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Free Fitness classes for January

Make Exercise More Enjoyable
Find a Fitness Program That Matches
 Your Personality and Goals
In support of our patients’ desire to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that help prevent and reverse disease processes, during the month of January the VitalSigns monthly membership fee of just $25 (no initiation fees) will include unlimited free participation in selected VitalSigns fitness and training classes along with 24/7 access to our state-of-the-art fitness facility.

VitalSigns offers a host of fitness programs including yoga, Zumba, line dancing, Tabata Bootcamp™, cardio circuit and SilverSneakers, the nationally recognized fitness program for seniors.

Take advantage of this opportunity and find your perfect exercise match and start feeling better!

Call 865.249.7566 today to get class descriptions and times.  

VitalSigns is part of Trinity Medical Associates and offers a full-range of medically based nutrition, fitness and wellness programs for all ages to help prevent and reverse multiple disease processes including insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. 


How to Not Catch a Respiratory Virus

It’s that time of year when a small tidal wave of coughing, sniffling, sometimes feverish folks are filing into the office.  And you, my readers, would rather not be among them.  So what can you do?

Well first let’s take a moment and consider what we’re dealing with.  Most of these respiratory infections are viruses.  On the milder end are your typical colds – not a lot medical doctors can do for those, just a few hints that you probably already know – rest, fluids, long hot shower in the morning where you try to blow and cough everything out from the night before, avoid passing it on to others (more on that shortly), and possibly some very slight benefit from things like vitamin C, zinc and andrographis.

Beyond that you look for signs that it is going into a secondary bacterial infection such as bacterial sinusitis, pneumonia, otitis (ear infection), or bronchitis.  Clues to this would be symptoms that are not improving after more than a week, or actually begin to worsen after initially improving.  A trend over several days of thicker, more colored mucous or an increased fever or new ear pain would be other signs that the initial virus may be evolving into a secondary bacterial infection where antibiotics would be appropriate.  If these happen, a trip to your doctor is worthwhile.

Then there’s the flu. Often we get a little blasé about it.  It’s good to remember that the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 killed about 40 million people worldwide, including over half a million people in the U.S.   In an average year, deaths from complications of the flu range from 5 to 50 thousand per year and about 200,000 are hospitalized in this country.  So, overall it can sometimes be a pretty big deal.  If you’ve got a cough or congestion coupled with fever and body aches it’s good to come in to the doctor sooner rather than later since treatment with something like Tamiflu is mostly effective if started within 48 hours of symptom onset.

All in all there are hundreds of respiratory viruses along with some bacteria that also cause respiratory infections.  How can we improve the odds that we won’t catch one?  The ways to do this are mostly well known but worth reviewing:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially if you’ve shaken hands with someone
  • Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes as this transfers viruses from the hands to infect these places
  • Get adequate rest as sleep deprivation temporarily reduces your immunity
  • Avoid getting chilled. The truth about “catching a cold” is that studies have shown that if you get chilled and are exposed to a virus you are more likely to be infected by the virus than if you hadn’t been chilled.
  • Don’t smoke as this makes you and those in your household much more prone to respiratory infections.
  • If you have a cough, cough into the inside of your elbow, not into your hand (only to be transferred to whatever you touch next)
  • If you use Kleenex throw it away immediately so it doesn’t infect someone else
  • Keep well hydrated
  • If you get sick, stay out of circulation until fever is gone for at least 24 hours and the cough and congestion are gone or very minimal.
  • Get flu shots and pneumonia shots when indicated.
  • Get regular aerobic exercise as (among lots of other benefits) it’s been shown to reduce respiratory infections, presumably by boosting the immune system.

If despite all your efforts, you catch one of these respiratory infections, watch for signs that it could be the flu, a bacterial respiratory infection, or just a more severe respiratory infection with high fever or shortness of breath.  Those are the ones that benefit from a doctor visit.  The others that just involve sneezy, sniffly cold symptoms you can weather at home.  Best of all, here’s hoping you completely avoid the viral tidal wave this season!


Blueberry Muffins (gluten free and low carb)

Blueberry Muffins (gluten free and low carb)
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • 8 tbsp. splenda (or 4 tbsp. stevia and 4 tbsp. splenda; mixing 2 types helps reduce bitter aftertaste)
  • ¼ baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest (or 1 tbsp. of lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¾ cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk
  • (optional) ¼ slivered almond pieces
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Mix dry ingredients together (flour, sea salt, baking powder, stevia/splenda, lemon zest)
  3. Add wet ingredients (eggs, milk, vanilla extract, butter) and mix well together.
  4. Add blueberries and fold in gently.
  5. Divide the batter into muffin cups. The batter is quite firm so you will need to use a little spoon to level the batter nicely. The muffin cups should be filled to the top as the batter doesn't rise much.
  6. Bake about 20-25 mins. until lightly browned on the top.

*Can be frozen and re-heated later!


Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

happy heart

Novemember naturally seems to be a time of the year where we discuss what we are thankful for. Challenge yourself to adopt an attitude of gratitude, not just in November, but for a lifetime. Here are some tips below to help cultivate gratitude in our daily lives.

Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

1) Keep a gratitude journal

   It gives you perspective and allows time for reflection. It allows you to organize your thoughts and put the experience into context.

2) Remember and be grateful for challenges and “negative” experiences

   These are often the times we learn the most valuable lessons in patience, understanding, humility, and strength.

3) Focus on the gifts

   Be thankful for the gifts we receive from others….a smile, kind words, the gift of time, material possessions, and wisdom. Remeber, not all   gifts are things you can hold in your hands.

4) Pray for gratitude

   Even when we don’t feel like being thankful-there is still so much to be thankful for!

5) Be grateful for your health

   The body is amazing machine-be thankful for all that yours can do.

6) Keep a visual reminder to be grateful

   A picture frame with your favorite gratitute quote or a list of items you are thankful for can serve as a daily reminder to keep things in    perspective.

7) Commit to practicing gratitude

   Make an effort everyday to let others know you appreciate them.

8) Maintain a positive, grateful attitude

   Surround yourself around grateful people when possible and set a good example by maintaining a positive attitude even in difficult circumstances.

It’s always nice to find research that supports benefits of a happy life!

Harvard school of Public Health is doing some of their own. Check this out from 2011:

” Kubzansky is at the forefront of such research. In a 2007 study that followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years, for example, she found that emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when taking into account such wholesome behaviors as not smoking and regular exercise.” See full article here:


True happiness and JOY is a manifestation of something deeper in our hearts. Check out this great resource from John MacArthur on “What is the Secret to Contentment?”