April 2014 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Cheap and Inexpensive Superfoods

Keep an eye on your health and your budget with these low-cost superfood alternatives.

Food is not a medicine. It cannot cure ailments or diseases, even if food has healthful properties. Green leafy vegetables and colorful fruits are not magic pills, even if they are packed with nutrients. The closest food gets to having a restorative effect is a small category of superfoods. They are natural, from the earth, (or naturally derived, such as soy products), and minimally processed.

But you may also know superfoods as some of the most expensive options in the produce section. Blueberries, goji berries, walnuts, salmon, and acai—they’re all great in cancer and heart disease prevention and weight loss regimens. But so expensive!

Here are some ways to get the benefit of superfoods without paying superfood prices.

Yes, the humble bean packs a punch. Beans (aka legumes) come in many fashions, from lentils to pinto to garbanzo. Cans at the market are as low as 99-cents each, but if you can plan your meals a day ahead, dried beans are as low as 25-cents a pound. Just soak them the night before. Jazz beans up with Indian or Mexican spices. Beans are a popular vegetarian and vegan substitute for meat because they’re loaded with protein.

Nothing shouts healthy like a head of broccoli. They look like trees, so they must be healthy! Broccoli is actually a great detoxifier. I bet you didn’t know that broccoli has a ton of vitamin C and vitamin K. What’s vitamin K? It’s found in many green, leafy (cruciferous) veggies like broccoli, and is crucial for blood health. At just over one-dollar per pound, broccoli is a powerfully cheap veggie. Try baking it at 400F for 12 minutes for a crunchy, rich green flavor.

Sweet Potatoes
They’re not just for Thanksgiving. Substitute the orange colored sweet potatoes for baking or waxy potatoes. Mash them or bake them with your favorite herbs, and you’ve got one of the most incredibly packed vitamin A vegetables. They’re filling and cheap, too—usually under 99-cents a pound.

Shitake Mushrooms
One of the most delicious and plentiful mushroom varieties is shitake. They’re small and easy to use, and totally full of important minerals. Mushrooms are a wonder of nature, growing in forests and on felled logs, yet they inhibit the growth of cancer cells, strengthen the immune system, and are heart-healthy. I can get a big pack of luscious shitakes at my market for about two-bucks a pound.

Other inexpensive superfoods that are easy to add to your shopping cart include tofu, eggs, peanut butter, prunes, and bananas. Happy and healthy eating!

4 Pain Management Alternatives to Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs: The potential for their abuse and addiction is high. If you need to manage bodily pain and are concerned about pharmaceutical toxins or liver damage, then prescription drugs can be last in a chain of available pain treatment options. Fibromyalgia, nerve damage, arthritis, headaches, diabetes, and chronic back pain can all benefit from alternative therapies. It is best to consult your physician when planning new physical activities and exercises. Importantly, be aware of your own body’s limits. If it hurts, then stop immediately.

Ancient Chinese medicine has given us acupuncture. The ancient healing practice is well-documented and practiced by skilled acupuncturists. You may not always feel an acupuncture needle being inserted, especially if your practitioner is extremely gentle. Many people come to love the feeling of a needle stimulating a particular point—those pain points need attention, and acupuncture delivers.

Slow stretching movements can help realign your spinal column and pelvis, strengthen your hands and feet, and promote strong blood circulation. Yoga always incorporates steady breathing techniques, which help to calm the mind. Yes, there is a meditative quality to the calm, intentional movements offered by yoga. These can help to soothe the nervous system.

Light massage can relax the muscles and ease the agile brain. Relaxation is key to solving pain caused by sore muscles, chronic back pain, stress, and drug addiction withdrawals. The simple act of human touch is a powerful conduit of healing energy. Skin stimulation is an excellent and proven mood elevator.

Sometimes pain management means pampering yourself. Spend 15–20 minutes in a warm or hot spa, Jacuzzi, bath or steam room. This can relax your muscles and your mind. Heath applied to certain pain spots can be soothing. This is especially good for lower back pain and sore feet. Do not use the spa if you have open sores or wounds, or high blood pressure.

See if you can reduce the amount of prescription pills you put in your mouth with any of these gentle pain management techniques. Above all, believe you want to be a healthy person.

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