4 Ways to go Organic this Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is around the corner, so it is time to start planning out the biggest meal of the year. If you are thinking of going organic for some of or your entire thanksgiving feast this year here are some reasons why you should and items you should consider:

Turkey: As the biggest portion of the meal, choosing to go organic with the turkey can really make the difference not only for health reasons, but also for better taste. Many claim that fresh, organic turkeys versus a conventional turkey simply taste better. While the more important reason to buy an organic turkey is because conventionally large turkeys are often bred in inhumane environments and fed with a lot of antibiotics not ideal human consumption. Although it may cost more, going organic with your turkey this year is the better, healthier, and tastier choice.

Side Dishes: There are organic, tasty options for most of the traditional Thanksgiving Day side dishes such as stuffing, cranberry sauces, dipping sauces, soups and crackers. Simply make a list of all your normal Thanksgiving side dish ingredient needs and check your local store for the organic option to avoid those genetically engineered ingredients. If your local store doesn’t quite have the options you are looking for, try suggesting certain items to the manager by letting them know you’d buy them if they were stocked. Not sure what brands or organic items to look for or where to get them? Try this website with lots of helpful information.

Fresh Vegetables: If it is available at your local store this time of year, why not try the organic fresh produce and veggies? Make the switch with those carrots and potatoes and avoid the more dangerous, less regulated pesticides farmers use on non-Organic foods. Certain chemicals are used to make veggies and fruits bigger and look fresh longer, however these chemicals often take away from the taste and nutritional value of the food.

Dessert: Changing up the dessert options for Thanksgiving can be a bit scary, but with these simple Organic Dessert Recipe options, the idea can be reality without any problems. Organic Pumpkin pie, organic apple pie, organic flourless chocolate cake are all wonderful ideas that are easy to accomplish with a little research for your favorite recipe option and some creative shopping. Plan to shop ahead in case it takes a few stores to find all of the organic ingredients you might want.

For family wellness, pain relief, professional chiropractor care, and massage, schedule an appointment today at Chugach Chiropractic and Massage Center in Eagle River, Alaska.  907.694.0224

 

4 Ways to Make the Most of Short Winter Days

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With winter weather and shorter days fast upon us, it is important to find creative ways to make the most of the limited daylight hours Alaskans get during the winter months.

Wake up Early: When the day is so short that you don’t get to see the sun before work and you don’t get more than twilight afterwards, motivation can become a struggle. Instead of putting off the things you normally do at the end of the day, try waking up a bit early and getting them done before your daily responsibilities. By working out or taking the dog for his daily walk in the morning instead of in the evening, you may find your day much easier. You will have more energy by starting the day off with a bit more activity, and you can now make more use of the daylight hours you might have left at the end of each day. Exercising in the morning is a great way to boost metabolism and mood.

Buy a “Happy Light”: Often times throughout the winter, Alaskans will find that they still have a long list of things to do after a work day but no motivation to get it done because of the weather and lack of daylight. Combat this problem by outfitting your home with some Happy Lights that simulate the spectrum of natural daylight in your home or office. By getting some extra needed doses of vitamin D via a Happy Light, people may find that they have more energy to get their daily chores, meal prep, and responsibilities tackled throughout the dark and dreary winter months that Alaskans endure.

Plan Weekends Ahead: By waking up early and getting the responsible things done during the week, you and your family can plan some fun weekend activities to make the winter less of a drag. Look ahead at the weather and take advantage of any sunny or slightly warmer days by going out to a park, ice-skating, or sledding. Keep track of extra snowy days to be able to plan ahead and have some fun with the many winter outdoor activities Alaskans love. Try waking up earlier on the weekends and going to bed earlier to better take advantage of the daylight hours. By waking up before daylight and getting ready for the day by sunrise, you and your family can get plenty of outdoor daylight hours all winter long.

Run Errands During the Week: Don’t put off all of your grocery shopping and shoveling for the weekend and waste all your precious daylight hours. By forcing yourself to put in a few extra hours doing chores and holiday planning during the week after work or on your lunch, you will have more time to spend enjoying the daylight hours during the weekends with your family. Don’t put off all that holiday shopping until Saturday afternoon when it is finally sunny out and you don’t have to sit at your desk; get that done after work one day so that you can spend that Saturday sledding with your kids or getting some exercise.

For family wellness, pain relief, professional chiropractor care, and massage, schedule an appointment today at Chugach Chiropractic and Massage Center in Eagle River, Alaska.  907.694.0224

 

6 Helpful Tips For Someone with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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With November being National Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Awareness Month; here are 7 helpful tips for to better understand the chronic pain condition that many Americans struggle to live with everyday.

  1. Common Symptoms: According to a National Institutes of Health Study, millions of Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain so understanding what someone with chronic pain is going through on a daily basis is important for friends, family, and doctors to better support someone they may know suffering from things like CRPS. When it comes to CRPS there are four key symptoms: burning chronic pain long after an injury should have healed, inflammation that is out of proportion to an accident or injury, spasms, and lastly insomnia/emotional distress. There are a lot of other symptoms that can be associated with CRPS that are not being ignored as well. To understand the full list of symptoms, check out this helpful website here.
  2. Anyone can get it: While CRPS is commonly diagnosed after one or many forms of blunt trauma, failed surgery or infection, there are many reasons that one can be diagnosed with CRPS. While it is most commonly diagnosed in women, anyone can get it. Teenagers as well as War Veterans can be diagnosed with CRPS as well.
  3. Get a Team of Doctors ASAP: With no known cure for CRPS, quick treatment after being diagnosed is important if there is to be any hope of some form of pain relief and or remission (a prolonged pain free period of time). Finding a medical doctor knowledgeable about not only diagnosing but also successfully treating CRPS is the first step. Additional doctors that may be very helpful with CRPS are: Anesthesiologist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Acupuncture, Calmare Doctor (may have to travel for these treatments), Physical Therapist, Mental Health Therapist and lastly a doctor specialized in whichever limb is affected. Having a large team of doctors who preferably communicate about treatment plans can be very helpful for quick and effective treatments.
  4. Research Treatments First: Not all doctors are equally trained, and not all doctors have the most up to date knowledge on how to best treat CRPS. Do your own research before trying any new treatment; find other CRPS patients on the web via support groups and ask them about what has worked for them. CRPS is inherently difficult to diagnose and treat, and is not a familiar subject for most medical professionals. Treatment methods have not been standardized and taught; there is no manual or protocol. Do your own research and find what might work best for you, ask your doctor questions and advocate for yourself if you have to.
  5. Find a support group: This one may seem obvious to someone with a large, supportive family or group of friends. However, often after a patient begins to navigate the world of chronic pain, they find that not all of their friends and family members are up for dealing with the new, life-long challenge. When dealing with chronic pain, be sure to surround yourself with supportive, understanding, and (most of all) positive people. When your brain is constantly working to put your pain out of your mind and focus on the here and now, you don’t have time to have negative people in your life who just don’t get what you’re going through. It might help to write a letter to friends and family explaining your new life and new “norm” with CRPS. There are also online and local support groups for patients suffering with chronic pain illness and CRPS specifically. Do not try to navigate this alone, support is needed every step of the way. This website has a lot of helpful support links worth looking at if you need a place to start.
  1. There are a lot of treatment options, but no cure: Research is constantly being done searching for the cure for CRPS and many chronic pain illnesses. With no cure as of yet, doctors and patients are constantly seeking new and alternative treatments to gain some pain relief. If the normal options offered by your doctors aren’t working, don’t lose hope; there are more options out there. Chiropractors and Acupuncturists can be great resources of knowledge and expertise for alternative treatment ideas. Some alternative options can be found here and One treatment that is gaining popularity and success is Calmare Scrambler Therapy, which you can find out more about here.

For family wellness, pain relief, professional chiropractor care, and massage, schedule an appointment today at Chugach Chiropractic and Massage Center in Eagle River, Alaska.  907.694.0224

 

5 Alternative Wellness Treatments for Veterans

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The men and women serving our country and fighting in wars often develop a wide range of physical and mental health difficulties to overcome after returning home and retiring. With today’s technology and information readily available to people, there are some alternative ways to treat the problems Veterans commonly face.

  1. Chiropractic Care: While this is a normal wellness care option offered to Veterans, many may not think to utilize it to take care of their musculoskeletal and back pain issues. Don’t let back pain and other body pains keep you from living the life you want after a career of service; talk to your chiropractor today and see what they can do for you.
  1. Yoga: As a new alternative care option offered by the Veterans Administration, yoga and meditation can do a lot for the pain and stress that veterans often experience. While the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs now lists yoga as a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) option for PTSD, yoga and other forms of bodywork have been known to help veterans with back pain as well. With more veterans experiencing back pain according to this article, it is important to begin thinking outside the normal treatment options to seek relief after a career of service.
  1. Acupuncture: While the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs also names Acupuncture as CAM option for veterans with PTSD, acupuncture is also a fantastic aide for muscle and nerve pain. For veterans struggling to gain pain relief from the normal treatment options, acupuncture just might be the treatment that works. Talk with your VA doctor about any local acupuncturists available with your Veterans benefits.
  1. Local Resources: Check out any local resources for Veterans and see if something might be useful, interesting or helpful for you and your family. The University of Alaska Anchorage has a Military and Veterans Student Services with helpful community and student resources; you can check out their website Additionally, Alaska has some uplifting community Veteran support programs such as Alaska Healing Hearts and Project Healing Waters Alaska that offer alternative ways to overcome emotional and physical setbacks.
  1. Self Help Apps: If you have a smartphone or a tablet this list of Apps for Veterans for health and wellness might be pretty useful. From apps that help understanding your VA benefits, to apps that help you track weight loss and communicate with your family easier there are quite a few apps designed with Veterans and their families in mind.

 

5 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkins

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It’s that time of year again for pumpkin carving, pumpkin pies and plenty of pumpkin spice treats. Here are some health benefits to eating pumpkin that people may not know about.

  • Vital Vitamins: Pumpkin is packed with vitamins vital for good health such as Vitamin A, C and E. Vitamin A is thought to help prolong and promote eye health so when you’re eating that extra slice of pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving, you can say it is actually for your eyesight.  Plus, since vitamin C is a fantastic aide for the immune system, eating a bit of pumpkin each day could keep illness and eye problems away.
  • Fiber: If you are looking for a sweet dose of fiber, try eating some pumpkin. By eating raw or canned pumpkin, you’ll be getting some fiber needed for healthier digestion. Fiber takes longer to digest so it may cause you to feel more full; this may encourage you to eat more proportionate meals and potentially lose weight, if that is your goal.
  • Lower that Blood Pressure: Between the Vitamin C, potassium and fiber found in pumpkin, it is thought to aid in heart health and lowering blood pressure. While lowering sodium intake is important for a normal blood pressure range, so is having an adequate amount of potassium in your diet.
  • Sleep Aide: Pumpkin seeds have tryptophan, the amino acid often considered to be responsible for the post-Thanksgiving meal sleepiness. Pumpkin seeds are one of the top ten seeds packed with tryptophan; if you are having trouble sleeping, save those seeds from your Halloween pumpkin carving this year and give them a try to see if you sleep better. A popular preparation is salting and pan-frying in a small amount of oil.
  • Minerals: Some minerals such as zinc and magnesium are found in pumpkin seeds. Zinc in particular is a great thing to gain from eating pumpkin seeds because zinc is thought to aide in hormone production, fertility, prostate health and much more.

5 Facts about Breast Cancer Everyone Should Know

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Most people know that Breast Cancer is one of the top cancers diagnosed in women as 1 in 8 women are diagnosed within their lifetime. But there are plenty of other facts that everyone should be aware of.

  1. Men can be diagnosed, too: Although it is 100 times more prevalent in women, men can be diagnosed with breast cancer, as well. While women have a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed, men have a 1 in 1,000 chance with about 2,600 diagnoses annually. With 95% of all breast cancer cases in the United States being in women, some may think that men just don’t get it.
  2. Death Rates are Declining: With the rates of diagnoses declining since 1990, there are currently over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. Doctors credit earlier detection and improved treatment for the decline in diagnoses and death rates.
  3. Breastfeeding may reduce risk: Recent research is showing that women who breastfeed for a year or more have a reduced risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The approximate risk reduction is 4. 3% per 12 months of breast-feeding.
  4. You Can Control Some Risk Factors: Although there is no proven way to prevent Breast Cancer, there are plenty of things everyone can do to control the risk factors in their life that could lead to a diagnoses. Starting with exercise, healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco, there are many things people can do to potentially reduce their risk.
  5. There are warning signs: Everyone should pay attention to gradual or sudden changes in their bodies. When it comes to breast cancer, aside from getting annual mammograms, there are warning signs one can notice prior to their annual check up. While the warning signs are not the same in everyone, symptoms such as nipple discharge, new lumps, or changes to the breast or nipple can be indicators that should not be ignored. Being familiar with one’s body is important to noticing changes and taking advantage of preventative medicine.

4 Reasons to get a Mammogram this month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Here are four good reasons why females should remember to get a mammogram this month.

  1. Preventative Medicine Saves Lives: Many forms of breast cancer when caught early are very treatable and patients have a much higher chance of survival. Talk to your doctor about when your family history, risks and when should begin getting annual mammograms. Knowing early can save your life.
  2. Breast Cancer Awareness Month: By getting your mammogram this month you can be a personal reminder to all your female friends, family and coworkers that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When you get it during the month that everyone is always talking about it you are much less likely to forget the month you’d received your last one and when you’ll need another one. Never miss an annual mammogram again by getting it on the month that everyone is talking about it.
  3. You might get a treat: Some local clinics and hospitals will actually give you a gift for coming in for a mammogram during the month of October. Health care professionals are that serious about preventative medicine that they encourage you to come in by giving you chocolates or other goodies. Nobody enjoys having her breasts inspected by a stranger, but getting a chocolate at the end of it could make it less of a horrible chore.
  4. Lead by Example: Children learn a lot from their parents, including what’s important for good health. If you have a daughter, it is a good idea to talk with her about the importance of staying on top of preventative health. While young girls don’t need mammograms the education will help them realize the importance of it. A young girl is more likely to remember to do it themselves when they’re adults if they see their mother getting theirs done every year during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

10 Ways to Use your PFD on a healthier lifestyle

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The time of year has come again when Alaskans are gifted the annual permanent fund dividend. Instead of splurging on the latest and greatest TV, video game, or vacation deal, here are ten ways you can spend your PFD on a healthier lifestyle.

  1. Re-Stock Your Pantry: Toss the old and expired foods, donate what you know you won’t consume before its expiration date and restock your kitchen with fresh, healthy ingredients. Replace what you can with higher quality or organic products to help improve and maintain your families’ good health through the holiday months. It might be wise to think ahead and set aside enough money for healthy, organic holiday feasts.
  2. Set up a home gym: Maybe you don’t have time or don’t like to go to the gym down the road; you’d rather just stay home to workout while watching Dancing with the Stars or being with your family. Take advantage of stores’ huge PFD sales and get that piece of equipment you’ve had your eye on. If you have a spare room you have been meaning to convert into your home gym, take some of your PFD money to get that work done.
  3. Medical Expenses: Have your kids had their flu shots; sports physicals? Copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses can be overwhelming. Set aside some of your PFD to pay off any unpaid medical bills, or prepare for the new years expenses. Having cash set aside for that trip to the Emergency Room could really come in handy.
  4. Plan ahead: Start setting aside portions or all of your or your kid’s PFDs for a college savings account. By the time your child is old enough for college there could be a good amount of money to help pay for college.
  5. New Bed: Has your back been aching? Are you always tired or feel like you aren’t getting good rest? It may be time for a new bed. Talk to your chiropractor about the type of bed or pillow that might best alleviate your sleep-related aches and pains.
  6. Relaxing Massage: The holiday season is right around the corner; avoid the stress this year by staying relaxed with a good therapeutic massage. Set aside part of your PFD for a good massage or two for you or your whole family. Relaxing and working out knots and tight muscles will help keep you and your family happier and healthier.
  7. Make Needed Repairs: Is there a nagging task around your house that you just haven’t found the cash to repair or do? Take care of that first before buying your new TV or video game console. Make sure your home life is comfortable, safe and ready for the winter. Take this money to winterize your house and cars.
  8. Pay for fall sports: Kids staying active through the fall and winter is very important for their mental and physical health. Assure that your kids can enjoy whichever sport they choose this fall by setting aside the needed money to cover the monthly expenses and gear. Sport clubs, teams and groups can get expensive pretty quick, so paying for them now assures that your kid can continue playing all year long.
  9. Ask your kids: Take this time of year to sit down with your kids and allow them to choose something to buy for themselves. Set rules that it must be something productive and something that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Talk with them about the importance of a healthy active lifestyle and help them learn to make good choices when it comes to their health. Maybe they want a new bike, or winter sporting gear.
  10. Join a Gym: Not all households have the room or desire for a home gym, so try out a gym membership. Get ahead of the holiday weight gain and worry by spending some money on those gym membership and enrollment fees, get yourself some great new workout clothes and sneakers so that you have no excuse not to utilize your new membership. Shop around find the best deal for what suits your needs.

4 Ways to Embrace the Outdoors this Winter

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With winter well on its way, it is time to take a look at some outdoor winter activities to help your family stay active, happy and healthy through the cold months. Instead of hunkering down for the winter with warm drinks, puzzles and Netflix, try embracing this winter by spending more time outdoors!

  1. Go for family winter walks: Bundle up the family, get out the flashlights and head outside for a wintertime walk. Whether it is an afternoon stroll on a weekend or an evening after-dinner walk, getting the whole family outside and enjoying the scenery that winter in Alaska brings us is an easy way to stay active this winter. Go and check out the neighborhood holiday decorations, take the dog for a walk instead of just letting it in the yard and enjoy some fresh air. Keep an eye on the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) forecast and go for an evening walk out to a darker area to get a great view of the best night time light show it the sky. Always stay safe by watching for moose and by bringing lights or reflectors so that vehicles can see you.
  2. Find a winter activity: There are so many winter sports that anyone in the family can try. Sit down with your kids this fall and ask them what winter sport they want to work on throughout the winter, maybe even have them set goals for specific activity-related accomplishments. Some of the options include but are not limited to: snowboarding, skiing, dog sleds, snow shoeing, ice skating, driving a snow-mobile, ice fishing and sledding! Don’t want to commit to the price of the gear if your kid is only trying the activity for the first time? Check with local sport equipment stores such as Skinny Raven and REI for gear and supply rentals. Additionally, the University of Alaska Anchorage has an outdoor gear rental shop with winter gear and information available to students and faculty. Take advantage of sunny warmer days and get outside with your winter activity of choice. Always pay attention to weather and snow conditions for your destination before going out on a snowy Alaskan adventure. Snow conditions are fickle and can be dangerous even if they do not appear to be, so educate yourselves and your family of current conditions prior to every outing.
  3. Choose a winter challenge: Have you ever wanted to go camping in the winter, hike a snowy peak, or go on a group cross-country ski trip to a remote cabin? Challenge yourself to one of your wish list Alaskan adventure items this year. Get outside as much as you can instead of basically hibernating in front of the TV for the next few months. Find something you want to do but have always been too lazy, afraid or busy to do and make it happen this winter. End the year right by reaching goals you’ve had on your mind for a while. Challenge yourself to that ski trip or that big slope you’ve been eyeing, go for a hike with some snow shoes and enjoy yourself. Alaska can be cold and dreary throughout the winter, or you can go out and embrace its beauty and all that is has to offer all year long.
  4. Attend the winter festivities: Bored of doing the same winter activity every week? Check out the winter festivities going on around Alaska every year such as the annual Fur Rondy Festival and the Slush Cup. Keep up online with all the big events happening in Anchorage, Eagle River and Wasilla.

8 Healthy Meals to Start this Fall Season Right

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As the fall season begins and our minds turn to our favorite holiday feasts and our cold weather comfort foods, it is time to rethink our sodium and calorie-dense favorite foods and start looking at healthier options.

  1. Pumpkin Ravioli: The regular meat and cheese ravioli is high in fat and calories; try making your own ravioli with pumpkin instead of cheese. This recipe will keep the creamy texture everyone enjoys with ravioli while making it a healthier option
  2. Pecan Crusted Chicken: Skip the usual fatty breading with your favorite chicken dish and replace it with crushed pecans. Serve with a spinach salad or some whole grain brown rice to make it a complete, healthy meal.
  3. Salmon Cakes: Change things up from the normal crab cake appetizer by using what is probably already in your freezer- salmon! Get creative this fall by trying various salmon recipes, this salmon cake recipe is sure to impress your friends and family at this years holiday parties. There are plenty of fall-themed fish dishes with a lot of variety worth checking out and trying out this season.
  4. Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts are a delicious healthy side for any meal on their own, but with this recipe your family will be asking to have Brussels sprouts more often.  With the capers and carrots, this healthy side dish is great for a holiday party or for your average family dinner.
  5. Creamy Turnip Potatoes: Change up the normal mashed potatoes and make them a little healthier for everyone with this turnip potatoes recipe. Low in calories and high in vitamin C, turnips are a great addition to potatoes with their peppery flavor.
  6. Broccoli Beef and Potato Hotdish: We all crave warm, filling dinners after a long, cold day in Alaska. Instead of loads of cheese, meat and potatoes, try adding some veggies to make the meal healthier. Check out this recipe as a new casserole option this fall.
  7. Slow Cooker Stew: Save yourself some time all while prepping a hearty, healthy meal for your family this fall. Mix things up and try chicken-based stews, or of course the Alaskan family favorite: moose meat stew. Be sure to add lots of fresh veggies to make it a well-rounded meal.
  8. Roast Chicken and Sweat Potatoes: The sweet potatoes add some variety to your normal meat and potatoes dinner while adding extra nutrition as well. This recipe is quick and healthy, especially when served with a veggie or salad side. You will have a warm happy and full family with this delicious healthy meal.