How is Functional medicine different?

Functional Medicine works on the premise that each individual is biochemically and genetically unique. Thus each person in our office receives personalized diet, supplements, detoxification programs and life style plan based on their specific laboratory analysis and clinical examination. This personalized approach addresses the whole person, not the dis-ease. We do not diagnose or treat medical conditions. Instead, We support systems and biochemical pathways to reorganize and gain their optimal function.

The focus of functional medicine is on the patient as a whole, promoting health as immense vitality beyond the absence of disease. We help our clients discover what may be the driving factors in their condition and help them transform their life style to address their specific needs. In Functional Medicine, we are concerned with “why is this person experiencing these symptoms” rather than “what is their medical diagnosis and what drugs match their diagnosis”.

Functional medicine care plans will usually include making some changes in the patient’s lifestyle based on the diagnostic testing and clinical examination. These changes are in nutrition, physical activity, stress management, exposure to toxic substances and additional factors. These changes are designed to work with genetic makeup and work well in each individual patient’s environment. Although individual genes may make a patient susceptible to some disease, lifestyle changes can help target these problem areas and drastically improve the overall health of the patient.

One functional medicine benefit is the active role patients take in their own care while partnering with Dr.Rasta. Our patients are often surprised at the extensive amount of time our team spends with them, asking questions about their diet, symptoms, exposure to certain chemicals, family history, and prior illnesses. Our patients appreciate the fact that our holistic approach stresses natural therapies that avoid the use of surgery or medication.

How to free yourself from a disturbed mind?

Science has shown us that everything in the universe has an underlying energy field made of atoms that once bound together, from molecules and ultimately manifest into the entire physical phenomenon. Our body also has an underlying energy field and movement in this field creates our mental and emotional patterns. For instance, the dance of peptides and receptors in our body, allow us to experience different feelings, when serotonin binds to its receptors we may feel joy, or when dopamine binds to its receptor we may feel motivated and so on. Regardless of how we describe this inner field, it is an underlying energy that flows in particular patterns through your inner being. People have referred to it by Qi, Shakti, Spirit, or Electrical
signals.

The most primal energy flow is the survival instinct, the day-to-day struggle to protect oneself. Since we no longer lack food, water, clothing or shelter, our survival instinct has gone through great evolutionary changes. Although we no longer face life-threating situations, most of us spend a great deal of our energy to defend our self-concepts and self-image.  Suppose someone raises their voice at you or flips you off on a road, although this is not physically threatening, your heart starts to pump a little faster. This is the exactly what happens when rabbits hear a sudden noise, their hearts start to pump faster; they either freeze or run away. Since it is not socially acceptable to run away to woods and hide like a rabbit, we tend to hide inside. We withdraw, close down and pull back behind our protective shields. What you are actually doing is closing down your energy field and centers, which creates blockages and stagnation.  Anytime a situation creates a disturbance in your inner being, you close down and put up a psychological protective shield. You know exactly how to close down to avoid being too receptive and sensitive to the different energies coming in and causing fear.

If you want to be free of your personal prison of fear and insecurity, if you want to grow and not live a stagnant life, you must be able to release and let go.  If you want joy, enthusiasm, and excitement in your life, you have to allow yourself to see all parts of you, even the parts that make you uncomfortable, this will allow all parts of you to become unified. Your mind is no longer divided into conscious and subconscious. There is energy pouring inside of you, creating a ripple of thoughts and emotions, and there is the consciousness that is aware of it. This is how you watch the dance of your mind, the psyche that loves melodrama. Consciousness has the ability to “focus” and bring awareness to objects around you.  For instance, through your own experience, you know that consciousness can be aware of a whole field of objects, or it can be so focused on one object that you are unaware of anything else. This is what happens when you get lost in thoughts. If you pay attention, you will see that objects are constantly passing through your consciousness in different levels, such as mental, emotional and physical. When you are not centered, your consciousness gets attracted toward one or more of those objects, and your sense of awareness loses itself in the object/ thought. It is no longer aware that it is aware of the object, it just becomes the object.  When you are lost in defensive, negative or depressed thought patterns or emotions, become aware of the thought and learn to let go of that energy. Begin to see the tendency you have, to protect and defend yourself. You will see that there is a very deep and innate tendency to close, especially around your wounds and soft spots. Notice the people and situations that hit your stuff, become aware of how the people closest to you, like your husband, family, or children trigger your wounds. Notice how often you find yourself trying to defend those weak parts of you… Liberation comes as you stop protecting yourself. You will be free to interact with people who you fear most, you will be free to live in this world without a problem on your mind. Every time a situation or a person triggers your wound, become aware of the change in energy and tightening of your muscles. This is your cue that it is time to grow, and let go of the part of you that is holding you back to experience joy instead of fear.

Here are few simple exercises to help you let go and release

1. Notice when your energy changes, when your gut tightens, when your heart pumps a little faster and you become tense. This is the moment you take a pause. Bring your seat of awareness to the present moment and simply let go. When you let go, you fall behind the energy that is trying to pull you into it.

2. Open your heart energetically and allow the energy to flow from your heart to the rest of your body. Let go of what may have disturbed your current energy state, remember when your thoughts start, do not go with them. Simply observe your
psyche through your consciousness.

3. Begin your breath work by doing stage 1, feel your body and focus on bringing your energy flow back to balance.

4. Seek a Network doctor to help you let go of these bound up energy and release these blockages. Remember, if you aren’t centered, your awareness will follow whatever it catches. Bring your scattered energy into the center.

You may begin with small things. Let go of small and meaningless things that happen every day that bother you. If your kid yells at you or someone beeps at you, as soon as you notice an energy change, relax your shoulders and relax the area around your heart, and let go. Play with letting go and fall behind the sense of being bothered.

Tara Rasta D.C

How NSA improves neuroplasticity, thus enhancing creativity

Neurons in the brain – illustration
Credit: Benedict Campbell.

Neuroplasticity is the concept of how neurons that fire together, wire together. A practice member receiving entrainments will create new neural connections during sessions and overtime. This happens due to receiving entrainment contacts, on specific parts of the spine where we have a physical vertebral-dural attachment, also coined “Gateway” by Donny Epstein the developer of Network Spinal analysis. This sensory stimulus by the practitioner cues the brain to stimulate musculature to expand the lungs for a deeper breath (a respiratory wave) and stimulate body movements and oscillations (Somatopsychic wave). These patterns of sensory stimulus and a motor response are associated with self-regulation of stored energy “muscular tension”, a deep sense of relaxation, release of tense and painful emotions, and self-organization. NSA allows for the development of new neural connection or plasticity. The practitioner introduces a light force in a specific place that produces instability within the spine and musculature; this creates a new behavior in the spine that is practically different every time, which makes the experience novel to the receiver. A novel experience that allows for neural plasticity and self- organization of the body means greater flexibility, adaptability, and therefore creativity. The “ aha” moment is literally when new neurons fire and wire together!

Why is the novelty so important?

With age comes decline of neural plasticity for most people, for example, the younger you are the easier it is to learn a new language and speak it fluently without an accent. However, if you choose to do an activity that challenges your rigid beliefs, thought patterns, structural patterns, emotional patterns and so on, you gain a strategy to constantly develop new neural plasticity.  Bruce Wexler, a psychiatrist, and researcher from Yale University argues in his book brain and culture, that the relative decline in neuroplasticity as we age explains many of our society’s cultural and social behaviors. In childhood our brains readily shape themselves in response to the world, developing neuro-structural maps, which includes our pictures and representation of the world. These maps form the neuronal basis for all our perceptual habits and beliefs, all the way up to complex ideologies. Like all plastic phenomenon, these maps tend to get reinforced early on, if repeated and become self-sustaining. As we age and plasticity declines, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to change in response to the world, even if we want to.  We find the familiar type of stimulations pleasurable; we seek out like-minded individuals and we tend to Ignore, forget and discredit information that does not match our belief.

Less neural plasticity = more neural rigidity.

Now, what if you are able to enhance your neural-structure, enrich your self- awareness and create new pathways of being and thinking, would you experience a higher quality of life?

Are you a seeker for more than just an ordinary life?

Tony Robbins, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time keeps his ideas fresh and his spine healthy through Network Spinal as one of his tools of creativity.  Network Spinal will allow for greater adaptability in your behavior, structure, and perception. The greater flexibility within your behavior will allow you to overcome old patterns and have new strategies for your actions. The flexibility in your perspective will allow you to think outside the box, and have greater insights and lastly, the greater coherency in your structure literally allows you to have a good posture which results in greater learning ability, improved mood and breathing, and appearing more powerful!

If you are looking for more in life, more health, more energy, more awareness, more of your internal resources, more joy, more flexibility, and more neural plasticity, NSA has shown to deliver that to thousands of people!

Tara Rasta D.C

Artful and creative combinations!

artful and creative cooking

Green Bean and Carrots French fries

( This is an additive) Place Green beans and carrots in a large bowel. Add Olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste! Toss to make sure they are lightly coated. Add any other spice that you enjoy! Such as mint, cayenne pepper for a kick, garlic or rosemary.  Layer beans onto a flat pan. Pre-heat oven to 375 F and roast them for about 30-45 minutes, until they are shriveled look.

Sweet potatoes French fries

This is similar to traditional French fries without the trans-fat and with added phytonutrients and fiber.

 2 medium sweet potatoes
 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
 salt and pepper to taste
 optional: add paprika, cayenne pepper and a pinch of cinnamon to taste!

Preheat oven to 450 F. Cover flat pan with parchment paper. Half the sweet potatoes lengthwise and sick 5-6 spears of sweet potato (long and tick strips). Place them on the pan and toss olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices. Spread them with one layer. It is important that they have space around them and are not piled on each other. Bake for 15 minutes and turn them with tongs and spatula. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast your veggies ( you can use cauliflower, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts or any veggies)

Cut the veggies into bite-size pieces. If using Brussel sprouts, cut in half or quarters, and then blanch first in boiling water, this will help to keep the bright green color while roasting.  Drizzle vegetables with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. You may add any other herbs that inspire you, get creative with turmeric, cayenne pepper, onion powder or garlic!

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees and roast vegetables for about 30-40 minutes. The browner they turn the more caramelization, and thus the sweeter the taste. Keep an eye to prevent burning! Serve immediately!

Fun Frittata

Because you can add any vegetables you like to it.  Over low heat, sauté your choice of vegetables, my favorite is spinach, kale with mushrooms, and peppers but any combination would work! Green peppers, zucchini, onions, asparagus: anything goes! Add two or three eggs and mix it up.  Spice it up with chia seeds for the crunch and omega 3, the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh dill. Add salt and pepper to taste! Cover and cook eggs on low heat for about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered to continue for additional 5 minutes.  Changeable energy-rich smoothie!

Changeable because you can add any vegetables, fruits and spices you choose!  Energy-rich because we will add some good fat & superfood to boost your brain! (if you are diabetic choose fruits with lower glycemic index)

 select any fruits you enjoy ( I like berries, try frozen ones; cheaper and available any time of the year)
 select any vegetables you enjoy ( I like kale, chard, mint, celery, cilantro, and spinach- Get Creative) use 2 serving of vegetables for each serving of the fruit to control the amount of sugar you eat!
 Add ¾ cup of water or almond milk.
 Add 1 tbsp of almond/ any nut butter
 Add 1tsp of coconut oil/ or one small avocado
 Tbsp. of collagen
 Add nutritional enhancers ( cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract or ginger)
 Add a splash of chia seeds/ ground flax seeds to enhance the anti-inflammatory property of your energy-rich smoothie!

Superfood pudding

 ¼ cup of chia seeds
 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
 1/4 cup of dried cranberries
 1/4 cup chopped almonds/walnuts
 1 ½ cups of almonds or coconut milk
 ¼ goji berries
 1 tbsp. of collagen

Mix in any other flavor for fun, some suggestions include cocoa powder, instant coffee, vanilla extract, cinnamon, or any other extracts you like!  You can also stir the chia seeds into milk using fork to get them fully coated with the liquid,
cover and refrigerate overnight and voila…delicious healthy pudding! You can try it for breakfast with berries as well!

Almond didn’t realize there was kale in this shake! This sweet smoothie is sure to please even the pickiest of eater!

 1 small frozen banana sliced
 ¾ cup of kale ( stems removed)
 ¾ cup of almond milk
 1/8 tsp. each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger
 add a drop of vanilla extract to taste
 1 scoop of protein powder
 1 scoop of collagen blend with ice and enjoy! Or add ½ cup of unsweetened iced coffee for some caffeine boost

Savory Spinach cupcakes

A fun way to get your serving of protein and phytonutrients all in one! Makes about 12 cupcakes

 1 package, 12 oz of fresh spinach ( can also use frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed well)
 4 large eggs
 2 minced cloves of garlic ( you can add any other fresh herbs you enjoy)
 salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
 ¼ cup shredded romano or parmesan cheese
 ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese or low fat cottage cheese

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a food processor, chop the spinach and place in a separate bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredient and mix by hand until they are all combined. Then, spoon mixture into a cupcake tin using approximately one large scoop per cupcake ( spra the cupcake tin or paper slightly with a high smoke point olive oil to prevent sticking). Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Before it is done, sprinkle a little extra parmesan or romano over top and allow to brown for an extra moment under the broiler!

Tip: make these in mini cupcake tin which will give you 24 for when you have guests over! Watch the cooking time, you may only need 10-15 minutes if making the tiny mini version.

Cilantro, fresh bean, and avocado salad

High in fiber, phytonutrients, healthy fats, protein, anti-inflammatory herbs, and spices, with a low glycemic index and under $2.00 per serving.

 2 cloves of garlic
 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
 1 tbsp of extra olive oil
 1 tsp of cumin
 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
 ½ teaspoon salt
 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
 ¼ cup minced red onions ( optional) and finely diced
 ¼ cup cilantro-chopped
 1 medium avocado, diced

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, lime juice, oil, cumin, crushed red peppers, and salt. Add the black beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro; mix well and gently mix the avocados.

Southwestern Medley Salad

High in fiber, phytonutrients, healthy fats, protein and anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, and has a low glycemic index!

 15-ounce can black beans, no salt added, rinsed and drained
 1 cup cooked quinoa (according to package directions)
 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
 1 cup chopped fresh mango
 ¼ cup finely chopped red onion
 ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
 juice of 1 medium lime or lemon
 1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
 2 garlic cloves
 1 tsp chili powder
 ¼ tsp ground turmeric

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and turmeric in a large bowl. Add beans, quinoa, bell pepper, mango, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno, mix well.

Kale, quinoa and avocado salad

High in fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and protein!

 1 bunch kale, washed and de-stemmed (use lacinato kale, sometimes called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale)
 1 cup cooked quinoa ( prepare your quinoa using chicken, or vegetable broth instead of just water to enhance flavor and nutrients)
 2 avocados- diced
 Juice of 2 oranges ( lemon works well too, but added sweetness of orange gives it nice taste)
 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 salt to taste
 add diced tomatoes and cucumbers

De-rib the kale: remove the tough stems of the kale by running down the center of the leaves with your hand or fold the kale along the rib and run a sharp knife down the side.  Stack the de-ribbed kale leaves and chop them into small bites or for a fancier presentation, chiffonade the kale by stacking the leaves, rolling them tightly, and then slicing them perpendicularly to the roll to create long, thin strips.  Tenderize the kale: this step brings out the sweetness in the kale and minimizes bitterness.  Place the cut kale into a bowl and add the oil, salt, and citrus. Knead and squeeze (massage) the kale with your hands using a sterile glove or very clean hands. Add the other ingredients, mix and enjoy!

Almond crusted baked “fried” chicken

This is a delicious alternative to fried chicken but trust me… you will not miss the fried!
 2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
 salt and pepper to taste
 pinch of cayenne
 ¼ cup unsalted almonds
 4 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 F, season chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and cayenne. (Can substitute other spices like cumin in place of the cayenne). Place on aluminum foil or parchment paper lined sheet pan. In a food processor or blender make a coarse paste of the almonds, garlic, and oil. Top each chicken breast with half mixture pressing down slightly to adhere. Roast for 15-18 minutes until cooked through.  Cut chicken into strips for healthy chicken fingers for the kids!

Almond crusted baked “fried” fish
 1 lb white fish fillers- about 4 medium sized fillers
 ½ cup almond meal
 ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated.
 Salt, peppers, garlic powder (add any additional spices you like)
 2 eggs whites

In a shallow bowl beat egg whites, and salt, pepper, grated parmesan cheese, and garlic powder. Place almonds in another shallow bowl. Dip filet in egg mixture, then coats with almonds. Place on aluminum foil or parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake at 450 F for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.  Enjoy!

Sauteed Red Cabbage

This is healthy, low calorie, rich in phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds!

 1 medium head of red cabbage, shredded
 1 medium red onion, chopped
 1 tsp olive oil
 2-3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
 salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
 optional: ½ to 1tsp caraway seeds and 1 apple cubed.

On a stovetop over medium heat, sauté the olive oil and onions until the onions turn a golden brown. Lower the heat, and then add the cabbage to soften over the heat, stirring periodically to prevent burning. Allow cooking for approximately 15-20 minutes until cabbage is soft. If adding apple, allow the dish to cook a few minutes longer until apple is softened.

Salmon veggie scramble

Another dietary staple in my household. This is a quick, easy meal that everyone enjoys!

 1 tsp olive oil
 2-3 large eggs
 1 small red onion, diced
 ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
 ½ cup fresh spinach, chopped
 1 medium tomato, chopped
 ½ can wild salmon

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk eggs in small bowl and set aside. Add onions and mushrooms to the skillet and sauté until soft. Add the eggs and stir gently with a spatula for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach, tomato, and salmon and heat for another 2-3 minutes.  Season with any spices you enjoy.

What is Somato Respiratory Integration?

Somato Respiratory Integration is a revolutionary approach that includes specific exercises which link enhanced somatic awareness with respiration. It promotes the ability to focus attention on gross and subtle body movements and rhythms, self-directed breathing, awareness of one’s tension, and verbal statements reflecting one’s internal state.

Associated with these exercises are self-generated dynamic processes, which dissipate energy stored as tension, enhance structural flexibility, increase the experience of safety within the body, and demonstrate characteristic shifts in states of consciousness.

Through the use of your hands, the directed movement with focused breath, and certain well-timed statements reflecting your inner state there is a dissipation of stored tension, and the automatic and spontaneous establishment of a more energy efficient structural state.

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