Dr. Nikki Porteus

Due to a fast-paced lifestyle, Western culture as become more and more saturated with processed and packaged foods. With an ever-growing population, even our grown and raised foods (corn, wheat, vegetables, beef, pork, chicken, etc.) are no longer what they used to be. The addition of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers in crops and the use of growth hormones and antibiotics in livestock has greatly compromised the actual nutritional value of groceries. With this knowledge, people wanting to eat healthier must consider where they're purchasing their groceries and how they're being prepared.

What are fermented foods?

Fermentation is a food preservation method that changes the taste of food, but also enhances nutrient content. Healthy bacteria work in the minerals in cultured foods to make them easier to digest, transform them into a beneficial probiotic and increase their nutritional value. The beneficial bacteria are imperative to good health and can be found in most fermented foods. These foods include sauerkraut, kombucha, water kefir, ginger beer, horseradish, yogurt and sour pickles, to name a few.  

How are foods fermented?

Almost any vegetable (and many other foods) can be fermented. From sauerkraut in Germany to kimchi in Korea, fermented foods have been consumed around the globe for years. The process of lacto-fermentation is one in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in foods, creating lactic acid. The process not only preserves the food, but creates beneficial enzymes, B-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and various strains of probiotics. This will always result in a sour taste since the sugars and carbohydrates have been consumed by the bacteria, resulting in lactic acid and taking away anything that may provided the food with a naturally sweet flavor. 

What are the health benefits?

First and foremost, fermented foods are an excellent, and natural source of probiotics. Due to the over-processing of foods, our gut health has suffered from the Western Diet. Probiotics, good or beneficial bacteria, are the healthiest and most natural way to replace missing healthy gut or intestinal flora. With healthy gut flora protecting us from the invasion of bad bacteria, it is extremely important to our health and wellness! Our body maintains a healthy balance between good and bad bacteria during food digestion. Probiotics help support that balance and improve digestion. In fact, many people have reported back that increasing their fermented food intake has helped with digestive issues such as indigestion, slow digestion, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. 

Fermented foods are easier to digest and have an increased nutritional value. Because of new methods in growth and packaging, typical foods available at most grocery stores are not even remotely close to the quality foods that our ancestors were eating. With this being said, it only makes sense to take advantage of any opportunity to increase nutrients available in our foods and make them easier to absorb by our bodies. 

Can I ferment foods?

Sandor Katz, author of "Wild Fermentation" and the "Art of Fermentation", states that recently there has been a fermentation revival due to an increase in popularity of the process. Fermentation has always been a part of human history, making it possible to preserve and store foods before the invention of stoves and refrigerators; it's just becoming popular again. If deciding to ferment your own foods at home, start out with something simple, like sauerkraut and then move on to items that are more complicated. 

Are they safe?

There are no known case of people getting ill from properly fermented products, according to USDA microbiologist, Fred Breidt, Jr.. In fact, if following a recipe and monitoring the process, eating fermented foods at home can actually be less risky to your health than eating raw vegetables. Lactic acid bacteria are highly efficient killers of other bad bacteria and that is why vegetable fermentation is so effective. It's a process that has been working for thousands of years. 

So, how do I do it?

Fermenting foods is a simple process. Basically, most fermented foods are nothing more than vegetables placed in a brine of salt and water then stored at room temperature for a specific period of time to allow for the development of beneficial bacteria. The vegetables can be whole, sliced, chopped, or grated and certain herbs and spices can be added to create various tastes. It is important to make sure that the pieces of vegetables are separated after being placed in the brine to avoid pockets of air. Additionally, they should be completely submerged in order to avoid the risk of mold forming and to ensure that all of the vegetable's flesh is being acted upon by the bacteria. There are a variety of sources and recipes available online.

In Summary

While most people consider fermented foods to be an "acquired taste", it is one that is well worth it! The health benefits make it more than worth it to introduce a few of these options into the family diet. For more information on ways to naturally keep your family healthy, visit Dr. Nikki Porteus at APEX Wellness Center

Dr. Nikki Porteus

Because a majority of us sit behind a desk all day, our glutes are asleep. Much like the phrase "Use it or lose it", our brain forgets that our glutes are there. When we perform movements or exercises that would normally utilize our gluteal muscles, other muscles have to step in and compensate for the sleeping giant. What does this mean for overall function of our body? It means that smaller muscles are placed under a great deal of stress in order to keep our body performing as optimally as possible. At some point, those accessory mucles can't keep up and we start to experience a variety of symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with weak glutes include:

- Low back pain and instability

- Hamstring strains

- Knee Pain

- Hip Pain

- Chronic ankle instability

So what can you do to wake your glutes up? There are a variety of exercises that target the glutes and help to re-establish the connection between your brain and your behind. Examples of these exercises include single-leg squats and single-leg Romanian deadlifts. It is important to make sure your form is correct when performing these exercise, so it is best to utilize the guidance of a trained professional when first starting out. Another important step to turning on your glutes is to visit your family wellness chiropractor. Chiropractors directly influence the function of nerves by ensuring that the spine and pelvis are moving properly. When a nerve is functioning properly, the brain is better able to communicate to muscles and every other part of the body.

At APEX Wellness Center, we provide chiropractic care, massage therapy, and rehabilitation for people with all different types of conditions. Give us a call or visit us here to see if your symptoms could be related to weak or inactive glutes!

Dr. Nikki Porteus

Most people aren't aware that 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. When our gut lining is healthy, our immune system is strong. With that being said, it is extremely important to keep your digestive tract in a healthy state. Ways to ensure a healthy gut include a well balanced diet full of naturally occuring foods. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods are essential to protecting the healthy bacteria that lines the digestive tract. Food irritants that commonly destroy healthy gut bacteria include gluten, dairy, corn, soy & sugar.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, supplementing with a probiotic can be very beneficial. Probiotics basically help replenish the good bacteria that is often times destroyed by bad bacteria in the gut. It's important to find a good quality probiotic that is gluten free and dairy free with several different strains of probiotic.

Another way to consume probiotics is to eat fermented foods. Any type of fruit or vegetable can be fermented, but some of the commonly known foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, horseradish, and sour pickles. When foods are fermented, natural bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates to create lactic acid. This process produces beneficial enzymes, Omega 3, and various strains of probiotics. Fermented foods can be purchased at your local grocery store, or better yet, made at home.

For more information about buying a good probiotic or to learn about additional ways to improve the health of you and your family visit our website here. Dr. Nikki Porteus is a family wellness chiropractor at APEX Wellness Center and strives to be a resource for the DFW community.

Dr. Nikki Porteus

Pregnancy is a time in which a woman makes some very important decisions regarding her healthcare and birth team. While several components contribute to the care of a woman throughout her pregnancy, one factor that is often over-looked is chiropractic care. A properly functioning spine and nervous system is crucial to a wellness pregnancy. One of the major changes that occurs in a woman's body during pregnancy is a shift in her center of gravity. This shift can result in low back and pelvic pain. Another major change is an increase in the hormone relaxin, which allows muscles and ligaments to "relax" in order for baby to have room to grow. The relaxation of muscles and ligaments can result in the pelvic bones becoming displaced or misaligned, which can lead to complications during delivery. By using specific techniques, a family wellness chiropractor can restore function of the nervous system, improve overall wellness, improve pelvic positioning, and increase comfort during pregnancy and delivery.

Research has shown that:

- 84% of pregnant women under chiropractic care found great relief from low back pain

- Women treated by a doctor of chiropractic had almost a 25% reduction in average labor time. With women who'd given birth in the past, this number rose to 33%.

- Postpartum pain was relieved in 75% of moms who received regular chiropractic care.

At APEX Wellness Center, we treat women from pre-conception all the way to active labor. A majority of our patients report feeling more comfortable, physically, when compared to previous pregnancies where they weren't under regular chiropractic care. In addition to that, we are Webster Technique certified and able to help women whose baby is in a breech position due to in-utero constraint. To learn more about our office or to schedule an appointment visit our website here.

Dr. Nikki Porteus

According to the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association over 68 million pediatric chiropractic visits took place in 2013. Typically, people think that  you only see a chiropractor after an auto accident or injury. In all actuality,individuals of any age can have spinal misalignments which result in nerve interference.

If you think about all of the falls and tumbles that children take throughout the different stages of development, it's easy to understand how they might have spinal misalignments. In fact, many parents have their newborns checked by a Doctor of Chiropractic because even the most "natural" birth is traumatic to a baby's spine. The resulting nerve interference from spinal and cranial misalignments can be related to common symptoms such as colic, reflux, nursing problems, and chronic infections. As children get older those undetected spinal misalignments can turn into chronic back and neck pain as an adult. Many parents report improved digestion, immunity, breathing and sleeping behaviors once their children start receiving regular chiropractic adjustments.

When visiting a primary care physician, they will typically recommend a medication to treat whatever pain or symptom you or your child may be experiencing. The problem with this is that it merely covers up the symptom rather than addressing the root cause. in addition to masking symptoms, those medications almost always come with side-effects. Chiropractic is a completely safe and natural alternative for addressing a multitude of issues at any age.

For more information about the research and benefits of children under chiropractic care click here. To visit a chiropractor in the North Dallas area who specializes in pediatric chiropractic care, contact Dr. Nikki Porteus at APEX Wellness Center. To learn more about why your child might need chiropractic care and how Dr. Nikki can help, visit our website here.

Dr. Nikki Porteus

Believe it, or not, the Paleo Diet concept has been around since the mid-1970's. It was introduced by gastroenterologist, Walter L. Voegtlin, who used it to treat his patients for problems such as colitis, Crohn's Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and indigestion. The basic concept behind the Paleo Diet is to eat natural and avoid processed. Essentially what this means is to shop among the outside of your grocery store or market, buying grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils.

Often times foods such as cereal grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, and refined vegetable oils are very irritating to the lining of our digestive system. As our gut lining become irritated it becomes inflamed and can cause a multitude of problems. These problems include, but are not limited to, leaky gut, indigestion, bloating, headaches, eczema, acne and fatigue. By eliminating these food irritants, your gut can heal and repair itself and your body becomes less inflamed.

Even if you're not experiencing symptoms on a daily basis, consuming fresh and non-processed foods provides your body with vital nutrients that will improve your quality of life for years to come. This is a lifestyle that is healthy and beneficial for the entire family while also teaching good eating habits for children. The Paleo Diet doesn't involve any patented or trademarked products, so anyone can easily follow the eating guidelines and find free recipes online.

If you don't think you can give up a grain or dairy product for good, give yourself 30 days without any processed foods, grains, and dairy. This gives your gut enough time to heal and then you can slowly reintroduce the food you can't live without, one by one.

For more information on the Paleo Diet or other tips on keeping yourself and your family healthy, contact Dr. Nikki Porteus at APEX Wellness Center.

Dr. Nikki Porteus

With 2015 approaching quickly, many people are starting to think about resolutions and healthy changes they'd like to make for the new year. Here are some general tips on how to make small changes to your diet that will result in big health benefits.

1) Go green: Many people are getting their 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but not enough of those are veggies! The ideal ratio is 1 serving of fruit to every 4 servings of veggies. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of calcium, magnesium, and many other vitamins and minerals!

2) Make a happy plate: With appropriate ratios, it's more than acceptable to clean your plate! Shoot for 1/2 of your plate to be filled with veggies (non-starchy), 1/3 of the plate to filled with lean protein, and 1/6 of the plate with a healthy carb. Healthy carbs can include whole grain pasta, brown rice, squash, starchy vegetables, or cooked beans.

3) Steer clear of the fake stuff: Studies show that low-cal sweeteners may actually cause weight gain by confusing the body's ability to estimate caloric intake and resulting in over-indulgence later.

For more tips on how to make healthier eating choices, without following an extreme and unrealistic diet, click here. At APEX Wellness Center, we are always here to help you live a healthier lifestyle!

Dr. Nikki Porteus

The holiday season can be a very stressful time. With increased stress comes problems such as decreased immune function, irritability, tension headaches, and fatigue. Here are 5 pointers to help manage stress during one of the most busy and chaotic times of the year.

1) Don't sweat the small stuff: At the end of the day, you're only one person. As issues come up, take a deep breath and move forward as best you can.

2) Don't overschedule: Double booking yourself at two different parties or events can turn something fun into a major stressor. Check your calendar before you commit and make sure that you're not committing to so many events that you're going to burn yourself out.

3) Get your beauty rest: Sleep is essential! If you have an early morning meeting, don't stay out too late at a holiday party. Leaving earlier than you'd like can be difficult, but it will ensure that you feel great for the rest of the holiday fesitivities on your calendar.

4) Balance work & play: The end of the year can bring extra deadlines and requirements at work, but don't forget about priorites, such as family and taking care of yourself. Eating well-balanced meals, taking time to relax, and spending time with loved ones is crucial!

5) Maintain a workout routine: Exercise is extremely effective at reducing stress. Getting to the gym a few times a week, even if it's just a quick workout or yoga class, will not only benefit you physically, but it will also help clear your mind.

At APEX Wellness Center we pride ourselves on being a resource for individuals and families so that they can live healthier lifestyles. For more information about our office visit our website.

Dr. Nikki Porteus

Research continues to show that living in a state of gratitude has a positive impact on our mental and physical well-being. During the month of November, especially near Thanksgiving, people tend to be more aware of what they're thankful for. These 5 tips will help you to be more grateful every day of the year.

1) Write a thank you note: Not only does it remind you what you're thankful for, but it also makes the person receiving the note feel good. Try sending a thank you note to someone at least once a month.

2) Keep a gratitude journal: At the end of every day write in a journal what you're thankful for. It can even be something as simple as a warm, sunny day.

3) Meditate: Meditation is a great opportunity to focus inward and be present in the moment. An easy practice is to think about something you're grateful for as you inhale and then with the exhale let those thankful thoughts out into the universe.

4) Pay attention to what you say: Be mindful of when you're speaking negatively about someone or something. Less negative talk leads to fewer negative thoughts.

5) Keep a visual reminder: A post-it note, piece of jewelry, or even something simple like a rubberband around your wrist, can be a great reminder to be grateful. Look at this item on a daily basis and think about all you have to be thankful for.

For more tips on living a healthier lifestyle, contact Dr. Nikki Porteus at APEX Wellness Center by clicking here.

Dr. Nikki Porteus
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The holidays can be a very busy and stressful time of year. Between the additional social events and holiday splurges, our bodies get worn down and become more prone to sickness. Here are five simple tips to stay healthy throughout the holiday season:

1) Allow your body the rest that it needs! During a state of sleep, our bodies are able to heal and recover from the stresses faced throughout the day. This is also the time when our immune systems kick into over-drive to help fight off any bugs we may been exposed to. Aiming for 7-8 hours of quality sleep is ideal.

2) Make time for your regular exercise routine. Whether it be walks, a quick yoga class, or going indoor rock climbing with family/friends, physical activity is extremely effective at reducing stress and promoting immune system function. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a priority.

3) Stay hydrated! During cold weather people tend to drink less water. Drinking hot herbal tea is a great way to hydrate and stay warm at the same time.

4) Live in the present. The calendar of events for the week, or month, may be overwhelming to think about, but try to enjoy the moment. Holidays can bring opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family who you may not get to see regularly throughout the year. Rather than worry about what lies ahead, enjoy the present moment and the company you're sharing it with.

5) See your family wellness chiropractor! Getting adjusted regularly helps to prevent physical stresses on the body as well as stimulates your immune system.


For more tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle for you and your family click here.