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Here’s To A Healthy 2013: Simple and Practical Tips To Improving Your Health


Here’s To A Healthy 2013: Simple and Practical Tips To Improving Your Health

by Carolyn Burris

MS, Nutrition Counselor at

Forum Health Knoxville

After the holidays, most of us like to start anew by establishing health and wellness goals for the New Year. A few important questions to answer after you’ve established your goals are:

  • Are you willing to make the changes permanent?
  • What are your stumbling blocks for being healthy?

Here are six effective ways to improve your health using simple and practical steps with an integrative emphasis.

Hold yourself accountable.

Keeping track of what you put in your mouth really works! By doing this you become acutely aware of what and how much you are really eating. Calories do add up. And carbohydrate, fat, and protein-rich foods need to be in a high nutrient dense category.

Eat raw food.

Many studies show that raw vegetables and fresh fruits offer the highest blood levels of cancer-protective nutrients and the most protection against cancer of any other foods. Cooking vegetables reduces their protective effects. Fat sources coming from raw nuts and seeds instead of oil will also enhance your health because they contain phytosterols and other natural substance that lower cholesterol. Another study showed that as the amount of raw fruits and vegetables are increased in a person’s diet, weight loss increased and blood pressure decreased in an effortless way. And as I’ve mentioned before, choose organic and non-GMO foods when meal planning.

Find a partner in wellness.

Make sure your health professionals are truly invested in your healthcare. Here at Forum Health Knoxville we strive to work with you to improve your health, not just maintain the status quo. As a functional medicine practice, we seek to identify and address the root causes of disease rather than just treating symptoms. Our patients leave with a healthy living plan designed to restore the body to optimal function.

Take a sugar break.

Remove certain common foods that you typically consume and see if your health and weight status improve. I would suggest removing sugar, artificial sweeteners sucralose and aspartame, dairy, and gluten for at least a 6-week period and keep a health journal which would track your weight, energy level and overall health. There is compelling evidence that these foods/substances can cause various health problems and potentially need to be removed from our diets forever.

Don’t skip meals!

Eating regularly, starting with breakfast, breaks your fast and jump starts your body’s metabolism. Drinking at least 8-10 cups of filtered water per day will also rev up your metabolism.

Be good to your body,

and it will be good to you.

From what I have observed and read, in traditional medicine there is an ingrained mindset that diet does not significantly help your medical concerns and that medication and surgery are advocated to be a “better” choice. Folks, the truth is in the literature and research. What you eat significantly affects your health! Make healthy choices.

It is my hope that these suggestions encourage you to make permanent changes in your diet and overall health. Here is a healthy Fresh Greens Salad with Avocado-Tomato dressing recipe to kickstart 2013! Happy eating!

Happy eating!

Fresh Greens Salad with Avocado-Tomato Dressing

Fresh Greens Salad


  • 4-6 cups fresh greens (spinach, romaine, green/red lettuce, etc.; organic preferred)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped sugar snap peas
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber/zucchini/squash (any or all will work)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions, including the greens
  • 2 tablespoons raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds


  1. Place greens, chickpeas, carrots, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, cucumber/zucchini/squash and green onions in a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with pumpkin or sunflower seeds and toss gently with dressing. Remember, organic choices are optimal.

Avocado-Tomato Dressing


  • 1 medium avocado, pitted
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, unpeeled, unseeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (whole mineral salt)
  • Add more seasonings to spice it up as desired.


  1. Cut avocado in half and remove the seed.
  2. Use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh.
  3. Place avocado and remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Add water to desired consistency
For more information about the Forum Health Knoxville’s approach to wellness, call 865-675-9355.

Carolyn Burris, an east Tennessee native, earned her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Community and Public Health Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her passion for helping those with nutritional needs brought her to Forum Health Knoxville. Carolyn particularly loves encouraging those struggling with food intolerance, obesity, fibromyalgia, and fatigue.


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