Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & Micro-greens

posted in: blog post, Nutrition, Recipes | 0

Cauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & MicrogreensCauliflower Steaks with Tomato Sauce & Micro-greens

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 
large heads cauliflower (25 to 30 oz each)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil + additional for drizzling
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika, divided
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt + additional as needed
  • 11/2-2 cups unsalted tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup microgreens, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp unsalted pine  nuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. Trim stems of cauliflower heads so that cauliflower sits flat upright. Cut each cauliflower vertically into two ¾-inch-thick steaks, making 4 steaks total. (Reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.) Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together oil, 1 tsp paprika, pepper and salt; brush half of mixture over cauliflower. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn and brush with remaining oil mixture; roast until tender and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine tomato sauce, remaining 1 tsp smoked paprika and additional salt as needed; heat on low until warmed. Place 1 cauliflower steak on each plate and garnish with microgreens, pine nuts and sesame seeds. Drizzle each with additional oil.

PER SERVING (1 steak with sauce and garnishes): Calories: 220, Total Fat: 18 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g, Carbs: 15 g, Fiber: 5.5 g, Sugars: 7 g, Protein: 5 g, Sodium: 678 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg

Hypothyroidism: The Real Solution

posted in: blog post, General Health | 0

imagesAccording to the American Thyroid Association, “More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.”  This is a staggering number! The real question is why?  This is one of many diseases in the United States that seems to be growing at an astronomical rate.  What few people understand, even many of those who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, or high TSH levels, is that 90% of all hypothyroid cases in the United States are technically autoimmune conditions and not a primary condition of the thyroid.  This is a very important thing to understand.  I have had numerous people in my functional medicine programs that have been hypothyroid for many years and have never heard the term Hashimoto’s.  Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid.  Again, if you are in the United States and have hypothyroidism, then you have a 90% chance of actually having Hashimoto’s.  This is crucial to understand because the protocols used to help with this condition are completely different than if you had true primary thyroid disease.

With primary hypothyroidism the thyroid itself is dysfunctional and medical doctors must treat the thyroid itself, many times with medications.  This means that there is an underactive thyroid despite the body telling it to produce hormone.  However, the other 90% have an autoimmune condition.  In this case, the thyroid itself is fine, it is the immune system that is dysfunctional.  Wouldn’t it make sense to then address the immune system?  This is not what is typically done.  Either the patient doesn’t know if they Hashimoto’s, or they know they have it and still the sole means of treatment is addressing the thyroid.  Many times these patients have similar comments:

  1. My thyroid labs are normal, but I still feel terrible!
  2. Since being diagnosed my doctor keeps increasing the dosage of my medication.
  3. Sometimes I have hypothyroid symptoms and sometimes I have hyperthyroid symptoms.

All three of these comments are typical and occur when the immune system is not being addressed.  As is with everything in functional medicine, you MUST address the cause of the problem and not bandage the symptoms.  Hashimoto’s disease is similar to a building on fire.  When the building is on fire there are symptoms of smoke, ash, and flames.  The building doesn’t have an issue that needs to be addressed, the source of the fire needs to be stopped.  The fire is put out temporarily (medication) and the symptoms (fire, smoke, ash) cease.  However, nobody thinks to pay attention to the person that lit the fire and so he does it again and the building once again is on fire.  Should we just continue to put the fire out each time he lights it?  Or should we figure out who is lighting the fire and then stop him from lighting it?  I think most people would agree the latter is the best solution.  Same goes with the thyroid.  Let’s stop just putting a bandaid on the thyroid and figure out what keeps lighting the fire that is irritating the thyroid.

In autoimmune diseases it is crucial to figure out what is causing the immune system to be up-regulated.  We all want an immune system that works effectively, but when it becomes too aggressive it can cause many problems.  If we can keep the immune system from being irritated then we can keep this response low and the thyroid will not be attacked.  The trick is to figure out exactly what things are irritating your immune system.  Some common irritants and food, bugs, and other stressors.   If you are eating foods that are causing inflammation and increasing immune system activity, then you thyroid is a likely target that will be impacted.  Uncovering your specific triggers is important to do as soon as possible so that you can restore normal function and stop damaging your thyroid.  Many of these triggers are common, but each individual can vary.  There are many lab tests that can help determine some of these triggers, but also addressing nutrition, sleep, and stress management prove to be helpful as well.  In essence, creating a completely healthy lifestyle that is customized to you is the answer.  This will not only alleviate thyroid symptoms, but will provide you will the best possible chance for a life that is long and full of vitality.

Sciatica: What is the Source?

sciatica_legpainSciatica: What is the Source?

One of the most common things that I see in my office is Sciatica.  In fact, many patients come to their first visit and tell me straight away that they have sciatica.  Self diagnosis is common today as you can find anything you want on the internet.  However, what most people don’t understand is that sciatic symptoms can have multiple different causes.  This means that sciatica treatment can vary depending on the primary cause.  The real trick is to uncover the true source.  Is is stemming from poor soft tissue health in the low back?  Scar tissue build-up in the hips and glutes? Poor pelvis function?  Poor lumbar spine function?  A herniated disc in the lower back?  Poor postural position of the low back and pelvis?  Or more commonly, is it a combination of many of these?  Many times therapists take a cookie-cutter approach to sciatica.  Adjusting the lumbar spine and pelvis, stretches for the piriformis, and maybe some electrical stimulation to the area.  This can sometimes help overcome the pain and symptoms, but most of the times function is never addressed.  This is the real source of the problem.  Some dysfunction in postural positions or movement has taken place that led to the problem.  Unless this is addressed the problem is likely to return.

The other issue I see is that people many times have an MRI that is done because of nerve symptoms that are present.  While this is not a bad idea you always have to remember that the pain is not always caused by what is found in the MRI.  For example, if you take an MRI of someone’s low back, many times you are likely to find that is does not look perfect.  You may find some mild narrowing of spaces or even some mild disc bulging.  This does not mean that you can automatically assign these findings to the source of all the patient’s pain.  This is why many times surgery to the lumbar spine fails to resolve the patients complaints.  The surgeon did a great job at making the MRI look ‘normal’, but it may not have been the actual thing that was causing the symptoms in the first place.  In fact, in the vast majority of cases conservative care will be enough to take care of the symptoms and restore function without pain.  However, there needs to be a comprehensive approach to this care.  You must address the soft tissue health, the proper joint function, the nerve health, postural positions, strength capacity, AND movement patterns.  You cannot just pick one and roll the dice.  If you fail to correct postural and movement patterns then treatment will likely fail or the problem will shortly reoccur.  We see this many times in our office as patients come to us after numerous other practitioners have failed to resolve the problem.  This is not because they are bad at the services they provide, it is simply because they did not address all of the problems at the same time.

Understand the basic premise behind sciatica treatment is taking pressure off of the sciatic nerve, wherever the compression may be happening.  Whether this is caused by scar tissue, poor joint movement, or poor functional patterns, it doesn’t really matter.  All we have to do is uncover all the dysfunctions, restore normal function, and then let the body heal on its own.  If you are suffering from sciatica, just make sure that your sciatica treatment program is comprehensive and addressing all these areas to ensure you the best chance for success.

Probiotics: The New Multivitamin

probiotic-foodsProbiotics: The New Multivitamin

 

For many years people have been taking multivitamins as a way to “cover the bases” in an attempt to optimize their health.  Not a bad idea.  Multivitamins are a good way to make sure that you are receiving adequate amounts of the most common vitamins and minerals.  Dietary sources are always the best way to get these, but it usually can’t hurt to add a little extra just in case.  For those who truly assess their health with a functional medicine practitioner you can customize which variety of multi might be best for you given your specific findings, or even better just target specific micro-nutrients.

However, next generation “Multis” should now be seen as probiotics.  The amount of medical research into the microbiome is mind-blowing!  The microbiome is basically the collection of microorganisms that are present within the human body.  The importance of these organisms cannot be overstated and their exact contribution to our health and/or disease is just starting to be uncovered.  You can think of the microbiome as an opportunistic environment.  These microorganisms live together in what should be a ‘balance of power’.  When various organisms grow in number excessively they can crowd out other organisms.  This can sometimes be a good thing, or a bad thing.  If it is a bacteria that tends to lend itself towards improved health then it can help to keep the harmful bugs from growing excessively in number.  However, if the opposite occurs then these beneficial bacteria cannot help keep the balance and harmful organisms are allowed to flourish.  The ideal ‘balance of power’ is not completely understood and may even vary from person to person.  However, we do have enough research to understand many of the different strains of bacteria that actually help to support a healthy environment.  These strains are the most common ones seen in probiotic supplements today.  However, we also know that variety is important because having one strain dominate in number too excessively, even if it’s a ‘healthy’ strain, can begin to crowd out other healthy bacteria needed for optimal health.  For this reason, I typically suggest that people either cycle which probiotic they take, in order to get a wide variety of bacteria exposure, or make sure to take one that is broad spectrum and expansive.  This allows you to attempt to maintain a healthy and varied gut environment.

Another easy and sometimes more effective way to help improve gut bacteria health is to consume fermented foods.  Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, are foods that are created by allowing bacteria to ferment the sugars in the food.  So, you are actually consuming foods that are full of bacteria.  Some studies have shown that eating fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, has more impact on actually changing the makeup of the microbiome than taking probiotics.  I say just do both.

Pretend that you gut environment is filled with millions of different soldiers, some groups of soldiers are good and others are bad.  The bad soldiers can’t do too much harm if the good soldiers are allowed to flourish and keep the peace.  However, if this balance is disturbed and the bad soldiers are allowed to grow in number, then the susceptibility for harmful situations becomes more prevalent.  This is a good way to imagine the environment in the human microbiome.  For now, the best thing we can do to attempt to keep the good soldiers healthy and strong is to support them with things like probiotics and fermented foods.

 

Does a Chiropractor Only Adjust People?

posted in: blog post, Chiropractic | 0

Most people think of a chiropractor as someone who adjusts you and then sends you on your way. Whether that’s the result of an experience they have had or just a perception, they believe there isn’t much more to it than that. While adjusting is important, we believe it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other aspects that we address with every client.

Chiropractor

We look at soft tissue health and function, how the nervous system is functioning, and whether your muscles are firing properly and in the right order. We also address functional movement as well as analyze posture with a digital program to see how it may affect activity, movement and basic core support structure. Nutritional and hormone health is also very important, and we have many tools to address these needs as well.

Ultimately, we optimize the entire system, and don’t just focus on one thing.

The reason we are able to do this is because I have expertise in multiple areas and not just in spine health.

I started my career as a strength trainer. This allowed me to focus on training the body to perform better and focus on physical health. I then received my doctorate from chiropractic school, which taught me about joint movement, nervous system functions, nutritional health, disease processes, and overall human health. During and after chiropractic school I spent many years training in Active Release Therapy, which focuses on treating the soft tissue of the body – which is essentially everything that’s not bone.

I’ve also completed studies in functional movement training which focuses on identifying dysfunctional movement patterns and how to address them. This also included looking at muscle firing patterns and how dysfunctional patterns can cause major problems.

More recent post-grad specialized training has been in functional nutrition, functional endocrinology, and sports medicine. This knowledge allows me to analyze a client’s complete health through comprehensive lab testing and create customized programs to make sure the body is working from the inside out.

When you take a look at our practice, it includes all of these elements. Each is important for your overall health. Although adjusting the spine is an important piece, it’s only a small piece. Our goal is to take a holistic view of your health and help you improve it.

If you are interested in learning more, please give us a call at 949-387-0060.

The Paleo Cure

blog_img-the-paleo-cure-320x507

‘The Paleo Cure’ is a great book for anyone looking to find out more about ways to TRULY improve their health.  The author, Chris Kresser, is a functional medicine practitioner who not only has his own clinic, but also trains other health professionals how to practice in the functional medicine world.  This bestselling book is a minor reworking of his original book called ‘Your Personal Paleo Code’, with a new title, new cover, and minor alterations within the book.  If you read his original book, no need to read this one, but if you have not read it then do yourself a favor and add it to your reading list.  His ‘dietary’ viewpoint is very close to Paleo, but he takes an ancestral spin on it and explains it very well in the beginning chapters of the book.  Aside from the Paleo beliefs he also goes into detail about many of the most important aspects to pay attention to in your daily eating habits.  Many of the things he describes are exactly the ways in which we work with our clients and he does a great job of simply explaining them.  The book is a great read and will give you many ‘clinical pearls’ that can be simply applied to your daily life.

Cannons and Canoes

cannon

Cannons and Canoes

One of my favorite quotes as it relates to power creation in the human body I read many years ago in Stuart McGill’s “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance”. When speaking about how the body can generate the most power the book says, “You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe”. This image has stuck with me ever since I first read it and seems to simply explain how we need to address the athlete’s conditioning if we want to ultimately create maximum power. The absolute, crushing power of a cannon ball shot from a cannon is unmistakable. If you decided one day that you wanted to create a cannon with more power that could ultimately create more force, the first instinct would be to build a bigger cannon that used a bigger cannon ball. This is often the same instinct that we have as athletes when it relates to our sport. Getter faster on the bike means getting a better bike, a lighter shoe, a lighter wheel, or more aerodynamic frame. To get faster, runners want to get the best shoe and just run more miles. To get bigger muscles athletes think only to lift heavier weights and lift them more often. While all of these things do help to improve the performance of the athlete, the most important piece of equipment is often neglected: the body.
Let’s look back at our example of the cannon. What if all the focus was placed on building a bigger cannon and heavier cannon ball without paying much attention to the stability of the cannon. This is eloquently illustrated by thinking about firing a cannon from a canoe. If you put a powerful cannon on a canoe and fired it, the explosion would cause more energy displaced in the movement of the canoe rather than in the propulsion of the cannon ball. This same principle can be seen with athletes. Too often athletes are narrowly focused on big muscles and better gear, rather than focusing on the stability of their cannon. Remember that the more you stabilize the cannon, the more power you can create when shooting the cannon ball. Any loss in the stability of the cannon directly relates to loss of power in the firing of the ball. This is no different than the human body. If athletes lack proper stability then maximum power can never be created. This goes for every sport: golf, running, cycling, basketball, football, etc. Taking the cannon off of the canoe and putting it on the ground obviously yields better results. For the highly competitive athlete this needs to be taken one step further. Not only does the cannon need to be on solid ground, but it needs to be completely immobilized so that no energy is wasting moving the cannon when fired. This ultimate stability of the cannon allows for maximum force dispersed to the cannon ball.
For the athlete, this ultimate stability needs to be realized not only through the proper fitness training, but also through optimizing the stability of the internal health. Let’s briefly discuss these two:
Proper fitness training for the athlete needs to be very specific to what muscles and movements are involved in the sport. It also needs to build an athlete from the ground-up. This means making sure there is a proper base strength and muscular control from which power and strength can be built upon. It is far too common to see athletes who focus on power and strength, but have very poor stabilizing capacity and fine motor control.
Optimizing internal health is probably never even considered by the athlete as a way to ‘stabilize the cannon’. This is where I find true performance enhancement can really be achieved. Getting bigger, stronger, or faster is completely determined by an athletes ability to recover. This was discussed at length in a previous blog (read here: http://momentumsportstherapy.com/category/sports-and-fitness/) so we’ll keep it simple here. Just know that improving your overall health is the absolute best way to be able to train harder and recover faster. Using specified lab work, precise nutritional intervention, and high-quality supplementation can give athletes huge advantages in competition.
If you are a serious athlete that either wants to compete at a high level or stay in the sport for many years, start to consider that optimizing your health is the first priority to achieving those goals.

Sweet Potato Quinoa

posted in: blog post, Recipes | 0

 

Sweet Potato Medley Quinoa pic

INGREDIENTS: (serves 2)
1 cup of quinoa
1 small purple sweet potato
1 small orange sweet potato
1 pomegranate
1 avocado (cut into cubes)
2 handfuls of fresh arugula
1 tbsp. of coconut oil/coconut butter

DRESSING:
Juice 1 small lemon
Zest ½ of lemon
2 tbsp. of avocado or olive oil
1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a small sauce pan, cook quinoa as usual. In another saucepan, boil sweet potatoes whole, until tender
2. While the quinoa and sweet potato are cooking, remove all seeds from pomegranate and set aside
3. Remove quinoa from heat and leave lid on to cool. Remove sweet potato and chop
4. In a large nonstick pan, heat coconut butter until melted. Add chopped sweet potato (both varieties) and cook until slightly brown & crunchy.
5. In a large bowl, add cooked quinoa and ½ of dressing and mix well. Add sweet potato, rocket, mix well, top with avocado and pomegranate and top with remaining dressing

Off Season is Peak Training Season

As the year is winding down, so has the triathlon season.  While this brings a much needed rest period it is also the best time to optimize your health and prep for a new season of training. 

training in off-season, how to get stronger in off-season, sports therapy irvine

Getting your overall health in peak shape can pay huge dividends when training resumes for the next season.  It is not only important to stay strong and maintain base mileage, but it is also crucial to make improvements in the vitality of your immune system, adrenal system, and gastrointestinal system. 

During the season these systems get beaten down by the sheer volume of training and without proper attention these deficits can linger on into the next season and make peak training near impossible. 

If you really want to get better next year you need to pay attention to what you do in the off-season.  This means strength training, but more importantly getting as healthy as possible!

Strength Training

Strength training is always something that is highly neglected, in the endurance athlete world especially, but always pays huge dividends in performance.  Having sufficient strength to hold proper postures is very important for every sport, but in endurance sports it becomes more of an issue since that posture needs to be held for long periods of time. 

If these postures cannot be obtained or held for any duration then energy is significantly wasted and power output will drop significantly.  So, while practicing the particular skill of the sport is very important, your potential to convert those training hours into the most power output using the least energy is always the goal. 

Proper strength training is the only way to maximize that equation.  While many people don’t take this very seriously, at least they realize that it is something that would probably help performance if done correctly. 

Getting Healthy

However, the biggest bang for your buck can many times be just getting as healthy as possible.  You must remember that your ability to train hard rests solely on your ability to recover from the previous workout.  This recovery potential not only determines your ability to train hard, but it also determines much of your injury prevention.  

Most injuries occur because of overuse which means that use of an area overwhelms its ability to heal and recover.  While this seems pretty obvious to most people, what they fail to realize is that your overall health greatly influences your ability to recover. 

This means making sure you are eating right, sleeping well, your hormone levels are in normal ranges, your GI system is not dysfunctional, and your inflammation levels are low.  Difficult and long seasons tend to exhaust our systems and create dysfunctional hormone levels and high levels of inflammation.  Having the proper testing, like blood, saliva, and stool testing, allows you to know what systems need to be addressed and gives a great roadmap for how to address those systems quickly and effectively before the next season begins. 

If done properly, this rejuvenation of your internal systems will allow you to feel better, recover quicker, train harder, and ultimately get faster and stronger.  This can be the missing link for many people and can be the difference between a season of success and a season of battling injuries.

If you are interested in improving performance through health, now is the time!  Contact our office today at 949-387-0060 to find out about our programs designed to optimize your health.

How We Help You Optimize Your Health

Last week, we talked about the different types of people who we normally work with – those who are looking to be healthier in general, and those who have a particular problem they are trying to fix.

This week, I am diving in a little deeper on what our process is like to work with us when patients are looking to optimize their overall health.

Wellness

The first thing we encourage everyone to do is to attend one of our workshops. The way we approach health is often new or different than what most people have heard in the past. Sitting in on one of our talks will help you get pre-educated on our approach and philosophy. It will also help you get a better understanding of how our process works.

From there, if our patients are interested in the program, we like to set up a consultation. During this consultation, we work together to get a comprehensive picture of your health. This includes your medical history, goals, past failures at getting healthy, what has worked in the past, and what you are looking for.

We also complete metabolic assessment forms. These give us an idea of which systems in your body are performing well and which ones aren’t. Ultimately, it helps us customize a protocol specifically for each condition.

Lastly, we look at any lab work they might have had recently. This will allow us to look at a variety of things, including various hormone levels in your body.

After we have reviewed all of these metrics, we utilize all of that information to determine what would be an appropriate program to help them reach their goals.

When we are deciding which program is best, it’s not a one size fits all. Every person is unique and because of that, we customize our programs to each individual. We spend a lot of time up front figuring out what it is that you need so that we start each person off in the right direction. A well-rounded approach is an integral part of how we work with our patients.

These plans aren’t just about fitness and nutrition (although those are a big part of it). We also work on many other factors that might be affecting your health. One example is stress. You can be super fit and eat really well, but if you are experiencing high levels of stress, it’s going to have an impact on your health. By addressing the underlying factor, we can help you create a more balanced life that translates into better health.

Once we have decided on the program, we walk you through the entire process. Ultimately, we are here to help you reach your goals. If something in the plan isn’t working, we adjust accordingly and keep moving forward. We are here to hold your hand, cheer you on, and help you get back on track if you are struggling. However, the end game is to not only get you back to health, but to empower you with the knowledge to take care of your own health for the rest of your life!

If you are interested in learning more, please call us at 949-387-0060.