Archives for michelle

Cool as a Cucumber

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


When those summer temperatures begin to rise, it’s normal to reach for tasty options to help cool us down. But before you reach for the ice cream and lemonade, take a moment to think outside the box. Cucumbers are a naturally cooling food that offer many nutritional benefits. Low in calories and containing a good amount of fiber and water, cucumbers are an ideal summer treat that can refresh the body, while also helping promote hydration and weight loss.

Often thought of as a vegetable, the cucumber is actually a mild-tasting fruit. Cucumbers are members of the Cucurbitaceae family, which also includes melon and squash. Cucumbers come in a variety of colors and sizes. Most commonly, they are sliced and eaten fresh or brined and made into pickles.

Composed of about 96% water, cucumbers can also help you meet your daily fluid and hydration needs. They also contain magnesium and other electrolytes that aid in hydrating the digestive system and keeping the bowels relaxed and regular. One cup of cucumbers is only 15 calories and provides about 20% of your daily need of vitamin K. Vitamin K, in combination with other essential nutrients, can help improve calcium absorption and contribute to good bone health.

When shopping, look for dark green cucumbers that are firm and smooth without any soft, waterlogged spots or bruises. Plan on eating the whole cucumber, as the skin and seeds contain important health-boosting compounds. Organic and unwaxed cucumbers will pack the biggest nutritional punch, especially if you are consuming the skin. Cucumbers should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them (usually within 3-5 days of purchase).

Most recipes call for raw cucumbers. This is because, due to their high water content, cucumbers tend to be soggy when cooked. Here are a few ways you can incorporate cucumbers into your daily diet when the dog days of summer are in full force:

Create a refreshing summer drink: Thinly slice a cucumber and add it to your water for additional flavor and nutrients. Or try combining 4 ounces of coconut water with the juice of 4 celery stalks, 1 cucumber and 1 lime.

Whip up a salad: Try this quick and healthy cucumber salad with just 5 ingredients: Cut two large cucumbers into 1/8 inch-thick slices. Combine with one small white or red onion chopped, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 teaspoons of dill.

Use cucumbers as salad boats or a bread replacement: Cut the cucumber in half and remove seeds in order to have the most room to stuff with your favorite salad. (My local favorite is the chicken salad from Sweet Kneads.) You can also stuff the cucumber with tuna salad or make your own BLT salad.

Add to a fruit salad: While it may sound odd, this tasty salad combines multiple fruits that provide a good dose of hydration. In a large bowl combine: 1 container (16 oz.) fresh strawberries cut in half, 1 english cucumber cut in half lengthwise and then into ¼ inch slices, 1 cup cubed honeydew melon. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, whisk together: 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon grated lime zest and drizzle over the cut fruit, tossing gently to coat.

Finally, try this recipe at your next summer potluck. It is light, refreshing and has great flavor.

Cucumber and Chickpea Salad

3 cans (15 oz. each) chickpeas or garbanzo beans rinsed and drained
4 large cucumbers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 packages (3.5 ounces each) feta cheese
1 cup finely chopped red onion
½ cup ranch salad dressing
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine cucumber, onion, feta, chickpeas. In a separate bowl mix ranch dressing, dill, salt and pepper, pour that over the salad ingredients, toss continuously to coat. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour before serving.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.



Himalayan Salt Lamps

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Himalayan salt lamps are becoming more common these days. But what exactly are these large chunks of glowing pink rock?


Salt lamps, also known as rock salt lamps, are made from large chunks of Himalayan salt that have been hollowed out.  A light bulb is then placed inside the salt to emit light and heat. Deep mines in the western edge of the Himalayan Mountains are the only source of true pink Himalayan salt. Oftentimes, these lamps are purchased for the pleasant glow they emit, but they actually provide numerous health benefits, as well.


First and foremost, salt lamps can help remove contaminants and allergens from the air, which is helpful for those with seasonal allergies and asthma. While salt lamps may not completely “cure” these conditions, they can help to significantly reduce symptoms. The lamp also acts as a deodorizer, leaving you with fresher air to breathe inside.


How exactly does a salt lamp remove air contaminants? Water vapor in the air carries indoor air pollutants like mold, dust, pollen, cigarette smoke, pet dander and other allergens. Salt is hygroscopic, meaning it attracts water molecules to itself. Once the water vapor comes in contact with the salt lamp, pollutants remain trapped in the salt. Since the salt lamp is heated, the salt dries out and is able to continue the cycle of attracting water vapor and pollutants and releasing clean water vapor back into the air.


Salt lamps can also help reduce electromagnetic field radiation (EMF).  These days, many things around us release EMFs in the form of unhealthy positive ions, such as cell phones, computers and televisions. EMFs may be invisible to the naked eye but constant exposure is believed to increase stress and inflammation in the body, while causing side effects like fatigue and a weakened immune system. There have been numerous studies on the toxic effects of EMFs, and scientists have concluded “chronic exposure to low-level radiation [from cell phones, for example] can cause dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and a variety of cancers.”

One way to neutralize electromagnetic field radiation is to increase your exposure to negative ions. Salt lamps are natural negative ionizers. When the gentle heat from the lamp warms the salt crystal, the salt emits a negative electrical charge, helping to counter the harmful positive ions from EMF radiation.

Himalayan salt lamps have been shown to help reduce anxiety symptoms. The warm, pinkish glow of salt lamps is calming and brings a happy presence into a room. The negative ions released by salt lamps are also believed to increase serotonin levels in the brain, boosting mood, increasing energy, and helping to relieve stress and depression. Many people find having a salt lamp in their bedroom produces a calming atmosphere that encourages sleep and focus.


Salt lamps can often be found at health food stores, and stores like Homegoods; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Whole Foods and Amazon. When purchasing a salt lamp, be sure to take into consideration the size of room you are planning to use the lamp in. To effectively cleanse the air of a space, you need one pound of salt rock for every 16 square feet. You may need to use multiple salt lamps in larger, open rooms.


Keep salt lamps away from household moisture like showers, dishwashers, washing machines or window seals, because prolonged exposure to high humidity will cause the salt to melt. Always practice proper safety as well, keeping your lamp in a place where a child cannot pull or knock it down — salt lamps tend to be heavy! Make sure your light bulb is not too strong, which will cause the salt lamp to overheat. A night light sized bulb works just fine. You can check the heat of your lamp by touching the salt. The lamp should only be turned on while you are in the room or the house.


So, choose a room where you spend the most time, whether that is your bedroom, living room, kitchen, or home office, and try using a salt lamp.  Getting started is as easy as just plugging it in. Not only do salt lamps make a beautiful addition to your home or office, your health may enjoy a boost, as well.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Trigger Points

Getting to the point of trigger points and myofascial pain
Dr. Alyssa Musgrove
Did you know there are over 600 muscles in the human body? When muscle tissue is healthy, full range of motion can be achieved without discomfort, and daily activities can be performed with ease. However, being the most abundant tissue in the body, muscles can also be a common source of pain.
A trigger point is an area of the muscle or myofascial system sensitive to touch. Trigger points commonly feel like a lump or tightly stretched muscle fiber – like a pea buried deep in the muscle. A trigger point in a muscle could be actively painful or it could manifest no pain unless touched. The small “knot” can be highly irritable when being pressed on in that exact location or cause referred pain elsewhere in the body. Left untreated, trigger points can cause muscle tension, stiffness, weakness, edema, and limited range of motion. Muscles affected by trigger points
can also compress the nerves running through, or nearby, the affected muscle. This muscle compression can cause sensations of tingling, numbness, burning and hypersensitivity.
Trigger points can form in a variety of ways. Some causes are obvious, such as trauma, accidents, falls, injuries, muscle strains, and episodes of “overdoing it.” Everyone occasionally lifts or carries unreasonable loads, ambitiously exercises when out of condition, or overexerts during sporting activities to get the win. However, congenital irregularities in bone structure, repetitive work posture, and lack of exercise can contribute to trigger points, as well.
Furthermore, poor posture can cause trigger points by keeping some muscles in a shortened position, while other muscles are lengthened. Muscles of the neck, back and hips can be severely stressed in the poor posture dictated by car seats, chairs, mattresses and other furniture without good support. Carrying or lifting heavy items, wearing heavy clothing, and carrying bulky handbags, backpacks or suitcases can irritate trigger points in the upper back and
shoulders. In older adults, we often see poor posture being used to avoid feeling pain from an injury or ache associated with a degenerative joint. This type of “muscle guarding” can also cause trigger points.
Less obvious causes of trigger points include poor nutrition, non-restorative sleep, emotional distress, and exposure to cold temperatures. For example, anxiety and emotional stress can form significant tension in the neck and shoulder muscles creating trigger point activity. Vitamins and minerals could play a part in the creation of trigger points due to the physiological role they play in muscle activity and function.
Often people seeking relief of pain, tenderness or lack of proper motion might have trigger points that are over-looked, and the pain is never resolved. Many of the common conditions we see in our office, such as tension headaches, shoulder pain, jaw pain (TMJ), plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, disc pain and tendinitis, can actually be linked to trigger points.
Lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing the development of trigger points. Correct posture, balanced diet, stress reduction and staying active are all important factors. Stretching and strengthening exercises will help achieve and maintain full range of motion, as well as optimal muscle function.
At home, self-applied massage can help relieve trigger point pain. Pressure can be applied directly to the point with the fingers, knuckles, and/or elbow. For hard-to-reach muscles, a tennis ball, golf ball, lacrosse ball, foam roller or Thera Cane can be used.
When using a ball, place it between your body and something else: usually the floor, sometimes a wall, or another body part. The goal is to achieve a release of the trigger point by applying just the right amount of pressure. The pressure typically produces initial soreness, but relax as much as possible, use deep breathing and wait for the sensation to fade to about 80% of the original intensity. Release has been achieved when the tenderness diminishes. This can take anywhere from 10 seconds to several minutes.
Trigger point therapy can also be performed by a qualified professional. In our office, we utilize a highly targeted approach that combines soft tissue therapies and chiropractic adjustments to help alleviate the factors that have caused the trigger points. As the underlying biomechanics improve, the trigger points begin to resolve — without the need for injections or medications. Trigger point therapy, whether self-applied or administered by a professional, has the potential to relieve chronic pain and greatly improve a patient’s overall quality of life.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Oil Pulling

Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Many Americans reach for mouthwash as part of their daily morning routine, but over the last few years, more and more people have been swapping that dental hygiene mainstay for something a little more unconventional: oil. The ancient practice of oil pulling has been steadily growing in popularity as people seek to reap its many associated dental health benefits.


Rooted in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic healing system developed thousands of years ago in India, oil pulling was first used to boost oral health before the advent of the toothbrush. Oil pulling is the act of swishing oil (usually coconut or sesame) in the mouth for up to 20 minutes.  Advocates say oil pulling can help loosen and remove plaque, while also helping to extract toxins and harmful bacteria from the mouth. As such, it helps balance the microorganisms in the mouth, which can help prevent cavities, and promote healthy teeth and gums. Specifically, oil pulling can help:


  • Prevent bad breath
  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Reduce plaque-related gingivitis
  • Improve bleeding gums
  • Whiten teeth
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Heal cracked lips
  • Boost the immune system
  • Strengthen gums
  • Reduce plaque
  • Decrease tooth sensitivity


To date, there are only seven studies on the health benefits of oil pulling. One source calls oil pulling a “powerful detoxifying technique” with “the ability to purify the entire system” because each section of the tongue is connected to different organ systems such as the kidney, lungs, liver, heart, small intestine, stomach, colon, and spine, similarly to reflexology. According to research from the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, oil pulling reduces Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is found in saliva and is a significant contributor to tooth decay. There have been no reports showing that oil pulling has any negative or ill effects on dental fillings.


Most people recommend using a tablespoon of oil and swishing for 20 minutes upon waking in the morning. You do not have to oil pull in the morning, but the best time is before eating.

I prefer coconut oil because I enjoy the taste, and it has many natural antibacterial healing benefits. (You’ll get the most health benefit from organic virgin coconut oil, so it is best to avoid any coconut oil that has been processed or refined.)


Initially, it may be difficult to swish for a full 20 minutes. If you find that to be the case, begin gradually — use a teaspoon of oil and swish for 5 minutes to start. You can increase the amount of oil and length of time as you get accustomed to the process. You can also melt the coconut oil before putting it in your mouth. Many people find it is easiest to oil pull in the shower, since they do not have to talk to anyone or do anything else.


Adding essential oils can help improve the taste and increase healing. Make sure that any oil you use is safe to use internally. For everyday use you can add a few drops of lemon, peppermint or wild orange. When battling an infection or sickness, you can mix cinnamon, tea tree, and clove as a homeopathic remedy.


After you gently swish the amount of oil you can handle in your mouth, be sure to spit the oil in the trash (not the sink or drain because it will solidify and clog the plumbing). It is critically important that you do not swallow the oil because, as you swish it around in your mouth, it draws toxins out of your teeth and gums that you do not want to ingest. After spitting out the oil, you can rinse with warm water and use sea salt for added antimicrobial properties. Then, brush and floss as normal. For best results, you can oil pull 3 to 4 times a week. You should notice a difference with your breath, teeth and mouth within a week.


Oil pulling can be an effective tool to help maintain, and even improve, your oral health. I encourage you to try it, as it is one of the best ways to remove bacteria and promote healthy teeth and gums.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Tech and Posture

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


Technology offers many conveniences in terms of staying connected and entertained via small devices that fit in our pockets. But, unfortunately, as smart phones and gadgets get smarter, our posture gets weaker.


When we stand in proper alignment, the cervical spine (neck) and surrounding structures are able to support the weight of the head, which on average weighs about 10 pounds. When we look down at a phone, computer or electronic device (something we do on average between 2 to 4 hours a day), the neck is flexed forward and the weight of the head increases dramatically. In fact, some researchers believe when the head is tilted just 15 degrees forward, it nearly triples the head weight to about 27 pounds felt on the neck and shoulders. At 45 degrees of tilt, head weight increases to about 50 pounds on the neck and shoulders.


“Text neck” and “tech headaches” refers to conditions caused by chronically holding your head flexed and forward, as we do when looking at our handheld devices. This new societal posture norm generates a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress to the posture system and, over time, is the culprit of many symptoms people experience on a daily basis.


Chronically maintaining a forward head posture can lead to muscle strain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and TMJ (jaw) pain. Forward head posture can also cause disc injury, pinched nerves, early arthritic changes of the neck, numbness and tingling in the arms, hands and fingers. As the head moves forward and your upper back and shoulders become rounded and hunched, lung capacity decreases, resulting in shallow improper breathing that restricts the amount of oxygen reaching your tissues.


Here are several simple steps you can take today to avoid developing degenerative neck changes, muscle strains and pain from “text neck” and “tech headaches”:


Limit the time

Limit the amount of time you use your device. If you must sit for an extended period of time, take breaks to change your posture, move around and stretch. Develop a habit of taking a two to three minute break for every 15 to 20 minutes you use your device or sit at a desk. Utilize your smart device to set automatic reminders and that will notify you when to take a break, stretch and reposition.


Raise the device

Elevate your device as close to eye-level as possible. (You can find holders for devices that make this possible.) Also, be aware of the placement of your computer screen. You should be able to look forward without looking down to view the screen. Simply lifting the computer screen to eye level will help maintain proper posture throughout the day.



Chin tucks are a great exercise to stretch the neck. Move your chin backwards towards your chest without moving it up or down and hold for five seconds as you feel a comfortable stretch at the base of your skull. You can also tilt the head to one side, bringing the ear close to the shoulder. You may use your hand to pull your head further into the stretch (best done while exhaling your breath), holding the stretch up to 20 seconds. You can also do the same thing while rotating your head from side to side to reach different muscles, repeating 3-5 times on each side.


A doorway can be helpful for stretching chest muscles. Place your palms flat against either side of the doorframe, with your shoulders and elbows at a 90-degree angle to your forearms. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your pectoral muscles and hold for 30 seconds at a time.


Rest the head

If you sit at a desk for long periods of time, switch to a chair with a headrest and focus on keeping the back of your head in contact with the headrest, trying to keep your chin parallel to the ground and avoid looking down. You can also practice this while driving — focus on pressing the back of your head on the headrest in the car and bringing the shoulders back.


Be aware of pain

Use pain as a warning sign to check yourself. Experiencing pain in your neck, burning between the shoulder blades, numbness or tingling in the arms or frequent headaches is your body’s way of telling you to act quickly and make a change. Pay attention to these warning signs and take action before a more serious permanent issue arises.


If your symptoms do not improve after incorporating new posture methods, stretching and reducing the time spent on handheld devices, then it may be time to seek help from a qualified professional. Chiropractic adjustments can help relieve joint pain, reduce tight muscles and promote posture habit re-education. The sooner you seek treatment, the more likely it is that you will have success in treating the problem and keep it from progressing to permanent damage.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


Personal Care Products

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), women use an average of 12 personal care products a day, exposing them to about 168 chemicals.  Men use an average of 6 products a day, resulting in exposure to about 85 different chemicals.


Sound far-fetched? Here’s just a sampling of what you may be unknowingly applying to your skin daily:


  • Deodorant soap contains ammonia, formaldehyde and phenol (known carcinogens) and triclocarban, which is under suspicion of being a cancer-causing agent with daily use.


  • Shampoo contains cocamide DEA, which is associated with carcinogenic nitrosamines, and sodium lauryl sulfate, a known mutagen.


  • Shaving cream contains a-pinene, a chemical that damages the immune system.


  • Body lotion contains mineral oil, which, as a cosmetic grade petroleum product, includes the contaminant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PHAs), which can mimic estrogen in the body.


  • Deodorant has aluminum, which is being tested in connection to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer.


  • Toothpaste contains saccharin and FD&C Blue#1, which are carcinogens. One brand, Colgate Total, contains triclosan – an endocrine disruptor linked to tumor growth in mice. The use of triclosan in hand soap was banned by the FDA in 2016.


  • Moisturizer contains PEG-40, which contains dangerous levels of dioxin and propylene glycol, which studies show can negatively alter brain waves and cause liver and kidney disorders.


  • Perfume contains toluene, a suspected potent carcinogen, and benzaldehyde, which is a central nervous system depressant that may cause kidney damage.


  • Sunscreen contains padimate O and the preservative, BNPD, which together creates the carcinogenic nitrosamine, NMPABAO. Many also contain oxybenzone, an endocrine disruptor linked to early puberty in girls, low sperm count and male infertility and an increase in hormone-related cancers in men and women.


Since World War II, the United States has introduced over 80,000 chemicals – many with no safety data.  And, unfortunately, when it comes to the chemicals being used in the skincare and beauty industry, there is very little regulation.


The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act took effect in 1938 and has not changed since.  The act does not require cosmetic companies to disclose their ingredients to the FDA, or any governmental entity, before products hit the shelves.  That means products are sent to market and only removed if there are issues that arise, be it allergies or long-term health effects.  Essentially, these products and chemicals are innocent until proven guilty.


Of the 113 agents listed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 human carcinogens, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reports that at least 11 of them have been, or are currently being used, in personal care products. We saw the problem with these chemicals firsthand when, in 2016, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72 million dollars in damages for the death of a woman from ovarian cancer that was caused by the talc in their baby powder.


The European Union has restricted or banned 1,400 harmful chemicals and ingredients from personal care products because of research showing their potential to act as carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins, or skin, lung or eye irritants.  In Canada, the number of restricted ingredients is about 600.  The United States has restricted or banned only 30.


The skin is our largest organ.  What goes on the body, goes in the body.  If you’re doing what you can to stay healthy – eating right and exercising – you should also be taking a look at the toxic exposure you may be getting from your personal care products. The low-dose exposure to the chemicals in these products can add up over time.  So, it makes sense to make changes where you can.  Here are some tips to make it easier:


  1. Do your research. Look past marketing phrases such as “natural” and “organic” and read the labels.
  2. Start small. You don’t have to replace all your products at once.  Rather, begin focusing on the products that cover the most surface area of your skin.  For example, consider replacing your sunscreen or makeup foundation before your eyeshadow or mascara.
  3. Head to the kitchen. There are several products in your kitchen that can do double duty in your beauty routine.  Coconut oil can be used as a makeup remover, cleanser, moisturizer and hair mask.
  4. Evaluate the products you are currently using by looking them up on the Think Dirty app or the EWG’s Skin Deep database (, which have rated the safety of hundreds of personal care products.
  5. Explore some of the many chemical-free product options. Some favorites I have tried include products from Acure Organics and Honest Company, as well as locally-made products from Harvest Moon Garden.


Finally, remember beauty comes from the inside out.  Eat plenty of healthy fats (such as omega-3 fish oils and flaxseed oil), as well as a variety of colorful, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.  Also, stay hydrated. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day keeps skin looking healthy and helps flush out toxins.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

Healthy Grilling

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


With summer just around the corner, many of us will be opting to beat the heat and keep the kitchen cool by grilling outdoors.


Yet while barbeques and summer go hand in hand, it’s worth taking a moment to polish those grill skills before donning that apron and “firing up the Barbie.”  When it comes to grilling, there is a correct way and an incorrect way to do it.


Research has shown that meats cooked at high, dry heat (like barbecuing, pan-frying and broiling as opposed to stewing, roasting or baking at lower temperatures) form heterocyclic amine (HCA). Researchers say HCAs are “reasonably anticipated to be a human carginogen” and eating them may increase your risk of certain cancers, such as colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreas, breast and prostate cancer.


HCAs aren’t found in the charred bits on the outside of your food, but develop inside the meat. The charred parts you see on the outside – burned by flames from your grill – contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), another carcinogen that should be avoided. (Always discard or scrape off charred parts.)


So, does all this bad news mean you need to forego the grill this summer?


Not at all.

By making a few small changes to your strategy, you can enjoy grilled meals all summer long.  Here are a few simple ways to reduce the formation of HCAs and PAHs, and lessen their impact on your health:

Reach for lower fat options – Flare-ups happen when fat drips onto the heat source and catches fire. This causes carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) to form and accumulate on your food. To avoid this, select lean cuts of meat, trim excess fat and remove poultry skin. Also, resist the urge to press down on the meat as you grill. Pressing down causes the fat to drip onto the open flame, causing higher temperatures and additional smoke – exactly what you DON’T want to do.

Cook “low and slow” – Turn down the heat.  It may take longer, but low heat is always the best way to cook animal foods – no matter the method – as it reduces the formation of HCAs and PAHs.  Ideally, you should aim to keep the grill at 300 degrees Fahrenheit or less.

Avoid well-done meat – The more well done, the more HCAs the meat is likely to contain.  In fact, one major study found well-done meat to contain up to 3.5 times the levels of HCAs as meats cooked to medium-rare.

Flip frequently – Flipping frequently helps avoid charring and reduces HCA production.

Grill smaller pieces – Smaller pieces take less time to cook, ideally giving HCAs less time to form.

MarinateNot only does marinating infuse your meat with flavor, it has also been shown to inhibit the formation HCAs. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent.

Try incorporating one of the following marinades into your summer meal plans:

Antioxidant Marinade

This basic marinade recipe is suitable for all types of meat and fish, and easy to switch up by incorporating different vinegars, spices, and seasonings such as miso, paprika, and chili peppers.

1⁄2 cup avocado oil
4 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsp lemon juice
3 medium garlic cloves
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and coat meat or fish from all sides.  Marinate for 10 to 30 minutes (or longer to intensify flavors), but 10 minutes is enough to protect from HCAs.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


How to stop being tired all the time

How to stop being tired all the time
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Everyone feels tired from time to time, whether due to a late night out, traveling, staying up to watch your favorite show, or putting in extra hours at work. Oftentimes you can pinpoint the reason you’re not feeling your best, but what about times when you can’t identify the cause of your fatigue? Here are four common causes of fatigue and some steps you can take to feel re-energized.

Cause #1: Lack of Sleep
According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people between 18 and 60 years old need 7 or more hours of sleep every day to promote optimal health. Unfortunately, studies show 1 in 3 adults are consistently falling short of that recommendation. Not getting enough sleep is not just associated with fatigue, but also impaired performance, a greater risk of accidents, and multiple adverse health outcomes. Improve your sleep by following these tips:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends.
  • Nap boundaries. Keep naps to 20 to 30 minutes, as studies have suggested that long naps can have opposite effect and leave you feeling groggy rather than refreshed. Also, do not nap too late in the day.
  • Limit time awake in bed to 5–10 minutes. If you find that you are lying awake in bed worrying or with your mind racing, get out of bed and sit in the dark until you are feeling sleepy, then go back to bed.
  • Ensure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and a comfortable temperature. Any light entering your room can disturb your sleep. Make sure light emitted from digital devices is out of sight. Keeping your room at a cooler temperature can also promote sleep.
  • Limit caffeinated drinks. The stimulating effects of caffeine can last for many hours after intake. Try not to consume caffeinated beverages after noon.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol before bed. Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol before going to bed may cause fragmented sleep.

Cause #2: Poor Diet
Eating a healthful, balanced diet can make a world of difference when it comes to eliminating fatigue. Here are some simple guidelines:

  • Eat the right amount of calories for your sex, age, weight, and activity level. Eating either too much or too little can make you feel sluggish.
  • Fill half your plate with whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Vary your protein. Choose lean poultry and meat, avoid processed meats, choose unsalted raw nuts and seeds, and select some omega-3-rich seafood.
  • Cut down on sugar. Sugary foods and drinks can give you a quick rush of energy, but that rush can wear off quickly and leave you feeling more tired.
  • Never skip breakfast. Breakfast provides key nutrients and the energy you need to kick-start your day. It is best to start the day with protein and vegetables.
  • Eat at regular intervals. Sustain your energy levels by eating three meals a day and limiting unhealthy snacks.
  • Drink enough water. Drinking water helps prevent dehydration, which results in fatigue, unclear thinking, mood changes, overheating, and constipation. Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

Cause #3: Lack of Physical Exercise
When you feel tired, sitting on the couch and relaxing may seem to be the only answer. But getting up and moving may be the better option. Research by the University of Georgia found that, compared with sitting quietly, one single bout of moderate-intensity exercise lasting for at least 20 minutes helped to boost energy. An earlier study by UGA also found when sedentary individuals completed an exercise program regularly, their fatigue improved.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you have not exercised for a while, start slowly. Begin with a brisk 10-minute walk each day and build up to walking fast for 30 minutes, 5 days per week. Brisk walking, water aerobics, riding a bike, playing tennis and even pushing a lawnmower are all great options.

Cause #4: Stress
A little stress can make us more alert and able to perform better, but stress is only positive if it is short-lived. Excessive, prolonged stress can cause physical and emotional exhaustion and lead to illness. If the pressures you face are making you feel overtired, try some of these tips:

  • Identify the source. Until you can recognize what is causing your stress, you won’t be able to control it.
  • Learn to say no. Avoid taking on too much. Be aware of your limits and stick to them.
  • Avoid those who stress you out. If there are people in your life causing you a significant amount of stress, try spending less time in their company.
  • Communicate your concerns. Express your feelings instead of keeping them bottled up.
  • Accept what you can’t change. Some sources of stress, such as an illness or the death of a loved one, are unavoidable. Often the best way to deal with stress is to try and accept things the way they are.
  • Get moving. Physical activity can help relieve stress by releasing feel-good endorphins.

If you have made lifestyle changes to do with your physical activity, diet and stress levels, but still feel tired all the time, there could be an underlying medical condition. Arrange an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your concerns as soon as possible.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


How to Overcome the Afternoon Energy Slump

How to Overcome the Afternoon Energy Slump

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

An afternoon slump, whether it is literal (posture) or figurative (energy), can affect us all from time to time. Many people find that around 3p.m. their eyelids begin getting heavy and their posture starts to slump. When this happens, it’s tempting to reach for the caffeine or begin scrolling through social media out of boredom. But before you try the usual pick-me-ups to help shake off that sluggishness, consider a few of these simple tips. Many of these suggestions take less than a minute and, as a bonus, can be done right at your desk.

Posture is part of the problem
Research shows a slumped posture can have a physical effect on the body.  This is because slouching decreases the amount of oxygen available to tissues (especially the brain) because the lungs and chest are compressed as one slouches forward. Lack of oxygen to the brain hinders abstract thinking. One study at San Francisco State University reported students were better able to solve math equations while sitting up straight with their shoulders back, as opposed to being slumped over with their shoulders compressed.

Here are a few ways to improve your posture – and, thus, your performance — at work or school:

•Set an alarm on your phone, watch, or computer to go off every 20 to 30 minutes. When it sounds, get up and move. Take a short walk to get water or use the bathroom, or try to march, skip, or dance in place. Break free of a desk rut by working in a few pushups, lunges or squats.
•Have your vision professionally checked. Many instances of poor posture are the result of people leaning in toward their computer screen because they can’t see well.
•Ask a colleague or friend to snap a picture of you from the side when you’re not expecting it, especially toward the end of the day. This will give you an unbiased view of your work posture. Do you have room for improvement?
•Working on a laptop? You’re almost surely collapsing your posture, bringing your head down to see the screen. A simple fix: Buy a detachable keyboard and raise your laptop on a riser or some thick books. The goal is to have your screen at eye level. This will prevent poor posture and decrease upper neck and shoulder tightness.

Go for better flow
The lymphatic system consists of the spleen, thymus, tonsils, and adenoids, as well as multiple channels and nodes throughout the body. While the lymphatic system plays a role in protecting us against infection and disease, it also contributes to our energy levels. “Lymph travels through the joints in your body—your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles,” says postural alignment specialist Justin Bradley. “When you drive to work, sit at a desk all day, drive home, and relax on the couch, you’re not moving your joints through their full range of motion and, as a result, lymph becomes trapped and grows stagnant.”

Bradley recommends performing moves that re-align your joints to get your energy flowing again. The following overhead extension is a simple way to do just that:

•Stand with your feet pointing straight ahead and about one fist’s width apart.
•Extend your arms in front of you, drop your shoulders, interlace your palms, and point them away from you.
•Bring both arms overhead so your palms face the sky. Gaze upward toward your hands as you actively work to keep your arms straight up without leaning back.
•Hold for 30 seconds as you breathe deeply.

Reach for Energizing Oils
My doctorate studies required numerous hours of sitting in class, followed by long study sessions. Essential oils were a helpful tool for boosting my energy, while also increasing my focus and memory. Specifically, I would reach for peppermint, eucalyptus and rosemary oils. Citrus oils, such as orange, lime, lemon and grapefruit can also be used to revitalize and invigorate. The simplest way to use these oils is by applying one to two drops of the oil in your palm, rub your hands together, and then cup your hands around your nose and inhale deeply.

Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.


The Buzz on Honey

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Thousands of years before refined white sugar appeared on the scene, people used honey to not only sweeten their food, but to support a wide range of body functions.  Honey has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years.  Ancient Egyptians and Greeks were also very familiar with the medicinal properties of this sweet substance.  Hippocrates, the “Father of Western Medicine” wrote that both honey and pollen proved effective in healing a variety of ailments.


Bees make honey using the nectar of flowering plants and then store it in their hives to eat during times of scarcity.  Honey contains natural antioxidants, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese, and selenium.  Additionally, honey has been shown to contain valuable nutraceuticals, which help to neutralize free radicals in the body.


However, if you’re looking to reap the many health benefits of honey, you might not find what you’re looking for in a traditional grocery store. Pasteurization and processing has removed the pollen, beneficial vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients from most honey typically found on grocery store shelves.  Experts agree that raw, unpasteurized honey offers the real health benefits. Unlike its highly-processed counterpart, raw honey has not been heated to high temperatures in order to gain that golden syrupy appearance.  As a result, it is often quite thick and will crystalize over time.  Getting to know your local beekeepers, and only buying from them, can help ensure you are buying a quality product.


Below are just a few of the many ways that honey can help improve your health:


  • Soothing a nagging cough. You might recall a mother or grandmother heating honey for you to drink when a cough kept you up as a child.  Turns out, there might be some truth behind this home remedy.  In a study involving 105 children between the ages of 2 and 18 years with upper respiratory infections of 7 days or less and night-time coughing, a single night-time dose of buckwheat honey was shown to be an effective alternative in relieving the nighttime cough, compared to a single dose of dextromethorphan (DM).  Honey can also be helpful in soothing minor throat irritations.
  • Relieving seasonal allergies. Raw honey contains many of the same spores that cause allergy sufferers problems when the seasons change.  Some experts believe that by introducing these spores into the body in small amounts through honey – a sort of immunotherapy – the body can become more accustomed to them, and the threat of an allergic immune response can be decreased.
  • Wound healing – Honey has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. In 2010, scientists from the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam reported in FASEB Journal that honey’s ability to kill bacteria lies in a protein called defensin-1. As a result, some people have found that honey applied topically to wounds helps to keep the skin moist, reduce the likelihood of infection and help prevent/reduce scarring.
  • Improves skin issues. Honey has a natural pH level of 4.5, which makes it safe to use for a variety of skin conditions including acne, rosacea, eczema and hyperpigmentation.  When mixed with water, honey releases peroxide properties, which help heal acne and impede bacterial growth.  To use as a cleanser, add a quarter-sized amount of honey to wet hands, massage into the face and rinse.  Follow with moisturizer.
  • As a healthy sweetener. Reach for honey over refined sugar when looking to sweeten your coffee or tea.  Honey does contain a lot of fructose, however, so use it sparingly.  Use of honey (even the raw variety) should be limited to less than one teaspoon a day.
  • Blood sugar balance. The combination ofraw honey and cinnamon can be especially beneficial to healthy blood sugar management. According to a study out of Dubai, honey has been observed to cause a lower elevation of blood glucose levels in diabetics compared to dextrose and sucrose. Some suggest that the insulin-boosting power of cinnamon can counteract this glucose elevation in honey, which would make your honey and cinnamon mixture a low glycemic index food combination. Raw honey increases insulin and decreases hyperglycemia. Try consuming a little at a time and see how your blood sugar reacts to it, and add both raw honey and cinnamon to your diabetic diet plan.


Despite the many benefits of raw honey, there are a few important points to remember.  Never give honey to children younger than 1 year old due to the risk of botulism.  The undeveloped infant immune system cannot guard against infection.  Additionally, those with bee venom allergies could have life-threatening allergic reactions to honey.  So, for those who are allergic, it’s best to check with a doctor before using it.


Pathways to Healing specializes in holistic chiropractic care. Dr. Alyssa Musgrove draws on a variety of techniques, including chiropractic, kinesiology, nutrition, food allergy testing and lifestyle counseling to assist clients in achieving optimal health and wellness in one setting.  Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.