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The Pulse - 2018 February Newsletter

Article – Eat Better to Move Better and Feel Better

By: Chris Litten

For most of us, the inflammation stemming from some form of arthritis is the norm. According to the Arthritis Foundation, it accounts for 44 million outpatient visits and 992,100 hospitalizations every year. Arthritis is actually a more frequent cause of inactivity than heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.

What’s a body to do? There is compelling evidence to support the idea that our dietary habits may prolong and exacerbate our aches and pains. This article will begin by first examining inflammation for what it is and why it causes us pain. We will then examine alternatives to medication to combat our inflammation. Finally, we will review an eating plan that has been proven to decrease pain associated with chronic inflammation.

Inflammation is actually a necessary ingredient of the healing process after an acute injury such as a sprained ankle. Without it, certain chemical mediators that are responsible for providing the raw materials needed to repair and remodel injured tissue would not be released.

It is when other chemical mediators, such as the pro-inflammatory enzymes cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) linger in conditions such as arthritis that it becomes quite problematic. The chronic inflammation in rheumatoid and other forms of autoimmune arthritis affects joints, making them swell and turn red and tender. As a result of pain and tenderness, an individual will often react by moving less to avoid hurting. After a while, less movement leads to decreased mobility, balance and strength. This cycle ultimately leads to a loss of independence when activities of daily living become almost impossible to complete without help from others.

Medical professionals prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to those with arthritis to slow the process of decline. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors Celebrex and Bextra for example, are designed to block these pro-inflammatory enzymes, thus reducing symptoms of pain that are a reality of inflammation. However, these drugs have been demonstrated to promote other health challenges with gastrointestinal, kidney, and liver problems being the most common. Cardiovascular complications have also been cited and were a main cause for the 2004 recall of the once well-known COX-2 inhibitor Vioxx.

Medication can be a necessary reality but you may want to consult your doctor to discuss the things you can do in conjunction with or instead of additional medications. Let’s look at our nutrition. Those same COX-2 pro-inflammatory enzymes mentioned earlier have been demonstrated to increase in activity when in an environment that is higher in Omega-6 fatty acids versus Omega-3 fatty acids. These are the two forms of essential fatty acids necessary for the creation of chemical mediators involved in the inflammatory cycle. Some medical research suggests that excessive levels of Omega-6 relative to Omega-3 may increase the probability of numerous diseases; with arthritis being one of them. Given that the typical Western diet has ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3 that is four times higher than recommended for decreasing inflammation, there is a compelling argument that the increase in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions is a result of our own lifestyle choices.

Thankfully, we can control our fate to some degree by simply swapping the aforementioned unhealthy ratio for the less inflammatory one. Choose foods such as wild salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, spinach, grass-fed versus grain-fed poultry and beef, walnuts, and oils such as canola, coconut, and olive. These specific foods are beneficial because of their extremely low ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3.Eliminate high sugar items such as cookies and pastries. Steer clear of trans-fats and all foods containing them. Minimize consumption of processed grains such as pasta and cereals and maximize intake of fruits, particularly berries, as well as vegetables.

Another sure-fire way to combat inflammation is through activity, particularly for those who are overweight and also have knees that are painful and swollen. Staying active will aid in maintaining mobility and strength of course. However, physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy weight. For every pound lost, four pounds of pressure is removed from your knees. That means by simply eliminating 10 pounds you could free 40 pounds of pressure from your knees! And because fat cells can produce cytokines, proteins that promote inflammation, losing weight also helps decrease inflammation in your body.

A diet that most closely resembles the preferred ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is the Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet features lean protein like fish and poultry and is high in plant-based foods such as beans, fruits and veggies, and olive oil. According to a 2011 review in Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, people with rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, who followed a Mediterranean diet, reported a decrease in joint tenderness and an improvement in their sense of well-being.

Be your own informed advocate for optimal health. Stay active to maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on your joints. Eat more foods consistent with the Mediterranean diet. Food is fuel. The next time you sit down to a meal consider the food you’re about to eat. Think beyond the immediate effects to your taste buds and growling stomach. Will that meal perpetuate a cycle of inflammation, inactivity and dissatisfaction with life or will it fuel a more vibrant, active lifestyle with a greater sense of well-being? The choice is yours.

Client Spotlight – Stephanie Henderson 

1. What was the reason you decided to go to a trainer?

I hoped to get a more effective and complete workout while also targeting my legs and core to help battle spinal stenosis. In the back of mind I wanted to be a healthier “athletic” weight.
2. Did you consider or participate in any other form of treatment for your reason before seeking a trainer? Examples: physical therapist, acupuncturist, medication

I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and worked with a Physical Therapist to try to avoid surgery. The PT was working and I continued
home exercises for a couple of years until I was getting less effective results. I thought a personal trainer could help me get more from my home exercises.

3. How did you hear about BodyBasics?

I called my Physical Therapist for a referral and she told me she had just the person for me. It ended up being Chris, and by extension, the rest of the team at BodyBasics.

4. Did you evaluate other gyms or trainers before deciding on coming to Us? If yes, what were other places missing that BodyBasics was able to provide?

5. Ultimately, why did you choose BodyBasics over other options? .

I am very impressed with The Functional Movement System approach and the level of expertise of the team. A positive caring attitude is created at BodyBasics.

6. What goals did you have when you started at BodyBasics?

What I hoped at the very start was to strengthen my body enough to make dinner without having to sit down to relieve radiating back and leg pain. I was also working on better nutrition choices.

7. How long have you been training at BodyBasics and what specifically have you achieved over that interval?

I think I’ve trained here 6 – 7 years. I can cycle 80 – 100+ miles a week with my husband and have continued to participate in El Tour de Tucson Rides at the 50 – 76 mile distances. Over these years I’ve sustained other injuries and illness that the team at BodyBasics  have helped me work through. Just 2 ½ years ago a tibia plateau fracture and smashed knee joint devastated my fitness after a horrific water skiing accident. Myrya has been my primary trainer patiently coaching me and helped rebuild my left leg back into form. Myrya also reintroduced me to a nutrition/fitness app and gave me the encouragement I needed to stick with it.

8. What current goals are you pursuing with your trainers at BodyBasics?

The plan is to continue to build strength, stability and to safely keep me moving better for all my activities. I believe I’m a “lifer” at BodyBasics!

Welcome New and Returning Clients

The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!

Debbie Highfield ~ referred by Bob Direnfeld at ProActive Physical Therapy

Steve Tarris ~ referred by Dr.  Thomas F. Griffin Jr. at MD VIP

Ron McGinnis ~ referred by Dr. Carol Hendricks, owner of Northstar Neurology

Cindy Petti ~ returning client! Welcome Back!

Steve Stroop ~ referred by Dr. Tait, owner of Rejuv Medical Southwest

Moreita Chapman ~ found us doing a Google search

“Shout Outs”

Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.

Sheldon Gregory ~ for improving his balance and body control to such a degree despite significant stenosis that he was able to rock a hike recently for the first time in years with his wife!

Shelley Phipps ~ for putting both her core training and strength into action recently when she knelt down on her knees and hoisted her frantic 70 lb. puppy out of the deep end of her pool!

Moreita Chapman ~ for achieving a significant milestone session one of more to come when she was able to get up off of the floor unassisted for the first time in 20+ years!

Julie Morton ~ for putting what she’s learning in her sessions into practice recently as she consciously engaged her core muscles to support taking more effective steps while trail walking!

Dawn Cleary ~ for making awesome progress toward her goal of pain-free full body exercise through consistent practice on her own to reinforce what she’s learning during her training sessions!

Recipe – Curry Turkey Lettuce Wraps


1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
1 inch piece fresh ginger
6 carrots
4 stalks celery
1 ¼ pounds ground organic turkey
2 tablespoons curry powder
¼-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
Romaine leKuce leaves, or Swiss chard leaves or kale leaves
Radishes, bell pepper and cucumbers
Sriracha sauce (hot sauce)

1. Dice onion. Place in skillet.
2. Mince garlic and ginger. Place in skillet.
3. Drizzle olive oil over onion, garlic and ginger. Place over medium heat.
S0r around as it begins to sizzle.
4. Dice celery and carrots. Add to the skillet. Mix around.
5. AVer about 5-7 minutes, the vegetables will be soVened. Add the ground
turkey. Break the turkey apart with a spatula and combine with
6. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper. Combine thoroughly. Add a liKle
more olive oil if needed to prevent s0cking.
7. While the filling for the leKuce wraps cooks, get the leKuce leaves ready.
LeKuce doesn’t need much prep. Swiss chard or kale leaves may roll
easily or you can steam them to prevent breaking.
8. Slice radishes, bell pepper and cucumbers to accompany leKuce wraps.
To make a quick salad you could dice the veggies and mix with roasted
sesame oil, rice vinegar and salt.
9. Serve leKuce wraps with veggies and hot sauce (if desired).

Recipe by Nourishing Results.


Exercise Video of the Month – Pulley Jammer

Community Events

It’s that time again!  Please take a couple minutes and vote for BodyBasics!  It’s easy, just click here,  select Sports and Recreation then Best Fitness Center/Gym.  Voting ends Feb. 11th.


Return of Bal-A-Vis-X!

Come explore a very unique form of fun and stimulating exercises that help to reduce fall risk, improve memory and reduce anxiety.  These exercises are in a program called  Bal-A-Vis-X, a series of balance, auditory, vision exercises. This international program is used to improve function for both young and old with neurological challenges, as well as those who just want to improve their over-all daily functioning.  In group settings these exercises promote self-challenge as well as enjoyable social connections. BodyBasics will again be providing the space for two local Sanctioned Bal-A-Vis-X   Practitioners beginning again on Friday, February 9th at 10:00 a.m. for you to experience this innovative form of exercise firsthand.  Please call the studio at 498-0359 to register for your spot.  Space is limited to the first 8 people.  Body Basics Studio                                                                               location is at 1631 W. Ina Road, Suite 111.

If you have any questions about Bal-A-Vis-X please contact either: Anne Wheaton or Terry Tinney, 520-609-1710 and/or visit their website:

Team BodyBasics

Chris, Kris, Myrya, Kristian, Lance, Rachel, Ben and Amanda

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