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Vitamin B12…Do You Get Enough?

Are you feeling sluggish or having a difficult time exercising for long periods of time? Are you bruising more easily? Do you have vitamin B12 deficiency?

IMG_2385.JPGAlthough the human body does store vitamin B12, it is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that I diagnose and treat.

Vitamin B12 (or B12), also called cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is normally involved in the metabolism of every cell of the human body, especially affecting DNA synthesis and regulation, but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production.

B12 is produced in the gut of animals, making it the only vitamin you cannot get from plants of sunlight. It can be found in foods such as meat, fish, and dairy products.

Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency can happen if you have certain conditions, such as:

1. Atrophic gastritis (a condition in which your stomach lining has thinned)

2. Pernicious anemia, which makes it hard for your body to absorb vitamin B12

3. Surgery that removed part of your stomach or small intestine, including weight loss surgery

4. Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth.

5. Heavy drinking

6. Immune system disorders (Graves’ disease or lupus, etc.)

7. Long-term use of acid-reducing medications (Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac, etc) or Long-term use of diabetes medication, Metformin.

8. You can also get vitamin B12 deficiency if you’re a vegan (meaning you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, milk, cheese, and eggs) or a vegetarian who doesn’t eat enough eggs or dairy products to meet your vitamin B12 needs.

Treatment Options

Since a deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, depression, and problems with your memory, it is important to treat it.

There are two non-prescription vitamin B12 supplements I recommend for my patients:

1. KIND Organics Vitamin B12 Spray (by Garden of Life)

IMG_2382.PNGKIND Organics from Garden of Life® offers a full range of Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project verified supplements made only from real food—over 30 fruits, vegetables and herbs. Absolutely free of synthetic binders and fillers, meaningful amounts of vitamins and minerals are carefully combined to benefit specific dietary needs.

2. Vitamin Code RAW Vitamin B12

IMG_2381.JPG Garden of Life®’s RAW B-12 is a comprehensive, whole-food vitamin B12 formula made with RAW Food-Created Nutrients™

However, you can also get shots of vitamin B-12 for the treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency.

So if you’re experiencing fatigue, weakness, and a decline in your memory, you may be deficient in Vitamin B12. Talk to your healthcare provider and have your vitamin B12 level checked.

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Wellness Wednesday: 6 Ways to Reduce Mammogram Discomfort

Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women. The key to beating breast cancer is early detection. Women should perform monthly self breast examinations, have regular clinical breast examination by a trained medical professional, and schedule a yearly mammogram (beginning at age 40). Numerous studies prove that early detection is a vital component in the successful treatment of breast cancer.

Mammograms play a central part in early detection because they can detect changes in the breast that may be early signs of cancer, but are too small or subtle to be felt.

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OK, so maybe a mammogram isn’t your idea of fun. No procedure that involves flattening your breasts between two plastic plates could ever be described as enjoyable.

But consider the lifesaving potential of this test: A mammogram can detect breast cancer years before you’d ever feel a lump. And when detected early, before it has a chance to spread, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is about 98 percent.

While mammograms can be uncomfortable, you can take the edge off with these steps:

1. Schedule your mammogram for a few days after your period has ended, when breasts are less tender. Avoid the week before your period.

2. Ask your physician if it’s OK to take a pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen an hour before your mammogram.

3. Avoid caffeine for two days before your test. Caffeine can increase breast tenderness.

4. Tell your healthcare provider if you have breast implants. Special care is needed when compressing breast implants to ensure they don’t rupture. The breasts must also be positioned and analyzed differently.

5. Ask your X-ray technician about thin foam pads (MammoPad Breast Cushions) that can be placed between your breast and the mammography machine to lessen pain. Studies show the pads don’t interfere with imaging and can greatly reduce discomfort, allowing the X-ray technician to compress breasts more (without increased discomfort) to get better images.

6. Dress to undress. Mammograms require that you strip down to the waist, so wearing a two-piece outfit may help you feel less exposed.

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Don’t let fear of discomfort keep you from getting a mammogram. Remember, just a few seconds of grin-and-bear-it could save your life.

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Meatless Monday: Crispy Orange Cauliflower

This recipe for Crispy Orange Cauliflower is a vegetarian’s solution to Orange Chicken. It has a sweet sauce flavored with freshly squeezed orange juice…and it’s gluten-free! If you love the taste of Orange Chicken, you’re going to love this dish. If you close your eyes when you take a bite into the crispy orange cauliflower it will almost seem like you’re eating chicken.

Crispy Orange Cauliflower
Gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets (or you can use pre-packaged of cauliflower florets)

For Flour Mixture:
1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal + 2 Tb water, allow to sit until thickens
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup corn starch
1/4 cup King Arthur’s Gluten-free Baking Mix
1 tsp oil

Instructions:
1. Blend all ingredients together until a nice batter is formed (shouldn’t be too thick: think waffle batter consistency).

2. Meanwhile, heat up a skillet with 1/2 cup oil on medium/high heat. Make sure it has been properly heated.

3. Dip each small floret into the batter and make sure each piece is entirely covered.

4. Fry in oil until completely browned.

5. Allow to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

(For Orange Sauce)

2 Tbsp. oil
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and zested
6 green onions, thinly sliced
zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
2 Tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

Instructions:
1. In a clean skillet, heat oil and garlic for 1 minute.

2. Add green onions, zest and juice. Cook another 1 minute.

3. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil. Toss in crispy cauliflower into the skillet and coat thoroughly. Keep on the pan briefly.

4. Place on top of rice.

Sweet Orange Sauce for serving:
1/4 c. orange juice
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp brown sugar

1. In that same skillet, throw in the remainder ingredients and bring to a boil for just 1 minute, stirring constantly.

2. Drizzle over orange cauliflower and rice.

3. Garnish with green scallions, orange zest, and sesame seeds.

Recipe inspired by Vegan Richa

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Wellness Wednesday: Breast Cancer Self-Awareness

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BREAST SELF-AWARENESS
Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, but it can be successfully treated. Screening tests can find cancer early, when chances for survival are highest.

1. Know your risk

• Talk to both sides of your family to learn about your family health history

• Talk to your provider about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get screened

• Talk with your doctor about which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk

• Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk

• Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at age 20, and every year starting at age 40

3. Know what is normal for you

See your health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes:

• Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area

• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast

• Change in the size or shape of the breast

• Dimpling or puckering of the skin

• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple

• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast

• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly

• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices

Maintain a healthy weight
Add exercise into your routine
Limit alcohol intake
Limit menopausal hormone use
Breastfeed, if you can

Learn more at www.komen.org

October is all about PINK!

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Meatless Monday: Spinach Lasagna

Are you looking for a reason to try an occasional meat-free meal? Meat-free meals can save you some money, help the planet, and add variety to your life. Sound good? This pasta dish is made with delicious and wholesome vegan ingredients for a meal you can feel really good about eating.

Spinach Lasagna
Serves 4

Ingredients:
½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen spinach
1 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
¼ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (16 oz) jar of organic pasta sauce
¾ cup water
4 oz. organic lasagna noodles
1 cup nondairy cream cheese
4 oz. rice-based “mozarella” cheese, shredded
¼ cup fresh parsley
4 oz. silken soft tofu

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.

3. In large pot, combine olive oil, spinach and seasonings; add pasta sauce and water. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, mix together various vegan cheeses, parsley and tofu.

5. In a lasagna pan, layer sauce, followed by noodles, followed by sauce, followed by tofu cheese mix, then more sauce, and more noodles until layered. Repeat until done with sauce on top.

6. Cover loosely with foil and bake 50 minutes. (Check to make sure it is not too brown on top).

7. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes, checking after about seven minutes. Let it sit 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from The Diet Diva, Joanne Eglash.

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5 Things To Do at the Start Every Week

I have always been focused on achievement. I’m a “goals first” girl and I generate lists that help me do my best. A to-do list gives me a sense of control and makes me feel productive when I get work done. Every time I get to cross off a to-do, a little shot of adrenaline is mine. It keeps me motivated and focused on the next job to be done.

For most of us, having a productive work week starts on Monday. This means that if you block out your frustrations and change your mindset, Monday is the most important day of the work week! It’s a day of renewal!

Here are 5 things I TRY to do every Monday. Sometimes I don’t get through all of them but this approach has proven to be effective for me!

1. Go to bed early Sunday night and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.

2. Say to myself “Here we go” Monday morning to symbolize that I am jumping into another busy week.

3. Review my list of goals for the week

4. Plan one fun thing to do the upcoming weekend.

5. Take a moment to remind myself how fortunate I am to be starting another week.

Even when I am distracted or overwhelmed with what’s going on, these 5 actions keep me grounded in what matters most. They set the stage for a productive and happy week.

Do you have any tricks for Mondays?

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Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.

Other than skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Getting mammograms regularly can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. If you are 50 to 74 years old, be sure to have a screening mammogram every two years. If you are 40 to 49 years old, talk to your doctor about when to start and how often to get a screening mammogram.

Throughout the month, I will provide you with information to help you spot the signs, know your risks and protect yourself. While some factors are hereditary, others are in your control.

Fast Facts About Breast Cancer

1. Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease.

2. Men also get breast cancer, but it is not very common. Each year in the United States, about 2,000 men get breast cancer and about 400 men die from the disease.

3. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older, but breast cancer also affects younger women. About 11% of all new cases of breast cancer in the United States are found in women younger than 45 years of age.

4. Studies show that women with disabilities are less likely than women without disabilities to have received a mammogram during the past two years.

5. Black women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethnic groups, and are 40% more likely to die of breast cancer than white women.

What Are the Symptoms?

There are different symptoms of breast cancer, and some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any signs that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Learn more at: cdc.govIMG_2186.JPG
October is all about PINK!