Pathways to Healing Blog

Benefits of Cilantro

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Sometimes called Chinese or Mexican parsley, cilantro is both an herb and a spice. The plant bears aromatic seeds, coriander seeds, as well as the common green leaf used to enhance flavor in a food dish.  But cilantro isn’t just good for spicing up your favorite meal, it provides many health benefits, as well.

Cilantro has been proven to have antifungal, antiseptic, antioxidant, disinfectant and antibacterial properties. It can help reduce swelling caused by arthritis and rheumatic diseases because of its polyphenol content. Cilantro helps dissolve cholesterol build up in the arteries, protecting you from heart disease.  It is also a potent chelator, able to remove heavy metals and toxins from the body.

Cilantro has been used around the world for thousands of years to settle nausea, prevent gas and bloating, ease stomach cramps and relieve indigestion. Fresh cilantro often accompanies a spicy dish because of its cooling effects. Fresh cilantro blended with coconut oil can be used topically to soothe sunburn, poison ivy, dry skin and hives. It has natural antihistamines that help calm the immune system response against aggravating allergens.

Cilantro essential oil can also be used at home for anxiety and insomnia. Cilantro benefits your natural sleep cycle through its sedative effects and ability to calm nerves. A recent study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found high levels of cilantro extract produce the same anti-anxiety effect as the drug Valium.

Cilantro is easy to grow at home. Buy organic seeds online and grow in containers at least 8-10 inches deep. It likes bright sun and thrives with some shade. Indoors, cilantro does best in east or southwest windows.  It takes six to twelve weeks for cilantro to grow. You can plant small patches of the herb every two to three weeks throughout the growing season if you would like a steady supply. When the cilantro reaches 6 inches tall, it is time to harvest!

Keep in mind fresh cilantro leaves lose their pungent strength and health benefits when introduced to heat. It is best to add fresh chopped cilantro leaves just prior to serving a hot dish, whether it is hot in temperature or hot in spice level. For raw, cold preparations like guacamole and salsa, cilantro can be added at any point.

Fresh cilantro should be rinsed and then stored upright in a jar in the refrigerator with an inch or two of water in the bottom, and covered with a plastic bag. Remove any slimy or wilted leaves as they present, and your cilantro should remain beautiful and crisp for up to 10 days.

If you want to preserve your cilantro even longer you can prepare cilantro oil. Take one bunch of fresh cilantro and quickly blanch it by dipping it in boiling water, then pat dry. Put the cilantro into the blender, including the stems, add olive oil or ghee, and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. The following morning, remove the mixture from the trays and store in a bag or glass jar in the freezer for whenever you would like to boost your flavor and nutrient content while cooking.

Here are a couple other delicious ways to incorporate cilantro into your diet:

Super Cilantro Guacamole

3 ripe avocadoes

¾ cup cilantro leaves, chopped

1 tomato, chopped & gutted

½ medium red onion, chopped

1 jalapeno without seeds, chopped

Juice of one lime

1 tsp of each: garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika

Cut avocados in half. Scoop pulp into a bowl, and mash with a potato masher or fork until slightly chunky. Stir in chopped cilantro and add remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap (allowing wrap to touch mixture to prevent browning) and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Serve guacamole with tortilla chips.

Cilantro Jalapeno Aioli

 This aioli is lick-the-spoon good and is a versatile topper for just about anything. Use it as a cole slaw dressing, burger or fish taco condiment, or even a dip for other Mexican-inspired dishes.

¾ cup avocado oil mayonnaise

½ cup firmly packed cilantro leaves

1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, diced

1 ½ garlic cloves, halved

½ lime, juiced

¾ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. salt, or to taste

Blend mayonnaise, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice, cumin and salt together in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the flavors blend, at least one hour.

 

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.

 

Reduce Holiday Stress

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Did you know the average food shopper wastes 61 percent of the food he or she purchases? The hallmark of Thanksgiving is a dinner table covered with more food than you can possibly eat in one sitting. But the downside is that this holiday can also be top of the list when it comes to food waste. When it comes to meals, if you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail. To avoid facing a mountain of leftovers this holiday season try some of these tips and tricks to help reduce waste and use your leftovers wisely.

 

Buy only what you need.

Go to the store prepared with a list of the food items you need. Try to make an accurate prediction of how much food you will need so you are not left with unnecessary amounts of leftovers that you cannot use.

 

Use the whole vegetable.

If you will be eating carrots, beets or turnips for example, you can eat both the root and the green. Rather than peeling veggies, leave the skin on. You will get more nutrients and reduce waste.

 

Compost your food scraps.

Many holiday leftovers can be turned into compost (with the exception of nuts, grains or meat). Composting benefits your own plants, the soil, and the environment. It improves the health of your plants, while also reducing pollution.

 

Freeze your leftovers.

If you cannot finish all of your food in a timely manner, freeze it for later use. A FoodSaver can package items so they can be kept frozen for longer periods, without the risk of freezer burn. Roasted turkey can be frozen for up to three months, but be sure to remove the meat from the bones first. Unlike other forms of cooked potatoes, mashed potatoes can be frozen for many months. However, the mashed potatoes should be well coated with a fat like butter (mashed potatoes made with just broth will not hold up well in the freezer).

 

Keep in mind that gravy is quite perishable and will only last about two days in the refrigerator. Flour-based turkey gravy can be frozen in ice cube trays for up to four months (milk-based gravies should not be frozen, as they will separate when thawed). Stuffing can be frozen for up to one month. In general, dishes made with pumpkin, sweet potato or squash should hold up in the freezer — especially if they have been pureed first. Rolls and bread will last for months in the freezer. Make sure to separate the rolls and freeze them individually.

 

Send your leftovers to someone in need.

If you have prepared foods that were not served, or packaged foods you did not eat, there are certain organizations that will distribute them to people in need. If your kids or grandkids are within driving distance, they can always take a goody bag home and take some leftovers off your hands.

 

Create new meals.

Get creative with your leftovers, repurposing them as soup, salad or healthy casseroles. Turkey is a lean meat that is low in fat and an excellent source of protein, so do not let it go to waste! Turkey provides tryptophan that helps the body make niacin and serotonin, which helps your mood.

 

Some recipes to consider are sweet potato hash browns, turkey pot pie with stuffing crust, turkey shepherd’s pie, leftover turkey quiche, turkey tortilla soup, southwest turkey lettuce wraps, curry turkey salad, sweet potato pancakes and next day turkey primavera.

 

Here are two simple leftover recipes you can add to this year’s post-Thanksgiving Day menu:

 

Muffin Cup Stuffing “Scotch Eggs”

Simply press left over stuffing into muffin cups and make a nest for a cracked egg. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix stuffing with some stock until well saturated. Spray muffin cups with oil, press 1/3 cup stuffing mixture into each cup. Use a shot glass to pack stuffing into the cup along the sides. Crack 1 egg into each hole. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until yolk is set. Sprinkle with pepper and hot sauce.

 

Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

1 picked over turkey carcass

1 ½ half cups left over stuffing

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 bay leaves

2 ½ quarts chicken broth

2 cups uncooked rice

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

garlic salt and pepper to taste

 

Place the turkey carcass in a large, deep pot and add the stuffing, celery, carrots, onion, bay leaves, poultry seasoning and chicken broth. Pour in additional water if needed to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to medium and simmer for about 1 hour, skimming off any foam. Remove the carcass and any bones. Pick off any meat and return to the pot, discarding bones and skin. Season to taste with garlic salt and pepper. Stir in the rice and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer 15 minutes until rice is tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

 

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.  In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness.  Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro.  The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the most common nerve compression disorder of the upper extremity. One reason it is so common is because many daily activities require fast, repetitive use of the arms, hands and fingers.

The reoccurring friction on the muscle and tendons causes swelling and inflammation. When there is less available space within the carpal tunnel (due to inflamed tendons, for example) the added pressure can compress the median nerve as it passes through the small tunnel in the wrist. (The median nerve gives sensation to the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger.) The result is pain, numbness, tingling and loss of grip strength. The pain can range from a mild tingling to severely crippling.

Gender plays a role in the development of CTS as women have a greater risk of developing it than men. This is due in part to women having smaller wrists, which causes reduced tunnel space. CTS is also more prevalent in pregnant women and more likely to worsen in the second half of pregnancy. This is because fluid retention can increase the pressure in the narrow, inflexible space in the wrist.

To help relieve pain and swelling, freeze water in a small cup and use as an ice massage by rubbing it on the palm side of the wrist for 3-5 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a day. Rest, compression and elevation can also help decrease inflammation and discomfort. Symptoms in pregnant women usually go away gradually after birth, as the swelling and fluid retention from pregnancy subsides.

People with occupations requiring fast, repetitive movements or firm grips, with little rest, have a higher likelihood of developing CTS. Some people may even notice symptoms when performing hobbies such as playing piano, writing or crocheting and knitting.

For those who work in an office, ergonomic workstation modifications can be helpful:

 

  • Use correct posture by sitting up straight, elbows about 90°, and forearms parallel with the desk.
  • Place computer monitors at eye level.
  • Use a headset or “hands free” option when on the phone to avoid a prolonged head/neck posture that is not in the neutral position.
  • Avoid extended amounts of time with the wrist in flexion or extension by using a wrist rest for the keyboard and mouse.

When performing repetitive motion tasks, be sure to incorporate rest periods. You can set an alarm to go off every 20 minutes or so.  Use your “micro break” to:

 

  • Shake the fingers and hands out to increase blood flow and circulation to the area to prevent swelling.
  • Stretch the neck by performing rotational movements, side-to side-bending and chin tucks.
  • Bend the hand/wrist by using the opposite hand to stretch the fingers and palm back in order to lengthen the forearm muscles.
  • Perform deep tissue release of the forearm and hand muscles by pinning the tight muscle with your finger and moving it through its full range of motion.

 

If your job requires repetitive firm grips, try to choose a tool that allows the wrist to remain in a neutral position. Minimize vibration from power tools by wearing shock-absorbing gloves. Avoid frigid work environments and cold tools.

Obesity can contribute to CTS due to fatty deposits or extra fluid that can build up within the carpal tunnel. An anti-inflammatory diet with whole fruits and vegetables is helpful. Other anti-inflammatory measures include increasing omega-3 intake (flax/chia seeds, fish oil) or nutrients such as ginger, boswellia and turmeric. Avoid foods high in saturated fats such as cheese and processed meats, as they can slow down circulation. Limit sodium, which can cause fluid retention and increase swelling. Sugar, alcohol and processed grains like gluten can also increase inflammation, making the pain worse.

Unfortunately, because there are many factors associated with CTS, there is no “one size fits all” treatment or prevention. However, it’s important to note, the median nerve starts in the neck, travels through the shoulder, the muscular areas of the upper arm and forearm, and finally through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. That means there are several places where the median nerve can become compressed, aside from the wrist. In order to achieve successful, long-lasting results, the compression of the nerve at any point along its path must be relieved. A pinched nerve in the neck or shoulder can alter median nerve function and exacerbate CTS symptoms.

Pathways to healing offers helpful natural therapies using instruments to align the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers, as well as soft tissue therapy techniques for the forearm. A multi-modal approach generally works best, so we educate our patients on self-management and at-home treatments — including corrective exercises, joint range of motion, muscle stretching techniques and diet modifications – to help achieve lasting results.

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.

Benefits of Bone Broth

The Benefits of Bone Broth

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Bone broth dates back to the Stone Age, when it was cooked in turtle shells over the fire to promote healing. Now, this ancient food is experiencing a 21st century resurgence, thanks to its many health benefits – including protecting joints, promoting gut health, supporting the immune system, fighting cold symptoms and maintaining healthy skin.

Bone broth businesses can now be found in health-conscious cities across America. Medea’s Real Food Café in Arden, NC sells bone broth from local bones, served hot in house or available frozen to take home. In New York City, there is a bone broth subscription service called Bone Deep & Harmony and a restaurant called Brodo where they serve warm broth by the cup with numerous add ins for nutritional boosts.

Former Los Angeles Lakers NBA player Kobe Bryant is among many top-level athletes who swear by bone broth to keep their body in tip-top shape. Bryant reports, “I’ve been having bone broth as a pre-game meal for a while now. I find it is great for my energy and inflammation!”

So, how exactly does drinking bone broth improve our overall health?

As we age, our cartilage diminishes and joints experience natural wear and tear. The result is a decrease in flexibility and sometimes pain. Bone broth is an excellent source of natural collagen, glucosamines and amino acids that assist the human body in forming connective tissue that covers our bony structures and seals the protective lining of our gastrointestinal tract. As bone broth simmers, the collagen from the animal bones leaches into the broth and becomes easily absorbable. Consuming these nutrients helps restore and support aging joints. Collagen also helps maintain skin’s youthful tone by reducing the visible signs of wrinkles. The amino acids assist digestion by helping the production of bile salts and regulating the secretion of gastric acids.

You’ve likely heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold. As it turns out, there is scientific proof to support that claim. According to medical doctor and UCLA professor Irwin Ziment, bone broth naturally contains the amino acid cysteine, which chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. In 2000, the official journal of the American College of Chest Physicians studied bone broth and found it helpful in clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways and providing anti-inflammatory benefits. Drinking homemade bone broth during cold and flu season can help speed recuperation and relieve symptoms.

Bone broth is low in calories and high in minerals, making it a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Homemade bone broth is the most nutrient dense, and simple to make. Since you are extracting minerals from bones and drinking them in concentrated form, be sure the animal source is as healthy as possible. Only use high-quality bones from grass-fed cattle, bison, lamb, pastured poultry, wild caught fish or locally hunted deer. There are several places to find good bones for stock from local butchers and farmers. You can save leftovers when you roast chicken, duck, goose or this year’s Thanksgiving turkey. There are also online companies that sell high-quality bones for good prices, such as Tropical Traditions, US Wellness Meats and Thrive Market.

Broth ingredients:

-2 pounds or more of bones from a healthy source

-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

-3 celery stalks, chopped

-2 carrots, chopped

-1 onion, quartered

-sea salt

 

Instructions:

-If you are using raw bones (especially beef bones) I have found it improves the flavor to roast them in the oven before boiling them. Place bones on a pan and roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

-Place bones in a large stockpot or crockpot. Cover with filtered water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar.

-Let bones sit for 30 minutes in the cool water with the vinegar to leach the minerals out of the bones. (The acid in the vinegar makes the nutrients from the bones more available.)

-Add vegetables to the pot and turn on the heat. Bring broth to a boil, then cover and simmer for 8 to 48 hours. If you have to leave home while it is cooking, a crockpot is recommended. Set it on low for 12-24 hours.

-Skim the “scum” (frothy/foamy layer) with a big spoon as it simmers the first few hours.

-Remove from heat and let the broth cool slightly, strain it to remove the bits of bones and vegetables.

-Store in glass jars in the fridge (up to a week) or freezer (up to 6 months).

-Drink the broth like a hot cup of tea. You can add sea salt or cayenne pepper for additional flavor, or use in soups or stews.

-Consume eight ounces daily upon waking or before bed as a health boost. Some restaurants whisk in an egg until cooked as a soup.

 

Fill your mug this fall with a savory bone broth, and reap the benefit of valuable nutrients that will nourish your body throughout the winter season.

 

Pumpkin: It’s not just for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin: It’s not just for Thanksgiving
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Chances are, if someone mentions pumpkins this time of year, your first thought will be pie at Thanksgiving or carving jack-o-lanterns. But pumpkins are also a wonderful, nutrient-dense ingredient that can be added to soups, salads, casseroles, breads and even dog treats!

Pumpkins belong to the cucumber family and are related to cantaloupes. They come in large and small varieties, as well as different colors and shapes. Pumpkins pack a significant nutritional punch by providing a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium, copper and manganese. The bright orange color of most pumpkins is caused by high levels of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a plant carotenoid that converts to vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids act as an antioxidant in the body by tackling harmful free radicals and stimulate the immune system to work properly. Pumpkins also provide vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, B6, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. All combined, these vitamins and minerals have a dramatic effect on your health. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains more potassium than a banana!

The seeds from pumpkins are also a concentrated source of minerals, vitamins, protein and fiber. Pumpkin seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan, which relaxes the body, calms nerves and improves sleep. Roasted pumpkin seeds are an easy, transportable snack. To roast pumpkin seeds, wash them thoroughly in cold water after extracting them from the pumpkin. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 225 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adding a sprinkle of natural salt helps bring out their nutty flavor.
When buying pumpkins to cook with, be sure to find one that is fully ripe. You can check this by tapping on the outside. Your tap should produce a dense, hollow “thump.” Pass on pumpkins that have cuts, wrinkled surface skin, or blemishes. Store your pumpkin in a cool, dry place and it should be good for several weeks.

This Pumpkin Cauliflower Soup is a healthy way to get your pumpkin fix this fall. The soup is vegetarian and vegan friendly, hearty and comforting, and the ginger gives it a little zing!

Pumpkin and Cauliflower Soup with Ginger
Ingredients:
-1 medium onion, diced
-2 stalks of celery, chopped
-1 large carrot, chopped
-2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 (10 ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth
-1 (27 ounce) can pumpkin purée
-1 cup water
-1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
-1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 head cauliflower

Directions:
1. Sauté onion, celery, and carrot in large pot on medium heat for 5-7 minutes.
2. Add the ginger and garlic to the pot and stir until fragrant. Add the vegetable broth, pumpkin purée, water, thyme, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower (can use your hands to break it down into smaller florets).
3. With a lid slightly ajar, simmer the soup on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes or until vegetable have softened.
4. Purée the soup using a blender.
5. The soup will be thick, you can add water to thin it out and enjoy!

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. In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.

 

Pain in the Shoulder

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

The shoulder is the most complex joint in the human body. Studies show nearly 90 percent of the population will tear or damage their rotator cuff, labrum and/or shoulder capsule at some point in their lives. Most of us are unaware how important the shoulder is until we injure it. Shoulder pain of any sort can make daily activities like combing your hair, brushing your teeth, sleeping and getting dressed complicated and painful.

The reason for the high prevalence of shoulder injury is due to the anatomy and structure of the shoulder. The human shoulder is made up of a complicated system of bones, joints, connective tissue and muscles. The shoulder’s ball and socket joint allows for excellent mobility, but unfortunately a joint cannot be both highly stable and highly mobile. In the case of the shoulder, mobility comes at the expense of stability.

There are many ways we can injure the shoulder, such as falling, throwing, lifting, painting, cleaning, swinging a tennis racket or golf club. Problems can also occur from natural wear and tear over time. One of the biggest challenges in managing shoulder pain is finding the origin. Shoulder pain can be musculoskeletal in nature, it can be referred pain from a visceral organ, it can result from overuse (as in the cases of bursitis or tendonitis), there can be tears in the connective tissue, bone spurs or muscle imbalance.

What’s more, the shoulder is slow to recover from injury. Some research shows only about half of all new shoulder pain episodes achieve complete recovery within six months. Factor in aging, chronic health conditions that slow healing (like diabetes), and hobbies or jobs that are repetitive in nature and increase the risk of re-injury, and it is easy to see why many don’t fully recover from shoulder pain.

Chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists and orthopedists are just a few specialists who can help ease shoulder pain. The use of manipulation, mobilization, magnetic field therapy, TENS unit and modalities like cold lasers can help tremendously, but some shoulder injuries do require surgery. If your shoulder pain has not resolved on its own by resting 1 to 2 weeks, you should check with your doctor. However, that does NOT mean you should wait two weeks before seeing someone about your shoulder. The sooner you see a doctor the quicker you can begin treatment and resolve the issue before surgery becomes the only option.

When it comes to keeping our shoulders healthy, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.  Here are a few ways to protect your shoulders on a daily basis:

  1. When working with your arms overhead, take small breaks to let the shoulder recover.
  2. Do not reach in the back seat and lift a heavy purse, bag or briefcase at an awkward angle in order to get it to the front seat.
  3. If you are facing a challenging task, request a helping hand. Do not feel insecure about asking for help. It is better to be safe than sorry!
  4. Follow an exercise program that maintains strength in your shoulders and contains opposition exercises to keep the shoulder muscles balanced. For example, if you are going to do push-ups, make sure you also do pull-ups. In this way, both sides of the body are strengthened for optimal balance and pain-free function.

The following stretches can be done at home to help further balance the shoulder joint and prevent simple injuries:

Pendulum exercise
Bend at your waist with one hand hanging down and your other arm supporting your upper body on a table or chair. Relax your hanging arm completely and swing it gently and slowly in a figure 8 direction in both clockwise and counter clockwise. You can grasp a light weight, such as a soup can, while smoothly swinging the arm. Circle 10-15 times each direction, do 1-2 sets per day.

Finger wall walks
Face a wall. Using one arm at a time, slowly walk your fingers up the wall, moving your arm upward as far as you can reach comfortably. Then walk your fingers gradually back down the wall (STOP if there is any point of pain). Repeat 10-20 times.

Cross-body reach
Lift one arm at the elbow and bring it up and across your body and hold a stretch for 20-30 seconds. Each day try working on reaching further across your body in order to increase mobility.

Towel stretch
Take a small towel that is about 3 feet long and hold each side with your hand. Bring the towel behind your back and grab the opposite end with the other hand. Pull the top arm upward while also pulling the other lower arm downward to stretch your shoulders. You can also hold the towel on both ends while pulling with both arms to keep the towel tight and raise your arms in front of you and above your head, keeping elbows straight at all times.

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.

Oregano

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

If you’ve ever made Italian food, you’ve likely reached for dried oregano to add Mediterranean flavor to your favorite sauce. But this humble herb can be used for much more than simply flavoring your favorite dishes. In the world of essential oils, oregano oil is a powerful tool that provides a wide variety of healing benefits and uses.

To create oregano oil, medicinal grade oregano is distilled to extract the essential oil from the herb, which is where a high concentration of the herb’s active ingredients are found. When made into a medicinal supplement or essential oil, oregano is often called “oil of oregano.” Oil of oregano contains two powerful compounds called carvacrol and thymol, both of which have been shown in studies to have strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.

In fact, oregano oil may rival antibiotics when it comes to treating and preventing various infections. In 2011, the Journal of Medicinal Food published a study that evaluated the antibacterial effect of oregano oil against five types of bad bacteria. Oil of oregano showed significant antibacterial properties against all five species. The highest activity was observed against E. Coli, which suggests that oregano oil could potentially be used to promote gastrointestinal health and to prevent food poisoning. (When traveling internationally, I always pack oregano oil capsules to help fight foreign germs I may come in contact with.)

Another study found that a combination of heat, salt and use of essential oils (including oregano) had effects against strains of bacteria that commonly cause the fungal infection known as athlete’s foot. After testing the fungicidal activity of 11 essential oils against the bacteria known to cause athlete’s foot, oregano oil was found to be the most powerful (followed by thyme, cinnamon, lemongrass and clove).

Oregano essential oil also helps balance bacteria and fight yeast overgrowth, making it a popular natural treatment for Candida and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). (SIBO is a common digestive problem that causes gas, bloating and intolerances to many carbohydrate-containing foods.) Oregano oil hinders bacterial replication and can be used for treating infections that affect digestive health and nutrient absorption. Thymol, one of oregano’s active compounds, may help relax the soft tissue of the throat and stomach, which can help to decrease GERD, heartburn and discomfort after eating.

Oregano oil is safe as long as it’s diluted in water or with a carrier oil (some of my top choices are jojoba, olive and coconut oils). The ideal ratio when diluting this herbal oil is one part oregano oil to three parts carrier oil. Before using oregano oil, be sure to conduct a spot test to check for allergic reactions. Simply apply a diluted drop on your arm and see if any irritation occurs. Oregano oil can be used topically, diffused or taken internally.

Ideally, you want to purchase 100 percent pure, unfiltered, Certified USDA Organic oregano oil. If taking internally, the oil must be 100 percent therapeutic grade. The oil is very strong and hot, so start with less and add more as needed. Be careful when buying oregano oil, as some manufacturers sell adulterated oils and oils made from thyme, Spanish oregano, or cultivated oregano, which DO NOT provide any health benefits.

I take oregano essential oil internally for a maximum of two weeks, in most cases, because it’s so powerful. When taking oregano oil internally, it should always be diluted with water or mixed with coconut oil. I find it’s helpful to combine oregano oil with olive oil in capsules to avoid burning the throat. Oregano oil is also available as soft gels or capsules to take internally without the mess of trying to make your own capsules.

The dried herb oregano is typically fine for pregnant women but, generally speaking, it is not considered safe to use oregano oil during pregnancy. If side effects, such as nausea, dizziness or an allergic reaction are ever experienced, then stop using oregano oil immediately and consider seeing a doctor. Because oregano oil might interfere with other medications, always ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to take it internally. Some people may experience stomach upset when ingesting oregano oil (or even the herb itself). Those who are allergic to plants from the Lamiaceae family (mint, lavender, sage and basil) should also avoid this oil, as they may also develop an allergic reaction.

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.

 

ADHD

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

With the school year now in full swing, children and parents are adjusting to new schedules and demands, including getting up early, completing homework and participation in a myriad of after-school activities. While this new schedule can be challenging for nearly anyone, if you have a child suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the challenges you face can be even greater.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), citing data from the 2010 U.S. Census, reports 5 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 as having either ADD or ADHD.  Rates of ADD/ADHD rose at an average of 5.5 percent a year from 2003 to 2007.  These rising statistics are becoming commonplace in America.  Yet other countries are not seeing the same rise in ADD/ADHD statistics.  Why?

In America, ADHD is viewed as a disorder with a biological cause. This means there is a checklist of symptoms and behaviors that classify a person as having ADD/ADHD, such as:

  • Difficulty staying focused/paying attention
  • Easily distracted
  • Overlooking details
  • Forgetful
  • Daydreaming
  • Easily confused
  • Difficulty processing information as quickly and accurately as others
  • Fidgeting/trouble sitting still
  • Non-stop talking
  • Frequently interrupts
  • Impatient

Typically, the first course of treatment is a psycho-stimulant medication, such as Adderall or Ritalin, which come with a frightening list of side effects. Sometimes only medication is used, or medication may be combined with behavior modification therapy. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a double board-certified leading child psychiatrist who is well known for his research on the brain, this standard approach to treating ADD/ADHD has a very low success rate. He states in the United States, social circumstances, emotional traumas, food sensitivities and dietary factors are often ignored while medication is the preferred treatment. Dr. Amen points out the U.S. is the number one prescriber of stimulant medications, representing 80-85 percent of the world’s consumption!

Other countries, such as France, opt for a more holistic approach.  French doctors look for and treat the cause of the behavior problems by considering past emotional traumas as well as dietary factors.  As a result, studies show the French prescribe fewer stimulant medications and get far better results.

Taking a holistic approach to the treatment of ADD/ADHD can make a positive difference in the life of the child, as well as teachers and parents. Here are three simple steps we can take to vastly improve the quality of life for our children:

Eat a diet of “real” food.
The fast food, junk food and processed food that make up most of the American child’s diet is devoid of nutrients and minerals, which are necessary to build a healthy brain and strong body. Refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and chemical food additives can cause nutritional deficiencies and lead to ADD/ADHD symptoms.

Foods high in B vitamins can help maintain a healthy nervous system. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, B6 is needed in the body to make and use essential brain chemicals including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Serotonin plays a significant role in sleep and is also related to impulse control, emotional moods, and aggression – all of which are symptoms of ADD/ADHD. Incorporate bananas, avocados, sunflower seeds, wild tuna and salmon or grass-fed beef for improvement of ADHD.

For some people (especially those with ADHD) breakfast helps regulate blood sugar and stabilize hormones. It is very important to eat a healthy breakfast that contains at least 20 grams of protein in the morning.

Focus on sleep.
An often-overlooked factor contributing to ADD/ADHD is lack of sleep. Studies have found children and teens who don’t get 8-10 hours of sleep each night will exhibit symptoms of ADD/ ADHD. Try to ensure your child gets at least 8 hours of sleep a night.

Get moving.
Regular physical exercise and outdoor play time for children with ADHD can help balance hormone levels, reduce stress, burn excess energy, and provide building blocks for healthy muscles and bones. Try engaging in something fun like dancing, martial arts, playing soccer or tag!

These recommended diet and lifestyle changes will help you manage ADD/ADHD. The solutions are equally effective for children and adults.

 

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.

 

Shelf Life

Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Spending hard-earned money on groceries that never actually reach your plate is like throwing away cash. Because most of us do not have the time to visit grocery stores or farmers markets daily to get fresh produce, we tend to buy produce all at once, which can lead to early spoiling if we don’t utilize proper storage techniques. For example, refrigeration causes some foods to spoil faster. Other types of produce should be ripened at room temperature to reach their best taste potential. What follows are some helpful guidelines for keeping your food fresher, longer, as well as tips and tricks to enjoy maximum flavor.

 

Fruits

  • For gradual ripening, keep fruits separated. Fruits release ethylene gases during the ripening process, which can cause other produce to ripen more rapidly.
  • The following fruits are best ripened on the counter first, then refrigerated: kiwi, nectarine, peach, pear, and plum.
  • Storing bananas in the refrigerator can disrupt the ripening process. Once refrigerated, a banana may never be able to resume the ripening process if returned to room temperature. If your bananas are turning bad, cut up, freeze and use in smoothies or for banana bread.
  • Refrigeration shuts down the ripening enzymes in avocados, so unless you want to stop the ripening process, keep avocados on the counter.
  • To ripen avocados quickly, put the un-ripened avocado in a brown paper bag. Be sure to fold the top over to close the bag, and then check the bag daily to remove ripened ones.  This ripening trick also works for tomatoes.
  • Apples lose flavor and texture when refrigerated, so if you prefer eating apples cold, place them in the fridge 30 minutes before eating.
  • Avoid washing berries until right before you eat them, as wetness encourages mold growth. Berries can be refrigerated in a drawer uncovered or in a vented container.
  • To keep your pineapple longer, cut the leafy top off and store the pineapple upside down. This also helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and transport.
  • Lemons can be stored in a bowl full of water in the fridge in order to get the longest shelf life.

 

Vegetables

  • Winter squash, butternut squash, acorn squash and pumpkins should all be stored at room temperature.
  • When exposed to cold temperatures, the starch in sweet potatoes turns to sugar, disrupting their flavor and texture – and increasing their overall sugar content. Store sweet potatoes, yams, and regular potatoes in a cool dark area of the kitchen or pantry for the longest shelf life, up to 2 months in a paper bag!
  • Tomatoes lose flavor and become mushy when refrigerated. Spread them out on the counter, out of direct sunlight for even ripening, as well as better taste and texture.
  • To get the longest shelf life for onions, place them in a paper bag, and store them in a cool, dark cabinet.
  • Garlic will last up to 4 months if stored away from heat and light. The pantry is a great location.
  • Ideally, leafy greens should be consumed within 1 to 2 days of purchase to ensure you are getting the most nutrients. You can extend the shelf life by wrapping unwashed leaves in a paper towel. (The towel will absorb any excess moisture and prevent soggy rotten leaves.) After wrapping the unwashed greens in a paper towel, put them in a plastic bag and store them in your fridge.
  • Asparagus should be stored upright in the refrigerator with a damp towel wrapped around the base or upright in a cup with the stems in an inch of water.
  • Celery should be kept in the front of the refrigerator where it is less likely to freeze. Or you can cut celery and submerge in a tall cup of water.

 

 

Coffee and Herbs

  • Coffee is best stored at room temperature in order to allow the natural oils of the coffee bean to activate its powerful aromatic scent. Be aware that coffee can also absorb odors from other foods in your fridge or freezer.
  • Wrap rosemary, thyme, parsley, and cilantro in a moist paper towel, place in air-tight containers and refrigerate for up to ten days.
  • Basil is best kept on the countertop with the stems in water and the top lightly covered with plastic.

 

Finally, remove pesticide residue from your produce by mixing one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of water, and soak desired fruit or vegetable. Stir periodically for five minutes before draining, rinsing, and using.

 

These storage tips will help keep your fruit and vegetable purchases fresher longer so you get your full money’s worth.

 

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.

 

Iron

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S., with almost 10 percent of women being considered iron deficient.

 

Iron is necessary to perform daily functions in the body by transporting oxygen in the blood from the lungs to your brain, muscles and organ tissues. Iron also helps maintain enzyme and cognitive function, regulate cell growth and development, support immunity, optimize nutrient absorption, and help keep hormones balanced.

 

If you are iron deficient, your vital organs and tissues are not receiving the proper amount of oxygen needed for optimal function.  As a result, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

 

  • Pale or yellowing of the skin
  • Low energy or chronic fatigue
  • Trouble exercising
  • Muscle soreness and weakness
  • Sores on the tongue or mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble with concentration or memory
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Strange cravings, such as dirt or ice

 

The amount of iron needed varies with age and gender. Women need more iron than men due to the loss of iron during monthly menstrual cycles. Toddlers need more iron than children because it supports cognitive development and growth, and it can be challenging for them to get it in their diet.

 

Certain groups of people are at higher risk for iron deficiency and include: vegetarians, anyone who has lost blood due to an accident or recent surgery, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those with a history of gastrointestinal disorders (i.e. Chrohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis).  Additionally, those taking an excessive amount of antacids, experiencing kidney failure or undergoing dialysis treatment may also have a limited ability to absorb essential nutrients like iron.

 

Fortunately, checking your iron levels is easy and can be done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. The blood test measures ferritin, the carrier molecule of iron, which stores the iron. If your ferritin levels are low, your iron levels are also low.

 

Elevated ferritin levels may suggest an iron surplus, which is an important marker of cardiovascular risks such as ischemic heart disease. Ferritin levels can also become increased in response to inflammation, infection, or trauma. In addition, excess iron consumption (via drinking water, iron cookware, and consumption of iron containing supplements) can lead to an increase in ferritin levels. There are several other diseases and conditions that can cause high ferritin levels, including B12/folate deficiency anemia, chronic hepatitis and chronic renal disease. It is important to find out if and why your iron levels are high, as high levels can damage body tissues and contribute to serious health issues.

 

It’s a good idea to have your iron levels checked on a regular basis as part of your blood workup in order to identify any deficiency before it becomes a larger problem. Iron levels can also be checked at any blood donation center, as centers are required to screen the iron levels of all potential donors. Regular monitoring is most important for vegetarians, pregnant women, and those with digestive disorders.

 

Iron intake can be increased through diet, however, it’s important to consider the type of iron being consumed. Iron found in plant foods is called “non-heme iron,” and the iron found in animal foods is called “heme iron.” Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body. In fact, sources note that heme iron found in fish, poultry, and meat is absorbed two to three times more effectively than the non-heme iron found in plants. Some of the most iron-rich foods include beef liver, white beans, lentils, spinach, kidney beans, chickpeas, duck, sardines, grass fed beef, lamb, and pumpkin seeds.

 

Iron-deficiency anemia is very common but, fortunately, easily treated. Start by screening the iron levels of everyone in your family, and then work with a qualified practitioner to get those levels in the optimal range.  The result will be an improvement in your overall health, as well as increased energy and improved cell production.

 

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. In addition, the practice is committed to being a valuable source of information so that people can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle and prevent future illness. Pathways to Healing is located at 1022 Founders Row, Lake Oconee Village, Greensboro. The office can be reached at 706-454-2040.