15 Minute Workout for Work

One of the biggest challenges people have with incorporating physical activity into their daily life is not having enough time to fit it in! A trip to the gym can get overwhelming when you are working, in school, a parent, trying to cook, clean, have a social life, etc. That being said almost all of us can find 15 minutes in our day.

This 15 minute workout is “work” approved. You can do most of the exercises at your desk! No excuses now folks! Let’s get moving!

Incorporate movement in your everyday life! Even if it is just a jumping picture

Incorporate movement in your everyday life! Even if it is just a jumping picture

15 Minute Work Workout

Strength (5 minutes)

Heel Raises (30 seconds)

Toe Raises (30 seconds)

Seated Leg Lifts (2 x 30 seconds)

  • Use a paper ream as a weight if needed

Tricep Dips (2 x 30 seconds)

Lunges (2 x 30 seconds alternating legs)

  • Use running arm form

Wall Sit (2 x 30 seconds)

  • Make a chair with your lap

Cardio (5 minutes)

Walk up and down the stairs (or lightly jog/run up & walk down) for 5 minutes! Listen to music while you work or think through your next meeting. Try to walk up the stairs with a purpose using big arms and high knees. Walk down as recovery.

Flexibility (5 minutes)

Standing Straddle Stretch (20 seconds to the right, left, and middle)

Quadriceps Stretch (30 seconds per leg)

Arm Overhead Stretch (30 seconds per arm)

Arm Across Stretch (30 seconds per arm)

Achilles Stretch (30 seconds per leg)

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. Please consult with your primary health provider before starting a new exercise regimen. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.
Workouts don't have to suck! Have fun... channel your inner kindergardener self and make movement fun again. Me at my kindergarden talent show with my best friend from back in the day (I'm on the left).

Even though we aren’t kids anymore and have to work now… workouts don’t have to suck! Have fun… channel your inner kid self and make movement fun again.
Me at my kindergarden talent show with my best friend from back in the day (I’m on the left).

Moderation is Key

Today I wanted to just give a brief personal update about me! I embarked on a 21 day sugar cleanse, something that I tend to do 2-3 times a year with mainly positive results.

This past Friday, I had a minor medical emergency where I was seen in the hospital. Nothing ended up terribly wrong, but the doctor’s I spoke with and I agree, that I was anemic, dehydrated, and just overall weak. This is a good reminder to myself and other’s that we must do everything in moderation!

A sugar cleanse can be a really healthy thing to do for your body! It allows you to detox from excess sugar and can help you kick start your metabolism among other things. At the same time, putting your body through a new diet or detox should be done when you are in a mental state and environment that is supportive and as stress free as possible (just starting a new term of medical school, while working, and moving into a new apartment is probably not the best time to cleanse). I thought I was invincible and I could cleanse regardless! Boy was I wrong!

unnamed-10

It has been 3 days since I stopped my cleanse early and while I have not gone back to eating Sour Patch Kids and cookies. My body is definitely thankful that I am eating a couple servings of fruit and some healthy carbs again. I also have regained some strength and I still do not have any bloating or digestive symptoms that I had pre-cleanse. That’s when it dawned on me! Maybe in the future, a 21 day sugar cleanse is too long for me. For my body, a 1-2 week sugar cleanse might be enough.

As Naturopathic physicians and healers and people, it is important to remember that we all are different and our bodies respond to treatments in different ways. What works for one person, might not work for you! Some one might feel great while on a Vegan diet, but someone else may be malnourished! Some people love lifting weights and running, but for others they might do better with swimming or water aerobics!

Being healthy and achieving personal optimal health is not about being extreme, it is about finding the best healthy path for your body and following it! I hope to be able to provide some options and ideas for people through my blog, but also I want to stress that what is healthy and good for some is not necessarily healthy and good for all! LISTEN to your body! Allow IT to guide to towards optimum health!

Motivational Monday Challenge!

Go outside today and reconnect with nature

Go outside today and reconnect with nature

Today take 5-10 minutes to listen to your body with a mindful meditation or grounding exercise. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, hands comfortably in your lap, and close your eyes. While your eyes are closed, start by focusing on your breath to get in tune with you. Once you are focused on your breath, move to your heart beat. After there, do a spot check head to toe. Check in with yourself and see if you have any aches and pains anywhere. If so, focus on healing those areas while taking some deep breaths. After going through a head to toe check, come back to the present and open your eyes!

If you do this and feel more relaxed or in tune with your body, share with a friend and encourage them to check in with themselves today!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Premenstrual Syndrome – Girls, It’s Time to Fight Back!

If you are a female and you have started your period, then you have most likely experienced Premenstrual Syndrome. 75% of menstruating women have experienced symptoms of PMS at least once in their lives. Historically doctor’s have treated PMS like a psychological disorder, but PMS is HIGHLY treatable and it is not all in your head!

This topic is near and dear with me this month, because I was recently seen by the doctor for severe PMS pain symptoms and I have a family history of female disorders. Also, just because we are women and have a period does not mean we have to suffer through pain, mood swings, and bloating every month!

I was not feeling super strong this week due to Mother Nature throwing a wrench in my plans... I am learning to fight back and you can too!

I was not feeling super strong this week due to Mother Nature throwing a wrench in my plans… I am learning to fight back and you can too!

This post will hopefully shed light on reasons why we get PMS, what symptoms are included so you can recognize if you have it, and a huge host of treatment options (some you can do on your own, some you can do with the supervision of a doctor).

Men this post applies to you, because most of you have a friend, partner, sister, mother, etc., that has experienced these symptoms before. Never underestimate the power of a woman undergoing PMS or the Superhero you will be to her if you help her improve her symptoms!

I get bloating, cramps, and super annoyed with my partner right before my period… is that PMS?

#PMSStruggle Coffee makes it better...? Not really, but it cheers me up

#PMSStruggle
Coffee makes it better…? Not really, but it cheers me up

Pretty much #truth sister! Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) refers to the cyclic constellation of lovely symptoms that appear during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (1-2 weeks before your period begins) and typically resolve during the menstrual flow.

Symptoms of PMS:

There are more than 150 symptoms linked to PMS, below are the most common…

Psychologic symptoms of PMS

Psychologic symptoms of PMS

Physiologic symptoms of PMS

Physiologic symptoms of PMS

So why the heck do we get PMS?

Unfortunately the cause is not completely understood. The main theory is that cyclic changes in the ovarian steroids (hormones) estrogen and progesterone cause changes in multiple body systems including the brain neurotransmitters, which then have emotional and physical manifestations.

English please! Your female hormones go out of balance due to the natural cycle of menstruation leading to changes in your brain chemicals causing fun physical and emotional symptoms.

Self Quiz! Take the quiz below. Check yourself at the end of the post to see if you were correct!

Some other contributing factors include…
  • Poor diet, Food allergies, Nutritional deficiencies
  • Stress, Environmental toxins
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder, Depression
  • Hypoglycemia, Thyroid problems, Poor liver function
  • Hormonal imbalances: estrogen/progesterone (typically extra estrogen & decreased progesterone or imbalanced ratio), elevated Prolactin (pituitary hormone), increased Aldosterone (adrenal gland dysfunction), or Serotonin deficiency

Okay, I think I have PMS or at least I have some symptoms of it every month, what can I do?!

Get Diagnosed!

Go to your PCP (primary care provider) and get diagnosed with PMS. This is the most effective way to start getting treatment and help managing your symptoms. If you want to incorporate more natural remedies of treatment, see a practitioner that focuses on woman’s health, prevention, or Naturopathic medicine.

Ask your doctor about getting some of the following tests to assess the cause of your PMS and help direct treatment:

  • Hormone Testing: Thyroid, DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, IGF-1, Estrogen, Progesterone, Prolactin (saliva, blood, or urine test)
  • Vitamin/Mineral Analysis: Especially Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 (blood test)
  • Food/Environmental Allergies (blood or electrodermal test)
  • Blood sugar balance (blood test)

Before getting diagnosed or while you are waiting, try some at home therapies!

Diet!

Women with PMS symptoms typically, according to studies, eat a diet that is: high in refined carbs, high in refined sugar, high in dairy products, high in sodium, and deficient in iron/manganese/zinc!

Dietary Recommendations:

Eat MORE of…

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Green leafy salad! A staple in my daily diet. This one is a modified cobb with turkey, bacon, sunflower seeds, cheese, banana peppers, and pickles! Lemon juice was all I needed to dress it!

  • Whole high fiber foods – help balance blood sugar, ease digestive problems, and reduce liver stress
  • Veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, herbs, nuts, seeds!
    • 2+ servings of green leafy veggies per day – they are a healthy source of Calcium, which supports and calms the nervous system and has a diuretic effect (decreases bloating)
  • Essential Fatty Acids in cold water fish, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil – decreases inflammation
    • 1 tablespoon of ground Flaxseeds daily with 10 ounces of water – helps to support a healthy estrogen metabolism
  • If you eat animal products, make sure they are HORMONE and ANTIBIOTIC FREE!

Eat LESS of…

  • Saturated fat (found in red meat and dairy products) – diets low in saturated fat have been shown to reduce excess estrogen levels
  • Harmful fats like trans-fatty acids (margarine, partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Any known food allergies or sensitivities
  • Sugar, especially refined sugar – throws blood sugar levels off balance leading to increased mood swings, tension, and PMS symptoms. It also depletes stores of Chromium, Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, and B Vitamins, which all help to metabolize sugar! YIKES!
  • Sodium/Salt – leads to increased bloating
  • Caffeine containing products like coffee, soda, chocolate, and even some pain relievers – can increase anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness
  • Alcohol intake – it is dehydrating to your body, AVOID completely 2 weeks before menstruation

At Home Treatments:

Stress Reduction:
  • Do Yoga! It relieves cramps, improves digestion, and releases stress!
  • Exercise! Woman who exercise regularly, just 30 minutes of walking per day, have fever PMS symptoms than those who do not!
  • Try Reflexology or Acupressure or Massage or Hydrotherapy
    • See a qualified practitioner or try one of the self massage or hydrotherapy treatments at home!
Hydrotherapy:
Hot Compress

Place a hot compress to the lower abdomen, below the belly button for relief from cramps. 

Constitutional hydrotherapy home treatment

Consti-what-now? Constitutional Hydrotherapy is a gentle at home treatment using hot and cold to optimize circulation, detoxify and purify the blood, enhance digestive function/elimination, balance the nervous system, and stimulates/enhances the immune system.

How? Alteration of hot and cold compresses increases the immune system’s white blood cells to help fight off infection. It also increases circulation to the digestive organs and other organs of elimination. 

Treatment Instructions (2 person):

  1. Lie on your back, have your partner cover your bare chest and stomach with, either 2 large hand towels folded in half or 1 small bath towel folded for 4 layers, wrung out in hot water tolerable to the touch. Cover the body with a wool blanket to avoid becoming chilled. Leave the towels in place 5 minutes. See illustration 1 below.
  2. Replace the hot towels with, either 1 large hand towel folded in half or 2 hand towels unfolded, wrung out in cold water. Cover the body as before with a blanket to avoid becoming chilled. Leave the cold towel in place 10 minutes. Do not remove the towel until it has become warmed, or 12 minutes, whichever is first.
  3. Repeat the same treatment on the back. See illustration 2.

The treatment should take about 30 minutes.

Constitutional Hydrotherapy at home towel placement

Constitutional Hydrotherapy at home towel placement

Treatment Instructions (1 person):

Take a hot bath or shower for 5-10 minutes (do not wet the head). Get out and dry quickly. Take a towel wrung out in cold water and wrap it all around the trunk of the body, from the armpits to the groin. Cover with a wool blanket to avoid chill. Leave the cold towel in place at least 20 minutes, or longer, until it is warmed. See illustration 3 above.

Self/Partner Massage:

Lie down with knees bent and put pressure on the surface of abdomen until you find the spots that are tender. Massage these points with the flat of your hand using firm but gentle pressure. Use an essential oil listed below for added effect. Ask your partner to do this for you, I am sure they will be happy to help you feel better physically and emotionally. 🙂 

Aromatherapy:

Try some of the following options either via an infuse, used in massage, or take a bath or foot-bath with some essential oils.

Black pepper and Rosemary

Soothing, warming effect on cramped abdominal muscles.

Geranium and Rose oils

Balances female hormones as well as uplifting emotional effect.

Stress Relievers:

Geranium, Rose Oils, Lavender, Bergamot, or Jasmine all have calming effects on the nervous system. Use any of them alone or in combination to relax!

Supplementation and Botanical Medicines:

Sometimes diet, stress reduction, and physical medicine treatments are enough to calm down even the worse PMS symptoms. Other times we have to look towards nutritional supplementation and botanical medicines and even sometimes pharmaceuticals for relief. Below are some commonly used supplements and botanical medicines used by Naturopathic Doctors. There are no dosages below, because these treatments should only be used under the supervision of a Naturopathic Physician or other licensed health care provider! These are some ideas to discuss with them though!

Nutritional Supplements:
High potency multivitamin formula

This you could purchase on your own and add to your daily routine. It will help make sure you do not have any undetected or undiagnosed nutritional deficiencies and will support your diet (whatever it might be).

Vitamin B6

Works synergistically with Magnesium as cofactor for estrogen metabolism by the liver. A double-blind study, showed 84% of women with greater symptom improvement than placebo.

Magnesium 

Ideally citrate, malate, aspartate, or glycinate. Cofactor required for metabolism of estrogen. Also, relieves cramping.

Zinc

Shown to be deficient in women with PMS.

Vitamin E

Decreases breast tenderness and other associated PMS symptoms. Try to get natural Vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol) with a blend of Tocopherols and Tocotrienols, this is the best form to absorb it the most!

Calcium

A double-blind study compared Calcium with placebo for 3 menstrual cycles. They saw improvement in 4 PMS symptoms with the Calcium group over placebo: negative mood, water retention, food cravings, and pain.

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Or get your Calcium with some gluten mac n cheese, otherwise known as spaghetti squash mac n cheese! Equally as yummy, much healthier!

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Spaghetti squash is easy to make and you get a lot of food for your $$! Preheat the oven to 400, cut the squash in half, scoop out the visible seeds, drizzle olive oil on top, add whatever spices and herbs and bake until you can stick a fork all the way through easily! Then scoop out your noodle goodness and use in any way you like!

Botanical Supplements:
Vitex (chasteberry)

This is the most well-studied herbal treatment for PMS. Improvements have been noted within 2 cycles. It has a balancing effect on Progesterone levels and Prolacin levels. A 2 month study compared Vitex to Prozac and saw that both were beneficial overall for decreased PMS symptoms, but Vitex was more helpful for physical complaints. DO NOT USE if you are on Oral Contraceptives!

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)

Reduces painful cramps and breast tenderness associated with menses by relaxing smooth muscles of uterus.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Relaxes nervous system, improves symptoms of restlessness, irritability, and insomnia

Dandelion leaf (taracacum officinale) or Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)

Decreases water retention associated with PMS and acts as a liver tonic.

Homeopathy:

Homeopathy has been shown to work with some women for their PMS symptoms. For acute situations, take an acute remedy dose such as a 30C potency 3 x day for 2 weeks before menses to prevent symptoms. Consult with a homeopathic practitioner or a Naturopathic doctor who also practices homeopathy for the best-matched remedy.

There are homeopathic first aid kits that you can purchase for at home use, if you are interested in homeopathy!

There are homeopathic first aid kits that you can purchase for at home use, if you are interested in homeopathy!

Below are some remedies to consider! Since homeopathic remedies are aimed at treating the WHOLE person, look at the remedies below and the symptomatic descriptions that accompany them. If there are one or two that seem to apply to your situation, then that remedy may be your match. You can purchase most acute homoepathic remedies at your local health food store, but ideally you would allow a Naturopathic doctor or Homeopath assist you in your remedy selection.

Homeopathy not your thing… skip this section! Not all treatment modalities are for everyone! 🙂

Bovista
  • PMS Symptoms (SSx): puffiness in extremities & swelling, diarrhea with or before menses
  • Psychologic SSx: may feel awkward, clumsy, tendency to drop things
Calcarea Carbonica
  • PMS SSx: fatigue, water retention, & breast tenderness. Period comes early and lasts a long time.
  • Psychologic SSx: anxiety & feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Other SSx: usual chilly, clammy feet and hands
  • Cravings: eggs, dairy products, and sweets
Chamomilla
  • PMS SSx: unbearable, painful menses that is better with motion and worse with warm applications
  • Psychologic SSx: irritable, angry, sensitive to pain
Cimicifuga
  • PMS SSx: painful menses that’s worse as the flow increases, cramping & shooting pain that goes across the legs/thighs, headache stiffness in the neck & back
Lachesis
  • Psychologic SSx: jealousy, irritability, suspiciousness, rage that improve once menstrual flow starts
  • Other SSx: woman feels hot, intolerant of anything touching her throat
Lilium Tigrinum
  • PMS SSx: sensation that women’s internal organs will prolapse through her pelvis (ouch!), feels like she needs to cross her legs for relief
  • Psychologic SSx: great irritability
  • Other SSx: better with fresh air
Lycopodoium
  • PMS SSx: Digestive upset (gas, bloating) especially in the late afternoon.
  • Psychologic SSx: Feels irritable and wants to boss others around, although lacking in self-confidence.
  • Other SSx: Craves sweets and has a large appetite.
Naturum Muriaticum
  • PMS SSx: Migraine headaches or low back pain with menses
  • Psychologic SSx: Feels depressed and lonely. She’s worse when given consolation or sympathy.
  • Other SSx: Strong craving for salt and aversion to the sun.
Nux Vomica
  • PMS SSx: constipation worse with period.
  • Psychologic SSx: Emotional symptoms of PMS including impatience, anger, and irritability.
  • Other SSx: Craving for alcohol, coffee, spicy, or fatty foods. Feels chilly and improves from warmth and rest.
Pulsatilla
  • Psychologic SSx: Great hormone balancer for women with PMS who experience mood swings, weepiness, and irritability
  • Other SSx: Symptoms improve with consolation and attention. Desire to be in fresh air and feel worse in warm rooms. Strong craving for chocolate and sweets.
Sepia 
  • PMS SSx: fatigue, bearing-down sensation in the uterus (as if it will fall out), painful breast tenderness occurring with or before menses
  • Psychologic SSx: irritability
  • Other SSx: strong craving for chocolate & sweets, exercise makes symptoms better

Let’s Sum it up Folks…

If you have symptoms of PMS here is your quick easy summary…

  1. Try a localized therapy like a hot pack or gentle massage to help ease any cramping pain.
  2. Change your diet to include more fiber, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats and meats. Get rid of refined sugar, refined carbs, bad fats, and alcohol. Limit your intake of dairy and caffeine the week before your menses.
  3. Exercise regularly and practice stress reduction techniques like yoga to prevent symptoms from starting.
  4. Take a multivitamin to make sure you are not deficient in any vital nutrients.
  5. Consult a Naturopathic doctor or other preventive care practitioner for vitamin/mineral/botanical supplementation ideas!
  6. If your symptoms are unbearable, try OTC pain relievers or pharmaceutical options, but try some of the other levels of care first if you can!

Women should not have to suffer every month, so make sure you are taking control of your health and don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the PMS woes!

Beat those PMS woes! #girlpower

Beat those PMS woes! #girlpower Side note… baby biceps are coming back

POLL ANSWER!

If you said True…

No silly… PMS is due to the natural cyclic hormone changes that occur every month in menstruating women. It is these natural changes that cause the brain chemistry of some women to act out in the wrong way. It does not necessary mean that women have an imbalance of hormones.

If you said False…

That is correct! Nice job smarty! The problem is not out of whack female hormones, but rather those hormones acting on brain chemistry in a not so good way.

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

There were a lot of references and articles that went into creating this blog post. If you are interested in seeing or reading those studies, please message me and let me know and I will make a list available! I didn’t want to link every word! 🙂

Tea Time – Calendula Tea

Try adding tea to your daily routine. Below is the tea of the month to try. Insert the tea in place of your morning cup of coffee or have it instead of a snack between lunch and dinner.

“Better to be deprived of food for three days than of tea for one.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb

A Pot of Gold Tea

(Calendula, Marigold)

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How to?

FRESH

Take 1 teaspoon of Marigold flower petals and add to boiling water for 7-10 minutes (shorter for light tea, longer for strong tea). Strain out petals and enjoy.

DRIED

Take 1 teaspoon of dried Marigold flower petals and add to your cup of boiling hot water for 3-5 minutes. Strain out petals and enjoy OR use an infuser and drink away.

Benefits?

  • Heart health (prevention)
  • Reduces digestive distress & improves inflammatory bowel conditions
  • Decreases swollen lymph glands and encourages lymphatic circulation
  • General detoxification – great before flu season
  • Decreases menopause and menstruation symptoms, can help to regulate menstruation
  • Antibacterial and fungal properties to help fight of pelvic and bowel infections

WORD MASH

All of these are qualities of A Pot of Gold tea…

Antiseptic, Astringent, Antiviral, Antispasmodic, Estrogenic, Anti-Inflammatory, Bitter Tonic, Diaphoretic, Detoxifier, Diuretic

Sugar Cleanse - Day #17 By now I have adjusted to life with no sugar and the weird arm rash went away! I am excited to continue my sugarless journey! But I will probably have some on my birthday in a week. :-) Everything in moderation...

Sugar Cleanse – Day #17
By now I have adjusted to life with no sugar and the weird arm rash went away! I am excited to continue my sugarless journey! But I will probably have some on my birthday in a week. 🙂 Everything in moderation…

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Let’s Talk Track – Plyo of the Month

Besides being a full-time medical student… in my free time I enjoy coaching a HS track and field team. I love the kids, but one of the benefits for me is that I continue to incorporate new exercises into my workouts!

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Congratulating my state champion triple jumper this year at the state meet! She was subject to many of my plyometric workouts!

Plyometrics (plyos) are exercises that coaches use to increase an athlete’s strength, speed, and power. Some people associate plyos with “jumping drills”, because a lot of them incorporate some type of jumping movement. Once a month I will do a spotlight on a specific exercise so that you can incorporate plyos into your regular workout routine. Besides improving an athlete’s performance in sports, plyos are a great way to increase cardiovascular fitness and strength in a shorter period of time.

With any exercise regimen, it is important that you attempt new exercises at your own risk. Do not try an exercise that is beyond your own personal ability. I will include exercises that are more basic and more advanced for some variety. If you have questions regarding if you should incorporate plyometric training into your physical activity routine, ask your doctor or other qualified health professional.

Two-Foot Ankle Hop

3-4 sets of 10-25 reps or 2 sets of 30 seconds

Great video of this plyo exercise! Check out Joel Schneider’s YouTube channel for more exercise ideas!

Challenge Level
Equipment
Sports
Beginner None Baseball, Tennis, Volleyball

Description

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  • Use only the ankles for momentum, hop continuously in 1 place
  • Extend ankles to a full point during your hop
Muscles you use…
When you plantarflex or “point” your toe you are working the muscles in the posterior compartment of the leg, otherwise known as your calf muscles!
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Did you know that your calf muscle that you can feel is not just 1 large muscle? It is actually 2 muscles together, Gastrocnemius & Soleus. There is also the Plantaris, Flexor Hallucis Longus, Flexor Digitorum Longus, and Tibialis Posterior.

Work those calves so you can rock the skinny jean ankle boot combo with confidence!

Work those calves so you can rock the skinny jean ankle boot combo with confidence!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Let’s Talk About Stress

Everyone has stress, but most of us do not have a good handle on how to reduce that stress and manage it. “Why do I care about managing stress?”, you might say. “It is something everyone just deals with right…” The answer to that is yes and no.

Experts have been studying the effects of stress on health for a while now. There are now links to chronic unmanaged stress with many health conditions. We will take a look at one of those health conditions today and discuss a stress management tactic to combat it!

Heart Disease – Stressed out people have an increased chance of having high blood pressure, which can lead to heart problems!

Picture1

Possible mechanism for stress leading to heart disease!

  • WHY? Science isn’t quite sure. What is known is that stress can increase heart rate, blood flow, & causes the release of cholesterol & triglycerides into the blood.
  • Some studies have shown a link between increased stress hormones and atherosclerosis (hardening/narrowing of the arteries), which can put you at risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Stress also increases your chances of smoking (as a possible coping mechanism) or obesity (food as a coping mechanism), which both are related to increased heart risks as well as other risky behaviors.
  • Sudden emotional stress is also linked as a trigger for serious problems like heart attacks!
  • What if I already have one of those conditions? Is there anything I can do? In fact, a study looked at patients who had coronary artery disease and placed them on a stress reduction plan (that included diet and exercise management), and found a reduction in their disease compared to the control group after only 1 year without the use of new medications!

Stress Reduction Tricks!

The American Heart Association (AMA) has the following list of stress reduction techniques:
  1. Talk with family & friends

Being social is great medicine

Future naturopathic doctors being silly, having fun, practicing self care, and decreasing stress!

Future naturopathic doctors being silly, having fun, practicing self care, and decreasing stress!

2. Engage in daily physical activity

Check out my workout page for a growing list of ideas!

3. Embrace the things you are able to change

Things in life are always changing, embrace new things and don’t let yourself focus on past mistakes

4. Laugh!

5. Give up bad habits

Stop smoking! Limit your alcohol intake! Decrease your caffeine intake! If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for heart disease, these are not helping you cope they are hurting you in the long run.

I love my coffee... but only in moderation! Health and happiness comes first!

I love my coffee… but only in moderation! Health and happiness comes first!

6. Slow down

Practice 4 count breathing! Breath in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, breath out for 4 counts, and hold for 4 counts. Do this 4 times and you will notice a decrease in heart rate and you will feel more relaxed!

Visualize you are here... or somewhere else that relaxes you

Visualize you are here… or somewhere else that relaxes you

7. Sleep – 6-8 hours a night

8. Organize your life

9. Practice giving back

Volunteer, help a friend, do something for someone else! This is my challenge for you this week! 

Take the time to tell a stranger what a great job they did! It can be a receptionist, bus driver, crossing guard, restaurant server, anyone you like! We all need a boost!

10. Don’t worry, be happy!

Be like the birds, they don’t worry about what to wear or where they are going to get their food next. They just exist and live!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Menu Decoder – Panda Express

Most of us strive to eat healthy, cook fresh foods, and eat out as little as possible! That being said, we all have those days where there is no time and grabbing something quick from a restaurant is the only option or maybe you want to go out to eat with friends and they pick a restaurant that does not have healthy food options! What do you do? What can you eat? This month I am decoding the menu to a popular quick “fast-food” Chinese restaurant, Panda Express.

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Below you will find food guides to eating Gluten Free, Sugar Cleanse, Dairy Free, Low Glycemic Index, Low Sodium, & Caloric based! I did the work and math so you don’t have to!

Disclaimer, most food at fast-food chains like Panda Express is not really healthy or ideal, but this is a guide to purchase the best options if you are going to eat there and be smart with what you put into your body.

Gluten Free Options:

They are limited at best, but here is what you can eat if you are gluten free. Please note that there will be cross contamination, so if you have a severe gluten allergy, eat here with caution or do not eat here at all.

Brown or White Steamed Rice!

  • Eat with 1 of 4 gluten free sauce options: sweet & sour sauce, chili sauce, hot mustard sauce, or plum sauce

That’s it! Can you believe that their veggies have wheat cross contamination! Sad day…

Sugar Cleanse Options:

Unfortunately there are not many options here or at most restaurants for sugar cleanse or sugar-free folks! Below is your only meal option if you are cleansing.

Brown or White Steamed Rice! Only 1/2 cup per day of rice though if you are cleansing!

  • With chili sauce or hot mustard sauce!

Dairy Free Options:

There are more dairy free options here, but note there still can be cross contamination.

Sides:

Entrees:

Chicken…

  • Black Pepper, Kung Pao, Grilled Teriyaki, Grilled Asian, Teriyaki, Asian, Mushroom, String Bean (chicken breast), Sweet Fire (chicken breast), Sweet & Sour (chicken breast)

Beef…

  • Broccoli Beef, Shanghai Angus Steak
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Broccoli Beef

Appetizers:

Sauces:

  • Teriyaki, Sweet & Sour, Chili, Soy, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, Plum Sauce

Low Glycemic Food Options:

Let’s say you are not cleansing, but trying to eat only foods that are low on the glycemic food index scale. There are two easy ways of calculating a food’s glycemic index.

  • Sugar to fiber ratio… ideally 1:1
  • Carbohydrate to fiber ratio… ideally less than 10:1

Sides:

  • Brown/White Steamed Rice & Mixed Veggies

Entrees:

Chicken or Vegetarian…

  • Mixed Veggies, Kung Pao, Grilled Teriyaki, Grilled Asian, Teriyaki, Asian, String Bean (chicken breast)
String bean chicken breast

String bean chicken breast

Beef…

  • Broccoli Beef

Appetizers:

  • Crispy Shrimp, Chicken Egg Roll, Cream Cheese Ragoon

Sauces:

  • Chili, Soy, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, Plum Sauce

Low Sodium Intake Options:

Americans on average consume over 3300 mg of sodium per day. Ideally, you should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day! If you are 51+ y/o or have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease, you should strive to consume less than 1500 mg of sodium.

This can be hard to do if you don’t know how much sodium certain foods contain. Unlike calories, this information is not listed anywhere easily accessible. I have created panda ‘meal’s below that contain less than 500 mg of sodium, which is the MOST you should consume per meal.

Panda Bowl:

Start with the side of Brown/White Steamed Rice (0-15 mg).

Then choose one of the following entrees: Mixed Veggies entrée (280 mg), Sweet Fire Chicken Breast (320 mg), Sweet & Sour Chicken Breast (260 mg), OR Honey Walnut Shrimp (440 mg).

Hungry for an appetizer? Check the Sodium levels first and decide if it is worth it!
  • Crispy Shrimp (400 mg)
  • Chicken Egg Roll (340 mg)
  • Chicken Potsticker (250 mg)
  • Cream Cheese Ragoon (180 mg)
Thinking about adding an additional sauce? This is where those sneaking Sodium mg hide! Look at the levels below in the sauces that contain less than 500 mg per serving.
  • Teriyaki Sauce (380 mg)
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce (115 mg)
  • Chili Sauce (125 mg)
  • Soy Sauce (375 mg)
  • Potsticker Sauce (290 mg)
  • Hot Mustard Sauce (115 mg)
  • Plum Sauce (55 mg)

Calorie Counter? This is for you…

I am not a big fan of counting calories! I think there are more important nutrition factors to consider (like the things I listed above). Also, if you learn mindful eating and how to enjoy your food, calorie counting is almost not important. That being said, if you are trying to keep track below are meal options that are less than 500 calories (the most you should eat for one meal, when you are on a 2000 calorie diet).

**These meals also have less than 500 mg of sodium & are on the low glycemic index scale!
Panda Bowls:
The gluten-free and sugar-free menu ideas listed above have less than 500 calories to them, so they are included in this list as well.

Brown Steamed Rice**

  • w/Mixed Veggie entrée
    • Add Chili, Potsticker, Hot Mustard, or Soy Sauce

White Steamed Rice**

  • w/Mixed Veggie entrée
    • Add chili, potsticker, hot mustard, or soy sauce
  • w/Hot & Sour Soup (cup size)

Mixed Veggies

  • w/Black Pepper Chicken
    • Add crispy shrimp OR hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Kung Pao Chicken
    • Add crispy shrimp OR hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Grilled Asian Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup size)
  • w/Teriyaki Chicken
  • w/Asian Chicken
  • w/Mushroom Chicken
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Orange Chicken
  • w/String Bean Chick Breast
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Sweet & Sour Chicken
    • Add cup of hot & sour soup
  • w/Sweet Fire Chicken Breast
  • w/Broccoli Beef
    • Add hot & sour soup (cup/bowl size) OR any appetizer
  • w/Shanghai Angus Steak
  • Crispy Shrimp
    • Add cup of hot & sour soup OR Chicken Potsticker
  • Honey Walnut Shrimp
2 entrée plates:

Mixed Veggies

  • w/Mushroom Chicken & Broccoli Beef
  • w/Mushroom Chicken & String Bean Chicken Breast
  • w/String Bean Chicken Breast & Broccoli Beef
  • w/Broccoli Beef & Crispy Shrimp

Summary:

If you are going to eat at Panda Express, use the above information as a guide. For a list of all the dietary info, Panda has a nutritional & allergen info sheet, which is fairly user-friendly compared to most restaurants! Here is my 5 step guide to eating “healthy” here!

  1. Stick with a panda bowl
  2. Choose Steamed Rice or Mixed Veggies as a side
  3. Pick your entrée from the “Wok Smart” list or my Low Glycemic Index list from above
  4. Add a cup of hot & sour soup if you need some more calories (soup is filling & will help you slow down and enjoy your meal)
  5. Avoid adding additional sauces or a drink outside of water (extra sodium, sugar, & empty calories)

Interested in making your own Chinese Food that is healthy! Check out this website for a list of paleo friendly (therefore also gluten free) Chinese food recipes!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

Sugar Cleanse Update!

Day #12 sugar cleanse! No more bloating, symptoms, or cravings!

Day #12 sugar cleanse! No more bloating, symptoms, or cravings!

Day #12! I am more than halfway through my 21 day sugar cleanse and I am symptom free! Yesterday I did a lot of meal prep for the week including a vegetable, ginger crock pot soup using my left over veggies from the week!

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Veggie Ginger Crock Pot Soup!

Veggie Ginger Crock Pot Soup!