Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Pretty Fly Way to Be Well

                You stand by the side of a slowly moving stream as it meanders over a set of ripples established by the rocks in the riverbed. The bald eagle soars above as it calls to its mate as they attempt to teach their eaglet how to catch fish to eat. A river otter swims by as it curiously bobs its head up and down in wonder of what you are doing in its home. You smell the freshly cut alfalfa and feel the gentle breeze brush across your face. You are the only person on the entire stream, almost as if it is your own piece of wellness in the moment that is meant just for you. This visualization is just a taste of what a basic fly fishing experience can include should you choose to give it a try.
One of the most important pieces to wellness that I encourage others to consider is to progressively seek out new ways to develop their mind-body-spirit connections. Fly fishing is one activity that can arguably improve all three areas of health simultaneously.
                Fly fishing is a form of fishing that involves the use of a rod and reel combination that allows the fisherperson to imitate specific prey items to lure fish into biting. The premise of this form of fishing is to observe insects in- and outside of the water and then cast a similar-looking hand-crafted fly to catch the desired species. Many people associate fly fishing to trout, thanks in large part to A River Runs Through It, where trout fishing is a main component in the character’s lives.   However, it is possible to catch fish ranging in size from a farm pond bluegill to sharks while fly fishing.

                While it is always a terrific feeling to come home with a limit of trout after having an experience similar to what was explained in the opening paragraph, it is not the fish that draws me to fly fishing, but instead it is the process. The process involves a significant connection of mind, body, and spirit while feeling as though you are part of something much bigger. Your wellness too, can stem from maintaining a sense of complete tranquility that leads to a humbling interaction with nature and all of its wonders while fly fishing.

Mark Maule
Health and Wellness Instructor

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

By: Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutrition Instructor

I have always been very concerned with the food supply and engineering that occurs with our foods. I think back to sitting in my biochemistry lab in undergraduate school and being stunned at the other students thinking it was great that we could take DNA and manipulate it to a different hybrid food to eat. I have continued to notice that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being discussed with the public. It is very important for the public to have a basic understanding of what is a GMO and what to look for how to read a label in relationship to a GMO.

Generally speaking, genetically modified organisms can be plants/animals that have been genetically altered by engineering. These species cannot occur naturally in the environment.  There has been talk of health and environment problems due to GMO foods in the United States. In many countries, GMO have been banned for decades. The majority of foods are modified and possibly up to about 80% of foods have GMO products found within them.

Foods that have been identified as high risk GMO foods are but are not limited to:
·         Corn
·         Canola
·         Soy
·         Sugar Beets
·         Zucchini
·         Yellow Squash

Additionally, some common foods that have been genetically modified within the last 20 years include tomatoes, potatoes, salmon, and pigs.

You ask, how do I know if something is GMO free? Currently, there are some labels to look for on a food package.  Additionally, organic food may not utilize GMO products. Farmers must prove their crops/animals are GMO free if they are claiming the food is organic. 

Overall, GMO products are continuing to be in the spotlight and concerns are being addressed by many.
Sunday, April 27, 2014

Massage Therapy and Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage

 Written by: Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Kaplan Nutrition Instructor

I have always been a believer in the healing of the body through relaxation techniques and massage. Currently, my massage therapist offers the options to have regular deep tissue massage or Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage.  On a personal note, I have now been a client  receiving massage therapy for over 8 years and I have noticed a huge improvement after an injury. Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage has allowed for an even deeper tissue massage for myself so I decided to share the details in case it maybe an option for you or a loved one.  So what can massage therapy do for you and what is Ashiatsu you ask? 

Massage therapy can be utilized for many different reasons including but not limited to: relaxation, injury, sports injury, and stress reduction.  Massage has also been known to help with anxiety, digestive disorders, insomnia, headaches, and more.  There are multiple types of massage including Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage, and trigger point.

Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage is a type of massage that utilizes the bare feet to apply pressure to the back and side area. In general, there are ceiling bars that a licensed massaged therapist that is trained in Ashiatsu hangs from to apply pressure to the back/side area. Specific techniques of applying pressure to certain areas of the body are administered.  Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Massage is known to release stress, help with posture and treat spinal problems. Gravity allows for deep tissue work to occur it this type of massage.

 Overall massage therapy can allow for relaxation and healing at the same time. 

*** When choosing a licensed massage therapist, do your research and find one that is right for you. Additionally, consult with your doctor before receiving any treatment. 
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gearing up for May - Celiac Awareness Month

By: Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD

With May right around the corner,  I have had an increase in questions about gluten free products and the meal plans in general. Gluten free continues to be the main treatment for Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine.  Gluten and gluten byproducts must not be eaten and individuals must be very aware of possible cross contamination. 

Ingredients that should be avoided include but are not limited are:
·      *  Wheat
·      *  Rye
·      *  Triticale
·     *   Barley
·         - Many byproducts such as malt 

At times, people may assume that if you are gluten free you cannot have many of your favorite baked goods. However, there are many different recipes that can provide excellent alternatives for the traditionally made baked products.  Here is one of my favorites that a small portion can be eaten when eating those once in a while treats that utilizes garbanzo beans 

Garbanzo Bean Chocolate cake

*** make sure to check all of the labels of any ingredients to make sure there are no additives that have gluten/gluten byproducts  in them

4 eggs
1  - 19 oz can garbanzo beans – drain and rinsed
½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use 80% or more dark chocolate and I just chop it up into smaller pieces)
¾ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup fresh raspberries 

-          Oven is preheated to 350 degrees F
-          Grease pan approximately 9” or 10” pan
-          Place chocolate in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes – stirring every 15 seconds until chocolate is melted (or use double boiler if available) –
-          Place beans and eggs in food processor  until a smooth texture – add sugar and baking powder – utilize pulse function – pour in melted chocolate and blend
-          Pour mixture into greased pan
-          Bake for approximately 40 minutes in oven or until knife inserted in cake comes out clean
-          Cool on rack for 10 minutes or more
-          Place fresh raspberries on top to taste

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lawn treats

By: Mary Oleksowicz, MSTOM , L.Ac

Spring greens are an excellent way to begin to switch your diet to a more seasonal menu.  Many examples of spring greens can be found in your local produce section or farmer’s market. These greens would include:
  • Arugula 
  • Radicchio
  • Collards 
  • Kale 
  • Endive 
  • Escarole 
  • Spinach
  • Parsley 
  • Watercress
  • Red or green mustard greens
I enjoy harvesting spring greens not only from my garden but from my lawn and backyard as well . LAWN ?!?!  That’s right I said lawn. Many spring greens are considered weeds by most. However they can be harvested from pesticide and herbicide free areas with little effort. Examples of these would include:
  • Nettles 
  • Dandelion greens
  • Sorrel 
While traditionally, many of these plants would be harvested in late March or early April, the long winter that much of the United States has encountered has delayed the growing season.  
Harvesting nettles is the most difficult of the greens listed here. You would need sturdy leather gloves as the plant tends to “sting” when touched with bare hands.
Stinging Nettle StingersStinging Nettle photo
You would also need scissors and protective clothing on as nettles grow in areas that may have dense weeds.  Nettles are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, and histamine all of which are helpful components in assisting the body during the spring allergy season. Look for tender young plants, put on your gloves, and cut off only the upper leaves (no larger than about 3” wide).Check the undersides of the leaves  for absence of white spittle and cut the leaves from the stems as you go. Plants should be no higher than your knees in order to be young enough to harvest.  One shopping bag full is often enough for a soup or lasagna base.   
 Dandelions are much easier to harvest. The entire plant is edible but in the spring the tender basal rosettes provide the cleansing benefits we associate with spring greens without the bitterness of older leaves.  Roots if harvested can also be roasted and used as tea. I enjoy the tender leaves sautéed with garlic and olive oil or placed into salad mix to contrast the natural sweetness of other greens.  
One of my favorite “lawn” treats is common wood sorrel. Many people would refer to the common wood sorrel as a “shamrock”. Eating these plants increases vitamin C Historically, it was used to treat scurvy, fevers, and sore throats.  There are no poisonous look-alikes.  Clover is often mistaken for wood sorrel but clover is not poisonous. So this is a great starter plant to forage for those who are not brave of heart.  The addition of dandelion, sorrel and even clover  can definitely add a wonderful twist to your salad this weekend.
Wood Sorrel in Flower
Harvesting dandelions and sorrel can be a wonderful family activity and adds an interesting conversation to the dinner table. I hope that the weather is nice enough this weekend, so you and your loved ones can enjoy harvesting fresh spring greens together!!

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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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