The Dirty Dozen

By | @ | 18 hours ago

dirtydozendivider2Every time I’m in the grocery store, my hand wavers between the organic strawberries and conventionally grown (a.k.a. full of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers = poison).

I know we’ve all been reminded a million+one times that organic is better, but all this talk about organic can stress a frugal girl out! I’ll try to make it easy for you. If your budget only allows for certain things, try to buy these “dirty dozen” foods organically, and then do the best that you can with the rest. These “dirty dozen” produce items are found to have the highest levels of harmful chemicals and should be avoided if not purchased organically.

These “dirty dozen” produce items are found to have the highest levels of harmful chemicals and should be avoided if not purchased organically.First and foremost – in my house, the happy medium for produce not purchased organically, is what I grow in my garden. Growing your own produce is by far the cheapest source of organic dirty dozen foods. If you’re in an apartment or don’t have land, there’s always container-gardening. You typically won’t have as big of a garden as if you planted one in your back yard, but it will do the trick. My advice is to choose a few things you will eat a lot of, i.e. tomatoes, spinach, and cucumbers – and focus on those. This will help keep your back deck from turning into an Amazonia.

Second, there are co-ops where you can “rent” land for a small fee to plant your own garden. These can be difficult to locate, so search online and ask around in your local community.

Third, you can stake out local farmers markets. These usually happen once or twice a week, so stock up on your favorites, clean, and freeze if need be.

Fourth, there is something called Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). With a CSA, individuals can invest upfront in local farms and farmers, and in return, they get a box of fruits/veggies every week. It’s a great way to try produce that you wouldn’t normally try because it shows up on your doorstep (and most of the time, it comes with recipes!). Depending on the CSA you join, there are ¼ share, ½ share, or whole share options (each varying by investment cost).

Lastly, but certainly not least, there are good frozen options out there. Certain brands are better than others, but typically, the produce is ‘fresh frozen’. This option is great in the non-growing season so you don’t have to go without your favorite foods if you don’t want to. Plus, frozen organic is really reasonably priced.

Good luck to you all in your journey to stay ‘clean’!

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Lifestyle Wellness

Old MacDonald Has a Farm

By | @ | 3 days ago


One of the things I love best about summer are all of the farm stands and markets that abound. As people say, ‘farmers markets are a bunch of healthy people buying healthy food from happy farmers who care for the earth.’

It’s just a big farm-love-fest, right?

Even though most every veggie or fruit is available year-round, there is nothing quite like eating locally grown produce that’s in-season, and supporting the local farms that make this possible. That tomato that is imported from Chile in the winter? It might work in a recipe, but it truly pales in comparison to a locally vine-ripened, deep red piece of fruit.

And yeah, I said fruit.

There are several ways to distinguish fruits from veggies, but my favorite is that veggies can be eaten no matter how small they are, and fruits need to ripen. But getting back to the produce… a fruit that has to be transported across the country (or even the world!) often has to be picked while still unripe. The produce doesn’t get to benefit from those last few days or weeks of nutrients that are delivered when it gets to ripen on the vine.

That’s where Ol’ Mr. MacDonald (the farm owner) comes in.

piggyA surefire way to get your kids (or husband!) excited about vegetables is to bring them to the Farmer’s market. Somehow meeting the farmer, getting to know him/her, and seeing the piles of veggies in all their colorful glory makes them much more appetizing than if they just show up on their dinner plates. If you’re not sure where your closest farmer’s market is, or what hours it’s open, check out localharvest.org. I’ll typically ask the farmer how to prepare what they are selling. Their recommendations are often simple, yet the most delicious – no recipe required! But if you are interested in some great market fresh recipes – see this list on eatingwell.com where everything looks divine.

Happy summer cooking and eating, my friends.

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Health Lifestyle

3 Reason to Ditch Your Shoes

By | @ | 4 days ago

ditch-shoesdivider2Did you know that I don’t own any shoes?

There are a few pair of sandals in my closet, but once the temps stay above freezing for a week or so, I go straight from boots to flip-flops.

After that, 90% of my time is spent in flips. Or barefoot for that matter.

My puppies were not meant to be crammed inside of shoes (even if they are really, really cute ones!), and yours weren’t either. I wear flips simply for the fact that if I didn’t, I would be thrown out of public places. While we’re talking about flip-flops… bypass the ‘cheapies’ that have zero arch support, or you’ll end up with {{plantar fasciitis}}. I suggest investing in a decent pair or two like {{Olukai}}, {{Reef}} or even {{Crocs}}. Trust me when I say, you’ll be glad you did.

If I had my ‘druthers, I’d actually be barefoot all the time. How about you?

divider2Here are three really good reasons to ditch your shoes:

  • The 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 muscles in each of your feet were meant to move. In a rigid shoe, those bones, joints and muscles get really stiff. This throws off your gait, and creates an unstable foundation for the rest of your body.
  • There is something very spiritual about connecting – literally – to the earth. Walking on grass or sand is particularly grounding. Pavement? Not so much. The next time you’re having a warm-weather outdoor gathering, take off your shoes and stay [with your feet in the grass] a while.
  • Walking on an unstable foundation like sand stimulates {{proprioception}}, which is the ability of our body to know where it is in space. Translation? You have better balance and stability. It’s also great rehab after a foot or ankle injury for the same reason. Not to mention, sand is a great exfoliator. Adios, callouses!

divider2Bonus:  It’s a great reason to get a gel pedicure so you don’t get {{Yoga Toes}} like me.

Be free, tootsies.footprints


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Everything Else

Coming Soon on Dr. Tania

By | @nikirogers | 7 days ago

tania-coming-soon-2divider2That’s right! We’re spillin’ the beans, lettin’ the cat out the bag, and giving you a sneak peak of what’s coming shortly on DrTania.com.


New Design

We wanted to make the design easier, and more intuitive for our users. That’s why our new design will help readers sort content easily so they can see fully all of the topics Dr. Tania writes on, and move to different areas of the website quickly and effortlessly.

foumNew Forum

Dr. Tania touches on a lot of subjects that are near and dear to our reader’s hearts. For that reason, we’re adding a forum to www.drtania.com where our readers can discuss the topics from the blog, give their feedback, and interact with other readers who may or may not feel as they do on those topics.

New Masonry Layoutmasonry

In the age of Pinterest, and Gawker we find that sometimes — people want to judge the cover before deciding to read the book. For that reason, we’re adding a masonry layout to www.drtania.com so users can choose to browse our content visually, instead of scrolling through each written post. And if you enjoy the current design, have no fear — that layout will still be available as well.

So there you have it — a sneak peek of what’s to come. Also be on the lookout because starting the week of our launch this September, we’ll be doing some pretty awesome giveaways.

From Dr. Tania and the rest of our team, thank you so much for your readership. Without your participation, this wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. heart

Niki Rogers

About Niki Rogers

Niki Rogers is the Editor & Chief at Pilaster Digital a web firm in Annapolis, Maryland and she also spearheads the editorial at DrTania.com where she works personally with Dr. Tania to create the content your reading today.

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Let The Sun Shine

By | @ | 8 days ago


What is it with all the people on the beach wearing Hazmat suits, huddling under umbrellas?

I’m sure they also have sunscreen on with SPF 200, or something. Puhhh-lease people! These folks are more afraid of getting a little sun shine than they are of nuclear contamination.

I get it: overexposure to the sun is not a good thing. It can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. And since we’ve pretty much destroyed our ozone layer, rays today are quite likely more damaging than when us Gen X’ers were kids.

let the sun shineHowever, there is a happy medium. 15-minutes or so of UNPROTECTED sun exposure on a daily basis gives our bodies a nice, healthy dose of Vitamin D. In our practice, we see waaaaaaay more issues with Vitamin D deficiency than we do with sun overexposure. (Fatigue, muscle weakness, cramping, joint pain, chronic pain, weight gain, depression….just to name a few Vitamin D deficiency symptoms).

Additionally, have you read the ingredients on some of those sunscreens? We might be minimizing harmful rays, but our bodies are absorbing all of those chemicals, which I can only believe has its own set of consequences, yet to be determined.

What’s a girl to do? Definitely use some good-quality, non-toxic sounding sunscreen on a regular basis. If you are dashing around town, maybe forgo it to get some Vitamin D, if you are so inclined. For a day at the beach? Definitely wear it for most of the day. I change it up with a wide-brimmed hat occasionally – as much for style as function! – and reading under the umbrella when I need a break. I also visit my dermatologist once or twice a year for full-body scans, and you should too.

Bottom line is, be reasonable. Avoid getting burned, and try not to look like leather at the end of the summer.

But a little healthy glow? Go for it!

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Everything Else Lifestyle

Hangover Helpers

By | @ | 11 days ago

hangover-helpersdivider2From time-to-time, even though we’ve sworn to ourselves ‘we’ll never do it again’ — we wake up with a throbbing headache and queasy stomach from indulging in a few too many cocktails.  

I’m a lightweight. I rarely have more than a drink or two per week (hush-up, those of you who knew me when. I’ve got some secrets on you, too!). On the rare occasion that I do have more than that, I try to uphold some strategies so I won’t waste an entire day or weekend in recovery.

divider2So in no particular order… here are some hangover helpers:

  • Find a drink you enjoy that has little or no sugar. I used to love a good margarita, but now I sip white tequila on the rocks with a big squeeze of lime. If I do shots of tequila, my panties fall off, but if I sip it, I get a nice, slow buzz. One of these cocktails, sipped slowly, lasts me  through most evenings out.  On the odd night that I might be out for the duration, two of them get me through a long night of partying with no hangover in the morning.
  • Have a nice big glass of water before you drink, and in between each cocktail you consume. Alcohol dehydrates you, which will make an alcohol-induced headache significantly worse.
  • Eat a little throughout the evening. This will slow alcohol absorption significantly.
  • Before you hit the sack, chug another big glass of water (and an OTC ibuprofen if you wish). You should be miles ahead in the morning if you do this.

divider2drunk-owlDo I have to say that I do not condone overindulgence, underage drinking or the use of any medication – OTC prescription or illegal – for any use other than intended? If I do have to say it, well then, I just did.

Be responsible. Be healthy. Be alive. And for Pete’s sake, never, ever drink and drive.

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How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

By | @ | 14 days ago

plantar-fasciitis-preventiondivider2Did you read Tuesday’s post on plantar fasciitis?

If you didn’t, please do, so you can get the skinny on what exactly plantar fasciitis (PF) is, and how to treat it if you’re unlucky enough to have it.

To recap: Plantar fasciitis (also known as plantar fasciopathy or jogger’s heel) is a common painful disorder that affects the heel and bottom of the foot. If you’ve woken up in the morning and find it’s excruciatingly painful to put weight on your foot, and more specifically, your heel — chances are, you’ve got PF.

For those of you who want to avoid this very painful condition, here is what I suggest you do:

  • Wear shoes with varying heel sizes. Shoes with heels, when worn regularly, will shorten the Achilles tendon, heightening your risk for plantar fasciitis. You’ll want to alternate between flats, low and high heels (that last one sparingly) when at all possible.
  • Arch support is key. They even make flip-flops with arch support these days. To wear your favorite shoes that don’t have arch support safely, use an insert like Superfeet. They work wonders!
  • Make sure the biomechanics of your feet are working well. Chiropractors can identify issues that will come back to bite you later. This is critical if you work on your feet, or are an athlete.
  • Go barefoot! Occasionally walking on sand or grass will help strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments that support your arches.
  • Had a long day on your feet? Ice and stretch those puppies! Like I said in my previous article – this can liken to physical therapy when done regularly. But a little TLC here will go a long way.

I write a lot about the care and feeding of your feet, and with good cause; they are the foundation of our whole body. If your feet hurt, pretty much nothing else will feel okay.

Trust me on this one – prevention of plantar fasciitis will go a LONG way.


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