It is becoming widely known that our bodies are in a state of chronic inflammation thanks to all of the garbage we eat. Ideally, your body wants to have a neutral pH, which would be around 7. However our bodies are naturally slightly acidic due to the pollution in the air and a variety of other chemicals we come in contact with. Being acidic in pH causes stress on our bodies thus leading to inflammation. With this being known, that is why an anti-inflammatory diet is so necessary. Now you should know I am overly obsessive with the anti-inflammatory diet so here is where I will restrain myself from going into a 2 hour discussion on how to cut inflammation out of your life. But you can look forward to it in a future post ;) My main focus today is to talk about one of the best anti-inflammatory foods God put on this earth… GINGER.
I had never eaten ginger in my life until 3 years ago. It was in one of our nutrition classes that we discussed the miraculous effects it can have on the body and that our professor was currently eating it daily in multiple forms to maintain his pristine health at the age of 60. He was juicing it, he was putting it in his coffee, sprinkling it on his entrees, and even nibbling on the actual root! That was all I needed to know to get me on the bandwagon. So here are some of the awesome benefits that ginger provides our bodies:
Do I need to say any more!?! Talk about a miracle worker! And what is so cool about ginger is you can consume it in a variety of ways so there really is no excuse to not have your daily dose. The easiest form would be supplements. It is a concentrated powder in a capsule so no matter where you are or what you’re doing, it is a convenient option. My personal favorite is buying fresh ginger root, cutting off an inch or two, and tossing it in my NutriBullet for my green smoothies. The powdered spice form is great for adding to your morning coffee, tea, or any other dishes to spice it up. And you can also juice it as well! For the little ones who start to show signs of a cold (or that man baby you have at home too lol), here is a great remedy:
Mix 4tsp of ginger juice, powder, or root + 4tsp honey + lemon juice + warm water
Not only is it warm and soothing, but the anti-inflammatory effects will knock out the free radicals running wild in your body causing the decrease in your immune system. I love this so much that it is a normal beverage in my day simply because it is delicious but also is super preventive.
Now let’s say you know you’re going out for beer and pizza tonight (not that you should, but hey, I’m realistic), I would load up on ginger all day to prepare for the celebration. I’m not saying this is the answer to allowing you to eat junk daily because it’s not. But any little bit helps. So I would take 1-2 grams worth of ginger in supplements, have my honey/lemon/ginger tea, and would put a big scoop of the powder in my green smoothie as well. This will help lessen the blow on your body and tissues from all of that dough and barley. Inflammatory food literally damages your tissues and DNA folks, it’s no joke. Look at the state of our society’s health and tell me you don’t notice something wrong. It is our food! So we have to do our part in reversing the damage that has been done, and preventing further damage in the future. Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease IS NOT NORMAL! And they are all direct effects of chronic inflammation.
(*Step off soapbox here*)
Just a fair warning with ginger…it is definitely an acquired taste. It has a spicy, tingly, burn to it when you put enough in there, so just be ready for that. I would start small, like ½ TBS in your smoothie, but gradually increase it each time. Anywhere from 2-6 grams a day would be the goal. Fun little story to wrap this up…
I had Bryan (my boyfriend) on a health kick with me. He was doing so well to the point where he was even asking for a green smoothie. Never thought I’d see the day. So one morning, in a slight rush because I couldn’t find the shirt I was looking for, I just threw 2 smoothies together. Tossed in some spinach, kale, carrots, beets, coconut milk, mango, and GINGER. I didn’t have fresh ginger at the moment so I decided to just sprinkle some in from my spice cabinet. The only problem was a forgot I took the little top off that has the holes to prevent the whole bottle from dumping out. You can guess what happened then, half the bottle dumped into the cup. Now me, I wasn’t mad at all because I don’t believe you can have too much ginger, but I kind of forgot Bryan didn’t have that same mindset. Not thinking about it, I tossed it in his to-go bottle and we were on our separate ways. About 10 minutes later I get a phone call from a pretty panicked guy:
Bryan: “Babe, did you put something different in this smoothie today?!”
Me: “Noooooo, it’s the same one I always make for you”
Bryan: “Well my throat is literally on fire. I mean, I don’t know what throat cancer feels like, but I’m guessing this is it!”
Me: “Ooooooh my bad, I got a little carried away with the ginger powder this morning by accident. Are you still going to drink it though because it’s really good for you and I know you’re going to have pizza at lunch”
Bryan: “Yeah, of course babe, but we’re going to need to rename this thing. I’m thinking The Ginger Stole My Soul”
Me: *Dying laughing*
To this day we refer to that smoothie recipe as such. But on the bright side, we built up his ginger tolerance!
If you are interested in incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet or want to learn more about creating a healthier lifestyle, call now to make an appointment with us 623.551.6677. My passion is nutrition and turning our comfort foods into healthy nutritious options, so we will find the best accommodations for you and your life!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Literally everyone has jumped on the Fitbit bandwagon. We wear them like they’re jewelry (even when they totally don’t match your outfit) and faithfully monitor our daily number of steps because we want to be healthier right? Women are walking around the break room at lunch just to hit those 10,000 steps and the men take the long way back from taking the garbage out. But I have to shed some light on this new trend. Walking is not going to make you drop that pesky 20lbs you can’t get rid of and it is not strengthening your heart to avoid high blood pressure and heart attacks. The point of exercise is to raise your heart rate, so your heart becomes a stronger muscle and is able to last longer. Increasing your heart rate is also a must if you want to lose weight too.
Now I’m not hating on the step counters here because I do believe doing something is better than nothing. A body in motion stays in motion. So, if you choose to take the stairs over the elevator to get your steps in, that’s awesome! And if you are walking instead of sitting in front of the TV munching on potato chips, fantastic. I’m all for the motivation to get up and do something active. But we are seeing patients give too much credit and have expectations too high for the results of reaching 10,000 steps a day.
So, if you are ready to take the next STEP and do more for your body, here are some great activities to start:
While performing any of the above, it is best to monitor your efforts with a heart rate monitor strap. This is worn at the level of your heart, so it will give you the most accurate reading rather than down at your wrist, which is far from your heart. We use the MYZONE heart rate monitors here at Back to Health of Anthem and I highly recommend them. They monitor heart rate, effort levels, and calories burned so you always know the results of a workout. Plus, they keep track of all of your workouts in a convenient app on your phone. So, when you’re cheating a little on your healthy lifestyle with some ice cream, you don’t’ feel too guilty because you know you burned 600 calories earlier. I’m all about justification obviously lol.
Make an appointment with us today to get an extensive evaluation of your current health status and to get involved with our Functional Training Center. We have trainers who have per-programmed workouts for all fitness levels so you can put those MYZONE belts to work! Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve mobility, or further the progress you’ve made in the gym so far, don’t put your health off for another day, call and schedule now at 623.551.6677!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Alright guys, we have to talk about this sugar craze that is taking over our lives. We talked about diabetes a few weeks ago but I feel the need to dig a little deeper into all of this to hopefully help many of you completely avoid the diabetes epidemic. Proactive instead of reactive, right!?! And make sure you read to the end of this blog for a great opportunity! (or just scroll there now ;) )
Let’s start with all of the nutso effects sugar has on our bodies:
It turns us into a junkie! Sugar triggers the pleasure part of our brain to release chemicals called opioids and dopamine. But just like any feel-good substance or drug, our body develops a tolerance for it which means overtime we need more and more to get that same satisfaction. Fructose (sugar) directly and indirectly stimulates our brain’s built in ‘reward system” which is in charge of creating habit and dependence beasts. Hence the sugar addiction!
It makes you hungry (or hangry in my case). Sugar scrambles your body’s ability to tell your brain “hey big guy, you’re full, put the fork down”. Plus, sugar gets burned up by our bodies so quickly that it only takes about an hour before we’re hungry again because it wasn’t filling in the first place.
It tires you out. Sugar initially gives you the boost of energy to push through the next 30 minutes or so, but it is short lived. What goes up must come down! So, after your body has the rush of insulin spike to put the sugar in your blood, it comes crashing down. Are you picturing that slingshot ride at the fair now??? It’s brutal on your energy levels and just think about your poor pancreas. Be nice to that little guy, he controls your health more than your think.
Sugar causes dysfunction in your metabolism. Ever heard of metabolic syndrome?? Well here’s your culprit. Weight gain, type II diabetes, decreased HSL, increased LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides levels are all included in that diagnosis and over half of our population has at least one of the above. We have to make a change people!
Sugar wears out your liver. Whenever your body has too much trash in it, it shuttles the garbage to the landfill where they metabolize it and help get it out of your body as fast as possible. In your body’s case, your liver is considered your landfill. It detoxifies our body from harmful or excessive products. So constantly having it in over drive ridding us of too much sugar is obviously going to wear it out eventually.
So, what if you don’t drink pop, hardly ever have ice cream, and consider yourself a pretty healthy eater, yet you are still 10-20 pounds over your goal weight? You’re not unhealthy but you’re not healthy either. What do you do to cross the border into happy healthy land?? GET RID OF THE SUGAR! And I’m not talking about the white table kind of sugar. I’m talking about all of the hidden sugar that is stuffed in all kinds of “healthy” foods. Sugar that is found in “low fat” foods to replace the fat. Sugar that is in salad dressings, bread, lunch meat, and peanut butter. Sugar is everywhere!
Unless you went to specific nutrition classes either in college or at some workshop, you’re probably wondering how you go about this. If sugar is in everything, how do I avoid it!?!
The bad news: avoiding it is only half the battle. The real issue is breaking the cravings and desires for these sugar-containing foods. They say sugar can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Now, that might be a little extreme considering the difference between the two, but it really puts it into perspective. I tell you this for you to mentally prepare yourself for the fight. Win the fight with Dr. Knight (I clearly love using my name to make tag lines lol). But I’m serious! I see the struggle and I want to play my role in fixing it. So here is what we are launching in the office…
A 21 DAY SUGAR DETOX
Now this isn’t your sweat it out of your pores kind of detox, this is a getting clean kind of detox. Breaking habits, developing new routines and mindsets, and getting through the withdrawals as easily as possible. Yes, you will have withdrawals. Like I said, sugar is addictive. But they don’t have to be as bad as they sound. And with this detox, you have a community of support around you with everyone else doing the sugar detox challenge… including myself! This girl loves her chocolate and tortillas, so I have some work to do along with you. I want us to be on the journey together and come out on the other side, healthier and happier than ever. Research proves it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I mean, it’s 3 weeks. You can do anything for 3 weeks. Trust me on this one, and I promise you will thank me in the end.
So, head over to myanthemhealth.com/events to sign up for our 21 Day Sugar Detox info meeting, Thursday, March 15th, and 6:30 pm. It will be here at the office and we will discuss all of the details along with some awesome offers to help you make the most progress as possible. The best part: The winner of the 21 Day Sugar Detox Challenge will win a FREE 8WW PACKAGE!!! I can’t even begin to tell you the value of that. So not only do you get healthier, but you get a HUGE prize too??? Dr. Knight knows how to do it right! ;)
Don’t put this off. Put your health at the top of your priorities for a few short weeks and you won’t regret it. Can’t wait to see you at the meeting March 15th!
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
After taking my very first yoga class EVER last week at Back to Health, with Tracy Macon (yes, it's bacon with an "M") I felt the need to share my experience in case there are others out there like me. To start, it is important to know that I am one who LOVES my comfort zone. I stick to the things I know, which avoids a lot of stress for me. Anything outside of my cozy little box makes me slightly nervous, and needless to say, I put it off as long as possible. So yoga fell into this category for me. Now you’re probably thinking, “You’re young and active, yoga will be easy for you!” Well not quite. I have a 15-year history of dance classes and competitive dance teams in my past, so I am used to being very flexible, but since I have not done anything of the sort for the last 8 years, I know my flexibility is not where it should be. On top of that, we have that stereotypical picture of yoga and “yogi’s” in our head thanks to TV and the media. I do not have 4-foot-long, slender legs that I can put over my head so yoga isn’t for me, right!?! So, so, so wrong! Yoga is truly for everyone!
EVERYONE has muscles that are too tight and too weak regardless of our awareness of them, so yoga classes are a great solution. When I woke up at 6:30am Saturday morning, I was sore from my workouts earlier in the week (which included 150 pull-ups, ugh!), I was tired, and it was a Saturday…my only day to sleep in. So obviously I didn’t go into this with the most optimistic attitude, but that was soon to change.
The vibe that was set in the functional training center was perfect. The lights were off, and the sunrise was coming up through the windows. Tracy had the best playlist of calming, inspiring, chill out music that completely set the tone. I’m all about good music so this was one of my favorite parts. And the class itself was not what I was expecting at all. Tracy doesn’t just stand at the front of the class demonstrating everything and basically taking the class herself, rather she walks throughout the whole class the entire time. The class members are a variety of experience levels which makes it feel super comfortable and not intimidating at all, but also allows you to see how to perform each position if Tracy is in another section of the room. After an hour of multiple poses, breathing patterns, motivational words from Tracy, and a final 5 minutes at the end of simply laying in a position of your choice, I was completely renewed and ready for the day.
But what stuck out to me most was Tracy’s words of inspiration throughout the class. While in a “tree pose” (for you non-yoga goers, its standing on one leg with the other foot placed on the inside of your standing thigh) she had us focus on all of our blessings we have in our life. She said that simply our ability to be there that morning meant we have so much to be thankful for that we tend to take for granted. Well isn’t that the truth!?! And to think just an hour before that I was being moody because I had to wake up early to go to a FREE yoga class, in my $75 yoga leggings, sore from working out in a state of the art gym with a trainer, and all because I have a gold mine of a job working at Back to Health in my dream state of Arizona. My goodness, talk about perspective! She was so right, we are SO BLESSED. How easy was it for me to forget everything God has graciously given me? I’d say that was a top 5 most selfish feeling moment of my life. If for nothing else than a reality check, I instantly made a commitment to myself that I would make yoga a regular part of my routine.
As the day went on, I also noticed a dramatic decrease in my muscle soreness. Literally every area of my body was sore in some fashion before the class, and it was 70% gone even the next day as well. Another added perk was I noticed some ab soreness afterwards so not only was I stretching tight muscles, but I was building muscle at the same time. YOGA IS AWESOME! After one class, I am a firm believer in all yoga can do for your life both physically and mentally.
If you have never tried a yoga class, or if you have but only a few times, get your butt to Back to Health ASAP. Free yoga people! For my inside the box peeps, here are 5 things to keep in mind before attending your first class to ease some of that unknown:
1. Yoga is truly for everyone, no matter the age, mobility, male, female, or experience level.
2. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in. If that is tighter fitting clothing, go for it! If it is looser clothing, do it! Your comfort is extremely important so don’t sacrifice that for what the typical yoga picture looks like.
3. There are multiple types of yoga so if you aren’t impressed or comfortable with one style, there are plenty of other options, so find the best fit for you.
4. Yoga mats. Although we have a few yoga mats available for you to use at Back to Health, they are limited, so either get there early or pick one up super cheap at a TJ Maxx or Marshall’s.
5. Trust the process! It is 100% acceptable to look around during class and see if you are performing a pose correctly. Mobility and flexibility are not something you develop in a week. Be patient with your progress and do not compare yourself to the woman next to you who has been doing yoga 3 times a week for the last year. You will get there if you are consistent.
We offer free classes Saturday’s at 8am and Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm. Then on Monday’s at 6:30 pm and Saturday at 9am we offer classes for only $5. So head over to myanthemhealth.com and sign up for a class now! I promise it is worth it and you will definitely see me there!
P.s. Take a minute or two away from whatever you are doing right now, close your eyes, and simply think of all the blessing you have in your life. Whether it was the house and family you came from this morning, the job you are currently at, or simply the ability to read this post on your $300 smart phone. There is so much to be thankful for so take the time to appreciate it. I know I do.
*AZ Chiropractic License Pending*
Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
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41930 N Venture Dr #110
Anthem, AZ 85086