What comes to mind when you think of Fall? For me it’s the scent of crisp apples, warm colors–red, gold, burnt orange, and the nip in the air in the early morning. Fall is my favorite season! Here in New England, we love the festivities that autumn brings–hay rides at local farm fairs, cinnamon spiced cider, and of course pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins! Just thinking about it makes me want to grab a slice of pie.

It’s also the time of year when we love to get cozy–swapping out cotton tees for brushed flannels, and pairing leggings with various heights of suede, leather, or vegan boots. We feather our nests with freshly laundered throws in anticipation of Netflix nights. Our salad cravings give way to warmer indulgences.

But Fall is not all warm and fuzzy. Those of us with kiddos in the house are also distinctly aware that it comes with a catch: back to school. (Oh, the grade schoolers’ groaning and teenagers’ door slams!) Inching back from late bedtimes and summer days filled with popsicles and play dates is no small feat. And the reintroduction of homework is often enough to bring everyone to tears–parents included!

Getting back on a regular schedule can be really challenging. The shorter days can affect our mood and productivity, adding to the difficulty. So, how might we head into Fall to maximize its gifts while easing into its demands?



Attitude can be everything. Remember the fairs and pie? Bringing mindfulness to our Fall favorites helps us focus on what we love about the season. Schedule the road trip to go apple picking. Look up the county fair dates. Get that ginger pudding recipe from your co-worker. Personally, my attitude improves exponentially when I have something to look forward to. 

Having a few fun activities on the calendar can also help those aforementioned kiddos keep moving: “Yes, your AP Chem teacher is THE WORST for scheduling a test tomorrow. Text a friend, we’ll go to the Fryeburg Fair this weekend.” (For more parenting tips/bribes, follow me.)

Perhaps leaf peeping is more your speed. Is there a little B&B you adore in the White Mountains/VT/insert your scenic locale of choice? How about a relaxing grown ups only weekend to connect with one another under a canopy of colorful fall foliage? Or a glamping trip with cool hikes? You could take the dog on those trails in your neighborhood you’ve been meaning to investigate. What is important is that you find joy in the activity. Sometimes simply having tea with a good friend is just what we need to stay grounded.

Think about what you love, and give yourself those gifts in a tangible way. 



Admittedly, I am Type A. (Full disclosure: I’ve already ordered myself a 2024 Tomoe River paper planner because that’s how I roll.) If you are a free spirit who can get by on your wit and the good vibes of your ancestors, feel free to skip this discussion on organizational tools.

I have found it to be generally true that a little organization on the front end can help avoid frustration when in the thick of things. Using a personal planner to keep track of responsibilities and commitments can be a useful starting place. A planner–whether paper or electronic–is a purposeful tool to make our lives easier. I think of it as a sort of ‘home base’ where I can revisit appointments, readjust plans as needed, set goals, etc. Along with being useful for us as individuals, for those who care for aging parents or who juggle the schedules of multiple children, a planner is indispensable. 

It’s also worth noting that besides keeping appointments, there are planners geared towards personal reflection, as well as journaling or creating art. So beyond keeping us organized, a planner can help us check in with ourselves–which is always a healthy practice. I find that when my schedule is particularly busy, it helps me to follow through on taking restorative breaks when I’ve penciled them in.

Paper planners can be as basic as a spiral bound Blue Sky, or the well-known Moleskine. There are different types of paper for an upscale experience, like Tomoe River paper–which is used by Hobonichi. The styles and layouts across various brands are really endless. 

Apps, too, are available for every niche. For example, I recently learned that there are organizational apps geared specifically for those with ADHD. My husband has taken to using Microsoft To Do, but there are a wide variety of types based on specific needs. For students, apps like Google Calendar or iHomework2, the latter of which actually helps with accomplishing longer term assignments, can assist with staying on target. Strides is one of many personal goal setting apps available that allows you to set goals at your own pace.

As we get back into regular routines this Fall, it’s a great time to organize our schedules, create goals, and continue (or start new) healthy habits. 



Summer may be over, but spending time outdoors is ideally something we take advantage of year round. The health benefits that come with being out in nature have been well documented. For example, in Japan, the term “Forest bathing”–shinrin-yoku–emerged in the 1980’s to combat tech fatigue and encourage residents to reconnect with the country’s national forests. By the 90’s, there was ample evidence to support the benefits of this form of ecotherapy. Spending time in nature was linked to lowered stress and anxiety levels, a more robust immune system, elevated mood, increased energy and focus, and decreased blood pressure. 

Fun fact: the phytoncides that trees produce not only have antibacterial and antifungal properties that help them fight disease, but when we breathe these chemicals in, our own bodies begin to increase our production and quantity of powerful disease fighting cells (called NK or “Natural Killer” cells) that fight viruses and tumors. Thank you, Mother Nature!

It isn’t necessary to have access to an entire forest to reap these health benefits. A nature bath can be enjoyed wherever there are a few trees, and where we can be mindful of our surroundings–our backyard, a local park, a nature reserve or trail system. 

An example of a 5-10 minute nature bath: (For maximum benefit, stow electronics away.) 

  • Sit (or walk) with openness and intention. Become aware of all that is available to your senses: the feeling of sunlight on your skin, a gentle breeze, perhaps the scent of cedar, the flutter of birds as they chirp from higher branches, the soft moss growing near the tree roots… 
  • Consider your connection to this living world as you take it in. 
  • Become mindful of your breath. 
  • Relax your shoulders. 
  • Take a deep breath in from your belly, hold a moment, then release the breath slowly. Notice your muscles relaxing and your mind begin to quiet. Another deep breath in, hold, then release. 
  • Allow yourself to feel supported by the earth beneath you. 
  • Let your brow relax. Keep breathing–slow, deep breaths. 
  • Know that you are part of this beauty. 
  • Inhale clean, clear air, exhale any tightness or stress in your body. Repeat as many times as you wish. 
  • Slowly become aware again of your surroundings–the trees, the birds, the dappled sunlight. 
  • Let your breath become regular, as you bring that feeling of calm with you throughout your day.

Guided meditations for nature bathing are available online, and it’s also worth a google search to see what in person experiences might be offered in your area. For those here on the seacoast, Wells Reserve at Laudholm has held Fall guided forest bathing on their trails in past years. 

Two reminders: after any outdoor activity, remember those tick checks! Also, it’s time to restart taking Vitamin D. The more subtle autumn sun is not enough by itself to keep us at healthy levels here in New England. QFH recommends a vitamin D supplement from now until late Spring.



If I had personal headlines running through my mind, this is a story that would be featured repeatedly. A slow cooker, IMHO, is a must have…especially for those of us living where the temperatures trend downward as Fall sets in. For one thing, who doesn’t love coming home from a busy day to dinner already being done? Preparing a meal earlier on when we have more energy can make the process more enjoyable. Having a meal ready to go at day’s end also increases the likelihood that we will eat something nutritious, as we won’t be tempted to munch on sea salt and vinegar potato chips instead of cooking. (Anyone?! Just me?)

The cooler months are a perfect time to start making comforting one pot meals: chilis, stews, soups… We can play with seasonal squash offerings: butternut or pumpkin squash adds depth to stews and soups. 

If your slow cooker is of the Instant Pot varieties, the pressure cook setting opens up even more options. Making a vegetable or chicken rice/noodle soup can be done super fast. This is handy on days when prepping food in the morning wasn’t an option. (See: Sleeping Through My Alarm.) To maximize time efficiency, I put the broth into the pot and set it on “Saute” (my machine’s high heat setting) so that the liquid will be nice and hot by the time I’m ready to add the chopped veggies. Using leftover/precooked chicken means less cooking time as well. Once everything is in the Instant Pot, it only takes 7-12 minutes on high pressure for the soup to cook–depending upon the ingredients and what size the chopped vegetables are.


Summer must inevitably come to a close, but autumn offers its own brand of warmth. It’s a season of becoming cozy, renewing (or beginning) healthy routines, enjoying vibrant colors and spices, and making soothing comfort food.

As we head into Fall, may we enjoy in good health all that it has to offer. 

From our Quinn Family Health family to yours, 

Kathryn Yingst

Front Desk Staff



GLUTEN FREE PUMPKIN PANCAKES (King Arthur Baking. Kathryn likes to add grated apple to the mixture.)




CREAMY CHICKEN POT PIE SOUP (A favorite of Rachel’s)


  • 2-3 cooked and shredded chicken breasts
  • 32 oz chicken bone broth
  • 2 cans of Pacific Foods organic cream of chicken soup
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 or 3 potatoes, sliced and diced
  • Bayleaves (2-3)
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1.5 tsp dried)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Cornstarch slurry

Saute onions, garlic and celery until soft — add to crockpot.

Add all other veggies, chicken, broth and herbs to the crockpot, stir well.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.

Before serving, add slurry to the bubbling crockpot, stir well. Then add juice of half a lemon to brighten flavors, remove thyme sprigs and bay leaves.

Serve with cornbread or biscuits, if desired.




  • 1 butternut squash (2.5 lbs)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage OR 1 tsp rubbed sage
  • Pinch ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine (or vegan margarine)
  • 4 C chicken broth*
  • 1 small, tart apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon OR lime juice
  • Pepper to taste


  • ⅓ C sour cream**
  • ½ tsp lemon OR lime juice
  • ¼ tsp grated lemon OR lime peel

*Vegetable broth can be substituted for vegans/vegetarians.

**Plant based or lactose free sour cream can be substituted, if desired.

Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down in a greased baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until tender.

When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash. Place squash in a bowl and mash; set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute onion, sage and allspice in butter until tender. Add broth and apple. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until the apple is tender, about 8 minutes. Add reserved squash. Simmer for 5 minutes longer. Cool until lukewarm.

Process in small batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. (Or use a hand blender to process.) Return to the pan. Add the lemon juice and pepper. Heat through.

Combine topping ingredients. Place a dollop on each serving.


Sleep Deep

Get Regular Exercise:

  • Regular physical exercise is known to improve general wellbeing and promote improvement in sleep quality. Exercise should take place in the morning or early evening, not right before bedtime, and should be of moderate intensity. Usually 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at a heart rate between 60 and 75% of maximum is sufficient.


Make Healthy Food Choices: 

  • Especially important to preventing sleep maintenance insomnia is eating a low-glycemic-load diet to reduce blood sugar volatility. 
  • For healthy blood sugar levels:
    • Limit simple carbohydrates – sugar and refined grains. 
    • Balance each meal and snack with a combination of fiber/complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and proteins. These provide a time-released source of sugar, allowing sugar to be absorbed slowly and steadily to prevent the peaks and valleys of poor blood sugar regulation.
  • Consider eating a small balanced snack before bedtime if you are prone to low blood sugar.


Evaluate and protect your sleeping environment:

  • Use your bedroom only for sleeping. A bit of light reading may help you fall asleep, but if it doesn’t, do your reading elsewhere in the house. Don’t watch TV in bed.
  • Be sure your bed is big enough to stretch out comfortably, especially if you have a sleep partner.
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. To block out noise, use earplugs, soothing music, or a “white noise” machine. To block out light, use blackout curtains, blinds, or a sleep mask. 


Create an evening/bedtime routine:

  • Plan a routine that relaxes you before bed. Take a warm shower or bath, listen to soothing music, or drink a cup of non-caffeinated tea. Great herbs for sleep include California poppy, chamomile, holy basil, lavender, lemon balm, passionflower, and valerian. There are great tea blends for sleep like Cup of Calm or Nighty Night by Traditional Medicinals, or Bedtime or Relaxed Mind by Yogi. 

  • Maintain consistent sleep and wake times. This means going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, even if you feel tired when you wake.

  • Avoid bright light, particularly LED or blue light, for an hour or more before bedtime. Limiting bright light encourages melatonin production.

  • If you cannot fall asleep due to racing thoughts, write down your thoughts in a journal. Getting them out of your head and onto paper may help you fall asleep. 

  • Make a “to do” list of your tasks for the next day if stress about work, etc. keep you up at night. 


If you’ve done the above and are still having trouble sleeping, here are some ways to troubleshoot:

  • Limit caffeine (coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas) during the day, and don’t have any for at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. 

  • Don’t drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol decreases sleep latency, increases sleep fragmentation, and suppresses REM sleep. This can cause you to wake up more often during the night and wake feeling groggy and unrested. 

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco, especially in the evening. Nicotine can keep you awake.

  • Many common medications interfere with sleep. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of your particular medications. 

    • ACE inhibitors – lead to dry cough, which can be worse at night

    • Alpha-blockers – decreased REM, daytime sedation

    • Anti-cholinesterase inhibitors – decreased REM, vivid dreams/nightmares

    • Anti-depressants and steroids – insomnia

    • Beta-blockers – inhibit melatonin production

  • Don’t take naps during the day, especially close to bedtime. If you feel tired in the evening, it is better to go to sleep early than to take a small nap, which will prevent you from falling sleep easily when it is truly time for bedtime.

  • Don’t lie in bed awake for too long. If you can’t fall asleep, or if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep within 15 minutes or so, get out of bed and go to another room until you feel sleepy.

  • Don’t drink any liquids after 6 p.m. if you wake up often throughout the night because you have to go to the bathroom.
  • Consider eating a small balanced snack before bedtime if you are prone to low blood sugar.
  • Imagine yourself in a peaceful, pleasant scene. Focus on the details and feelings of being in a place that is relaxing.

  • Get up and do a quiet or boring activity until you feel sleepy.

When you wake up in the morning, expose your eyes to sunlight right away- it helps halt your natural melatonin production and tell your body it’s time to get rolling. 

If you’re still having difficulty getting good rest after trying some of these tips, feel free to reach out for a personalized plan.

Sweet dreams,
Dr. Christoforou

Get Ready For Back to School

Could it really be that our children, teens, young adults and even some of us adults/parents will be headed back to in person learning? I hope so! Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all kids 2 years old and up return to in person learning for the fall. At this point they are recommending everyone be masked regardless of vaccine status, but stay tuned…

How do we prepare our children and ourselves for the return to full week in person learning? I want to take a minute to acknowledge with gratitude my families and all they have accomplished this last year, the good, the not so good and the fantastic! I am proud of all of us. I am a believer in mindfulness and mindset to bring a positive outcome. To start this we begin to dialogue with our children/teens about all that we have to look forward to, new friends, sports, clubs, learning, time at recess, new teachers…

Then we move to specifics:

  • How can we improve our general health and immune function?
  • How can we improve our energy?
  • How can we help our kids focus during in person learning?

All three of the above questions can be answered by improving sleep, eating a whole foods based healthy diet and exercising every day.



Begin to adjust your sleep schedules the week before going back to school (see tips below from Dr. Christoforou).


Eat a healthy, diverse diet every day, even when time is limited. Start coming up with breakfasts, lunches and dinners that incorporate 5-7 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. That means every meal, snack and treat counts: a breakfast with a solid amount of protein, some whole grains, a vegetable or a fruit. Increasing protein, fiber and healthy fats at breakfast will help our kids sustain their brain power and mood while at school. School snacks should be healthy- avoid processed foods and look to apple slices with a cheese stick, or berries and almonds. Excellent nutrition throughout the day will help focus, energy, mood and immune function

Exercise: Stay active, get outside for playtime, stay in a learning, growth mindset every day. Sports are a great way to help your kids stay healthy, happy and engaged. 


For children, I recommend a good quality multivitamin daily and with the start of the cold and flu season. 

I like using some elderberry syrup with a powdered vitamin C mixed in water for a breakfast drink. 

I recommend fish oil daily for focus and immune health.

I also recommend vitamin D as they return to the classroom this fall. Vitamin D should be 1000IU/30lb until you reach 5,000IU. I like to cap it there for daily intake from September-June.

I recommend Zinc daily during the school year, 10-15mg. This is often supplied in a multivitamin, but if you’re using one not on this list, check to see if additional zinc is needed.

In addition to exercise, a low sugar & healthy diet, and plenty of sleep, I recommend  L-theanine before school if additional support for focus is needed

Click here for our generic Pediatric protocol on Fullscript

Click here for our generic Teens protocol on Fullscript

What about COVID?

We have learned a lot this past year and we recommend kids return to school, get plenty of exercise, fresh air, water and eat with health in mind. Decrease the sugar, the processed foods, and sedentary/screen time. Be sure they take their vitamins, including the list above. If your child or teen gets covid, be in touch. Most children have mild cases that look like a common cold.

           Yours in health, 
           -Dr. Quinn


What are your minimum daily requirements (MDRs)?

We’re all familiar with the concept of “daily requirements” when it comes to food. Whether we’re tracking macros on an app, or just paying attention to how many vegetables we ate today, there are things in the food world that we know we need to be healthy and function at our best.


But what about the rest of life? Holistic health is about much more than food. Chances are, there are times in your life you remember feeling like the best version of yourself. Think back: what were you doing or not doing that made you feel that way? Most likely, you were applying the concept of “minimum daily requirements” without even knowing it. There are five key areas that we all should be paying attention to:



After a particularly bad night of sleep, making sleep a priority the next night might come easy for us. But what would happen if we prioritized getting the recommended 7-10 hours of sleep per night, consistently, every night? The cumulative effect of not sleeping can add up, but so can the cumulative effect of getting enough rest. You’ll reap the benefits of being well-rested in your ability to focus at work or school and in your relationships with family and friends.

Consider: set a consistent bedtime and wake time, allowing for a minimum of 7 hours per night (or more!) and commit to stick with it for a minimum of 30 days. See what positive changes you notice at the end of the month.

For me, this looks like a 9pm bedtime and 6am wake time. On occasion I’ll have a social event in the evenings that means I’m in bed later than my scheduled time, but after reaping the benefits of consistent sleep, I keep them to a minimum (read: avoid them like the plague and am the resident party pooper).




Raise your hand if you start a workout routine, stick with it for a week, miss a day or two, give up, and then suddenly now it’s been three months since you last exercised. We’ve all been there! Like sleep, exercise is something that if it’s not prioritized, it won’t happen. Exercise doesn’t have to be miserable, either. Pick something that you like and that works for your lifestyle. Join the gym around the corner from you. Commit to a unique gym like Crossfit or Orange Theory. Find an at-home workout plan that you enjoy. Commit to daily walks or runs. Whatever it is, have a plan and make it a priority. The laundry will still be there when you’re done (sadly).

Consider: think about what types of movement you enjoy and feel best doing. Then create a plan, and like sleep, make it a priority. If you miss a day, get right back on track the next day, don’t wait weeks or months.

For me, this looks like doing a Pilates workout from The Balanced Life 3-4 times a week, and then taking a walk (20-40 minutes) 3-4 times a week. I prioritize walks over pilates on sunny days because getting enough sunshine has its own set of benefits.



Food preparation.

Planning for what you will eat is, in my opinion, the most important part of the food process. Not planning usually results in eating whatever is available. And usually… what’s available after not grocery shopping for a while isn’t much. Planning what meals you will make when and going to the store once for all the needed ingredients is much more time efficient and convenient than figuring out what’s for dinner each day when you get home at 5pm. For some people, this may look like batch cooking 2-3 big meals on the weekends and then reheating for lunches and dinners the rest of the week. Others may cook 3-4 nights a week, making lots of leftovers. Still others may cook every night, but have set meals that they have planned out based on how much time they will have for food preparation that day. There are many different ways this can be done, it’s about finding what works best for you so that you can be consistent.

Consider: figure out what system will work best for you. Trial and error is ok! Consistency is what matters (notice a theme emerging?).

For me, this looks like planning four main dinners and grocery shopping once per week. Currently I’m using the Mealime app to choose four simple dinners, increase the servings per meal to account for lots of leftovers, add eggs, cheese, fruit, and nuts to the list the app creates and voila- meals planned for the week!



Connecting with loved ones.

For many, this has been challenging and looked very different over the past year, but perhaps it’s also highlighted the need for quality time with the people we love and who love us. It’s easy to be together if you live in the same house, but quality time is a different thing entirely than just being in the same room with someone. Technology has done wonders at keeping us connected with people outside of our bubbles this year, but it might be keeping us more disconnected from the people we live with.

Consider: how can you have more quality time with the people you love and care about? This doesn’t necessarily have to be “another thing to do”. Could you go on a walk with a friend, or join a specialty gym with your teenager and go together (exercise!)? Could you cook dinners as a family (food prep!)? Have a phone free night and play games instead?

For me, this looks like prioritizing date night with my husband every week. Rarely do we do anything fancy- our favorite thing is to make tea, eat dark chocolate, and play Rummy, Farkle or Qwirkle while we chat. I usually go from a walk with my mom once a week, and I also have nephews in the area, and try to see them often- they grow up so fast! As a person who loves to plan, I have a hard time being spontaneous. But I’ve made an effort to capitalize on spontaneous times with family and it’s those times that have produced some of the best memories.



White space.

This is my favorite- and hardest- MDR. White space is unplanned, unspoken for time. Time to do whatever sounds the most lifegiving to you. Time to read a book. Or sit in the yard with a cup of tea. Or sit at the beach by yourself for a few minutes, watching the waves and seagulls. Being quiet is a hard practice as we are bombarded by technology, an overwhelming to-do list, people needing things, and on and on. The need to be busy and keep our brains busy is almost an addiction. But when we make some space to be quiet and recharge, it gives us space and time to think, feel, process, and be creative.

Consider: how can you clear out time for white space? Scheduling it may or may not work for you, but make it a priority. Then decide what to do with it. Doing anything phone-free is a great place to start!

For me, this looks like setting aside a few hours one day a week that I can think, pray, and journal. Like the spontaneity I’m learning to embrace in my relationships with others, I’m learning to do that for myself, too, taking advantage of spare moments to sit still by the ocean or take a quick walk around the yard.



Your MDRs will be different from mine- as it should be! But take a few minutes to think through these five areas and write down your MDRs for each one. Then, make it a priority to do them! Evaluate them briefly every week, making adjustments as you need to. They should be serving you, not the other way around. 


-Moriah, front desk staff

Immune System Support

It’s that time of year again when many of us tend to get the sniffles, fevers, coughs, sore throats and feel down-and-out for a few weeks. The best way to protect yourself against the common bugs of the fall and winter seasons is to strengthen your defenses. Here are some lifestyle factors and nutrients that will help keep your immune system strong all season long!


Immune Supporting Factors 

  1. Diet: Avoid dietary factors that depress the immune system, like refined sugar and simple carbohydrates, food allergens, and alcohol. Emphasize a whole food, plant-based diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats.
  2. Sleep: Get adequate, restful sleep every night. For adults, this means 8-9 hours of sleep every night. Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool; create a relaxing bedtime routine; and avoid bright light, particularly LED or blue light, for an hour or more before bedtime to encourage melatonin production and restful sleep.
  3. Stress management: Chronic stress dampens your immune response. Engage in daily activities to calm your nervous system and lower stress – diaphragmatic breathing, warm Epsom salts baths, soothing music, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, prayer, time in nature, and other activities that bring you joy.
  4. Healthy microbiome: About 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. It even has a special name – the Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT). The health of your gut directly impacts the health of your other mucosal tissues (i.e. your respiratory tract). By feeding and supporting the good bacteria in your gut, you are directly benefitting your immune system and protecting your respiratory tract! Include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh, natto, kefir, and yogurt in your daily meal plans. Also include adequate amounts of dietary fiber, which will feed your gut bacteria and promote a diverse microbiome. Supplementation with probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium and Bacillus strains, can also be very beneficial when your microbiome and immune system need an extra boost.


Immune Boosting Nutrients

  1. Zinc: Zinc is crucial for the function of your natural killer cells that are responsible for killing virally infected cells. Oysters have the highest zinc content of any food, but meat, dairy products, beans, whole grains, and nuts are also good sources. Additional supplementation with 25-40 mg of zinc daily may be beneficial for some people.  
  2. Selenium: Selenium is another nutrient that your immune system relies on for proper function. Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium. Aim for 200 mcg of selenium daily, which is about 3 Brazil nuts per day.
  3. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that contributes to your immune defenses and aids in microbial killing. Infection is a major cause of inflammation in the body that in turn leads to free-radical damage and oxidative stress. Vitamin C helps mitigate much of this inflammation. Foundational dosages for adults are between 1,000-3,000 mg per day in divided doses, but can be increased during times of acute illness. 
  4. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D3 is an immune system regulator. Deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infections and even autoimmunity. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 daily in the darker months of the year can be beneficial. Make sure you have your levels tested to determine the dose that’s most appropriate for you. 
  5. Antioxidants: Other antioxidants like glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine, and alpha lipoic acid are also beneficial nutrients that help your immune system stay strong in the face of inflammation and oxidative stress caused by infections. 
  6. Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, chaga, shiitake, maitake, and agaricus are powerful immune system modulators that can help your body be resilient in the face of viral infections. Using these mushrooms in culinary or supplemental form will offer you a broad spectrum of immune support.

Supplementation should always be done under the supervision of a doctor. Give us a call to find out ways we can help you create a personalized plan to support your immune system and overall health!


Written by Dr. Alyssa Christoforou


10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are often synonymous with overeating and overindulging, especially now during the pandemic where most of us are working from home with the refrigerator and pantry just an arm’s length away. But this doesn’t have to be the case! Here are ten tips for preventing holiday weight gain and ensuring optimal health as you enter the new year.


  1. Snack wisely – Opt for crudités with hummus or bean dip over traditional chips and dairy-based dips, and nuts & seeds over crackers & cheese. Always carry a snack with you when running errands to prevent temptations from fast food joints and convenience processed, packaged foods. Great snacks to keep on hand are: piece of fruit like banana or apple with nut butter, nuts and seeds, avocado, hard-boiled egg, raw chopped vegetables with hummus or bean dip, sliced deli meat (organic, nitrite-free whenever possible), protein bar. 
  2. Watch portions sizes & food quantity – Fill your plate primarily with non-starchy vegetables (~50-70% of plate – variety of colors, raw and cooked, at least one leafy green with every meal) and eat those first. Wait about 20 minutes before going for seconds to let your brain catch up with your stomach and recognize how full you really are. 
  3. Eat nutritionally balanced meals with a combination of complex carbohydrates/fiber, healthy fats, and protein. These provide a “time-released” source of sugar, allowing sugar to be absorbed slowly and steadily to prevent the peaks and valleys of poor blood sugar regulation.
  4. Mindful eating – Chew slowly, savor food flavors, indulge your senses, minimize distractions, and enjoy the company of others. 
  5. Limit & watch alcohol intake – Alcoholic drinks are big sources of calories from sugar with no nutritional value. The calories add up quickly and it’s easy to lose track of just how much sugar you’re consuming. Biggest offenders are holiday cocktails that are mixed with sodas or juices, but beer and wine can be problematic too. When trying to prevent weight gain, it’s best to watch liquid caloric intake. 
  6. Limit desserts and sweets – Opt for one of your favorites instead of trying one of everything. A lot of traditional dessert recipes can be made “healthier” by using whole grain, gluten-free, or nut flours; nut and seed butters; and honey and maple syrup as sweeteners, where a little goes a long way. In general, stay away from desserts made of simple carbohydrates, including sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients.
  7. “Health-ify” your cooking techniques – Instead of frying, opt for cooking methods like baking, roasting, grilling, or steaming. Instead of butter and salt, use spices and herbs to create great flavors in your meals. Most spices and herbs have additional health promoting benefits, from decreasing inflammation to stimulating your metabolism, making them the easiest way to use food as medicine!
  8. Sharing – Bring an appetizer, dessert, or dish to share at dinner parties, one that you know is healthy and that you can eat without feelings of anxiety or guilt. This is especially important if you have food allergies/sensitivities/intolerances. This way you won’t find yourself tempted by other dishes or going hungry. 
  9. Incorporate physical activity with family and friends – Quality time around the holidays is not just lying around on the couch, watching TV. Take group walks/hikes or play football and other games in your backyard.
  10. Don’t neglect your other determinants of health like adequate sleep, regular exercise, and stress management. Stick to your normal, non-holiday routine and make holiday indulgences the exception, not the norm.


Written by Dr. Alyssa Christoforou