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Is Tendonitis Causing Your Pain?

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

When you feel a new, painful twinge in your body, it is common to wonder if it might be your arthritis spreading. However, not all pain is arthritis related. It is possible the new, painful area is caused by a condition commonly known as tendonitis.

Tendons are thick, fibrous cords that connect muscles to bone. When a muscle contracts to move a bone, the tendon supports that action. Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon and usually occurs near a joint, which is why it is often mistaken for arthritis. It can affect people of all ages, sizes and levels of physical activity, however it is most common in adults over the age of 40. 

Tendonitis is most commonly caused by overuse or repetitive movement patterns. Some forms of tendonitis are named after the sports in which they commonly occur, such as tennis elbow, jumper’s knee, pitcher’s shoulder and golfer’s elbow. Tendonitis can also be caused by physical activities of a longer duration that are outside of your normal routine. For example, power washing the pollen away, spreading pine straw or cleaning the boat. Similarly, a longer walk than usual, or a walk on a terrain that is not routine exercise for you, can also cause sudden tendon irritation. Other common activities that can trigger tendonitis include dancing, gardening, cleaning or skiing without proper warm up or stretching afterward.  

Tendonitis typically involves pain that worsens with motion, and improves with rest and appropriate treatment. Symptoms can reoccur in the same area of the body and include redness, swelling, and warmth at the site. Some types of tendonitis can occur suddenly and last for a few days, while other types accumulate over time and last for weeks to months. 

If the cause of your tendonitis is over-use, you may be told to rest the area and reduce (or avoid) the particular activity. Cold therapy is a great first line of defense to help reduce pain and swelling. A general rule of thumb is to apply ice to the area for 15-20 minutes, followed by at least 20 minutes off. This cycle can be repeated every 2 to 3 hours for the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury. (Never place ice directly on the skin. Always cover the skin with a light absorbent towel, piece of clothing, paper towel or dish towel to prevent frostbite. If you don’t have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or corn will work just fine.)

Certain supplements can also be helpful in lowering inflammation and nourishing damaged tissues.  Omega-3 oil is an anti-inflammatory fat needed to control swelling. It is most commonly found in wild-caught fish but can be supplemented in higher doses as a pill or liquid. Turmeric can be used in cooking or also taken in capsule form, tea or essential oil. Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple that has anti-inflammatory effects and aids in tissue repair. Collagen makes up ligament and tendon tissue. It can be taken in powder form, or consumed as bone broth, to restore your supply and strengthen weakened areas. MSM is a source of sulfur that is necessary for proper tendon function. 

Ensuring the correct body position and correct posture during the problematic activity is important when trying to prevent the injury from recurring. Warming up the tissues and area before, during and after the activity is also useful. Start new exercises slowly. Pace yourself when undertaking abrupt, abnormal chores. Take enough rest days between workouts if you are starting a new routine as your tendons need time to catch up with any new form of movement. 

Sometimes supporting the area with a splint, wrap bandage, compression sleeve or kinesiology tape can help take pressure off the tissues and allow them to heal. Kinesiology tape is a therapeutic tape applied strategically to the body to support tissue, decrease pain and swelling, and improve performance. It is best to consult with a medical provider or physical therapist who is trained in the proper application before you try to apply it yourself.  Corticosteroid injections are a more invasive option that can provide short-term pain relief for tendonitis. These powerful anti-inflammatory drugs are injected directly into a joint or tendon at a doctor’s office.  

If tendonitis continues, or you ignore symptoms and overuse an unhealed injury, there is a possibility of the tendon rupturing or developing lesions on the tendon that may require surgery. The best treatment for tendonitis depends on case history and a physical exam to rule out any other conditions or problems. A chiropractor can assess your posture, give you tips for performing certain activities in a safer way, increase flexibility by making sure the nervous system is working properly and increase joint mobility. 

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.

 

Kale is King

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

When it comes to nutrient-dense vegetables, kale is king. This cruciferous powerhouse is in the same vegetable family as broccoli, arugula, radish, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, radish, turnip and bok choy. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. And, the good news is, it’s easy to find. Even during this time of grocery store shortages, most of us are still able to find fresh or pre-chopped kale in the produce section. 

 

Kale is rich in vitamin C, which is important for a well-functioning immune system. Clinical trials have found that vitamin C shortens the frequency, duration and severity of the common cold and the incidence of pneumonia. Vitamin C is also necessary to make collagen, which is an abundant structural protein in the body. While most experts recommend daily doses ranging from 500 mg to 3,000 mg, it is possible to get vitamin C from real food sources, as well. Kale is much higher in vitamin C then most vegetables, and one cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than a whole orange.

 

Kale is also one of the best sources of vitamin K1, a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in blood clotting. Kale also contains zeaxanthin and lutein, two important antioxidants that give kale its dark green color. These nutrients have been shown to help improve eyesight, and also help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.

 

You can capitalize on these health benefits by adding some kale to your meal plan this week. Below are a few simple and tasty recipes to get you started. 

 

Peachy Kale Smoothie

(Note: Kale can be chopped and kept in the freezer or purchased frozen to add to smoothies)

Ingredients:

1 cup kale leaves

1/2 cup diced peaches

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

1 cup canned coconut milk or water

 

Directions:

In a high-speed blender add kale, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, and coconut milk and puree on high. Enjoy immediately.

 

Baked Sweet Potato with Kale and Feta

Ingredients:

Sweet potatoes

Chopped kale

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Feta cheese

Chopped walnuts

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender when pierced with a fork. While the potatoes are baking, toss some chopped kale in olive oil, salt and pepper over medium heat in a skillet. Sauté kale until slightly wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Slice sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, add kale, feta and walnuts, return to the oven for 10 minutes to melt the feta.

 

Kale Chips

(The best kale chips are made in the dehydrator, but as most people have easy access to an oven, this recipe provides an alternative preparation method.)

 

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, massage the dressing of your choice into one bunch of curly kale that has been washed, dried, and chopped with ribs removed. Spread the kale evenly on the cookie sheet, making sure leaves do not overlap. Bake for 15 minutes, but keep a close eye on it. There is a fine line between crispy and burnt!

 

Lemon and Garlic Sautéed Kale

Ingredients:

2 large bunches of kale, any variety
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Juice of one small lemon
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional for added flavor and spice)

Directions:
Pull the kale leaves from their stems and coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse the leaves, but do not dry them. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring until fragrant (usually about 1 minute, do not let the garlic brown). Add the kale, a few handfuls at a time, stirring after each handful you add so it starts to wilt. Add in the salt and pepper, cover and continue to cook about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally until the kale is tender. Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and serve. Leftovers can be stored in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This is excellent added to an egg scramble the next morning!

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

How to Monitor your Target Heart Rate

by: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Regular exercise offers major health benefits. In order to get the most from your workout while staying at a level that is safe, it is recommended to monitor how hard your heart is working. Your target heart rate is a range of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should be beating when you exercise. Knowing your heart rate can help you track your health and fitness levels and achieve your training goals. 

 

To begin, let’s go over some basics regarding your heart rate. Resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are at rest. An ideal time to check your resting heart rate is in the morning before you get out of bed, ideally after a restful sleep. Generally speaking, normal is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. As far as resting heart rate goes, lower is better. If you have a low resting heart rate it usually means your heart muscle is in great condition and does not have to work as hard to maintain a steady beat. An elite athlete may have a resting heart rate as low as 40 beats per minute. 

 

In order to calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, 170 is the maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate is a percentage of your maximum heart rate and is dependent on your level of exercise. 

 

Beginners should exercise at 60% of their maximum heart rate, intermediate at 70% and advanced at 85%. During moderate intensity activity, you should be about 50-70% of your maximum heart rate. So, continuing our example above, if our 50-year-old person is exercising at moderate intensity, he would calculate his target heart rate zone by taking his maximum heart rate (170) and multiplying it by .5 and .7. This would give him a target heart rate zone between 85 and 119. 

 

(Keep in mind some drugs and medications affect heart rate, resulting in a lower maximum heart rate and target zone. If you have a heart condition or take medication it is always best to check with your primary healthcare provider.) 

 

Some machines at the gym make it easy for you to monitor your heart rate while exercising. For example, most treadmills have a spot where you place your hands and it will calculate your heart rate for you. Some people enjoy wearing a fitness tracking device that will also calculate and track your heart rate for you, making it super easy. If you do not have a fitness tracking device, you can calculate your heart rate manually by taking your pulse. 

 

The most accurate way to take your pulse is by using your first two fingers (pointer and middle finger), placing them on the inside of your wrist or the side of your neck just below the jaw bone. Use just the tip of your first two fingers and press lightly over the artery until you feel a steady pulse. Count your pulse for 30 seconds (you will need to set a timer or use the second hand on a clock) and then multiply it by 2 to find your beats per minute. You want to count your pulse immediately upon stopping exercise.

 

So, what exactly does our heart rate tell us? If your heart rate is too high while you are working out, it means your body is having to strain, and it’s a strong clue to slow down. If your heart rate is too low, you may want to consider pushing yourself a little harder during exercise. If you are just starting to get active, aim for the lower range of your target heart rate zone, for example 50% of your maximum, and gradually build up to 75%.  Over time your body adapts to the increased demand and you can comfortably exercise up to 85% of your maximum heart rate. 

 

Workouts should consist of a 5- to 10-minute warm up, followed by 20 to 30 minutes of consistent exercise where your heart rate is in your target zone, followed by a 5- to 10-minute cool down. The purpose of a warm up is to gradually increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles and circulatory system for training. This helps prevent injuries to the ligaments, muscles and joints. Your cool down period will gradually lower your heart rate to normal before stopping, preventing unwanted side effects like nausea and dizziness. Monitoring your heart rate is a simple way to determine if you are training safe and effectively.

 

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.

 

Meal Planning to the Rescue!

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

We all live busy lives. Oftentimes, the busier we are, the more difficult it becomes to make healthy choices, especially when it comes to meals. But what if I told you there was a simple tool you could use that would make it easier for you to stick with those healthy eating habits – even if you’ve got a busy week ahead? The tool: meal planning. Taking some time to prep meals for the upcoming week or stocking the freezer with easy-to-reach-for meal options not only ensures you continue to make healthy choices now, it also saves you time and money in the long run.

 

When it comes to meal planning, there is no “correct” method. Your approach may differ based on your cooking ability, personal goals, food preferences and schedules. If you eat fast food or takeout several nights of the week, you might have a goal to limit the times you eat out. If you already make a weekly shopping trip, your goal might be to choose one day when you do most of the cooking rather than firing up the stove or oven every night. If you are someone who regularly cooks at home, you might decide to spend a few extra minutes on Sunday creating a weekly meal schedule so you are not deciding last minute what to make and can be sure to have needed ingredients on hand. 

 

The best way to start the meal planning process is to pick a day of the week to plan your menu — be it a menu for a week or a menu for the month. Then, make your grocery list. Be sure to take inventory of what you already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer. Some people prefer to designate a particular day of the week to a specific type of recipe and plan accordingly, such as Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Crock-Pot Wednesday, Stir-Fry Friday, and Soup and Sandwich Saturday.

 

If you need some inspiration for your menu, here are a few of my prep-ahead favorites:

 

Breakfast: Egg cups, sweet potato hash, yogurt and fruit bistro box, overnight oats, breakfast taco scramble or breakfast burrito, chia seed pudding, smoked salmon breakfast bowl and boiled eggs. 

 

Lunch: Mason jar salads (put the dressing at the bottom or add at time of eating), sandwich wrap, chicken or tuna salad on greens or toast, burrito bowl, roasted vegetables or zucchini noodles with pesto. 

 

Dinner: Chili, stews, soups, salmon and asparagus, chicken parmesan, quinoa salad with a southwest twist that can be eaten hot or cold, stuffed bell peppers, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and broccoli, one pan stir-frys and dinner casseroles.

 

The secret to efficient meal prep is multi-tasking. While foods are baking or simmering, chop fresh fruit and vegetables for grab-and-go snacks, or wash and dry salad greens for later. If you prefer not to pre-cook proteins, consider pre-chopping and marinating fish, poultry, tofu or meat so you can quickly pop them into the oven or a stir-fry later in the week. Consider making a double batch of a particular recipe or extra portions for another day or two of meals. Extra portions can also be frozen for later use. Get a head start on lunches by dividing prepared food into individual containers on prep day. You’ll earn yourself an extra 10 minutes of sleep knowing your lunch is ready for you to grab on your way out the door! 

 

Meal planning is a great tool that can save us time and money in the long run. Taking the time to develop this healthy habit now can help decrease stress and ensure we stay on a healthy eating track, even in the midst of our busy lives.

 

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.

More on Intuitive Eating

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Last week, we discussed five strategies you can use to begin eating intuitively, as opposed to relying on the typical “diet” approach to weight management.

Intuitive eating doesn’t rely on a diet or meal plan, counting calories or excessive willpower.  Rather, intuitive eating is about learning to trust your body again. It’s about learning to read internal cues, like hunger, fullness and satisfaction, and moving away from external cues like food rules and restrictions.  People who eat intuitively, trust their bodies to tell them when, what and how much to eat.  And they give themselves permission to eat what they want without feeling guilty.

This week, I’m sharing five more ways you can begin to incorporate intuitive eating principles, from Sun Basket’s staff dietitian, Lindsey Kane. By beginning to implement these strategies on a regular basis, you’ll develop healthy habits and be able to get off the diet-go-round for good. 

Discover the satisfaction factor.
Intuitive eating encourages you to identify foods that truly make you feel good—not just during a meal, but afterward, too. By doing this, you’ll find yourself gravitating towards and returning to foods that make you feel your best. In addition to eating foods that make you feel good, try engaging all your senses. Slow down, appreciate the way the food looks, respect how it arrived at your plate, breathe in all of the aromas, and eat in an environment that feels good and with people who light you up. 

Honor your feelings without using food.
Food can be comforting, but that pleasure only lasts as long as the meal. Afterward, whatever was eating you is still there, buried under food, perhaps now served with a side of guilt and shame. Intuitive eating encourages you to identify whether you’re feeling anxious, bored, lonely, sad, or angry and then seek a true solution. Go for a walk, call a friend, practice yoga or meditation, get a massage, read a book, or write in a journal. You’ll know you’re responding appropriately when the response makes you feel better, not worse. 

Respect your body.
Our differences are our superpowers, yet we live in a world that idealizes a cookie-cutter body type. The idea that we can radically transform our bodies is unfair and unrealistic. Intuitive eating challenges you to embrace your genetic blueprint, set realistic expectations, and celebrate your uniqueness. Anytime you catch yourself comparing your body to someone else’s, respond as you would if a friend said something similar about themselves. 

Exercise and feel the difference.
People who practice intuitive eating enjoy exercise because it gives them energy, improves their mood, promotes self-efficacy, and makes them feel strong, flexible, and agile. For intuitive eaters, working out isn’t about which activity will burn the most calories, but rather about which activity is the most fun and energizing. Exercise you enjoy is exercise that you’re likely to repeat, creating the momentum that drives sustainable, long-term happiness.

Honor your health.
Acknowledging how your health impacts the richness of your life erases superficial reasons for health goals and grounds your motives in what truly matters: your personal values. Getting perspective on why health is important helps you understand that no single meal or bite can make or break your self-worth. Align your health with your ambitions and you’ll be more motivated to cultivate habits that support your life goals. Ask yourself if your goals are realistic, are you accepting of your natural body or constantly fighting your genetics and beating yourself up? Respect your body and start feeling better about who you are so you can take better care of yourself long-term.

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.

 

Eating Intuitively

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

According to U.S. News and World Report, about 90 to 95 percent of all diets fail. Although almost any weight-loss plan can yield short-term benefits, over time the pounds inevitably creep back on, and it’s not unusual to end up weighing more than you did before you started dieting. 

A healthy approach to eating, called “Intuitive Eating,” believes the blame should be placed on the flawed process of dieting rather than blaming the “dieters”. This week, I’m sharing five ways you can begin to eat intuitively, from Sun Basket’s staff dietitian, Lindsey Kane. Next week, I’ll share five more. By beginning to implement these strategies, you’ll develop healthy habits and be able to get off the diet-go-round for good. 

  1. Reject the diet mentality.
    Stop chasing diets and allowing the latest fad dictate what, how much, and when to eat. This rigid lifestyle of restriction and deprivation can lead to a toxic relationship with food. Instead, make a commitment to trust your gut when it comes to food choices. 
  2. Honor your hunger.
    While most diets require you to resist a growling stomach, intuitive eating is about rebuilding faith in your body’s cues. You’ll learn to be more aware of your hunger and how to respond appropriately to it beforeyou become ravenous.  Before each meal, rate your level of hunger, jot down a few internal cues that you observed, and the time of day. Do this for a week and you’ll become more in tune with your appetite, as well as which foods deliver long-lasting energy, and those that deliver short-lived satiety. 
  3. Make peace with food.
    Abandon the idea of “good” and “bad” foods. Viewing foods that way fuels an ‘all or nothing’ mentality that can lead to cravingsfor ‘forbidden’ foods, followed by binging and a rush of self-loathing and shame. Intuitive eating promotes the idea that food should always be a life-enhancing experience.
  4. Challenge the food police.
    Reframe your attitude toward food. Take note of any “food police” thoughts you may have, such as “I was bad today” or “I shouldn’t eat that.” Resist the notion that your food choices define you and the value you bring to this world. Look out for people who may be consciously or unconsciously manifesting a food-police mentality, share your intuitive eating philosophy with them and ask them to support you by keeping their negative comments to themselves. 
  5. Respect your fullness.
    The flip side of honoring your hunger is to respect when you’re full. Because diets limit what, when, and how much you eat, it’s easy to become disconnected from the internal signs that signal satiety. When you practice intuitive eating, you start a meal with a lower level of hunger and in a frame of mind that allows you to be more sensitive to satiety cues. Plus, you know you can refuel whenever you’re hungry again, and you won’t feel pressured to clean your plate. Use a satiety scale during meals to train your mind to get in touch with cues of satiety. Jot down observations of how you feel and what you ate. This will help determine when to put your fork down and walk away from a meal feeling comfortably nourished and energized.

By implementing these strategies, you can create healthy habits around food that will positively impact your health for years to come. Stay tuned next week for five more tips on how to incorporate intuitive eating into your daily life.

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

 

EWG Dirty Dozen

By Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, released its annual report, “A Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.” The report lists the Dirty Dozen, fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue, and the Clean Fifteen, for which few, if any, residues were detected.

 

Drawing from tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2021 report found nearly 70 percent of non-organic produce tested had pesticide residue. (Before testing fruits and vegetables, the USDA washes, scrubs and peels them, as consumers would.)

This year, collard and mustard greens join kale on the dirty list. One sample of mustard greens had 20 different pesticides, and some kale and collard samples had as many as 17. Bell peppers and hot peppers were added to this year’s list at No. 10. The USDA found 115 pesticides on peppers – the most, by far, found on any item.

Although no citrus fruits landed on the Dirty Dozen, this year’s Shopper’s Guide highlights the concerning levels of toxic pesticides found on these fruits, not only in USDA tests but also in independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG. In the EWG tests, nearly 90 percent of all the conventionally grown oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemons sampled contained either imazalil or thiabendazole, an endocrine-disrupting fungicide. More than half the samples had both. 

 

While most pesticide residues the USDA finds fall within government-mandated restrictions, it’s important to point out that legal limits aren’t necessarily safe. Pesticides are designed to kill living organisms, such as insects, invasive plants and fungi.  Given their designed purpose, it should come as no surprise that pesticides could have a negative effect on human health, as well. There have been many health risks linked directly to pesticides – including infertility, brain and nervous system issues, cancer and hormone disruption – so it makes sense to keep your exposure as low as possible. 

In a perfect world, we would all buy and eat 100% organic.  However, organic options aren’t always available, and they often come with a heftier price tag. If fully organic isn’t in your budget, you can eliminate many of the pesticides from your food by prioritizing certain organic foods. The EWG’s annual lists provide a great place to start. 

 

EWG’s 2021 Dirty Dozen List

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale/Collard/Mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Peaches
  9. Pears
  10. Bell and hot peppers
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

 

EWG’s 2021 Clean 15

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn*
  3. Pineapples
  4. Onions
  5. Papayas*
  6. Frozen sweet peas
  7. Eggplant
  8. Asparagus
  9. Broccoli
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kiwifruit
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Mushrooms
  14. Honeydew
  15. Cantaloupe

 

*Although shown to have the among the lowest amounts of pesticide residue, sweet corn and papayas sold in the United States are genetically-modified crops (GMOs). You should still choose organic versions of these crops in order to avoid the GMO varieties. 

 

There are a couple important things to keep in mind when using these lists:

 

  1. Fruits and veggies are the foundation to a healthy diet.  If you can’t buy organic, you are still better off eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables rather than not eating them at all.  Always eat lots of vegetables, but choose organic when possible, especially when it comes to The Dirty Dozen.

 

  1. If you are unable to purchase organic, consider peeling your produce.  For example, remove and discard the outermost leaves of lettuce and cabbage. Peel your potatoes and apples. 

 

  1. For produce that you cannot peel, wash thoroughly – organic or not.  To clean your vegetables at home, mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to one cup of water and soak your desired fruit or vegetable. Stir periodically for five minutes before draining, rinsing and using.  Alternately, you can make a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water and keep in a spray bottle near the sink.  Simply spray your produce, then rinse under cold water.

 

Finally, the EWG points out that there is no evidence that people can be exposed to COVID-19 through food. The spread pattern for coronavirus is quite different from those of foodborne pathogens like salmonella and E.coli. That is why, even though the risks of COVID-19 are serious, consumers should continue eating plenty of healthy fruits and vegetables, whether they are conventional or organic.

 

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.

 

Avocado Recipes for Spring

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove 

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. They are packed with healthy monosaturated fats, which help keep blood sugar levels steady and are great for your skin. 

Avocados also contain 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 can help improve memory and concentration. Avocados have nearly 3 grams of fiber packed into each serving, as well. 

Compared to other fruits and vegetables avocados are high in calories, so moderation is key. Here are some of my favorite avocado recipes for spring – including a tasty and healthy appetizer ideal for Easter dinner. 

Mango Avocado Salsa Recipe

1 mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
¼ cup red onion, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil

Peel, seed, dice, chop and mince all ingredients according to ingredient list. Add ingredients to bowl and toss until everything is coated and spices are evenly distributed. Serve cold with organic blue corn chips or grain-free tortilla chips (Siete and Trader Joe’s brands are great options). Also great on grilled chicken or fish tacos!

 

Chilled avocado + arugula soup

With a prep time of 5 minutes and cook time of 5 minutes, this soup is quick and easy. This recipe comes together easily in a Vitamix and yields about 5 cups of soup. If you don’t have a Vitamix, a regular blender will work, although you may need to strain the soup to ensure a smooth texture. Garnish options are endless, but my favorites for this soup are olive oil, fresh mint and/or chives, chevre, toasted pepitas and warm, crusty bread on the side. 

2 medium ripe avocados, diced
2 big handfuls arugula
1/3 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
juice of one medium lemon
1 tsp local honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 and 2/3 cup spring water, ice cold (or enough water to reach desired consistency
1 Tbsp quality olive oil 



Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely smooth and no bits remain. Adjust lemon, salt, honey, and water to taste if you want to. Either chill until very cold or stir a handful of ice through it until cold. Ladle into bowls and top with the garnishes of your choice. 

 

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Ideal as an Easter appetizer, lunch addition or go-to healthy snack, these deviled eggs are easy to prepare and require only simple ingredients. 

 

6 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1/2 avocado, pit removed

1 tsp lime juice 

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, finely minced

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Pinch of salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

 

Cut the hard-boiled eggs in half and discard the yolks. Arrange on a plate and set aside. Mash the avocado and stir in the remaining ingredients. Spoon the mixture evenly into the egg whites and serve.

 

Grapefruit Avocado Salad

This refreshing, citrusy salad is perfect for those who enjoy the slightly bitter taste of grapefruit. Avocado and orange add bulk and color to the salad to make it a bright, satisfying meal. For best results, use the ripest fruits that you can find.

 

1 grapefruit

4 cups fresh spinach 

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, finely diced

2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 avocado, diced

1 orange, peeled and cut into segments

 

Cut the grapefruit in half and remove the segments over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice. Mix the grapefruit juice with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the shallot, honey, and tarragon. Add the spinach to the bowl and toss. To serve, arrange the spinach on two plates. Top each plate with the segmented grapefruit and orange, and then the diced avocado. Serve immediately.

 

What’s Causing Your Heel Pain?

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

 

Have you ever experienced excruciating pain in the bottom of the foot or heel?  Does your first step out of bed in the morning feel like you stepped on a knife? Sharp pain in the heel or stabbing pain in the bottom of the foot can be debilitating. Plantar fasciitis (fashee-EYE-tiss) is the most common cause of pain on the bottom of the heel, and it affects nearly 2 million people a year.

 

The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone to the front of the foot. This tissue helps create the arch shape to support your feet, aid in stability, and absorb shock when your feet strike the ground. Sometimes, however, too much pressure damages or causes tears in the tissue, and the plantar fascia gets inflamed, which leads to pain and discomfort. Tightness can start in the calf muscle that connects to the heel via the Achilles tendon. When the calf muscles are tight, the tendon pulls on the bone, which strains the fascia and connective tissue causing pain. 

 

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by multiple factors, but the most common triggers include: 

 

  • Long periods of standing on hard surfaces
  • Excessive walking that causes unwarranted tension on the muscles of the feet and surrounding structures
  • Faulty biomechanics of the foot, such as high arches or flat feet, which puts added stress on the plantar fascia due to abnormal weight distribution
  • Inadequate support from shoes, such as high heels or flip flops

 

Another cause of plantar fasciitis is inactivity. This is particularly common when recovering from an injury that requires sedentariness in order to heal. During the inactive healing process, the small muscles of the feet atrophy and become weak. Once you use that foot again, it can trigger plantar fasciitis. Additionally, after an injury, the muscles in the foot can become adhered to the plantar fascia causing an inability of the tissues to glide over one another, resulting in sharp pain.

 

An effective at-home treatment is rolling out the bottom of the foot to help release the adhesions. Use a golf ball, baseball, lacrosse ball, rolling pin (or even an empty wine bottle) to roll back and forth on the bottom of the foot for a deep tissue massage. This will allow you to break up the adhered fascia and connective tissue in order to gain mobility in the tight muscles. You can do this while seated, two minutes at a time, multiple times per day.

 

In addition, stretch the calf muscles and Achilles tendon by placing the ball of your foot on the edge of a stair and dropping your heel down. Slowly lean forward, keeping your leg straight until you feel the stretch at the top of the calf. This stretch can be repeated with your knee bent in order to feel a deeper stretch down the calf and into the Achilles tendon. Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat several times in each position. 

 

Before getting out of bed in the morning, stretch the arches of your feet by using a towel or belt around the ball of your foot, pulling the toes toward your head. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times before getting out of bed.

 

To help decrease pain and inflammation, freeze a plastic water bottle and roll it over the site of discomfort using long slow strokes with deep pressure for five minutes on with two minutes off.  Epsom salt can also help relieve pain and inflammation. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt to a bathtub or three tablespoons in a small tub of warm water. Soak for 10-15 minutes daily, and follow by massaging the bottom and arch of the foot. 

 

Magnesium can help relax tendons.  Add 500 mg of magnesium before bed, or increase your daily intake of magnesium by incorporating avocado, spinach, swiss chard, banana, black beans, pumpkin seeds, lentils, garbonzo beans, black eyed peas, pinto beans, and dried figs into your diet. Vitamin B5 is responsible for helping with nerve function, relaxing muscles, accelerate healing and decreasing joint pain and fatigue. Foods naturally high in B5 include shiitake mushrooms, sunflower seeds, salmon, sweet potatoes and lentils, and are worth adding to your diet.

 

In order to prevent plantar fasciitis, choose shoes with good arch support and shock absorbency. Replace your old athletic shoes before they stop supporting your foot, after about 500 miles of use.

 

The feet are the foundation of the body, so balancing them with orthotics can enhance your entire body structure. Orthotics help distribute pressure to your feet more evenly to reduce pain and increase performance. With the feet properly balanced, the whole body is better kept in alignment, including knees, hips, back and shoulders. 

 

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.

 

Keeping it Healthy When Eating Out

By: Dr. Alyssa Musgrove

Eating out is both a fun event and a social event, and an important part of life in the Lake Country. Many studies, however, have shown there is a significant link between dining out, overeating and poor food choices. So how do you eat out and still stay on track with your health goals? Here are a few tips to making better choices when dining out that won’t require you to give up your social life or turn down those dinner invitations. 

Substitute for success. Healthier options are always available, but you will likely have to swap out the unhealthy menu pairings that can ruin a great dish. Create your own meal around protein and vegetables. Scan the menu and then get creative; mix and match to make your own meal. Substitute extra vegetables instead of the pasta that comes with the fish or a side salad instead of french fries. When ordering an omelet ask for extra protein or vegetables instead of the toast. If ordering a sandwich or burger, ask for more of a “protein style,” such as a lettuce wrap or bed of lettuce instead of a bun.

Pay attention to preparation. Inquire about how the food is cooked and prepared. The way the food is cooked can make quite a difference in the amount of calories and nutrients it contains. Foods that have been grilled, roasted, poached or steamed are generally healthier options because these cooking processes require less oil and fat, and do not kill all the nutrients. Foods that are crispy, crunchy, fried, pan-fried, battered or sautéed in oil or sauce usually contain more calories, harmful ingredients and decrease the overall nutrient value. Instead of a fried vegetable, ask to have it grilled, steamed or roasted. Or, order your vegetable without the melted cheese or sauce that comes on top. 

Be the first to order. In social situations, people tend to subconsciously mimic each other, and dining out is no exception. Other people can influence our decisions and eating behaviors without us noticing, so go ahead and lead by example. If you are at a table with a group that is likely to order something that does not align with your healthy lifestyle choices, make sure you order first!

Order two appetizers instead of a main meal. Research has proven that people are more likely to overeat when they are served larger portions. When you know you are going to a restaurant where the portions are huge, try ordering two appetizers or an appetizer and a side, instead of a main course that you might tempted to finish. This trick can help you fill up without leaving you uncomfortably full, wasting food or going overboard on calories.

Move it to the side. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side, as these can add a lot of extra calories to a dish. For example, just two tablespoons of ranch dressing adds about 150 extra calories. Keeping the dressing on the side allows you to control the amount you eat. Another option is skip the premade dressings and just use olive oil and vinegar with salt and pepper.

Practice mindfulness at your meal. Trying to be mindful while eating can help improve your self-control and prevent overeating. Mindful eating means giving your full attention to your meal, meal choices and the eating process. Take the time to savor the flavors and the smells of your meal. Try putting your fork down between bites, which will slow you down so you can enjoy the eating process. Mindful eating has been linked to healthier food choices and more enjoyment. 

Chew on this. Digestion starts in the mouth. When you chew your food properly, your body releases digestive enzymes in the mouth and stomach that help break down your food so it can be converted into energy. When food is not broken down or digested you could suffer from issues such as constipation, low energy, heart burn, indigestion and headaches. Make sure you are swallowing the tiniest pieces possible. According to experts at Ohio State University, dense foods like meats and raw vegetables should be chewed up to 30 times before swallowing and softer foods 10 times. Chewing your food thoroughly can also slow down the eating process, increase nutrient absorption and prevent overeating. 

Above all else, be flexible with your food choices and be conscious how that meal will fit into your overall health and wellness goals. If you follow healthy lifestyle habits and meal patterns most of the time, go ahead and treat yourself. Moderation is key to success, and even moderation should be done in moderation. An occasional indulgence can be good for the soul.

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.