wellness

Should You See a Nutritionist?

The amount of nutritional information available on the news and web can be overwhelming and often the information is conflicting, Every day there is a new diet or superfood making,  it difficult to know what foods and diets are best. Should I cut carbs? what should I eat before exercise? Do I need supplements? are some common questions people have. Seeing a nutritionist is arguably one of the best things you can do to prevent disease and feel better overall, and we will clear up all of the confusing dietary advice you may have gotten in the past. Here are some reasons you may want to schedule a visit with a nutritionist at TCA.

  • You are suffering from information overload:  

We will help find the best foods for your body so you can ditch the fad diets and eat healthy for life. We will help you solve the problem of information overload, so you don't have to use the potentially detrimental method trial and error to see what diets, foods, or supplements work best for your body.

  • You have a health or fitness goal you are working toward:

A nutritionist will work with you to help you meet your health and fitness goals and keep you accountable for what you're eating. We will likely recommend weekly check-ins in the beginning to get you started on the right path and make sure your new meal plan is working for you. If you have a fitness goal like running a marathon or you just want to tone up, we will help you achieve those goals with a meal plan that is right for you.

  • You have a pre-existing health condition that you want to manage (maybe even get off medication)

Prevention is always the best medicine, but if you have pre-existing health conditions such as high cholesterol, acid reflux, or diabetes for example, we can help you manage and potentially resolve these issues.

  • You don't know if you need supplements

We will always try to get you to obtain your nutrients through real foods, but we may recommend supplements - even temporarily - based on your current health situation. We carry only top-of-the-line supplements that can only be purchased through a healthcare provider. Most of the vitamins and supplements available at the drug store are not in a bioavailable form, meaning your body can't absorb them well. Additionally, when you take just one mineral or vitamin, it can throw off the balance of other checks and balances in your body as it attempts to maintain homeostasis. Our supplements are in the form of whole foods and not isolates of chemicals, so your body can absorb them.

  • You have run out of healthy recipes or meal ideas

When we develop a meal plan for you, we take into consideration foods you like and dislike, and come up with meal plans and recipes that fit your nutritional needs as well as your lifestyle needs. Whether you love to spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals or need quick and healthy dinner ideas - we tailor the plan to your lifestyle making it easy to follow as well as delicious.

  • You are tired of being tired

The foods you eat fuel your body. When you eat the wrong things at the wrong times, you develop a buildup of toxins and your GI system becomes sluggish, causing fatigue.

We will teach you how to eat for life, so you can feel and look your best and stay healthy. Your diet is the key to preventing health issues down the road like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity just to name a few. If you are ready to take control of your health, its time to make an appointment!

 

Healthy Holidays

 

The end of the year is once again upon us. While it is a season of celebration and joy, it can also be stressful. You may feel pressure to host a stellar holiday party, give the perfect gifts,  and entertain family and friends while still finding time to stay healthy and exercise. How can you find a good balance between giving and receiving this season? Below are some tips to help you stay healthy and happy this winter.

Practice Compassion. Overindulging is ubiquitous this time of year and it is ok as long as you don't make it an everyday occurrence. When you do have a high-calorie or high-sugar setback, find an attitude of compassion for yourself. If you forgive yourself for one setback, you will be less likely to keep eating. So if you lose control on one dish, instead of thinking, I've blown my diet, might as well eat more, just forgive yourself and move on.

Be a food snob. If you don't love it, don't eat it. At parties and gatherings, look for foods you truly like and skip the dishes that are available all year long. Go ahead and indulge in your personal holiday favorites, then find a seat and slowly and mindfully enjoy your food. And prior to the party, eat normally. If you skip meals to "save up"  calories for your party, you will have a tendency to overeat once you get there.

Protein and healthy fat are your friends. If your holiday go-to treats are of the sweet variety, it is important to understand that consuming extra sugar gives you more than just an excess of calories. Simple sugar leads to a cascade of hormones causing your blood sugar to spike and crash, sending a signal to your brain that you are still hungry even though you just consumed a lot of energy. But if you eat lean protein and healthy fat (avocados, nuts, full fat dairy), hormones are released that tell your brain that you are full and satisfied. Aim to minimize your consumption of extra sugar and keep yourself satisfied by eating healthy fats,  protein, and fiber.

Eat your fruits and veggies. Aim for 7 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The fiber content will keep you feeling full and the vitamins and nutrients will nourish your body helping you stay healthy during the winter.

Schedule Your Exercise. Your schedule will likely be hectic this season. Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment. It's ok if you can't make it to class, but make sure that you work up a sweat at least three days per week.

Get Adjusted. Whether you're traveling or staying home, maintaining your spinal alignment will help you feel and function your best so you can stay healthy and reduce your stress level.

Rest easy. It is always important to get adequate sleep, but during this busy time of year (and cold and flu season) it is especially critical. To get the best quality sleep, avoid foods that are high in fat or protein and alcohol 2-3 hours prior to bed. Fats and protein require your body to work harder at digestion which interferes with your sleep. And while alcohol helps you fall asleep quickly, when your body starts to metabolize it your sleep is disrupted. You may wake up frequently (even if you don't remember doing so) and you will miss out on restorative sleep. If you’re still hungry close to bedtime, have some complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat crackers, popcorn, or fruit.

Boost your mood. This time of year is typically cold and dark for us in the metro DC area. For many, this can lead to seasonal mood changes. Due to the lack of sunlight, I recommend supplementing with vitamin D3 (400-1000IU/day). You may also want to supplement with the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. They have been shown to improve symptoms of depression and aid in brain function. Even if the weather is not the best, try to get outside for at least a few minutes a day for fresh air and sunlight.

Avoid comparison. You’ve read the status updates and have seen gorgeous instagram photos about glamorous vacations, perfectly-behaved kids, and well decorated house, but remember that those people have bad days too. Most people put their best self forward social media, so don't compare your life with those dreamy-sounding posts. Find at least one thing each day to be grateful for and enjoy the season!

What's Stealing Your Energy? Part 2 - Posture

Bad posture is only cute on cats.

Bad posture is only cute on cats.

We've probably all heard the request to "sit up straight" and have "good posture" at some point, but it's easy to forget just how important good posture is. When you come in to the office to get adjusted, we fix your alignment, remove subluxations, and help re-balance your muscles. But outside of the office it is up to you to practice good posture along with the stretches and strengthening exercises we may have prescribed you. Having good posture is part of your care outside of your chiropractic adjustments. Practicing proper posture not only makes you feel and look better, but it will also help you increase the length of time between adjustments and will train your body to maintain proper alignment longer. Additionally, having good posture improves your energy through out the day.

Whether you're standing or seated, slumping forward and rounding your shoulders not only makes you look and feel less confident, but also makes you more tired by slowing your digestion and reducing your tidal volume (breath capacity). It also puts extra strain on the muscles and joints of the lower back, upper back and neck which can lead to quicker joint degeneration and chronic pain.

Good posture: shoulders over hips, shoulder blades down and back, chin parallel to the floor, ears over shoulders.

Good posture: shoulders over hips, shoulder blades down and back, chin parallel to the floor, ears over shoulders.

If you find yourself sitting for the majority of your day, you will also likely feel more tired than you would if you were able to move and stand more. Many recent studies have stated how bad sitting all day is for you. Fortunately, other studies have shown that getting up just once an hour for 5 minutes and walking - even as slow as 2mph - can reverse the negative effects of sitting. Consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to get up, stretch, walk around, or just check in on your posture.

When you catch yourself slouching, stand up or take a stretch break to open your chest: Place your hands behind your head.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together, bringing your elbows back as far as possible.

Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Relax and slowly return to the starting position.

Repeat 2-3 times.

Once you start practicing proper posture, it will become a habit and slouching will no longer feel normal or comfortable. So start getting the benefits of good posture today: decrease and prevent pain and increase your energy!

 

Image credits: sicknesshealth.com; blog.bufferapp.com; ehs.utoronto.ca, respectively.