Epigenetics and Nutrition

Photo by Elli O. on Unsplash

Imagine before you is a large salad, well-seasoned, loaded with bright and colorful vegetables, topped with lightly grilled salmon, and a large glass of water. Beside that dish is another, a heavily processed cheeseburger from any popular fast-food joint, with an extra-large side of fries, and a tall chocolate milkshake. Now, ask yourself, which of these meals do you eat more often? What if someone told you that the choice you made today, between those two meals, would impact not only your current and future health but that of your children and even your grandchildren? Epigenetics, as we previously discussed, is the expression of your DNA. If you were a computer, your DNA would be the hardware, and epigenetics would be the software. So, while other factors (stress, lack of sleep, environmental exposures) also have the ability to impact your genetic expression, nutrition is the one we have the most control over.

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Lyme disease

This digitally-colored scanning electron micrograph depicts a grouping of numerous Gram-negative, anaerobic, Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, the pathogen behind Lyme disease. Credit: CDC/Janice Carr.


What Is Lyme Disease?


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted primarily by Ixodes ticks, or deer ticks, and black-legged ticks. Over 300,000 patients are diagnosed annually with substantial indications that there are many more patients who have not been diagnosed — identifying and treating this infection is a growing challenge.


Although far less recognized, even the diagnosed cases of Lyme disease outnumber the cases of breast cancer and HIV/AIDS.


So, how do you recognize Lyme disease? That too can be a challenge.

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Your DNA is not your Destiny


Your DNA Is No Longer Your Destiny


Is your destiny written in your DNA? For years, scientists believed that a person’s DNA – the complex genetic code that carries all the information needed for your growth and development – was a fixed and unchanging set of “instructions” that directed the body’s processes from birth to death. But new insights from the emerging field of epigenetics suggest that these genetic instructions can be modified by external factors, with profound implications for health, wellness, disease and the aging process.


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Yard to Table

Yard to Table


The mornings start cool.  The days end warm.  It is May and Farmer’s Market time in east Tennessee.


Call me a kid in a candy store. I love the Farmer’s Market.


The first Farmer’s market of 2014 kicked off its 11th year in Market Square in downtown Knoxville recently.  The Farmer’s market will be a regular event on my families schedule saturdays this summer.  At least I will be there.  My teenagers?  That may be too much to ask.


These must not miss events bring together people of all walks of life.  The young, the old, the single, the married, the dog lovers (sorry, I didn’t see any cats for you cat lovers) come together to meet, to talk, to learn, and to support local farmers and merchants.  I learned so much this past saturday, I thought I would share the people and the new information learned as I meet and develop new friendships at the local Farmer’s Market.

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Don’t Be A Stupid Cupid! Think Outside The Box (Of Chocolates).

esq-01-valentines-day-gifts-lgNot sure what to get your special someone this Valentine’s Day? Don’t be a stupid cupid! Show her you are thinking outside of the box (of chocolates) with these gifts from Seasons Wellness Spa.

The Romantic Gift: Looking to add some spice to your (ehem) love life?

Woman Power

Try Sprayology’s Man Power and Woman Power from their Rejuvenation line. The rejuvenation sprays replenish the body’s supply of energy to relieve the symptoms of aging, helping you function at a more youthful level. All seven formulas in this collection are FDA-Regulated and help with age-related issues such as low energy, sex drive, menopause, weight loss and bone density.

Man Power ($32) is recommended for men who want to gain strength, improve mood
and increase their sexual desire naturally. Man Power temporarily relieves the symptoms of low male energy including: decreased sexual desire and vitality, muscular weakness, irritability, and “the blues.”

Woman Power ($32) is recommended for women who want to rejuvenate their body and increase their sexual desire and pleasure naturally. Woman Power relieves the symptoms of low female energy, including decreased sexual desire, low physical energy, irritability and “the blues.”

Sprayology marries science and time-honored natural medicine with convenience and innovation to enhance healing and well-being naturally. Sprayology redefines wellness and makes it easy to incorporate natural products into your daily life for better health naturally.

The Gift of Relaxation: Swedish Relaxation Massage. Relax and enjoy a complete mind, body, and soul treatment with the benefits of a massage therapy. Smooth, flowing massage using firm but gentle pressure and the techniques of long strokes, kneading, percussion, compression, vibration and friction. Eases muscle aches and tension, improves flexibility, promotes circulation, and enhances relaxation.

The Beautiful Gift: Organic Passion Fruit Facial. A papaya, pineapple, pumpkin and mango infused blend of organic and medically effective ingredients designed to rebalance tired, stressed and dull looking skin. This non-chemical peel naturally rebalances, regenerates, restores and soothes your skin with organic ingredients. This facial is recommended as a course of three treatments or as a maintenance treatment every month. Relax and restore your skin and wellness.

The Waterworks Gift: Expectant Mother Massage. This gift is guaranteed to make her cry the happy tears. Now, the hormones might have something to do with it, too, but we know she will love that you thought of her during this special time. The soothing essence of massage allows expectant mothers to feel serene, healthy, and comforted while helping to relieve common ailments of pregnancy. Expectant mother massage addresses the issues and needs associated with this special time. Very relaxing for mother and babies love it, too!

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An Apple a Day? Healthy Choices vs. Inflammation

My pre-60th birthday journey to improve my previous test results from Seasons of Farragut continues! This month I decided to focus on the first tenet in our Seasons wellness regimen – nutrition!

About two years ago I took the ALCAT test and was astonished at my lengthy list of reactive foods! The ALCAT is a fascinating food sensitivity test in which white blood cells are introduced to a variety of foods, chemicals, and herbs. The severity of the reaction determines if a substance is mild, moderate, severe, or normal within my body. Since knowledge is power, I decided to receive the news that gluten and dairy were on my “severe list” as a positive indicator rather than “buyers’ remorse” for having performed the test!

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Nibble on This | Indulge Yourself In Fresh Strawberries!

SEASONS ~ Nibble on This!
by Carolyn Burris

Indulge yourself in Fresh Strawberries!

Strawberries are in full bloom! Local grocery stores and roadside vendors have the best of the best when it comes to strawberries. As with any berry, strawberries are loaded with antioxidants. Strawberries also are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. The antioxidants and vitamin C in strawberries help to clean up the free radicals affecting the eyes and joints. Strawberries are known for helping reduce the risk and symptoms of macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. There are many fun ways to eat strawberries including:

  • Add slices to salads
  • Make a parfait with plain yogurt
  • Add to a breakfast shake
  • Dip in dark chocolate for an extra boost of antioxidants

When selecting strawberries, choose those with bright red color and with no damage to stem or green caps. Also, inspect all strawberries in package for mold and avoid those with any mold.

Strawberry Salsa

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped, top included
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill, serve with grilled chicken or fish. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

This Nutrition Update is brought to you by Seasons. For a personalized nutrition consultation with Carolyn Burris, call Seasons at 865-675-WELL (9355) to schedule an appointment.


Nibble on This | March

Seasons ~ March Nibble on This!
by Carolyn Burris 

March is National Nutrition Month!

This year for National Nutrition Month the American Dietetic Association is promoting “Eat Right With Color”. Scientists have discovered major health benefits packed in the color of fruits and vegetables. The powerhouse chemicals responsible for this are called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are what put the brightness in tomatoes and strawberries and the brilliant color in oranges, carrots and kiwi. Because of the amount of phytonutrients in colorful food, consumers can enjoy health benefits such as:

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing the risk of prostate cancer and other types of cancer
  • Prevent aging by fighting against memory loss

So remember when you are at the grocery store, the more color, the better!

Avocado Tacos

Ingredients :

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
  • 1 medium onion, julienne
  • 2 large green peppers, julienne
  • 2 large red peppers, julienne
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh tomato salsa (see below)
  • 12 whole wheat flour tortillas

Fresh Tomato Salsa

  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cilantro
  • 1/3 tsp chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • pinch of cumin


Prepare salsa as listed below. Heat oil in skillet. Lightly sauté onion and green and red peppers. Cut avocado into 12 slices. Warm tortillas in oven and fill with peppers, onions, avocado slices and salsa. Fold tortillas and serve.

Fresh Tomato Salsa: Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate in advance.

Nibble on This | February

SEASONS ~ Nibble on This February 2011
by Carolyn Burris 

Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month make February a month to celebrate sweethearts. What a perfect time to show your loved one how much you care by preparing a meal with heart-healthy superfoods such as omega-3 fatty acids and fresh vegetables. Adding superfoods to your daily diet has the ability to decrease the risk of cancer, improve heart function, and fight infection. Make heart healthy dishes for you and your sweetheart and you will be doing your part for a healthier heart!

Examples of superfoods:

Beans • Blueberries • Broccoli • Oats • Oranges • Pumpkin • Salmon • Soy • Spinach • Tea (green or black) • Tomatoes • Turkey • Walnuts • Yogurt

Baked Grouper with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Ingredients :

  • 3 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomato (about 4 medium)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) grouper fillets


Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine first 10 ingredients in a medium bowl.

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Place fish, skin sides up, in pan; cook 2 minutes. Turn fish over; top with tomato mixture. Bring to a boil. Place pan in oven; bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

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6 Healthy Snacks for the Super Bowl

SEASONS ~ SUPERBOWL 2011 Nibble on This!
by Carolyn Burris 

The Seasons Pick 6: Healthy Snacks for the Big Game

Super Bowl parties usually include snacks loaded with calories, fat and preservatives. Take these ideas for tasty treats to create a deliciously healthy Super Bowl party.

1. Homemade guacamole served with Kavli Crispy Thin crackers

2. Unshelled edamame

3. Chunky salsa served with baked whole wheat pita chips

4. Hummus served with fresh veggies

5. Laughing Cow cheese served with grape tomatoes

6. Baked kale chips

Baked Kale Chips 

Ingredients :

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake until the edges are brown but not burnt – approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

This Nutrition Update is brought to you by Seasons. For more nutrition tidbits, visit our website at www.seasonswellness.com. For a personalized nutrition consultation with Carolyn Burris, call Seasons at 865-675-WELL (9355) and schedule an appointment. 

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 Seasons after nine years as a stay-at-home mom to her two children. Carolyn particularly loves encouraging those struggling with food intolerance, obesity, fibromyalgia, and fatigue.

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