The Benefits of Dairy

This post was written by Kate Machado

June 25, 2015



As a dietitian and nutritionist that works with all types of individuals – from growing children, to elite athletes, to adults trying to lose weight or just maximize overall health – some of my favorite functional foods to recommend are dairy products.


Why Dairy?


Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese contain the perfect combination of nutrients for maximizing energy and nutrient absorption.


  • Carbs, Protein & Fat: These 3 macronutrients are found naturally in milk and yogurt (although not in non-fat). Every meal and snack should contain a balance of these nutrients to help with blood sugar control and satiety. Thus, by including dairy as part of your meal- it’s taken care of! Cheese contains only protein and fat and pairs well with a fruit or whole grain carb for a balanced option.
  • Calcium, Vitamin D, & Phosphorus: Dairy products are the best source of calcium because they also contain vitamin D, which increases absorption. In addition, phosphorus plays an essential role is building strong bones, and because of its role in the growth, maintenance and repair of your body’s tissues and cells, eating adequate amounts of phosphorus can help to reduce muscle pain after an intense bout of physical activity.
  • Electrolytes – Sodium & Potassium: Milk and milk products naturally contain electrolytes, which are important for proper functioning of nerve impulses and muscle contractions. Milk, drank as a post-workout recovery beverage, helps to rehydrate and replace essential amino acids that are critical for muscle repair.


Health-Conscious Dairy Meal Plan

Often times, it’s difficult to really know what types of dairy are considered healthy. Beyond that, how do you know what recipes keep the calories and sugar down? Here are some healthy-conscious dairy options for any meal of the day!
        • Breakfast: Greek yogurt + berries + slivered almonds + Kashi Go Lean Crunch
        • Lunch:  Mini Mushroom and Turkey Sausage Quiche (full recipe)
        • Dinner: Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas (full recipe)
        • Snack: String cheese/cottage cheese + fruit
        • Dessert: Lemon Ginger Frozen Yogurt (full recipe)


Lactose intolerant? Stay tuned for Kate’s breakdown of healthy alternatives to dairy.

Safety in the San Diego Sun

This post was written by Heather Parker

June 7, 2015


San Diego Sunset

San Diego.  A wondrous place that feels the warmth of the sun nearly 260 days out of the year. Packed full of hours laying on the beach, tackling one of the many hiking trails, or heading to the zoo for the afternoon with the family. Let’s face it, we all love San Diego and everything it has to offer. But are you taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your families while you’re enjoying those beautiful sunny rays?


 “Here Comes the Sun”


Latest statistics show more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. Any physician will tell you that greasing up with sunscreen (probably SPF30 and above) before settling down in the sand is the first step towards healthy skin. But it’s not just for lounging at the beach. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen every time you step outside your door — especially when living in a perpetually sunny city. Like exercise, putting on sunscreen needs to become a part of your daily routine. Here are some tips to help you remember to “screen up” before you head out:

  1. Place your sunscreen in your bathroom next to the toothpaste as a friendly reminder
  2. Set a calendar reminder in your phone or post a sticky note next to the coffee maker
  3. Leave a bottle of sunscreen next to the front door for a quick spritz when you’re on-the-go
  4. Purchase a small travel bottle to keep with you in the car, in your purse or at the office

Whatever helps you remember to remember!


Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

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Q & A on Influenza as Written by the Center for Disease Control

This post was written by Katie Rusk

October 16, 2013

Flu Vaccination


Why should people get vaccinated against the flu?


Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. The “seasonal flu season” in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.

During this time, flu viruses are circulating in the population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community.


How do flu vaccines work?

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Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Rates by Stephen Rohrer D.O.

This post was written by Katie Rusk

May 10, 2013

When it comes to health and wellness, the San Diego Sports Medicine Executive Wellness Program strives to provide honest and practical information to stave off disease and improve overall health.  It is commonly accepted that moderate alcohol consumption, such as 1-2 glasses of wine per day, can be cardio-protective.  However, when examining cancer and alcohol we tend to avoid the proverbial “elephant in the room”, the carcinogenic association that is clearly seen with overconsumption of alcohol. Generally, more than 3 drinks per day is considered overconsumption (1 drink = 2 oz hard liquor, 4 oz wine or 12 oz beer).

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Colorectal Cancer: What You Need to Know

This post was written by Katie Rusk

March 29, 2013

March is not only the month of green beer and leprechauns, it is also National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.  Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent cancer (excluding skin cancer) and the second leading cause of death from cancers in the United States for both men and women.  In 2012 it was estimated that 103,170 new cases of colorectal cancer would be diagnosed and that 51,690 people would die from colorectal cancer.  Early detection – via routine colon cancer screenings – can reduce the instances of death by 15 to 33%. more >

Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease

This post was written by Katie Rusk

February 13, 2013

February is the month that cupids and hearts run rampant in celebration of Valentine’s Day; coincidentally it is also Heart Disease MonthHeart disease is the biggest killer in the United States causing 1 out of every 3 deaths, or 2,200 deaths per day in the US.  In 2010 heart disease and stroke related costs accrued a total bill of 444 billion dollars.   This is a big chunk of pocket change! Previous knowledge leads us to wonder, “How can we reduce the occurrence of heart disease?”

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Lose the Sugar…Make Your Own Vitamin Water!

This post was written by Katie Rusk

October 19, 2012

vitamin water

The Truth About Vitamin Water


Through creative marketing and eye-catching labeling, you may be swayed to think “vitamin water” is a healthy beverage choice. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but most commercially produced and sold vitamin waters are loaded with sugar and enhanced with synthetic (or man-made) vitamins. Not that all synthetic vitamins are bad, sometimes with a deficiency we need to supplement. However, our body is designed to best utilize vitamins and minerals that come from REAL food! Below are some quick easy recipes to make your very own vitamin water…using real food, and without the added sugar.


Flavor Combination Ideas


  • Watermelon and Basil
  • Pineapple and Coconut
  • Citrus (orange, lime, and lemon) and Thyme
  • Peach and Ginger
  • Strawberry and Blackberry with Mint


1. Cut the fruit into small chunks or slices. Keep herbs in leaves or small stems/slices for easy removal.
2. Combine your chosen ingredients in a pitcher with water.
3. Refrigerate the water for at least 4 hours, allowing flavors to combine.
4. Serve water over ice and enjoy. You can eat the fruit at the end for an extra vitamin boost!

*Courtesy of Ashley Deppe, Registered Dietitian


Helping Young Performers Avoid Serious Injuries

This post was written by Rebeccah Rodriguez

Rebeccah R. Rodriguez, DO, on the stress that training in the performing arts puts on adolescents’ bodies and how to prevent injuries, during the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) OMED 2012.

Parents and Physicians Play a Role in Helping Young Performers Avoid Serious Injuries

By American Osteopathic Association

CHICAGO, OCT. 12, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Even before shows like “Dance Moms” and “America’s Got Talent” entertained viewers, generations of young boys and girls have grown up with dreams of stardom in dance, theatre or music, but those who follow their dreams know that it takes years of mental and physical discipline and, as one osteopathic physician (DO) points out, it also strains their developing bodies.

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Million Dollar Challenge presented by the Challenged-Athlete Foundation

This post was written by Katie Rusk

October 12, 2012

Dr. Jeff Anthony is riding alongside 125 other riders in the Million Dollar Challenge (MDC); a bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego to benefit challenged athletes through the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). The MDC has raised over one million dollars each year over the last seven years to help fund the needs of challenged athletes, providing prosthetic legs, wheelchairs, bikes, etc., to allow them to realize their dreams and to participate in athletic events. 87 of the athletes in this years para-Olympic games in London were sponsored by CAF.

In the 620-mile ride down the coast, Dr. Anthony is one of two physicians who not only gets to ride, but will also provide medical care to the participants, 13 of whom are challenged athletes. Chris Self is a Master Sergeant in the army with over 22 years in the military. In 2005, while protecting our country in Iraq he suffered an injury that resulted in the loss of one of his legs. Being very active before the injury, and with the help of his wife and 3 kids, along with a new prosthetic leg, Chris is still very active, working for the army, and participating in the ride down the coast for the third time.
“Riding an average of 100 miles per day can be grueling, but riding alongside a challenged athlete that’s doing it with one leg, and seeing their determination and enjoyment of the challenge is very motivating and inspiring,” said Dr. Anthony.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

This post was written by Katie Rusk

June 27, 2012

By Ashley Deppe, RD
Good news that is hard not to like…chocolate can be good for your heart! Research has shown that dark chocolate is loaded with heart protective properties such as flavonoids, flavonols, antioxidants, and a compound called phenylethylamine. In small amounts, approximately one (1) ounce per day, dark chocolate can be a healthy addition to your diet.

Flavonoids, coming from the cocoa bean extract, are chemical compounds reported to have potential benefits on human health by acting as an antiplatelet, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Epicatechin is a particularly active flavonoid that helps keep cholesterol from gathering in blood vessels by allowing vessels to relax. Stiff blood vessels indicate disease and possible atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Relaxed blood vessels reduce the risk of blood clots forming, and helps slow the immune response leading to clogged arteries. Flavanolds, a type of flavonoid, influence vascular health by improving blood pressure and increasing blood flow to the brain and heart. Flavonoids can also be found in fruits and vegetables, red wine, and green tea.

Antioxidants help repair cell damage throughout the body by reducing free radicals. Normal activities and processes, such as breathing, environmental contaminants, and smoking cigarettes, cause cellular damage. Without enough antioxidants, oxidation occurs from damage caused by free radicals. An example of oxidation would be when LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad” cholesterol) forms plaque on artery walls.

Phenylethylamine is a compound similar to dopamine and adrenaline made in the human body. These compounds act as a mild antidepressant and stimulant. Talk about a mood booster!

It is important to remember that, while chocolate has many positive health attributes, not all chocolate is created equal. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, and dark chocolate consumed with milk do not carry the same health benefits as plain dark chocolate. Moderation and portion size is key, since chocolate is a high calorie indulgence. Be sure to read your labels…choose a bar with cocoa listed as the first ingredient (instead of sugar) and one that contains at least 70% cacao. A higher percentage of cocoa/cacao also means a higher percentage of antioxidants. Select wisely and enjoy chocolate in moderation to help support a healthy heart!