Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cooking with oils Part 1: High Heat Cooking

There are many varieties of oils talked about and sold today in the market.  One of the most common oils sold is olive oil.  Olive oil is a great oil but it is not always your best cooking solution.  Other common oils I hear people talking about using are avocado oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, sesame seed oil and canola oil.  So the question of this blog is what are the better oils for cooking food on high to medium high heat?

The first thing to know is every oil has a smoke point.  An oils smoke point is the point at which the oil will start smoking on your stove top.  Once oils reach this point the good nutrients begin to break down, a burnt flavor may be imparted on the food and a possible carcinogenic effect takes place in the oil. 

Some of my favorite oils for sautéing and searing foods on the stove top include avocado oil (smoke point of 520 degrees), coconut oil (smoke point of 350 degrees).

Benefits of cooking with avocado oil: first off it obviously has a very high smoke point making it almost impossible to burn.  Secondly it contains nutrients that are stable while cooking and help fight off inflammation.  Avocado oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids which help lower inflammatory messengers in the body.  Also, Avocado oil also contains high levels of oleic acid, carotenoids, lutein, vitamin E and phytosterols that combat inflammation.

Benefits of cooking with coconut oil: coconut oil contains saturated fats which are more stable under high heats.  The fats found in the oil are medium chain fatty acids which are easier for your body to break down than long chain fatty acids found in other vegetable oils.  These fats are easier used body to be broken down into energy and are also processed by the liver which means they are not readily stored in the body as fats.  Also expeller pressed coconut oil is not processed using chemicals, it also does not have a heavy coconut taste unless you get extra virgin coconut oil which tastes more like coconut. 

- Dr. Chris

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Feb 26th Meal Plan

I find myself wishing today that we celebrated the Academy Awards like the super bowl.  An excuse to eat crappy foods and drink beer would be awesome right now, however we will stick to the plan stay healthy and fuel our bodies.  This week I am experimenting with something I have never done, trying to make healthy gyro meat or something similar.  It will be made of ground turkey and I am sure it will taste nothing like gyro meat shaved off the spit at a Greek restaurant but hopefully it will satisfy the craving just a little bit.  Good luck with another week of healthy eating, hopefully these suggestions will help you all out.

Sunday - Teriyaki Cauliflower Rice Bowl

We added teriyaki tofu to this recipe but it is not necessary

Monday - Sweet Potato Hash

One of our favorite cold weather dishes savory sweet and satisfying

Tuesday -  Turkey Gyros with spiralized cucumber and tzatziki


Wednesday - Shrimp Fajitas

Thursday - Roasted Spiralized Carrots
Add chicken to this dish for added protein

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why I Workout.

I ran my first half marathon almost 2 years go. I’m not sure why I did it, other than a friend asked me if i wanted to. I said yes because I couldn’t think of a good enough reason to say no.

Little did I know when i said yes to that adventure, I was saying yes to a full-on lifestyle change. I’ve always considered myself an active person. I love the outdoors, hiking, going for walks, etc. but life didn’t always make an active life easy. Crazy full-time jobs. An energy-sucking pregnancy. Ambitious house renovations. I can admit that sometimes, even with the best intensions, the couch was more appealing at the end of a long day.

While life still doesn’t always make exercise a priority, I know its up to me to make sure it happens. Some of the reasons I workout are silly, some are more serious, but at the end of the day, I know there are a million good reasons I should be moving my body and I still can’t really think of a good enough reason to say no. This is why I workout:

1. “fomo” 
So I might be having a little bit of a “fear of missing out” moment when it comes to working out. I have some pretty amazing friends who go on some pretty amazing adventures. I want to be able to go and i want to be able to keep up. I want to be able to climb that 14er with everyone or make it to the hut without holding the group back. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have friends who push me to be the healthiest person i can and experience things others can only imagine. 
I run most of my races with two of my best friends from college. the last race we did was through a canyon in moab. what do most people do on girls weekends? spas? wine tasting? not us. we run 13.1 miles through the desert. staying in touch with your college friends years later is a gift, but having those friends to make you better, to laugh with when it hurts, is a blessing. I workout to be able to do the same thing for them.

2. I am a work in progress
I used to be so mean to myself when it came to running. no time was good enough, every distance was too short. but then i realized something: there are enough people out there to be mean to you. It's up to you to be your own biggest cheerleader. If you celebrate every time you go for a run, no matter how far, or every time you make it to barre class, it’s WAY more enjoyable. I firmly believe in the idea that you are lapping everyone sitting on a couch somewhere, even if you just go around the block. Celebrate that! 
Working out is still hard. Runs are still absolutely exhausting. But if I look back to where I was two years ago when I said yes to that race, I have come so far. I am so much stronger. And I am, and always will be, a work in progress.

3. it's ok to be selfish
Sometimes I feel selfish when it comes to making time to workout. I’ve always subscribed to the idea that saying yes to something means saying no to something else and I hate the feeling of putting my time ahead of anyone else’s. I’m extremely lucky to be married to someone who supports my work out time and he makes it possible. But If being selfish means making my health a priority, then I think more people should be selfish. 
One of the biggest lessons I learned having a child is that you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of anyone else. It’s not a natural feeling, but if i want to keep up with Mason as he gets faster and faster and be able to hold him when he needs to snuggle, I have to work for that. If that means running and lifting weights to be there for my kiddo, i can’t think of a better reason. Also, every time he sees me lace up my running shoes he sees me choosing to be healthy. I can only hope he lives a healthy, active life, and I’m choosing to teach him by example. I always think of the phrase “little eyes are watching” and with this one, and I hope he is. 
I feel like the simple, “selfish”, act of choosing me, is me choosing everyone I care about.

4. my mental health depends on it
Mental health is something that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking about, yet most people have dealt with at some point or another. I’ve struggled with depression most of my life to varying degrees and now know that as much as working out is good for my body, it’s just as important to my mental health. Running is my time to clear my head, to get it all out and leave nothing behind. There’s something about the most exhausting part of your day being the most peaceful part. I get to know me again and I feel like clarity is restored. They say the person who starts the race is not the same person who finishes the race, and I find that true with every run, always for the better.

5. god gave me the ability.

If you’ve ever loved someone dealing with physical pain, who couldn’t run if their life depended on it, you know how hard it is to watch. God gave me a body that is able to push itself and do amazing things. I run because I can and I run for everyone who can’t. Health is a gift that i never want to take for granted. It’s a strange analogy, but I feel like every workout I do is an investment in my future. I want to always be active and enjoy life to the fullest and if that means saying yes to crazy races, then  I will every time.

- Kristen

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Feb 19th weekly meal planning

This weeks meal plan doesn't start for us until Monday, we are headed out for a belated Valentines dinner on Sunday.  As always we will tried to be sensible at dinner I had braised beef with vegetables and Kristen had an amazing sweet potato noodle lasagna.  Shout out to West 29th in Wheat Ridge it was a nice dinner but not overly stuffy and fairly priced.  Also big kudos for serving German beer in traditional ceramic steins.  Later in the week we will be having two dishes with cauliflower rice. 

Huge thank you to one of my patients that told me about buying this pre riced at Costco.  Costco has 2 pound bags of organic cauliflower rice for $1.98 per pound which is cheaper than regular cauliflower per pound price at King Soopers.  Nice!

Sunday- Nothing planned here, going out for a belated Valentines dinner.
Monday- Sweet Potato Broccoli Chicken Bake


Tuesday- Avocado Chicken Caprese Salad
Wednesday- Slow Cooker Chicken Tikki Masala
http://thewanderlustkitchen.com/healthy-slow-cooked-tikka-masala/Note: We removed the corn starch from this recipe which made the sauce a little runnier but still the same great flavor.  Also we served this dish over cauliflower rice instead of basmati rice.

Thursday- Cauliflower Fried Rice
http://damndelicious.net/2016/03/30/10-minute-healthy-cauliflower-rice/Note:  We add either tofu or chicken breast to this dish to make it more satisfying and full of lean protein.

-Dr. Chris

Friday, February 17, 2017

Incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet

There are many reasons to incorporate sweet potatoes into your weekly meal plan.  In some cases they can be used in place of empty carbs such as pasta, or in place of less nutrient dense russet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins B6, C and D. They also contain important minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium.  People in our office often ask about ways to increase dietary potassium to combat leg cramping and this is a great source.  Another added benefit of sweet potatoes is they contain natural sugars that release slowly into the bloodstream.  This will help fight sugar spikes that are linked to energy crashing and weight gain.

Sweet potatoes are also great because they can be prepared in many different ways and they are relatively inexpensive.  They are great baked, diced and roasted or sauteed or our favorite preparation spiralized. Using a spiralizer is a great way to incorporate sweet potatoes into dishes that might normally contain pasta.  Some of our favorites are found in our meal plans.  I have used both a hand held spiralizer and a counter top version and I must say I prefer the counter top version by far.  It is quicker, easier to use and has more cutting varieties.  The model we have can be found cheapest here on amazon spiralizer.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Feb 12th weekly meal plan

This weeks meal plan includes spiralized sweet potatoes & riced cauliflower. I am planning on creating some you-tube videos this week to show the process for both. Also we will be using some shredded cheddar cheese in some recipes this week. I always buy blocks of cheese & shred it by hand. In my opinion, this tastes better and the cheese lasts longer in the refrigerator.

- Chili day, winter is back in Denver so chili just seemed right.  This is our chili recipe but you can substitute your own for sure.  I try to make my chili chunkier and less saucy.

2 lb ground turkey ( I use 1 lb taco seasoned, 1 lb Italian seasoned)
1 green pepper diced
1 yellow onion diced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can chili beans
1 can kidney beans in chili sauce
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Shredded cheddar cheese
Diced jalapenos

Monday- Chicken fajita meat in sweet potato boat

-Sweet potato and spinach zoodle

Note: I add chicken that has been thinly slice and marinated in either an Italian or Asian marinade to make the dish seem more satisfying.

Wednesday- Open faced BBQ Chicken with broccoli salad

 BBQ Chicken
1lb chicken boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1lb chicken breast
1/2 jar Stubbs original barbecue sauce (this is the lowest sugar/ calorie bbq sauce i can find)

Simply toss chicken in sauce and cook in crock-pot on low for 8 hours.  Shred chicken and serve open faced on half a bakery roll.  Top with cheese and additional BBQ sauce if desired.

Broccoli salad 
5 Cups Raw Broccoli Florets, chopped
½ Cup Red Onion, chopped
½ Cup Shredded Cheese (optional)
1 Cup Turkey Bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Dried Cranberries
 ¾ Cup Mayonnaise
 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
 ¼ Teaspoon Pepper

Combine all salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Mix until thoroughly combined using a fork or wire whisk. Add dressing to salad and mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Thursday- Cashew Chicken with cauliflower rice

1 lb chicken breast in 1 inch cubes or thinly sliced
1 cup carrot chips
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup cashews
3 green onions
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 c water

Step 1 - Marinade chicken cubes in teriyaki marinade for atleast 30 min
Step 2 - Whisk together all of the sauce ingredients
Step 3 - Melt 1 Tbsp coconut oil in skillet, add chicken to hot oil.  Cook on medium/high heat until chicken is browned on outside and fully cooked inside.  Remove from pan, next add another Tbsp coconut oil and saute carrot chips and cashews.  Add the mushrooms and green onion during the last two minutes of sauteing.  Once all vegetables are cooked add the cooked chicken and the sauce, combine all ingredients together and set aside while heated cauliflower rice than pour on top.

Cauliflower rice

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A return to running

I have gone through three phases of running in my life.  First when I was in high school, those were the days.  Running came easy, I didn't have to work to go out and run 3 - 5 miles nor did I have pain when I was done.  Recovery happened naturally.  Second phase happened when I was in my twenties I had to train more in order to run longer distances but I still had no problems recovering.  This made running enjoyable still.  Cue my current phase in life.  My body no longer recovers like it used to, running causes knee and ankle pain when I try to do it like I used to.  My wife who has become quite the dedicated runner herself has been urging me to start off slower for years now.  Finally I have decided to start slow and build slow.  I am putting forth a dedicated plan aimed at building up my running to 30 straight minutes without straining my body.  My goal is not to run for longer than 30 minutes but to eventually increase the distance that I can run in those 30 minutes.

In my first week of running my objective is to do run walk intervals.  I will be starting with 1 minute of running followed by one minute of walking.  My goal is to increase the running interval segment by one minute each day of running, once I am at 3 minutes I will do that duration for two runs so it should look something like this.

Sunday - run 1 min, walk 1 min for 30 minutes
Tuesday- run 2 min, walk 1 min for 30 minutes
Thursday- run 3 min, walk 1 min for 30 minutes
Saturday- run 3 min, walk 1 min for 30 minutes

Update to come after week one.  If anybody wants to join in let me know, I no longer want to be a distance runner.  I just want to enjoy pain free running again.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

6 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Heart

As we move into February, you're going to start seeing a lot of things about heart health awareness - especially from Optimal Health. We know that heart disease is the #1 killer of men and women in the United States, but last week when I saw an article in Health Magazine called "6 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Heart" I took notice.

I am a runner. I try to eat healthy (for the most part!). I don't smoke and I'm relatively young still. I try to be pro-active about my health. But there are things pointed out in this article that made me take note and made me realize that I am not bullet proof. Like 38,000 US women under the age of 50 have heart attacks each year. As much as heart health has always seemed like a "someday I'll learn more about that" thing, it seems like now is a good time to know the warning signs and take charge.

1. Even Thin Women Can be at Risk

"Yes, being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for heart disease. But "there are plenty of women walking around who are thin and have high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol," notes Dr. Goldberg. Sometimes it boils down to genetics—if high cholesterol or hypertension runs in your family, you’ll be more susceptible, too. You can also have a normal body mass index (BMI) but still have high amounts of visceral fat—the body fat stored deep within your abdomen that nestles around your liver, pancreas and intestines."

2. Being Lonely and Depressed Isn't Great for Your Heart
"This just in: Middle-aged women with depression are at higher risk of heart disease, suggests a study presented in October at the North American Menopause Society’s annual meeting. Loneliness and social isolation are also linked to a 29 percent greater risk of a heart attack, according to a review of research published last April in the medical journal Heart. There are a few theories as to why. Both conditions increase levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can raise blood pressure and inflammation, points out Suzanne Steinbaum, DO, director of women’s heart health at Northwell Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. It may also be that people who are lonely and/or depressed are less likely to do things to look after themselves, like eat well, exercise, and take their medications, and more likely to smoke and drink excessive alcohol."

3. Your Health During Pregnancy is an Important Clue
"Did you have high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes during pregnancy? Even if symptoms disappeared post-delivery, you’re still at greater risk of heart disease. According to a study published last June in the journal Hypertension, pregnant women who experience even small increases in blood pressure during pregnancy may be at high risk of developing metabolic syndrome after giving birth."

4. Sleep Matters for Your Heart Health
"Sleep deprivation raises levels of cortisol and inflammatory cytokines, both of which promote the development of heart disease by increasing blood sugar levels and blood pressure, explains Dr. Goldberg. In fact, people who get five or fewer hours of sleep a night have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries—an early marker of heart disease—than those who clock seven hours of slumber a night, according to a 2015 Korean study. Too much sleep may be a problem, too. The study found that folks who snoozed nine or more hours a night had 72 percent more coronary calcium than those who slept seven hours.
It’s not just how much you sleep—it’s also how well you sleep. The same Korean study revealed that people who reported poor sleep quality had about 20 percent more calcium in their arteries than those who snoozed well."

5. Nearly Half of all Heart Attacks are Silent
"About 45 percent of heart attacks have such mild symptoms that they go unnoticed, according to a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center study published last May. Researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 9,500 middle-aged Americans—more than half of them women. They discovered that, over an average of nine years, while 386 patients had heart attacks with clinical symptoms, 317 had “silent” heart attacks, meaning the heart attacks were diagnosed after the fact, with tests like electrocardiograms, but weren’t acknowledged by the people themselves.
The take-home message? If you have risk factors (such as a family history of heart attack at a young age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes) and experience subtle, vague symptoms like shortness of breath, back pain, jaw pain, nausea or fatigue, get checked out."

6. The Fitter You are in Your 40's the Better
"Those in the best shape in the second half of their fifth decade were 37 percent less likely to suffer a stroke after age 65 than those in the worst, per a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center study published last June. "Exercise is one of the best things you can do to prevent and combat cardiovascular disease," says Dr. Kwon. "People with coronary artery disease who exercise actually develop tiny bypass channels to get around the blockages that narrow their arteries."
And it’s never too late to start. Johns Hopkins research found that inactive folks who increased their physical activity after age 45 to reach 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week reduced their risk of heart failure by 22 percent."

Here's the link to the original article on Health.com - enjoy and get educated!
- Kristen

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Weekly Meal Planning Feb 5th

People have been asking for insights into how we eat in a normal week.  Our goal in our clinic is to be as helpful for people as we can on their journey in leading a more healthy lifestyle.  Our routine is not perfect by any means, however we do try a variety of healthy dinners every week.  If our weekly meal plan can inspire patients to eat one nutritious meal per week or if you choose to follow the whole week I consider either a success.

Every Sunday morning I try to plan our meals Sunday - Thursday for that week.  Why do I do this?  Multiple reasons; first planning and preparation make it easier to stick to the plan, second planning Sunday morning allows me to make a concise grocery list before going to the store.  By have a list for the week it helps me stay out of the store during the week and cuts down on buying bad foods, which we don't need in our house.  Almost all of our weekly meals are easy to prepare on a week night, and do not require elaborate cooking skills.  In the next few weeks we will try to post on certain preparations that may not be familiar to some people such as spiralizing or ricing cauliflower.

Lastly, there are cooking utensils/appliances that are handy to have for the meals we typically make.  A spiralizer, which is used to make noodles out of vegetables, is a must in our kitchen.  Another must for us are our food processor and crock pot.

Lets get started. Well kind of.

Sunday (Super Bowl Sunday) -  Lets be real its the Super Bowl I planned no meal for this day, it is a free day and I will be enjoying it for sure.

Monday - Shrimp Skewers with roasted vegetables

Shrimp Skewers
1lb Raw White Shrimp peeled (makes about 4 skewers with 5 shrimp)

1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/2 cup italian dressing

Mix all three ingredients in container and let marinate during the day.  Skewer them up and put on the grill until pink and cooked through

- Teriyaki Tofu over brown rice with steamed brocoli

This one is simple, cut tofu into slabs about 8 per tofu brick.  Let drain on paper towel for about 30 minutes.  brush on teriyaki sauce and grill for 2-3 minutes per side on medium heat.
Cook instant brown rice.
Chop broccoli into florets and steam on the stove top.
Place the rice on bottom and top with broccoli and tofu.  Keep it healthier dont add any additional sauce.

Wednesday - Crockpot Chicken Dinner

Thursday - Cauliflower Mexican Rice

- Chris

Friday, February 3, 2017

One week update: Apple Cider Vinegar Challenge

If you follow us on Instagram, you might have seen us post about incorporating apple cider vinegar into our health routine every day. We had a patient in the office and we got to chatting, as we do, and she asked us if we had ever tried it. It was funny she brought it up at that time because I felt like everywhere I was reading, I was learning about different benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar. It seemed like fate, so we agreed to try it and compare notes two weeks later when she was in to get adjusted.

All of the research I had done before starting was a little inconclusive. It seems that there is actually little science to back many of the claimed benefits. The benefits people say they experience range from less bloat, curbed sugar cravings, weight loss, immune system boosting, improved digestive issues, and more. It sounds too good to be true, but with 1 bottle costing $5.50 at my local Vitamin Cottage, I figured we really didn't have that much to lose. If I experienced even one of those benefits it would be worth it! Also worth noting, I had thought you could just take a shot and call it good, but thankfully my reading also advised diluting it with water (I also added a touch of honey!) to avoid burning your throat. Whew! There are fancy concoctions you can create as well, but I figured if we were actually going to do this the more simple we kept it, the better.

So, today marks one week of drinking the apple cider vinegar. How are we feeling? Actually, pretty great. BUT, I can't say that it's because of only the ACV. This week we've also happened to do really well with our eating, sticking to our plan, and really only putting good fuel in our bodies. At the same time we've also been doing great at sticking to our workout plans. So is the ACV helping? Maybe! Chris had read that it takes 60 days to really notice a difference, so I'm sure that time will tell. As much as we would like, our eating will not stay perfect every day over the next couple of months.

I do think ACV is responsible for us starting everyday with the intention of doing something great for our health. And do I think when you start the day focused on that, you are more likely to make smart, healthy decisions throughout the day. We'll post again in a couple weeks to let you know how it's going, but so far, so good!

- Kristen

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Essential Oils & Mason's Latest Cold

If you've been in our office over the past few months you may have heard us talking more and more about essential oils. We've been using them at home and have been thrilled with how they have been benefitting our family. I thought I'd share our latest oil "win" in case any of you could use this right now.

Last weekend, Mason seemed to be fighting something - he had a small cough, a little runny nose and just a little more "blah" than usual. Usually, we'd wait and see if it developed into something more or went away on its own. But this time I decided to reference an essential oil book that we had recently picked up to see if there was something that could give him a little relief. I found a blend using Eucalyptus (one of my favorite oils!) and Pine that was supposed to eliminate chest congestion and help clear out the sinuses.

The recipe called for:
• 2 1/2 ounces carrier oil (we have grape seed oil)
• 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil (we use Young Living - found here)
• 10 drops pine essential oil (we use Young Living - found here)

So we mixed it together and put a little on his chest. He enjoys using essential oils so it wasn't a struggle to get him to agree. After a bit, we noticed his cough seemed to subside and he seemed to perk up. What I found most amazing, was later that day Mason actually asked me for a little more oil on his chest because he could tell how much better it made him feel! I thought that was amazing. We used it a few times a day for the next few days and now his cough is gone. No trips to the doctor. No missed school days. Can't ask for much more than that!

- Kristen