What is a “Focus on the Healthiest You?”

In honor of New Years’ and New Years’ Resolutions, I wanted to discuss Wildflower’s motto. Our motto here at Wildflower Primary Care and Wellness is “a focus on the healthiest you.” As a medical and wellness practice, we strive to enable patients to begin to reach this goal of the “healthiest you.” But you might be wondering, what really is a focus on the healthiest you?

A focus on the healthiest you is the active attempt of an individual to reach complete wellness. This has no restrictions. You can begin to do this at any age, weight, or time of the year (no, not just beginning on January 1st). However, this is a convenient time where most people step back, assess their lives and selves, and determine what they want to improve or grow in. I am challenging each of my patients and readers to begin to “focus on the healthiest you” and strive to reach complete wellness.

This is not a diet, exercise regimen, or frequent general office check-ups to ensure health, although it can include all of these. Wildflower offers both holistic and traditional medical approaches to pain management, chronic disease management, weight loss, hormone optimization, and complete health. Each treatment is individualized to the patient, so they receive the care that they are hoping for. Our Direct Primary Care membership can also help with this because the patient can receive longer, unlimited office and telemedicine visits. This can help them receive the highest level of care and feel comfortable with the treatments they undergo. Start this new year with a Focus on the Healthiest You through Wildflower’s extensive individualized services and treatments. 

Technology and Eyesight

Since Black Friday and Cyber Monday just passed, I’m sure you all have new electronics to enjoy. This brings up the topic of technology and health, or eyesight to be specific. Technology and its effect on health is a hot topic. I mean… there’s an entire day dedicated to online shopping. Technology can certainly do amazing things, but with the amount of time people spend in front of the screen, it does have an impact.

Digital devices and looking into a screen can cause eye strain, which can cause physical discomfort. This occurs after about two hours of looking at screens. A good rule of thumb is the 20-20-20 rule. This is the concept of spending 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes of screen time. Increasing text size or boldness on the phone can also help ease eye strain. I understand that nobody wants to have large text on their phone; it can make them feel old. However, this is beneficial for individuals of all ages. Some phones can have the text adjusted to be bold. This can help with easy reading without too large of text.
You might be wondering, what about blue light glasses? Well, there is no scientific proof that this is beneficial, but the majority of people who try them claim they help with eye strain and dryness. This might be a placebo effect or the glasses cause people to blink more. Either way, this could be something you try out if eye strain has been limiting you. Moisturizing the eyes with saline eye drops can also help.

I try to limit my overall time looking at screens and take breaks often. Going for a walk is one of the best ways I rest my eyes while exercising!

So What Exactly is Direct Primary Care?

As some of you may know, Wildflower Primary Care and Wellness is offering Direct Primary Care. This is a modern approach to health and wellness, which I truly believe in. Direct Primary Care or DPC is a membership-based alternative to traditional insurance billing or self-pay. Members can book same-day appointments, receive 24/7 telemedicine visits, receive unlimited provider access, and longer visit times through a small monthly membership fee. Members can receive a multitude of services for free through DPC. This is a great plan for those with no insurance, high deductible insurance or who just want a better provider-patient relationship. This allows the provider to truly focus on the complete wellness of each patient, which is my goal as a provider. I want to enable every patient to focus on them being the healthiest they can be! In my practice, basic labs and in-office procedures are even included in the membership!

Studies have shown that DPC patients have a lower BMI, improved blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and better control of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. This leads to better overall health! DPC patients also experience a 30-50% lower hospital admission rate, up to 90% savings on prescriptions annually, and 30-60% less on hospital visits, outpatient visits, and specialty visits. This adds up to up to about $3,000-$5,000 yearly savings! That’s right, five thousand dollars!

As you can see, the DPC model is amazing for patients. In my practice, it also enables me to truly focus on patient care, which is my passion. Most insurance-based medical practices function with less than 15 minutes a patient to evaluate and discuss their health. They evaluate and treat thousands of patient in a year, which makes it difficult to create a one on one relationship. My practice even has a member cap, which limits the number of members I can have, so I truly have time to focus on patient care. This medical model is new but is rapidly becoming more popular for obvious reasons. At Wildflower Primary Care & Wellness, we enable you to focus on the healthiest you!

A Healthy Thanksgiving

With the holiday season just around the corner, healthy eating often comes to halt. Thanksgiving is a time when families and friends come together and feast to give thanks for prosperity and loved ones. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the food! It can be hard to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle when the holiday season seems to be centered on food. I believe that it is possible for you to enjoy delicious dishes during Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle and eating choices.

One of my favorite dishes that my family traditionally makes for Thanksgiving is ratatouille. Yes, the dish from the children’s movie! Ratatouille is a delicious baked vegetable dish that consists of onions, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant. It is traditionally smothered with a tomato sauce and can be topped with a balsamic glaze or cheese, and is even delicious on its own. Here is a link to a recipe I use. https://acleanbake.com/ratatouille/

Another mouthwatering dish that my family makes for Thanksgiving is pumpkin soup. My husband makes this from scratch, starting off with a fairytale pumpkin. Let me tell you, his soup belongs in a fairy tale. He boils the pumpkin until it is soft, then blends it with a variety of spices, cooked vegetable base, and some vegan creamer. Lastly, he tops the dish off with a few drops of pumpkin seed oil. This is another vegetable-based seasonal dish that belongs on the Thanksgiving table. My husband has mastered this dish, so he doesn’t use a recipe. However, here is a recipe that is very similar. I also recommend that you buy pumpkin seed oil. It is available on Amazon and a necessity to topping off pumpkin soup! https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-pumpkin-soup/

Now, on a more traditional note, you might be wondering about the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table: the turkey! My family and I are vegan, so we make a homemade Tofu-turkey stuffed with homemade stuffing. However, for you meat-eaters out there, you still can enjoy turkey on Thanksgiving day! Turkey can be a great source of lean protein. I recommend having a thin slice of turkey breast to enjoy with your other vegetable courses. Turkey breast tends to have less saturated fat and lower caloric content.

I would imagine most will indulge in some other family “specialties” that may or may not fit into your everyday diet. If you indulge, perhaps keep the portions small and incorporate activity into your festivities!

Valuable Supplements

Let’s talk about supplements! With the media and advertisements always sharing different information, it can be hard to determine what supplements are safe and beneficial to take. I have compiled a list of the most important supplements to take regularly to focus on the healthiest you!

Vitamin C is essential for proper growth and immune system function, but it cannot be produced in the body. It is a strong antioxidant and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases, but it also assists the body in the process of absorbing iron, B-12 and B-6, and folic acid. It can also help to battle high blood pressure. Studies even demonstrate the benefit of higher doses to help mitigate the risks of urinary tract infections. It is water-soluble, so your body will not store any excess. As most know, citrus is a great natural resource of vitamin C. Go ahead and splash that lime on your food.

Fish oil provides omega-3 fatty acids. Two of these omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, are only from fish sources. These are essential to brain development and function. Fish oil also has a benefit on thyroid function, overall heart health, arthritis, inflammatory problems, weight loss, digestion, and even improve psychiatric conditions. This is an important supplement that I recommend for those who are in a weight loss program. There is some concern that fish oil farming may place an environmental burden. This is not vegan and would not be appropriate who are vegan on moral or ethical grounds of use of animal bi-products. However, high-quality fish oils are very beneficial for human consumption.

Vitamin D functions to absorb calcium, so it can be very problematic and damaging to have low vitamin D levels. Even if calcium intake is high, your body can struggle to absorb it. These levels can be increased by being in the sun and by eating vitamin-D rich foods, but the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D decreases with age. Those who are overweight are commonly deficient in this important vitamin. I do not recommend very high doses without monitoring, as the body will store vitamin D and above optimum levels can be unsafe. I recommend taking at night as it may even help facilitate sleep.

Multiminerals are not present in any synthetic vitamins, but consumption of them is critical to not use your body’s mineral reserves. Some good supplements will contain Zinc, Selenium, Manganese, Boron, Chromium, Selenium and Molybdenum. Celtic or Himalayan sea salt is primarily sodium chloride but also contains potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Vitamin E is made up of 8 compounds that consist of four different tocopherols and four different tocotrienols. Vitamin E supplements may reduce heart disease, support immune function, lessen the risk of cancer, support eye health, and prevent inflammation within the body.

Probiotics are good bacteria and yeasts. They use the right bacteria in your body to fight against and help to treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, and many other things. This is my first go-to when I see patients with GI (gastrointestinal) issues. I also recommend taking a quality probiotic when on an antibiotic as antibiotics are responsible for killing the healthy bacteria in our gut which is responsible for proper nutrient absorption.

Enzymes have an incredible impact on the body, but they are not spoken about often enough. Some individuals are deficient in these enzymes and have GI (gastrointestinal) issues. For those who are deficient, there are prescription enzymes that can be beneficial. There are also natural sources of enzymes such as those in papaya. They can help to digest food and break it down more thoroughly. They should be consumed with every meal, especially for those suffering from a disease process or who are deficient in antioxidants.

Adulting & Exercise

Often I get asked , “How do I fit exercise into my daily life?” This is often challenging for people, as “adulting” is very busy. Life gets chaotic, and I must admit, routines change. Creating activity within the context of daily living will produce the most positive outcome.

I tell my patients to increase their activity in baby steps. This might mean parking a little farther away at the store or taking stairs every opportunity that comes. There needs to be a focus to move, movement is essential for the human body to thrive. Computers have changed the way we function and in many respects have increased the quality of life for many. However, staying active has become increasingly difficult as more jobs are sedentary. Sedentary adulthood contributes to physical dysfunction and deconditioning. This results in a reduction of muscle mass and reduced metabolism.

For those who have been stuck in the rut of adulthood, walking, whether in the evening or in the early morning is a great way to start. Start with a few blocks and increase as you gain strength and stamina. Use a fit bit to track your steps and increase both your heart rate goals and steps. Adjustments can be made to incorporate fitness activities that work for you and your body. Make goals that are achievable to gain confidence. You will find yourself excited to increase those goals and gain more energy. As time goes on, you can start to incorporate other activities or increase your speed and distance. Find others who can exercise with you or an accountability partner who can be your cheerleader. Surround yourself with those who energize you and not deplete you! Love yourself enough and realize you are worth it!