Who doesn’t love a piping hot pumpkin pie after a big Thanksgiving meal? Even better is a cold slice for breakfast the next morning (if there is any left over, that is). I wish I could tell you that this desert is incredibly nutritious and that you can eat it as much as you want, but that buttery crust full of refined sugars is never going to be a healthy choice. However, that comforting, delicious filling is a wonderful source of nutrients and fiber! And isn’t that the best part of the pie anyway?
Whether you roast your own little sweet pumpkin or reach for unsweetened canned version, the filling is a surprisingly healthy and tasty addition to your diet during the holidays and all year. The flesh of this festive squash supports your body by supplying many vital nutrients:
Spice up your pumpkin for even more flavor and health benefits. Traditional pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves. For more information on the health benefits of cinnamon and ginger, see my previous post on spices. For this Thanksgiving and beyond, dress up your spiced pumpkin puree in new ways to get all the benefits without wrapping it in a package of empty calories. Here are some tasty ideas for incorporating pumpkin into your diet:
And don’t forget about the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are also nutrient dense treats to add to salads, cereals, smoothies, or just on their own. They are quite versatile and can be consumed in different ways. If you are roasting your own little pumpkin for the flesh to make a puree, don’t throw those seeds away. Roast them and save them. If you are stocking up on the unsweetened canned variety, then stop by the bulk food section and get some roasted pumpkin seeds. Since the seeds are packed with fiber and protein, they can help make you feel full and satisfied on very few calories. And adding these little dietary powerhouses to your diet is a simple, savory way of adding these nutrients:
So, let’s give thanks for the mighty pumpkin and all it offers. Have fun searching for healthy recipes — the internet is brimming with them this time of year and the possibilities are endless. Pumpkin chili, curry and butter; have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Just watch the intake of refined sugars and white flours to get the best of what this seasonal fruit has to offer. Enjoy!
This information and more is available to patients in the Functional Nutrition Program overseen by Austin Preferred’s Holistic Medical Provider. Contact us at (512) 442-2727 if you’re interested in scheduling a consultation at our South Austin, Texas location.
By: Nicole Griffis, HNP, APRN-BC
Following a meal plan of whole foods without processed ingredients makes shopping simpler, once you become accustomed to making healthy choices. You can skip most of the grocery aisles that are crammed with processed foods like snack bars, heavy sauces and boxed dinners. Just make sure you don’t skip the spice aisle on your next trip. As you expand your palate for cooking with whole foods, try different mixtures of herbs and spices in your recipes. If you roast chicken and vegetables on a weekly basis because it is easy and nutritious, you can make the dish taste completely different each week by changing your herb and spice selection. Many spices have beneficial properties for health and metabolism, without the additional calories and chemicals. Here are the top spices to use from a health perspective:
This article provides a glimpse into the type of information available to patients into the Functional Nutrition Program at Austin Preferred. Furthermore, you can contact us today you are interested in scheduling a consultation to enroll in the program.
By: Nicole Griffis, HNP, APRN-BC
Turmeric is a beautiful, fragrant spice used in many Indian dishes. It has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. Thanks to attention from modern researchers, it has been spicing up health headlines with increasing frequency over the last decade. But what is it about turmeric that is so beneficial, and should we believe all the hype?
Curcumin is the active compound in Turmeric that gives it its signature color and many health benefits. Science has singled Curcumin out as a promising substance for an array of conditions. Some of the evidence has been overstated in the press. There is a debate as to whether Curcumin is the miracle substance it has been made out to be. And yet, I recommend Curcumin supplementation for all my patients and take it myself because the cumulative evidence is encouraging. But before I lay out all the potential benefits of Curcumin for you, there are some points I’d like you to keep in mind as you consider adding this wonder spice to your supplement regimen:
Ok, now that we have put some perspective around the buzz of Curcumin as a health supplement, let’s look at some of the possible benefits and reasons it has withstood the test of time as a traditional medicinal herb:
The bottom line is that much more research is needed for us to understand how Curcumin affects the body. And yet, we know that it is entirely safe when taken in recommended doses. With so many wonderful possibilities and virtually no harmful side effects, Curcumin is a valuable addition to any health supplementation regimen. As more research is conducted, we will hopefully find out how to enhance the many benefits seen in the lab within the confines of the human body. So, in the meantime, keep taking your Turmeric supplement with a healthy dose of optimism and perspective.
As a Holistic Nurse Practitioner, I am always looking for ways that my patients can enhance their health through simple, natural means. Modern medicine is effective at addressing acute injuries, chronic disease, and severe imbalances. Naturopathic medicine is effective at supporting the immune system, restoring balance, and creating harmony within and among body systems. My aim is to integrate these approaches to offer patients the best approach to not only prevent and treat disease, but to also enhance health and wellness. I will use this blog to promote methods everyone can use to optimize their health. To tackle any concerns specific to your body and lifestyle, make an appointment with today!
By: Nicole Griffis, HNP, APRN-BC
As you observe your own life’s stress and how it affects you, also observe what brings relief to you. What makes you feel lighter, looser, and more clear-minded? Exercise, fresh air, hugs from family or friends, and laughter are all accessible, healthy sources of joy and stress relief. Deep belly breathing is something we all have access to that has an immediate effect on our nervous systems and stress hormones. The beneficial effect of deep breathing meditation is dose dependent — the longer the meditation session, the more calming results seen in brain function according to multiple studies. However, five minutes of deep belly breathing is enough to initiate these changes, so take time to relieve yourself of the effects of stress. Here are a few other ideas for quick stress relievers:
This is merely a glimpse into the type of helpful information available to patients in Austin Preferred’s Functional Nutrition Program. If you’d like to schedule a consultation with our providers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Moreover, you can visit our Services and Conditions pages for more information on treatment at our practice.
By eliminating all sugars from your diet, you are taking a huge step in the fight against unhealthy cravings. A healthy diet maintains a steady blood sugar level which, in turn, should curb your perceived needs for sweets and empty calories. Nonetheless, cravings can be psychological or emotional in their origin and will take some work your part to fully address. This is especially true in Austin, Texas, given the amount of temptation in the city’s food industry. Here are some more tips to tackle those unwanted hungers:
This information illustrates the type of guidance patients receive in Austin Preferred’s Functional Nutrition program. Furthermore, if you are interested in meeting with the Nurse Practitioner about improving your wellness, please contact us to schedule an evaluation.
Getting healthier is all in your head! Our relationship to food and to eating has everything to do with the stories we tell ourselves about food and eating. These stories are made up of beliefs we have held for many years, creating cyclical thought patterns that keep us in a rut of unhealthy habits. You must train your brain for a healthy lifestyle in order to counteract these erroneous thoughts. Any of the following sound familiar?
“I can eat sweets today because I will work out harder this weekend.”
“What I eat today doesn’t matter; I’ll just skip dinner tonight.”
“It’s okay if I eat fried foods; my grandpa ate like that and he lived to be 90!”
What is the story you have been telling yourself about food? Try to observe the thoughts you are having when you are struggling with unhealthy habits. Then come up with true statements that counteract this reasoning, put them on notecards and stick them on your mirror, in your car, at your desk. Repeat them out loud at least three times a day. It may feel silly at first, but it will help to create new cognitive patterns that can help you beat your cravings! Here are some examples based on the thoughts mentioned above:
“I can eat sweets whenever I want or I can get healthy and lose weight. But I can’t do both.”
“I will eat healthy at every meal and enjoy each bite because I am getting healthier every day.”
“I am eating healthy so I can be my best self, how other people eat does not change my body.”
Don’t be shy, give it a try!
This is just a small glimpse into the guidance patients will receive when enrolled in Austin Preferred’s Functional Nutrition Program. Anyone interested in working with our providers to achieve their wellness goals should contact us today for an evaluation.
Eating out is America’s real favorite past time, isn’t it? Having a good meal out with friends or family can be emotionally nourishing, but not always nutritious or healthy. During your detox phase, it’s probably just easier to not eat out – but if you find yourself at a restaurant, here are some wellness tips for dining out:
More helpful tips like these are available through Austin Preferred’s new Functional Nutrition Program. Anyone interested in working with our providers to achieve their wellness goals should contact us today for an evaluation.
Providers at Austin Preferred Integrative Medicine strive to provide patients with a comprehensive array of options for diagnosing and treating ailments. Blood Testing at Austin Preferred can assess the body’s natural processes and scan for specific conditions. Patients may request a complete wellness panel or individual panels for concentrating on one area. Available panels at our clinic include:
Different panels can provide insights for patients looking to assess specific bodily processes. You may contact us if you are unsure which type of blood testing can provide you with the particulars you desire. For more information on Chiropractic Care, Physical Therapy and Medical Services offered at our clinic, please see our Services page.
Twenty-Four million people in the United States alone suffer from migraines. A migraine is typically a throbbing or pulsing headache, often focused on one-side of the head, and associated with nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, as well as certain smells. Attacks are typically recurring, and can be less severe as the migraine sufferer ages.
Migraines can occur at any age, but typically begin between the ages of 10 and 40. While some people experience several migraines a month, a select few only have a few migraines throughout their lifetime. Nearly 75% of migraine sufferers are women. Though migraines can happen at any time, some women experience migraines just prior to or during menstruation. These migraines, called menstrual migraines, are related to hormonal changes and often do not occur during pregnancy. Meanwhile, some women only develop migraines for the first time during pregnancy, or even after menopause.
The actual cause of a migraine is unknown. It is believed, however, that the condition results from a series of reactions in the central nervous system, usually caused by changes in the body or in the environment. Migraines often appear to be inherited, as there is often a family history of the condition. These migraine sufferers may inherit the sensitivity to triggers that produce inflammation in blood vessels and nerves around the brain, which cause pain.
The signs and symptoms of migraine pain are often intense and severe, described by throbbing or pulsating pain that only gets intensified by routine physical activity, coughing, straining, or even moving the head. These headaches can often get so severe that they interfere with the day-to-day activity of a person. Sleeping migraine sufferers can be awakened by the attack, which can also cause a numbing sensation in hands and lips, as well as interfere with eyesight and vision for the duration of the attack. Migraines can be so debilitating – causing sufferers to feel tired and weak even long after the migraine has passed.
Migraines typically begin in a specific area, usually on one side of the head, and can spread and build in intensity over a course of a few hours, then gradually subside. They can last an entire day, or in some extremely severe cases, several days.
The problem with migraine symptoms is that they are as varied as the individual sufferer. The strange sensations, such as tingling or the feeling of numbness, are known as auras, and can start anywhere from ten to thirty minutes before the migraine pain actually sets in.
Migraine treatment is possible. Knowing what triggers your migraines and avoiding them is one of the best ways to avoid a migraine. Treating acute attacks as they appear is crucial.
Our center offers an innovative treatment which has been very successful with hundreds of patients. Ask our doctors about our Headache and Migraine Program.
Working out is working out, right?
Depending on the environmental conditions where you
live, there may be extra precautions that you’ll want to consider when trying to lose weight by following a healthy diet and weight loss program.
High altitude environments have less available oxygen then those closer to sea level. One of the effects of such altitude is that the heart must beat faster in order to do the job of delivering oxygen to the muscle tissues both while active and at rest.
Depending on the specific altitude and corresponding acitivity, heart rates may soar as high as 50% above normal. Also, side effects like hyperventilation, dizziness, insomnia, weakness, headache, and irratability are also common in such an environment.
Because of these possible outcomes, people who exercise in high altitudes will definitely want to consult a local physician for clearance before beginning their weight loss exercise program, and may want to lower the intensity of their weight loss cardiovascular activity—especially if they are beginners.
People living in high altitudes will also want to get medical clearance before trying any diet pills, diet patch, or any other weight loss product(s) that may elevate the heart rate to eliminate risk of more complicated health concerns.
Exercising in Extreme Heat
Under normal circumstances, the body’s temperature is at or around 98°. In areas that have very high temperatures (around 100° or more), the body must adjust to maintain the proper temperature by transferring some of its heat back into the environment.
The primary result of this reaction is that he heart rate will be higher than normal, similar to the effect of being in high altitudes. To best aid the body in maintaining its normalcy under such conditions, make sure to drink 3 to 6 oz. of water for every 10 to 15 minutes of weight loss activity and allowing as much sweat to evaporate as possible. It is also important to wear as close to 100% cotton garments as well as stray away from rubberized or water-proof garments that will prevent sweat evaporation. Light colors should also be worn.
Exercising in the Cold
To the surprise as many, water replenishment is just as important in the cold as it is in much warmer environments.
The fact of the matter is that water is lost as vapor as inhaled during cardiovascular exercise and other activities that help you to ultimately lose weight. There is also a risk of losing too much body heat once you are done exercising.
To best be prepared to exercise in order to lose weight fast while living in cold environments, make sure to dress in layers to insulate body heat and drink plenty of water. Also wear a hat to limit the amount of body heat that escapes through the head, which is where most body heat is lost from.