Apple Cinnamon Waffles

 

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup flax seed meal I used Organic Golden Flax from Bob’s Red Mill
1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener
1/4 cup unflavored protein powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs room temperature
1 cup finely chopped or grated apple
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple extract optional, helps intensify flavor
Instructions

Preheat a waffle iron to medium and grease if necessary.
In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, flax seed meal, sweetener, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon.
Stir in eggs, apple, almond milk, butter, vanilla extract and apple extract and stir until well combined.
Spoon a few tablespoons of batter into each section of the waffle iron and close lid. Cook 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides (the amount of batter and time of cooking will depend on your waffle iron).
Remove waffles and repeat with remaining batter.
Serve with sugar-free syrup.

Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad

Chicken Taco Mason Jar Salads

Ingredients
For the dressing:
½ cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt can substitute with mayonnaise or sour cream
½ cup taco sauce can substitute with your favorite salsa, but it will create a thicker and chunkier dressing, so you may need to thin it with a little bit of water or milk
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
12 ounces cooked diced Southwestern-seasoned chicken (I find this in the refrigerated section of my grocery store, but you can substitute with any cooked chicken that you season with a little bit of taco seasoning or southwest seasoning)
1 cup black beans from a 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn can use fresh, frozen, or canned & drained
1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup 4 ounces Sargento® Fine Cut Shredded 4 Cheese Mexican
4 16 ounce/pint-size wide-mouth jars
Instructions
Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl until completely combined.
Place an equal amount of dressing at the bottom of each jar.
Divide remaining ingredients among the jars, layering in the following order: chicken, black beans, corn, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. Twist on the top to seal your salads and refrigerate until ready to serve.
When you’re ready to eat, just dump the jar onto a large plate or bowl and enjoy!

Food Cravings

What do food cravings mean?
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

All of us have experienced a craving for a specific food, whether it be for salty potato chips, creamy peanut butter or sweets like ice cream and chocolate. A craving is a signal from the body that something is needed. Cravings can be driven by physical, emotional or biochemical factors.   For example, pregnant women might experience strong cravings due to hormonal changes that disrupt and change their sense of taste and smell. When we’re feeling emotionally stressed, we might crave “comfort” foods.

When a craving hits, you’re faced with a few options: You can give in to it; you can find out what your body really needs; or you can find an alternative distraction like taking a walk, phoning a friend or jumping into your bath tub, hot tub or pool. Some cravings only last 3 to 5 minutes, so finding a distraction does not always have to be a long, drawn out affair.

Below are a few common cravings and some thoughts on what your body might really need instead.

Potato Chips
A potato chip craving could be an indication you’re low in sodium. Sodium, more commonly known as salt, is an essential electrolyte needed in large amounts — especially for normal nerve and muscle function.

We obtain sodium through food and drink, and we lose it when we sweat and urinate. When we sweat in the heat, we actually sweat minerals, not water. After excessive sweating, or long periods outside, the body needs more than just water to replenish what is lost. (Certain medications can also make the body excrete excess fluid.) Conversely, too much sodium can lead to heart issues like high blood pressure.

The recommended daily intake of sodium is around 2,300 milligrams. Instead of satisfying this need with processed food like potato chips, reach for healthy whole foods instead. Beets, spinach and chard are a great source of sodium and packed with disease fighting antioxidants. Raw cashews and walnuts can be a good replacement in moderation — keep the serving size to one ounce (about 18 cashews and 15 walnuts). Popcorn drizzled with a butter-flavored olive oil (sold locally at the Plantation Olive Oil Company) is another healthier option. My favorite salty, satisfying snack is ‘crunchy seasoned peas’ made by BHUJA, which can be found in the gluten free section at Publix (often hanging on an end display).

Ice Cream
If you find yourself craving the cool, sweet taste of ice cream, it could be an indication you are low on sleep. The amino acid tryptophan (also found in your Thanksgiving turkey) is found in high-fat dairy products. Tryptophan assists in the production of melatonin and serotonin to help you feel sleepy and relaxed. Instead of caving to a late-night bowl of ice cream, try getting to bed an hour earlier, incorporating an afternoon power nap, or enjoying some quiet time for 20-30 minutes. Naps help improve immune function, boost your mood and increase alertness. Adults should limit a nap to 30 minutes or less. If you are sleep deprived, a 90 minute to 2-hour snooze can be beneficial. Instead of ice cream, try snacking on frozen blueberries for a sweet, refreshing snack.

Peanut Butter
A peanut butter craving could be an indication you are low in healthy fats, which are essential for survival. Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not make you fat. Healthy fats, such as omega-3s, help protect the nervous system and brain. Omega-3 fats can be found in oily fish like sockeye salmon. Calories from fat are more nutrient dense than calories from carbohydrates and protein, and can help you feel fuller faster. Try reaching for an avocado sprinkled with lemon pepper.

Chocolate
Some people get hooked on the boost that chocolate can give, which then leads to compulsive habits. However, a chocolate craving can also indicate a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Common symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue combined with insomnia, lack of concentration and muscle spasms. Before grabbing that candy bar, reach for magnesium-rich foods such as almonds. If nothing but chocolate will do, opt for quality dark chocolate, preferably organic and above 70% cocoa. A magnesium supplement may also help.

Baked Goods and Pastries
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, baked goods and pastries can provide a temporary calming feeling. That’s because the sugar triggers a quick dopamine rush, also known as the “feel good” hormone. But that sugar rush soon turns into a blood sugar crash, which fuels inflammation and will leave you feeling sluggish. The naturally occurring sugars in fruits such as peaches, berries and apples are a healthier choice. You could also try a small amount of dried fruit, such as prunes or raisins.

Soda
Sparkling water, with a squeeze of lime or slice of orange, delivers the carbonation found in soda, minus all the excess sugar.

The next time a craving hits, dig deeper to uncover the real reason behind it. If anything, try making a lateral move and reaching for a healthier choice.

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 Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Buffalo Chicken Tenders Recipe

Ingredients:
1 pound chicken tender strips
½ cup cassava flour
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup hot sauce, plus more to taste
¼ cup ghee
Directions:
Cut all chicken strips in half.
In a medium bowl, combine cassava flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder.
In a separate bowl, pour in hot sauce.
Melt coconut oil in pan over medium heat.
Coat both sides of chicken with flour mixture.
Dip floured chicken with hot sauce.
Place all in pan and cook for 6–7 minutes.
Add butter to pan and flip the chicken.
Cook second side for 6–7 minutes until cooked through.
Remove from heat and add additional hot sauce as needed.
Serve hot.

5 Ingredient Sausage and Kale Baked Ziti

 

Ingredients
12 ounces ziti (or any pasta shape).  I recommend gluten free pasta.
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (I strongly recommend using “spicy” Italian sausage)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large handfuls roughly-chopped kale leaves, stems removed
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I used 2% low fat)
optional additional toppings: shredded Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper flakes

Instructions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat a large stockpot full of generously-salted water for the pasta.
In a (separate) large skillet, saute the Italian sausage over medium-high heat until browned (about 8-10 minutes), breaking the sausage up with a spoon into bite-sized pieces while cooking.  When the sausage has browned, add in the minced garlic and saute for 1-2 additional minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.  Remove pan from heat and set aside.
While the sausage is browning, cook the pasta al dente in the stockpot of boiling water according to package instructions. Drain.
Return pasta to the stockpot and add the sausage, garlic and kale. Gently toss to combine until the kale is dark green and slightly wilted.
Pour half of the pasta into a greased 11×7-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup of cheese. Layer the remaining half of the pasta evenly on top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and just barely starts to turn golden. Remove and serve immediately, sprinkled with additional toppings if desired.

Cooling Down with Cucumbers

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.

 

One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus

One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Asparagus
Ingredients

1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
1/3 cup flour
1 cup panko*
1 cup parmesan cheese separated
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3-4 lemons
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 tablespoons melted butter separated, I use unsalted
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons honey
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl.
Combine panko, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, garlic powder, about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt (I use seasoned salt) and pepper. Stir.
In the final bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on lemon flavor intensity desired), minced garlic, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Stir. Remove 4 tablespoons of this mixture and set aside.
Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders (about 1 and 1/4th inch strips) or use chicken tenders.
Coat in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the Parmesan panko mixture.
Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining Parmesan panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders. Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning over the tenders (I use Mrs. Dash lemon pepper)
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and remove.
Flip the tenders to the other side.
Place the asparagus next to the tenders and drizzle the reserved lemon butter sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over the asparagus and toss with tongs.
If desired place lemon slices over the chicken (optional)
Return to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Add some pepper and parsley if desired.
Remove from the oven and top with the honey lemon mixture and fresh parsley if desired and enjoy immediately.
Do not top chicken breasts with the honey lemon mixture unless eating immediately and aren’t planning on having leftovers since it will make it soggy.

Why You Should Make Your Own Salad Dressing

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove – Pathways to Healing

Last week, I shared a few of my favorite salad recipes to help you take advantage of the variety of spring and summer produce coming into season. Salads are a great way to boost your vegetable and nutrient intake, but it’s important to point out that how you dress your salad is just as important as what you put in it. Store-bought salad dressings can be a convenient option, but they often can turn a healthy choice into a calorie-dense, preservative-laden health bomb. 

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider skipping the store-bought stuff:

Added sugar. Ever sprinkle a couple teaspoons of sugar over that bowl of leafy greens before digging in?  If you’re using a store-bought dressing, you likely are. Sugar is a common ingredient in store-bought dressings, often hiding under the name of high fructose corn syrup or dextrose. Added sugar causes blood sugar spikes (which fuel cravings later on), depletes nutrients in the body and encourages weight gain.

Poor quality oils. It’s nearly impossible to find a store dressing made with high-quality, 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil. Rather, to keep production costs down, manufacturers often use canola, corn, sunflower or soybean oil. These cheap oils easily become rancid (which causes inflammation in the body) and have been shown to increase cholesterol.

Additives. The ingredient list of most salad dressings includes a litany of gums, thickeners, colors, flavors and preservatives. Even in small amounts, these chemical additives are toxic to the body. It’s always a good idea to avoid unnecessary additives – especially if you have food sensitivities.

Fortunately, making your own salad dressing couldn’t be easier. A homemade salad dressing not only tastes better, but it can also be whipped up in a matter of minutes – many times with ingredients you already have on hand. Here are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started:

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard and garlic. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking continuously. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Maple-Dijon Dressing  (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil (if doing oil free use 2 tablespoons of broth or water)
salt to taste
Combine the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard and pepper in a small jar with tight fitting lid. Whisk in the oil or broth in a slow, steady stream. Season with salt to taste. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Blueberry-Walnut Vinaigrette (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
½ teaspoon dired thyme
½ teaspoon maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
salt and black pepper to taste

Puree the vinegar, blueberries and half of the walnuts in a blender until smooth, thinning it with 1 or 2 tablespoons of water if desired. Finely chop the rest of the walnuts. Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add the shallot or red onion, thyme and maple syrup. Shake to combine and seas with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least a few hours and up to 3 days to allow the flavors to meld.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing (Courtesy of “The No Meat Athlete Cookbook”)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 small garlic clove, chopped
½ cup tahini
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¼ to ½ cup water

Pulse the lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic, tahini, salt and pepper in a high-speed blender to combine. Slowly add the water, starting with ¼ cup until it reaches your desired consistency. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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.

Colorful Salad Ideas for Spring

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove, Pathways to Healing

Our bodies require a rainbow of nutrients for optimal health, and eating a variety of colors is one way to achieve this fundamental health goal. It can be easy to fall into the same eating routine once you find foods the entire family likes, but the truth is our bodies benefit from food variation. Children, especially, need a diversity of foods in their diets and adults benefit, as well.

Eating an assortment of colored fruits and vegetables is the best way to receive a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs in order to function. Each fruit and vegetable has a distinctive color that indicates an abundance of unique nutrients. The range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables have enormous healing powers that can help our bodies thrive.

This week, try buying a new fruit or vegetable that is not usually on your shopping list and find a way to incorporate it into a meal. Below are a few of my favorite nutrient-dense salad recipes to help you get started.

Rainbow Chopped Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette
Salad:
8-10 red radishes, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ pint yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 small zucchini, chopped
¼ small red cabbage, chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

Avocado vinaigrette:
1 soft avocado, peeled and pitted
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup avocado oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
¼ cup water, add more as needed

Place all vinaigrette ingredients in blender until smooth, taste and salt as needed. Chop all vegetables and toss together with dressing in a large bowl.

Colorful Kale salad
1 bag of organic kale or baby kale
1 tub of pomegranate seeds
Slivered almonds, pecans or walnuts
Crumbled feta or goat cheese
Healthy vinaigrette to taste

Toss all ingredients and enjoy.

Dr. Axe Raw Superfood Carrot Salad
Salad:
10 large shredded organic carrots
1 cup dried goji berries
4 organic green apples, chopped (you can use any color or what is on sale)
1 cup pecans

Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all salad ingredients and toss with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve chilled.

Asian Chicken Salad
Salad:
Handful of shredded kale, white cabbage or both!
2 slices purple cabbage
4 slivers of fresh ginger, roughly chopped
½ carrot, slivered
4 mini red bell peppers, cut into slivers
2 mini yellow bell peppers, cut into slivers
½ pulled rotisserie chicken, no skin
Handful of spring green peas, slivered
Handful of diced green onion
Handful of chopped cilantro
Handful of black sesame seeds
(Optional additions: red chili flakes, diced water chestnuts)

Dressing:
1/3 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¼ cup water
3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce

Heat oil, then add other ingredients and whisk together for 3-4 minutes. Let cool before dressing the salad.

Balsamic Beet Salad
Salad:
3 large beets
5 ounces mixed salad greens
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese

Vinaigrette:
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt

Cube the beets and place in a steamer basket over boiling water with lid on. Steam the beets until tender, 10-15 minutes. Combine the salad greens in a bowl and top with cooled beets and crumbled goat cheese. Make the dressing by combining the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt in a small bowl and whisk. Drizzle over the salad just 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.

Simple Steps to Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove – Pathways to Healing

Here are a few sobering statistics: One in three adults over the age of 65 has a serious fall each year. About 20 percent of women who fracture a hip become permanently disabled and another 20 percent die within a year.

While the elderly population is more prone to falls that can lead to serious complications, balance is important for all ages. Balance training can benefit everyone – whether you are older and want to improve basic day-to-day function or an athlete wanting to enhance performance and prevent injuries. With balance, it’s always best to be proactive. If we work on enhancing our balance and stability now, we can help prevent serious falls and injuries later.

The key to maintaining our balance is staying active. By staying active and continuing to challenge our balance, we can improve our overall stability. While improving balance will certainly help protect you from falls, it also can help improve overall mobility and fitness, while also allowing you to maintain independence and complete daily activities with ease.

Below are six strategies you can begin incorporating into your daily routine to help strengthen the muscles that keep you steady on your feet.*

1. Incorporate simple exercises. The following exercises help strengthen the core and lower-body muscles, which are critical for stability.

* Exercise 1: This move helps improve one-legged balance. With feet together, pick up one foot with the knee facing forward or to the side. (Be sure to keep a stable chair or wall within arm’s reach for safety.) Hold the position with eyes open, then closed. Switch feet and repeat for four reps on each foot. You can also try to do this while you are washing the dishes. Once you can hold the pose for 30 seconds on each side, stand on a less stable surface, such as a couch cushion. To increase the challenge even more, do it with your eyes closed.

* Exercise 2: The same sobriety field test cops give drunk drivers also improves balance. Take 20 steps forward, heel to toe. Then walk backward, with toe to heel, in a straight line.

2. Strengthen those knees. Knee strengthening exercises, like leg presses and lateral movements with the arms, can help build strength. As knee strength builds, it helps improve proprioception awareness with the mind and body, and also allows you to continue a movement or action in place far longer with proper form.

3. Consider Tai Chi or Yoga. Studies show Tai Chi participants were less likely to fall than those who took part in basic stretching programs or made lifestyle changes. Yoga works, too: According to Temple University research, women 65 and older who took twice-weekly yoga classes for 9 weeks increased ankle flexibility and showed more confidence in walking. That last part is important, says lead researcher Jinsup Song, PhD, “because when people are fearful of losing balance, they tend to do less to challenge themselves.”

4. Work your core. This table top exercise increases core strength, which is directly linked to your balance. Using a mat to protect your knees, get on all fours on the floor in table top position. Make sure the back is flat and the neck is aligned with the spine. While looking at the floor, raise and extend your right arm and your left leg at the same time. Keep a tight core. Hold for 3–5 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform 10 reps on each side.

5. Focus on the legs. Sturdy legs can help prevent a stumble from turning into a fall. To build quads, start with a simple squat: With feet hip-width apart, bend knees and hips and slowly lower yourself as if sitting in a chair behind you. Keep arms straight out, abs tight, back straight, and knees above shoelaces. Stop when thighs are parallel to the floor or as close as you can get, then contract the gluteal muscles in your buttocks as you stand back up. Aim for three sets of 10, with a  one minute break after each set.

6. Sleep more than seven hours a night. A study at the California Pacific Medical Center showed how sleep deprivation reaction time is directly related to falls. Researchers tracked nearly 3,000 older women and found that those who typically slept between five and seven hours each night were 40 percent more likely to fall than those who slept longer.

By incorporating these techniques, you should notice improvements in your balance, coordination, posture, core strength and agility. Most importantly, you’ll help prevent future falls and be able to maintain your independence for years to come.

*It is always important to seek expert training and support when possible. Work with a physical therapist or licensed trainer to ensure you are selecting the right exercises to help you reach your goals safely and effectively. If you have severe balance problems or an orthopedic condition, get your doctor’s clearance before doing balance exercises.

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.