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THRIVE is a collaborative platform of conventional, integrative, & functional medicine practitioners coming together in one setting to provide personalized healthcare to clients.
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SPRING TIME QI GONG

PREPARING ARTICHOKES: LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE

MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION

Below is a list of Exercises and Practices to Start at Home

Cultivate Self-Awareness and Mindfulness

“Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad “ — Debbie Ford

Take a quiet moment and pay attention to your emotions. Are you feeling happy, angry, sad? Are your emotions reflected in or caused by the state of your body? Pay attention to your shoulders and neck; Can you relax them? As you relax, take a few deep breaths and consider what might be causing your stress, anxiety, tension or negative thoughts. Reflect on your recent interactions then bring your attention back to the present moment. Think about your toes and how they feel right now. Move your awareness slowly up you body including our knees, your abdomen, your forearms, you face and cheek. Take a deep breath and resume your day.

Practice Breathing Techniques

“For breath is life and if you breathe well you will live long on earth.”  — Sanskrit proverb

Breath is vital and causes a feedback loop for our physical state. Breathing can be voluntary or involuntary – which means that we can affect our physical state.  Conscious breathing and breathing in a particular way can lead to deep relaxation, decreased pain, and improved mental state.

Sit or lie comfortably. Put one hand on your abdomen, just under your rib-cage, and one on your upper chest. Feel yourself breathing. Take a deep breath, inhaling to a count of four, and feel your abdomen rise. Your upper hand should move very little while your abdomen will lift your lower hand. Imagine feeling warmth as your breath moves through your mouth down your throat, into your lungs, and toward your abdomen.

Hold the breath for a count of four. Exhale slowly through your nose for a count of four. Repeat this exercise being sure to keep your abdomen rising and your chest relatively still. Aim to practice this exercise for at least 5 minutes at first.

Reflect on how you feel after practicing conscious breathing.

“The breath is the only way to connect us to the Now. If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. “ — Amit Ray

Practicing Mindfulness Every Day

“Be where you are – otherwise you will miss your life. “   –Buddha

Start Your Day Mindfully – Set an Intention and check-in before you take off. Check-in throughout the day to take stock of your intention.

Start each day recognizing something you feel gratitude for. End the day doing the same thing.

Try to be mindful of performing simple tasks. Act like you are performing the task for the first time or the last time. Notice everything you can about the task.

Eat mindfully. Eat slower Honor the elements and those who played a role in your meal. Simply enjoy. Try something new. Start a meal from scratch. Only monotask during your meal – never multitask while you eat. Use all your senses to experience the meal.

Come to your senses. Connect with your senses when you are sitting quietly. Choose 3 senses and concentrate on these senses as you experience the moment.

Declutter your life and create breathing room. Try “letting go” of things you are holding on to from the past. Ask yourself why you are holding on to this object. Does this object bring you joy? If not, let go of it. We do not lose any part of who we are if we let go of mere objects.

The Power of Compassion. Practice compassion for yourself, then your family members, then your friends, the others, and finally your enemies.

MONDAY MOTIVATION: CONTROLLING YOUR BLADDER & THAT PEE PEE DANCE!

MONDAY MOTIVATION: ACUPUNCTURE FOR COVID-19: LOSS OF SMELL AND TASTE

The primary long haul or lingering effects from COVID 19 are loss of sense of smell and taste.

From the research, approximately 85% of COVID -19 patients will experience some subjective disturbance in their sense of smell. The median return of smell is about eight days. It is estimated that 25% of patients lose their sense of smell up to 60 days, and 15% experience loss of smell more than 60 days.

An interesting retro study showed that patients who maintained their sense of smell and taste had more severe symptoms of the disease and were more likely to go to the hospital and even be put on ventilators. The ones who lost their sense of smell and taste had milder cases.

A recent controlled clinical trial published in the well-known Journal of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery found that Acupuncture was effective for restoring olfaction in patients with Dysomia and Dysgeusia due to viral COVID-19. Notably, patients that recovered with the use of Acupuncture were non-responders to conventional pharmacological therapy.


The patients were treated over ten weeks with approximately three treatments a week. There was significant improvement vs. the control group.

The science is still not entirely exact as to what is causing the loss of smell. There is concern that the virus may be affecting the olfactory nerve, the first and oldest of the cranial nerves that come off the brain. This is why the formulaic approach, like adding scalp and auricular (ear) acupuncture, may also be beneficial. These are good ways to address areas of the brain with Acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been proven effective in preventing damage to cells and glands in the head and neck. This may affect the loss of sense of smell and taste. Still, studies also show this to be an effective way to treat damaged areas in the head and neck due to radiation treatment from cancer.

Chinese herbs and Acupuncture have also shown to have positive effects in treating pneumonia pulmonary inflammation.

As there are primary colors (red, blue, yellow), there are also primary senses of smell. Flower (rose), Fruity (lemon), Aromatic (lavender), and Resinous (eucalyptus) can use as a self-type of rehab. Use essential oils, inhale deeply for about 15-20 seconds.

Studies are using Vitamin A and Zinc for the relief of loss of sense of smell and taste.
Adding Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and mindfulness meditation can have wonderful effects on overall wellness and immune system support and enhancement. Remember, the best form of health care is self-care. So, do what we know is so crucial for your overall immune system? Get plenty of rest, drink water, take your vitamins (C, D, zinc, glutathione, A, at least), exercise, and follow what the science tells us.

Please, wear a mask, social distance, and get the vaccine if you are able.

TURMERIC AND TAHINI ROASTED CAULIFLOWER

(This powerful cruciferous vegetable will get your detox system going. Adding the medicinal power of turmeric and sesame add another punch. Nutritional yeast is a great flavoring and provides B vitamins.)

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 – 2 T tahini paste
2 t extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ t turmeric
1 t Himalayan salt
1 T nutritional yeast
2 T water
1 large cauliflower head, chopped into florets

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together tahini, olive oil turmeric, salt, yeast, and water.
  • Add cauliflower florets and use hands to coat with mixture.
  • Turn florets onto a baking dish. Roast for 30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
  • Can drizzle with hot sauce or sriracha if you want to add a level of heat.

THE ALLURE OF ADAPTOGENS

Chronic stress has been recognized as a major healthcare crisis of the 21st Century. Even before the  global coronavirus pandemic, the vast majority of us have been burning the candle at both ends.  Unfortunately, the current situation has added more stress to our already overextended lifestyles.  Unemployment rates at an all-time high, schools and businesses closed, vacations cancelled, families  taking on new roles and responsibilities, financial concerns escalating, and so on. This great pause has forced us to slow down and reflex on the stressful lifestyles we were just weeks prior juggling. Now is an  opportune time to work on new and improved ways to get a handle on stress.

Our bodies were not designed to be in a state of chronic stress. Long term chronic stress has been  implicated in the development of many health problems ranging from cardiovascular disease to  gastrointestinal issues to obesity and cancer. Cortisol is the primary player here and it subsequently drives inflammation and disease development. The stress response is handled by your hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This is an ancient, lifesaving system which was designed to protect us from  danger and help use mobilize energy to escape and respond to threats. It also plays a key role in our  memory, decision making and emotional response. The HPA axis for many of us is activated and in a  state of survival mode far too often. The key question is what can we do to modify this stress response without creating more stress in the process!

Fortunately, nature has provided us with many non-toxic plants that can help our bodies modulate various types of stress, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs, which are known as  adaptogens, have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic cultures for their healing properties.  They were studied more extensively during WWII on military crew members with a goal of finding a pill that could improve mental and physical performance. Herbal medicinal plants became a focus of how  to increase stamina and survival in harmful environments and lead to ongoing research into how these  plants could increase resistance against noxious factors.

Each of these specific herbs offers unique benefits. Their bioactive components interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to modify the body’s response to prolonged stress. In a  sense, adaptogens can help to dampen the stress response and improve the extent of perceived stress.  Clinical studies on adaptogenic herbs document a variety of effects including reduction in fatigue, regulation of blood glucose, improved cognition function and endurance as well as reduction in  depression and anxiety. Adaptogens also play a role in immune and hormone function which is  particularly important given the current global health epidemic.

Adaptogens are often selected based on where someone is along the stress response or adrenal stress  response phase. In stage 1 or repetitive stress, restorative adaptogens are used to support the body’s ability to retain homeostasis. Restorative adaptogens are also used in stage II, or repetitive long-term  stress, characterized by high cortisol and physiological dysfunction. In the final, stage III of the adrenal

stress response, more stimulating adaptogens are used to address severe stress and/or exhaustion.  Sometimes additional nutrients will be added as well to this phase to help restore function.

So how do you know which one to take? The adaptogenic herbs are generally divided into categories with respect to their key effects on the body. The vast majority like Ashwaghanda and Maca tend to be

very calming and are a good place to start for most people. Others like Rhodiola and Cordyceps can be  more stimulating and should be used with caution for people who are already feeling overwhelmed.  There is some cross-over amongst the adaptogens however so often it can be a process of trial and error  to find which one works best for you. Many of the adaptogens are also sold as blends to diversify the  impact and expand the response. Below are some of the most popular adaptogens:

1. Ashwagandha, Holy Basil and Reishi mushrooms: help calm the body and soothe the adrenals 2. Asian ginseng, Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), Rhodiola rosea, and Maca – stimulate the body,  enhance mental performance, focus and physical stamina

3. Astragalus: best known for immune boosting qualities

Adaptogens can be incorporated into your daily regimen in a variety of ways. The simplest way is to  take the herb in the form of a supplement. These are available as individual herbs but often sold in  blends to help address several facets at once. Another option is to include them in a tea or a powder  which you can add to smoothies, soups or salad dressings. As always, we recommend that you obtain  your herbs from a reputable company that is third party tested. The supplement industry is not as well  regulated as the pharmaceutical industry and concerns have been raised about some products being  tainted with heavy metals as well as not containing what they claim.

We recommend a variety of adaptogens at Thrive. We are happy to speak with you in more detail about  which one would be the best selection for you.

1. Ashwaghanda (Pure Encapsulations)

2. HPA Adapt (Integrative Therapeutics) –Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, Eleuthero, Holy Basil, and Maca 3. Stress Support Complex (Klaire Labs) –Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, L-theanine and Gaba 4. Cortisol Management (Klaire Labs) – Ashwagandha (as Sensoril) and Relora  (Magnolia+phillodendrom)

How long should you take adaptogens? Many people take adaptogens on a daily basis or for an  extended period of time. They tend to be most impactful when you take breaks in dosing however. The  frequency of these breaks is one of debate but there is no harm in continuous use for a period of three  months and up to a year. It is best to start with a low dosage and increase slowly. The effects are not necessarily immediate as adaptogenic response tends to be slow-acting. It can take a few weeks for a  noticeable difference to occur for many people.

Adaptogens are a great addition to your health care regimen, particularly in times of increased stress. It  is important to remember that they are just that however – an adaptogen. Relying on an adaptogen to  deal with chronic stress is not a substitute for getting at the root cause of stress in the first place. They  are not meant to replace a healthy diet, quality sleep, regular exercise and attention to self-care.

HOLIDAY WEIGHT TIPS BY DR. NANCY PALERMO

The holiday season can be difficult for anyone trying to make healthy choices.

With the added time constraints many of us struggle with getting in exercise, maintaining healthy sleep habits, or limiting the intake of processed and sugary foods that abound at this time of the year. The added burdens of 2020 – COVID, political and social stressors-have cracked our resolve and discipline even more. Many will be entering the holiday season with some extra padding. The pandemic lockdown has introduced bad habits into our everyday life. Many of us are entering the 2020 holiday season with an extra 10-20 pounds. Americans gain an average of 5 -10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas and rarely lose this weight. The weight adds to the slow gain many experience in adulthood. We cannot control whether it will be a white Christmas, if there will be traffic at the mall, or what food our families serve over the holidays. We can control how we take care of ourselves 90% of the time with a few mindful interventions every day. In fact, these daily practices, when implemented on a daily basis,  will have you entering 2021 with some positive momentum!

 

  1. START THE DAY IN A MINDFUL WAY: This is always a good idea but may be more impactful during the holiday season. Go on a walk or run or start your day with an exercise or yoga video (www.fitnessblender.com is free!), Try adding a morning meditation to your routine. Five minutes can make a big difference in your day. (Check out the Calm app www.calm.com) Start your day off with healthy choices that get your blood moving and clear your mind. Not only will these things help you feel your best, but you will also be able to deal with stress more calmly and the tempting selection of food more mindfully. Do not put pressure on yourself to put in an hour then decide you do not have time. Anything you do is better than nothing!
  2. DRINK WATER: This is essential for good digestion, energy, focus, and many other health benefits. Water is also involved in regulating your appetite, so be sure to drink throughout the day as well as before and during meals or parties. Make it a regular habit to start the day off with 8 oz of filtered water then make sure you start each meal with at least 4 oz of filtered water. Try a natural sweetener such as True Lemon packets to make the water a little tastier. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar may not only aid in digestion-studies have shown it also has the added benefit of blocking absorption of carbohydrates and can aid in weight maintenance. Make sure you have a reusable BPA-free container. You can easily refill and track your intake this way.
  3. CHECK IN WITH YOUR HUNGER:  Think about how you want to feel at the end of the meal before you sit down.  We prefer to feel satisfied and happy rather than overly full and lethargic. Ask yourself where your hunger levels are before you start eating and continue to check in throughout the meal. It may seem basic, but this simple exercise can make the difference between a food-coma and enjoying the rest of the evening.  You will feel better the next morning as well!
  4. CHOOSE WISELY: Start with non-starchy vegetables and load at least half of your plate, then add the protein and healthy fats for satiation and to reduce carb cravings. Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens are rich in fiber and nutrients that will fill you up without the regret. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and butternut squash can still be part of a well-balanced plate, just try to stick to ½ cup portions of these to aid in blood sugar balancing.
  5. EAT SLOWLY: It may seem easy but paying closer attention to the pace at which you chew your food can make a huge impact on the total amount of food you consume. This is also a great way to mindfully enjoy your food. You will be amazed at how easy it is to eat less and feel completely satisfied when you pay attention to the tastes and textures of each bite. Remember, it can take 20-30 minutes for the “that’s enough” signal to be triggered, so take your time and prevent the regret that occurs when rapidly consumed food hits and you feel stuffed. Put your fork down between all bites, talk to your company, enjoy the flavors, drink water between bites, chew at least 10+ times…. all these tricks will help.
  1. MOVE YOUR BODY: Maintain a fitness routine during the holiday season.  Many people exercise less during the winter, which makes excess calories more apt to stick to our waistline. Just because it is cold does not mean you cannot layer and go for a brisk walk. Even a 15-minute walk will have benefit and may keep you from mindless grazing.
  • MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY: The goal is 7-8 hours for most people. The holiday season brings a longer “to do” list as well as social events or alcohol that can interfere with our sleep. Studies have shown that we are more prone to hunger, less apt to be satiated, have stronger cravings particularly for carbohydrates and give in to them more when sleep deprived.  We are also less apt to head to the gym or make a healthy meal when we are tired. Sleep helps maintain a positive mood, leading to less emotional eating.
  • USE YOUR SKILLPOWER: Cravings can be powerful and unintentional mindless eating happens. When we snack and end up eating six pieces of candy rather than one it is not necessarily an issue of willpower. The neurotransmitters in our brains that say “this is good” can take control. We need to set ourselves up for success by preventing or avoiding difficult situations. Do not give up on meal planning. Keep it simple so you can maintain healthy eating between celebrations. After holiday events, throw away unhealthy leftovers (Is it really better to eat them?). Do not bring sweets into your home and remove any tempting foods from your home. Do not tell yourself you will have control. If you must run to the grocery to get ice cream, you will be less likely to do so but if it is in the freezer it will most likely be consumed. Order groceries online and use the drive-thru service to avoid temptations in the store displays. Keep your fridge full of healthy foods that you like. Have sweet options for when you need them – Triple Zero yogurt (you can freeze it mixed with lite whipped cream), decaf flavored tea, a square of 70%+ cacao chocolate. (Have you tried the Alter Eco truffles and chocolates? ( Sorry not sorry.)
  • BE THANKFUL: The real meaning of this time of year is easily shoved aside with all the advertisements, gift-shopping, Christmas card-writing, decorating, parties, and yes… the food. Though the word “holiday” is supposed to connotate relaxation and peace, for those who are battling their weight and trying to make healthy choices the holidays can bring a minefield of obstacles that create anxiety, guilt, and dread. The events of 2020 have many struggling with isolation, depression, and mental disease. Try to focus on the silver linings 2020 has provided. We can lower stress by focusing on the many things we have to be thankful for. Though it sounds cliché, it helps to remember how lucky we are to have our jobs, our homes, our health, the shoes on our feet, the availability of healthy food to nourish our bodies, and the friends, family and acquaintances that are in our lives. … the list goes on. Focus on the feelings of thankfulness, keep your mindset positive, this will help keep the focus where it should be and not on the cravings that may try to take over.

SOME PARTY TRICKS

While most of us will not be attending holiday events this year, we will more than likely be gathering in small groups with friends and families so these “party tricks” will help you to successful maneuver.

1.“Pregame” at home – eat some veggies, a Greek yogurt with 1-2 Tbs chia seeds or ground flaxseed, a small salad or a handful of nuts before you go – the hunger that leads to unplanned eating will be more controlled. Many of us tell ourselves not to eat throughout the day so we can feel less guilt at events. The reality is when we attend with an empty stomach we consume more and are more likely to include the less favorable options.

2. Drink a glass of seltzer or soda water with lemon/lime at first, put alcoholic drinks down while talking so they last longer, alternate nonalcoholic beverages with alcoholic and stick to an upper limit (i.e.- 1-2 drinks/night).

3. Do not loiter in the same room as the food, catch up with friends anywhere else.

3. Stand at least an arm’s length from the food table. When you are near the table you will mindlessly eat-especially when stuck in a conversation with Aunt Sadie.  Try to keep your back to the table-simple enough and yet amazingly effective.

4. Fill your plate with veggies, a few slices of meat or cheese, shrimp – avoid the flour/sugar/baked goods.

5. Watch the dips and sauces – they often have hidden sugars and fats.