Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

Spinach Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 2 cups peeled cubed beets
  • Olive oil to drizzle on beets
  • 6 cups  spinach
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons  Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast the beets drizzled with olive oil for 20-30 minutes at 400 or until fork tender.
  2. In a large serving bowl, add spinach, goat cheese and walnuts.
  3. Add  beets to salad mixture.
  4. Combine all ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Sauté for 10–15 minutes in coconut oil until sweet potatoes are tender and onions are translucent.
  3. Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a baking pan and brush with the egg wash.
  4. Broil for five minutes, or until potatoes have reached your desired crispiness. They should be just a little browned on top.

The Immune System-Gut Connection

The Immune System-Gut Connection

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Over 2,000 years ago Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said “All disease begins in the gut.” And, as it turns out, he was right. Seventy to 80% of our entire immune system is located in the digestive tract. What’s more, the gut is responsible for creating 95 percent of serotonin and may have significant impact on brain function and mood. This is why our digestive system is often referred to as the “second brain.”  If we want to stay healthy for a lifetime, it is important to pay attention to our gut health.

There are about 100 trillion bugs, better known as bacteria, that live in our digestive tract. Some of these bacteria are “good” and some are “bad.” The good bacteria support immune function and enhance nutrient absorption. To stay healthy, our bodies need to have more “good” bacteria than “bad.”

But how can we determine if we have the right ratio of good bacteria to bad bacteria?

Our bodies let us know by the symptoms we experience.

When our gut flora becomes imbalanced, the result can be constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.  Other symptoms include chronic fatigue, premature aging, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, insomnia, eczema, acne, asthma and even autism.

An increase in bad flora can occur when we are stressed, eating packaged and processed foods, eating fast foods, consuming sugar, overdrinking and overindulging. That’s because the “bad” bacteria feed on the sugars and fats found in these foods. Another cause of imbalanced gut flora is eating mostly cooked foods. Cooking can destroy essential nutrients and enzymes important for good digestive health. Antibiotics can also disrupt the overall gut flora balance.

Doctors and researchers are also beginning to realize that a “leaky gut” can be the cause of a host of health issues. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, is caused when the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged (typically by diet or medication).  Once this lining is damaged, undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria “leak” through the intestines and into the blood stream. These substances entering the blood can cause an autoimmune response in the body, including bloating, food sensitivities and allergies, irritable bowel, rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue, digestive issues and skin problems.

The good news is that by making a few lifestyle and dietary changes, we can alter the diversity and number of microbes in our guts for the better and heal the gut. We need to begin with eating “real” food. Vegetables and high-fiber foods, such as green leafy vegetables, garlic, onions and artichokes, feed the “good” bacteria. We should also eat at least 50% of our food in a raw state. Eating a daily salad with lots of colorful vegetables is a simple way to accomplish this. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchee, yogurt, miso, tempeh, olives, pickles and kefir, can also help improve gut health. (Although it is best to make sure the yogurt and kefir and unflavored, since “bad” bacteria breed on the added sugars.)

Another way to improve your digestive system is to improve your stomach acid. When we have proper acidity in the stomach, germs and foreign invaders such as parasites and bad bacteria are destroyed before they can get to the gut. Many people assume they have too much stomach acid due to chronic heartburn or acid reflux.  Often, however, these symptoms are caused by low stomach acid.

Both probiotics and prebiotics can help increase healthy gut bacteria. A high-quality probiotic is typically consumed in capsule form. Prebiotics, on the other hand, can only be found in food. Prebiotics feed on non-digestible carbohydrates, which encourages beneficial bacteria to multiply in the gut. Prebiotic-rich foods to add to the diet include asparagus, bananas, chicory, garlic, onions, and whole grains.*

And, finally, do your best to avoid taking antibiotics, which destroy the beneficial bacteria and disrupt the overall balance of good and bad bacteria.

When you focus on improving your digestive health, your immune system will reap the benefits.  You will discover you require fewer medications and, more importantly, find yourself further down the path toward optimal health.

*Always talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. For some people, such as those with irritable bowel syndrome or other medical conditions, probiotics and fiber-rich diets may not be helpful.

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.

Foods that boost brain health

Foods that boost brain health
By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Brain health is critically important because we use our brain throughout our lives. When we’re young, our brains help us develop motor skills, learn and study new information. As we age, we want to preserve our memory and ensure our cognitive ability stays sharp and focused.

Our daily choices have a significant impact on our brain health. Specifically, what we choose to fill our plate with can either help support or deteriorate our brain function. Here are some of the best foods to integrate into your diet regularly for a healthy brain.

Oily Fish
Oily fish like sockeye salmon, herring, and sardines are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, a good fat that is crucial for supporting the development of new brain and nerve cells. Ideally, you should aim for at least two portions of oily fish per week – but be sure the fish is wild-caught as opposed to farm raised. Farm raised fish have been shown to contain high levels of mercury and toxins. You can also take fish oil as a supplement. Nordic Naturals is a high-quality brand that we sell at our office.

Nuts and Seeds
If you are vegan, vegetarian or do not like eating fish, there are other food options available that are rich in omega 3’s. Flax seeds are a plant source of good fats. You can purchase flax seeds that are already ground into a powder and are virtually flavorless. Flax seed powder can be sprinkled over food, added to salads or blended into smoothies for a nutrient boost. Walnuts are another good source of omegas. Four walnut halves a day contain a sufficient amount of healthy fat and also vitamin E, which can help protect against Alzheimer’s.

Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation in the brain. It is ideal to use when cooking at high heat. You can also add some coconut oil to your morning coffee for an additional boost in alertness.

Avocados
Avocados are one of my favorite snacks and are actually considered a fruit. Avocados have the lowest amount of sugar and highest protein content of any fruit. Avocados are packed with healthy monosaturated fats, which are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels steady and great for your skin. Avocados also contain water soluble vitamins C and B, which are not stored in the body and need to be replenished daily. Additional nutrients hiding out in this unassuming fruit include folate and vitamin K, which help prevent blood clots in the brain, and improve memory and concentration.

Turmeric
Turmeric is a root that has been used for its healing properties and health benefits for centuries. Curcumin, an active compound found in turmeric root, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that has been shown in studies to help clear the amyloid plaques in the brain that contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin can be taken in high doses daily to help with arthritis and joint pain, as well. In order to experience the anti-inflammatory effects, you need about 500 to 1,000 mg per day. Turmeric powder can be added to eggs in the morning or can be consumed as a tea.

Broccoli
Broccoli is considered a low-calorie superfood. Eat all your heart (or brain) desires! Broccoli is packed with vitamin K, which supports blood vessels in the brain, and vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. It’s also high in fiber, so you’ll feel full quickly while eating it.

Celery
Celery is low in calories but high in nutrients and antioxidants, making it a great snack if you are looking to boost your brain and shed some stubborn quarantine pounds. Most people eat celery stalks, but the leaves and seeds can be added to soups, stir fries or juiced for a super hydration boost.

Beets
Beets contain nutrients to boost energy and performance, enhance blood flow to the brain, and help filter your blood of toxins. My favorite way to eat them is pickled. Simply boil the beets until tender, add salt and apple cider vinegar, and store in the refrigerator in a glass container in the juice they were boiled in. Beets are great as a snack or salad topper. Just be sure to enjoy them in moderation, as they are high in natural sugar.

Blueberries
Blueberries are a delicious way to protect your brain from stress and degeneration. A small but mighty berry, blueberries are one of the most antioxidant rich foods and include vitamin C, K and fiber.

Dark Chocolate
Yes – chocolate can help boost brain health! Dark chocolate is full of brain supporting antioxidants. The darker the chocolate, the more health benefits. It’s perfectly fine to consume a square or two of dark chocolate each day, just be sure it’s at least 70% cacao and minimally processed.

Start incorporating some of these foods into your diet and enjoy the brain-boosting benefits! By making smart daily choices, you can help maintain your mental clarity and stay sharp, while preventing future disease.

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.

Cowboy Caviar

 

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • Grain-free Chips

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Serve with your favorite grain-free chips.

 

How to Stop Sugar Cravings

How to Stop Sugar Cravings

 

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove


In the 1700s, the average adult consumed about four pounds of sugar a year.  Today, the United States Department of Agriculture estimates the average adult eats between 150 and 170 pounds of sugar a year.  According to the American Heart Association, that works out to 22 teaspoons of added sugars a day in the form of foods, drinks and sweets — good deal over the recommended 9 teaspoons a day for men and 6 teaspoons a day for women.

Excess sugar consumption and a high-sugar diet have been associated with a host of chronic health conditions, from diabetes, to heart disease and even cancer. In fact, researchers from Harvard Medical School have reported that up to 80 percent of all human cancers are driven by the effects of glucose and insulin, which stimulate the proliferation, migration and invasiveness of all types of cancer.

The problem is, sugar can be hard to quit.  Part of the reason is physiological – when you eat sugar, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the brain’s pleasure center.  The brain likes this feeling and begins to crave more. That means the more sugar and excess carbohydrates you eat, the more your cravings will persist.

But it is possible to break the cycle. The tips below provide some guidance for kicking the habit once and for all:

Plan ahead

As the saying goes, if you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail — and this is definitely the case with sugar cravings.  Don’t want to wait until you’re starving to make decisions about what you will eat. Plan your meals and snacks in advance – ensuring that each is a mix of protein, healthy fats and phytonutrients from vegetables or fruit.

 

Eat regularly

When you go too long between meals, blood sugar tends to drop.  This makes you feel hungry and more likely to crave sweet, sugary snacks for a temporary energy boost.  Aim to eat at regular intervals — every three to four hours — which usually equates to three meals and two snacks a day.

 

Ditch the sugary beverages

Sodas and other sweetened beverages provide about half of all the added sugar in the typical American diet.  If you find it hard to pass up carbonated drinks, try switching to sparkling water or seltzer water, which provide the “fizz” without the sweetness.  Add lemon, lime or orange slices for natural flavor.

 

 Reach for fruit

If you’re craving something sweet, reach for fruit first.  Fruit contains fructose, which is metabolized differently, and also contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber – all things a handful of gummy bears can’t offer.  But limit fruit to 2-3 servings a day – one serving of fruit is about the size of a tennis ball and equivalent to a ½ cup.  Be sure to stick to lower glycemic options like berries and green apples rather than pineapple and watermelon.  Frozen grapes make a great substitute for ice cream.

 

Incorporate some protein into each meal

Protein helps balance blood sugar levels, which limits cravings.  Healthy sources of protein include: grass-fed beef, whey protein, wild fish like salmon, mackerel or tuna, organic chicken, kefir, plain yogurt and free-range eggs.

 

Add in healthy fats

Healthy fats also protect against cravings.  Fat is digested slowly, so you feel fuller for longer.  But quality matters.  Get your fat from healthy sources like avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.

 

Beef up your breakfast

The standard American breakfast is typically a mix of carbs and sugary or starchy foods, which sets the stage for more cravings throughout the day.  A “healthy” breakfast of low-fat yogurt and granola can serve up over 55 grams of added sugar. Revamp your breakfast plate by shooting for a serving of protein, some healthy fats and a dose of phytonutrients.  An example would be: two eggs scrambled in grass-fed butter with a side of sautéed spinach.

 

Limit pre-packaged food

While it’s difficult to omit packaged foods entirely, consider making your own condiments, desserts and soups so you can control the amount of sugar that goes into them.  If you do use packaged foods, read labels carefully and calculate the sugar content per serving.  Four grams of sugar is equal to one teaspoon.

 

Nix the artificial sweeteners

While it might seem logical to substitute artificial sweeteners for the real thing, these alternatives often make cravings worse. Researchers have found artificial sweeteners can change the palate, causing you to desire more in order to feel satisfied. For a natural sugar boost, reach for green leaf stevia.  (Try to avoid stevia extracts and altered stevia products like Truvia, which are processed and can contain other ingredients.)

 

Out of sight, out of mouth

You can’t snack on something that isn’t there. If you’re serious about kicking the habit, limit the amount of sugary snacks you bring into your house.

 

Consider supplements

Finally, certain herbal supplements can help with cravings and provide support while making the changes mentioned above. Patients in my office have had great success with Gymnema, used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support healthy blood sugar levels.

 

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.

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.