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Happy March !

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer type worldwide; in 2020, almost 2 million cases were diagnosed. It is the second most common cause of cancer death, leading to almost 1 million deaths per year. This is despite the fact that effective screening techniques exist that could reduce the number of deaths from this disease.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is observed in March to highlight the importance of screening for colorectal cancer, as well as to promote healthy lifestyle habits that can decrease a person’s risk of developing cancer of the colon, rectum, or anus – the three distinct cancer types referred to collectively as colorectal cancer.

The burden of colorectal cancer is highest in Asia, where more than half of all cases and deaths are recorded. China alone accounts for more than half a million new cases and more than 280 000 deaths per year. Japan records the second highest number of deaths from colorectal cancer, almost 60 000 per year.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that the global burden of colorectal cancer will increase by 56% between 2020 and 2040, to more than 3 million new cases per year. The estimated increase in the number of deaths from the disease is even larger, by 69%, to about 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2040. Most of the increase is expected to occur in countries with a high Human Development Index.

IARC researchers have proven that various factors can increase or decrease a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. Most of these factors also affect the risk of developing other cancer types, similarly increasing or decreasing it.

For example, alcohol consumption was responsible for more than 160 000 new cases of colorectal cancer in 2020, or 8% of all cases of the disease diagnosed that year. Alcohol consumption also increases a person’s risk of developing at least six other cancer types, including liver cancer and breast cancer.

Other known cancer risk factors include tobacco smoking, which causes lung cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which causes cervical cancer. Both of these risk factors also contribute to the burden of colorectal cancer.

Another factor that increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer is obesity. Obesity was responsible for more than 85 000 cases of colon cancer and 25 000 cases of rectal cancer diagnosed in 2012, or about 23% of all cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed that year. Obesity also increases a person’s risk of developing at least seven other cancer types.

Intentional weight loss, physical activity, and diets rich in fish, fruits, and vegetables can decrease a person’s risk of developing colorectal cancer. Attending organized screening increases the chance of detecting colorectal cancer when it is at an earlier, and potentially more manageable and treatable, stage.

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National Nutrition Month

“Let thy food be thy medicine,” said Hippocrates (a long, long time ago), but the sentiment still rings true. National Nutrition Month, celebrated in March, stresses the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes the transformative powers of healthy food choices. The Academy encourages using a registered dietitian in order to develop and stick with a healthy eating plan.

How to observe National Nutrition Month 

  1. Move your body

    Nutrition doesn’t end at what we eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages making exercise an integral part of our lives. Try a new activity like Zumba, swimming, or spinning to keep workouts fresh and exciting.

  2. Find inspiration

    Feeling stale in the kitchen? Pinterest provides an infinite loop of recipes and inspiration to kick-start any nutrition journey. Picking up a new cookbook or following a cool food blogger works too!

  3. Meet with a dietitian

    They’ll provide you with a detailed meal plan that makes sense for your lifestyle and goals. Many, if not most, health insurance plans cover the cost of dietitian services and city health departments sometimes offer complimentary services or charge sliding-scale fees. Anyway, a healthier, happier outlook on life is priceless!

 

Five ways to eat healthier this month

  1. Go, go, H2O!

    We all know drinking water helps in nearly every aspect of wellness, but drinking the recommended amount of water per day can be tough. Electrolyte additives offer the same, if not better benefits that drinking six or more glasses of water a day would.

  2. Choose food over supplements

    Though there are some who sincerely lack certain vitamins and minerals that can’t be achieved through diet alone, most of the good things our bodies need come from food — not store-bought supplements. Research shows that certain supplements haven’t been tested to meet many purity and safety standards, making them unreliable sources of nutrition.

  3. Opt for color

    When in doubt, throw some color on your plate — natural color, that is. Bright greens from crunchy vegetables or vibrant reds from tangy fruit will not only make your meal Instagram-worthy, they’ll give you a healthy boost.

  4. Pack your lunch

    Avoiding typical restaurant or fast-food grease may seem obvious, but according to Harvard Health Publishing, even more important than that is the ability to control portion sizes when you pack your own lunch. Try something fun like a DIY Bento box!

  5. Shop the perimeter

    Shopping a supermarket’s outside aisles ensures that you’re getting healthy alternatives to processed foods like produce, meat, and dairy. When you move inward, most, if not all, of the products contain unnecessary additives and sugar.

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Chicken Satay Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp medium curry powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp clear honey
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets (or use turkey breast)
  • 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (choose a sugar-free version with no palm oil, if possible)
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • sunflower oil, for wiping the pan
  • 2 little gem lettuce hearts, cut into wedges
  • ¼ cucumber, halved and sliced
  • 1 banana shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • coriander, chopped
  • seeds from ½ pomegranate

 

Method

  • STEP 1Pour the tamari into a large dish and stir in the curry powder, cumin, garlic and honey. Mix well. Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make 4 fillets in total, then add to the marinade and mix well to coat. Set aside in the fridge for at least 1 hr, or overnight, to allow the flavours to penetrate the chicken.
  • STEP 2Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter with the chilli sauce, lime juice, and 1 tbsp water to make a spoonable sauce. When ready to cook the chicken, wipe a large non-stick frying pan with a little oil. Add the chicken and cook, covered with a lid, for 5-6 mins on a medium heat, turning the fillets over for the last min, until cooked but still moist. Set aside, covered, to rest for a few mins.
  • STEP 3While the chicken rests, toss the lettuce wedges with the cucumber, shallot, coriander and pomegranate, and pile onto plates. Spoon over a little sauce. Slice the chicken, pile on top of the salad and spoon over the remaining sauce. Eat while the chicken is still warm.

 

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