Friday, March 28, 2014

Where are your calories hiding??

I have noticed an on-going trend with my patients. A lot of times, they swear that they are eating healthy, but when you really begin to delve into a person's eating habits, you can find some pretty scary calories lurking where you may not know they exist.

One example is my patient who "forgot" that she snacks on cheese and crackers with her glass of wine nightly. Breakfast-good. Lunch- good. Her dinner was so-so...but the snack BEFORE dinner was loaded with calories. Because, let's face it folks, you do not just have one or two pieces of cheese and have 20. Be honest.

mmm....Veggie Juice!
Also, I know that "juicing" is the big thing now. AWESOME. I am all for it. But let me make myself extraordinarily clear...juicing at home is WAY different then picking up a smoothie from the local smoothie joint! First of all, the best juices are at least half veggie juice and have no added sugar. Most smoothies from your favorite chain have added cane sugar or syrup. A lot of times, they will advertise "all-natural agave syrup". Okay, great. All-natural. Sugar packed? Yep! Your typical smoothie from any chain store has approximately 50 grams of sugar. Seriously.

Now, let's talk about yogurt. I love yogurt. LOVE IT!!  BUT...and that's a big BUT...I always eat a Greek yogurt that has a lot of protein too. Why? Because both kinds (plain, non-Greek and Greek) do have a lot of sugar. The only way for me to stay full is to have a breakfast with protein, and let's face it, the regular yogurt is all sugar and no protein.

Watch out for these hidden calories!!
Extras. I will tell you, hands down, that if someone is "watching" their weight, the biggest downfall they have is not knowing how many calories are in the crap that they add to their food. Number 1 enemy? Salad dressing. Look at your dressing label. Compare caesar and ranch to balsamic vinegar. Typically the former have at least 50% more calories (and usually fat, too!) than the latter. Ketchup is another culprit. Did you know that 1 teaspoon...not tablespoon...teaspoon....of ketchup has 15 calories and about 4 grams of sugar? Now, many teaspoons do you put on your burger, fries or hot dog? (Actually, why are you eating that stuff anyway?!)

To keep it simple, do a calorie log. Do it for a few days. Do not change anything you typically eat. But just write it down and look up by the box or by google how many calories you are eating each may (and likely will!) surprise you!

Happy eating!


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Medical Fact vs Fiction...Part 2!

Which of the following is actually TRUE??

1. That Z-Pack will get rid of that cold.

2. Stretching prior to exercise will help avoid injuries.

3. Back Pain? Then you should rest.

4. Yawning is contagious.

5. Fresh fruits and veggies are better than frozen.

Did you guess right? It's #4. Yawning IS contagious! The others are actually all false!

Ouch! What do you do
with that back pain?
1. Ahhh...the infamous Z-Pack. Don't get me wrong, I love me a Z-pack too...BUT it will NOT...I repeat...will NOT get rid of a cold! A cold is a virus. A Z-pack kills bacteria. Two. Different. Things. Moral of the story?? Don't get all upset when your doctor refuses to write you a script for antibiotics (and don't think that if he or she doesn't that she is a "terrible doctor")...maybe..just maybe...your doctor is right!

2.  There is still a lot of confusion about this one, but the latest research is indicating that stretching prior to exercise to help prevent injury may be a bunch of crap. Most people stretch to prime their muscles for what is about to come. Do we have any proof that stretching prevents injury? Not really. BUT, we know that stretching and flexibility overall leads to wider range of motion which in turn may help to improve balance and prevent injuries. My verdict? Take the 3 minutes to stretch a little. Not going to hurt, right?

How cute! Did you
yawn yet?
3. This one is a favorite of mine. Most of the time the trick of the trade "if it hurts, rest it" is true. The big exception here is back pain. Obviously, be sure to check with your doctor first, but 9 times out of 10, back strains and pulls should be treated with careful walking and movement, among other things. Laying flat is most of the time, one of the worst things you can do.

4. True! Yawning is contagious. Why? No one knows! You can read online the hundreds of different theories, but frankly, no one knows. Go ahead....yawn....yawnnnnn...I dare you to not do it! Just reading the word YAWN makes you want to YAWN! :)

5. Surprisingly, no! Most times, fruits and veggies are frozen at their ripest stage, and therefore are jam packed full of nutrients. Freezing them does not take away any of these healthy antioxidants and other good stuff in them. Also, fresh fruit, as it is being transported from where ever it came from to your kitchen, is exposed to a lot of different elements, including light, which may degrade some of the vitamins.

Did you win Fact vs. Fiction??

Until next time....


Saturday, January 4, 2014

You know you wanna.....

Hello to all of my lovely readers! I thought that you all may want to actually hear my voice for once! :)

I was recently on a local radio station WFTL in South Florida all about dieting in the new year, knowing you numbers, and other tips!

Chock full of good info....listen to radio interview here!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Year in Review!

Well, 2013 has been quite the year for us. We successfully opened an office (and let me tell you...this was WAY harder to do than what we ever expected)! Our country has implemented perhaps the most debated and controversial reform known to date-- health care reform. Personally, I have lost friends and family members to accidents and disease...but you know what they one passes another is born. 'Tis the circle of life. P.S. There is a pretty good reason why I have been so lackadaisical with my posting lately, but you will have to read the WHOLE post to find out why...:)

In health care news, 2013 has brought about some interested research and new ideas in medicine. I thought that I would address my top 5 favorite (and most important) here on my last post of 2013.

1. Change in Cholesterol Guidelines
To me, this was probably the biggest news of 2013. The ACC/AHA (American College of Cardiology & the American Heart Association) published new guidelines for the treatment of cholesterol in November of this year. Simply, these guidelines will dramatically alter the way physicians treat patients now in regards to their cholesterol. We are now focusing less on the numbers, and more on the "story" behind the cholesterol. Instead of reaching a certain goal LDL across the board, the goals are now tailored to each patient. You can read more about these

The Artificial Heart
2. The Artificial Heart.
Just this month the first 100% artificial heart was transplanted into a patient in France. This heart, weighing three times the size of a normal human heart, is self- regulating and mimics a real human heart in incredible ways. (Including the cost- approximately $200,000). The heart can beat for 5 years and is meant to serve as a "lay-over" for patients with end-stage heart disease while they await a human transplant...for now. Who is to say that this device will pave the future for transplants? I think a BIG door to the future was just opened.

3. Sleep is Special.
2013 was a big year for sleep medicine. More and more research is beginning to emerge about the importance of sleep time and sleep hygiene. One study showed that sleep loss negatively affected the immune system as well as increased inflammation in the body. Other studies have shown a direct link to sleep apnea and heart disease and stroke. Heck, one study even showed a better golf game with correction of sleep apnea! (I can't make this stuff up...) Conclusion? Sleep (good sleep) is a necessity for your body. If you do not think that you are sleeping well (or your partner can't sleep because of your snoring...) then go see a sleep medicine specialist!

4. Morning After Pill
Earlier this year, the ban on age-restrictions for the morning after pill was lifted. Previously, a person 17 years and younger had to obtain a prescription for the pill. Now, Plan B (and generic versions) are available to all women of child bearing age without a prescription. The pill is most effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of intercourse.

5. The comeback of measles...and others.
Refer to my previous This year we have seen previously abolished diseases come back with force- measles and pertussis (whooping cough) being the two biggest ones. Why? Primarily due to the lack of proper vaccinations in this country following the inaccurate "vaccines cause autism" study years ago. Point #1- Vaccines DO NOT cause autism. It's been proven multiple times. Point #2- We do not live in the 1800's, so let's not re-create diseases that we have learned to eradicate.

What a year we have had. Both in medicine and in life. I have lost a good friend this year as well as my grandmother just yesterday. My losses are bittersweet. After a while trying, Camilo and I are happy to announce that we will be first time parents in the new year! We have a lucky little baby...personal guardian angels just for him/her. This is why I have been a little....behind...:)

Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2014!!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hectic Holiday Hunger

Pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere! Well, I love pumpkin just as much as the next Starbucks drive-through-er, but lets face it, those pumpkin spice lattes (or PSL’s as the cool kids call it) do not help with keeping the pounds off! So, what can we do to stay lean during this hectic holiday season? Here are a few of my favorite tips:

1. Don’t forget your exercise routine! Let’s face it…it’s easy to skip the morning jog or gym trip with family and friends in town; however, one simple way of staying trim like the Christmas tree is to stay in your exercise routine.

2. Fill up on salad, not bread. As a rule of thumb, salad is more filling than bread. You will consume an extraordinary amount of calories if you reach for the bread first. Go ahead and pass the bread basket to the person next to you.

yuck. How do you guys
even drink these? Bleh!
3. Watch those chocolate martinis. Alcoholic beverages are typically packed full of sugar and calories. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a few drinks, because I know you will anyway- BUT choose wisely. Go for the simple cocktails like vodka tonic or rum and diet coke. Avoid those sugary “holiday-ish” beverages.

4.Pack goodie-bags for traveling. I tell all of my frequent traveler patients this: pack snack size Ziploc bags with almonds, healthy trail mix, or cereal. Keep them with you while traveling, so there is less temptation to go for that $10 bag of M&M’s at the airport gift shop. A little planning ahead can save you a lot of calories and money!

1.    No eggnog. Did you know that ONE serving of eggnog has approximately 250 calories? (And we all know that we don’t just have one serving!)
Gravy= FAT

2.    No gravy. Mainly because it is made out of…fat.
3.    Nothing with “cream” or “candied” in the name. Creamed spinach, cream of mushroom or chicken soup (in every casserole, practically), candied yams.
Don't. Even. Think. About. It.
4.    Cheesecake. Yes. Out of all desserts, this one typically takes the “cake” in terms of calories. One piece of cheesecake can have up to 700 calories! Alternative? Chocolate dipped strawberries or a cookie or two.
 5.    Those tempting Starbucks drinks. Here’s a simple example. A grande white chocolate peppermint mocha has 540 calories. No, no and no.
On that note..I hope you all have a healthy and happy Holiday Season!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

World Stroke Day!

Today, October 29th, is World Stroke Day. As a spokesperson for the American Heart and Stroke Associations, I feel like it's my duty to help spread awareness and education on a daily basis about this issue. However, considering the fact that today is a HUGE day in terms of awareness, I thought I would give you all a little info about Strokes- the number 4 cause of death in the US!

A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (a hemorrhagic stroke) or is occluded by a clot (an ischemic stroke). Scarily, 80% of strokes are preventable...that's right! So, part of World Stroke Day is reducing you, your family's and your friend's risk of stroke. How do you do this? Simple...the tips are the same ones that I harp on on almost every blog post. DO NOT SMOKE. Exercise regularly. Lower your blood sugar. Lower your cholesterol. Eat right. Lose weight. Pretty much the same stuff you should be doing everyday anyway!

The treatment for each stroke is different, depending on the type of stroke. Most important of all though, is recognition of the symptoms of stroke. The American Heart and Stroke Associations have developed an easy way of helping you to remember the symptoms of a stroke: FAST

F- Facial Drooping
A- Arm weakness
S- Speech Difficulty
T- Time to Call 911 !

Again...the MOST IMPORTANT thing is TIME!! One of the main treatments for a stroke is a "clot-busting" medication called tPA. This medication can only be administered from less than 3-4.5 hours from the ONSET of symptoms. TIME IS BRAIN! It's always to be better safe than sorry. If you have any doubt that you or anyone is experiencing a stroke, call 911!

Wishing you a great Tuesday!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

OBAMACARE...Part Deux.

I had quite the surprise the other day. I received my renewal of insurance benefits for next year in the mail. I was in complete...and utter...shock. In prior years, I had amazing insurance. Amazing. Low deductibles and low premium with some pretty darn good coverage. This year, not so much. I looked like a dog when a human is asking them a know, with my head leaned to the side with a puzzled look on my face. Then, a colleague of mine said..."Uh..Tiff...that's Obamacare's effect on you." Awesome.

Then, I started doing a little research. It seems as though that I am not the only person this is happening to. On the contrary, it is happening to the vast majority of people. And the people that it is affecting are not just those who already have insurance, but those out shopping on the insurance exchange under the Obamacare plan are facing the same situation. Many insurances on the exchange are plans with deductibles of up to $2000-$10,000.  These deductibles represent out-of-pocket money that patients have to spend BEFORE their insurance benefits kick in, and a lot of times are collected up front at a physicians office. Now, you tell me how this is going to work. 

Admitted, millions of Americans will be able to apply for federal assistance to help neutralize some of these ridiculous costs....but there are millions that will not. Also, many states (Florida included) chose not to expand Medicaid, meaning that those families which cannot afford the insurance in the exchange may also not be able to receive Medicaid benefits. Again, I say...just because you have "access" to health care does NOT by ANY MEANS address the fact that you will be able to afford the care, or that a doctor "must" see you. 

There is a lot more to write in terms of this new ACA. (Including how there will be a lot less "doctor visits" and a lot more "nurse visits"). Also, I want to be extraordinarily clear that I am in full 100% support of the idea that all people should be able to receive health care benefits....but I also think that it is responsibility of all of citizens... to understand the details of this..and how we will ALL be affected..not just those without insurance now...