You then eat normally the other days.

 

Who Should Not Use Intermittent Fasting?

 

As always, consult your medical professional before beginning any diet. With Intermittent Fasting, this is especially true if any of these apply to you:

 

  • Have diabetes or issues with regulating blood sugar levels
  • Have a history of eating disorders
  • Are trying to conceive
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have amenorhhea
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Are taking any medications

 

The primary goal of Intermittent Fasting is not usually weight loss. However, since you are reducing caloric intake, weight loss should occur as long as you do not overeat on the days when you are not fasting. Usually the weight that you do lose is belly fat—the kind that grows around your organs and causes disease–so that is a big bonus.

 

Any of these three methods will produce positive health benefits. Most people, however, find that the 16/8 method is the easiest to sustain over long periods of time and is the least intrusive into their lifestyles. If you have tried one of these plans, leave a comment and let us know how it went for you. We’d love to hear from you!

 

*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/

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/

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!

 

osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: Some Tips to Help

Osteoporosis is a diagnosis that many of us fear as we age. It causes our bones to become weak and brittle. Just a minor stressor such as coughing or bending can cause a fracture. This happens because old bone tissue is being broken down and removed faster than new tissue is being produced. Our hips, spine and wrist tend to be most prone to fractures. Weight bearing bones such as the pelvis, femur (leg bone) and the lower back vertebrae are also very likely to be injured. Although anyone can be affected, osteoporosis tends to show up in Asian and Caucasian women the most frequently.

 

Indicators That You May Be Suffering from Osteoporosis

 

  • Bone fractures
  • Collapsed vertebrae
  • Chronic back pain
  • Loss of height
  • Stooped posture

 

Osteoporosis Solutions

 

The leading cause of osteoporosis is lack of exercise. To help reduce the chance of getting osteoporosis, three specific types of exercise are best: weight bearing, resistance, and flexibility exercises. If you already have symptoms, exercise will help to slow the progression. Weight bearing exercises include activities such as hiking, jogging, jumping rope, and high-impact aerobics. Resistance exercises make your muscles work against a force or weight. Examples of resistance exercise include planks, straight leg raises, or weight lifting. Flexibility exercises allow your joints to maintain their full range of motion. These may include stretching exercises, yoga, or swimming, for example.

 

Proper nutrition will also help your body to produce the new tissue that it needs to stay healthy. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, the two most important nutrients for preventing and managing the disease are calcium and Vitamin D. They also said, however, that “there are a number of foods, nutrients and vitamins, besides calcium and vitamin D, that help to prevent osteoporosis and contribute to bone, muscle and joint health, including protein, fruits and vegetables, and other vitamins and minerals.”

 

Nutrition Response Testing® is a system that reveals what nutrients your body is lacking. Dr. Marone can do an assessment and recommend the nutritional supplements that will give your body exactly what it needs.  Both chiropractic care and Nutrition Response Testing are very helpful in the fight against osteoporosis. If you are dealing with the disease or are wanting to prevent the devastating effects of it, please call our office at 864-963-9304 to see how we can help you.

See also: http://maronewellness.com/muscle-testing/

*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.