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Brain Boosting Recipe

Wild Salmon Burgers

One of my favorite Friday night meals growing up was when my mom made salmon cakes.  Wild salmon is a great source of the omega-3 fatty acids that boost brain power and help to control chronic inflammation. This simple recipe can be easily made with canned salmon or left over cooked salmon. Many people may not realize that canned Alaskan salmon is an inexpensive and excellent source of wild salmon. This recipe will make a moist satisfying salmon burger. Sprouted grain bread crumbs can be made from sprouted grain toast using a food processor.

12 ounces leftover cooked fresh salmon,  or 1 can (14.75 ounces) Alaskan salmon, rinsed
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 cup whole sprouted grain bread crumbs or ground flax seed
1 egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup onion finely chopped                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           1/4 cup carrot grated                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   1/4 cup celery finely chopped
1 teaspoon (combined) salt and freshly ground pepper (less salt needed if using canned salmon)
1 tablespoon pressed or finely minced garlic
1/2 cup (approximately) whole sesame or flax seeds
Olive oil for cooking

  • Saute garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for several minutes over medium heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add carrots and celery and cook until they are slightly soft.
  • Combine all ingredients except whole sesame or flax seeds in a mixing bowl.  Use  a large spoon and mix until just combined. Form into bite-size or slightly larger patties.
  • Place flax or sesame seeds on a small plate. Roll patties in the seeds, covering both sides.
  • Heat a skillet with a small amount of olive oil.
  • Saute patties until lightly browned on both sides and cakes are cooked through (about 2 minutes per side or so depending on the size of the cakes).

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve over  fresh greens topped with Annie”s Organic Green Goddess dressing or a tahini dressing.  Go to the April 15, 2011 post for our Best Greens Ever recipe.  Here’s the link:

Four Ways to Improve Your Brain Function

As you may have noticed by the lack of blog activity, I have been out of the office for several months attending to a family emergency.  My father has advanced Alzheimer’s disease and he experienced a sudden and drastic decline in his condition. Fortunately, he is now stable and is doing as well as can be expected. I have been touched and encouraged by the many people in similar circumstances who have shared their stories with me.  Because this topic is so near and dear to my heart,  I would like to write  about ways you can enhance and protect your brain function.

Currently, Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million Americans, so it is not surprising that so many people have a parent or grand parent with the disease.  By 2050 it is estimated that 1 in 8 people will have Alzheimer’s.  Why do some people get Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, while others remain mentally sharp into their 80’s 90’s and even 100’s?  Dr. Daniel Amen in his book “Magnificent Mind at Any Age” lists risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and poor brain function in general.  Here are  4 ways Dr. Amen recommends to improve overall brain function and reduce risk of Alzheimer’s:

1.     Eat a diet that supports a healthy brain. What you eat every day can either help or harm you brain function.  The best brainy food choices are:

  • Lean proteins build neurons.  Choose wild caught fish and organic grass fed lean beef as well as free range chickens and organic eggs.
  • Eat more complex low glycemic veggies like kale, Swiss chard collard greens, broccoli, beets, peas, peppers and beans.  Add fruits high in antioxidants like blueberries.  Avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners and MSG.
  • Choose healthy fats.  Avocados and raw nuts are smart choices.  Olive oil, flax seed oil and walnut oil are high in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Use coconut oil for cooking.  Good fats promote healthy nerve cell membranes and nerve-brain communication.
  • Drink plenty of pure filtered water. Dehydration leads to loss of cognitive function.
  • Obesity and diabetes more than double the risk for Alzheimer’s.  Fat cells store toxins that harm both body and mind.  Some scientists consider Alzheimer’s to be another type of diabetes.

2.     Protect your noggin. Head trauma, whether recent or years ago plays a significant role in the development of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Wear a helmet when biking, skateboarding, skiing or snowboarding.  Avoid heading soccer balls, which can damage the front of the temporal lobe, and possibly lead to loss of memory, language and emotional control.  New research has shown that repeated concussions sustained in sports like tackle football and boxing lead to loss of brain function later in life.

3.     Neutralize stress and think positive. Experiencing chronic stress releases hormones that actually shrink our brains.  Long term exposure to stress hormones leads to memory loss.  Negative thinking erodes brain function, while positive and hopeful thoughts release hormones that improve brain function and make us feel better at the same time.  Acupuncture, exercise and meditation relieve stress.  Daily relaxation, meditation or prayer helps you to become more aware of your thoughts and correct negative thinking.  Instructions for an easy 90 second meditation can be found on my blog at Look for the title: 90 Seconds to Better Sports Performance

4.     Exercise and be social. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain.  The more blood flow to the brain the more the brain receives vital substances like oxygen, glucose and nutrients, while clearing out toxins.  Exercise also regenerates brain cells.  Stimulate these newly regenerated brain cells with mental or social interaction and more connections will be made in the brain making you even smarter.  Aerobic exercises that require coordination with movement are ideal.  Activities like dancing and table tennis improve thinking, mental flexibility and thought processing speed.

    I highly recommend Dr. Amen’s book.  Although age and family history are risk factors for Alzheimer’s, there are many things you can do right now to lessen the risk and improve your brain function.

    I am happy to report that I am back in the office full time.    If you would like to schedule an appointment to reduce stress and improve brain function or if you would like to address other health concerns please call me.

    Warmest regards,

    Denise Jenderzak, L.Ac.

    90 Seconds to Better Sports Performance

    How is it that some athletes can be counted on to swish a game winning free throw, score the winning goal or sink a million dollar putt, while others freeze up like deer caught in headlights?  I still cringe when I remember double faulting to lose the match in the state qualifying high school tennis tournament.  My doubles partner never spoke to me again.

    As an athlete, if you can stay relaxed and in the moment you will perform better under stress and in pressure situations.  When relaxed you are stronger, faster and your sports performance is better.  The key is to be able to still the mind and relax the body.  How can you suddenly do that?  Here’s the secret…..SMILE.

    Smiling increases your serotonin levels which promote relaxation.  Smiling also calms the nervous system and opens the blood vessels which allows the muscles to relax and receive more blood flow, which in turn helps you to be more focused, faster or powerful.

    Smiling meditation has been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  Don Lee, L.Ac., founder of the Academy of Orthopedic Acupuncture recommends doing this smiling meditation every day for 90 seconds:

    • Sit, stand or lie down in a quiet area.
    • Place your right hand on your abdomen and your left hand on top of your right.   Or vice versa- it doesn’t matter.
    • Close your eyes and grin.  It also helps to imagine a smile in your eyes and heart.
    • As you breathe in feel your abdomen fully rise and then fall as you exhale.  Breathe slowly and fully.  Focus your mind on your breath.  If you get distracted by your thoughts simply let them go and return to your breath.  90 seconds is about 9 full slow deep breaths.

    You can do this before going to sleep, as a way to take a break, or whenever you are in a clutch situation.  You can even do it before shooting a free throw or penalty goal.  With modifications, I use it myself when I’m struggling to ride my bike up a steep hill and recommend it for runners.  Not just for athletes, it’s a great technique to use before an important presentation or client meeting.

    Oh, and to my doubles partner all those years ago- I’m really sorry.  I bet if we had a rematch I could smile my way to a win.

    If you are ready to take control of your health and get back in motion, then call our clinic today at 480.832.0966 and set up your first appointment. We are never to busy to help you!

    Check out our blog for the latest events and news.
    acupuncture Mesa, pain relief Mesa, acupuncture Scottsdale, sports medicine in Mesa

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    "After knee surgery I was unable to lift my leg enough to climb a stair. I couldn't make the stair so she adjusted the needles then I tried again. Then she adjusted the needles again and then I could lift my foot up. I've had acupuncture from 10 different acupuncturists, but never from someone specializing in orthopedic acupuncture. What she did was amazing." - JK
    Pain or loss of mobility is a warning sign from our body that something is very wrong. It is telling us that we need to take action immediately and make changes in our lives. My own personal experience has taught me that ignoring pain will not make it go away, and hoping to wake up with mobility suddenly restored is wishful thinking...