Monday, December 28, 2015

Health Goals are Better Than Resolutions

This is the time of year when people are seeing the effects of their holiday indulgences and determining to do something about it.  With the New Year come resolutions to lose weight, join a gym, get fit, etc.  The intent is generally good, but the follow-through is generally lacking.  Gyms report the highest number of new enrollments in January, along with peak usage, which generally tapers off within a few short weeks.

Resolutions are generally grand ideas that we intend to power through on the force of our own resolve. They rarely are accompanied by a specific and realistic plan of action.  Setting goals properly allows us to have measurable, attainable steps along the way to the "big idea."
For example, if the resolution is to "get in shape," what does that mean?  Typically it means you join a gym, hit it hard, suffer through the pain of over-using muscles that have been inactive for too long, and often give up.  In contrast, one can begin by taking a stretching class, which is a gentle way to activate those muscles.  Click here to learn more about the stretch class being offered in our office throughout January.

Resistance can be added to the routine, using your own body weight with traditional exercises like pushups and squats, or in smaller amounts, with resistance bands or light weights.  As your body adjusts to the new demands, you can increase your exercise routine until you are able to handle a more demanding workout.  This mini-goal approach makes it less likely that you will get frustrated and give up, or even worse, injure yourself and be forced to give up.  AS you meet your small goals, you are encouraged to work toward the next one.

The same thing goes for diet and nutrition goals.  If your diet has consisted of bacon and sugar cookies for the past six weeks, you may be disgusted with yourself for your lack of self-control and what it has done to your body, but going on a liquid fast or other crash diet will probably result in gastro-intestinal upset and do nothing to teach you healthier habits for the long run.

Instead, you may wish to try a stepped approach, similar to what we've suggested for your exercise routine. Start by eliminating refined sugar from your diet.  In a week or two, your palate will reset to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods and the cravings will be gone. 

Look at the fats you consume.  Reducing fats from conventionally raised animal products is a good step, as is eliminating all hydrogenated fats.  But not all fats are your enemy.  Avocado, coconut and olives are high-fat foods containing oils that are beneficial to our bodies.  Free-range organic egg yolks do contain cholesterol, but are also one of the few natural sources of highly absorbable vitamin D, which is essential during the winter months when you might not be absorbing much sunlight, which enables your body to produce its own.

Eat more beans, including lentils and chick peas to get plenty of protein and fiber, allowing you to reduce your dependence on meat and dairy products.  If you like Mexican food, think about your favorite dishes that use lots of beans and avocados, with small amounts of meat and cheese for flavor, texture and protein.

Pay attention to your carbohydrate intake.  Reduce the amount of grains you consume (because they contribute to inflammation), and choose whole grains over processed.  Choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes, and if you do eat white potatoes, eat the skin too, for its fiber content.
Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits to add vitamins, minerals and fiber.  They will make you feel more full on fewer calories.  If you've gotten this far in the program and are still not losing weight, you need to consider your portion sizes.  How full is your plate, and do you habitually go for seconds?

Other ways to support your fitness goals include the use of appropriate herbs and nutritional supplements.  We can advise you on those which would be most useful to your unique health situation.  And regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent injury as you begin your journey toward fitness.  Bon voyage, and a happy, healthy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Gift of Health for the Holidays

It's that holiday time of year when everyone's thoughts turn to family, entertaining, shopping, gifts, decorating and more.  As the holidays near, it becomes more and more difficult to find time to take care of yourself, so many people find themselves exhausted, achy, overweight and stressed by the time the new year rolls in.  It doesn't have to be that way.  The trick is to take time to do the little things that can make a big difference in your health.

You may be baking up a storm with holiday cookies and desserts for parties and family dinners, but make sure that's not the only thing around the house that can be eaten quickly.  While you're at the store buying the ingredients for your creations, make sure to stock up on some healthy quick eats too, like low-sugar yogurt, hummus and pre-cut carrots, pre-cooked hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, nuts and low-sugar/high protein energy bars.  That way, when you are rushed, stressed and hungry, there is something you can eat that takes no more time than stuffing holiday cookies in your mouth.

All of the standing, rushing and carrying of packages that is involved in shopping for holiday gifts and entertaining can take it's toll on your muscles and spine, causing pain and restricting your ability to enjoy the season.  Try to shop at less crowded times, lift and carry packages close to your body, and bend from the knees instead of the waist to minimize the stress these activities put on your body.  Small local retailers may be less crowded than the mega-stores, and you'll be helping the local economy by shopping there.

When decorating your home, you might be tempted to climb too high, lift too much. stretch too far or do too much at once.  Take the extra moment to get the right step stool or ladder, lift properly (as explained in the previous paragraph) and pace yourself.  If you make yourself so sore and tired that it takes three or more days to recover, did you really save any time?

When all of the cooking, baking, shopping, wrapping, card writing and decorating becomes a literal pain in the neck (or shoulders or back), take the time to get a chiropractic adjustment.  Better yet, do it before you're in pain to prevent its occurrence. We can generally get patients in and our of our office in around 15 minutes, and it could be your best investment of time this holiday season, resulting in less pain and exhaustion and more enjoyment.

Happy holidays to you and yours from everyone at Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chiropractic Care Safer for Most Seniors

Chiropractic treatment is widely accepted as a safe and effective treatment for spinal issues, including sciatica, back and neck pain.  With increasing age, the likelihood of suffering with one of these conditions increases.  Because of that, some researchers wanted to investigate whether chiropractic treatment is as safe for the elderly as it is for younger patients.  They undertook a study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and subsequently published in Spine.
They researched whether the risk of injury to people aged 66 and older after seeing a chiropractor for an issue involving the nervous system, muscles and spine was more, less or equal to the risk of injury following a visit to their primary care physician for that kind of issue.  Their study was based on recipients of Medicare Part B who were treated for these conditions in 2007.  They evaluated the risk of injury for seven days following their treatment.
They found that the risk of injury within seven days of a chiropractic treatment was 76% lower than the risk of injury within seven days of medical treatment for comparable neuromusculoskeletal conditions.  The risk of injury post-treatment was highest for males, older participants and those with co-existing serious conditions.  Chiropractic was determined to be a significantly safer treatment option for seniors experiencing conditions related to the nerves, muscles or bones, except for those with specific medical conditions such as coagulation defects (or long term use of blood thinners), inflammatory spondylopathy, osteoporosis, or aortic aneurysm and dissection, 
In short, if you, or someone you love is a senior who is experiencing pain or weakness related to the nerves, muscles and spine, you should talk to a trusted chiropractor and give them your complete medical history.  If you or they are a good candidate for chiropractic care, it may be the safer option for treatment in the long run.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Bitter Truth About High Fructose Corn Syrup

Sugar is sugar?  Right?  Wrong!

Too much sugar of any kind can contribute to obesity and metabolic problems, but used in moderation, traditional cane sugar is considered relatively safe.  However, over the past couple of decades, food manufacturers, who are always putting profit ahead of the health of their customers have been replacing it more and more with high fructose corn syrup, which unlike pure cane sugar, is NOT a natural product.  Fructose does not occur naturally in corn, and is only developed through intensive chemical processing.

You may have heard that the term "natural" on labels doesn't mean much, but legislators are starting to change that because products that contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) are no longer allowed to use the word "natural" on their labels.

Since the introduction of HFCS into the American food supply, we are on the verge of an epidemic of lifestyle-induced health issues including obesity, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.  Excess consumption of fructose from HFCS has been associated with other health issues such as elevated triglyceride levels, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gout, and complications of diabetes.

If you drink soda, eat packaged cakes or cookies or use sweet spreads or syrups, you are most likely consuming a very large amount of high fructose corn syrup.   It is found in a surprising array of foods where you might not expect it, like ketchup, mayonnaise, bread, crackers and the snack that's thought to be healthy, but isn't - granola bars.  "Pancake syrup" as opposed to pure maple syrup is close to 100% high fructose corn syrup.  Many "juice drinks" contain HFCS.  Buy pure juice instead.  "Table sugar" may be cut with HFCS.  Look for "pure cane sugar" and make sure your honey is pure as well.

The food industry is always looking for ways to hide information like this from consumers and use ingredients that will increase their profits.  The healthiest foods to eat are fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts.  Low fat meats, poultry, and fish can also be good choices, as can free-range eggs and minimally processed dairy products.  Locally produced and/or organic varieties are best, both for you and the planet.  If you are going to eat packaged food products, please READ LABELS!  Don't assume anything, because HFCS and other harmful ingredients are routinely added to all kinds of processed food.

You may be tempted to substitute non-caloric sweeteners for both sugar and HFCS to save calories.  It's not a bad idea, but if you do, consider stevia or inulin, which are natural alternatives to saccharine, aspartame and the other artificial options.  Better yet, learn to appreciate the natural sweetness in foods like fruits and sweet vegetables, or use a small amount of honey, maple syrup or ground dates to sweeten your food.  You future will be much sweeter.

A carefully planned program of nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, etc.) can help protect the body from the negative effects of consuming too much HFCS, and may be used in addition to dietary changes that limit your intake of HFCS.  Beneficial nutrients include benfotiamine, alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine, pyridoxamine, acetyl-L-carnitine, vitamin C, and fish oil.

At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we help our patients to live healthier lives with nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling in addition to chiropractic adjustments and other means of natural pain relief.  If you are hoping to retain your vitality well into your senior years, give up HFCS and come in to see us.  You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Get in the Swing: Chiropractic Improves Your Golf Game

Golf is a year round sport in other parts of the country, and even here on Long Island, there are die-hard golfers who will brave any kind of weather to get a few rounds in, but summer is the time when everyone on Long Island who owns a golf club is out on the greens.  Long Island boasts roughly 125 golf courses between Nassau and Suffolk Counties, yet trying to reserve a tee time can be a challenge.

That means that there are a lot of people who are walking long distances over uneven terrain, standing around waiting, carrying heavy golf bags, bending, twisting and swinging, all in the name of fun.  It also means there are a lot of people suffering from golfer's back, and their game is suffering as well, because you can't perform at your best when you're in pain.

There are over 30 million golfers in the United States and surveys have shown that at least 80% of them experience back pain, which may be related to their favorite pastime.  "Golf back" is a recognized phenomenon, but the physical stresses associated with playing golf may also result in neck pain, shoulder, pain, elbow pain and hip pain. A proper golf swing puts the body in a awkward position and creates a tremendous amount of torque, which can leave you suffering from pain in various body parts, especially in older golfers.

You may choose to tough it out and work through the pain, but it's not advisable.  Not only will ignoring your pain probably make matters worse and continue to exacerbate the underlying condition, but your game will suffer as well.  How can you expect to execute the perfect swing when you can barely stand straight?

You might also choose to mask the pain with over the counter pain medication, like acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) or ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Motrin and Advil).  These remedies might be acceptable for use in the short term, but just because they are sold over the counter doesn't mean they are harmless.  Long term use of ibuprofen can contribute to stomach problems, including ulcers and exacerbate bleeding.  Acetaminophen, in large doses can be toxic to the liver.  One of our previous articles on this blog was about the dangers of acetaminophen.

Your other option is to seek safe, natural Chiropractic care to help treat your pain and avoid any further injury.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic, Dr. Barbara Rosinsky uses gentle Chiropractic manipulation and other passive therapies to treat pain and injuries.  Chiropractic adjustments help to keep the spine in optimal alignment, which can go a long way toward preventing injury during golf or other sports.

If you want to get back to enjoying your game, call us to make an appointment for a free Chiropractic evaluation.  Your game will thank you.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Injuries? Chiropractic Can Help

If your family is like most American families, summertime is your most active season.  The favorable weather gets you outdoors, engaging in your favorite sports and activities.  Perhaps your busy lifestyle keeps you from pursuing the physical activities you enjoy, but when you're on vacation, you tackle challenges that your body isn't used to doing.  And that's when the trouble begins...

You might take a fall, sprain or strain a joint or muscle and end up in pain.  Chiropractic is a safe and effective way to address the pain of injuries and overuse for both adults and children.

In the summer months, when school's out, children spend more time outdoors, running and playing, and unfortunately, often falling.  The jarring action of a fall can cause their young spine to go out of alignment, creating what chiropractors refer to as a subluxation.  Subluxations interfere with normal nerve function, and in a young child, could interfere with normal growth and development of the spine.

It's important to have a chiropractic examination after a fall or injury, especially if back or neck pain results.  If left untreated, the subluxation can develop into a longer term problem, especially in developing children.

Chiropractors are among the few types of doctors whose methods are completely safe and natural.  We don't use prescription drugs or surgery.  Chiropractic adjustments are performed manually.  They are painless, and covered by most health insurance companies.

Chiropractic adjustments help to restore normal functioning to the entire nervous system, which in turn, can improve a wide variety of conditions.  In addition to neck and back pain, chiropractic adjustments have helped many people with headaches, TMJ, sinus problems, issues with joints in the arms and legs and more.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we see patients of all ages, with a variety of conditions for which we can provide relief.

Many professional athletes receive regular chiropractic care to speed healing of injuries, prevent new ones from occurring, improve their overall health and get a competitive edge.  Let us help you and your family to get and stay in the game with safe, natural chiropractic care.  To learn more about how we can help you and your family get and stay healthier, visit our website at or call us at 516-783-0088 for an appointment.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Texting is Dangerous Even When You're Not Driving

Everyone knows how dangerous it can be to use your smart phone for text messaging while driving.  Even a momentary distraction that takes your eyes off the road can have disastrous effects.  But it seems that not everyone knows how dangerous texting can be even when you're not driving.n Aside from the obvious dangers of being distracted while crossing a street or parking lot or going up or down stairs, the posture that people typical use for texting stresses the body in many ways, which if done frequently enough, over a long enough period of time can lead to permanent problems.

The picture above exaggerates, of course where the person's head falls off, but the other figures are accurate.  An adult human head weighs about 10 pounds, which when balanced properly in a good postural position (the ear should be directly above the tip of the shoulder) feels weightless.  As the head leans forward, as it does when focusing on a phone screen the pressure on the neck increases dramatically.  The graphic shows it in degrees.  Another way of expressing it is that for every inch the ear is ahead of the tip of the shoulder, add ten pounds. All of this additional stress strains the muscles, vertebrae and discs of the neck, causing pain, stiffness, and ultimately, permanent structural changes that can be quite serious.

A typical 18-24 year old sends or receives roughly 50 texts a day.  That's a lot of time spent looking down.  This is the first generation that has had such widespread use of a device which keeps them sedentary and focused on something that promotes an unhealthy posture.  If you must use your smartphone frequently, make an effort to hold the phone higher, so you won't have to bend your head as far forward to use it.  This simple strategy will help you to reduce the amount of stress on your neck.

Unfortunately, the potential risks of frequent cell phone use for texting and browsing don't end there.  Typically, while focusing on a phone or other hand-held device, the shoulders are slumped and the back is rounded - a posture which crowds the lungs.  Lungs may be further compromised by the quick shallow breaths we tend to take when we're concentrating on something.  Take the time to straighten your spine, roll your shoulders back and take deep breaths to help minimize the impact of the texting posture on your lungs.

Think about what texting can do to your hands.  Many people spend a large part of their day clutching their smartphone in their hands, which can lead to stiffness and even speed the development of arthritis.  Put the phone down when not in use, and take time to stretch your hands and fingers wide open periodically throughout the day to give them a break.

Parents - teach your teens and young adults how to take care of their bodies while they are still young and healthy.  And set a good example with your own texting habits.

Get some exercise on  a regular basis, even if you don't have much time, to counterbalance the time you spend texting, watching videos and surfing the web.  Stretch, jump, walk, run or do yoga.  It will help you to stay limber.  Regular chiropractic adjustments can also prevent the stresses of texting from becoming permanent structural problems.  At Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness, we treat the entire person in order to promote good health.  Contact us to make an appointment for a free consultation.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Acetaminophen Risks Are Greater Than We Think

As our population ages, more and more people turn to over the counter medications for relief from osteaoarthritis and muscular pain.  The first recommended drug for the purpose is generally acetaminophen, best known as the brand name Tylenol.  Tylenol is commonly believed to be gentler on the stomach than any of the NSAID (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs) category of drugs, which includes aspirin, ibuprofen and others, making it more likely to be recommended for long-term use, but the drug may be neither as effective nor as harmless as people are led to believe.

A group of doctors in the United Kingdom did a review of previously published studies on the safety of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, also known as paracetamol in Britain.  Their findings were disturbing because they showed that taken together, the studies indicate that people who take the maximum recommended daily dosage of acetominophen are at increased risk for cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.

The findings were clearly dose related.  Non-users had the lowest rate of adverse effects, with low-dose users having a slightly elevated risk, and users who follow the instructions on the bottle for maximum dosage had significantly more adverse effects.

One of the difficulties in studying over the counter medications is that their use is under-reported.  People feel so safe taking them that when asked about medications, they may not even mention them.  An additional difficulty in measuring the amount of acetaminophen that people have taken is that it is often included in multi-symptom cold formulas, so people are taking it without even being aware of it.

If someone is sick and they are taking Tylenol for aches and pains or fever at the same time as a multi symptom cold relief formula, they may be exceeding the recommended dose of acetaminophen and putting themselves at risk for serious side effects.  The best way to avoid this is to avoid multi symptom formulas and take only what is needed.

Despite the popular perception that Tylenol is safe and gentle, it is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States.  Anyone who has any kind of liver problems would be best advised to avoid acetaminophen altogether.  The use of this drug accounts for over 100,000 calls to poison control centers, around 60,000 visits to emergency rooms and hundreds of deaths per year in the United States alone.

Perhaps the most frightening part is that the perception of acetaminophen as safe and effective results in its use for conditions for which it isn't even effective, like the pain of osteoarthritis.  Joint pain tends to be the result of inflammation, and acetaminophen has no anti-inflammatory action, making it not much better than a placebo for controlling this kind of pain.

Based on this information, you might think that using one of the NSAID's would be the solution.  They would be more effective at reducing inflammation, but they too come with their own risks and side effects, so they are not a great long term solution.

For many people, adequate pain relief can be attained with natural measures that are much less likely to cause dangerous and unpleasant side effects.  Manual manipulation of the spine or joint, which can be performed by a chiropractor or physical therapist, followed by strengthening exercises and training in the proper way to move to minimize pain has been shown to give superior relief without unwanted side effects.

Weight loss and increased activity, while it requires a commitment and willpower from the patient invariably reduces pain in the knees, ankles, feet, hips and back.  It will take time and effort, but it will pay off in increased mobility with reduced pain.

There are also several natural substances that have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect, such as the spices tumeric and ginger as well as green tea.  They can be used as part of your regular diet or taken as supplements, but one of the best ways I've seen to harness the natural healing power of food is by drinking the anti-inflammatory tea I recommend to my patients.

In my practice, I adjust limbs as well as spines, and have helped many patients recover from injuries to elbows, wrists, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles, in addition to performing spinal manipulation.  I help my patients achieve optimal health by advising them on exercise, nutrition and other lifestyle aspects.

If you would like to learn more about safe, natural pain relief through chiropractic and nutrition, or if you would like the recipe for anti-inflmmatory tea, visit our website at or call us at 516-783-0088 to make an appointment.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Diet Can Improve Brain Function

Whether you are a new parent, wondering if there is anything you can do to stack the odds in favor of healthy brain development in your child, or a middle aged person experiencing increasing forgetfulness and brain fog, you might want to know what studies have shown about how you can influence the condition and functioning of the brain with diet.  So many studies have been done, testing so many variables, that the results can be confusing and overwhelming, but the following information seemed to be the most helpful, so I'm presenting it to you.

We've Got Fat Heads
The brain is made up of roughly 2/3 fats, so it makes sense to study the impact of fat consumption on the brain.  The majority of findings in this area indicated that eating fats is good for the brain, but not just any fats.  Trans fats are to be avoided at all costs, and saturated fats from meats and dairy need to be approached with caution.  Saturated fats from grass-fed or free range animals are much safer than from those grown on conventional feed.  Healthy fats, like those found in almonds, avocados, olives and most nuts and seeds are not only safe, but beneficial to the brain.  Fish oil was found to be the most critical to brain health, so unless you're allergic, feel free to consume a variety of fish on a frequent basis, or take a good quality fish oil supplement.  A word of caution - while fats can be healthy, they do contain almost twice as many calories as proteins and carbohydrates, so if you're watching your weight, choose the healthy fats only, and don't overdo it.

There's Something About Carbs...
Some of the research has centered on whether a diet high in carbohydrates is good for the brain.  Those studies have shown that carbohydrates, specifically grains, with wheat being among the worst, lead to increased inflammation, free radical production and oxidative risk, thereby increasing the likelihood of dementia.  This might lead one to adopt a very low carb diet, but other studies have shown that vegetarians, who traditionally consume more carbohydrates tend to have higher levels of brain health.  How can they both be true?  This is where looking at the variables being controlled for and whether they are looking for disease or health comes in.  In short, moderation seems to be the secret ingredient here.  Diets don't have to be all fat or all carbs.  A major factor to look out for is genetically modified grains (GMO), which may be causing the current spike in negative reactions to these foods.

Junk Food and Depression
A study completed in 2012 showed that people who regularly consumed fast food were 40% more likely to suffer from depression.  That study came on the heels of another one in 2011 that showed that the more trans fats people eat, the more likely they are to suffer from depression.  Food is not only fuel.  It is the building blocks for replacing cells throughout our bodies, including our brains.

The Pediatric Brain
You may have heard that breast feeding infants is best for brain development.  One of the reasons may be the presence of DHA in breast milk.  It's the same fatty acid in fish oil, which is critical to brain development and health.

Beyond infancy, studies have shown that children who frequently consume junk foods (sugar, processed sweets, soda, fast food) tend to have higher incidence of worrying, sadness, crying, anxiety, aggression, tantrums and hyperactivity as well as lower IQ's.

Your Safest Course of Action
The Mediterranean diet seems to be the healthiest option for most people.  Here are the guidelines, but remember that fats have more calories and moderation is key.  Opt for organic and/or local fruits, vegetables and grains, organic/grass-fed or free range when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy and wild caught when it comes to fish, whenever possible.

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Beans and pulses are healthy, fiber-filled carbohydrate rich foods with some protein content.
  • Limit your grains and choose organic/non GMO varieties.
  • Reduce your consumption of meats and choose higher quality.
  • Enjoy fish, nuts and free range eggs, which are excellent sources of protein and healthy fats.
  • Seeds, avocados and olive oil are also good sources for healthy fats.
  • Avoid junk foods and trans fats.
  • Keep your portion sizes reasonable.
  • Enjoy!

If you'd like to learn more about this, or other health related topics, visit us at, or come on in.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Never Ending Salad Bowl

I happen to be one of the lucky ones in that my personal and professional goals are in alignment.  One of my goals for myself is the same as my goal for my patients, to promote optimal health through diet and nutrition, exercise and lifestyle, and of course, chiropractic.  Almost everyone who manages to maintain a healthy diet in this hectic, over-processed world has a secret weapon or two.  One of mine is the never ending salad bowl.

Everyone knows that fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Eating them in an uncooked state adds the benefit of keeping their naturally occurring enzymes intact as well. Enzymes aid in digestion and a host of other bodily functions, and are destroyed by temperatures above 120 degree Fahrenheit.  As a result, the best nutrition is achieved by eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables raw, and one of the best ways to do so is by making salads an integral part of your diet.

You may have heard or read the advice to "eat the rainbow."  They're not talking about Skittles here.  Different vitamins announce their presence in food by their color, so foods that are orange in color tend to be rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, red fruits and vegetables may be good sources of lycopene and so on.  Selecting foods that vary in their natural color adds visual interest to your plate and nutritional diversity to your diet.  The larger the number of different species of fruits and vegetables that you incorporate into your diet, the more likely you are to be getting a full complement of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.  If you are not eating at least a dozen varieties each day, you may be missing out.  The never ending salad bowl is a great way to increase the number of fruits and vegetables in your diet, add raw foods, streamline your food preparation and possibly lose weight and improve your health.

You might be thinking that it takes too much time to make a salad every day, or even twice a day, and that's a legitimate concern, but the trick is to be prepared.  Depending upon how much you (and your family) consume and how well your refrigerator keeps produce, you can do most of your prep once or twice a week and have beautiful delicious salads at a moments notice.  Prepare your mixed greens in advance. Avoid iceberg lettuce because it is virtually devoid of any nutritional value.  Make a blend of any or all of the following leafy vegetables: Romaine, Boston lettuce, red or green leaf lettuces like oak-leaf, escarole, frisee, endive, radicchio, arugula, spinach, kale, shredded green or red cabbage.  Use a salad spinner to wash it and spin it as dry as possible.  If you can't spin it dry, it might be better to wash before use, as water clinging to the leaves will speed the lettuce going bad.  If you do nothing else, you will have a blend of several vegetables at your fingertips, going a long way toward meeting your goal of a dozen a day.  If you don't have time for this, use mixed baby greens.

Other vegetables can be chopped in advance and stored in a ready to eat state, or cut as needed.  Avocados, tomatoes and cucumbers are best cut as needed, but carrots, celery, red, white or green onions, bell peppers of any color, radish, fennel and jicama can all be cut, bagged and used as needed.  You can add interest and nutrition with sprouted seeds and beans, fresh herbs, dried or fresh fruits or raw nuts.  Once you've assembled your salad, count up the varieties of produce you've used.  You may be pleasantly surprised.

With all these glorious ingredients at your fingertips, it should be no problem to create a variety of salads on a daily or twice daily basis without taking too much time or getting too repetitive.  If you make a nice salad the cornerstone of your lunch and/or dinner each day, you will automatically consume more fiber and less calories, making it easier to feel full, lose weight and get healthier.  This spring, put a bit more spring in your step by adopting the never ending salad bowl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Think Globally, Eat Locally

When the whole world seems to be at significant risk from everything from genetically modified organisms to cyber-crime to weapons of mass destruction, does it seem too parochial to be concerned about the origin of your food?  We think it's a good first step, because you have to start somewhere.

Buying locally grown foods is a great way to bring more healthy foods into your diet.  Here on Long Island, locally grown foods are typically produced on smaller, family-owned and operated farms that use farming methods more in tune with nature.  Even if they are not certified organic, locally grown foods tend to be safer.  Because their own families are on the farm, these farmers are less likely to use chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides, herbicides and other unnatural compounds in their farming practices. 

Local foods are fresher, because they don't have to travel as far, and are more likely to be picked at or near their peak of ripeness than their pale, hard, imported counterparts.  Many of the produce items available in supermarkets have been off the plant for more than a week and traveled anywhere from hundreds of miles to halfway around the planet.  The longer a fruit gets to stay on the tree or the vine, the more fully its flavor, sugar content and nutritional profile get to develop.  Conversely, the longer it is off the tree or vine, and this holds true for non-fruit edibles like leaves and roots as well, the more the nutrients in the food start to break down, making it a less nutritious choice for you and your family.

The reduced distance that your food has to travel helps the environment by cutting down on transportation emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, and your purchase can help the local economy and preserve open space on Long Island and in other regions of New York.  What's not to love?

With the rise of the local food movement and the term "locavore" has come controversy over which is better, local or organic?  Our thoughts on this are if you can get food that is both local and organic, go for it!  You're getting the best of both worlds.  If you have to choose, most often, we would go for local.  Here's why.

We've already talked about the advantages of buying local produce. What does organic mean?  Organic is a term that is government regulated to mean that the food is not the result of a genetically modified organism (GMO), and grown or raised without the use of antibiotics, pesticides or herbicides.  These are all good things, but what is not addressed is the living conditions of the animals, how soon the product is harvested and how far it is shipped.  It is much easier for a huge factory-farm to obtain organic certification than it is for a small family farmer because of the cost of navigating all the regulations.  Local foods may indeed meet the criteria, but just lack the designation.

There was a well-known study conducted at Stanford University comparing the nutrient content of organic foods to that of conventional produce.  They found that there was no significant difference.  That was a comparison of organic vs. conventional produce from huge factory farms and all that was measured was the vitamins and minerals. What was not measured was the pesticide, herbicide and other toxic residue, and local vs. conventional was not tested.  Despite the study's conclusions, we believe that organic is better than conventional, but not necessarily better than local.

We're really excited about our new find on the local food front, and we just had to share it with you. We are going to be a pick-up point for a new service called Farmigo.  You log into their website and choose from a wide variety of fruits vegetables, meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, baked goods, pickles, jams and snack foods that are produced within 250 miles of our area.  You order only what you need, when you need it and pay by credit card. Once a week, it gets delivered to our office - on Wednesday, and you stop by to pick it up.  Prices are roughly comparable to what you would pay at a farmer's market, but you get to shop from home, all year round.  Often, you will save money, because they frequently offer coupon codes with great discounts.

If you are interested and live within an easy drive of Wantagh, NY, you can sign up at:  Use code "FARMIGO40" to get 40% off on your first order. Once we get our little locavore community going, we're hoping to add some local food events.  Give your body the gift of health and join us.

Visit to learn more about us, or for our contact information.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Flu Vaccine: Is it worth the risk?

Is  getting a flu shot really the single most important thing you can do to protect your health and that of your family?  Here at Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Health, we respectfully disagree.  Even if there wasn't a list of potential side effects that can be much more serious than the flu, that fact is that this year's flu shot just isn't very effective.  The main strain that is causing problems this year showed up in the sampling after the formula for the vaccine was already set, so this year's biggest threat  is not included in the vaccine. 
The published effectiveness rate for this year's vaccine is about 23%.  However, that figure is only based on people who actually got sick enough to seek medical care.  People who remained healthy were not even considered in the study.  Only about 2% of the population ever develops flu, so a 23% effective rate actually becomes a less than half of one percent improvement in your chances of developing flu.  Would you buy a car whose brakes have been shown to work less than on half of one percent of the time?

So, what is the price you pay for this less than one half of one percent reduction in flu risk?  According to the National Vaccine Information Center, moderate reactions to the flu vaccine may include fever, localized reactions at the injection site, headache, nasal congestion,  fatigue, sore throat, cough, muscle and joint pain, and nausea. Don't those last seven side effects sound a lot like flu symptoms?
More serious complications may include brain inflammation, convulsions, Guillain Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, limb paralysis, neuropathy, shock,  wheezing/asthma and other breathing problems. Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a severe neurological disorder involving temporary or permanent paralysis that may lead to death.  A closer review of the more serious side effects shows that most or all of them can be attributed to neurotoxicity.  The number of reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following flu vaccines reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) exceeded 93,000 as of November 2013.

Studies suggest that repeated flu vaccines in healthy children may interfere with their immune response, making them more likely to develop influenza.  Current guidelines also recommend routine flu vaccines for pregnant women, despite findings by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that influenza infection is rarely a threat to normal pregnancy.  Instead, they note that  Thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, used in many vaccine formulas, has been shown to cause a number of human neurodevelopment disorders.
Chiropractic, nutritional supplements and other natural healing modalities can improve immune function without unwanted side effects.
In short, if you have a choice in taking the flu vaccine and there is no compelling reason to do it, don't.


On this blog, you will find random facts related to health and wellness. Some will pertain directly to Chiropractic, but more will pertain to diet, exercise, lifestyle, health news and generally taking responsibility for your own health.

Wantagh Woods Chiropractic and Wellness is about more than just spinal adjustments, even though Chiropractic is the backbone of our practice (pun intended).  If you've been injured in sports or in daily activities, we can adjust the limb to help you heal better, and further speed it along with electric stimulation therapy or other non-invasive therapies.  Chiropractic offers very effective treatment for TMJ, migraines, pinched nerves in the extremities and a host of other painful conditions that are not frequently considered to be connected to the spine.

Our office can also perform a nutritional analysis for patients, helpig them to choose appropriate nutritional supplements for their specific conditions.  Dr. Suzanne Plotnik and I take pride in caring for the whole person and empowering them to take care of themselves.  You can learn more about us at