Stressed out about home cooking?check out this 2-part blog series with strategies to make healthy cooking efficient & effortless!
PART I: 4 Essential Gadgets in today's fast paced kitchen!
One of the first recommendations you will typically receive in my practice, is to start cooking your own food! There are many reasons for this recommendation,the first and foremost being: you have full control of what you eat! And what you eat is what fuels your body, and if your body is receiving the right "fuel", it is most likely to function efficiently, without trouble i.e. symptoms or illnesses. So if you are to take control of what you eat, you must put in the effort for making as many of your meals as possible. Of course, a trip to the restaurant or ordering take-out can be left for special occasions or for long days that you could not anticipate or for which you could not prep ahead. Last September, even the American Medical Association (AMA) released recommendations for home cooking. Based on the American College of Preventive Medicine's (ACPM) guidelines, the AMA recommends "prescribing" home cooking to patients to reduce the risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes since it helps with:
Knowing all of this helps the patients get motivated but very often, when they are not used to cooking at home, this simple prescription can be very daunting and often can increase patients' anxiety around meal preparation and planning; and if not given the right tools/resources, can ultimately result in patients sliding back into old, comfortable but not healthy, eating habits.
In this 2 -part series, I am excited to share ideas that I commonly discuss with patients to alleviate this type of anxiety & get them settled into cooking at home with ease! I hope these will be helpful in your efforts towards a healthier lifestyle! Let's begin!
If you have ever tried opening a wine bottle without a wine bottle opener or cutting veggies with a blunt knife, you already know the importance of having the right tools for the right job! Today's fast paced kitchens need gadgets & tools that can save us time AND energy. Here are my 4 of my favorites and "must-haves" in any kitchen with a summary of their most important features:
me tell you this: all my skepticism (and there was a huge chunk of it!) flew out the
window from day one of using it!...and now I am the proud owner or not one but
two of Instant Pots! Here's why I highly recommend it:
There are lot of choices when it comes to a good food processor. Choose one that
suits your family's needs. It is great for meal prepping and when cooking large
quantities. Here's what it can help with:
Again, there are many choices with brands and additional attachments for
whisking, batter mixer etc. A simple one will suffice & here's why:
This is a relatively new addition to my list of must-haves and I am still exploring
new recipes! Here are the main features:
Empowering patients to help them take charge of their health is the goal of naturopathic medicine and the constant effort in my practice. Please note, that I do not have any financial gains in any of the appliances listed above! I am passionate sharing ideas that help with living a healthy lifestyle and have received a lot of feedback from my patients, that specific tips like these help them in transitioning to cooking at home.
Next week, in Part 2 of the home cooking series, I will share some tips & ideas for efficient meal planning & prepping.
Please feel free to share your comments & feedback below!
The psychosocial impact of acne is well-known and is severe enough to be the subject of several major studies in prominent journals. Acne is THE most common skin condition in the US affecting approximately 50 million Americans each year. Depression, anxiety and lack of self-confidence due to facial acne leads to time-off from school and work and the costs associated with this loss of productivity has been estimated to be as high as $400million (Statistics 2013)!! If that number is not staggering enough on its own, the total cost of acne treatments combined with the cost of lost productivity were approximated to be $1.2 billion!
Numbers aside, in my practice I have personally witnessed and documented the social difficulties experienced by patients suffering from varying degrees of acne. Besides the physical discomfort, the negative impact of persistent acne on a patient's overall well-being varies based on many factors including their perception and understanding of the disease, underlying self-esteem issues and extent of support from family and friends. In this era of social media, the age group of 10-20 years olds are affected the most. So while counseling and use of psychotherapy and can help with many of these self-esteem & confidence factors, it still remains important for the patient (in their own words) - to 'get rid of the acne'! Almost all these patients usually have been through some combination of the following conventional treatments for acne:
So what else can be done?
Most acne sufferers already know that acne is not just 'skin-deep' and there is more to it's story - i,e. cause and recurrence.There are many naturopathic herbal remedies that can help with acne symptoms, but I have observed for a long time now that there is one thing that seems to be the underlying root cause for the presence and persistence of acne vulgaris. The one thing that can be linked to all of the factors often listed as its cause such as:
What is that one thing?
If you follow my blog, it is likely that you have guessed the answer. It is in fact the state of your gut!
The gastrointestinal tract, the source of your nutrients also harbors a large percentage of your immune cells and major immune modulators - your intestinal flora of bacteria, archae and viruses. This microflora (also known as the microbiome) can change based on a person's diet, environmental factors, disease states, toxin exposure and yes, hormonal changes. The influence of the microbiome on our hormones and vice-versa is a major field of study in the scientific world right now and even though its implications are yet to be fully understood, current studies have sufficient data to define what a healthy microbiome constitutes and it's potential impact of an unhealthy one on various systems of your body.
In 2017, an interesting study by Clarke et al. was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. It summarized how plant-based herbal supplements can influence the microbiome, which in turn influences the levels of inflammation and androgen production leading to a targeted impact on the skin. Following a diet that includes low-glycemic foods and lots of fiber rich plant-based foods does not just influence blood glucose levels, but also shifts the microbial balance in favor of lower inflammation and therefore, lower permeability of the gut. With a gut lining that is very selective about what is being absorbed into your bloodstream and then being transported to various organs including the skin, the rate of new lesions goes down significantly. Plus, older lesions and scars heal much more rapidly with the use of appropriate non-toxic cleansers and healing agents, when the gut microbiome is truly balanced- that is, topical treatments are more effective when combined with the treatment of the underlying cause.
The diagram below from the study mentioned above, provides an insight into the interconnected process :
Diagram credit:Ashley K. Clark 1, Kelly N. Haas 2 and Raja K. Sivamani 2,3,* Edible Plants and Their Influence on the Gut Microbiome and Acne. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18, 1070
How do you know what needs correction/balancing in the gut and specifically the microbiome?
This is where the power of naturopathic medicine comes in. A thorough evaluation of a person's diet, bowel habits, all factors affecting the acne, i,e. cyclic changes, stress levels, travel etc combined with comprehensive testing can help determine the most appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes and list of herbal supplements that can help resolve the occurrence and recurrence of acne lesions. Time and again, I have seen this as a successful approach to treating acne in my practice; as the skin clears, patients report that their confidence and productivity at work/school/social settings increases dramatically.
If you feel that you or a friend need help with acne, please be sure to share this blog's link. As I always say, whether you are curious or concerned, come in for a 20-minute conversation to figure out if naturopathic medicine is right for you.
Go ahead, aim for that healthy, glowing skin!
Like each year, January is the month when we set our health goals for the year and are determined to follow through until...life's gets busy again! End of January is typically the time when your resolutions are being tested and how the rest of the year goes depends on what choices you make now. To help you with just one aspect of this year's resolution, that is, eating healthy, here is a checklist of 5 things to avoid when we must rely on processed and packaged foods, especially for snacks.
As a reminder, healthiest options such as fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds for snacks should be at the top of the list and processed & packaged foods should be used occasionally when hosting an event, travelling or just needing a change in taste. If you have children, you know the need to have a huge stack of snacks available at short notice for those sudden hunger pangs, last minute play dates or times when fruit just won't satisfy those tiny taste buds!
The golden rule when choosing packaged foods is of course: Read the Ingredients! Not just how many calories, fats or sugar is in each serving size. Know what exactly you are eating. To make this process quick and efficient (and less confusing) here are the 5 main ingredients/ingredient categories that should watch out for and avoid when choosing your packaged snacks:
This list not an an exhaustive list of ingredients or ingredient groups that you need to avoid, but a list with the important ones to get you started. When faced with nutritional challenges and dietary limitations such as being gluten or dairy free, it is even more crucial that the processed and packaged foods that you rely on, be free of unnecessary and harmful ingredients.
By consistently reading labels, eventually you will be able to narrow down your choices to a few favorite brands that you can trust. One of my favorite brands is #EnjoyLife- check it out here!
More questions? Please feel free to call our office and set up your Free Consultation.
Until next time!
Dr.Kulkarni will be writing on various health topics. Please sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates on new blog posts.
DISCLAIMER: This blogpost is not intended to provide a diagnosis, treat a medical condition, or provide medical advice. All posts and content provided on this blogpost and all materials and related articles are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this blog or website. Please consult your doctor or call us, if we are your health care provider on any matters regarding your health and well-being or on any opinions expressed on this blog.