Month: February 2019

Afternoon Slump-Buster Bites

Energy Bite Recipe

By Willow Jarosh

These energy bites can be stashed in a bag and taken to work or on an errand-run so when hunger hits, you’ve got an answer. And before you roll your eyes about the chopped raisins . . . there’s a method to our madness. These bites don’t have any added sweetener- the only sweetness comes from the raisins. This is rare and made possible by the fact that the raisins are chopped into small pieces so the sweetness is more evenly dispersed into each bite.

Makes 6 servings (1 bite per serving)
Prep time: 5 minutes / total time: 5 minutes + 1 hour refrigeration

1⁄3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1⁄2 cup raisins, packed, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
1⁄3 cup salted natural almond butter

1 – Stir the oats, raisins, coconut, hemp seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, together in a medium bowl until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

2 – Add the almond butter, pressing it into the oat mixture with a spatula or spoon until evenly dispersed.

3- Press and knead the mixture with your hands until all of the ingredients are mixed together and form a large ball.

4- Divide into 6 pieces, rolling each piece into a small ball.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before eating to allow flavors to meld. Energy bites can be stored, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

What Kind of Self-Care is Right for You?

Everybody Can Get Real Self Care from One of These 5 Methods.

While there are quite a few ways to achieve self-care, there’s a big discrepancy between what is truly self-care and what is just self-gratification. For example, people often look to spas for self-care, and while massages, saunas, pools, etc. can be a great form of relaxation for the mind and a benefit to the body, other spa treatments such as facials, manicures, etc. have little bearing on long-term mental and physical self-care. They may feel satisfying in the short term, but you have to keep in mind that real self-care doesn’t always come with immediate results. It generally takes some time to accomplish.

Here are the five most effective self-care methods curated by Michael Lodish, our Tru Whole Care Stress Management Counselor. Keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” in self-care, so try and find the one(s) from this list that will fit YOU the best.

  1. Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about making time in your day, before bed for even just 5 to 10 minutes midday to focus on letting go of worrisome thoughts, and focusing on a positive image, a happy memory or simply paying attention to your breathing. As you slow down your breathing, you release tension from the body. Meditation is one of the primary vehicles for setting up a structured mindfulness practice, but there are many other ways. “I recommend to my clients using one or more of the thousands of mindfulness apps available on smart phones,” explains Michael Lodish.  “It’s not important which one(s) you choose, but rather that you use it consistently so it becomes a routine like brushing your teeth.  It’s a great form of self-care that is affordable, effective, and can be done almost anywhere.”

  1. Sleep

Getting enough sleep every night is arguably the most important thing we can do for our self-care, yet so few of us actually do it. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  If that sounds too ambitious, try for at least 6 hours to start and work towards the “gold standard” of 8 hours.  Also, naps are highly underrated so embrace them when time allows in the middle of the day, especially if you’re not able to get enough sleep consistently each night.

  1. Exercise

Exercise is an invaluable way to reduce stress, and enhance the chemicals in the brain that combat depression & anxiety. Today there’s such a great variety of exercise options beyond the traditional treadmill & weights at the gym. Consider group work-out classes such as dance, barre, cycling or boxing. Also, consider participating in a sport which is a fun & social way to get exercise. There are plenty of opportunities to join a recreational league in almost any sport you can imagine. Yoga is always a good option too because it provides exercise AND mindfulness – a great combination!

  1. Nutrition

Food has the power to bring us joy and energize us. However making poor food choices can depress us, increase anxiety, and cause fatigue. The connection between self-care and nutrition may not seem obvious, but cognitive ability, endurance, patience, and a host of other traits can be strongly influenced by diet. Willow Jarosh, nutritionist at Tru Whole Care, explains that, “Self-care can start by learning the right diet for you that is healthy, energy driving and of course, tasty.”

  1. Vacations

Vacations are an important part of self-care in order to insure you have proper work-life balance. Vacations should ideally take place twice a year, and you should make best efforts to truly disconnect from all work and obligations during that time. Vacations don’t just have to only be sitting on a beach or going on a retreat. The goal is to lower your stress level and relax.  One way to add to your “vacation” time is to make sure you have healthy boundaries from work at night and on the weekends. Also, consider taking a vacation from social media and all electronics to read an actual paper bound book or engage in a hobby. It’s important for our brains to disconnect from the internet, and it helps with sleep by not staring at screens as much, especially at night before bed.

 A Note re: Instagram-friendly Self-Care

Why would Instagram be bad if we’re having a good time doing something? Vacations are a particular area in which we like to go onto Instagram and show our friends and family the amazing things we’re experiencing.  But, this innocent pic or two can sometimes run counter to self-care. As Michael explains, “I ask my patients to limit their posts to 1 a day and “likes” should not be checked until the following day’s post. Why? Because that hit of dopamine keeps us coming back for more. For example, you are on vacation and you take a photo of something you like and post it.  You check back and the post doesn’t get the likes you expected. It then starts to shape your behavior. Next picture you take, you’ll consider how it will be seen on Instagram and that small amount of stress is detrimental to your overall purpose of the vacation and self-care. You should take photos for pleasure-for yourself and your family, not for the wider public.  Plus, being on your phone can take you out of the present and disconnects you from you are the experience having.”

Self-care Doesn’t Fit who I am

Michael Lodish concludes with this thought, “There is a perception among people that if my peer group doesn’t do it, or if I don’t know much about it, then I shouldn’t do it. Acupuncture and meditation are two examples where I often see people are hesitant to try it because it may not be what they think is ‘for them’.  This is not dissimilar to therapy where many people associate counseling with only those with people with serious problems.  At the end of the day, you should feel comfortable using whatever self-care technique you find most relaxing and helpful, even if it means trying something new.”

Patient Spotlight: Valerie

Valerie is a full-time student, who currently sees three of our Tru Whole Care providers: Dr. Bos (Internal Medicine/Primary Care), Martin Ridley (Physical Therapy) and Dr. Shepelyak (Orthopedics). She became a patient of the center at the end of November, after a reoccurring medical issue was getting worse and no doctor was able to diagnose or much less treat her.

Valerie, how did you end up a Tru Whole Care patient?
Previously, I had a primary care physician, who wasn’t able to determine what was wrong. I kept jumping from doctor to doctor, from specialist to specialist. It was not only frustrating, but also quite scary, especially last November when I had to go to the Emergency Room because of unbearable pain.

What happened at the ER?
Ultimately, the doctors there couldn’t diagnose me. Their conclusion was, “We know it’s not critical or life-threatening, but we can’t tell what it is or why it’s occurring.” They just wanted to relieve my pain enough to get me walking, so I could leave on my own and function—at least for the day. That experience felt like the exclamation point to a frustrating period of feeling helpless in terms of my health.

Is that when you saw Dr. Bos (Internal Medicine) at Tru Whole Care?
Yes. I reached out to a family friend who introduced me to Dr. Bos by email. I remember it well because it was a Sunday, so I could hardly believe it when Dr. Bos replied within two hours and I was able to see him the following day.

When you’re tired and vulnerable, having a physician who is so accessible and responds so quickly means a lot.

What happened at your appointment with Dr. Bos?
Dr. Bos listened to my entire ordeal. Rather than trying to immediately diagnose me and send me on my way, he said that we first needed to tackle my sleep—which was terrible at that point. I was so sleep deprived. He felt it was important for get me back to a normal sleep cycle to make me feel a bit more human and less on edge. This was a complete contrast to what I had been experiencing with other doctors.

Once my sleep was under control, Dr. Bos and I started to discuss a plan to deal with my symptoms. Dr. Bos really listened and asked questions—not just the usual medical ones, but also about my lifestyle, like how was my stress level, what was happening in my life, how was my diet, etc. What was great is that throughout the entire period of my treatment, Dr. Bos was in touch with me regularly. Rather than just sending perfunctory messages, it was authentic concern. The best way to describe it is like the difference between, “Tell me how you are doing” vs. “I hope you’re doing well.”

After a few appointments, Dr. Bos recommended I see a physical therapist. Initially, I was concerned about a “hand-off” and the drop-off in information in having to get a new provider up to speed.

So, what was the experience of a transition to a 2nd provider at Tru Whole Care like for you?
The big difference was that Martin Ridley, my new physical therapist, was just down the hall from Dr. Bos. I can’t overstate the advantage of having all your health professionals under one roof. So, the transfer of information was seamless, and I immediately felt my recovery was a team effort with Dr. Bos and Martin.

After a few sessions, Martin asked if would be open to seeing the Tru Whole Care non-surgical orthopedist Dr. Shepelyak (“Dr. Shep”). Again, we only had to walk down the hall. No additional paperwork, no difficulty with appointment scheduling, no faxing and following-up on my patient history.

Dr. Shep was able to see me right away and Martin explained my entire case—starting from my time before and during treatment with Dr. Bos, and leading up to that moment. It seems like a small thing, but having your specialist remember and truly understanding your history is extremely reassuring.

Dr Shep and I spoke at length. Like all other health professionals I had worked with at Tru Whole Care, he really listened without making me feel I had to rush to cut my explanation short. He had a few recommendations and, given my inclination towards more natural options, he provided alternatives. At my request, Dr. Shep showed me the entire list of ingredients for one of the medications he suggested using. That willingness to be transparent and ultimately give me, the patient, an opportunity to ask questions and dig deeper on my treatment is something I’d never really experienced.

That’s great! Sounds like you’re getting the care you need?
Absolutely. Dr. Bos, Martin and Dr. Shep would all get an “A” in my book.

Today, I continue to see Martin for physical therapy and Dr. Shep for orthopedic treatment. The pain has decreased a ton and continues to become more and more manageable.

For me, this period was a pretty scary time and the attention, concern, and coordinated care I received at the center was incredible. It made me feel like I was being taken seriously, and treated as a whole person, not just as a combination of different parts and symptoms. When you’re stressed and anxious, having medical personnel who communicate with each other and treat patients collectively is huge. More importantly, as a patient at Tru Whole Care, I never felt like a bystander being dictated to and never consulted about my care plan. Plus the ease of not dealing with added insurance paperwork, coordinating appointments, and wasted time is what makes the experience even more stress-free.

Thanks for your time Valerie.
I’m happy to tell anyone how great this experience at Tru Whole Care was.