Yoga with Jessica-Namaste

Namaste.jpgHave you ever attended or watched a yoga class where the teacher said “Namaste” before or after the class? What does it mean and why do yogis say it? This month we won’t be reviewing a specific pose. Instead, we are going to take a deeper look into the roots of “Namaste” and what exactly the phrase is used to show.

If you remember from earlier posts, yoga was developed in India over 5,000 years ago by Hindu sages. Sanskrit is an ancient, sacred language of India, and Namaste is rooted in the Sanskrit language. Namaste is simply the Indian way of greeting each other. Throughout the years and the evolution of yoga, Namaste has taken on many different meanings.

I had a yoga teacher tell me once that “Namaste” meant” the light in me honors the light in you.” Depending on your beliefs and what yoga means to you, Namaste can have a great depth of meaning. As I was becoming a registered yoga teacher, I questioned whether I would use Namaste in my classes. I had to research, soul search, talk it over with others and pray about it. I didn’t want to snub the tradition of Namaste, but I also didn’t want to veer away from my personal beliefs.

Through quiet moments, both on my mat and with God, I have come to realize that Namaste is a form of respect as well as gratitude. I am grateful to those Hindu sages for creating a beautiful practice. It has truly evolved over the years, and you can make your yoga practice anything you want. It is your body and your practice.

To practice Namaste, we bring our hands together at heart center (prayer hands), bow our heads slightly and say Namaste. Students have the option of saying it back, though it is not required. In most yoga classes, Namaste is said at the very end of the practice.

I am neither Indian nor Hindu, but I do incorporate this saying in my yoga classes. It is out of respect and gratitude to the Hindu sages, as well as to all of my students. I end my classes with, “Namaste and God Bless.”  For me, Namaste does translate to “the light in me honors the light in you.”  So why not embrace that light together and let it shine brightly on the world.


Talk Before You Take

prescription-medicationResearch shows that there is a communication gap between patients and their healthcare providers —doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists— when it comes to talking about medications—even when discussing the benefits and risks of prescription medicines.  According to recent National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) survey research, healthcare providers are patients’ primary source of information about the medicines they take. Yet, it should come as no surprise that patients and their caregivers may not always remember all of the prescription instructions and safety information discussed during an office visit or at the pharmacy.  Or patients may be reluctant to ask or are unaware of important questions to ask during a medical or pharmacy visit. This consultation gap contributes to unnecessary side effects, drug interactions, non-adherence and costly disease complications.  According to studies looking at the economic consequences of medication nonadherence, there was much as $290 billion per year in avoidable medical spending or 13 percent of total healthcare expenditures.

If you are one of the millions of American who takes a prescription medication, as yourself: Do I fully understand the benefits and potential risks of the medicines I am taking? If your response is no, take the time to Talk Before You Take.

Below are four tips to guide your conversation with your healthcare provider:

  1. Talk to your healthcare provider and ask questions about the benefits and potential risks of prescription medicines you take.
  2. Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you are taking—including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and dietary supplements.
  3. Tell your healthcare provider about any allergies or sensitivities that you may have.
  4. Read and follow the medicine label and directions.

Before you take a prescription medicine, ask your healthcare provider the following questions. It’s also helpful to keep an up-to-date list of all medicines you’re taking.

  1. What is the name of the medicine, and what is it for?
  2. How and when do I take it, and for how long?
  3. What side effects should I expect, and what should I do about them?
  4. Should I take this medicine on an empty stomach or with food?
  5. Should I avoid any activities, foods, drinks, alcohol or other medicines while taking this prescription?
  6. If it’s a once-a-day dose, is it best to take it in the morning or evening?
  7. Will this medicine work safely with any other medicines I’m taking, including over-the-counter medications?
  8. When should I expect for the medication to begin working, and how will I know if it’s working?
  9. How should I store this medicine?
  10. Is there any additional written information I should read about the medicine?

Always follow-up with your healthcare provider if you still have questions or concerns about your medicine.

Source: Content and picture from Talk Before You Take.

Honey Mustard Pita Pockets

Honey Mustard Pita PocketsThese honey mustard chicken pita pockets make a quick, easy lunch for your busy work week.


2 cups chicken breast, shredded
½ cup whole grain mustard
⅓ cup honey
1 cup basil leaves, torn
1 red bell pepper, diced
½ teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
4-6 pita bread halves


1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, mustard, honey, basil, bell pepper, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and salt.

2. Spoon the mixture into the pita bread halves to desired fullness and serve.

3. Enjoy!

Source: Goodful via Buzzfeed

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tamale Pie: Comfort food with Mexican flair

Recipe: Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tamale PieThis Mexican-inspired chicken and corn pot pie is comfort food that’s also heart-healthy.


Cornmeal crust:
Olive oil cooking spray
5 ¼ cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ¼ cups stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt, optional
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Olive oil cooking spray
1 ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of all fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
2 medium tomatillos, husked and chopped
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon sauce
2 tablespoons golden raisins, plumped in 2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Coat a 10-inch round casserole that’s at least 2 inches deep with cooking spray.
  3. To make the crust, bring the broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  4. Gradually stir in the cornmeal, cumin, salt (if using), and cayenne.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Immediately spread the mixture to a depth of about ½ inch over the bottom and sides of the prepared casserole. Press firmly with the back of a spoon. Set aside.
  7. To make the filling, lightly coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the chicken and sauté until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  9. Add the corn, onion, garlic, tomato, tomatillos, chipotles and their sauce, raisins with their liquid, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cheese. Stir until well blended.
  10. Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges of the crust are golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  11. Remove from the oven and let stand on wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.

 Nutrition information

Calories 310
Fat 5g
Saturated fat 1.5g
Sodium 410mg
Protein 30g
Carbohydrate 36g
Dietary fiber 4g

Taking Control of Your Knee Pain

The following blog is a guest post by Cameron Orthopaedics’, Jim Hunter, PA-C. Cameron Orthopaedics is a full-service orthopedic facility focused on general orthopaedic care as well as sports injuries, joint reconstruction and fracture care. To make an appointment with Dr. McDonald, please call 260-667-5556.


Cameron Orthopaedic’s Jim Hunter, PA-C

“Ouch my knee hurts! Now what?”


One of the most common complaints we see in our orthopaedic practice is knee pain. It can be one of the most bothersome issues that develop as we age, especially for people who have put a lot of stress on their knees over the years. Osteoarthritis is probably the diagnosis I give more people than any other, but what exactly is this form of arthritis. It is the deterioration of the hyaline cartilage that lines all joints and therefore is a progressive disease. There is a progression of treatments that I typically follow with my patients from more conservative to more aggressive

NSAIDs:  Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs are the medicine you will most often hear me suggest. These medications are easily found in any drugstore or grocery store and reduce inflammation in order to reduce pain. It is truly the best medication to use for osteoarthritis. Examples of NSAIDs are Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, & naproxen, the best one is the one that works for you!

Topical Creams & Patches: There is nothing quite like the aroma of Icy Hot! There are lots of different brands and again can be found in almost any store. The one that works….? The one that works for you! There are some that feel warm, others are menthol, & some that are odorless. I think the patches work great and typically last for a few hours and you don’t have to get it on your hands.

Glucosamine/Chondroitin:  This is a very popular treatment that has been in mainstream media and you probably have seen commercials regularly. It helps to lubricate the joint but does not “rebuild the hyaline cartilage” like it was originally claimed to do. I suggest that if you want to try glucosamine/chondroitin take it as directed every day for 1 month and if you notice a difference continue, if there is no difference, don’t get any more. The liquid form is more bioavailable and absorbed better in the body so I prefer it to the pills.

Braces: In our practice, we think patient really benefit from neoprene knee sleeves that are reasonably priced and very low profile, we suggest this for almost all of our patients with knee osteoarthritis. We also carry braces that are a little bit bigger and more expensive (often covered by insurance) called unloading braces. They have a small dial that you can turn up that places pressure on the opposite side of the knee that is worn to take pressure off the more deteriorated side.  My thought on braces is it is better to try it and it not have worked than to not try it and it would have worked.

Weight Loss: I spoke earlier that putting a lot of stress on your knees causes the progression of osteoarthritis and increase in pain. Staying as close to your ideal body weight as possible are very important and may keep you from needing more aggressive treatment. We know that for every pound we weigh the knees take 3 times that amount of force. So if you weight 200 lbs that is 600 lbs of force on your knees, if you can lose 50 lbs, that is 150 lbs less of stress. Make small changes to your diet that you can change and are sustainable for you to achieve that.

Injections: Injections are a slightly more aggressive treatment option that is still far from as invasive as surgery. First line injections are Corticosteroid injections that take only a few days to work but can last for months and can be done every 3-4 months if needed. We also do a series of hyaluronic acid injections called Euflexxa which has glucosamine & chondroitin components and helps lubricate the knee. For these, it is a series of 3 injections that are done 3 weeks in a row and may take 4 weeks to work, though most people see results sooner than that, and can be done every 6 months.

Surgery: If all other conservative treatments fail we may consider surgical intervention for a patient. At times we can do a knee arthroscopy which is a less invasive surgical procedure but is not indicated specifically for knee osteoarthritis. The only definitive gold standard treatment of knee osteoarthritis is a total knee replacement. We do these surgeries and our patients typically have very good outcomes and a significant amount of pain reduction once they are healed.

If you have chronic knee pain and have not tried any of these treatments, don’t wait any longer. If you have used NSAIDs, topicals, & a knee sleeve but have continued to have pain make an appointment with Cameron Orthopaedics by calling 260-667-5556. We would be more than happy to discuss treatment options with you and help you become pain-free.

Family Fall Outdoor Activites

dreamstime_xl_41520094.jpgWith a week of 60-degree weather ahead of us, it certainly feels like the dog days of summer are behind us. But, that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack in the outdoor activities quite yet. Crisp Fall days are are just around the corner, and they lend themselves perfectly to throwing on a sweater and embarking on family-fun from sun up until sundown. Here are some different ways to take advantage of this perfect season.

  1. The classic Fall activity must not be forgotten! Make a pile of leaves and jump in them.
  2. Play with sidewalk chalk. All you need is a bucket of chalk, a concrete space and let your imagination run free. See who can draw the best Autumn tree, or the best pumpkin art. The opportunities are endless!
  3. Feed the ducks. If your kids have been begging for a pet of their own for months and you’re simply unable to oblige, give them the next best thing. Grab some stale bread to use as duck food, and head to your nearest lake or pond. You can even make a half-day trip of it, packing a lunch and hanging by the playground.
  4. Go apple picking. Seek out a nearby orchard and get picking! This will also solve your dilemma of what to do on upcoming rainy or overcast days, as your bushels of apples will make the most delicious pies, muffins, breads and more.
  5. Take a hike. The whole family will get a healthy dose of exercise by exploring a local park or new neighborhood on a kid-friendly hike.
  6. Go pumpkin picking. Carving a jack-o’-lantern is so much more satisfying when he’s made from a pumpkin that your kids picked on their very own.
  7. Have a campfire. Some of the best Indian Summer memories can be made around a campfire. If you have a fire pit or access to one, let the kids roast everything from veggies to s’mores. After everyone is fed and full, tell stories and share some laughs.
  8. Plan a treasure hunt. Pull out the pirate hats and send your littlest mateys off on search of buried treasure. Make a map leading them to the bounty by staining paper with coffee and burning the edges. Then, have a prize — like gold coins — hidden at the end of the journey. Watching their excitement will be just as much fun for you as it is for them.
  9. Go backyard camping. Actually spending the night outdoors may be a bit chilly in Fall, but for an evening of family fun, pitch a tent, make s’mores, and tell campfire stories — then cuddle up in the comfort of your own beds. It’s the best of both worlds!
  10. Go on a photo safari! Encourage your little shutterbugs to get snapping by creating a list of “photo missions,” and accompanying them on a photo safari. Include things you’re apt to see around your neighborhood — a red door, a mom with a double stroller, a white dog . . . get creative!
Source: PopSugarMom

The Psychology of Food

Image result for eatingWhat we eat affects how we feel. Food should make us feel good. It tastes great and nourishes our bodies. If you eat too little or eat too much, however, your health and quality of life could be affected. This can result in negative feelings toward food.

By learning how to make healthier and more mindful choices, you may be able to control compulsive eating, binging, and weight gain. By taking charge of your appetite, you may also gain a feeling of calm, high energy levels, and alertness from the foods you eat.

Overall, there are many benefits to changing deep-seated, unhealthy eating habits, such as:

  • An increase in energy level and alertness
  • A more positive relationship with food
  • Improved health
  • Easier movement, and
  • Improved body image.

While we often have the best intentions to eat healthier, this is often a challenging task.

What factors influence our eating behaviors?

Experts believe many factors can influence our feelings about food and our eating behaviors. These factors include:

  • Cultural
  • Evolutionary
  • Social
  • Family
  • Individual
  • Economic status
  • Psychological

Many people use food as a coping mechanism to deal with such feelings as stress, boredom, or anxiety, or even to prolong feelings of joy. While this may help in the short term, eating to soothe and ease your feelings often leads to regret and guilt, and can even increase the negative feelings. You aren’t actually coping with the problem causing the stress. Further, your self-image may suffer as you gain weight.

What role does psychology play in weight management?

Psychology is the science of behavior. It is the study of how and why people do what they do. For people trying to manage their weight, psychology addresses:

  • Behavior — Treatment involves identifying the person’s eating patterns and finding ways to change eating behaviors.
  • Cognition (thinking) — Therapy focuses on identifying self-defeating thinking patterns that contribute to weight management problems.

What treatments are used for weight management?

Cognitive behavioral treatment is the approach most often used because it deals with both thinking patterns and behavior. Some areas that are addressed through cognitive behavioral treatment include:

  • Determining the person’s “readiness for change” — This involves an awareness of what needs to be done to achieve your goals and then making a commitment to do it.
  • Learning how to self-monitor — Self-monitoring helps you become more aware of what triggers you to eat in the moment, and more mindful of your food choices and portions. It also helps you stay focused on achieving long-term progress.
  • Breaking linkages — The focus here is on stimulus control, such as not eating in particular settings, and not keeping unhealthy food choices in your home. Cognitive behavioral treatment also teaches distraction–replacing eating with healthier alternatives–as a skill for coping with stress. Positive reinforcement, rehearsal/problem-solving, finding social support, and changing eating habits are specific techniques used to break linkages.

What does cognitive behavioral treatment involve?

Cognitive therapy addresses how you think about food. It helps you recognize self-defeating patterns of thinking that can undermine your success at eating healthier and managing your weight/weight loss. It also helps you learn and practice using positive coping self-statements.

Examples of self-defeating thoughts include:

  • “This is too hard. I can’t do it.”
  • “If I don’t make it to my target weight, I’ve failed.”
  • “Now that I’ve lost weight, I can go back to eating any way I want.”

Examples of positive coping self-statements include:

  • “I realize that I am overeating. I need to think about how I can stop this pattern of behavior.”
  • “I need to understand what triggered my overeating, so I can create a plan to cope with it if I encounter the trigger again.”
  • “Am I really hungry or is this just a craving? I will wait to see if this feeling passes.”

What strategies will help me manage my weight?

To lose weight, it’s helpful to change your thinking. Weight management is about making a lifestyle change. It’s not going to happen if you rely on short-term diet after diet to lose weight.

To be successful, be aware of the role that eating plays in your life, and learn how to use positive thinking and behavioral coping strategies to manage your eating and your weight.

To help get you started, here are a few tips:

Things to “do” for healthy eating

  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Do keep track of your eating habits. (See “food diary” below.)
  • Do limit night eating.
  • Do drink plenty of water.
  • Do delay/distract yourself.
  • Do exercise instead of eating when you are bored.
  • Do be attentive when you eat. Don’t eat while watching TV, working, driving.
  • Do only eat in certain settings (kitchen table).
  • Do watch your portion sizes.
  • Do allow yourself to eat a range of food without forbidding yourself a particular food.
  • Do give yourself encouragement.
  • Do be gentle with yourself! Try not to beat yourself up when you lapse.
  • Do think of eating as a lifestyle change.
  • Do use the scale mindfully. Weigh yourself no more than once a week.
  • Do make healthy food choices.

The food diary

A food diary is a tool to record in detail:

  • What food you eat
  • When you eat
  • How you feel when you’re eating, and
  • What you are doing (if anything) while you are eating.

The diary can help you get a better understanding of what you eat and why you eat it. It also can help your doctor, therapist, or dietitian work with you to make the necessary changes for successful weight management.

Source: Cleveland Clinic Blog


Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

slow-cooker-beef-tacoFall is quickly approaching, which means busier kids, schedules and no free evenings. This, too often, results in a quick run through a fast food drive-through because there’s no time to prepare a meal. Check out the slow cooker recipe below for a quick, easy and nutritious dinner!

  • For beef:
    • 2 lbs boneless beef roast
    • 1 cup chicken stock
    • ¼ cup honey
    • ¼ cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Vegetables:
    • 2 cups zucchini, cubed
    • 1 bell pepper, chopped into cubes
    • ½ cup red onion, cut into chunks
    • ½ tablespoon olive oil
    • ½ tablespoon sherry
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halves
  • 8 6-inch flour tortillas
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
  • yogurt or tzatziki
To make the pulled beef:
  1. Cut the beef in half lengthwise and trim as much fat off as possible. Place the two slices side-by-side in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Whisk together all remaining ingredients under “For Beef” and pour over the beef. Make sure it gets right underneath.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Remove beef from slow cooker and place into a large bowl. Gently pull beef apart using two forks.
  5. Add about ⅔ of the cooking liquid to the bowl and toss to coat.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the bell pepper and red onions in the sherry and olive oil. Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  7. Roast for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the dish and roast for another 5 minutes.
  8. Place 1/4 cup of pulled beef on a 6-inch tortilla.
  9. Top with roasted vegetables
  10. Sprinkle with feta, squeeze lemon over and top with yogurt/tzatziki, if desired.
Source: Sweet Peas and Saffron

Yoga with Jessica-Child’s Pose


September is here and fall is quickly approaching. With fall’s arrival, we get to see Mother Nature’s colorful abilities with warm days, cool nights and beautiful, changing colors. If you don’t get the chance to do and take action on anything else from this blog post, take a moment to walk outside, take a deep breath and just look at the beauty fall provides us.

Suffice it to say, fall is my favorite time of the year. With the summer business behind us, we have a few weeks to rest and enjoy the changing weather and colors- that is until the fall harvest begins.

September is the perfect month to talk about the Child’s pose. Also known as Balasana, the Sanskrit term, child’s pose is the counter pose to last month’s downward facing dog.

Child’s pose is the go to resting pose when you need a break during your yoga practice. It works to calm and relax not only your body but your mind.

The physical benefits:

  • Alleviate head, neck and chest pain
  • Opens pelvic floor, hips and lower back
  • Stretches ankles, knees and hips
  • Opens upper back

The mental benefits:

  • Calms the mind
  • Reduces stress
  • lessens fatigue

As with downward facing dog, there are modifications to make this pose more accessible to you. I stress in all my classes to listen to your body, not your ego. I encourage my students, and now my readers, to take child’s pose whenever they feel they need a rest.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a quote, “You will get there when you are meant to get there. So relax, breathe and be patient.”

Easy Taco Salad


Source: MyFitnessPal