Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Eggs Rule!

 As I was looking through my kitchen, I wanted to find a food that not only had a high percentage of vitamins and minerals, but also could be useful in weight management and helping with satiety.   It was a quick search, as I just had to open my refrigerator and pull out a carton of organic eggs. 

I have been inspired to eat eggs as a protein source since I first saw the movie "Rocky" and watched Sylvester Stallone gulp down 5-6 raw eggs in one quick swoop.   (Surprisingly, as a young teenager,  I actually gulped down a good amount of raw eggs myself and did not get Salmonella or even a bellyache.) *Please Note- I do not recommend this as I was a typical head strong teenager with little common sense and raw eggs can cause Salmonella.

That being said, I still consume eggs every week.  I probably eat on average 8-12 eggs a week because they are easy to prepare, tasty and still a very good source of protein.  One large egg contains approximately 6 grams of protein with only 70 calories and is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Eggs are a good source of selenium, Vitamin D, biotin and choline.

Choline deficiency is very common in the United States and choline has been found to be beneficial for liver health and the nervous system as well as helping to lower inflammation.  Eggs have also been found to be beneficial for eye health as they contain the flavonoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both potent antioxidants for preventing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Finally, eggs are not a threat to cholesterol levels and are actually being found to be heart protective.   Study after study now confirms that eating 2-3 eggs a day does not raise cholesterol and that eggs are actually heart protective.  (I had my own cholesterol checked last year and it was a healthy 174 with my HDL cholesterol at high level of 60. )  So go out and eat some eggs.  My favorite ways to prepare eggs are boiling, deviled or making various omelets with vegetables.
Friday, February 25, 2011

Just Do It?

by Carmin Iadonisi, N.D, E.P.
Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences

As I was thinking about what to write for this blog, I always go back to the behavior change technique known as  "shaping". Basically this process involves making small, achievable changes to get to your long-term goal. 

Let's look at someone who wants to start working out.  Mainstream marketing would have you believe that you can "Just Do It." and off you go getting into shape.  The reality is less than 50% of adults even participate in any daily physical activity, so maybe there are a few small changes needed prior to starting an exercise program.

Sometimes the first goal for a person should not be to start exercising, but to just get to the gym.  Getting to the gym for some people can be the most difficult part.- My students sometimes laugh at this as a first goal, but think about it.  How many steps does it take to get to the gym? First, the person has to make time in their schedule. Try to find a regular interruption free time that works.  Are mornings better or afternoons? Next, the person has to find a gym that has the right atmosphere and also works with their budget.  Is the gym overly crowded at the time you want to work out and does it have the right equipment needed for working towards your goals?

After you decide the place to workout, then you have to check and see if you have workout clothes?  Are your sneakers worn out? Do your workout clothes still fit or do you need to go shopping?  What about other fitness "stuff" to help you reach your goals- such as a workout journal, your iPod with motivating workout music, a watch or even a heart rate monitor?

Finally, do you prefer to work out alone or do you do better with a workout partner?  If you do need a partner, now you have to see if your schedule works with that person.  Once that is set up, you are now set to go to the gym. Pat yourself on the back, because you have already overcame many hurdles to start exercising regularly. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Nutrition Source

Today I’d like to share another one of my favorite websites: The Nutrition Source
This website was created by the Nutrition Department at the Harvard School of Public Health. If you want the best and most recent information on nutrition, this is the spot. Their site is packed full with tips for healthy eating. The information they provide is user friendly. The resources on this website range from quick tips for eating right to in-depth information about individual nutrients.
Click here to see 10 easy steps to follow for eating right:
Click here to access an A to Z index of nutrition topics:
Click here to read about the Harvard School of Public Health’s very own food pyramid. A food pyramid that is based on the latest and best science:

As you can see, the Nutrition Source is an awesome resource. Add it your favorites today!

Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, Health and Wellness Department
Kaplan University

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Let's Move

This week I’d like to talk about a couple of my favorite websites. First one up: Let's Move
This website is part of a nationwide initiative to promote healthy choices, improve the quality of food in schools, increase access to healthy food, and so much more!
In particular, the Let’s Move campaign is raising a fight against the obesity epidemic in America. According to a national survey of health behaviors and nutrition, 66 percent of American adults are considered overweight or obese, with obesity rates alone in excess of 32 percent (Donatelle, 2009). Take a look at these CDC images to see how this epidemic has grown over the past 20 years:

This CDC graphic is a bit surprising and shocking isn't it?! Why has this happened? In part this is due to changes in pattern of food consumption. For instance, caloric intake: “In total, we are now eating 31 percent more calories than we were forty years ago–including 56 percent more fats and oils and 14 percent more sugars and sweeteners” (Let’s Move, 2010).
Lack of exercise can also take part of the blame: Data from the National Health Interview Survey shows that four in ten adults in the United States never engage in any exercise, sports, or physically active hobbies in their leisure time. (Donatelle, 2009)
In addition, technology has certainly changed the way we spend our time: The average American child spends more than 7.5 hours a day watching TV and movies, using cell phones and computers for entertainment, and playing video games (Let’s Move, 2010).
The Let’s Move campaign is addressing these problems on multiple levels. Their website has a wealth of information about nutrition and physical activity with simple steps to take action. The resources on this sight are abundant and easy to use. They even include tools for getting involved in the campaign and spreading the word in your community.
Here’s an example:

As you can see, the Let’s Move campaign includes everyone. Honestly, I just can’t say enough about this excellent campaign! Please check it out today and spread the word:

Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, Health and Wellness Department
Kaplan University

Donatelle, R. (2009). Health: The basics (8th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.
Let’s Move. (2010). Learn the Facts. Retrieved December 27, 2010, from

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Way to Fighting a Flu or a Cold is... Your Stomach!

The Way to Fighting a Flu or a Cold is... Your Stomach!
by Dr. Nina La, D.C., L.Ac.
Adjunct Professor, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Allied medical staff, Tri-City Regional Medical Center

Not only is the saying "The way to a man's heart is his stomach" is true, but now, we will talk about a way to fighting a flu or a cold, which is also through the stomach! I have been having a lot of patients coming into my office with a flu/common cold lately, and I have also had a cold that I am getting over, so I figure I will share a set of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal tea and soup here to help you achieve that. (The pictures and recipes are courtesy of EV Herbs.)

Recipe #1: Honey-Chrysanthemum Tea (for Wind-Heat symptoms, aka. Flu)

The Chrysanthemum flower (Chinese jú huā 菊花, Latin flos chrysanthemi morifolii) is a cool, spicy herb that release the exterior. When you have symptoms such as fever, headache, and red, painful, dry eyes (usually resultant of the Santa Ana winds in California, or the Neveda desert winds), this tea is indicated for you. In combination with the multi-purpose of honey, this Honey-Chrysanthemum Tea moistens the lungs' dryness, relieves your cough, and brightens your eyes.

Ingredients include 30 grams (1.1 ounce) of fresh chrysanthemum, with 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of honey, and 1000 cc or mL of water: to make 2 servings. Cooking instructions include a few simple steps: Boil the chrysanthemum and water over high heat (approximately 2 minutes), then strain the tea and stir in honey until dissolved. The tea can be cooled to desired temperature, and the dosage of the honey is dependent on indivual taste. Enjoy!

Recipe #2: Ginseng Chicken Soup (for Wind-Cold symptoms, aka. Common Cold)

Now, if you have common cold symptoms, such as running nose, bodyache, chills more than fever, and a headache, then this soup is perfect for you, especially for those who have decreased appetite as a result. This Ginseng Chicken Soup tonifies your middle abdominal qi while harmonizing your stomach to help you strengthen the Wei defensive qi. Chicken is very nourishing and very warming to your stomach!

Ingredients include 1 whole chicken, with 20 grams (0.71 ounce) of red ginseng or American ginseng, 20 pieces of red jujube, 30 grames (1.1 ounce) of lycium and salt to taste. This soup makes 4 servings, and require both a preparation and a cooking stage. Preparation includes removing the giblets from the cavity of the chicken before washing the chicken thoroughly, then place 10 grams of ginseng, 10 pieces of jujube, and 10 grams of lycium inside the chicken. The cooking stage includes placing the chicken (breast-side up) ina stock pot, adding 1000cc of water, additional 10 grams of ginseng, 10 pieces of jujube and 20 grames of lycium to the stock pot. Cover the lid, bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until the chicken softens. Season with salt to taste, then--enjoy! =)

Have a safe and warm weekend!

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!" - Milton Berle

Dr. Nina La is an allied medical staff specialized in acupuncture at Tri-City Regional Medical Center (Hospital). She is also a chiropractic physician, herbalist, and an adjunct professor at Kaplan University. You can contact her at, or visit her website at
Friday, February 11, 2011

Your Palm, Your Sole, Your Love

Your Palm, Your Sole, Your Love
by Dr. Nina La, D.C., L.Ac.
Adjunct Professor, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Allied medical staff, Tri-City Regional Medical Center

I ran into one of my colleagues at a seminar last weekend, and we got to talking about reflexology. In honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day, I will briefly go over reflexology here. Who knows, you may find it extremely helpful and use it on your loved one during this season in honor of love? =)

Reflexology, or zone therapy, is similar in acupressure in that pressure is applied, usually in the form of your thumb, into specific areas of the hands and feet. Reflexologists do not apply lotion, and the purpose for doing pressure points in the hands and feet is based on the theory of microacupuncture, where certain points in the hands and feet represent organic areas on the body. This theory is said to have originated from China some 5000 years ago, but has now been popularized in over 4 major continents, including but is not limited to Asia, Europe, North America and Africa.

This is an example of a reflexology foot chart.

To destress for yourself and your loved one on this special day, here is a self-help reflexology tip from Kunz, B. & K. (2006). Hand Reflexology. Dorling Kindersley Publication: p.124-5.

According to a Singapore research, pressing on the "adrenal gland" of the hand stimulates areas of the brain to promote relaxation. The "adrenal gland" is located mid-way between the first and second metacarpal bones (thumb and index fingers). If you've hit a sensitive spot, then you've found the right point!

For overall stress reduction, it is recommended that you roll a tennis ball between two palms in multi-directions to stimulate the "adrenal gland."

So go ahead and pamper yourself and/or your loved one for this coming Valentine's. Let's have a stress-free and fun-filled Valentine's Day ahead! =)

"Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling." - Unknown

Dr. Nina La is an allied medical staff specialized in acupuncture at Tri-City Regional Medical Center (Hospital). She is also a chiropractic physician, herbalist, and an adjunct professor at Kaplan University. You can contact her at, or visit her website at
Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Science and its Application: Teaching Between the Lines

by Earon S. Davis, J.D., M.P.H.
Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences
Kaplan University

One of the things I enjoy most about teaching is that I get to start with all the relevant science and then proceed to the space between the facts - to the space where we are talking about human life, human health and welfare.  Our intellect may be able to grasp the reductionist products of science and the deductionist conclusions of "experts"(real and imagined) but what we really care about is what we find between the lines, in the process of making science and its interpretation meaningful and accessible to others.

I have spent years in the fields of environmental health, public health policy and environmental law, and now find myself immersed in complementary and alternative medicine and nutrition.  Like the environment, there are lots of facts about nutrition, lots of research, and even more opinions from the various interest groups as to what they mean.  In both environment and health sciences, we are told that we know what the healthy choices are, and that it is a question of will power and education as to which choices we make.  We are told that people just don't care to make the right choices.

In the environmental field, we know that this is both true and false.  We have a good deal of science, but it is so infused with politics and economic interests that we can't get our government to make the decisions necessary to protect our health and welfare, and our future.  For some unknown reason, there is preciously little research funding for answering the questions that could jeopardize industrial interests involved with the revolving door between government, industry and consulting firms.  There are so many toxic chemicals and biological and physical threats to which we are exposed that the costs of measuring the adverse impacts of any one substance are immense, certainly beyond the means provided by a Congress dependent upon private financing for their omnipresent re-election campaigns.

We all know this about environmental issues.  We know this about the struggle to allow complementary medical systems and modalities into the mainstream.  Where does the money come from to meet the double-blind, placebo-controlled standard required by the medical industry?  Of course, there is a double-standard because existing practices of mainstream medicine are very often not required to meet such a high burden of proof.  What's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

In the field of nutrition, the same observations hold true.  There is science, to be sure, but much is absent, often by design.  Who is there to be sure that the public is protected when that would mean costly changes and/or lost profit opportunities to businesses?  Who is there to create a level playing field in which consumers are protected from potentially harmful products that are engineered and marketed with great intensity and intelligence?  In the 20 years it may take to prove that a product, or type of product, is causing serious health problems, by the time a consensus emerges from the usual free-for-all of lobbying and spin-doctoring, the easily correctable problem (don't allow it to go to market) becomes terribly complex and difficult to manage without tremendous efforts and dislocations.  The end result, often, is that business products and byproducts are almost granted a presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  The "precautionary principle" and regulatory systems are too often seen as a nuisance thwarting economic growth.

And so, the job of teaching in the health sciences involves both science and art, the art of balancing what we know, with what we don't know.  It is a realm of immense complexity where we really have more uncertainty than certainty.  Do we teach students that our limited knowledge is good enough to assert as truth?  We can teach students the latest research studies and the latest government guidelines, but how do we prepare them for the vast array of changes they will encounter during their lifetimes?  I think that we can do this by focusing on the spaces between the lines, by helping students to understand their own reactions to information and scientific studies and to allow them to experience the ways in which people are manipulated for the benefit of vested interests, even when their intentions are completely honorable.

Students come to school expecting to be taught the truths that science has revealed.  They'd like it all neatly wrapped up with no loose ends.  But life isn't that way.  Science is a process and not a product.  Technology is a tool and not a panacea.  It is susceptible to a vast array of flaws and failings, which may be ignored when it is in somebody's interest to do so.  Often, that's the bad news we have to break to them.  But from the way they are responding, perhaps it is also the good news.  When we treat science as a dynamic process, and recognize the infusion of politics into most areas of scientific debate, there is greater hope that we can correct our errors and create a new balance which respects both business opportunities and the long-term needs of our people.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

I live in Chicago, where snow days are not terribly unexpected, but much of the US is experiencing a snow day today.

These are days when it doesn't make a lot of sense to go outdoors (unless a cold wave is approaching).  Yet, we often behave as if nature is an inconvenience, a challenge to be overcome.  We fight the snow.  We fight the rain.  We fight the drought.  We fight the heat.  We fight the cold.  Indeed, there are safety concerns, but for everyone who might die because of difficulty getting to a hospital, more will die from weather-related accidents and from heart attacks triggered by shoveling snow.

As we age, there is a point where we stop fighting so much.  But we may also stop playing as much.  Younger children are drawn to snow days.  As a child, snow days are something to be looked forward to with glee.  As we become adults, they are dreaded because they interfere with work, with appointments, with our well-planned lives.  Still, there is usually a part of us that retains the child's perspective, no matter how "mature" we seem to be.  For elders, the snow day may hold less power, perhaps providing more entertainment than enjoyment.  The entertainment comes from all the younger people working so hard to tame nature, to get things done, to behave as if nature did not have the power to change our lives.  For the elders, we already know the inexorable power of nature, in the form of the passage of time.

At their best, snow days give us pause to reflect upon our busy lives.  These are times when we can take advantage of the art of non-doing.  For a day or two, we may not need to do anything in order to accomplish all that needs to be done.  To enter this taoist realm is a gift, but a bewildering gift to many of us.  We struggle to do things, to continue our habits and patterns, to do that which is expected of us.  Some of us eventually let go of those feelings and enter the world of non-doing.  Most of us don't.  

Sometimes, this realm only seems safe to enter after the day is over, everyone is fed and cared-for, duties are discharged, and we are somehow brought to the realization that our main goal in life is to survive with meaning and family and a sense of belonging.  For that moment, late in the evening, we have attained the highest of our own human nature, suddenly becoming more fully human and in tune with a natural world that truly is not within our control.  We sigh in awe.  We have stepped outside our goofy culture, outside the box of status and wealth, power and importance.  Secretly, we wonder what it would be like to have more, and longer, snow days. And, for most of us, that is good enough.  We're ready to resume the rat race in the morning.

If we think of those who are less fortunate, it can bring very uncomfortable feelings and a need to help.  If we think of the massive over-consumption of our culture and how it endangers all life on this earth, and brings so little real meaning to our lives, the dissonance can be terribly disconcerting.  But perhaps, if we take this time, this snow day (and part of tomorrow), to let all of this sink in, we may be in a better position to make personal and political decisions that will bring our lives more into balance - with our planet, our fellow humans, our natural world, and ourselves.


Earon S. Davis, JD, MPH, NCTMB
Adjunct Professor, School of Health Sciences
Kaplan University

Earon has degrees in public health, law and sociology.  In addition to teaching, he is currently an integrative body worker for a major hospital system in the Chicago area.  Earon has written articles on Reiki and Didgeridoo for the Center for Health and Wellness.  He is a student of many of the world's wisdom traditions and has twice traveled to China (Happy Chinese New Year!).

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