COVID-19 UPDATED

Blair Cuneo, PA-C
While there are questions and uncertainties in our evolving understanding of COVID-19, its variants and vaccination options, there are many things we have learned. We continue to see reduced severity of COVID-19 illness in patients with less chronic inflammation and with healthy immune support.

The CDC website reviewing preventative recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated patients is below, including guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing and information on vaccinations.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html

In addition to those guidelines, the providers at Carolina Total Wellness recommend the following lifestyle and supplement supports to optimize immune function, decrease viral transmission, reduce viral activity in the body and support the body’s immune response.

LIFESTYLE:
For adults and children, focus on eating foods that are organic and rich in antioxidants.  Try to eat 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and 2 to 3 servings of fruit every day.  Drink filtered water, avoiding plastics as much as possible. Improve ventilation, air flow and utilize quality air filters indoors, including home and work. Ensure adequate sleep for healthy immune and detox response.
Integrate mindfulness and stress lowering practices each and every day.
 
SUPPLEMENTS: (Bold items are available in online patient portal supplement store)

Adult Prevention Supplement Options:
1. Vitamin C: 500-1000mg daily to twice a day (Complete Vitamin C)
2. Vitamin D: 2000IU -5000 IU per day (Liquid D3, Vitamin D3, Ortho Force)
3. Zinc: 15-30mg daily (Zinc glycinate or Zinc Drink)
4. Quercetin 400 mg daily (Allergy Ease, BetaQ Immune, D-Hist Jr)
5. Melatonin 3-6 mg at bedtime (Melatonin CR or Quick Dissolve Melatonin)
6. Biocidin LSF mix 10 pumps into Xlear or a bottle of over the counter nasal saline spray: 2 sprays per nostril after possible exposures to virus.  
Additional options to discuss with your provider include curcumin, NAC, Andrographis, Vitamin A, Resveratrol and Immune Adaptogenic Mushrooms.
 
Pediatric Prevention Supplement Options:

1. Vitamin C (CTW Complete Vitamin C), Seeking Health Liposomal Vitamin C (liquid):3-5 years: 125-250 mg daily6-12 years: 250-500 mg daily 
2. Vitamin D (CTW Liquid D3 or CTW Vitamin D3):3-6 years: 1,000 IU daily7-12 years: 2,000-3,000 IU daily 
3. Zinc (Zinc Drink, Zinc Glycinate):3 years: 5-10 mg daily4-12 years 10-25 mg daily 
4. Quercetin (CTW Allergy Ease, D-Hist Jr chewables):3-4 years: 50-100 mg daily4-8 years: 100 mg daily8-12 years: 100-200 mg daily 
5. Xlear nasal spray: 1-2 sprays per nostril daily and after potential exposures. 
6. Elderberry:<7yo: 250mg daily>7yo: 500mg daily 
Additional options to discuss with your provider include curcumin and glutathione
 
The following therapeutic options are started at first signs of illness, positive exposure, and/or positive testing. Please notify your provider so that we can further personalize support.

Adult Therapeutic Supplement Options:

Vitamin C: increase to 1000mg four times a day. Reduce dosage to 500mg if loose bowels. (Complete Vitamin C)

Vitamin D: 2000-5000IU per day (Liquid D3, Vitamin D3, Ortho Force

Zinc liquid or lozenges: 15-20mg four times a day. Swish liquid before swallowing. If using lozenge, do not chew, instead suck on lozenge until done. (Zinc Drink)

Quercetin:  800 mg two times a day (Allergy Ease, BetaQ Immune, D-Hist Jr

Melatonin 3-6 mg at bedtime (Melatonin CR or Quick Dissolve Melatonin

Biocidin LSF mix 10 pumps into Xlear or a bottle of over the counter nasal saline spray: 2 sprays per nostril two times a day. 

Curcumin 500-1000 mg four times a day (Meriva or Turmero liquid) N-acetylcysteine: 600mg twice a day (CTW Liver Support or Trizomal glutathione

Andrographis: 375 mg twice daily (Viragraphis

Pediatric Therapeutic Supplement Options:

1. Vitamin C (CTW Complete Vitamin C), Seeking Health Liposomal Vitamin C (liquid)3-5 years: 125-250 mg four times a day, reduce dose if loose bowel movements.6-12 years: 250-500 mg four times a day, reduce dose if loose bowel movements. 
2. Vitamin D (CTW Liquid D3 or CTW Vitamin D3):3-6 years: 1,000 IU daily7-12 years: 2,000-3,000 IU daily 
3. Zinc liquid or lozenges (Zinc Drink or Zinc Glycinate)3 years: 5-10 mg four times a day4-12 years: 10-15 mg four times a day 
4. Quercetin (CTW Allergy Ease caps or D Hist Jr chewables):3-4 years: 50-100 mg two times a day4-8 years: 100 mg two times a day8-12 years: 100-200 mg two times a day 
5. Melatonin (Quick Dissolve Melatonin 3mg) or Source Naturals Melatonin lozenge, 1mg3-5 years: 1mg at bedtime6-12: 3mg at bedtime 
6. Biocidin LSF: 5 pumps into Xlear or nasal saline spray: 1-2 sprays per nostril two times a day.
 
7. Curcumin (Meriva or Turmero liquid)3-4 years: 125 mg three times a day4-8 years: three times a day8-12 years: 325 mg three times a day 
8. Glutathione (Trizomal Glutathione):3-5 years: 50mg two times a day6-12 years: 100mg twice a day


   
 

ADULT COVID-19 Vaccination prep: supporting resiliency
 
Start 2 weeks BEFORE and continue for 1 week AFTER vaccination:
 
1. Clean water: 8–10 glasses a day or ½ body weight in ounces
2. CTW Complete Vitamin C: 1 cap (500mg) two times a day
3. CTW Daily Multivitamin or MitoCore 2 caps two times a day
4. Daily Probiotic
5. Vitamin D3 4000IU daily
6. Zinc Glycinate 15mg daily
7. SPM Active 2 caps daily
 
In the days leading up to your vaccination, fuel your immune system with healthy, organic colorful foods that are nutrient dense. Avoid pro-inflammatory junk foods and sugary foods. Rest when you need to rest and aim for quality sleep the two nights before the vaccination.
 
*Day of and day after vaccination, increase vitamin C:
CTW Vitamin C: 2 caps (1000mg) twice a day
 
After your vaccination, think muscle, immune and lymphatic system support:
 
Engage your deltoid, the shoulder muscle which received the vaccine. Movement and engagement of the muscle will reduce the tenderness and soreness which can start setting in a few hours later. Example exercises include arm circles, push-ups, resistance shoulder pressing exercises.
 
Go on a walk! Perform some light cardio and exercise after your vaccination to provide a healthy stimulus for your immune system for optimal response and reduce side effects.
 
Stimulate your lymphatic system! Right after the vaccine, begin gentle skin brushing of the vaccinated arm, encouraging lymphatic flow toward center of body. Whole body lymph support options: whole body dry skin brushing, gentle rebounding, deep breathing. 
 
   

PEDIATRIC COVID-19 Vaccination prep:
 supporting resiliency for children 12 years and older
 
Start 2 weeks BEFORE and continue for 1 week AFTER vaccination:
 
1. Clean water: ½ body weight in ounces
2. Vitamin C: 250-500mg two times a day (CTW Complete Vitamin C caps, Seeking Health Liposomal Vitamin C (liquid)
3. Daily Multivitamin (ActivNutrients chewables or CTW Daily Multivitamin caps)
4. Daily Probiotic (Ther-biotic complete chewables or CTW Daily Probiotic)
5. Vitamin D 2,000IU – 4,000IU daily (CTW Liquid D3 or CTW Vitamin D3)
6. Zinc 15mg daily (Zinc Drink liquid, Zinc Glycinate caps)
7. SPM Active 2 caps daily
 
In the days leading up to your vaccination, fuel your child’s immune system with healthy, organic colorful foods that are nutrient dense. Avoid pro-inflammatory junk foods and sugary foods. Stick to sleep schedules/healthy sleep hygiene and aim for quality sleep the two nights before the vaccination.
 
*Day of and day after vaccination, add extra C to above protocol:
Vitamin C: 1000mg two times a day
 
After your vaccination, think muscle, immune and lymphatic system support, refer to instructions above.
  
Please contact our office for an appointment to further support and personalize your path to wellness.
 

Your Partner In Health!
Blair Cuneo, PA-C
 

References:
https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2020/03/16/covid19-traditional-chinese-medicine-and-western-options-for-the-non-tcm-trained-clinician/?mc_cid=1cd528a9bd&mc_eid=fb7826b1c3
https://healthykidshappykids.com/2020/02/27/coronavirus-covid-19/
https://www.drkarafitzgerald.com/2020/03/12/covid-19-preserving-your-familys-health-and-sanity-in-the-face-of-a-pandemic/?mc_cid=1cd528a9bd&mc_eid=fb7826b1c3
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1550830720301130?fbclid=IwAR0ZjInhMGulFrfnMHVL_uITY5EYuGNccwRII03as8NSVn_EeqRGvi8DgXY
https://healthykidshappykids.com/2020/04/04/pediatricians-pandemic-immune-support-plan/
https://info.ifm.org/covid-19?utm_campaign=covid-19&utm_source=website&utm_medium=popup&utm_content=resources_learn_more
https://covid19criticalcare.com/covid-19-protocols/i-mask-plus-protocol/
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/your-vaccination.html
 
 

 

Five Tips to Get Back on Track with Exercise

Sara Yadlowsky, FMHC

There are many reasons exercise may fall to the wayside:  injury, surgery, a major life event such as a divorce or death, demands of work or simply losing interest in an exercise routine can all disrupt your exercise schedule.  Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes things gets in the way of consistent exercise and movement.

Here are five tips to help you get back on track: 

Choose a Type of Movement
You don’t have to stick with the same type of exercise you have done in the past.  Perhaps it’s time to try something new – maybe something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t.  Think about your current lifestyle and what exercise would suit you best.  There are so many different types of exercise.  You may want to sample a few before you decide on an exercise plan.

 Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t attempt to go from the couch to exercising 7 days a week overnight.  This will often end up in injury and put you BACK on the couch.  Instead come up with a plan that eases you back into consistent movement such as walking 2-3 days a week for 15-20 minutes.  This primes your muscles and joints more effectively.   It also gives you a “win” because it is manageable and you will succeed.  This is great for your mindset and will keep you moving forward with your goals.

Focus on Consistency
One of the most important aspects of forming a new habit is to be consistent.  So rather than working out once a week for 2 hours (and ending up sore and possibly injured) it is much better to exercise 5 days a week for 30 minutes.  Make a commitment to yourself to exercise a specific number of days a week and keep that commitment.  

Get Support from Family and Friends
Let your family know what your new fitness goals are so they can support you.  You may need others to take over some of the tasks around the house so you have time to exercise. Enlisting a friend to exercise with you can help keep you focused and can make exercise more fun.

 Fuel Your Body with Nutritious Foods
You’ll need to make sure you are fueling yourself well when adding exercise back into your routine.  Depending on what type of exercise you are doing you may need more protein than you are currently eating.  Focusing on whole foods with adequate protein, lots of veggies and healthy fats will give you the energy you need to get through your workouts. Exercise is hard sometimes but it should be fun!  Find something you enjoy doing and see how good it makes you feel to move.
 
 Your Partner In Health!
Sara Yadlowsky, FMHC

Gluten in Medication

Frances Meredith, MD
“What? There’s gluten in my Advil?” 

Those with food sensitivities are always on the lookout to avoid exposure to foods we know cause trouble for us. As someone with food sensitivities myself, I was horrified to discover that a migraine medication I was taking contained food proteins to which I knew I was sensitive. How could that be?

Medications, both over the counter (OTC) and prescription, need to have “fillers” to hold the tablets together. These often come from corn or potato starch, but can also have ingredients that contain gluten or soy as well.

Most prescription medications now are gluten free though not all are certified as such by the manufacturer. Several blood pressure medications contain gluten. Gluten containing OTC medications include Advil Liquid Gel and Advil Liquigel Migraine Caps.    
“Red flag” Ingredients in medications that can have gluten hidden within include:- modified starch, pregelatinized starch (can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca or wheat)
-dextrate and dextrin (can be derived from potato, corn, tapioca, or wheat)
– dextrimaltose (may be derived from barley malt)
-Maltodextrin (may be derived from potato, corn, tapioca, or wheat)
– sodium starch glycolate (usually derived from potato, but may come from corn, tapioca, or wheat)
-caramel coloring (when barley malt is used).
-All of above are suspect if the source is not specified
 
Now, let’s talk more about “inactive” ingredients.  Ingredients such as corn starch or potato starch may be labelled as “inactive”, however, for some of us they can certainly trigger some very “active” immune responses.

Corn starch is a frequent filler in many OTC meds as well as prescription meds. These include multiple forms of Advil, blood pressure medications such as amlodipine, birth control pills, cholesterol medicines, such as atorvastatin, and common antibiotics such as azithromycin.

Other inactive ingredients may be important, causing immune reactions in some people. For this reason, I always advise choosing the cleanest version of a medication possible when needed. An example of this is the difference between NP Thyroid and Armour. Armour contains inactive ingredients which may be reactive for some, including sodium starch glycolate (gluten free), a food coloring, and microcrystalline cellulose.  NP Thyroid contains maltodextrin (gluten free), mineral oil, calcium stearate, and dextrose monohydrate as inactive ingredients. These tend to provoke fewer immune reactions.
 
Often the “inactive” ingredients are not evident on the label.  For over the counter medications you will need to peel back the label and look underneath. If there is no information on ingredient sources, call the 1-800 number on the label to be certain.

A most helpful resource is  www.glutenfreedrugs.com  On this website, kept up to date by a pharmacist, you can look up most drugs to find whether gluten, potato, corn, or soy are within. Another helpful resource is  www.beyondceliac.org.

Your most valuable resource is your pharmacist. Speak to them personally to get them on your team, letting them know your particular food sensitivities. They will add this to your profile and double check any medication to make sure it is absent of your food triggers. They can also be helpful checking ingredients on any over the counter product you might consider using. Though they cannot do this on the spot, they can research the ingredients and get back to you. My pharmacist at Publix has been an immense help to me. I am so grateful to have her on my “team”.
 
Your Partner in Health!
 Frances Meredith, MD

Kids and Mindfulness

Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC
 You may be thinking that kids and mindfulness are not two things that naturally go together. But as anxiety continues to become an epidemic for our children and teens, we must find ways to help them make mindfulness a part of their lives.

So, what is mindfulness? 

A great definition by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction describes it well:

 Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. 

Stopping, paying attention, and noticing what’s happening around you, and everything you’re feeling, thinking and doing in that particular moment with honesty and without judgment is being mindful.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Actually, this Harvard study found that we spend almost 50% of our time thinking about something else and NOT what we’re actually doing!

Here are just a few of the health benefits of mindfulness that have been researched:
Increased focus and attention
Improved memory and learning
Less anxiety and depression
Better emotional self-regulation
Stronger immune system
Reduced inflammation 

Here are a couple of my favorite mindfulness exercises that you can do with your kids:
 
STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN
 
You and your kids can practice mindfulness anywhere and anytime.  A great way for kids to learn how to be mindful is by using the STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN method.  This involves, STOPPING what you are doing, LOOKING around you and using all 5 senses (what are you seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and even tasting) and LISTENING (listen to your body and mind and how it feels in that moment).

THE FIVE SENSES EXERCISE

Another quick exercise that can be done anywhere is the 5 senses exercise.  Notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.  This exercise can bring you to a mindful state quickly.
These are just a couple of examples of how you can practice mindfulness with your kids.   

Your Partner in Health!
Caroline Wilson, M.Ed., FMHC

Functional Fertility

Blair Cuneo, PA-C
Functional Fertility: Basics and Beyond for Pre-conception

Whether trying to conceive naturally or going through advanced reproductive options, there are lifestyle, nutritional, nutraceutical and botanical interventions to support optimal fertility.

We need balanced hormone communication and low levels of inflammation for a woman’s body to create and nourish new life. There are major leverage points for understanding your body’s baseline of communication and inflammation. These include the Basics: checking in with your sleep quality and daily nutrient intake; and Beyond: testing for personalized understanding of your hormonal health, nutrient needs and inflammatory status.

Basics:

Some quality Zzzs…
Good sleep hygiene is important for our general restoration, healing and detoxification. Our daily circadian rhythm should be an appropriate balance of our stress hormone cortisol, and our restorative hormone, melatonin. Related to healthy menstrual cycles, chronic low overnight melatonin impacts hormone signaling between the brain and ovaries. Hormones necessary for conception include luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen and progesterone. Production of these hormones is decreased in chronic low melatonin levels.

Melatonin is an important antioxidant in the follicular fluid ovarian eggs are swimming in. It acts as a strong scavenger of free radicals, protecting egg cells from cellular damage. Melatonin is also anti-inflammatory, turning down cranky messengers like NF-KB and turning up calming ones like IL-4 and IL-10. Studies with IVF patients taking even 3mg of melatonin nightly days 5 until mid-cycle showed a 4-fold increase in follicular melatonin, which resulted in decreased oxidative damage of these eggs and higher pregnancy rates.

Regular sleep is key for fertility. Aim for 8 hours nightly and turn off screens at least one hour before bedtime. This is to address not only the blue light impact on wakefulness, but also to limit the cognitive and psychological stimulation from texting and scrolling through feeds, for example. Use the later hours in the day to turn your attention inward and cultivate, rather than demand, sleep. Consider breathing exercises, calming herbal teas including chamomile and lemon balm, gratitude journaling and yoga nidra.

Step away from the chicken fried biscuit….
When examining your nutrient intake, if you need a template to guide changes, I recommend the Mediterranean food plan. It has shown to improve markers of fertility for females and males.  Its major principles include:

Emphasis on fruits and vegetables, providing great phytonutrient and antioxidant diversity

Higher content of omega 3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory, support cell membranes and improve blood viscosity which ensures good blood flow to the uterus

Mediterranean foods are rich in B6 and folate – fertility boosting nutrients!

Dietary fiber from vegetables and grains – keeps bowels moving regularly to support healthy detox to mobilize toxins and hormone metabolites like high estrogen, high cortisol.

Beyond:
How’s my thyroid doing?
Low thyroid function affects fertility. Around 1/3 of women experiencing subfertility have thyroid disease. The ovaries and egg cells have receptors for thyroid hormone. Thyroid testing includes TSH, free T4, free T3. TSH levels <3 are associated with better ovarian reserve. It’s important to also consider antibodies to the thyroid. Even in a patient with normal thyroid levels, presence of thyroid antibodies is correlated to increased rates of miscarriage and pregnancy-related complications. 

What’s my Vitamin D level?
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a number of reproductive issues, including gestational diabetes, endometriosis and PCOS. Vitamin D levels >30ng/mL are associated with greater rates of pregnancy. This is likely due to higher levels of anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) when vitamin D is sufficient. The more AMH, the more eggs in the ovarian reserve, the more changes for successful pregnancy. Vitamin D is also involved in helping create endometrial docking sites to help an embryo attach and hold on tight!

What’s my iron status?
Iron deficiency is common in subfertility. Iron’s job is to deliver oxygen to tissues throughout the body, including the uterus and ovaries. Chronic oxygen deprivation can take a toll on egg quality and result in anovulation. Adequate iron levels build a nice, fluffy endometrium…a cozy place for an embryo to attach.

Am I inflamed, you ask?
A balanced immune system is important in order to conceive and carry pregnancy to term. One’s general level of inflammation can be assessed with the blood test, hs-CRP. Contributors to systemic inflammation include gum disease, food sensitivities, insulin resistance and imbalances in gut microbiome. Nutrients and botanicals to help reduce inflammation include omega 3s (fish oil) and curcumin. Additional testing is available to further investigate these areas of potential inflammation if needed.

Help your cup “run-eth” over
With all things, give yourself grace and start from a place of fullness. Know that you are enough! By integrating supports to reduce inflammation and balance communication, your internal supports will overflow to support the life of another. Fill your body with adequate sleep, nutrients, love, support and confidence!

Your Partner In Health!
Blair Cuneo, PA-C

The Power of Movement

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500
 “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” — Plato

Being consistently active helps you to live longer, have a better quality of life, improve your mental health, and improve your self-image. Take charge of your mental and physical health in only a few minutes a day.

You can make big improvements to your health and energy levels by making small and deliberate healthy lifestyle choices that involve moving more every day. Many people feel daunted by the thought of changing their lives and starting a new routine to be more active, but there are only a few key tips to remember to be successful:

Emphasize Fun. What is something you love? Whether that’s music, birds, friends, trampolines, or books, you can shape your activity plan around the things you love. Walk to and from a spot where you can listen to the birds every day; explore local libraries from top to bottom; take the stairs when you visit friends; take a dance class that incorporates music you love. Make the things you love part of your activity plan.

Attach Activity To Habits. Taking a walk after dinner is a time-honored way to get moving. What is something you do regularly? Whether it’s going to work, cooking dinner, getting the mail, or brushing your teeth, any habit can be an opportunity to move. Try doing a one-minute wall-sit every time you brush your teeth; or practice dance steps while cooking dinner; or lift your bag over your head every time you go into your house. Any routine behavior can have a small activity bonus built in.

 Involve Others. Chances are, your friends, family, and co-workers want to be more active, too. Set active living goals together, see if you can aim for incremental advancements and variety in your routines. You could walk an extra two miles a week—or three more flights of stairs. When you meet someone who shares your activity goals, keep moving. Swap sitting at the coffeeshop for walks, and go around the block while catching up.

 Add Audio. Most phones can play music or podcasts, so challenge yourself to walk for at least one song, or one podcast. Having pleasant audio input can make exercise more fun and rewarding.

 Be Inventive. Rather than thinking of movement as calisthenics or a workout, challenge yourself to be inventive with your active living. Do an extra lap around the grocery store. Stand while watching a television show, instead of sitting. At work, think about how you can add a few minutes of movement by parking further away, or getting off the bus early. Whenever you text someone, stretch one part of your body. When you open the door at home, do a little dance. When you talk on the phone, stand up for part of the call or go for a walk and cover some miles with company.

Be Forgiving. If you have a sedentary day, let it go. Don’t overwork the next day or punish yourself—just try to be active every day! Encourage yourself the way you would encourage your best friend. It is about progress, not perfection.

Track your progress. Consider using a pedometer app on your phone, or truly dialing in with that  Fit Bit you wear. The Oura Ring is a valuable option. How many steps do you take on an average work day? How many do you take on the weekend? Striving for 10,000 steps a day is recommended. However, some is better than none. See how it goes.

Daily movement reduces the risk of many health conditions— protect your health! If you already have a condition, movement reduces the symptoms.

Research shows that movement helps with conditions across a broad range: Many forms of cancer Depression, stress, and anxiety Cardiometabolic diseases including prediabetes,
diabetes, hypertension, stroke Musculoskeletal health, including osteoporosis and
rheumatoid arthritis.

 “Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.”— Carrie Late
 
Your Partner In Health!
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500

Meditate on your feelings to get calm, grounded, and healthy.

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500
  Meditate on your feelings to get calm, grounded, and healthy.Our emotions can hold us hostage when their stormy winds of intensity and disharmony blow through the body. For example, when you’re angry, your belly can tighten, your heart might pound, and agitating thoughts can plague you for minutes, hours, or even days. This is because emotions, be they angry, peaceful, anxious, sad, or happy, activate your nervous system to release chemicals into your bloodstream that can pull your focus and energy away from other matters. When emotions are that strong, we may be tempted to label them the “enemy.” But refusing to accept how you feel only postpones the inevitable; every emotion you deny will always return, trying to convey important information.

In a world full of stress and demands, rest is one of the most important factors for creating wellness. Restorative activities can include mental, physical, and/or emotional activities that help to promote resilience. Particularly if you are under chronic stress, restful activities can break the cycle of stress and assist you on the path to health.

Get Unstuck
Knowing that the brain is not static, but instead has plasticity, underlines one of the key reasons to practice restful habits: you can learn to be healthier, happier, and more connected. Focusing on the process of restoration, rather than current complaints or states, allows you to take charge of your own health and wellness. You can become more resilient and healthier.

The Right Activities
Many people turn to television, alcohol, or other semi-harmful activities to counteract stress. Replacing even a few minutes a day of those activities with ones that scientifically promote healing and restoration can trigger lasting improvements.

Restoration activities like meditation, guided imagery, breathing techniques, gratitude, and mindfulness are time-honored, science-backed ways to make a difference internally. They have calming effects not only on the state of mind, but also helping to balance hormonal and immune function.

Don’t let stress run the show. Select a restoration activity and see if it works for you—whether that’s finding something to feel grateful about every day or trying a new yoga pose.

Be intentional and open. Take back a few minutes a day of your life, balance your emotions, and your health and wellness will follow.

Restorative Activities
Meditation
Gratitude
Journaling
Deep breathing and breathing techniques
Guided Imagery and/or Visualization
Massage, Sauna, or Water Therapy
Mindful Eating, Walking, or Body Scan
Many others!

A wide variety of conditions are assisted by restoration therapies, including:
Anxiety, depression, and mood disorders
Cancer
Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
Gastrointestinal disorders
Sleep disturbances and stress disorders
Heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension
Hot flashes
Asthma

Emotions are messengers, here to deliver information about empowering actions you need to take in your life and relationships. Just as it takes time to strengthen muscles, it also takes time to strengthen your ability to welcome and respond to your emotions, rather than avoid them. Lean on them to find creative solutions and successfully navigate life.

Your Partner In Health!
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500

Tips To Slow Down

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500

It has never been easier to connect with someone on the other side of the world, yet it’s so easy to feel disconnected from the people closest to us.  We have more tools than ever to simplify tasks and accomplish more things quickly, yet our to-do lists have never been longer. Life is short, and time flies, especially in today’s fast-paced world.  

These exercises are meant to help you slow down, enjoy life, and focus on the most important parts of your day.  Take the time to prioritize daily objectives.
 By focusing on the most important tasks to get done, we eliminate the hustle and stress of trying to accomplish everything at once. 
Cut personal Internet use by half.
Technology has become a major element in most of our lives. Social networking, email, and web-surfing can occasionally cause our minds to lose focus and wander through hundreds of topics, thoughts and ideas.
Try to use half your designated Internet time to explore new hobbies, exercise, or meditate.

 Enjoy nature.
When time permits – take a five to ten minute break to step outside and breathe in some fresh air. Disconnect from the rest of the world and concentrate on the beauty of nature.

Eat slower.
A lot of us tend to speed through meals – missing the chance to appreciate different textures and flavors. Start to chew foods slower and distinguish new tastes, aromas, and consistencies. 
 
Connect and make time for yourself.

Acknowledge and consciously thank yourself for taking care of YOU.  When did you last spend valuable time with yourself? Take a night to find a new book, watch a favorite movie, try yoga, meditate, or cook a new recipe.

Give yourself more time.
Some of us like to stick to a tight schedule and plan all our daily events. Next time you’re jotting down new tasks in your planner, try to factor in a few extra minutes when estimating how long things will take. This will help you not rush through daily tasks.

Take the scenic route.
Next time you’re driving a somewhat long distance – try taking the scenic route. Driving through open fields, mountains, or viewing a city skyline can be very relaxing.

Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Even just a few moments of meditation can set the tone for the rest of your day. Try to empty your mind and take deep breaths before jumping into your day’s tasks.

Remember your goals and aspirations.
Each morning when you wake up, take a few moments to think about your life goals and aspirations. Try to recall the milestones you’ve already made in your life, and your drive to achieve new ones. Try doing this for about five minutes before getting out of bed to start your day.

Take the time and share this with someone you love that may need some support in slowing down…

 
Your Partner in Health!
Clarissa Kussin, ND, RYT 500

A Guide To Grilling Food

Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT-500
 
 Grilling or barbecuing meat at high temperatures leads to the production of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), compounds known as “mutagens” which damage DNA and may increase risk for developing cancer. HCAs are formed when amino acids and sugars present in meat react under high temperatures. Additionally, liquid fat drips into the flame of a barbeque and creates smoke filled with PAHs, coating the surface of the meat. While the best solution is to use other cooking methods when possible, there are several simple ways to balance the effects of grilling your favorite foods.

Choose meat wisely
Emphasize leaner cuts of meat. Less fat drippings means less smoke and less exposure to PAHs. Further, removing the skin from poultry before cooking will reduce HCA formation.

Marinate
Not only does marinating meat impart more flavor, it can also be protective against carcinogenic compounds. Acid-containing marinades (e.g., those containing vinegar or lemon/lime juice) are best to reduce formation of HCAs. It is also important to note that traditional barbeque sauces, which tend to have a high sugar content, can increase formation of HCAs. If using these sauces, they should be added to foods after they have been cooked.

Add herbs and spices
Herbs and spices have been shown to reduce formation of HCAs when meats are grilled. Mint, onion, turmeric, garlic, rosemary, ginger, thyme, and red chili pepper are all great choices. These herbs can be used in marinades, mixed into ground meats, or used as a dry rub.

Avoid over-cooking or charring
The amount of time your meat contacts the grill makes a difference. Try quicker -cooking proteins like fish or shrimp, or cut your meats into smaller pieces to reduce cooking time (meat and vegetable kebabs are a great solution). Rotate meat frequently to allow the center to fully cook without overheating the surface. Blackened or charred areas of meat can be removed to reduce exposure to HCAs and PAHs.

Try grilling other food groups
Fruits and vegetables have been shown to inhibit activity of HCAs and reduce DNA damage caused by these compounds. Fortunately, antioxidant rich produce can also be delicious when grilled. Try zucchini, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, apples, peaches, pineapple, or even watermelon for a unique addition to your meal.
 
Your Partner in Health!
Clarissa A. Kussin, ND, RYT 500

Health Benefits of Napping

Susan D. Denny, MD, MPH
“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap.” — Carrie Snow

With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, many people don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best. Getting a few less hours for even a few nights in a row can have the same effect as staying awake for 24 hours straight. And, over time, chronic sleep debt can contribute to fatigue, increased stress levels, reduced attention span, and declined cognitive performance.

One way to combat the effects of sleep deprivation—and repay some sleep debt—is to incorporate daytime napping into your schedule. The length of the nap and type of sleep you get during that nap help determine its potential health benefits. The table below identifies these benefits.

Nap Duration  and  Potential Health Benefits

10-20 minutes:
 Reduces sleepiness; improves cognitive performance; increases alertness, attention, and energy levels; improves mood; improves motor performance; reduces stress levels

20-30 minutes:
Enhances creativity; sharpens memory

30-60 minutes:
Sharpens decision-making skills, including memorization and recall; improves memory preservation

60-90 minutes:
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is critical for problem solving; helps make new connections in the brain; enhances creativity; reduces negative reactivity; promotes happiness

  The following is a list of tips and tricks to help you make the most of naptime:

Choose a dark, quiet, comfortable place where you can relax. Try to limit the amount of noise and light in the room, and make sure the temperature is comfortable. Choose a time that works for you, and aim to nap at that time each day to establish a routine. You may find that restricting your naps to early afternoon (between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, or an hour or two after lunch) is less likely to interfere with your nighttime sleep patterns. Set an alarm on your cell phone, watch, or computer so you don’t sleep for too long. If you’re napping at the office, try closing your door and hanging a sign that says, “will return in 20 minutes.” Alternatives to this are napping in your car or on an outdoor bench.

Wherever you nap, bring along something that you associate with sleep. Some ideas include a sleep mask, neck pillow, relaxing playlist and headphones, cozy blanket, warm socks, and lavender essential oil to dab on your pulse points.

Keep in mind that longer naps may be accompanied by sleep inertia, or a period of grogginess that sometimes follows sleep. Give yourself time to wake fully before returning to any activity that requires a quick or sharp response. 

Your Partner In Health!
Susan D. Denny, MD, MPH