Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Continuing Education Complete for this Year

This week I completed my continuing education credits for 2011.  It's always good to be in compliance with licensing requirements well in advance of expiration time :)  As a massage therapist licensed in Illinois, I need to have 12 hours of continuing education credits.  Each State has its own requirements.  I also need to have 48 hours of continuing education every 4 years for re-certification for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.  It's not a huge burden.  Most professions require more, and it is always useful to go through the ethics guidance on professional boundaries - because that's something we have to be aware of constantly.

Earon S. Davis, JD, MPH, NCTMB
Adjunct Professor, Health and Wellness Program, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Integrative Bodyworker and Licensed Massage Therapist

Nutrition Strategies for Traveling

Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD, CSSD, CPT
Full time faculty
School of Health Sciences
The summer is drawing to a close so you may be planning on sneaking in one last trip before the kids go back to school, or you have your races lined up for fall and all of them require some travel. In either case, you should have a plan or checklist of nutrition strategies to keep you on track and well fueled.

Personally, I am very particular about the foods I eat so I always plan ahead and pack various foods when I am traveling. More than once a hungry travel has looked at my fresh green salad or hummus on an airplane with envy. And while it may be a bit of a pain to gather and pack up healthy items to go, in the end you will be glad you did. It is usually a challenge to maintain optimal nutrition when on the road, and if you are an athlete you need to take control of your own success and be more organized.  By finding out what food to expect at your destination, you can include what you need to avoid problems like inadequate carbohydrate or protein intake, dehydration, GI issues (stomach upset, constipation), and unintended weight loss or gain. And if you are a family headed out for a weekend in the mountains, planning ahead can keep everyone on track and decrease the temptation to have a diet of junk food and fast food that will leave everyone feeling less than energetic.

So for starters, here are some basic tips if traveling by air:
·         Pack snacks to take with you (I have a great list of suggestions below).
·         Buy some water after you pass through security.
·         Avoid drinking alcohol on the plane as this will promote urination contributing to the dehydration caused by flying.

If you are traveling by car, then a cooler is a must:
·         Again, take fluids and snacks with you so you don’t have to rely on what is available at convenience stores or have the added expense.

If your event is local:
·         Take your pre-competition, competition, and post-competition foods with you. Cardinal rule is to never try new foods on race day. Not all sporting events serve nutritious food or if they do, it isn’t a complete recovery meal.
·         Check out restaurants in the area before you go so you have a plan.
If your trip includes a stay at a hotel, then here are some things to think about:
·         Many hotels these days have rooms that include microwaves and mini refrigerators. Call ahead, or request that you have these appliances. If the rooms don’t have them, check to see if there is a breakfast included as there is usually a microwave in the breakfast area.

Here are some of my favorite travel foods:
·         Aseptically packaged soymilk/ regular milk – plain for cereal and chocolate for refueling. Soy and cow’s milk are the best choices since they contain protein and carbohydrates as opposed to almond, rice, and coconut which contain mostly carbs.
·         Aseptically packaged coconut water for rehydrating after your race, airplane trip, or workout.
·         Packets of tea and single serve packets of Starbucks coffee if you have to have a good cup o’ joe like I do.
·         Nuts in single serving bags (I especially like the 100 calorie packs of almonds).
·         Single serve peanut butters. Justin’s makes single serve packs that you can buy at most grocery stores http://www.justinsnutbutter.com/
·         Single serve oatmeal. One of my favorite new things are packets of organic oatmeal that come in a nifty pouch that includes a line for measuring the water http://threesisterscereal.com/instant-oatmeal/ I got mine at Whole Foods but I have also seen them at Fry’s – yummy. Of course any type of instant oatmeal is a good bet for travel.
·         Kashi Go Lean is also good for travel as it is high in protein and fiber and is very filling. I portion it out into snack size Ziplocs.
·         I also like to take a variety of the mini nutrition bars like the mini Larabars and mini Clif when I travel plus a couple of full size ones. I Iike the Clif and Larabars because they have few ingredients some of which are organic.
·         Single servings of protein powders also come in handy. My favorite recovery meal is oatmeal with fruit and protein powder. There are countless varieties available at most health food stores.
·         If you can find it, aseptically packaged hummus is good on the go. Wild Garden makes a single serve shelf stable product http://wildgarden.elsstore.com/ and Sabra has one to go that includes pretzels http://sabra.com/products/category/Grab-Go-Packs
·         Of course fruit is a must – things that won’t spoil quickly like apples and dried fruit. Single serve applesauce also travels well.
·         I don’t eat meat, but if you do, pouches of tuna and salmon would be good to include.
·         Don’t omit more perishable items- just use them within a few hours of travel. Food safety is always a concern so remember the 2 hour rule: never eat something that has been left in the “Danger Zone” (i.e. room temperature) for more than 2 hours, or if you do, do it at your own risk.
·         Hard vegetables like baby carrots travel really well as do uncooked broccoli and zucchini and all are great for snacking.
·         Single serve microwaveable rice bowls. I like the Lundberg organic ones http://lundberg.elsstore.com/view/category/4431-heat---eat-organic-brown-rice-bowls/  but Minute Rice also makes them.
·         Single serve dehydrated soup cups are also good to pack, especially the bean varieties like lentil and split pea – lots of protein and fiber too.
·         Fig bars are a great high carbohydrate sports travel food as are granola bars.

·         Don’t forget to pack a Tupperware or two just in case and some plastic utensils. But don’t make the mistake I made and leave your Swiss Army knife in your purse so that you are asked to “surrender” it to a TSA agent.
·         Oh and let’s not forget one of the most important nutrients – water, along with some packets of electrolytes.
By having a plan and thinking ahead, you can maintain optimal nutrition when traveling. The last thing you want is to have GI issues, or be under fueled or dehydrated for your race or your hike. If you have some of your own favorite travel foods that you would like to share, please post a comment and happy and healthy travels.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Is It Still a Massage if the Client's Clothes Are On?

I am a licensed massage therapist working in a medical setting with a wide range of patients, some of whom have pain patterns that don't require a traditional "Swedish massage."  Instead, one of the modalities I offer is trigger point work, which can be performed fully clothed or can combined with more typical "Swedish" strokes and using oil.

What do you think?  Is this still a "massage?" 

Let me know if you have comments or questions about massage !

Earon Davis, JD, MPH, NCTMB
Adjunct Professor, Health and Wellness Program, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork

Friday, August 26, 2011

Corn is in Season

Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD, CSSD, CPT
Full time faculty
School of Health Sciences

Corn is in season and whether fresh off the cob, frozen, or canned, corn often gets overlooked as a nutritious part of a healthy diet. I have often heard people say they avoid it since it is so “starchy”, but it is this starch, which is actually a complex carbohydrate, that makes corn a great diet addition to fuel an active lifestyle. 

Health benefits of corn
Corn is a rich source of phytochemicals and it is the various flavonoids and carotenoids in corn that are responsible for the distinctive colors of its different varieties. The colors valued by Native Americans include pink, blue, black, and red, although the most common forms in the US are white and yellow. The yellow of sweet corn comes from lutein which is good for healthy vision and decreasing the risk for macular degeneration. Corn is also high in vitamin C and the B vitamins including folic acid which aids in the prevention of neural tube defects. High intakes of lutein and folic acid also lower the risk for heart disease. A small ear of corn (7”) contains about 250 mg of potassium, a mineral lost in sweat, making it a good source of this nutrient. In comparison a medium banana contains about 350 mg of potassium.

This nutritious vegetable is notoriously hard to digest because of its high fiber content, although most Americans could use more fiber in their diets. The type of fiber in corn is called insoluble fiber which is needed to prevent constipation and diverticulitis. It is the high fiber content of corn that qualifies this starchy vegetable to count as a complex carbohydrate. 

So what should you look for when buying corn?
Look for bright green husks with silk that is dark and moist. After purchasing make sure to refrigerate it immediately when you get home to help the corn stay sweet. Then for the best flavor eat it within two to three days. One of my favorite ways to cook corn is to soak the corn in its husk in a sink full of water and then roast it in the husk on the grill. Another great and easy way to cook corn in minutes is to wrap an ear in wet paper towels or wax paper and microwave for 2-3 minutes turning once. 

If you are watching your calories, have a gluten or wheat intolerance, or are limiting your grains, then consider adding corn to your diet as a source of complex carbohydrates. A small ear (7”) has just about 80-90 calories, is high in vitamin C, the B vitamins, potassium, fiber and phytochemicals like lutein and carotene, all of which contribute to a healthy heart and balanced diet.

Try this healthy high complex carbohydrate popcorn recipe:

Popcorn Delight
Makes 1 serving
3 cups popped fat-free unsalted popcorn
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
2 tablespoons raisins or other dried fruit such as cranberries, apricots or dates
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients and toss well.
Nutrition Facts per Serving:
Calories: 230
Fat: 7 g
Saturated fat: 1 g
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Fiber: 6 g
Protein: 6 g
Sodium: 274 mg

Recipe provided courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, from Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During & After Pregnancy by American Dietetic Association ©2009, John Wiley & Sons.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Magnificent Blueberry!

Jennifer Koslo, PhD, RD, CSSD, CPT
Full time faculty
School of Health Sciences

I love berries – all sorts of berries, and last month was National Blueberry Month  so I want to highlight the benefits of this nutritious fruit.  July was proclaimed National Blueberry Month in 1999 by the United States Department of Agriculture. Blueberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and were introduced to the pilgrims by Native Americans. 

This miniature fruit is chock full of nutrients and is a superstar when it comes to antioxidant properties. In fact, according to data from the USDA Human Research Center on Aging, a serving of blueberries provides one of the highest levels of antioxidant activity of all fruits and vegetables. This is due to the naturally occurring levels of vitamins C and E, and the phytochemicals which include anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, myricetin, quercetin, resveratrol, and ellagic acid. For athletes in particular a high intake of dietary antioxidants can help to reduce damage to cells resulting from the free radical damage produced during strenuous activity. For the less active in the group, nutrients in blueberries have been found through research to have a litany of benefits including lowering the risk of urinary tract infection, protection against cardiovascular disease by lowering total cholesterol and bad or LDL cholesterol, improving eye health, acting as an anti-cancer nutrient, and even improving cognitive function by decreasing short term memory loss (http://www.blueberry.org/Antioxidant.pdf ). 

Another good thing know to about blueberries is that blueberries have a fairly low Glycemic Index (GI) score and are in the range of 40-53 out of 100, which means they have a favorable effect on blood sugar. Foods with a low GI help to maintain even energy levels because they are absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream than foods with a high GI such as bananas (60-70) and honey which has a score of 87 (http://www.glycemicindex.com/).   One cup of blueberries (at around 84 calories) has about 4 grams of fiber which adds to their beneficial effects on blood sugar.

Whether you eat fresh or frozen blueberries, wild, highbrush, lowbrush, or rabbiteye it doesn’t matter as long as you eat them! Research has shown that freezing does not decrease their antioxidant activity, however exposure to heat does so add to uncooked dishes like smoothies, yogurt, and breakfast cereals. If you can, buy organic since blueberries retain a fair amount of pesticide residue due to their delicate nature. They rank #10 on the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods highest in pesticide residue developed by the Environmental Working Group (http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/). 

For a new twist on a super nutritious fruit in combination with a super nutritious grain, try this breakfast recipe courtesy of The World’s Healthiest Foods: Quinoa Cereal with Fresh Fruit http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=245&tname=recipe


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Is Mainstream Medicine Losing Its Mojo ?

Is Mainstream Medicine Losing Its MOJO?
The “Placebo-Effect” May Prove Unconscious Buy-in To Be a Vital Part of Healing

by Earon S. Davis, JD, MPH, NCTMB

We have been told by mainstream scientists for decades that alternative medicine's chief successes may be due to mind-body connections.  Indeed, the “placebo-effect” has been credited with all manner of rational and irrational powers – from the WWII beaches of Anzio where soldiers given a saline placebo when supplies of morphine ran out were kept from going into shock – to the bizarre explanations of voodoo curses and healings.  But, what if unconscious buy-in is also a significant part of the successes of mainstream medicine?  
Healing, in all modalities, may be directly proportional to the unconscious buy-in of the patient.   Note: I am referring to the Unconscious buy-in and not the conscious buy-in.  It’s not so much what people believe intellectually as what they feel in their gut.  And what are they feeling in their gut today about big pharma?  About the compassion and humanity of health care providers?  About the hospital systems they increasingly turn to for joint replacements?  About the silent residence that MRSA and other organisms have taken up inside of our medical institutions?

If you talk to today’s average medical patients, they are not so enamored, so adoring of their doctors or their hospitals as they were in the 1950’s.  I wonder whether "scientific medicine" may be losing its MOJO, its effectiveness with our unconscious buy-in, partly because cold, hard science just does not have as good a "healing story" as complementary and integrative medicines?  Add to that the growing scariness of idiopathic illnesses, anti-biotic-resistant bacteria, big pharma side-effects and other risks of collateral damage. Did patients ask to become "customers" rather than patients?  To be a “patient” means you are taken care of.  To be a “customer” means “caveat emptor” – buyer beware.

This is my hypothesis - that with all of its scientific advances, biochemical medicine is not in touch with us, with our uniqueness, our humanity. There are many exceptions, of course, wonderful, human doctors who are still loved and respected by their patients. But there are powerful factors that may be leading to diminished effectiveness for many doctors, including:

1.      a general de-personalization of the practice of medicine,
2.      less time allowed with one’s doctor,
3.      increasing rates of chronic illness,
4.      high incidences of cancer and little focus on prevention
5.      inability to cure chronic illnesses, resulting in life-long drug regimens,
6.      physician burn-out and depression,
7.      excessive specialization and complexity,
8.      increasing toxicity of patented medicines, and
9.      intrusion of insurance decisons into the practice of medicine.

Factors such as these may have caused us to unconsciously stop believing in our doctors, in our medical care, in spite of the fact that “science” continues to advance so dramatically.   After all, do we feel better?  This could be a trick question, given that we are all aging, so that a comparison of how we are “feeling” today, compared to 10 years ago, may inevitably reflect some dissatisfaction.  Again, it is the UNconscious buy-in that holds the most power in the healing process - not our conscious buy-in. We just can't force ourselves to believe. And compliance depends upon either unconscious buy-in or mindless obedience.

Compliance with medication regimens that don't solve our problems, but require us to be on multiple medications (with side-effects) for the rest of our lives, just don't give us a sense of being healed.  Hence, the rise in complementary and alternative medicine. In the 1950's, we really adored our doctors, who were healers rather than technicians, shamans as well as braniacs. Many made house calls and were considered family and community heroes.  Today, while technology rules our worlds and intellects, our unconscious minds are still looking for magic, for a story in which the patient is something more than a biological machine with increasingly replaceable, parts.

It is no wonder that growing numbers of physicians and hospitals are turning towards Integrative Medicine and Complementary Medicine practitioners (e.g., massage and acupuncture) to help bring back some of the MOJO that our high-tech, de-personalized, increasingly complex medical world has lost.

Earon Davis is an adjunct professor in the Health and Wellness program at the Kaplan University School of Health Sciences.  He is also an Integrative Bodywork practitioner at the NorthShore University HealthSystem's Intgetrative Medicine Program in Glenview, IL.  This program is under the medical direction of Leslie Mendoza Temple, MD, a family practice physician, who completed an Integrative Medicine fellowship with Andrew Weil, MD.

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