Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating healthy during the holidays: simple tips to avoid overindulgence

Follow these steps and you won’t hate yourself later for eating too much delicious holiday food.

1. Don’t skip meals. People seem to think that if they don’t eat breakfast or lunch, they can save up calories and eat and drink things that are not good for them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. First, the body needs energy throughout the day, especially in the morning to jump start metabolism. Second, if people skip meals energy levels become sapped, which can lead to feeling hungry, shaky, or having headaches. Third, when people skip meals to eat more at one time, they tend to overindulge in high calorie foods leading to eating more calories than they would have originally. Last, when people skip meals, it actually slows metabolism over time.

2. Eat healthy snacks. Prepare yourself for the battle of workplace junk food. Plan ahead with good snacks like vegetables, unsalted nuts, granola, fresh fruit, quality energy bars, etc. One of my personal favorite healthy snacks to make is a combination of almonds, raisins, and dark chocolate. It has good fats, fiber, and sweetness that make it a healthy tasty snack that you can munch on throughout the day.

3. Stay hydrated. Many people have suggested that when your body is even mildly dehydrated, you can become hungry as your body tries to convince you that you need hydration. Also, if you drink water with every couple of bites, you will slow down your rate of eating, which will allow you to feel fuller so you don’t overeat in a short period of time.

4. Eat foods that are high in fiber before going to a party. This is a good trick because when you eat foods high in fiber, you will feel fuller and you won’t eat as much at the party. Eating foods rich in fiber is as simple as having fresh vegetables, a salad, or a piece of fruit like an apple.

5. Pace yourself. It’s not a race. Let’s face it, 90% of the time when we go to a party or holiday gathering, we are going to be there for at least a few hours. I can’t remember the last time I went to Thanksgiving dinner for 15 minutes and had to inhale my food. Slow down and pace yourself. It always seems like there are so many options. We take some of everything and eat quickly so we can get seconds before the family’s human garbage disposal eats the rest of the food. Get small portions of what you want and eat it slowly so you can savor the flavor.

6. Treat yourself to small portions of the good stuff. I hear people say “Oh I can’t have any of that, I am on a diet.” It’s a special occasion and you should enjoy the things and food that make you happy, just within reason. If you get a small portion of apple pie with ice cream on it, it’s not going to kill you. Don’t be extreme and totally deprive yourself or eat heaping portions of every sweet thing in sight. Pick one or two and have a little bit.

For more information on Dr. Cullen and his practice, please visit his website at http://www.cullenchiropracticandwellness.com/.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Raking leaves doesn’t have to be painful

Now that it’s getting colder and leaves are changing colors, raking leaves is just around the corner. Playing in leaves can be fun for kids, but for most adults raking leaves can be a dreaded task.

Raking leaves is labor intensive and if not done right, can be a big pain in the back. There are a few main reasons people get hurt while raking:

• Not properly preparing before raking

• Improper technique

• Trying to do too much at one time

Here is some advice for getting the raking done without suffering for days to come.

Warm up to raking

First, realize that raking IS exercise. Like with any exercise, you should warm up and cool down. Warm up to get the heart rate going and the blood flowing. How can you do this? A quick five-minute walk and stretching of the major areas needed is all you need.

Stretch upper and lower back, legs, arms and shoulders. Start with the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and hip flexors while standing. Then, move into stretching the upper back and shoulders. Finally, stretch the lower back and stomach area slowly.

If muscles aren’t warmed up and stretched before used, it’s more likely they will strain or pull.

How to rake it right

Raking is repetitive – reach, pull, twist, bend, repeat. Repetitive motions like this can lead to back pain. To avoid ending up on your back for days, try a few things.

First, keep the rake close to the body. Don’t overreach or overextend by trying to get more leaves at once. Choke up on the handle a little, face the direction you want to rake and make short, slow, controlled raking motions. Too much bending at the hips can lead to lower back pain.

Then, don’t let the rake head pass your body. This will help avoid harmful twisting in the lower back.

Next, move your feet. Don’t stand in one spot trying to reach as much as you can. Reaching off to the side or around you creates more harmful twisting that can lead to injury.

Last, switch sides when raking. Rake right-handed for a few minutes and then left-handed. It might seem awkward at first, but it’s much less awkward than having to tell your boss you can’t come to work because of a raking injury.

Rake it slow

Break your raking into small increments. Rake for 30 minutes max and take a 5 to 10 minute break. Stretch a little during your break.

Just like any other exercise, drink lots of water. Save the warm teas and ciders for when the job is done.

When you are standing back admiring your accomplishments, stretch again. This will help avoid tightness and soreness later.

Now get out there and start raking.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The Cullen Chiropractic and Wellness blog will provide relevant information about chiropractic, nutrition, wellness, treated conditions and any other health-related news. For automatic updates, sign up to follow this blog on the right-hand side of the page. Otherwise, check back often to find ways to get healthy and stay healthy.