Health Blog

Backpack to School Safety

Lauren Winarski DC Health & Wellness Tips Leave a comment  

Backpack to School Safety

It’s August already which means back to school for the kids! Here is a checklist to go through to make your children are protecting their spines as they head to class!

  1. Purchase a light-weight backpack that has wide, padded, shoulder straps.
  2. Wear both shoulder straps one over each shoulder.
  3. Make sure the shoulder straps are tightened comfortably so that the backpack does not go below your lower back–this causes strain on the lower back. The child should never have to bend forward or be tipping backwards when wearing the backpack. If so, something is wrong.
  4. If there is a chest, or waist clip buckle it to help keep the weight distributed evenly across the body.
  5. Organize the items so that the largest and heaviest ones are placed closest to the child’s back. Smaller items can be placed in separate compartments.
  6. The backpack should never weigh more than 10-15% of the child’s body weight.
  7. Encourage your child to use lockers or desks to store what they don’t need during the day. It will save them from lugging a heavy backpack all day long.
  8. If your child complains of back, neck or shoulder pain have them checked by a chiropractor.

How to Eliminate Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy with Chiropractic Care

Lauren Winarski DC Chiropractic Care Leave a comment  

Eliminate Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

Up to two-thirds of women have reported some sort of back pain during pregnancy. Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy for several reasons.

First, the center of gravity of the woman changes. As the baby grows, the body weight shifts forward to accommodate the expanding uterus. This makes it harder to find the spine’s normal, neutral position and can cause postural changes that put tension on the lower back. In addition, the low back curve is increased by the downward and forward pull of the belly causing more strain on the lower back joints.

Secondly, as the pregnancy progresses a hormone called relaxin becomes more prevalent within the mother’s body. Relaxin causes the ligaments, especially those within the lower back and pelvis to relax, stretch, and expand. We want these hormone levels to rise because it helps with the natural birth process, but it leaves the joints with less stability and more vulnerability in the pelvis and lower back area. If you have experienced previous back pain or injury, the looser ligaments can exacerbate an existing problem area or aggravate any pelvis imbalance.

Finally, postural compensation patterns can develop. The increasing growth in the abdominal area needs to be balanced out. The upper body will try to compensate by the rolling the shoulders forward and a loss of curvature in the neck. These alterations  in posture can lead to headaches and tension in the upper back.

The good news… While these issues may be unavoidable, there is help! Chiropractic care is an excellent way to have your back pain evaluated and treated. There are no known contraindications of chiropractic spinal and pelvic adjustments throughout pregnancy, other than those affecting the non-pregnant patient. The American Pregnancy Association supports chiropractic care and recognizes the safety and benefits it brings to the mother and child. Chiropractic care is a safe, non-invasive, and drug free way to deal with back pain.

Common back problems during pregnancy include: low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, pelvic bone pain, and headaches. Chiropractors can help with these types of issues.

Should I get adjusted if I don’t have any pain?

Chiropractic care provides many benefits to both the growing baby and mother. Adjustments prepare the body for an easier pregnancy and birth by creating a state of balance in pelvic bony structures, muscles, and ligaments. They improve the mother’s pelvic function thereby decreasing the potential for unnecessary intervention. Adjustments balance the pelvis which allows the baby greater room to develop without restricting the formation of its skull, spine, and other skeletal structures. With the pelvis in proper alignment, it offers the baby the room to move into the best possible position for birth. Anyone can have their spine evaluated for misalignment to assist with an easier pregnancy and birth process. It is never too late to have your spine and pelvis checked!

Chiropractic Care and Improved Athletic Performance

Lauren Winarski DC Chiropractic Care Leave a comment  

Chiropractic care has become mainstream in the sports world in recent years– from the NFL to the NBA to the Olympics, chiropractors are prevalent on nearly every team’s staff as athletes look to prevent injuries and keep their bodies functioning well for top-notch performance. However, you don’t have to be a professional to get the benefits that go along with chiropractic adjustment.

One important part of performance is making sure that all parts of the body are working together harmoniously. If there is a restriction of movement in one joint, you can bet another part of the body is compensating for the one not functioning appropriately. This can lead to improper movement patterns, or worse, injury.

Adjustments work to restore the proper mobility to a joint when it is restricted or there is a decrease in range of movement. When the motion is restored the joint can freely move which is required for optimal functional movement. The adjustments also, reset the mechanoreceptors within the joint. These receptors are important for perceiving messages from the body similar to a reflex that tells our body how to react and respond when there is stimulus to a joint. In other words, when the body is moving how it should be the muscles, tendons, and ligaments will behave accordingly and will have better balance, coordination, and speed. This allows you to work toward perfecting the form and technique of the movements necessary for your specific activity.

Chiropractors work with all joints within the body including the spine, hips, shoulders, knees, elbows. Some common injury types that we care for are sprains and strains, lifting injuries, and overuse injuries. A few examples that are frequently encountered are sprained ankles, groin and hamstrings pulls, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, golfer’s elbow, and rotator cuff strains. Chiropractors use a conservative approach that offers a non-invasive and drug-free option to take care of injuries or to prevent injuries from occurring.

Whether you are a star high school or college athlete, a runner, or a mom who likes to work out at home you can improve your athletic performance and feel better physically by getting regular, customized-to-you chiropractic adjustments.

Staying Hydrated in the Heat of the Summer

Lauren Winarski DC Nutrition Leave a comment  

Staying Hydrated in the Heat of the Summer

Water (H2O) is an essential component that makes up our body. It is required for our cells and organs to function properly. Water allows our body to control its temperature, to transport nutrients and remove wastes, and aids in numerous chemical processes that happen continuously within our cells. It is the best liquid for our body to ingest because it is necessary for so many tasks. When the body is not getting enough water we can get dehydrated.  Dehydration can become a serious issue quickly especially when the temperature and humidity outside are at a high.

How much water should I drink?

The average person should aim to drink about half his or her body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, an individual weighing 150 pounds should be drinking a minimum of 75 ounces of water each day. The amount of water intake will increase with the amount of physical activity you are involved in, as well as the temperature outside–the more humidity and the higher the temperature, the more fluids will be required. For every half hour of exercise, you should be drinking an additional 16 ounces of water. If you are outdoors and sweating, the water that is coming out of your body needs to be replaced.

Give your H2O a creative boost

It seems like I’m always encouraging patients to drink more water, and I often get the response, “I don’t like water”. Water is so important that I recommend finding some ways to spice up the plain water and make it more fun and more nutrient filled. For people who struggle to drink enough, I suggest infusing some fruit or veggies into the water to add some natural flavors. You can make a pitcher in your fridge with sliced cucumbers, sliced strawberries, and fresh mint leaves–it is so refreshing!!! Try adding some frozen fruit to the water such as pineapple, peach, and mango. Mix it up to make your own creative combinations. This option is anything but boring. Come up with your own favorite recipes and  you will be drinking more water without even realizing it.

Eat more water… What?!

We obtain most of our water intake by drinking but did you know that we also get about 20% of our water from the food we eat throughout the day? It is critical to know which foods contain water. As a general rule your fruits and vegetables are the ones with high water content and loaded with vitamins and minerals as an added bonus! The following are a list of some of the top foods that have a large component of water: celery, cucumbers, watermelon, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, grapefruit, and broccoli.

Still having trouble drinking water?

Still struggling to guzzle down the ounces? There is an app for that. If you need some extra help and accountability to remind you to stay hydrated there are several free apps that you can download including Daily Water, iDrated, and Waterlogged. Good luck and stay cool in the sun!

Healthy Meal Prep Breakfasts in Under an Hour

Lauren Winarski DC Nutrition Leave a comment  

Healthy Meal Prep Breakfasts in Under an Hour

We have all heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Well there is a lot of truth to this statement. Having a good, quality breakfast can help prepare your body for the day ahead. We want to choose foods that are wholesome and provide good fuel to give us energy from the fasting that our body has gone through during the night. Here are three great options that you can prep ahead of time to keep you energized all week long!

Egg Cups

Eggs are hearty, containing 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fat per large egg, and they are loaded with other nutrients including; Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, B2, B5, Phosphorous, Selenium, and Choline to name a few. What I especially love about these egg cups is that you can change them up and add whatever you want. The possibilities are endless! For the ones I made this week, I used eggs and lean turkey sausage.

Step 1: Brown 1 pound of lean turkey sausage on the stove for 5-10 minutes. Drain off any grease and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2:Take a 12 count muffin tin and spray with coconut oil.

Step 3: Evenly divide about 1/2 pound of the turkey sausage among the 12 muffin tins.

Step 4: Crack 12 eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of sea salt, and pepper to your liking and stir until combined.

Step 5: Pour the eggs so that they are evenly divided into the muffin tins (about 3/4 the way full).

Step 6: Place eggs into 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

I find I like to mix it up with different toppings each week. I have used spinach, zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sweet potato, baked ham, cheese, broccoli. You can get as creative as you want with these and it’s fun for the kids to help and make up their own creations.

Fruit, Granola, and Greek Yogurt Jars

Greek yogurt packs a punch of protein and fruit contains a natural boost of sugars, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. This is another great option for breakfast because it is filling and will keep you satisfied for a few hours.

Step 1: First, I like to portion out my fruits so I sort whatever kinds I am going to use for the week into 1 cup packages. I like to use two kinds of fruit for each yogurt bowl (1/2 cup of each) strawberries and blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, pineapple and pomegranate, and so on. Set aside.

Step 2: Portion out 3/4 a cup of plain Greek yogurt into the bottom of some mason jars. (You may use vanilla Greek yogurt if you prefer but the ingredients will be much higher in sugar content.)

Step 3: Place the portioned 1 cup of fruit on top of the yogurt.

Step 4: Measure 1/2 cup of store bought granola and put on top of the fruit. I like to use Purely Elizabeth (Blueberry Hemp Ancient Grain Granola) or Erin Baker’s (Coconut Chia Homestyle Granola with Ancient Grains) because these have good ingredients and not too much extra sugar.

Step 5: Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of honey and a few dashes of cinnamon on top and seal the jar and your breakfast is ready to go!

Bonus: Easy homemade granola: I like to make my own simple granola when I’m feeling extra perky. It is really good and worth the extra time and I just store it in a mason jar and it lasts several weeks.

1:Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

 2: Mix 3 cups of steel cut oats and 1 cup of raw chopped almonds in a glass baking dish and toast them in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mine usually takes about 15 minutes just watch in the oven times may vary slightly.

 3: While the oats are toasting, combine in a small bowl 1/2 cup of raw honey, 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil, 1 tablespoon of  cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

4: After the oats are toasted, drizzle the honey mixture over the oats. Stir until well combined.

5: Place the baking sheet back in the oven and turn the oven OFF. This will allow the granola to finish toasting without burning. Let it sit in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before putting in the yogurt jars or storing

6:Portion the 1/2 cup of homemade granola onto the top of the fruit in your mason jars.

Dark Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Last but not least my family’s personal favorite!! I mean who doesn’t love chocolate? Did you know that dark chocolate has antioxidants and can help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar? These muffins take a little bit more time about 45 minutes total but they are worth every bit of time spent. I promise you are going to want to devour one of these babies. They are about as healthy as a chocolate chip muffin can get and sprinkled with lots of healthy ingredients plus a little breakfast treat.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini (Usually takes about 3 medium sized zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large very ripe banana-makes it easier to mash)
  • 1/4 cup melted and cooled coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.

Step 2: Grate the zucchini, then thoroughly squeeze it with a paper towel to remove as much excess water as possible. Repeat as needed. If you have not already, melt the coconut oil and let come to room temperature

Step 3: In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together 1 large mashed banana, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted but cool), and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Add the 2 eggs (make sure they are room temperature or the coconut oil may re-solidify), then beat again until combined.

Step 4: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt over the top of the batter, then mix to combine. Sprinkle in 2 cups whole wheat flour, a little at a time, while mixing at low speed just until the flour is combined. By hand, fold in the shredded zucchini and 1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips.

Step 5: Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then place them on a wire rack to cool.

I hope these easy breakfast preps help your mornings run a little smoother and give you a satisfying boost of energy! If you try them out let me know your creations and which was your favorite!

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