Recipe: Blueberry-Walnut Pancakes

Grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free

Do you miss seeing a stack of pancakes on the brunch table? Now you don’t have to. These grain-free, sugar-free, dairy-free pancakes are the perfect guilt-free treat. They’re easy to make, and the whole family will love them. Yum!

Ingredients

3 large omega-3 eggs
¾ cup almond milk
½ tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts
coconut oil, for greasing the skillet (about ¼ cup)
1 pint fresh blueberries
½ cup arrowroot
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the almond milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until well-blended. In a separate bowl, mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and arrowroot. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, ¼ cup at a time, while continuously whisking. Once combined, gently fold in the walnuts.
  2. Grease a large skillet and place over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, use a ladle to pour 3-inch pancakes onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles appear, then flip. The pancake should cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Repeat with rest of the batter. Add a tablespoon or more of coconut oil to the hot griddle, as needed.
  3. Make a blueberry sauce by simmering the blueberries in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water for 10 minutes before serving.
  4. To serve, place 3 pancakes on a plate and top each stack with the blueberry sauce.

Nutritional information (per serving)

Makes 2-3 servings.

Calories 423
Total Fat 19 g
Protein 12 g
Fiber 14 g
Sugar 14 g
Sodium 416 mg

— Recipe courtesy of Mark Hyman, MD 

Recipe: Ginger Spice Smoothie@ClevelandClinic.#healthaware

This creamy, low-carb smoothie is a great way to start your day on the right, energetic foot!

Recipe: Ginger Spice Smoothie

This creamy, low-carb smoothie is a great way to start your day on the right, energetic foot. An additional benefit is that ginger is great for digestion!

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups almond or cashew milk
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 handful baby spinach or greens of choice

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information (per serving)

Makes 1 serving

Calories: 400
Total fat: 31 g
Saturated fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 13 g
Carbohydrate: 19 g
Sodium: 30 mg

—Recipe courtesy of Mark Hyman, MD

Why a Strong Core Can Help Reduce Low Back Pain.

cleveland back pain a physical therapist

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

Back pain is a complex problem, but can strengthening core muscles with targeted exercise provide some relief?

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? Physical therapist Patti Mariano Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, answers common questions about what we should know about strengthening your core muscle group.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis.
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques.
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominal.
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi.

Your core also includes your diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures for stability, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs which lie between the spinal bones. This can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  •  Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Marches — Lie on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out draw your belly muscles in as if tightening a belt. As you do this lift one leg a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. 3 sets.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely. The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

Why a Strong Core Can Help Reduce Low Back Pain.

cleveland back pain a physical therapist

Cleveland Clinic
@ClevelandClinic

Back pain is a complex problem, but can strengthening core muscles with targeted exercise provide some relief?

If you suffer from back pain, you’ve probably heard that strengthening your core can bring you some relief. But is this always true? And if so, how do you do it? Physical therapist Patti Mariano Kopasakis, PT, DPT, SCS, answers common questions about what we should know about strengthening your core muscle group.

Q: What is your core?

When most people think about the core of the body they think of the abdominal or six-pack area just below the ribs. While the abdominal muscles are an important part of the core, we consider other areas important, too.

Your core includes:

  • Front abdominal muscles — the rectus abdominis.
  • Muscles along the side of your body — the internal and external obliques.
  • A deep muscle that wraps around the front — the transverse abdominal.
  • Muscles in your back that are located between your spine bones and run along your spine — the erector spinae and multifidi.

Your core also includes your diaphragm, muscles of the pelvic floor, hip flexors, and gluteal muscles.

Q: What is the relationship between core strength and back pain?

Theoretically, if your muscles around the low back are weak, your body will rely more on passive structures for stability, including ligaments — the tissue that connects bone to bone — as well as the spinal bones or discs which lie between the spinal bones. This can cause pain.

But some studies have shown that specific core exercises are not any more beneficial than general exercise for low back pain. What we know is that exercise in general can help, and focusing on core muscles may provide some additional benefit.

Q: What are some exercises for the core that can help with back pain?

Here are my top five:

  •  Side plank — Sit on the floor with your right hand below your right shoulder and feet stacked. Lift your body, keeping your legs long, abdominals engaged and feet stacked. Hold. Repeat on the other side. You can modify this pose by dropping your bottom knee to the floor for extra support.
  • Plank — Kneel on all fours. Pull in your abdomen and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your neck straight. Hold your abdomen and legs tight and avoid letting your lower back sag. Hold and breathe for 30 seconds. You can modify this pose by lowering your knees.
  • Bird dog — Kneel  on all fours. Reach one arm out in front of you, draw in your abdomen, and extend the opposite leg long behind you. Repeat on the other side.
  • Marches — Lie on your back with knees bent. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out draw your belly muscles in as if tightening a belt. As you do this lift one leg a few inches from the floor. Return to starting position and switch sides. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions on each side. 3 sets.
  • Upward dog — Lie face down with head slightly lifted and hands palm-down under your shoulders. Point your toes. Exhale, then press through your hands and the tops of your feet and raise your body and legs up until your arms are straight and your body and legs are off the ground. Keep your neck relaxed and long and thigh muscles tight as you hold and breathe.

For the plank exercises, start by holding them for 15 seconds to 30 seconds. For bird dog and scissors, try three sets of eight or 10 repetitions. For upward dog, do one set of 10 repetitions.

Q: Can you injure your back by trying to strengthen your core?

Any exercise performed incorrectly, whether it is core-strengthening or otherwise, has the potential to cause discomfort.

Twisting exercises or even incorrectly completing the exercises cited above can cause pain in the low back. But it’s highly unlikely that one repetition of an exercise will seriously harm your body, unless it’s an exercise using a very heavy weight.

The best way to keep your body safe is to listen to body cues such as pain during and immediately after an exercise, and the next day after exercising.

Q: When should you talk to a doctor about your back pain?

If any of the following is going on you should consult with your doctor:

  • Your pain has been going on for longer than a month, despite resting from activities that make it worse.
  • Your pain is getting worse.
  • Your pain wakes you from sleep.
  • Your pain is in your low back but also is going down one or both of your legs.
  • You notice that one leg is becoming weaker than the other.

Q: Where should you turn if you want help in creating a plan to address back pain?

Physical therapists train as musculoskeletal experts — they are the experts on muscles, bones and human movement. These professionals are the most qualified, aside from an orthopedic doctor, to assess back problems.

Since there are many factors that impact low back pain and many types of low back pain, it is a good idea to visit at least one time with a physical therapist for an evaluation and subsequent plan of care. This will give you an individually tailored plan with exercises that progress safely. The idea of core strengthening, while beneficial, is just one piece of the low back pain puzzle.

This fresh English Pea Pasta recipe is loaded with healthful pea protein @ClevelandClinic

There is something special about using fresh peas straight out of the pod. This recipe was inspired by our root-to-stem philosophy of cooking: It always seems like such a waste to throw away the pea pods, but they are relatively inedible. To make use of the pods, we’ve pureed them into a spring-fresh pasta sauce. Remember: Pasta for breakfast is a great choice, especially when it’s loaded with healthful pea protein.

Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound fresh English peas in pods (yields about 1 cup shelled peas and about 3 ½ cups pods)
½ cup water
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small spring onions or 2 large shallots, chopped
2 small spring garlic (whites) or 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (optional)
12 ounces whole grain pasta, such as linguine, rigatoni or small shells
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh mint (peppermint preferred), thinly sliced
Espelette pepper to taste (optional)
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add enough salt to make it salty like the sea.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the peas. Pull off the stem ends: remove the peas and place in a small bowl. Reserve the pods.
  3. Fill a bowl with cold water. Set aside. Add the empty pea pods to the pot of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the pods from the boiling water and transfer to the bowl of cold water to cool quickly. Drain the pea pods and add to a Vitamix or high-speed blender. Add ½ cup water. Puree for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Place a fine strainer over a bowl and add the pea pod puree to the strainer, pressing on the solids to release as much puree as possible into the bowl. Discard the solids in the strainer. Reserve the puree in the bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water until al dente, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the peas and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved pea pod puree and Greek yogurt, if using, and cook just until heated through. (Don’t overcook the peas or puree as the sauce will turn brown).
  7. Using tongs or a spider, transfer the pasta to the sauce in the skillet. Toss until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to the serving bowl. Add the basil and mint. Serve with Espelette pepper and grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, if using.

Nutritional info (per serving)

Makes 4 servings.

Calories: 554 kcal
Total fiber: 12 g
Soluble fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 15.5 g
Total fat: 16.7 g
Saturated fat: 2.0 g
Healthy fats: 12.1 g
Carbohydrates: 84 g
Sugars: 7.7 g
Added sugars: 0 g
Sodium: 178 mg
Potassium: 433 mg
Magnesium: 14 mg
Calcium: 134 mg

Source: The What to Eat When Cookbook by Michael F. Roizen, MD, Michael Crupain, MD, MPH and Jim Perko, Sr, CEC, AAC.

Recipe: Stuffed Tomatoes With Poblano and Avocado






Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic
·


Especially good with summer’s freshest tomatoes, this delicious, easy and satisfying snack will hit the spot:

There’s nothing better than inviting friends over to enjoy a walk or bike ride, followed by a snack featuring vegetables from your garden. But it doesn’t have to be summer and you don’t need a garden to enjoy this recipe. All you need is an appreciation for delicious, easy and satisfying whole foods!

Ingredients

8 Campari tomatoes
2 Poblano peppers
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
½ bunch cilantro, including stems
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

Directions

  1. Rest the peppers on the grate of a gas stove. Turn the fire on medium and char the peppers, turning them with tongs, until evenly blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes.(Alternatively, you can roast the peppers over a gas grill or under the broiler.)
  2. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam. When cool enough to handle, rub off the charred skin and discard, along with the stems and seeds.
  3. While the peppers cool, slice off a little from the top and bottom of each tomato to create flat surfaces. Cut the tomatoes in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  4. Transfer the peppers to a food processor, along with the avocado, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Puree until very smooth.
  5. Transfer the puree to a zipper-top plastic bag and snip a hole in one corner. Pipe the avocado mixture into the tomato halves. Top with the sunflower seeds and serve.

Nutrition information

Makes 4 servings

Per serving (2 stuffed tomatoes):
Calories 140
Fat 9g
Saturated fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Fiber 4g
Protein 2g
Carbohydrates 12g
Sodium 300mg

Recipe from Mark Hyman, MD

Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture.@ClevelandClinic

cleveland evrything starts wit your core

If you’re planning to start an exercise program and wondering where to begin, start with your core first, says physical therapist Brittany Smith, DPT. People often think of the core muscles as being the abdominal muscles, but the core includes the muscles in the abdomen, back and hips, all working together as a group.

“The core muscles provide stability for the entire body as it moves,” says Smith. “These muscles are activated when you stand up, turn, bend, reach, twist, stoop and move in most other ways. Everything starts with your core.”

Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture, while weak ones can lead to slouching and slumping. Poor posture can be a cause of aches and pain, especially in the back.

Getting started with your core

To get your core muscles in shape, you need to exercise.

“Our bodies were made to move, so any physical activity is really important,” says Smith.

She recommends these specific core-strengthening exercises below.

The first one engages the deep muscles in the abdomen, called the transverse abdominis. “These muscles help hold us in a better position to stabilize our core, thereby stabilizing our arms and legs,” says Smith.

“The more you work on these muscles, the more it will become second nature to hold these muscles tight when you’re lifting grocery bags, doing yard work or any other kind of physical activity,” says Smith. This will help support your body.

Other muscles that tend to be weak are the gluteus maximus in the buttocks, and the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus on the side of the hip. The bridge and clamshell exercises can help strengthen these muscles.

Smith emphasizes that getting the proper position of these exercises correct is more important than the number of repetitions you do. “It’s better to take your time, maybe do fewer reps, but with better quality,” she says. For that reason, it can be helpful to have the guidance of a physical therapist to get started.

Move on from the core

Core exercises are the starting point of overall fitness because you need to hold those muscles engaged while you strengthen other muscles, such as the biceps in the arms or the quadriceps in the legs.

Smith suggests setting short-term goals (for about a month) and then more long-term goals. Once you have achieved short-term goals, such as getting around more easily, add other types of weight-training or resistance exercises to build muscle elsewhere.

With any exercise you do, always listen to your body, warns Smith. If you have pain other than muscle burn, take it easy. Reduce the number of repetitions, the weight or the duration of the exercises. Then build up gradually. “You don’t have to be in pain to make gains,” she says.

Beginner exercises for core strength

For each of the following, work up to one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions once a day.

Abdominal bracing

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles, and press the arch of your back down toward the floor, pulling your belly button toward your spine. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure your lower back stays flat on the floor. Relax and repeat.

Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your arms at your sides. Squeeze your abdominal and buttocks muscles, push your heels into the floor and slowly lift your buttocks and hips off the floor. Keep your back straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Clamshell

Lie on your side with knees bent in line with your hips and back, draw up the top knee while keeping contact of your feet together as shown. Don’t let your pelvis roll back during the lifting movement. Hold for 5 seconds.

Planning to Start Exercising? Start with Your Core First