Your Healthy Guide to Dining Out

If you’ve added “eating better” to your list of New Year’s resolutions, then you’ll definitely want to review this article. We’ll reveal tips and strategies to help you choose healthy options and keep off the pounds when you’re dining out.

In our rapid-paced world, a trip to our favorite restaurant or fast food drive thru in and around Tallahassee is a weekly occurrence for a lot of us. It can certainly be a time saver, but the impact of large restaurant meals and fast food is taking its toll. In a three-year study that looked at fast food eating among women, researchers commented, “Over 3 years, increases in frequency of fast food restaurant use were associated with increases in body weight, total energy intake, percentage fat intake, intake of hamburgers, french fries and soft drinks, and with decreases in physical activity, dietary restraint and low-fat eating behaviors.”

While scores of eating establishments are switching to healthier menu choices, the portion size of one restaurant meal can be as much as five regular meal servings. Endless refills of soft drinks are standard at a lot of restaurants, and this can swell your calorie intake.

Fast foods are frequently high in fat and low in nutrients. Many restaurants are eliminating or reducing trans fats in their foods. This is certainly a positive trend. But foods high in saturated fats continue to be a main staple on menus.

The food is also often high in sodium, which is a risk factor for hypertension.

Smart Dining Options

Even before you select a restaurant in Tallahassee, there are a couple of actions you should take:

1. See if the restaurant’s menu is online. Knowing what is available ahead of time let’s you plan a healthy meal in advance without pressure. 

2. Eat a wholesome snack so you don’t arrive with an empty stomach at the restaurant. Here are some other tips…

Back away from the buffet. Avoid buffet restaurants. The amount of food you eat is important too. A buffet practically begs you to visit it more than once, and this can be too big of a temptation to resist. Even sticking to the salad section of a buffet can be deceiving as the various dressings can be high in calories and fat.

Bank your calories. Instead of eating three full meals daily, eat a couple of lighter meals and use your restaurant selection as your main meal of the day. Ask your server if the restaurant has a nutrition sheet on its menu items.

Get it on the side. When you order salad with dressing, ask for the dressing to be put on the side. This way you control the amount used and can nix some extra calories.

Look for these labels. Be aware of meals containing foods that are fried, battered or breaded. These food choices are generally high in fat and calories. 

Chicken undressed. When it comes to poultry dishes, choose skinless choices.

Watch the sauce. If you order soup or pasta with sauce, avoid cream-based ingredients as these can pack a wallop of extra calories and saturated fat. 

Drink water. Consuming water helps give your stomach a full feeling without adding calories. If you really don’t like water plain, add a slice of lime or lemon to it.

Dine in. Take out. You don’t have to eat everything on your plate in one sitting. Take half of your restaurant

meal home with you.

Food is for sharing. Another option is to share your entrée and dessert with a friend or family member.

Coffee counts. If you like to fancy up your coffee drink with lots of whip cream, sugar or syrup, prepare to pay a high caloric price. Choose sugar-free sweetening options or switch occasionally to clear tea.

Take it slow. Chew your food thoroughly and delight in each bite. By slowing down your eating, you give your body more time to alert you when it’s full. 

Focus on your food. Avoid eating while watching TV or engaging in other activities as this makes you less aware of how much food you’re actually eating

Winter No Wonderland When Feeling S.A.D

“You can’t get too much winter in the winter,” said Robert Frost. But some would disagree with the famed poet. At least half a million North Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The onset of this disorder is usually autumn and winter, and the worst months for sufferers appear to be January and February. For SAD patients, even a short winter season can seem like an eternity.

SAD most often occurs in northern countries, where winters are usually harsher than those south of the equator. It tends to first occur in young adulthood and affects younger women more than any other group – the reasons remain unclear. SAD is extremely rare in children and teens.

The disorder can be difficult to diagnose as symptoms are similar to hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia and mononucleosis.  SAD is not officially recognized as a distinct disorder. It’s often categorized as a subset of depression. But ask anyone who suffers from it, and they’ll tell you the symptoms are all too real – depression, lack of energy, fatigue, weight gain and high carbohydrate food cravings. Not everybody suffers the same symptoms, and the severity of symptoms can differ dramatically from one person to the next.

Science is perplexed as to what causes SAD and why it affects only some people. The widely held theory is that the disorder is tied to a disruption in our body’s circadian rhythms — our biological clock that tells us when to wake and when to sleep. During winter, the late dawn and early sunsets can throw our circadian rhythms out of sync. Longer periods of darkness cause the body to produce the sleep hormone melatonin earlier in the day and at increased levels. Melatonin is a factor in other depressive syndromes, so it’s not surprising it’s linked with SAD.

Another natural substance that may play a role is serotonin, a neurotransmitter, which impacts mood. Insufficient sunlight can cause serotonin levels to dip.

A lack of vitamin D in your body may also spur SAD. Ultraviolent light from the sun sparks production of this vitamin. But reduced sunlight during winter may leave you at risk for months of vitamin D deficiency.

A new theory about SAD was unveiled in 2008. Research at the University of Virginia uncovered a genetic mutation in the eye that may be a key culprit in seasonal affective disorder. The mutation seems to cause the eyes of a SAD patient to be less sensitive to light, and we know light impacts brain chemistry. While not everyone who’s diagnosed with SAD has this mutation, the people with this genetic anomaly are five times more likely to develop the disorder. And nearly 30% of SAD patients come from families with a history of the disorder, suggesting a strong link to genetics.

Treatment Can be Hit and Miss

The treatments for SAD are varied, as not everyone responds the same way. Traditional medicine often recommends anti-depressant medications. But these drugs can take weeks to work and are often accompanied by irritating side effects.

Another option is to supplement with melatonin, which is available in most health food stores. However, taking melatonin in the wrong amount and/or at the wrong time of day may not be effective. Talk to Dr. Lowery before trying supplementation. Getting sufficient vitamin D may also help alleviate the effects of SAD.

A drug-free option that works for many sufferers is a light box. Since we know that light influences the brain, the use of this tool makes sense. The patient sits near the light box for a short period of time – usually in the morning – to help elevate mood and synchronize her circadian rhythms. If you decide to try light therapy, you should only buy a light box specifically designed for seasonal affective disorder. It should keep ultraviolet light to a minimum as it can damage your eyes and skin. Visit manufacturers’ websites and review the specifications of the unit to ensure you’re getting a safe product. You should be aware government health regulators have not endorsed this type of therapy for SAD.

Simple Alternatives to Deal with SAD

Here are some other easy steps that can help you deal with seasonal affective disorder:

Take a stroll outside during your lunch break to soak up sunlight. Keep blinds and curtains open.

And be sure to spend ample time with friends and family. A supportive social network is key to lifting your spirits. As author Victor Hugo said, “Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”

The Importance of Water for Your Health

As spring and summer approach here in Tallahassee, we often spend more time under the sun and engaged in physical activities. It’s vital that you keep your body well hydrated.

Why is water so important for our health? Just look at how many body systems are structured with water as a key component…

Importance of Water

Brain: 85% water

Blood: 83% water

Muscles: 75% water

Bones: 35% water

So you can see the health of your body would be dramatically affected without proper hydration. For example, even mild dehydration slows your metabolism by 3%. It’s also the biggest trigger of daytime fatigue.

Although you might assume you only need water when you’re thirsty, you would be making a dangerous assumption. By the time you feel thirst, your body is already in the process of dehydration. The shocking truth is 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated.

All of the following bodily functions depend on hydration:

Digestion. This process begins with saliva production in the mouth. Made up of almost 100% water, saliva makes food easier to swallow. Water also allows for vitamins to be absorbed by the body, especially water-soluble vitamin C and the B vitamins. Without water, digestion of these vitamins would be like trying to digest rock.

Circulation. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every tissue of the body. Without blood, tissues would starve. Blood also carries hormones and other important cellular messengers. The flowing nature of water allows these messengers to circulate through the bloodstream.

Nervous system function. The brain is the master regulator of bodily functions, and communicates with the rest of the body via the nervous system. Nerves, and the transmission of nerve impulses, depend largely on the electrostatic properties of water. And because water is a good conductor, a more hydrated tissue allows for easier transmission of these nerve impulses.

Metabolic waste. The lymphatic system, the kidneys and the large intestine all work together to rid the body of metabolic waste. The lymphatic system reabsorbs extracellular fluid back into the circulatory system, ensuring that an adequate amount of fluid remains in the blood. The kidneys filter blood, eliminating unwanted materials and maintaining an appropriate electrolyte balance.

The large intestines rid the body of any digested material that is not absorbed by the small intestine. And it also serves to reabsorb sufficient quantities of water when necessary. Without water, waste material would build up to toxic levels.

Body movement and joint function.

Almost every movable joint in the body is soaking with a substance called synovial fluid. It’s comprised almost entirely of water and resembles a balloon squished between two surfaces. The synovium provides cushioning and absorbs the compressive load that the two joint surfaces experience. In addition, synovial fluid helps deliver nutrients to the bones and cartilage of the joint.

Without proper hydration, the spinal joints can become very stiff and lead to injury or early degeneration. In fact, preliminary research indicates that eight to ten glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

What Is a Healthy Amount of Water to Drink?

Some health experts recommend a person drink at least 8 to 12 cups (2 to 3 liters) of water per day, depending upon activity levels and environmental temperatures. To allow for differences in body sizes, the experts suggest that a person’s minimum water requirements (in ounces) every 24-hour cycle should equal one-half of that person’s body weight (in pounds). For example, a 200-pound man should drink at least 100 ounces of water per day (2.9 liters).

Dr. Lowery recommends the following tips to keep you optimally hydrated:

Visiting a Chiropractor in Tallahassee

While there are many reasons people decide to visit a chiropractor, it’s safe to say that the general public knowledge on the subject is a little lacking at best. This is mainly due to the many common misconceptions and myths surrounding the subject of chiropractic care, as well as the initial disbelief people had, especially in the Western culture.

Here at Lowery Chiropractic, we are committed to providing you with all the knowledge you need to fully understand the potential benefits you could gain by deciding to get acquainted with chiropractic care, here in Tallahassee.

The main benefit of getting chiropractic care is the actual value that’s expressed in the relief of the pain and aches you may be experiencing, which will ultimately lead towards the improvement of your health in the most natural way possible.

Whatever your symptoms may be, Dr. Lowery will ensure that you get the best possible treatment for any back or neck pain you may be experiencing. However, while a visit to the chiropractor’s office may grant even instant pain relief, in order for it to be completely successful, there are certain steps and guidelines you’ll have to go through.

The first step in getting your body to heal itself naturally is to diagnose the root cause of the issue that’s been causing you to have a certain type of discomfort or pain.

While the symptoms will certainly help Dr. Lowery to determine that root cause, the main goal of the whole diagnostic process is to determine which treatment is going to be the best possible fit for what you need, in order to start the healing process.

We live and work by our motto – “Healthcare that truly cares” and we’ll do everything in our power to get you the treatment you need. In order to do just that, we have an extended network of medical professionals that can complement what we have to offer, so you’ll know exactly where to go to get your treatment, right here in Tallahassee.

Aside from treating the standard issues connected with chiropractic care like neck pain, lower back pain, auto whiplash and pregnancy pains, we also take great pride in extending our services with a number of other ailments you may be experiencing.

Fitness Injuries

While there are a number of sports where you can get easily injured, especially if you’re not paying special attention to the warm-up processes and the overall practice in the sport of your choice, running seems to bring out some of the common fitness issues that chiropractors can remove.

Plantar Fasciitis

Those issues include plantar fasciitis, which can be classified as a repetitive strain of the plantar fascia that can lead to an inflammation of the tissues and muscles located at the bottom of your feet and can be quite painful.

Shin splints are another common issue connected with running and can be classified as a tenderness or even pain on the front of your shins. This pain is at its peak when you’re running, but dulls after you’ve finished your running routine.

Runners Knee

Runner’s knee is perhaps the most cited reason for runners giving up on this sport, as a result of the pain centralizing under the knee joint and it’s usually coupled with IT band syndrome, which is an inflammation on the outside of your knee.

However, a little-known fact is that with the proper joint adjustment coupled with other chiropractic treatments, you can overcome these issues, if not eliminate them entirely before they materialize.

The key to avoiding and overcoming of these issues is an alignment and function of your joints.

Preventive chiropractic care is something Lowery Chiropractic takes a special focus on, making sure that all Tallahassee runners avoid any potential injuries in their running routine.  

What to expect when you’re visiting us for the first time

One of our main goals during your first visit is to make you feel as comfortable as you can. In the end, comfort and good health should be the ultimate reason for your visit, even if pain relief is the first one. In order to help you start feeling better Dr. Lowery has come up with a simple, yet effective 3 step process that will ensure that everything goes smoothly from the beginning to the end.

In order to help you start feeling better, Dr. Lowery has come up with a simple yet effective 3 step process that will ensure that everything goes smoothly from the beginning to the end.

Step 1 of that process is the proper introduction that has to happen between a patient and a doctor. After your initial paperwork is completed, Dr. Lowery will bring you to the exam room, and start conducting the history of the symptoms and pains you are experiencing, in order to fully understand what’s the root cause of that pain.

After delving into your medical history, Dr. Lowery will conduct a physical exam to further expand and assess the knowledge about what’s troubling you.

After the initial diagnosis is completed, Dr. Lowery will them move on to recommending and implementing the best possible treatment for your condition. If the problem is not eliminated or at least if it’s not on the path of being eliminated, we will do our best to recommend further treatment or diagnostics that are needed.

This will help your body heal itself naturally, which is the ultimate goal of our medical practice, and one of the main reasons why Dr. Lowery decided to become a chiropractor in the first place.

Now that you’ve seen how our 3 step process works, you can use the form listed on the right or call us at 850-877-9150 to schedule your first visit to a chiropractic clinic that is dedicated to providing a better life for the people of Tallahassee.

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