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Food Fortification - What Does It Really Mean?

on September 12, 2019

Suppose I am a dairy producer and I have to add fortifications of Calcium to my milk; the first question any wise milk drinker should ask is, “Why would you have to fortify milk with Calcium. Doesn’t milk already contain Calcium?” As the producer, I’m not required to put on the carton packaging what chemical compound of Calcium is being used to bolster the milk.

The next question should be “What chemical form of Calcium do you use to fortify the milk?”

From a financial perspective, the dairy producer is going to use the cheapest form of Calcium that he can legally get away with using.

Last question, “Is the chemical make-up of the Calcium used the most efficient and effective for the absorption and utilization of Calcium in my body?”

And, of course that last question is the big one; usually the chemical is not that efficiently absorbed and utilized by the body.

Now, this scenario may not be 100% accurate, but it’s worth thinking about, and it gives us an easy example of what fortified means when you see it on food packaging.


The terms enriched and fortified in the food world are a gold mine to the industry and a curse for the consumer.

You believe that you’re eating something nutritious and actually you are unwittingly increasing the toxic load on your body.

What the food industry is doing is removing the high-quality nutrients, adding poor, lower-quality, cheaper nutrients, and your body doesn’t utilize them properly.

The same is true for supplements. Since they are not regulated, the quality standard for supplements isn’t about quality at all. What the supplement company claims is in the bottle may not be in there at all, or the formulation of the compound may be cheap and non-absorbable. Unfortunately, it’s more about their bottom line than your health.

For example, there are different compounds that are all considered Vitamin C, but they are not all equally absorbed and utilized by the body.

This is another reason working with a professional, with access to known reputable “nutraceutical” companies, is essential. That doesn’t mean that you can only get high quality supplements by going to a professional, but it makes it easier. Do the research on the companies; make sure they are at least GMP certified and don’t go by marketing testimonials.

Price is not always the determining factor for quality. Many of the cheaper supplements manufactured by the leading chain brands, are exactly what they advertise … cheap. And some of the more expensive supplements are just that … more expensive. They don’t necessarily work either, so it’s absolutely crucial that you’re working with a professional, a health coach or someone who thoroughly understands nutrition and can teach you as you develop, grow and perform.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright ©read more

acassaraFood Fortification - What Does It Really Mean?

Your Eating Schedule

on September 5, 2019

The best time of the day for you to eat, should be based upon eating unusually small frequent meals, containing only high-quality foods. In terms of sports performance, priming comes anywhere between four hours to a half-hour before an event, training or practice. Be sure you’re taking in higher carbohydrate-rich meals all the way up to 30 to 60 minutes before your athletic performance.

During training and exercise, your body requires an intake of carbs and protein at about a 4 to 1 ratio by weight consumption. During recovery after exercise, training, or an event, a carbohydrate to protein ratio of about 2 to 1 is more appropriate.


Optimal recovery requires that you are eating the right recovery foods within that 45 to 60-minute window of opportunity. Make sure the carbohydrates to protein ratio is correct – 2:1. Some research indicates that you have about two hours of time to take in the right nutrients for recovery, but my recommendation is that it would be best for you to keep it to under 1-hour, post exercise.

It is recommended that you develop the desire for and a lifestyle that includes mostly complex carbohydrates, high quality fats and lean high- quality proteins. You can easily achieve this by getting added supplements through a protein shake or a high-quality medical food.

Included in optimal recovery is rest in-between training sessions. Then high-quality sleep (a deep, sound sleep on a bed with a good firm mattress for 7-9 hours every night). During your sleep cycle, your body gets the opportunity to heal and repair without disruption from activities.

The result is the next day you can perform at your best once again.



Nutrition timing varies between athletes and between sports. One key underlying factor is your fluid intake. Water is your primary liquid in sports and in life. I recommend 64 oz. for children and 96 oz. for adults per day. Sports drinks are added to the 64-96 oz. requirement. Consumption of water during exercise or event is also essential.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright ©read more

acassaraYour Eating Schedule


on August 29, 2019

Electrical muscle stimulation, or EMS therapy, is used to treat a variety of painful issues, much like therapeutic massage, from muscle strain and injury to fibromyalgia symptoms. This commonly sought after treatment uses an electrotherapy device that delivers a small, pulsating current to the muscles and nerve endings. This current encourages blood circulation, muscle stimulation and healing.

One of the greater benefits of Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS) is that it can be used to treat weak or atrophied muscles resulting from an injury or from long periods of immobility. This works by stimulating muscles, which causes them to contract and relax, much like normal physical activity. Electrical Muscular.

Stimulation helps develop strength in the affected area and can be used to treat completely incapacitated patients by creating involuntary muscle contraction responses, thereby improving and also maintaining muscle tone without any actual physical activity.

Many sports-related injuries reduce the range of motion in joints, especially in the shoulders, elbows and knees. EMS can be used on an impeded joint to increase range of motion and promote healing in the injured area by increasing blood flood and thereby reducing inflammation.

Many of my patients suggest that EMS helps relieve their chronic pain in joints and muscles, as well as their suffering from stress and tension. This therapy is great for relieving pain in patients with fibromyalgia and also can be used to treat chronic headaches, muscle weakness and fatigue, as well as overall body aches and pain.

Because of the restricted range of motion in tender and swollen joints, EMS therapy works well for arthritis sufferers by increasing range of motion in their joints and reducing pain and inflammation. EMS does this by channeling a low-frequency electrical current through muscle nerves and the connective tissue. Pain relief is accomplished when the body begins secreting additional amounts of endorphins and other natural pain relievers to the affected area.

How EMS Works

Electrical Muscular Stimulation works by placing electrodes at the site of the injury and gradually increasing the electrical current output. What the patient feels in the beginning is a tingling sensation. As the electrical current increases, the tingling feels stronger but not uncomfortable in any way. Over a short period of time, the patient’s body adapts to the electrical current, which necessitates an increase in the electrical current level every few minutes. A typical treatment lasts from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the condition being treated.

Some of the more common injuries that are treated with EMS include strained ligaments, muscle sprains, strains and spasms.

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The Benefits of Massage Therapy in Injury Care

on August 22, 2019

Therapeutic Massage involves the use of a state licensed massage therapist to manipulate superficial and deeper muscle layers and connective tissue through various massage techniques that tend to enhance function, aid in natural healing, decrease muscle reflex reactions, promote relaxation, and improve health.

In a therapeutic massage, the patient is massaged while lying on a special table built for massage therapy, or while sitting on chair especially designed for massage. The patient may be fully or partially clothed.

If you are injured, massage therapy plays a vital role in your healing process. Massage involves working with acting on muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, skin, joints or connective tissue. Areas targeted by the massage therapist, under the guidance of your doctor, might include hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, or feet, as well as the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine as well as your stomach. Massage can also assist in the proper drainage of the lymphatic system. Proper drainage is critical for the elimination of waste products from the body. Massage therapy promotes this elimination process while mobilizing soft tissue at the same time.

Massage Therapy provides great benefit for the following conditions:

  • Muscle spasms, tension, and stiffness
  • Limited ROM (range of motion) of the muscles and joints
  • Restricted circulation of blood and movement of lymph flows
  • Promotion of faster healing of soft tissue injuries
  • Reduction of scar tissue
  • Improvement in posture
  • Reduction in overall stress and anxiety, thus creating a feeling of well-being
  • Promotion of a relaxed state of mental awareness

It is never wise to have massage therapy performed on an injury prior to a professional examination and diagnosis. Improper care of an injury can lead to further damage and longer healing periods. When receiving any type of therapy, make sure you are being treated by a qualified professional and be fully involved in the process. Whether at our office or another clinic, therapeutic massage can be a useful tool in getting you back to doing the activities that you love.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright ©read more

acassaraThe Benefits of Massage Therapy in Injury Care

Tissue Injury to the Body

on August 15, 2019

Tissue injury to the body is a common issue we see in our patients. It can be from a sports injury, such as improper lifting of weights, or one that occurs through repetitive stresses, such as sitting in an awkward position with poor spinal posture while performing work duties or by improperly going through a sports training.

In any case, injured tissues undergo physical and chemical changes that can cause inflammation, pain and diminished function for the sufferer, all in a short period of time, and can last indefinitely if not properly treated. Spinal manipulation, or chiropractic adjustment, of the affected joint and tissues, begins the process of restoring mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness. This process permits tissues to heal naturally.

Evaluating the Patient

I find the most effective method to begin a treatment protocol is to evaluate patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging, and other diagnostic interventions to determine whether chiropractic treatment is right for the patient’s condition. Sometimes, I refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when I determine that chiropractic care is not suitable for their condition. Other times, the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of our health care team and we manage all necessary services within our clinic.

The primary focus of my chiropractic treatment, and any other procedures that we perform in our clinic, is to use the right approach to alleviate the health issue. That’s it!

Getting healthier is definitely about lifestyle improvement and the chiropractic adjustment is a powerful tool, but just one of many. The practice of chiropractic manipulative therapy is the most powerful tool that can be applied to physical conditions and does a lot of great things. However, it is not the end all/be all of healthcare. It has to be incorporated and used appropriately when needed, the same way nutrition, rehabilitation and anything else must be used to help a patient improve their health and well- being.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright ©read more

acassaraTissue Injury to the Body


on August 8, 2019

1. If you get injured, STOP PLAYING IMMEDIATELY! This is an extremely simple concept that those who get injured can put into action immediately and easily. “Suck it up” and “Walk it off” are not good strategies for caring for an injury.

2: The acronym RICE will help you remember what to do and in what order: RICE stands for: Rest it, Ice it, Compress it, and Elevate it. This is the gold standard in the athletic training world. Just to be clear: the ‘I’ in RICE stands for ICE, NOT heating pads and hot tubs. I would also like to add the letter “S” for the word “Support” to this acronym, as in the various support devices that help to stabilize the area. But, I believe the acronym RICES seems a bit strange and not as catchy for anyone to remember.

3: Seek out a health care professional or injury specialist. In this day and age it may be as simple as walking to the sideline. Many teams now have athletic trainers and coaches on staff that can handle the evaluation and, on occasion, care for some injuries. Side note: Athletic trainers do not receive the respect that they deserve. They are the top of the food chain when it comes to the evaluation of acute injuries, and they are often placed in difficult situations. They sometimes make life-altering judgment calls in a matter of seconds, and they, for the most part, do one heck of a great job. It is easy to criticize when you see an injury the next day in the comfort of a clinic, and the treatment plan and/or diagnosis might change, but that takes nothing away from what the trainer did for urgent care. I have tremendous respect for what they do!

4: Let your body heal! Jump back into the game too early because you feel “OK” and you will quickly learn what a second or secondary injury feels like. A complete healing cycle must occur for the injury to heal properly. This process can be accelerated but only through the help of a professional who treats injuries.

5: DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD! I do not go to my tax accountant to receive tax advice and then flush that advice down the toilet and do whatever I want. In sports, this behavior can get you seriously injured. If you have recommendations from a professional, listen and implement the advice, including:

  • Take the necessary time off to heal
  • Follow the treatment protocol diligently
  • Follow the rehabilitation plan to get yourself back to being able to perform

It’s sad to say but injuries do happen. Acute injuries can become chronic, and chronic injuries are the most prevalent cause of diminished sports performance. Decreased performance leads to the demise of the athlete. general, take responsibility for your health and seek help when necessary. Then you get to talk about what you are able to do now instead of what you “used to be able to do”.

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Injury Prevention: Don't neglect your nutrition

on July 25, 2019

INJURY PREVENTION: Don't neglect your nutrition

In general, food is often neglected or overlooked when, in fact, it should be the cornerstone of your routine. As an athlete, your body requires certain nutrients so that it can be prepared to perform at its best. That being said, don’t ever go out and grab the first diet/nutrition plan you see.

Everybody is different and so are athletes. What works for one may not work for another. I believe that having a customized nutritional program is your best bet to ensure that it’s tailored to your specific needs and your particular sport involvement.

Often poor nutrition is the cause of injury, and this type of injury doesn’t go away all by itself. These are the injuries that linger and you may never feel the same again if you don’t take proper action. Injury can also lead to chronic inflammation, which results in further injuries that your body can’t repair properly.

Its far more critical than you know

In short - make sure that you eat the right foods. It’s far more critical than you know. If you don’t have the right nutrients to perform your energy levels will be low, and you may sustain an injury. If you don’t have the proper nutrition, it will be more difficult for you to recover after exercise or injury. If you get hurt and your nutrition doesn’t feed your cellular structure, the tissue can’t be repaired and that may lead to a whole slew of other problems. If the tissue doesn’t heal properly, it can’t perform at its optimum, and optimum performance is what you strive for in your sports involvement.

Then, when you try to push yourself through your routine exercises, like you always would, you might end up hurting yourself. Damaged tissue is an injury. When it comes to food, getting what you need, and getting it at the right time, in the right form, can help you avoid injury. If you do get hurt, the right food can help in the reparation of damaged tissues.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury Prevention: Don't neglect your nutrition


on July 18, 2019

If you are a newbie, planning to use sports to build stamina, or participating in a rigorous exercise program to build up your body strength, no matter what your age, here is some information you need to know. These are basic preventive measures to help you avoid injuries through warm ups, routine fitness check-ups and stamina-building exercises.

To begin with you need:

1. A Routine Physical Fitness Test.

Before beginning any new program, you should always consult your functional sports medicine doctor first and foremost. Usually, the human body tends to react negatively to any new activity, and when the activity is forced, it creates a stress on the body and sometimes results in injury. In talking with your doctor, you can go into your own personal health history to hopefully reduce the risk of injury. Depending on your age and physical condition, a stress test may be required. Have a “True” athletic physical assessment to assess any risk of potential injury. This is required because you must modify your sports exercise and body building programs according to your current health condition. Your doctor will advise you on how to set your limits and suggest not only the right exercise for you, but also tell you the stress level that your body can endure under your particular fitness regimen.

2. Increase your physical activity in phases.

After you’ve been cleared by your doctor, this is the second most important concept to understand. All too often many beginning athletes, with lots of enthusiasm, overexert themselves with vigorous exercising and develop fatigue from over exertion that they aren’t yet ready for. You wouldn’t ask a small child to carry something too heavy for them, would you? Then why push yourself into physical activity you’re not yet ready for? Participation in sports is not a one-day camp event nor is it the buzzer round of a quiz competition. You’re not going to walk on to a field or into a gym the first day and work like a pro. You must build to that strength level. When people participate in this mad rush and over-enthusiastic approach they often seriously hurt themselves. The wise approach is to start with warm-ups and stretches, as mentioned earlier, and start with moderate exercises for 20 minutes at the beginning, then work out three times a week and gradually build the tempo based on this initial, slow momentum.

3. Never work out on an empty stomach.

It’s a really bad practice to exercise or participate in vigorous sports immediately after having a heavy or moderately heavy meal. Just as they told you not to go swimming after eating when you were a child, similarly no sports or exercises should be undertaken on an empty stomach. You must eat at least two hours before playing the sport or working out. This will help you maintain the adequate energy levels that are required to exercise and avoid fatigue during the workout and during sports performance.

4. Drink Water Before You Exercise.

Dehydration is a great killer of personal enthusiasm and performance. Therefore, keep your body well hydrated. Drink at least 16 oz. of purified water two hours before you start your workout or your game, and drink water during your exercise or sports and performance to replenish the fluids lost during the exertion.

5. Listen to Your Body as It Speaks to You.

If you experience any weakness, sharp pain or light-headedness while exercising or playing, do not ignore these symptoms. Pay proper attention to them. These signals are your body’s way of telling you that something is going wrong and you should take action immediately. If you ignore these warnings, that’s a sure way to develop severe and chronic problems and injuries. When you do not feel well, you should rest until your body recovers. If the body sends these signals repeatedly, get to your doctor right away.

6. Rest and Recover.

It is important to rest. Sleep is one of the best ways to recover your body’s energy level, but sleep alone might not be enough for some people with less stamina. If they work out too much for too long, it can lead to overtraining syndrome and possibly harm the body, by reducing the body’s immunity, instead of benefiting it.

7. Cross Train with Neuro-stabilization.

Human beings have a creative mindset. If they are asked to do the same work every day, they ultimately get bored. Similarly, people who perform the same exercises every day are prone to develop ‘workout boredom’. The best remedy for this is cross-training. It provides a complete workout for your body without overstressing certain muscle groups.

8. Wear the right gear for the specific sport.

You don’t wear workout sweats while going to a black-tie party, do you? No way! People would think you were nuts if you did! In the same way, wearing the proper sports gear and footwear is essential to prevent injuries as well as wearing the appropriate safety equipment, as advised by your coach or trainer. The proper gear is designed to protect from you from accidental injuries.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more


Injury vs. Soreness - Know the difference

on July 11, 2019

The first thing that you must understand is that there is a significant difference between an injury and physical soreness. As soreness is common, usually something you will feel directly after exercising, being in a game, or some other strenuous activity, you must become aware of what soreness feels like. It’s very different from an injury.

Injuries, on the other hand, are usually felt during an event and can hinder you from doing whatever you are doing, even after the event. If you are injured, when you try to resume normal workouts or game play, the damaged tissue continues to stress during any activity and you typically feel it at that time. The muscle or tissue becomes inflamed and that is something that you will notice as swelling in that part of your body. You will probably feel tenderness or a feeling of warmth to the touch.

You’re not expected to be an expert

Obviously, you’re not expected to be an expert on injury, but to know the difference between being sore and getting injured is something you must be able to determine. If you determine that you are injured, you must go to an expert for help. In the meantime, be extremely cautious! If you can’t recognize the difference between soreness and injury get yourself to an expert quickly to determine if you are sore or injured.

Please hear me clearly

I’m not saying that all nicks and dings that can occur whenever you are practicing or playing any particular sport need “medical” attention. But, injuries that go untreated can become lifelong issues. Rather than take chances with a lingering pain or discomfort from an injury, go see an expert.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury vs. Soreness - Know the difference

Injury Prevention

on July 4, 2019

From my viewpoint as a Chiropractic Physician who sees injuries daily, I think that statement is extraordinarily accurate. Wouldn’t you rather know how to prevent an injury than to deal with one after the fact, when you are in pain and suffering?

Whatever your answer is, do not worry. This book will take care of both situations. Here we’ll consider it all; from food to form and function. We’ll help you in every way, to put it all together for both the athletically inclined and for those who just want to get healthier.

Let’s analyze what’s required to prevent injuries in different situations.

The risk of injury will be significantly reduced by completing an effective warm up consisting of exercises that increase your heart rate and get your pulse up, followed by sport-specific, dynamic stretches (stretches while moving).

To further reduce the risk of injury:

  • Eat correctly for your body and your sport!
  • Apply Neuro-Stabilization Training.
  • Receive proper coaching.
  • Take at least 1 day off per week from your particular sport activity to permit the body to recover from the stresses.
  • Use the right gear. You need to wear proper protective equipment such as pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and/or eyewear. This is basic, and younger athletes shouldn’t believe that protective gear protects them from performing dangerous or unwise activities. Nothing protects us from our own stupidity when we show off to others
  • Build your muscles. Performing conditioning exercises before games and during practice strengthens your muscles that get stressed during the game.
  • Improve your overall flexibility. Stretches before and after games or practices tend to benefit your body by increasing flexibility.
  • Use proper playing technique. This must be reinforced during the playing season and coaches must enforce this for player longevity.
  • Take breaks. Your body needs rest periods during practice and during games. These will reduce injuries and prevent heat illnesses.
  • Follow safety rules. Certain sports have ‘rules’ for safety including no headfirst sliding (softball and baseball), spearing (football), and body checking (ice hockey).
  • Avoid injuries from heat by drinking plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise or games.
  • Decrease or stop practices or competitions during high heat/ humidity periods.
  • Wear light clothing during brutally hot weather.
  • And, above all, stop the activity if there is pain.

Prevention is something that all athletes can grasp. No one wants to get hurt: of course not. But no one can guarantee that reading this book will ever stop you from getting hurt. What will happen (hopefully) is that you will learn how to take care of yourself if you do get hurt and maybe how to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again. No matter what sport, activity or walk of life you work in, I think we can all agree on preparedness and care as beneficial toward prevention.

by Dr. Thomas M. Mitchell, D.C., CCSP | Owner, Clinic Director Chicago Institute for Health and Wellness Copyright © 2013read more

acassaraInjury Prevention