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Belfast Natural Medicine (Dr. Kerri Vacher)

Kerri Vacher


We have made it almost to February which means we have survived the holidays!  I hope they were fun, festive and healthy!   I know it is cold out there but we all need a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity a day.  Here are few fun ways to stay active this winter:
1.  snow shoeing
2.  sledding
3.  skiing
4.  walking
5.  skating
6.  swimming at the YMCA
7.  playing hoops, indoor soccer or other activities at the YMCA
8.  Hoola hooping (if you have never met Judith Tingley- then you must seek her out!  She has a class at the YMCA on Wednesdays but also volunteers all over the place spreading the word about the benefits of hoola hooping!)

We tend to forget in the winter about the importance of vegetables!  They are still as important as ever so don't forget to get as many as possible.  Every meal should include at least one vegetable- even breakfast.  Try cooking up some spinach with garlic and sesame seeds- a big batch- and warm them up in the morning with your eggs or grain for breakfast.  Soups and stir fries are a great way to get lots of vegetables into every meal (these can be warmed up to be eaten with breakfast the next day).  I recommend striving for 7-11 servings!!!!  I know...sounds like a lot... but if you are eating 1-2 servings at breakfast the rest of the meals are easier. 
Make sure to eat lots of warming foods and AGAIN don't forget to eat your vegetables!!!  Some examples of warming foods:  soups, teas, stir fries, other cooked (rather than raw) foods that emphasize warming spices such as ginger and garlic. 
Stay warm out there!!!  AND Be Well!!!

dr-kerri-vacherIt is always the same- We over eat during the holidays and then vow with our New Year's resolutions to take the holiday weight off and get healthy again!  Let's do things differently this year!  Let's make a committment to stay healthy during the holidays!  Read the tips below and go into the 2010 holiday season determined to stay healthy and slim.


Allow yourself to enjoy your favorite treats guilt-free. During the holidays we often indulge and then feel guilty the next morning.  To avoid this next-morning guilt, set an intention before each meal or holiday party and follow it. For example, it may be to enjoy a slice of your favorite pecan pie or sample one each of a few of the tasty appetizers. Another way to think about setting an intention is to ask your self “How do I want to feel tomorrow morning?” and “How do I need to behave tonight so that I wake up feeling good about my food decisions tomorrow?”  The goal is to mindful with your eating choices. 

Ask yourself: “How does the food taste to me?”; “How does it smell?”; “Am I full?”, “Am I eating according to the intentions I set?”  This can be the greatest challenge of all. Try to check in with your body while you’re eating and make adjustments to stay within your goal.  If the food doesn't meet your expectations, you can throw it away!  You don't have to eat every bite of the food...there are no clean plate clubs!

Be sure to continue – or begin! – your exercise program. Carve out 30-60 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-5x/week and strength training 30 minutes 2-3 x/week. Do what you enjoy most: walking, running on the beach, swimming, yoga, Pilates, climbing stairs, playing tennis, etc.  For strength training consider exercises that work the big muscle groups- squats, lunges, abdominal crunches combined with arm curls, tricep lifts and arm presses.   Exercise increases endorphins which elevate your mood and can help manage holiday stress. Exercise also helps to burn calories and prevent overeating.

This often leads to excessive hunger, a preoccupation with food, and not feeling satisfied. If you skip a meal you are more likely to overdo it the next time.  Instead, eating smaller meals regularly through out the day can keep hunger down. 

Sugar and simple carbohydrates, like breads, pastas, cookies and pastries, cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. This leads to increased sugar cravings and overeating. Protein stabilizes blood sugar, decreases sugar cravings, guards against overeating and helps to keep your mood stabilized. Try these excellent and easy sources of protein: a handful of nuts, hummus, hard boiled egg, turkey, fish and beans.  It is especially important to eat 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast time to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. 

Hydrating your body will increase your energy, detoxify your body, nourish your organs, keep your skin healthy, reduce headaches and increase your satiety. Challenge yourself to drink an extra 8-ounce glass of water for every serving of sugar, coffee and alcohol you consume during the holidays.  As I have mentioned in previous articles, I recommend that individuals start with drinking 50% of their body weight in ounces of water per day- ex.  If you weigh 200 pounds then drink 100 ounces of water, 150 pounds would be 75 oz of water.



See the link attached for some talking points of why our Senators should reject S510.  Please call or write to your Senators!  Thanks! 
Dr. Kerri
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Please see the link below for more information on the voluntary recall of Hyland's teething tablets.  Hyland's teething tablets have been a very successful teething remedy for years.  While they have not had a definitive link between the tablets and adverse side effects, the company has decided to recall select batches and modify it's producition procedures to address uniformity of product. 
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Fiber is the substance in plant food that we do not digest. The two main types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber are important to our health.

Soluble fibers are commonly found in fruits (especially pear, apple and citrus), oats, barley and legumes. These water-soluble fibers form gels that provide beneficial effects including:
1.  Delayed stomach emptying which contributes to early fullness and decreased appetite.
2.  The delayed stomach emptying slows the absorption of carbohydrates, thus reducing after-meal blood sugar increases.
3.  Decreased cholesterol and triglycerides.

Insoluble fibers are commonly found in wheat bran, corn bran, whole grain breads and cereals, as well as vegetables. Insoluble fiber has the effect of preventing constipation. Insoluble fiber functions like a sponge by attracting water into the digestive tract, softening stools and preventing constipation.

Tips to Increase Fiber:
*Include raw fruits and vegetables in your diet. Increase vegetable consumption to at least 3 servings per day. Increase fruit consumption to at least 2 servings per day.
*Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables in place of sugary or refined foods
*Increase whole grain consumption in place of refined or processed grains. Include oats, brown rice, bran, quinoa, barley and whole wheat. Choose whole grains; avoid flour products.
*Substitute whole grain flour for white flour in recipes.
*Add oat bran, wheat germ or rice bran to hot cereal or yogurt
*Add bran cereal or oatmeal to meat loaf, meatballs or hamburgers.
*Snack on unbuttered popcorn in place of potato chips, corn chips or pretzels
*Eat legumes daily. Replace creamy dips and spreads with bean dips or spreads such as hummus, black bean dip or refried beans.
* Remember animal products do not contain fiber.

It is recommended that we consume adequate fiber  (a minimum of 25 grams for adults) from a variety of food sources.  Some good sources of fiber are beans, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.  Refined foods tend to have less fiber due to processing.