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Crock Pot Madras Lentils

Crock Pot Madras Lentils

This is such a fun recipe discovery! We got a sample of this dish at Costco…it is a yummy substitute for mild chili (you could spice it up) and a fun convenience food the way it is sold at Costco but here’s an easy recipe for a quick, inexpensive and delish go to meal for a busy night!

Crock Pot Madras Lentils

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb dried lentils
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilis
  • 1 15 oz can small red kidney beans
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 6 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT HEAVY CREAM in slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Stir in heavy cream.
  4. Using an immersion blender (or a blender or food processor in batches), puree until to desired thickness.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve alone or over rice, and top with cheese and/or sour cream.
  7. Recipe is shared from the following website: http://funnyisfamily.com/2017/02/crock-pot-madras-lentils.html
http://chiroaddict.com/crock-pot-madras-lentils/

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Digestion

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Digestion

A well-functioning digestive system is crucial to maintaining your body’s overall health. Without it, you are likely to have bowel problems and suffer from digestive upsets, not to mention a host of other conditions that can result from not getting enough nutrients from the food you eat. The digestive system affects all the other systems of the body, so it’s important to do what you can to be sure it’s working the way it should. Following are the top 5 things you can do to help improve your digestion.

Eat more fiber – Soluble and insoluble fiber are both essential for moving food through the digestive tract. Soluble fiber, such as that found in oatmeal, beans, nuts and apples, turns to a gel in your intestines and slows digestion, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It absorbs water, softening the stool, and promotes the health of the good bacteria in your gut. Insoluble fiber, such as that found in the skins of fruit and vegetables, speeds digestion, adds bulk and passes primarily intact through the digestive tract. Both are important in preventing constipation and can improve conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Drink more fluids – Insufficient water intake can harden the stool, increasing constipation. You should be sure to drink at least 1.2 liters of fluid per day, which is about 6 glasses. Some people need more, based on their activity level and the ambient temperature. However, do not drink more than about 6 ounces of liquid during a meal (taking the occasional sip), as it can dilute your stomach acid, making digestion more difficult. Aim to get most of your fluid intake 15-30 minutes before a meal or at least an hour afterward.

Take probiotics – Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are the good bacteria that populate our digestive tract. Eating yogurt with a variety of helpful live cultures as well as fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and kefir can help promote the production and health of these beneficial bacteria.

Eat more fat – Although increasing your fiber intake can improve your digestion that fiber does not move through the digestive tract so easily if you are not getting enough fat in your diet. Good fats will not raise your cholesterol and in fact are a healthy part of your diet when eaten in moderation. Some healthy sources of fat are olive oil, coconut oil, butter and avocados.

Reduce stress – When you are under stress, your digestive system slows down and circulation to the digestive tract is reduced, lowering your body’s ability to efficiently break down and utilize the food you eat. Do not rush through meals, and be sure to sufficiently chew and savor your food when you eat. If you must eat while under stress, be sure you eat foods that are simple to digest, such as broth or yogurt.

How Much Money You Can Save From Losing Weight at Different Ages

How Much Money You Can Save From Losing Weight at Different Ages

Today we are sharing an article from Forbes magazine on how losing weight can save you money. Just ask our doc – Dr. Greg Oblander, losing weight saves you more than just money. Think that you are doomed to all of the health woes and diseases that have plagued your parents and grandparents? Would it surprise you to know that genetics only affect about 5% of health issues? Yup, it’s true. Our health is mainly determined by our health and lifestyle choices. Love that Big Mac? Well…it doesn’t love you! Today’s article cites a report that estimates that losing weight will save the average person at least $10,000 over a lifetime. We think that estimate is way low. (Think cost of cancer treatment, heart surgery, escalating medical costs). Money issues aside, how much is it worth to you to not have chronic pain, joint issues, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer…and the list goes on? Deciding now to get rid of extra weight and adopt the habit of exercise and eating real food will save you both health woes and money! An added bonus is that you will learn a greater degree of self-discipline! If you would like to change your lifestyle habits and/or lose weight, we can help! Call our Oblander Chiropractic office at 406-652-3553 and schedule your free consultation!

Please enjoy today’s article from Forbes magazine:

Losing weight can save you money over your lifetime.

Want another reason to lose weight? How about making your wallet heavier? In our study just published in the journal Obesity, we showed how much money that losing weight can save at any age, whether you are Millennial at 20 years old or a member of the Greatest Generation at 80 years old.

Five members of our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University (Saeideh Fallah-Fini, Atif Adam, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Sarah M. Bartsch and I) developed a computational model that simulated an adult at different starting ages and weights and calculated what could happen to the person’s weight, health and associated costs over time for the rest of his or her life. (Dr. Fallah-Fini is also an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the California State Polytechnic University.) Think of this model as a virtual person whom we can follow like a friend while the person ages.

For example, a simulated person could start as overweight at age 20 and then with each passing simulated year of the person’s life gain or lose weight and develop different types of chronic weight-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, just like a real person. The simulation would continue until the person died from either age-related causes or a weight-related condition such as having a fatal heart attack.

At the end of the simulation, we could then tabulate the amount of medical costs that occurred (e.g., hospitalizations and medications for stroke) and the amount of productivity losses that resulted (e.g., lost salary from being disabled or missing days of work for hospitalizations, clinic visits, falling ill or passing away early). By running the model with different starting weights (e.g., within the ideal body weight range) and then comparing the results, we could then see how medical costs and productivity losses may change with losing or gaining weight.

The model utilized data from a variety of sources such as the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) studies, the Framingham Heart Study (FRS), the Northern Manhattan Stroke cohort study, the National Cancer Institute database, the National Health Interview Survey, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Dr. Adam played a major role in assembling and analyzing all of this data to help construct the model.

On average, going from obesity to normal weight, a 20-year-old could save a net present value of more than $28,000 throughout their lifetime, a 40-year-old more than $30,000, a 50-year-old more than $36,000, a 60-year-old more than $34,000, a 70-year-old more than $29,000 and an 80-year-old more than $16,000.

Going from overweight to an ideal weight range could save more than $10,000 at any age from 20 to 80, peaking at age 60 ($18,604). It may be that “love don’t cost a thing,” but obesity or being overweight certainly do.

In nearly all situations, at least half of these costs are from productivity losses (lost salary). In many cases, productivity losses constituted as high as nearly two-thirds of the costs. Since we used median wages, if you make much more, then losing weight could save you substantially more than the numbers we reported.

These numbers actually may be underestimates because the model focused on just a handful of major weight-related health conditions. We didn’t account for costs associated with a number of other weight-related issues such as joint problems and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Extra weight not only hits you in the gut, but potentially in the heart, the brain, the liver, the kidneys and other parts of the body, and also the wallet.

And since we are all connected with each other via taxes (assuming that you pay taxes), insurance premiums (assuming that you pay for insurance) and the economy (assuming that you are a person and not a wombat), extra weight for someone else also may end up hitting your wallet, too.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucelee/2017/09/27/how-much-money-you-can-save-from-losing-weight-at-different-ages/#7a2e40295c2a

 

Nine Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

Nine Reasons to Lose Weight That Have Nothing to Do with Fitting into Your Skinny Jeans

We talk a lot about the importance of reaching a goal weight and how to stay motivated. Sometimes, though, it still seems like a laborious task. If you’re carrying extra weight, you probably already know there are a myriad of health-related reasons to slim down. While it may seem impossible, little steps will carry you bit by bit down your weight loss path to your ultimate goal.While keeping your eyes on the big prize, it may help you to realize that even small changes in your weight may improve blood sugar, blood pressure, heart health, reduce cholesterol, and decrease your chances of developing diabetes. We’ve shared many motivational tips, but did you know that when you lose 10% of your bodyweight, you are instantly healthier? There’s no doubt that dropping weight will make you look and feel better, but there are numerous other benefts that you can realize while on your weight loss journey, which have nothing to do with how you look in your skinny jeans. Read more: Strategies for successful maintenance after weight loss.

Fewer Asthma and Allergy Symptoms

The link may not be immediately obvious, but new research has found that for some people, being overweight can make their asthma and allergy symptoms worse. Carrying excess weight on your body puts a burden on the adrenal glands, and your adrenal glands help manage asthma and allergies. In addition, being overweight strains your respiratory system and can make allergy symptoms worse.

Arthritis Relief

Not only does losing weight help relieve arthritis pain, it can also help keep you from developing arthritis—the less you weigh, the less stress on the joints. In addition, recent studies have shown that when you have arthritis and you lose weight, your pain is reduced and your joint functionality significantly improves.

Less Foot Pain

You may not really think about it, but excess weight can put a lot of pressure on your feet, even if you don’t have arthritis. In a recent study, people who had lost an average of 90 pounds found that their incidence of foot pain lowered by 83%. This is understandable because your feet support your entire body, and therefore your entire body’s weight. Relief from foot pain is motivation enough for losing weight.

Glowing Skin

There are numerous ways being overweight may affect your skin, which is the body’s largest organ. Both skin elasticity and color can be altered by lack of proper nutrition, and a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar can cause pale skin and skin tags. Darkness around the eyes can also signal poor nutrition, such as iron defciency, diabetes, protein anemia, or stress.

Better Mood

When you are overweight, your entire system will be out of balance, including the hormones that affect your mood. Losing weight may increase your overall sense of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. Many overweight people suffer from extreme depression, and depression may increase a person’s chances of being overweight, setting up a cycle that is hard to break.

Improved Cognition and Memory

A recent study found that older adults who were overweight scored worse on cognitions tests than adults who were at a healthy weight. Past studies have linked excess weight in animals to cognitive decline, but little has been previously understood about the interaction between obesity and the brain. However, new research suggests that being overweight weakens the blood-brain barrier, and this allows substances manufactured by fat to flow to the brain. Researchers also discovered that 12 weeks after weight loss, memory significantly improves.

Sounder Sleep

If you’ve ever suffered from insomnia, you understand the benefits of a good night’s sleep. During sleep, your cells are repaired and your brain processes and remembers the day’s events. In fact, the most common prescription for sleep apnea is weight loss. In studies involving people with diabetes and sleep apnea, those who lost a greater amount of weight had the most significant drop in sleep apnea symptoms. It only takes a weight loss of 5% in obese people to start seeing results.

Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Almost everyone has either heard or read about the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes and its link to obesity. It may be a surprise for many to learn how effective losing weight can be at reversing the impact of type 2 diabetes. In fact, many people can avoid the disease altogether by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes patients on a restricted eating plan, such as the doctor-supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program, were able to lower their blood sugar and insulin levels to normal within seven days. If you have type 2 diabetes, reversing the condition and avoiding future complications could just be the best benefit of your weight-loss journey.

Economic Savings

Many complain that eating a healthy diet is costly, and sometimes it does seem like fast food, junk food, and convenience food is cheaper. However, in the long run, slimming your waist can plump up your wallet. When you calculate the cost of medical bills, missed days at work, short-term disability, low-productivity, workers’ compensation, and more, there is a real difference between the financial health of obese people and their peers who have healthier weights. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good in your clothes, but the harsh reality is that being overweight can take up to 20 years off your life. Reducing your weight by even 5% can have a positive effect on your health, and it is a great beginning for your transformation. If you are ready to start your weight loss journey, call our office at Oblander Chiropractic to find out more about the doctor-supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program.

 

The office phone number is 406-652-3553

 

 

 

What Is Immunotherapy and How Can It Help with Food Allergies?

What Is Immunotherapy and How Can It Help with Food Allergies?

young-parents-feeding-child

Food allergies affect over 15 million Americans, including 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18. The symptoms of these allergic reactions can range from minor (e.g., itching, swelling of the lips, intestinal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting) to major or even life-threatening (e.g., development of hives and rashes, tightening of the throat to the point of being unable to breathe, significant drops in blood pressure).

Having such an allergy—or being the parent of a child with such an allergy—can impose unwelcome lifestyle limitations and cause a great deal of anxiety. At present, there is no known cure for serious food allergies that works for everyone. This means that the best approach for the time being is to completely avoid the food product to which you or your child has an allergic reaction. However, this is not always practical or possible to do. That’s why the majority of “treatments” currently available focus on managing the symptoms after an attack has taken place. For instance, individuals with serious food allergies may carry an auto-injector filled with epinephrine (adrenaline) with them at all times, just in case.

Naturally, because of the seriousness and the prevalence of food allergies, a great deal of research is being conducted on treatments to desensitize individuals to the foods they are allergic to. This may effectively “cure” the allergy for some sufferers. One of the fields that shows promise is the study of immunotherapy (more precisely, low-dose immunotherapy), in which extremely small amounts of the allergen are administered to allergy sufferers over time. The basic idea behind the experimental treatment is that the body will develop a tolerance to these low doses and that the allergic reaction will gradually cease.

The first work in immunotherapy was undertaken in the 1960s in England by Dr. S. Popper, who was trying to cure allergic reactions to pollen by injecting patients with low doses of the allergen in combination with the enzyme beta-glucuronidase in an approach called “enzyme potentiated desensitization” (EPD). While the then-experimental treatment showed early success, its use in the U.S. was suspended by the FDA for administrative reasons in 2001. However, follow-up work continued and an enhanced American version of the EPD injection called Low Dose Allergens (LDA) was later introduced.

The obvious drawback of this type of therapy is that the doses have to be injected by a physician. It is also necessary for patients to avoid outside exposure to larger doses of the allergens and to many medications while the treatment is underway. However, other researchers have continued to study desensitization via immunotherapy with the goal of finding other mechanisms of administering the low-dose allergens, such as oral medications, sublingual (under the tongue) medications, and others.

Some of the most promising work in this field is being performed at Stanford University School of Medicine by Kari Nadeau, Associate Professor of Allergies and Immunology. Nadeau is working with children afflicted with peanut allergies. Her approach is to give them minute doses of the peanut allergen and gradually escalate the doses over a period of months in the hope of them eventually developing immunity. Up to this point, Nadeau’s technique has produced positive results for many patients, but it does appear to have limitations. First, the therapy doesn’t seem to offer a permanent “cure”. Patients must continue to take low doses of the peanut allergens or risk losing their immunity. If they stop for more than a few days, the allergies can come back. Second, the treatment itself is time-consuming and often expensive.

While the jury is still out on immunotherapy, the concept shows promise. However, progressing from concept to proven treatment is clearly going to take much more work. As it stands today, some immunotherapy approaches work for some patients but don’t work for others. Plus, there are questions about how long immunity actually lasts and whether it must be maintained or periodically boosted. This is clearly a very important consideration since patients could run the risk of unknowingly losing immunity and coming into contact with the allergen, allowing it to trigger an unexpected—and potentially serious—attack.

So if you suffer from food allergies and are looking for a way to diminish them, the best advice we can offer at this time is to continue following the research and to consult with your own healthcare providers about the potential benefits and risks in your own case. If you do decide to pursue immunotherapy, be sure that it is being administered and overseen by well-trained medical professionals who can monitor progress and watch for side effects.

 

When It Comes to Nutritional Supplements, Quality Counts!

When It Comes to Nutritional Supplements, Quality Counts!

nutritional-supplements-multi-colo
nutritional-supplements-multi-colo

Nutritional supplements are one way that many of us try to improve our health and to support our efforts to lose weight, stop smoking, and more. Although using good quality supplements can be beneficial to your health, it can be difficult to determine which ones really fit the bill. Supplement makers are lightly regulated relative to the pharmaceutical industry, and there have been specific ingredients and some products pulled from the store shelves only after they have proved harmful to a number of people. When the New York Attorney General recently revealed the results of a probe into supplement sales at four top national retailers and found that many products didn’t actually contain the correct ingredients, it came as no surprise to some experts who have worried about poor quality control and manufacturer fraud for years.

A Matter of Omission

While many of us might be more concerned about what’s in a supplement that shouldn’t be, it can also be a big problem if the product doesn’t actually contain the key ingredients listed on the label. If an individual is depending on a particular supplement to remain healthy, the lack of key ingredients could have serious consequences that the user may not be aware of. In a number of cases, key ingredients had apparently been replaced with cheap fillers or other alternatives that not only failed to meet the specific nutritional need but that also had the potential to cause harm to some consumers.

Herbal Ingredients: What You May Not Know

Many supplements use herbs in their products as their main ingredients. Because these herbs are “all natural”, many people mistakenly believe that they cannot harm you or have side effects similar to those of prescription drugs. In reality, herbs can and do interact with each other, with other foods and with medications to produce unexpected results. And this is true even when nutritional supplements are properly labelled. When supplements are manufactured poorly and/or deliberately misrepresented through their labeling, this can make matters even worse.

Need an example? Consider the consumer who believes that she is purchasing an herbal supplement that is wheat-free when. Now suppose that the supplement contains NONE of the herb listed as the primary ingredient but that it DOES contain wheat. If the consumer has a wheat allergy or is on a gluten-free diet, taking these supplements could cause health problems that would be both serious and completely unexpected. In the New York Attorney General’s investigation, some of the products that were found to be improperly labeled were:

  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • John’s Wart
  • Valerian Root
  • Probiotics
  • Ginseng
  • Garlic
  • Saw Palmetto
  • Echinacea

Protecting Yourself from Low Quality Supplements

By now it should be clear that choosing a nutritional supplement isn’t only a matter of selecting the right type to get the health benefits you’re looking for. It’s also a matter of purchasing a high-quality product that contains ONLY what it should. However, the current regulatory approach—essentially self-regulation–doesn’t inspire confidence and leaves consumers more vulnerable to shortcuts in manufacturing and quality control as well as deliberate misrepresentation or fraud.

What can be done? Several very well-regarded companies manufacture high-quality nutritional supplements to the same standard as heavily regulated pharmaceutical firms. Many of these companies distribute their products exclusively through the offices of healthcare professionals, including chiropractic physicians and nutritionists. If you’re interested in learning more about nutritional supplements and what you can do to be sure that the ones you take are safe and effective, we encourage you to call or visit our office today!

Keys to Healthy “In-Season” Eating

Keys to Healthy “In-Season” Eating

vegetables detailsAlthough it may be tempting to pick up some fresh tomatoes or strawberries in the middle of winter, you might find yourself disappointed in their flavor. Thanks to the combination of industrial agriculture and global transportation, most fruits and vegetables are now available year round. However, this may not actually be as much of a good thing as it seems. Why? Not only is out-of-season produce less tasty, it is also usually not as nutritious as produce picked seasonally at its ultimate ripeness. There are plenty of winter vegetables and fruits now at their peak, and taking advantage of these sometimes neglected veggies can provide you with necessary nutrients that you may not get from produce at other times of the year.

Japanese organic farmer Masanobu Fukuoka noted that farmers were paid a premium for seasonal produce that could be supplied more than a month earlier than usual. He observed, though, that these early crops not only were reduced in flavor but also required a copious amount of energy use and chemicals. He noted that the farmers who produced their mandarin orange crop early had to use artificial colors and sweeteners to modify the early fruit so it would resemble that of the seasonal variety, resulting in both a poorer and more expensive product. Buying produce in season is both healthier and less expensive.

Apples, nuts and leeks, as well as a wide variety of squashes are all at their best. Winter butternut squash is low in calories too, at only 63 calories per cup. It also contains an abundant amount of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and potassium. Not only that, but you may be surprised to find that the amount of vitamin C contained in only a cup of squash provides half your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Kale is another incredibly healthy winter vegetable, filled with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C and K, calcium, copper and magnesium. Kale also is high in cancer-fighting phytonutrients called flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. Kale also has demonstrated the ability to lower cholesterol. Cooked kale can be easily incorporated into mashed potatoes to make for a healthy side dish.

Leeks too are abundant at this time of year. They are one of the vegetables with the highest amount of vitamin K (good for bone health and vital for blood coagulation), and have a healthy amount of folate. A versatile member of the allium family (like onions and garlic), leeks can be incorporated into soups and stews in pretty much the same way you might typically use onions. They are also tasty on their own—just braise them a little liquid. If you’re willing to put just a bit more effort into preparation, creamed leaks is an even tastier alternative. Just clean and slice 2-3 leeks thinly, then sauté them in a little butter, add a couple of tablespoons of water, and cover for about 10 minutes, until cooked. Mix in a tablespoon of flour and about ½ cup of sour cream and you have an excellent side dish to serve along with fish or chicken.

Now is the time to appreciate these healthy winter vegetables, because all too soon the season will be over. But remember—there’s good news just around the corner… Before you know it, the strawberries you’ve been craving will be back in season!

 

Why Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop the Obesity Epidemic

Why Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop the Obesity Epidemic

Girl on the couch
Girl on the couch

It’s no secret that many Americans’ eating habits have taken a turn for the worse over the past 20 years in terms of the quantity, quality and combination of foods we eat. A number of diet-related trends have converged to help create a perfect storm of expanding waistlines:

  • Beginning in the mid-1970s, government nutritional guidance (backed by the limited scientific data that was available at the time) triggered a nationwide shift away from foods with saturated fat (such as milk, eggs and meat). However, it also inadvertently ushered in the age of “fat-free” marketing that gradually drove Americans toward a diet high in complex carbohydrates.
  • The rise of convenience-oriented packaged foods made home cooking seem unnecessary. As a result, a generation (or maybe two) grew up without planning meals, shopping for ingredients or preparing food. While it’s easy to focus on the loss of these basic skills, something else was lost, too—control over the contents of the food itself. In adopting diets built on ready-made meals, American ouseholds left decisions about fat, sugar and salt as well as chemical additives to the chefs in corporate kitchens.
  • A new culture of snacking evolved that made eating a sort of parallel pastime—something that was done almost without thinking alongside other day-to-day activities. Plus, grab-and-go packaged food meant that the dining room was now anywhere you happened to be.
  • Supersize portions, value meals and double desserts slowly changed Americans’ ideas about how much food should be eaten at a single sitting. For much of the population, the new normal included many more calories than would have been common in the 1970s or 1980s.

But for all the evidence that the American diet has played a prominent role in the current obesity epidemic, there is also evidence that another factor may be even more important.

On average, Americans are LESS PHYSICALLY ACTIVE THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME in our history. Sweeping changes in the kinds of work we do and the way we do it, along with changes in how we get from place to place and how we spend our leisure time have meant that much of the population just doesn’t move around very much. We increasingly lead very sedentary lives.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine drives home this point. According to researchers at Stanford University who analyzed 20 years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a very sharp drop in leisure-time physical activity may be responsible for the general upward trend in obesity rates.

Dr. Uri Ladabaum, Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and lead investigator, noted that total daily calorie, fat, carbohydrate and protein consumption hasn’t actually changed much over the past 20 years but that the general level of physical activity has. “At the population level, we found a significant association between the level of leisure-time physical activity, but not daily caloric intake, and the increases in both BMI and waist circumference.”

The fall-off in physical activity over the past two decades is truly striking:

  • During the 1988-1994 period, the number of female American adults reporting no physical activity was 19.1%. During the 2009-2010 period, it was 51.7%.
  • The percentage of American men reporting no physical activity grew from 11.4% in the 1988-1994 period to 43.5% in the 2009-2010 period.

Over the same time frame, the incidence of obesity across the country has grown. While the average BMI has increased across the board, the most dramatic change has been among woman between the ages of 18 and 39.

An earlier study reported in the December 2013 Mayo Clinic Proceedings painted a similarly grim picture. Based on two years’ worth of data collected from sensors attached to 2,600 people, investigators concluded:

  • Men and women of normal weight exercised vigorously (think jogging or a brisk uphill hike) for less than two minutes a day. They engaged in moderate exercise (yoga or golf, for instance) about 2.5 to 4 hours per week.
  • By contrast, the average obese American man gets only 3.6 hours of vigorous exercise per YEAR, and the average obese American woman gets only ONE hour of vigorous exercise in the same period of time.

What’s happening here?

According to Edward C. Archer, a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, “We’ve engineered physical activity out of our daily lives and that’s causing the health disparities that we have in this country.”

There is a very clear relationship between physical activity and your health—including your musculoskeletal health. But it’s also true that there’s a link between your musculoskeletal health and your ability to lead an active lifestyle. If you’re suffering from back, neck or joint pain, it can be very difficult to exercise. This in turn raises your risk of weight gain as well as your risk of other health problems.

We can help relieve musculoskeletal pain and restore your mobility. Just call or visit our office today!

 
Additional Resources

Lack of exercise, not diet, linked to rise in obesity, Stanford research shows. http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/07/lack-of-exercise–not-diet–linked-to-rise-in-obesity–stanford-.html

U.S. mothers, 1965 to 2010: More TV, less housework leading to a more obese population. http://www.sph.sc.edu/news/mothers_inactive.html

‘Get Up!’ or lose hours of your life every day, scientist says. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-get-up-20140731-story.html

 

 

 

 

“The Mood Food Connection” Part 1: Emotional Eating

“The Mood Food Connection” Part 1: Emotional Eating

worried-man-eating-pastry-200-300What do you call it when your feelings affect what, when and how you eat? In healthcare circles, we refer to this very common phenomenon as “emotional eating.” Over time, it can become a very destructive pattern that leads to poor nutrition and unhealthy weight gain. If you suspect that you may be prone to emotional eating, the key is to recognize the kinds of circumstances that trigger it and then to use a handful of mindfulness strategies to change your behavior in ways that protect your health.

What Causes Emotional Eating?

Studies have shown that many different feelings can trigger emotional eating—anxiety, loneliness, sadness, boredom and anger, to name a few. While these types of negative emotions can sometimes be triggered by traumatic life events such as the loss of a job, a divorce or a death in the family, they can also be a response to exhaustion or the pressures of daily life. It is also true that many people will over-indulge when they’re celebrating, especially in social settings. This is hardly surprising—after all, we learn early in life to associate food with special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

When we eat for reasons like these (that is, for reasons other than being hungry), we usually do so without thinking very much about it. At its best, emotional eating can be a “food fling”—an occasional indulgence. But at its worst, emotional eating can become a mindless, automatic activity that we use regularly for coping, distraction and avoidance. Food can become both a reward when things are going well and a consolation when they’re not. This is the kind of pattern to look out for.

The Warning Signs

Awareness is the first step. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help determine whether you’re an emotional eater:

  1. Do you often eat when you’re not actually hungry?
  2. Do you think specifically about what you’re going to eat and whether it’s good for you before you eat it?
  3. Do you find yourself especially attracted to sugary, fatty or salty snacks?
  4. Do you often eat without actually tasting the food or forget that you’ve eaten?
  5. Do you often feel guilt or regret after eating between meals?

Now What?

If you suspect that you’re an emotional eater, there are several do-it-yourself behavioral interventions that you can use to break the pattern. In general, these are designed to promote mindfulness, reduce the damage caused by emotional eating or help build new habits.

  1. Record your emotions and read to yourself what you’ve written before you visit the refrigerator or open the pantry door.
  2. Make a list of the things in your life that are stressing you out and write down what you can do to address them productively or to think about them differently instead of using food to distract yourself or avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings.
  3. Wait 15 minutes whenever you feel the urge to eat between meals so that there is time for the impulse to pass and for you to understand what’s triggering it.
  4. Create a healthy snack dish containing cut up vegetables and fruit and keep it where you can get to it during the day. At the same time, make sure that your go-to unhealthy snacks are either stored in inconvenient, hard-to-reach places or aren’t in the house at all.
  5. Substitute a walk around the block, 10 push-ups, 25 sit-ups or 50 jumping jacks for a trip to the refrigerator.
  6. Schedule occasional “snacking date nights ” to give yourself permission to enjoy the foods you love—deliberately and in moderation.
  7. Find new hobbies to help fight boredom in your downtime.

The Comfort Food Trap

When we eat emotionally, we also tend to reach for so-called “comfort foods” that usually contain large amounts of sugar, fat or salt. So it’s a nutritional double-whammy: we’re eating when we’re not really hungry AND we’re also eating calorie-dense foods that aren’t very good for us.

It turns out there are a number of physiological reasons why many of us crave things like chocolate and macaroni and cheese when we’re down. Over the past few years, scientists have found that particular types of food can indeed have a very real influence on our state of mind through mechanisms such as brain chemistry and blood sugar levels. In part two of the Mood Food Connection, we’ll explain in more detail how the foods we eat can affect the way we feel.

If you’re interested in learning more about healthy weight management techniques that help you feel and perform at your best, call or visit our office today! We’re here to help!

Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t

Dieting in the U.S.—A Statistical Snapshot of What Works and What Doesn’t

measuring waistIf there is one thing that Americans are obsessed with, it’s dieting. Just turn on any television and you are bombarded with ads for weight loss drinks, programs and foods that are guaranteed to have you looking slim and trim in a matter of weeks. But given the enormous amount of money spent on the quest for a smaller waistline (upwards of $69 billion each year), the growing obesity epidemic suggests that diets generally do not generally work.

Following are a few facts about dieting in the US:

  • At any given time, 50% of women and 25% of men are on a diet.
  • Dieters lose between 5% and 10% of their starting weight within the first six months, but 66% of them gain it back within a year, and 95% of them have regained all the weight they lost, and more, within 5 years.
  • The average diet costs 50% more than what the average American spends on food each week.
  • Between 40% and 60% of American high school girls are on a diet at any given time.
  • Both men and women who participate in a formal weight loss program gain significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who do not participate in a formal program.

Dieting is actually unhealthy. Studies have shown that repeatedly gaining and losing weight causes damage to the immune system and increases rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. This is not to say that there is nothing you can do to lose weight, but it’s important to find a way of eating that does not involve dieting.

What does seem to work, according to the most recent research, is changing what we eat. In contrast to what we have heard for years, a calorie is not just a calorie. One calorie of sugar is not metabolized by the body in the same way as one calorie of broccoli. The first raises insulin levels, causing that calorie to be stored as fat, and the second does not, so it gets used as immediate energy, along with providing important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

A 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the effects of three different types of diet consisting of the same number of calories: a standard low-fat diet (60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat), an ultra-low-carb (Atkins) diet (10% carbs, 30% protein, 60% fat) and a low-glycemic diet (40% carbs, 20% protein, 40% fat). The low-fat dieters fared worst. The Atkins dieters burned 350 more calories per day than the low-fat dieters, and those following the low-glycemic diet burned 150 more calories per day than their low-fat diet counterparts. However, the Atkins type diet causes inflammation and raises cortisol, which can damage the heart, so your best bet is to follow a diet consisting mostly of low-glycemic foods.

Although the percentage of carbs in the low-glycemic diet were just slightly less than those in the low-fat diet, those carbs consisted of vegetables, fruit, legumes and minimally processed grains, whereas the low-fat diet included processed foods. Processed foods have had many of the compounds removed (such as fiber) that slow the release of sugar into the blood. A diet consisting of whole foods, minimally processed grains and moderate amounts of fat is still delicious, and you won’t have to feel that you are starving yourself. Over time you will find that you are slowly losing weight, and in a way that is healthy and more likely to become permanent.

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