Dr. Alan Broering's Blog

Day 15: Vote H2O

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It is so vital to our body yet most of us do not get enough. Proper hydration supports a healthy immune system, blood pressure, mucosal linings, muscles, and pretty much every other activity in our body. We can die of thirst!!!!!!

Ok, I think I got the point across about water but how much should you drink per day?  Half your body weight in ounces is the recommendation for water consumption. Then for every 15-30 minutes of exercise you should add another 8 oz.  if you are starting to get your intake back up so it gradually throughout the day. Do not chug the water. If you chug it the water will go through you just as fast as you drank it. Initially when getting to half your body weight you will need to use the restroom more. Your body will adapt and you will feel better when you have the proper balance inside!

Homework: Calculate how much water you typically get in a day. If it’s not half your body weight you know what to do!

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 14: Choose Fiber

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word fiber is Raisin Bran. It was a staple in the house growing up. My dad’s favorite cereal. Packed with bran flakes and sugar coated raisins it made the perfect choice of the day to keep you regular and to keep you feeling full. In the case of most bran flakes and high fiber cereals, you get the benefits to insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps to allow bulk to your stool and creates a liquid plumber like effect as it passes through clearing out the junk.  Soluble fiber is called such because when added to water the fiber becomes soluble. This is the fiber that is found in most of our plant based foods. The fiber that is in most whole foods works to slow the absorption of sugar into the body. Therefore, making it easier to control our blood sugar levels. When breaking down a whole grain into flour you destroy a large part of the fiber network making it easy to extract the simple carbohydrates which are quickly transformed into glucose in our mouths.

The recommended amount of fiber per day is 20-30g. Most of us are lucky to get 10-15g. When adding fiber to your routine do it slowly and make sure to drink extra water. This will help to minimize the bloating or possible constipation as your body adapts to the increased consumption. So do your digestive system a solid and eat more fiber.

Homework: calculate the average amount of fiber you get in a day. If under 20-30g slowly increase it using a mixture of fiber types.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 13: Vote No to Stretches

Yes, you read that right. I said No to Stretching! Before anyone gets in an uproar, allow me to explain. First off, I'm not against stretching in all instances. What I am against is stretching when, in fact, it's strengthening that you need to be doing. Stretching is what most of us do in response to muscle aches, tightness, and pain. It feels good while your doing it, but that relief lasts, what, maybe 10-20 minutes?  If that is truly the problem and you have a shortened and tight muscle, shouldn't stretching it fix it for longer than 30 minutes?

Let's dive in to a common thing I see in the office. 36-year-old patient presents with a chief complaint of neck discomfort stating their neck has been tight and stiff for the last 3 weeks. The pain began without a known cause and is gradually getting worse. They sit at a desk most of the day doing computer work.  Sounds like anyone you know? (Some of you may be able to look in the mirror) Upon doing my exam I check their range of motion and notice that they have a full range in all directions with no pain. Palpation reveals some tenderness along the spine but no significant tightness or muscle spasms in their neck.

So is this patient just crazy and faking their pain? In my opinion no, what we have here is a case of instability causing pain. In this case the body is straining the muscles together to try and create strength and stability. Their neck joints are too loose!  Imagine playing Jenga. If you stack the blocks too tightly it's hard to remove blocks without knocking the pile over. On the other hand if you pack the blocks too loosely and then you can remove the blocks easier, but the pile will fall down sooner. In both instances the pile falls down sooner than you'd like it to. It takes a perfect balance of strength and looseness for the body to function optimally.

This can occur in any joint! So the next time you feel that need to stretch think twice about why you might feel that way.

Disclaimer: I enjoy yoga and other stretching as much as the next person and there is a time and place for it, but this is something that I believe is a bigger issue that can lead to big problems if not identified.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 12: Vote No to Prone Zzzs...

Happy Monday! I bet some of you wish you were still in bed catching a few extra zzz’s.  I have previously talked about the importance of getting 8 hours of sleep but is it it possible that your sleep position costing you restful sleep? Assuming we average 8 hours of sleep every night, this means that 33% of your life is spent sleeping!!! If you aren't paying attention to how you sleep then it is time you start.

In no instances should you ever sleep at night lying prone (on your stomach). This position allows gravity to act on our body in a negative way. It increases pressure in our chest making it harder to breathe, compresses our digestive organs, increases pressure on the lumbar lordosis, and finally it forces you to turn your neck one way or the other. The constant position may cause you to wake up with chronic neck pain or acute neck spasms.  Instead stick to sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or your side, preferably your left, with a pillow between your knees. These 2 positions keep your spine more neutral keeping any extra stress off the spine.

Homework: Pay attention to your sleeping position.  If you are finding yourself waking up at night or sleeping on your stomach try one of the 2 positions above.  

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 11: Choose Beets

I was never much of a beet person until about 2 years ago.  It was probably the flavor that got to me for all of those previous years. That earthy taste takes a little getting used to, but when combined with the right foods the true sweetness of a beet is discovered.  Now, I enjoy on an almost weekly basis. Most often roasted along with some sweet potatoes or I will juice them with their greens and other veggies.

Why should you start eating them? They are packed with nutrients of all types! Vitamin B, Vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, manganese, and copper among others. They are high in nitrates, which will convert to nitric oxide inside the body. Nitric oxide leads to vasodilation making it great for heart health and also a great pre workout food/drink. They also have a phytonutrients called betalains. The phytonutrients are important for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Beets are considered one of the best foods to eat for liver and gallbladder support. So stop dropping beats and start eating them!

Homework: give beets another try! I love making the juice that includes the following: 1 medium beet with greens, 2 large carrots, 1 stalk of celery, 1 apple, ½ of lemon or lime, and fresh ginger to taste.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 10: Vote Chair

Now, the first thing I think of when I read ‘Vote Chair’ is “I love lamp.”- Anchorman Of course there is more to this post than that.  We sit now more than ever and that has led to many health problems. The chair I want to focus on is the chair you use at work. A proper chair for work can make all the difference in the world for your back and neck. Do you find yourself sitting on the front half of your chair and then slouching on your desk?  This is an all to common image in an office setting and your back and neck are screaming for help the entire time.

So what should the proper chair be like? You should be able to sit all the way in the back of the chair while still maintaining contact with your feet on the floor. Your chair should be able to slide under your desk. When seated at your chair you should be comfortable enough as to not need to lean forward onto a desk to see your computer screen. These are all simple things to satisfy. I suggest a firmer chair as well to maintain proper support. Even better don't have a chair at all and get a standing desk!  

Homework: Analyze your office chair to see if it meets the above standards.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 9: Choose Ultimate

I couldn’t go through all of these days and not bring up Ultimate Frisbee.  I have been playing since 2006 when I tried out for Ohio State Leadbelly. That year we played in the college national championships and finished tied for 9th. Ultimate has played an integral part of my life as it was because of it that I met my wife, Jennie, and so many great friends.  I don't get to play as much as I would like to anymore. I still play a few tournaments with my wife and friends, and I also coach a high school club called Fox Valley Fusion from Algonquin.

Ultimate requires a lot of endurance and athleticism.  In a weekend tournament a player can expect to run between 12 and 16 miles. It is like combining a frisbee, football, and soccer together.  If you have never seen it played check out WatchESPN the weekend of 10/18-10/21 for some potential air time. Below are some basics of the game.

Field size is 110 yards long, 40 yards wide and 20 yard end zones.  A point is scored when an offensive player catches it in the end zone. A typical game is played to either a point total of 15 or 90 minutes whichever happened first. You cannot run with the frisbee and so once a pass is completed you must stop and set a pivot foot. The thrower has 10 seconds to throw it to a teammate. Turnovers occur if the disc hits the ground, the disc lands out of bounds, the disc is intercepted, or if the 10 seconds runs out. The game is meant to be non-contact with the players self officiating.  Lastly is a term called spirit of the game. It is difficult to describe in words. It is better experienced on a first hand basis. So get out there and watch or find a place to play. Anyone can learn to throw and catch a frisbee!

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 8: Vote Probiotics

Aww probiotics. There are a lot of directions I could go here but moral of the story is I like them and if you're not taking one you probably should.  Over the years the majority of us put the digestive system through the proverbial wringer as we enjoyed everything but healthy foods. What is difficult to see during the late night snacks of pizza and bowls of ice cream (I preferred mine straight from the tub) is the damage we are doing inside our intestines. We are creating a perfect environment to feed unwanted bacteria.  Quality probiotics compete with the bad bacteria for space along the lining of our gut and aid our system in breaking down food.

If you have been struggling with digestive issues probiotics may help, but in most instances they are only aid for getting your gut back on track.  They are not a super, secret, magic pill that cures all! Like anything else, before taking any medications or supplements consult with your doctor to be sure they are a good fit for you.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 7: Choose Planks

Remember when it was the cool to plank in outrageous places and in odd situations sort of like “Tebowing”.  Except it wasn’t really planking it was more just laying stiff as a board on top of things. We should bring planking back, but lets do it right!

Planks are, in my opinion, the best core exercise to do.  When done correctly it turns into a full body isometric contraction.  How to perform a plank: step 1: lay on the floor face down, step 2: come up onto your elbows making sure the elbow is directly below your shoulder, Step 3: raise your hips off of the floor and come onto your toes, Step 4: your core should be contracted at this point and you hold for a period of time.  If you are new to planking I suggest starting the hold for 20-30 seconds. If this position is too difficult you can also plank from your knees on up. If you want an extra challenge try a side plank. Same set up but coming up from your left or right side. Work your way up to at least 1 minute in each position.  I recommend increasing in weekly intervals of 5-10 seconds.

Homework:  Initiate a daily plank of either variety into your daily routine for two weeks.  You probably won’t see any big changes in two weeks, but strength and stability are occurring.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 6: Vote No on Fake Sugar

This is simple, just say no! Would you put diesel fuel purposely in an unleaded gas tank? Because that is essentially what you are doing when you ingest artificial sweeteners into your body!  What are they and why is it so bad? The ones that I’m talking about are those typically found in 0 calorie foods/drinks. Typically it will be aspartame, saccharin, or sucralose. The reason I’m not a big fan is because it’s all about your insulin levels.  The moment the fake molecules hit your taste buds is the moment that your body releases insulin in the body to tell it to uptake more sugar into the cells. The problem here is that there isn’t any sugar going into the blood when you have a fake sugar. Now it’s easy to think ‘ok great I won’t have blood sugar problems.’  Wrong! Now you just confused your body by telling it to get ready to have a rush of sugar into the system but then nothing comes. So the next time you have a sweet tasting treat your body won’t be able to decide do I release insulin this time or not. You repeat this process enough and before you know it there’s mass hysteria.  So do me and your body a favor a just say No!

Homework:  Start paying attention to the added sweeteners in the food/drinks that you buy and consume.  Diet drinks are one of the most common culprits. If you know you used fake sugars on a daily basis try taking them out of your diet for a week.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 5: Choose Chiropractic

Chiropractic, or “choir-practic” as some close relatives refer to it, is what I do and I cannot imagine doing anything else.  Not everyone is able to make that statement about their job so I feel fortunate that I can about mine. But what really is chiropractic?  The first thought that comes to many minds is “it’s where you go to get your back ‘cracked.’” If you have only ever gone to your chiropractor for spinal injuries you are missing out.  Chiropractic is so much more than getting your spine adjusted. Though spinal dysfunction MAY lead to many other health related conditions such as: knee pain, shoulder pain, foot pain, and headaches just to name a few.  To me chiropractic is more about looking for the root cause of an injury or condition. As a biochemistry major I love working with nutrition to heal the body from the inside out. As an athlete I love breaking down the biomechanics of a movement to re-establish proper patterns.  As a doctor I love watching patients make changes that affect their lives! If I ever lose those loves maybe I’ll try “choir-practic” instead, just imagine a chiropractor that also sings “We will, we will, crack you!”

Homework:  Call your chiropractor and make an appointment with them!  If you’ve never been to one be open minded it never hurts to go in for a consultation.

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 4: Choose Eggs

Scrambled, hard boiled, over easy, sunny side up, over hard, over medium, or poached.  How do you like your eggs? I enjoy them almost every morning of the week over easy. What better day to talk about eggs but a Sunday when most of us enjoy a delicious brunch.  Eggs are such a simple thing to make. I think I was about 9 or 10 when I fried my first egg on a small cast iron skillet. After awhile you get tired of the old pick the cereal out of the cupboard game, especially when the options are down to Raisin Bran or Raisin Bran.  My reasoning for having eggs in the mornings is simple. They are cheap, quick to make and vary the style, and packed with nutrition! Protein being the most important factor. Each egg has about 6 grams of protein. But what about the yolk and the cholesterol? This is definitely something to take into consideration if you have an issue with an increased cholesterol level.  If it is a concern of yours you can always stick to egg whites which will still give you about 4 grams of protein. If you find yourself in a boring rut of carbs in the morning mix it up and don’t be afraid of the egg!

Homework: This is simple if you don’t have a good source of protein in the morning already, try to incorporate eggs a few times a week.  P.S. The avocados of day 1 make a nice pairing with the eggs in the morning to keep you full!

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP® 

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 3: Vote Squats

I just witnessed my 3-year-old do 10 overhead squats perfectly on cue.  If a toddler can do it that means you should be able to do a perfect squat too right?  Probably not. Plenty of people think they can perform a perfect squat but more often than not they have something that they are doing wrong.  Here are the top 3 mistakes I see in the office: forward flexion at the waist, knees going toward each other on the way down, and the knees going in front of the toes.  What muscles do you feel the most when you perform a squat? If your glutes aren’t sore afterwards chances are you aren’t doing them right. Squats can be a spine saver when performed correctly.  Here are things to keep in mind in order to do them correctly: perform them sloooowwwwly, feet at least shoulder width apart, keep your head and chest up while going downward, imagine sitting back into a chair, keep pressure down through your feet, and be aware of your knees to keep them from going inward.  

If the above is too difficult to perform or you feel as if you will fall over then you need to modify your squats.  The best way to relearn squat form is using an exercise ball. Put the exercise ball against the wall and stand in front of it with the ball resting on your butt.  When performing your squat with the ball use the contour of the ball to guide your ability to sit back thinking about all of the things I mentioned above. I strongly suggest getting a resistance band and tying it lightly around your knees.  Then, while performing your squat apply an outward pressure against the band and feel your glutes fire that much more. Lastly, only squat as low as you can with PERFECT form.

Homework:  Perform a squat in front of a mirror or on a video with a front view and a side view looking for the errors I mentioned.  If you see any errors start performing the modified squat with ball with 10 reps 2 sets daily for a week. Again only go as low as you can with PERFECT form.  If you struggle with any of that schedule an appointment I’m sure we can help you out!

Dr. Alan Broering D.C., CCSP®

Eat Well. Move Well. Live Well.


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Day 2: Choose 8 Hours

I woke up at 5:00 AM Wednesday.  I could have fallen back to sleep after my daughter woke up for an early breakfast, but would that extra hour have made that much of a difference? Granted, it would have turned into more like an hour and a half after hitting the snooze on my phone about 3 times.  My vote is yes, it does make a difference. Every hour/minute/second of sleep at night counts. It is the one time during the day that our body has a chance to recharge. When we sleep we give our body a fighting chance to survive the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.  

But why 8 hours? Why not 2, 3, 4, 6, 12? Aww 12 hours of sleep. I will never see that again as long as I have kids!  Most studies show anywhere between 7 and 9 hours of sleep is what is most beneficial for the brain and body. There are loads of benefits to 8 hours of sleep: more energy, healthier heart, decreased brain fog, decreased inflammation, less wrinkles, increased bone health, decreased fatigue, and the list goes on.  

Homework: Try to get a full 8 hours for a week and pay attention to how you feel.  It will be difficult and take some discipline, but if you are sitting on the couch falling asleep to your favorite show every night at 9:30 anyway don’t you think maybe your body is giving you a signal?

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Day 1: Vote Avocado!

Today starts the 40 days of healthy politics!  Oh no politics! I hate that stuff. Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about real politics. There are enough people doing that already.  I’d like to provide to you an avenue for a break from all of the political chaos. Each day there will be a “political” sign in my yard with a different health topic.  Some straight forward, some not. I am also writing a blogpost explaining the importance of each topic. Follow the office on Facebook or Instagram @MennerChiropracticLLC to follow along with all of the fun!  

Growing up I never knew avocados existed.  It was not until college that I was exposed to this delicious green stuff called guacamole.  I remember it clearly it was this new restaurant in Columbus called Chipotle. Back then I don’t think they even charged more than 25¢ or 50¢ for adding it to the order.  Enough about delicious guacomoooollleee. Why choose avocado for your health? Loads of healthy fat keep you full. Close to 75% of the calories in an avocado are from fat in the form of oleic acid.  This is useful in fighting inflammation throughout the body. The increased fat also makes it easier to absorb fat soluble vitamins. There are many other benefits to avocados but Google can provide you with more information if you truly desire.  The point of this is to get you thinking about incorporating more of this delicious green fruit into your diet. Think of it this way: “An avocado a day keeps the between-meal hungers away.” - Alan Broering, D.C.

Homework: Incorporate an avocado throughout your day at different meals. I strongly recommend breakfast with nearly half of one. Watch that 10 AM hunger disappear!

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Trust Your Gut?

gut brain1I’m in the checkout lane at the grocery store and there it is, that orange wrapper grabs my attention and it’s saying “Alan, eat me!” My brain says, “Don’t do it, there’s an apple over there,” but my stomach says, “Mmmm chocolate and peanut butter!” I can’t resist. After all, it’s been a long day and I deserve it. I look to see if any patients are around and slowly place it on the conveyor. Of course I have to eat it right away. I can’t let it melt on the way home. I get home and unload the car with the rest of the groceries. You know fruits, vegetables, some avocados, eggs, and some salmon. I am a doctor. I have a healthy eating reputation to maintain. After a few minutes inside, it hits me; that wall, the “I’m tired, and I want to throw on comfy clothes and lounge around.” We have all been in this scenario.  So I ask you, did I trust the wrong “brain”? 

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Want to win a Championship?

footballCheck out this great article from the Washington Post about Tom Brady, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, and how he chooses to treat his body. He uses more alternative care and allows his body to heal naturally. He follows a strict diet of NO SUGAR, DAIRY, or WHITE FLOUR. In a separate article, also a great one, he is reported of having 2 smoothies per day. 

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The Right Kind of Busy!

Payne swingSometimes life gets in the way and we have to prioritize the important things. Jennie and I have completed a month of being gluten free and sugar free. Were we perfect the entire time? No, but we have to live a little too. 

So what has me so busy that caused me to miss last week’s post? Everything! Summer weather brings summer fun! We began the summer with a colorful explosion at The Color Vibe Run in Lake Zurich. Jennie, Payne, and I ran/walked the event with members of the Menner Chiropractic office staff. It was an awesome event and a lot of fun. Some of you may have seen us rocking our new shirts.

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Moderation...

blog3 soupSO THERE WE WERE…..driving to Ohio for my cousin Kelly’s wedding.  We asked ourselves, "What are the common excuses that others use to not try a gluten and sugar free diet?"  I often hear "Then, what do you eat?"  My translation of that question is that it sounds hard and impossible, and they have instantly set themselves up for an uphill battle.  It is easier now than ever to make this change.  This thing called the internet makes it so easy to find tasty and delicious recipes.  We had a delicious Cocoa-Coconut Pork Chop Chili (say that 3 times fast) on Monday evening and it was delicious.  Click the picture to link to the recipe! 

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Toughing it Out

Blog2One week in and going strong! We are feeling great and full of energy. 

Though, the first week wasn’t without challenges. Both of us felt normal detoxing symptoms -- stomach cramping, cold sweats, and a mild headache. They were nothing we couldn’t handle and tough out for the greater goal.  Saying no to the delicious Rice Krispie Treats at a small group BBQ we attended Friday evening was my biggest challenge. The weekend also brought Mother’s Day!  This was Jennie’s first!  We spent most of the day outside enjoying the beautiful weather, working on our deck, and doing a photoshoot for Payne. We wrapped the day up with delicious grilled cedar plank salmon (which I caught on Wednesday from Lake Michigan). 

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Chronic Case of the Mondays

Alan Family 2016My wife, Jennie, and I have an energetic nine-month-old son. Parenting is hard, but very rewarding. Lately though, we have had a chronic “case of the Mondays”. We’ve felt sluggish and tired, busy, unmotivated, and uninspired to do more than what really must be done. Being parents—titles we’re still getting used to—makes us want to change our lifestyle. We’ll do anything to be around for all of our little guy’s big (and small) moments. We’re TIRED of being tired, so we decided to DO something about it.

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American Chiropractic Association
Illinois Chiropractic Society
National University of Health Sciences