Monthly Archives: October 2015

Use Caution: Halloween Safety Tips for You and Your Family


You know us for being all about weight loss – but did you know that we’re also all about family? Tomorrow is Halloween. It’s a time for fun, candy, tricks, and treats. The night is full of excitement, especially for young children who immerse themselves into the holiday. It’s also a time where you should use extra caution so that you and your kids remain safe. That being said, we consulted with the local police departments and safety experts and have compiled this list of Halloween safety tips for you to follow while you’re out and about tomorrow.

  • Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood you’ll be trick-or-treating in, especially if it’s not your own. Escort your children, always carry a flashlight with you, and stay in well-lit areas.
  • If your children have dark costumes, consider placing reflective materials or glow-in-the-dark tape on the costume so that it can be seen in the dark. You could also have your child wear glow sticks around his or her neck and wrists so that he or she can be seen in the dark.
  • Make sure your children know both your home and cell phone numbers. If they can’t remember, write it down on a piece of paper and stick it in their pocket or pin it to the inside of their costume. This is extremely helpful if they happen to wander off.
  • Instruct your children not to enter any homes – and always inspect all candy before your children eat it. Wait until you get home to start eating candy. Make sure candy wrappers have not been tampered with in any way. Throw out any opened or suspicious looking candy right away.
  • Avoid having your children carry replica firearms, swords, or toys that look like real weapons. All props carried should be made of soft rubber, Styrofoam, or some other pliable material that will not be mistaken for a real weapon.
  • Stay on the sidewalks. If there is no sidewalk, stay as close to the edge of the roadway as you can. Do not take shortcuts, especially through backyards or dark alleys.
  • Walk in the direction facing traffic and never approach someone in a car that is offering candy.
  • Only approach houses that have their porch or front light on. If you’re staying home handing out candy, turn your lights on so that children know the house is safe to approach.
  • Teach your children the difference between a harmless Halloween prank and vandalism. Smashing pumpkins, throwing eggs at houses/cars, and toilet-papering houses are all considered an act of vandalism.
  • If you’re escorting your children in a car, drive slowly and cautiously and make sure to always pay attention to your surroundings. Look for children crossing the street and running through parked vehicles. Be extra careful when entering and exiting driveways. Turn down your radio and avoid using your cell phone – these two things can cause a serious distraction.

Be safe and HAVE FUN!

Happy Halloween from all of us here at Valley Medical!

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pumpkin Chili

The cooler weather is coming and that means a yearning for comfort foods! You know what we’re talking about – those warm, hearty meals that are sure to make your pants a little tighter, right? Not necessarily!

What if we told you you could enjoy comfort food this fall and winter without breaking your calorie bank? Don’t believe us? Just try this recipe for our sweet potato pumpkin chili. It has all the flavors of fall with only 208 calories and 13.6 grams of fat (most of which are unsaturated) per serving.

A single serving of this delicious chili also provides just under 80 percent of your daily needs for vitamin A – a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for eyesight, immune health, and reproduction. Beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A that is found in significant amounts in both pumpkin and sweet potatoes, also acts as a powerful antioxidant.

So without further ado, check out our sweet potato pumpkin chili. You can put your own spin on it by adding carrots, adding beans, or making it meat-less.

(Note: it freezes well!)



  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • 2 TBS chili powder
  • 1 TBS cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp allspice powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, mined
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of ground turkey or lean beef
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 4 cups chopped sweet potatoes, petite diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 bay leaves

Top with:

  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced olives
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Mined onions

How to Make It:

  1. Combine all spices in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add minced onions and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and continue to sauté until fragrant, about 2 more minutes.
  3. Add beef or turkey and start to brown. Sprinkle spices over meat and continue to cook until meat is completely browned.
  4. Pour in tomato sauce and broth and mix thoroughly. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Allow to simmer on low for 40 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve topped with avocado, olives, chopped cilantro, and minced onions, if desired.

Too Sweet to Be True: Diet Soda May Stall Weight Loss

If you’ve made the switch to diet soda in an attempt to lose weight, you’re not alone. Approximately one-fifth of the U.S. population consumes diet drinks on any given day; however, diet soda, which replaces sugar with artificial sweeteners, may be doing more harm than good. Instead of promoting weight loss, that sweetened no-calorie beverage might be working against you.


Not So Sweet

Artificial sweeteners are really sweet – a lot sweeter than regular sugar. In fact, some artificial sweeteners are hundreds to thousands times sweeter than sugar. When you drink diet soda on a regular basis, you numb your sweet taste buds a bit. This means that foods that are naturally sweet – like fruit – don’t taste that sweet to you, and as a result, they become less satisfying. Instead, you crave really sweet foods like ice cream and candy to get your fix.

Artificial sweeteners may also increase your appetite. A study in the “Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine” reported that it doesn’t matter if you consume sugar or calorie-free sweeteners; either way, taking in that sweet flavor all day long makes it more likely that you’ll consume more calories during the day. Another study in the “American Journal of Public Health” found that overweight and obese adults who regularly drank diet drinks consume 88 to 194 extra calories each day, on average. This may not seem like much, but an extra 200 calories per day translates to a weight gain of 1.7 pounds per month.

There is also evidence that fat tissue contains sweet receptors and when you consistently take in artificial sweeteners, it triggers your body to make new fat cells, which can lead to weight gain. The University of Texas reported that diet soda drinkers have a 70 percent increase in their waist circumference than people who don’t drink soda.

What to Do?

When it comes to quenching your thirst, water is your best bet. It’s okay to treat yourself to a sweetened beverage once in a while, but it shouldn’t be a regular part of your routine. Instead of drinking diet soda every day, keep things interesting by kicking your water up a notch. You can squeeze in some fresh lemon juice – or add some cucumber slices and mint leaves. If carbonation is your thing, swap out flat water for sparkling water with no added sweeteners or artificial ingredients and throw some strawberries or raspberries in the mix.

An Apple a Day: Seven Health Benefits of Apples

Once October rolls around, the world tends to put pumpkin on a pedestal. Pumpkin is wonderful – it’s healthy and so delicious – but what apples? They need some fall lovin’ too!

VM apple

You’ve probably heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” before, but have you ever stopped to consider why this phrase came about? It’s because apples are full of nutrients and antioxidant compounds that fight disease and keep your body functioning optimally.

Here are some of our favorite health benefits of apples. This list is by no means all-inclusive, but we think it’s a great place to start.

  1. A medium apple contains a whopping 4 to 5 grams of soluble fiber for a minimal 95 calories. This fiber helps control blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Eating high-fiber, low-calorie foods like apples also helps promote weight loss.
  2. A class of antioxidants, called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the red and purplish colors in apples, can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  3. Apples have been shown to increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps nerve cells communicate. This increase in acetylcholine is associated with improved memory and a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Apples contain compounds called triterpenoids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of liver, colon, and breast cancers.
  5. Eating at least five apples per week (that’s fewer than one per day!) has been associated with improved lung function. A study done by Nottingham University links this benefit to high levels of a flavonoid called quercetin, which is also found in onions and tea.
  6. A study of 9,208 men and women found that those who ate the most apples had a lower risk of thrombotic stroke – the type of stroke that occurs when a blood clot forms in one of the arteries that supplies blood to the brain.
  7. People who eat apples regularly have lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of chronic inflammation, which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and metabolic syndrome.

Ditch the Sugar: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s October and that means pumpkin-flavored everything EVERYWHERE. Real pumpkin is full of healthy nutrients, like vitamin A and fiber, but unfortunately, most of these pumpkin flavored treats are made with artificial flavors and colors that are a far cry from the real thing.

One of the most popular pumpkin flavored treats is the pumpkin spice latte, which is only available for a limited time during the fall season. It’s tempting to want to indulge, but it may be better to hold off. A single 16-ounce pumpkin spice latte, or PSL as it’s more lovingly known, packs 380 calories and 14 grams of fat – 8 grams of which are saturated. To add insult to injury, the same 16-ounce serving contains 52 grams of carbohydrates – 50 grams of which come directly from sugar. That’s more than twice as much sugar as the American Heart Association recommends for women for the entire day!

Fortunately, skipping the local coffee shop doesn’t mean you’ll have to forego the fall pumpkin spice latte tradition altogether. You can make your own version at home with fewer calories, less sugar, and much better ingredients.

pumpkin spice latte

This recipe serves 2.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (this is unsweetened pumpkin puree, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (optional)
  • 1 cup strong coffee or ½ cup espresso (brewed)

What to Do:

  1. Combine coconut or almond milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and raw honey (if using) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently with a whisk until mixture starts to bubble.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in pumpkin pie spice. If you have an immersion blender, use it to mix ingredients well and create froth.
  3. Divide brewed coffee or espresso evenly between two mugs. Pour milk mixture on top of coffee. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice, if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

Product of the Month! Lipotropic Complex by Integrative Therapeutics

It’s OCTOBER! Can you even believe that? In addition to pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween costumes, and cooler weather, that also means a new product included with our monthly special. With this special you receive 4 WEEKS of everything listed below for only $295 (that’s a savings of over $200)!

Physician Consult & Weekly Weigh-ins
Meal Plans
FDA Approved Medications
MetaBlast Supplements
Craveaway Supplements
Weekly Upgraded Injection of B-12
Bi-Weekly Injection of Lipo X
Full Body Analysis on our BODYCOMP Scale
Product of the Month

This month our product of the month is Lipotropic Complex by Integrative Therapeutics!


Most environmental toxins and hormones are fat-soluble, which means that they’re stored in your fat cells. All of these toxins are filtered through the liver, and since the liver is largely made up of fat, a large majority become stored in the liver with nowhere to go. As you’re losing weight, or when you’re doing a cleanse or a detox, the liver often needs additional nutritional support to properly move these toxins from the body. Lipotropic Complex provides this extra support for the liver, which translates to a host of benefits for you, including:

  • A boost in weight loss*
  • A reduction in inflammation (which can decrease pain)*
  • Improved carbohydrate metabolism*
  • Lowered cholesterol levels and decreased accumulation of fat in the liver, heart, arteries, and brain*
  • Improved mood*
  • Regulated appetite*
  • Increased energy*

Lipotropic complex can also help regulate liver function, aid in the treatment of depression, and support healthy growth and metabolism.* It’s loaded with beneficial active ingredients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium, choline, black radish, dandelion, beet root extract, and ox bile extract, and inositol. These active ingredients work together to make Lipotropic Complex one of the most potent and effective liver-flushing supplements available.

If you have any questions about Lipotropic Complex or you want to take advantage of our monthly special, contact us TODAY! You can also try Lipotropic Complex on its own by ordering here.

DISCLAIMER * These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.