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The Power of Protein

When I look at “diet diaries” one of the first things I check is the balance of our 3 macronutrients: carbohydrate, protein, and fat. More often than not, I see a big deficit in the amount of protein being consumed. We are a carbohydrate happy community! Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons we’re also getting fatter and sicker as a community.

The average American diet contains approximately 48% carbohydrates (higher in women), 16% protein, and 34% total fat. An easy measurement tool is that at minimum we should consume 0.36 g of protein per 1 pound of body weight. (Ex: 150 lb person x 0.36 = 54 g protein/day) The scales aren’t balancing! We consume much more carbohydrate than necessary, and that is one of the leading causes of the Diabetes epidemic. We eat too many carbs and the roller coaster of blood sugar balance begins.

Protein is a very helpful tool when managing blood glucose levels due to its much more subtle effect on our blood sugar. Unlike carbohydrates, protein does not elevate blood sugar as much nor as quickly when it is consumed. To ensure more adequate protein intake, I often advise patients to always include a protein source with every meal and snack. For example, having an apple with a handful of almonds (or almond butter) is a great way to get some healthy fruit AND protein to satisfy hunger and to lessen the sugar-shock on the body.

Besides assisting in blood sugar balance, protein is essential for building and repairing muscle. It is particularly important in the early stages of development of children and protein also happens to be a building block for bone, cartilage, skin, hair, and blood.

It is important to consider your sources of protein. Animal meats are by far the best source relating to quantity of protein. However, we don’t always have the greatest quality of meats available. To avoid added hormones and antibiotics, I encourage everyone to read the food labels. OR go directly to the source. Farms, farmer’s markets, and butchers are going to carry higher quality meats than your general grocery store. The prices may be higher, but the peace of mind that you’re putting quality meat into your family’s bodies is well worth it.

Living in Virginia Beach is a great excuse to take advantage of the seafood available. Fish is an excellent source of protein, also containing those sought after Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Seafood markets are the best resource, but if you’re shopping in the grocery store, look for “wild caught” on the package to ensure you’re not consuming corn-fed fish raised in glorified bathtubs.

Eggs… there has been so much controversy over eggs throughout the years, especially regarding cholesterol levels. Egg’s aren’t so bad for you! In fact, the eggs are considered to contain the “perfect protein” due to the amino acid makeup. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, some of which are essential to get in the diet. Eggs contain them all!! Just like all of the other products above, it’s important to consider your source of protein. Farmers and farmer’s markets are the way to go if you can!

Dairy products can be another great resource for protein intake. Milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. all contain protein. I like to caution people, however, about using too much yogurt as a source due to the added sugar. If you don’t already eat Greek yogurt, it’s time to switch! For example, Yoplait Original Yogurt contains 27 grams of sugar or more than 5 teaspoons.

Legumes, nuts, and seeds. For our vegetarian and vegan friends, these are a staple in the diet to ensure protein intake. They can also be a fantastic addition to the standard diet to avoid overeating animal proteins and have other sources of protein for snacks. It is important to note that legumes, nuts, and seeds don’t always contain all of those essential amino acids. If you do not eat animal protein, make sure you eat a variety of other sources to get as much as you can.

If you need help balancing your diet and want to explore healthy options, Body Logic is here to help!

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Essential Oils for Musculoskeletal Health

When most people think of essential oils, they think about the beautiful smells and how they can help with respiration and relaxation. But, essential oils are way more than just that. These powerful oils have many properties that can help with promoting a healthy musculoskeletal system as well. Since these oils come from nature and have no synthetic properties, the body recognizes them immediately as something helpful that can provide fast acting, long lasting benefits.

Many musculoskeletal issues can be aided by essential oils with the following natural properties:

  • Anti-Inflammatory- Inflammation is a huge factor in many discomforts in the body and your bones and muscles are no exception to the rule. Essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties can support reduced pain and swelling in arthritic joints and those impacted by recent injuries.
    • Some anti-inflammatory oils include: chamomile (German and Roman), galbanum, and lavender.
  • Anti-rheumatics- Rhematic conditions can cause havoc to joints, muscles, and even ligaments as a result of an injury or immune system disorders. Some oils have been found to help slow or reduce the symptoms of these conditions
    • Some oils that can reduce these symptoms include: angelica, coriander, and juniper.
  • Rubefacients- These oils are topical oils that can help promote blood flow locally assisting an affected area in receiving more oxygenated, nutrient rich blood which in turn promotes better healing and a reduction in inflammation.
    • Some rubefacient oils include: black pepper, ginger, and rosemary.

In our office, one of our favorite blends is Deep Blue. This is doTERRA’s pain relieving blend for muscles and joints and comes in a convenient lotion to use for resolving aches and pains naturally.

As with all essential oils, it is important to use them safely and dilute with a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oils prior to applying to the skin. Also, for any photosensitive oils, it is important not to apply prior to sun exposure. Be sure to read the bottle’s label or ask us if you ever have a question on the best way to use these oils for your optimum wellness.

For more information on essential oils, please visit our online oil site at www.mydoterra.com/bodylogicvb.

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Eating in Season: “Zucchini Shrimp Scampi”

The most nutritious AND delicious fruits and vegetables come straight from the farm to your table. Foods that come straight from the source have much more of their nutrients and flavors as those elements are not lost due to processing, freezing, or shipping preparations. This is why eating local foods when they are in season is so important.

However, most of us don’t have an abundant garden in our house. Fortunately, despite our city’s urban landscape, we also have some great local farms here in the area. New Earth Farm (https://www.facebook.com/NewEarthFarm/) offers ability to sign up for boxes of fresh local veggies (and sometimes eggs) each week throughout the spring and summer. Cullipher Farms (https://www.facebook.com/CullipherFarm/) has a similar program in addition to a U-Pick strawberry patch, baked goods, jar goods, and more!

From May to September, one of the veggies that is abundantly in season here in our state is Zucchini! That, paired with our proximity to the water, makes Zucchini Shrimp Scampi a beautifully fresh dish for the Spring and Summer months!

Zucchini Shrimp Scampi

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds (4 medium-sized) zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  • Use a Spiralizer to spiral out the zucchini into noodle shapes.
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir in chicken stock and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a simmer; stir in zucchini noodles until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan and parsley, if desired.
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Upcoming Specials

Military Appreciation Month

A special THANK YOU to all of those who have served to protect our freedoms. This month we honor YOU! Bring in your military ID to any massage session this month and receive $10 off all regularly priced massage services.

Mother’s Day Special

Now through May 14th, receive $10 off a 60 Minute Massage Gift Certificate (Online Use Code: 10$offmd) or $15 off a 90 Minute Massage Gift Certificate (Online Use Code: $15offmd).

Father’s Day Special

May 22nd through June 18th, receive $10 off a 60 Minute Massage Gift Certificate (Online Use Code: 10$offfd) or $15 off a 90 Minute Massage Gift Certificate (Online Use Code: $15offfd).

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Why Posture Is Important

Did you know May is “National Correct Posture Month?” We thought it would be appropriate to share why it is so important to have good posture. In years of past, posture was something actually taught in schools. As health care professionals, we wish it still was! Not only is poor posture affecting our sedentary, computer-driven professionals, but also our children.

I recently found out that a young patient of mine is not allowed to hold her book up in school and has to look down in order to read. Unfortunately, this “looking down” posture that her neck must endure is negatively affecting her physically. Have you heard of “text neck?” Doctors are coining this term as a way to describe the excessive neck flexion involved with looking down at devices such as cell phones, tablets, and computers. Being in this position for too long leads to symptoms such as neck, upper back, and shoulder pain, as well as pain that radiates down the arm. We do not need our young ones experiencing this!

Anatomy is where we begin our journey of understanding posture. The body is designed to maintain an upright or erect posture while performing various tasks throughout the day. We have specific muscles, known as postural or “tonic,” that are designed to work for long periods of time and are resistant to fatigue. On the other hand, we have “phasic” muscles that are designed for movement, but fatigue faster. Just like any muscle in the body, if you don’t use, you lose it! Sadly, due to our society’s change in postural habits like hunching forward while working on a computer or simply the act of sitting too much, we are not using our tonic muscles properly and, therefore, not developing them to help us maintain that erect posture. As a result, the phasic muscles end up having to do more work, but aren’t designed to.  The result: feelings of stiffness, tightness, discomfort, and pain.

As chiropractors and massage therapists, it’s our goal to help relieve the discomfort associated with poor postural habits. However, it takes partnership and work on the patient’s part to reinforce the work we do by making better choices. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself…

Sitting or standing tall and taking in deep breaths. Sounds simple, right? It is! As a result of hunching forward at that computer or slouching on the couch, we end up taking in shallow breaths and don’t use the full capacity of our lungs. Try sitting or standing tall and take in a deep breath slowly, counting to 4 or 6, and fill your lungs  with air. Then, at the same pace (4 or 6 count), let the air out slowly. Repeat 3 times. Wow!!! Now that’s what it feels like to have your brain and muscles fully oxygenated. Do this multiple times per day and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in your physical and mental well-being.

Give your neck a break. If you sit at a desk, do a lot of reading or computer work, or find yourself chopping in the kitchen, this applies to you! Looking down is very straining on the neck. Try setting a timer to go off every 15-30 minutes to remind you to look up and stretch your neck back. Remember to bring your shoulders back and down at the same time to help restore that proper posture you may have lost while in the moment. More and more people are complaining about headaches, and looking down is a big reason why!

Stand up and move! Sitting for long periods of time can be very challenging on the low back and pelvis. When we sit the hips are in a flexed position, shortening our hip flexors (iliopsoas) which can pull on the low back. That same timer you used to give your neck a break can be a good indicator to stand up and stretch. Some gentle extension through the hips and low back can help release the hip flexors allowing the low back to relax. Also, try taking a quick walk either around the house, the office, or outside. Take long strides stretching through the hips to get your blood flowing and your muscles lengthened. Over time, interrupting the sitting with moving will give your body much needed relief!

Throughout the month of May, check out our Body Logic Facebook page for tips on posture and how to Move Better. Feel Better. Live Better!