Juicing vs Blending: The Great Health Debate

green-456839_640Adults who need 2,000 daily calories to maintain a healthy weight should eat 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day (a total of nine servings). According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, only 14% of adults consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables (source). That’s a shockingly low number that should serve as a wake-up call to people everywhere.

If you struggle to achieve to consume the recommended amount of vegetables and fruit, you should consider investing in a blender or juicer. Juicing and blending are both excellent ways to include more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. Now for the million dollar question: which method is better for your health. continue reading »

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Acupuncture May Relieve Knee Arthritis

knee-arthritis-01Knee arthritis is a painful condition in which the joints in the knee become inflamed. Depending on the severity of the condition, it may limit an individual’s normal range of motion, forcing him or her to keep body weight off the affected knee. While there’s no known cure for arthritis of the knee, a recent study found herbal acupuncture to effectively treat the symptoms associated with this condition. continue reading »

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Beat Work Stress: 6 Tips To Feel Better and Work Better

relaxed-worker-082614The workplace is one of the top sources of stress in the average person’s life. According to a 2009 study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), a staggering 69% of employees in the U.S. say work is a “significant source of stress,” and 41% say they are tense throughout the workday. If you constantly feel the pressure of work stress, try some of the following tips to create a more tranquil and relaxing work environment. continue reading »

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The Best (and Worst) Thanksgiving Foods

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Thanksgiving is a great meal. Friends and family come together to give thanks and celebrate the harvest season–
…and to overeat.
All of us know the feeling of eating too much, too heavy, too rich. When we should be enjoying our time with loved ones, we are uncomfortable. We exasperate our health conditions and catch a cold. We put on weight and feel lethargic.
I’m not going to tell you to make dramatic changes to your Thanksgiving meal. Usually that doesn’t work—and besides, it’s no fun.
Instead I suggest you just make small choices. Pick one food instead of the other. Make little positive choices and they’ll add up to a healthier, more enjoyable meal.
The Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods:
Before we begin, let’s set some ground rules.
Obviously, everyone uses different recipes and buys different products. Nutritional value of Thanksgiving foods can vary widely. And everyone has different health concerns—from watching calories, to cutting cholesterol to boosting their immune system.
The “Best and Worst Thanksgiving Foods” list is intended as a general guideline. Consider the overall nutritional value of each food—calories, fats, nutrients and additives. Which food moves you closest to your health goals?
Dark Meat vs. White Meat
This is the classic Thanksgiving debate. But for health, white meat has the advantage. For each 3oz serving, white meat has 50 fewer calories and 4g less fat than dark. And at Thanksgiving, you’re bound to eat more than 3oz.
The best: White meat. Enjoy your turkey but pass on the dark meat.
Sweet Potatoes vs. Mashed Potatoes
Generally potatoes are a healthy food. I especially recommend sweet potatoes for fall and winter diets. But when you add Thanksgiving condiments to potatoes, they lose their nutritional standing. Gravy or butter makes mashed potatoes full of fat. And adding sugar or marshmallows to sweet potatoes makes them closer to dessert than a vegetable.
The best: Savory sweet potatoes. Bake diced sweet potatoes with a tiny bit of olive oil, garlic and rosemary for a delicious and nutritious side dish.
Clearly the worst: Mashed potatoes swimming in butter or gravy.
Homemade Gravy vs. Canned Gravy
Gravy is delicious—but bad for your health. Basically, gravy is fat.
One quarter cup of homemade gravy has 18g fat, most of which is saturated, and contains virtually no nutrients. On the other hand, canned gravy has less fat but it’s high in salts, sugar and preservatives.
The best: Both are equally bad. The best choice is to eat very small amounts (or none).
Brussel Sprouts vs. Collard Greens
This one is a trick question—they are both good. Skip the recipes with bacon fat; steam these up and fill your plate. They are good for you and they fill you up so you don’t overeat other foods.
The best: Tie for first place.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce vs. Canned Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries are healthy and full of phytochemicals, which help protect against urinary tract infections, inflammation and cancer. Unfortunately, cranberry sauce is a different matter. Canned cranberry sauce can have high fructose corn syrup. You can leave the corn syrup out of homemade sauce, but many recipes call for lots of sugar.
The best: Homemade cranberry sauce.
Bonus choices: Reduce the sugar in the recipe or skip the cranberry sauce altogether and save your sugar for dessert.
Beer vs. Wine
The beer vs. wine debate is hotly contested, with each side claiming victory. Generally a serving of wine has fewer calories than beer and in some studies it is linked to cardiovascular health and lower cholesterol. On the other hand, a serving of beer generally has more nutrients and less alcohol than wine.
The best: You pick based on your health concerns. Are you watching calories or alcohol intake? In both cases, moderation is best.
Apple Pie vs. Pumpkin Pie
Both apples and pumpkins are a healthy start, but they take a turn when they become pie. Pies have a lot of fat in the crust and sugar in the filling.
Which is healthier? Pumpkin pie weighs in with 95 fewer calories and 5g less fat than apple pie, mainly because it has only one crust and is topped with a small dollop of whipped cream instead of a large scoop of ice cream.
The best: Pumpkin pie. Bonus if you pass on the whipped cream.
Whipped Cream vs. Ice Cream
This is a tough comparison because there is a wide range of products in each category. From Cool Whip to homemade whipped cream, from “frozen dairy dessert” (read the label of cheap ice creams and you’ll see this description) to real ice cream—there is a wide range of ingredients.
Obviously, both have fats and sugars. But one big difference between the two is how they are served. Generally a scoop of ice cream on a piece of pie can be at least half a cup, while a dollop of whipped cream is closer to two tablespoons. A serving of whipped cream is simply smaller than a serving of ice cream.
In both cases, check the ingredient labels for pure natural ingredients. Homemade gives you more control of the ingredients but choose your recipes wisely. Whipping cream has less fat than heavy cream, but it’s the high fat content in the recipes that make it “good.”
The best: Whipping cream. Bonus if you stick to two tablespoons.
Best wishes for a fun Thanksgiving feast. May you and your loved ones have safe travels and good times this holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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The Old Man and Worms

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Some stories can change lives.

Maybe this can too!

One morning, after a heavy rainfall, a young girl walked down the road to catch her school bus.
As she approached the bus stop, she saw an old man picking things up off the sidewalk and throwing them into the woods. As she got closer, and the morning sun shed its light, she noticed that the old man was picking up worms which wiggled out of the ground the night before. There were thousands of them.
The girl watched as the old man picked them up, one by one, and tossed them back into the woods.
She approached the old man and introduced herself. “Excuse me, but there are thousands of worms stranded on the road, you can’t possibly make a difference.”
The old man smiled and looked at her, then picked up another worm. He tossed it into the woods. “I certainly made a difference to that one, didn’t I?”
The old man did make a difference. Every day we can make a difference in the world around us. How can you affect the world around you today?

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5 Tips To Help Kick Your Sugar Addiction

sugar-cubes01Are you addicted to sugar? If so, you aren’t alone. According to the American Heart Association  (AHA), the average American consumes a whopping 89 teaspoons of sugar per day – about 3-4 times more than the recommended daily allowance.

Sugar adversely affects the body in a number of different ways. It increases a person’s chance of developing diabetes, promotes tooth decay, contributes to fat accumulation and subsequently obesity, and weakens the immune system. continue reading »

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Quit Smoking with Acupuncture

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Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you are on your way to kicking the habit and becoming smoke-free and healthier. Every year, more than 3 million Americans try to quit smoking, but only half of them succeed. With the help of acupuncture you have a greater chance of success! Most experts agree that quitting smoking is the single most important thing you can do for your health. More than 25 diseases are associated with tobacco use, including cancer of the lungs, bladder, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, kidney, uterus and cervix. Smoking also raises the chances of developing emphysema and increases the risk of having a stroke by 30 percent. There is plenty of incentive to quit, but it isn’t easy. The good news is that acupuncture has helped millions of people to kick the smoking habit.

How acupuncture can help
Some of the largest stumbling blocks to becoming smoke-free are the stress, anxiety and depression associated with quitting. Fortunately, acupuncture treatment is quite successful at calming and relaxing the mind, reducing anxiety and alleviating depressive feelings. Specific acupoints in the ear and wrist are used to accomplish this. Additional acupoints may be included to help suppress your appetite, stimulate repair and healing of organ systems, and reduce food and nicotine cravings. More than just kicking the habit
Using acupuncture to quit smoking yields enormous benefits. Aside from taking care of the stumbling blocks that can cause you to resume the habit, acupuncture can help restore your body to a healthy state of balance and well-being. If you are ready to become smoke-free, acupuncture can provide you with the support you need.

Healthy Tips
Here are a few tips to guide you through your acupuncture care:

• Drink plenty of filtered water.

• Eat balanced, healthy meals with a variety of vegetables and fruits.

• Refrain from sugar, which can increase sugar cravings and unwanted weight gain.

• Manage your cravings. They will actually fade within a few minutes. When cravings arise, distract yourself. Before you know it, the craving will have passed.

• Take daily baths or showers and scrub your skin with a dry brush or loofah to facilitate the cleansing process and help blood circulation.

• Avoid spending time with other smokers so that you are less tempted to smoke.

• Take a walk outside and breathe deeply. Upon exhale, gently place your teeth together and exhaling with the sound of “sssssssss.” This sound stimulates the lungs.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can provide a safe, natural, and effective way to quit smoking. The focus is upon achieving a balance of body and mind, and eliminating cravings so you can become smoke-free and healthier.
Great American Smokeout

Annually, on the third Thursday of November the American Cancer Society promotes the Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to create a plan to quit smoking. Acupuncture can help with this effort.

 

FREE Consultations available. 912-222-6949. Book your appointment today!

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Nurture Yourself with Acupuncture

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The concept of gardening gives us an excellent illustration for the theories behind Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. Imagine you are a gardener whose job it is to help a garden thrive. To help nature along, you must provide necessities such as water and fertilizer. You must make sure plants receive the right amount of sun, and you must weed out any undesirable elements. Gardening takes time and effort, but the reward is a beautiful, healthy garden, abundant with flowers and vegetables.
Your body is just like a garden, and you and your acupuncturist are the gardeners. He or she will work closely with you to strengthen and balance your internal garden. By taking your entire self into account, your practitioner can help identify—and weed out—any imbalances that could cause problems.
Your goal is to learn how to cultivate and support your inner garden. Your acupuncturist’s goal is to nurture your inner ecosystem so that it can flourish—and you can enjoy health and harmony.
Nurturing your garden Acupuncture isn’t a “quick fix.” It does, though, provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to nourish the garden within.

Your participation in the process is essential. After all, you wouldn’t simply plant seeds in the ground and expect them to bloom unattended. It’s the same with your health. Working with your acupuncturist and committing to long-term care can create positive changes for your overall health.

One of the best ways to nourish your internal garden  that you can do on your own is to practice good nutrition. Give the recipe below a try. Not only is it yummy, but it’s good for you. For more information on how to nourish yourself, book your acupuncture or health coaching appointment today, 912-222-6949. Free Consultations are also available.

Sweet & Sour Chinese Cabbage

2 Tbs. tamari
2 Tbs. vinegar
1 1/2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. safflower oil
1/2 – 1 Tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. miso
2 pounds Chinese cabbage, sliced crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2-3 cups hot, cooked grains, such as millet, couscous, or brown rice
Mix together tamari, vinegar and honey. Stir in cornstarch. When it is dissolved, stir in sesame oil. Set aside. Heat oil in wok over moderate heat and add red pepper and miso. Stir-fry for a few seconds and add cabbage. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until cabbage begins to wilt, then add tamari mixture. Cook for 1 minute, or until cabbage is glazed. Serve immediately, with hot, cooked grains.

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You Say Tomato, I Say Health!

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Did you know, that a tomato can be a partner in health? Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids, particularly Lycopene.
Lycopene is the substance that naturally occurs in a tomato. It is responsible for giving the tomato its red color, and protecting it from the harmful effects of UV rays.
Scientists have found that Lycopene can also protect the body. Concentrated in the prostate gland, it is used as a preventative against prostate cancer. It is also known to protect against mouth, lung, stomach, pancreas, bladder, colon and rectal cancers.
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is 100 times more effective than vitamin E as a free radical scavenger and 56% more powerful than beta-carotene. Antioxidants “neutralize”, or render harmless, oxygen free radical molecules. These are highly reactive toxic by-products of biochemical reactions that occur as a part of normal cell metabolism and when our bodies are exposed to smoking, pollution and other damaging environmental influences. As long as we are alive, we will have to contend with free radicals. Antioxidants help reduce the impact and minimize the damage free radicals cause when their numbers overwhelm our body’s capacity to deal with them.

Since Lycopene is fat-soluble, its use in tomato sauce improves the bio-availability of this beneficial carotenoid. The cooked tomatoes raise the levels of Lycopene in both the blood and immune cells. This suggests that eating small amounts can help protect the immune system.
According to Oriental nutrition, the tomato moistens the body by building Yin fluids, relieving dryness and thirst. It is also said to strengthen the stomach, cleanse the liver, purify the blood and act as an overall body detoxifier.
Page, N.D., L., Healthy Healing – a guide to self healing for everyone. Traditional Wisdom, Inc. 2002.Porrini, M., Effects of Processing on Bioavailability of the functional components in tomatoes.Kucuk, O., Evidence for reducing the risk of prostate cancer – a clinical trial. 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. 1999. Pitchford, P., Healing with Whole Foods – Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 1993.

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Top 10 Reasons To Try Acupuncture

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1) Acupuncturists view each person holistically and individually.
No two people are alike. Every cell in that person’s body is interconnected to others and is functioning as part of an integrated whole. In other words, acupuncture treats the whole person, not just parts and pieces. The root causes of a symptom that two people are experiencing may be completely different. During the initial exam, a full health history is taken. Questions are asked regarding overall health and symptoms, lifestyle choices, exercise, nutrition, career paths, and other life factors. All aspects of the patient are considered when putting together an effective treatment plan.

2) Acupuncture helps to re-awaken and energize the self-healing capacity of the body.
An acupuncturist treats more than symptoms and signs. Acupuncture activates the body’s natural healing potential by treating the root causes that have led to the problem or disease. Research shows that acupuncture triggers the body’s own mechanisms for manufacturing and releasing its own pain relieving chemicals. These chemicals are endorphins and dopamines, opioid-like compounds that produce the feeling of well-being and reduce pain. The body knows the exact dose that is needed at the right time. It is like a perfect pharmacy that can produce any “medication” needed for healing without any unwanted side effects!
3) Acupuncture is an effective preventative medicine with no negative side-effects, only positive ones.
Acupuncture is a completely natural therapy and works directly with the body’s natural processes, not against them. No drugs are ever used. Invasive procedures and drug therapies used in Western treatment may produce undesirable side effects and accumulated toxicity in the body. Acupuncture does not have these side effects. In fact, feeling great is the most commonly reported result.
4) Acupuncture helps to support and strengthen the immune system.
The immune system works throughout our body to prevent and fight illnesses. Our digestive tract, skin, and lymphatic system are three important parts of the immune system. The immune system can be weakened at times by disease and/or certain treatments and medications. Lifestyle contributors such as poor diet, stress, and poor self care can also negatively impact the immune system. The goal of acupuncture is to find and treat the underlying imbalances that are affecting the flow of Qi (pronounced “chee”), our vital energy or power, and the immune system by addressing the root causes. Acupuncture can help you regain balance and improve your overall health.
5) Acupuncture effectively assists with recovery from drug, alcohol and smoking addictions.
With the help of acupuncture, recovery from drug, alcohol and smoking addictions can be made easier. Stress, anxiety and depression are some of the largest stumbling blocks in quitting addictive habits and behaviors. Acupuncture is successful at calming and relaxing the mind, reducing anxiety and alleviating depressive feelings.

6) Acupuncture is recognized by well-known and leading national and international health organizations*.
The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization are among those organizations who recognize that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of over 50 western medical diseases, disorders and symptoms including pain, infertility, allergies, depression/anxiety, migraines, digestive issues, arthritis, fibromyalgia and more. * National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)

7) Acupuncture is safe and painless.
When practiced by a qualified practitioner, acupuncture is safe. In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments, assuring their safety and effectiveness. The needles are one-time use only and are sterile and do not carry any risk of infection. Acupuncture needles are about ten times smaller in size than an average hypodermic needle, approximately the size of a cat’s whisker, and they are very flexible. They don’t hurt in the way that hypodermic needles do, however a slight sensation may be experienced as the acupuncture needle is inserted.
8) Acupuncture treatment is an excellent stress-relief therapy.
Along with treating physical and emotional symptoms and signs associated with stress, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) addresses the root cause(s) of the problem. Qi is the vital energy or power that animates and supports the functions of the body. It flows through specific pathways, called meridians, and provides nourishment for the entire body. When Qi becomes “blocked” or the supply is inadequate, the body and organ systems become “stressed out” and our health is then compromised. With acupuncture and TCM, the practitioner’s job is to support and restore the integrity of the various organs affected and depleted by the stress response, along with evaluating the quality and quantity of Qi.

9) Acupuncture is an affordable alternative.
Compared to some expensive Western medical therapies, treatments and medications, acupuncture is affordable and effective and it may help you avoid further medical expenses and complications down the road when it is used as a primary treatment plan or an adjunct therapy. Acupuncture can also help you make lifestyle changes and prevent future illness.
10) Acupuncture works!
Acupuncture has been used to successfully treat millions of people over the past 3,000 years. It is an effective form of medical treatment that has evolved into a complete holistic health care system. Practitioners of acupuncture and Chinese medicine have used this noninvasive treatment to help many become well and stay well. As the old adage goes, “there is nothing to fear, but fear itself”! Acupuncture works and this safe, natural, drug-free way of whole body healing is worth a try!

 

Still not sure if acupuncture is for you? Call Leona Harter, L.Ac., at 912-222-6949 and set up a FREE Consultation to see if acupuncture can address your specific needs.

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