Increasing Protein to Meet Spring Health Goals

Preparing protein

As winter comes to an end, we want to move more and feel renewed in our body.  That makes spring an ideal time to focus on optimizing your fitness, performance, and health. No matter your age, stage, or season of life, we are going to challenge you in increasing protein to meet your spring health goals.

If you are like most of our clients, you want to get stronger, move better, lose body fat. Your goal may be to say good-bye to a nagging health condition (perhaps an autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, pre diabetes, or long COVID). When we sit down to discuss these goals, we often find that clients are not meeting their minimum protein requirements. Increasing protein is necessary to fuel the body in achieving these goals.

Why do we care about protein intake as physical therapists?

Protein is required for muscle growth and repair.  Subsequently, healthy muscle mass is required for a healthy metabolism, bone mass, blood pressure and more. In addition, a lack of protein can result in an impaired immune system and increased inflammation.

You may be low on protein because you just don’t consume enough quality protein.  It may be that your need is higher than average because you are healing or under a lot of physical stress. Or you may not be able to break down or absorb the protein you are consuming adequately. In any of these cases, the result will be a difficult time healing from injury, illness or workouts.  You may have not have levels of hormones and neurotransmitters necessary to feel your best, produce energy, stabilize your mood, build muscle, and lose body fat.

Can we agree that one of your spring goals should be meeting your body’s protein needs? Now, let’s figure out how to do that in the midst of a busy schedule.

1. Start Your Day with Protein.

Your first meal of the day is important for your metabolism, sustained energy, and to curb cravings for less healthy foods later in the day.  A well balanced meal also sets the stage mentally for making healthy choices as the day goes on.

2. Space your intake throughout the day.

The body can only process so much protein at one time, so there is no reason to eat your days worth of protein at dinner. Instead of focusing only on your daily protein goal, be sure you are getting adequate amounts at each meal.  For most people this will be 20-30 grams.

3. Drink plenty of water, but not with your meals.

Hydration is important to keeping the body – especially digestion and detoxification – running well.  However, drinking too much water with your high protein meals can decrease the digestive enzymes in your stomach necessary to break down the food properly for absorption.

4. Be mindful with your protein.

Hitting macronutrient targets is important but if you aren’t absorbing the nutrients you are consuming it doesn’t do you much good.  The biggest trigger for gut health issues and poor absorption is stress.  So focus on enjoying your food and take a few deep breaths before your meal if you feel like your mind is racing.

5. Read food labels.

Marketers know that “protein” is a buzzword, but you must check the label for quantity and quality.  That protein bar with 5 grams of protein is not a “high protein” snack.  In addition, you should avoid poorly absorbable or highly inflammatory proteins like casein and soy.

6. Supplement with protein powders.

When you need a quick protein boost a shake may be your best option.  Check labels for artificial ingredients, flavorings, and sweeteners that can cause more harm than good.  Be sure the product has at least 20 grams of quality protein (from multiple sources like hemp and rice if vegan and grass fed if a whey protein).

These are six simple ways you can optimize your protein intake and better absorb it.  Remember, if you are recovering from an illness or injury, training hard, or over the age of 40, you may need more protein than you think.  The RDA (recommended daily allowance) does not take into account these instances of increased need or situations where absorption may be altered.

If you are interested in identifying your unique protein targets to meet your health goals, Integrative Health Coaching may be your next best step. Schedule a Free Discovery Visit to find out if a personalized plan and support through coaching is the solution you are searching for.  Click HERE to reserve your spot.

Do I Really Need to Stretch After My Workout?

I know we are all short on time and taking 10 minutes to stretch at the end of a gym session, long walk, or tennis game can seem like a waste.
We believe the gains made to improve our cardiovascular system, muscular strength, and agility are during the workout . . . right?
The truth is, strength and performance gains are made during recovery as your body rebuilds what was broken down during your workout.
And stretching is an integral part of the recovery process.
It improves blood circulation to deliver nutrients to the muscles that “feed” them as they recover.

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Friday Foodspiration: Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

My kids are starving after school (I promise I send them a lunch and snack). . . any body else have ravenous kids?

But I am not interested in throwing sugar laden packaged snacks at them when I still need them to have some self control and concentration to get through homework and practicing their instruments.

I understand we don’t always have time to cook make fun snacks and there are healthy options that are grab and go. However, if you have older grade school kids they can make these on the weekend -its an easy measure and stir recipe. They can package them in baggies for the week. They even freeze well if you want to double the recipe.

These treats are loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats to keep you full and fueled. What they don’t have? Gluten, dairy, inflammatory oils, or added sugar.

Perfect for kids as a quick and healthy after school snack or post workout refuel!

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3 Most Common Golf Injuries And How Any Golfer Can Avoid Them

How can taking a seemingly effortless stroll and hitting a few balls along the way cause an injury?

This may be your perspective if you have never played a round of golf. But if you have, you realize that even this non contact, low impact sport results in frequent injuries. In fact, this time of year golf injuries are commonly seen in our clinic. . . although hardly ever right away.

Most of the people we know who play golf seem to put up with injuries and just keep playing. They experience aches, pains, and stiffness more than excruciating pain. Most of them don’t want to accept that the injury is in fact a consequence of the sport they love. That is until inevitably they are forced to stop playing.

The problem with golf is that it involves a lot of positions that the body isn’t designed to be in. In addition, the temptation is to hit the ball with as much power as possible to make it go further. These forceful, awkward twisting movements put too much stress on certain parts of the body.

Let’s dive into the 3 most common injuries and what you can do to avoid them.

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Get to the Root Cause of Pain With Astym Therapy

When you go to the doctor and get a prescription you are chasing symptoms. Although, maybe very effective in the short term, you never quite resolve the root cause of your pain or movement problem.

Finding the source of your pain and dysfunction is our goal. Using our non-invasive Astym “instruments” we can both locate and treat your pain source. We have seen Astym help countless patients restore movement, relieve pain, and get their lives back. It has worked on many patient’s when other approaches or symptom chasing has failed.

What is Astym Therapy?

Astym treatment regenerates and rebuilds soft tissue. This includes muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Damage to these tissues is often the cause of chronic pain and movement restrictions.

In addition, Astym addresses scar tissue as a frequent culprit to movement limitations and pain symptoms. Astym safely and efficiently stimulates scar tissue to be reabsorbed by the body.This means you are getting to the root cause of the problem and allowing the body to safely and naturally repair itself.

The best part for us as clinicians is that results are backed by research with an over 92% success rate. We have no other non invasive treatment technique that can offer us those types of odds. And this type of success if even clinically proven when other procedures have failed in the past.

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5 Strategies to Sneak Fitness Into Your Schedule

Did you realize that exercising 30 minutes a day takes up less than 2% of your 24 hours?

Let’s say you are sleeping 8 of those . . . that 30 minutes of exercise still only takes up about 3% of your waking hours.

So how is it that the biggest excuse we hear for not exercising is “I don’t have time”?

I completely understand that long to do lists and endless obligations quickly fill up our schedule. . . and time is our most valuable and limited resource.

However, finding the time in your schedule can be as easy as getting creative, managing your schedule well, and making exercise a priority. Here are some ways to help you find your sanity and find the time to exercise. Trust me. . . exercise is the best medicine for a hectic life and stressful schedule.

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Discover Deep Breathing for Stress and Pain Relief

Do you know what happens inside your body when you are stressed?

During times of emotional stress our sympathetic nervous system is stimulated – the part of the brain that says danger is near and we better run.  This signals a number of physical responses. . . . Our heart rate rises, muscles tense, some perspire, our digestion slows, and our breathing becomes rapid and shallow.  

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How to Beat Stiffness and Move with Ease This Year

Remember a time when you bounced out of bed and started your day without a second thought to stiff joints or an achy back? Maybe you even threw on a pair of running shoes and headed out for a jog (probably without even stretching first).

As we get older our joints and muscle start to feel stiff.  Sometimes this is because we don’t exercise regularly, we aren’t as active as we used to be, or aren’t able to recover as well after we do exercise. 

It’s true that our joints can become less flexible as lubricating fluid inside them decreases and cartilage wears thin. However, stiffness doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of getting older.

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Friday Foodspiration: Roasted Chicken and Carrots

Roast Chicken with Carrots

What better words to describe a fall family dinner than . . . warm, hearty, cast iron, and BACON!

This is where comfort food and healthy food merge. It’s a heavier dish with bacon and chicken thighs, so you don’t need a bunch of extra sides to make a meal. A light side salad is plenty!

It’s perfect for those looking for lower carb or higher fat options. You could sub turkey bacon and chicken breasts if your body doesn’t run optimally on fats, but you will sacrifice some flavor. Personally, I have a high sensitivity to fats so I just choose to have a smaller portion and keep all the flavor with a larger salad.

Gluten free. Grain free. Dairy free

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Are Holiday Treats Making You Stiff and Sore?

This time of year sweets and treats are everywhere. In fact, it starts at Halloween and follows us all the way through New Years . . . candy, pies, cookies, cakes, fudge, and brittles.

You may be concerned about the impact this has on your waistline, but most just plan to worry about that in January. More concerning to me is how a high daily intake of sugar causes pain and inflammation.

Over the past few decades, sugar consumption has dramatically increased and corollated with a rise in obesity, autoimmune disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other painful inflammatory conditions.

Do you know how much sugar you eat?

The average American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar per year (with the most during the last few months of the year. Our holiday diets are often high in refined starches and sugars which promotes an increase in inflammation, achiness, chronic disease, and pain.

The connection between sugar consumption and pain is often surprising to our clients. So, I want to address some of the frequently asked questions on the subject so you can decide for yourself as to whether your seasonal aches and pains (or those you experience any time of year) could be worsened by food choices.

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