Condition of the Month: Plantar Fasciitis

For many of us, just getting out of bed in the morning can be a trying experience. However, for those afflicted with plantar fasciitis, those first steps of the morning can be comparable to walking on broken glass. Plantar fasciitis (plant-ar fas-ee-itis) is a chronic condition affecting the plantar fascia, a thick, sinewy band of connective tissue that runs across the sole of your foot and connects your heel to your toes. This tissue normally acts as a shock-absorbing support, which reinforces the arch of your foot. However, when exposed to too much stress, your body’s natural arch support can develop small tears and cracks, which become inflamed and sore. Then, you have plantar fasciitis.

One of the most common symptoms of plantar fasciitis is stabbing pains in the sole or heel of the foot, which tend to be at their worst in the morning and which slowly improve over the course of the day as the tissues in your foot loosen up. The condition usually begins gradually– you’ll notice some soreness, the next day it’s a bit worse, and after a few weeks your bedside rug seems to have metamorphosed into a bed of nails. Plantar fasciitis is more common among runners, dancers, and people who wear thin-soled or high-heeled shoes, however, if you’re a woman, are lugging around a few extra pounds, or are over 60, you’re more likely to develop this condition.

Come see Doctor Roza, DC if you suspect that you have plantar fasciitis, because not only is it painful, but it can also cause you to change the way you walk, leading to more serious complications in your knees, hips, and back. Dr. Roza, DC will treat the condition in a non-invasive way; your personalized treatment plan my involve heat, stimulation, massage, stretching, and/or orthotic supports in your shoes. According to the Mayo Clinic, about 90% of people with plantar fasciitis who are treated in the ways described above recover fully within a few months. So there’s no reason to allow plantar fasciitis and mysterious foot pains to cramp your style and affect your quality of life.

Sources: Mayo Clinic

Herb of the Month: Green Tea

Short of your laundry, it seems that there’s very little that green tea doesn’t do. But what is this miracle liquid, and where does it come from? Green tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant– the same glossy-leaved bush that graces us with black, white and oolong teas, and a close relative of the blooming camellias that are a staple of local landscaping. Green tea leaves are picked, steamed and dried without much further processing, which is why they have higher levels of beneficial compounds, including the antioxidant polyphenols and catechins, as compared to the fermented or roasted black and oolong teas. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, a medical doctor specializing in holistic therapies, these are just some of of green tea’s amazing capabilities:

  1. Lowers cholesterol levels and rates of heart disease
  2. Helps protect against bacterial infections
  3. Promotes joint health and stronger bones
  4. Reduces inflammation
  5. Enhances the effects of antibiotics, even against drug-resistant bacteria and “superbugs”

Who could ask for anything more?

[box type=”info”] Try substituting green tea for coffee in your daily routine– one of the Roza daughters tried this, and found that she got sick about half as often as she had before![/box]

I know what you may be thinking: maybe you don’t like the taste of green tea, or think you don’t. Fortunately for you, green tea comes in many different varieties. My first suggestion is to make an investment in your health and enjoyment, and try a high-quality Japanese green tea, like a bancha or sencha. Tea drinking is taken very seriously in Japan, where there are innumerable, subtly different varieties and a near-sacred ritual surrounding its consumption. In any case, they know what they’re doing, and it shows in the tea. I recommend buying a good quality loose tea, not one in bags; try your local health food store. Open the airtight jar in which bulk tea should be stored. Take a look at the tea– is it dark green? Does it smell fragrant? Do you see dried leaves, or some twiggy particles that look like they were swept off of the tea factory floor? You want an aromatic, deep green tea, not something that looks like hay. Buy 50 or 100 grams to see if you like this tea, and take it home for a test run.

Brew the tea with very hot water– the water should be just off the boil as you empty it into the pot or mug, and the tea should be in the brewing container before the water is poured over it. This is so that the water is really hot when it hits the tea, and more flavorful and aromatic compounds will dissolve. Steep for two or three minutes, and taste the tea as it brews, to determine how strong you like it. Remove the leaves after about three minutes (if you leave them in too long the tea can get rather bitter), and sip your tea. Enjoy better health and a pleasant tea-drinking experience!

As a final note, we would like to express our condolences to the families of the more than 11,000 people killed in the recent Japanese disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sources: Dr. Weil – dailyblog, Dr. Weil – green-tea, Dr. Weil – Nine-Green-Teas

Recipe of the Month: Chicken Tagine

Tagine is a Moroccan specialty: a thick, rich stew-like dish with meat and vegetables traditionally served over couscous. It may sound exotic, but it’s delicious and a snap to make!

  • 4-6 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB ground cumin
  • 2 TB smoked paprika
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 small eggplant
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 TB raisins
  • handful of pitted black olives 2 cups chicken broth
  • sherry vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • 1/2 cup raw spinach

Heat oil in a saucepan on medium. Add spices and roast for a few minutes, until spices are fragrant and have intensified in color. Cut onion into quarters or eighths, saute in the spice oil. Cut eggplant in halves or quarters lengthwise, cut into large chunks and add to pan. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to pan. Add raisins and olives (optional). Saute for another minute or two. Add broth, turn heat down to low, simmer for 45 minutes to one hour with lid on. Add washed, torn spinach and a splash of vinegar about five minutes before serving. Add salt if needed (the broth and olives are usually salty enough). Serve over couscous or with flatbread or tortillas and a big salad. Serves 3-4.

{From the recipe box of Molly Roza, inspired by a New York Times recipe}