By PPSM Staff

Ever go into a grocery store and see a large spherical/pear shaped fruit that is green/orange and quite exotic looking?

Most likely you have seen this fruit, but you have not bothered to buy it or to eat it. This interesting fruit is called a papaya.

If you cut open a papaya you will find black, round seeds that look like fish eggs. Although papaya’s seeds are edible, they are bitter and I personally don’t enjoy the taste. The fruit of the papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest proteins. Papain is extracted to make digestive enzyme dietary supplements.

Papayas are also a great source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium, copper, and magnesium; and fiber.

Papayas are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C!

All of these nutrients help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. You see, when cholesterol oxidizes, it can build up in blood vessel walls, forming plaques that can eventually cause heart attacks or strokes.

Papayas are full of fiber as well and can keep your digestive tract flowing. Papaya’s fiber is able to bind to cancer-causing toxins in the colon and keep them away from the healthy colon cells. These delicious fruits also contain protein-digesting enzymes. These enzymes have been shown to help lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns.

So how do you choose the right papaya at the grocery store?

Avoid purchasing papayas that are very green in color or very hard to the touch. Papaya in this form can be usedif you plan on cooking them, but will not taste good otherwise.

Also avoid purchasing a papaya that is too bruised or soft.

Papayas that are partially yellow should be left at room temperature where they will ripen in a few days. If you want to speed this process, place them in a paper bag with a banana.

Try adding papaya to a fruit salad or your morning yogurt. If these don’t appeal to you, then simply eat it with a spoon!

Information taken from:

Review of Organics

By PPSM Staff

Production of organic foods has become big business and farmers who wish to sell their produce as such are required to meet standards enforced by the USDA.  Due to this fact, you can expect to pay up to 40% more for organics than their non-organic counterparts.

People choose to eat organic foods for a variety of reasons including improved nutrition, decreased exposure to harmful chemicals, a desire to support sustainable farming practices and as an attempt to lead a healthier, safer lifestyle.

Are organic foods truly healthier or safer?  I found the results of an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine which was a review of the research from about 200 studies on organic foods.  After compiling all of the data, the following conclusions were finalized:

  • Non-organic meats, including chicken had a 33% higher chance to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria
  • Both organic and conventional produce had about a 7% chance of being contaminated with Coli
  • 38% of non-organic produce contained pesticide residue compared to 7% of organic produce
  • Levels of beneficial omega-3 fats were higher in organic milk and chicken
  • Instance of contamination from harmful bacteria was frequent in both organic and conventional chicken
  • There was no significant difference in the amount of vitamins and nutrients found in organic and conventionally grown foods

To sum up, eating organic foods may limit or reduce your exposure to harmful bacteria and pesticide but it will not help you get more nutrition in your diet.  If the added cost is worth it is up to the individual.

Gary Fuschini, PTA

Gluten or Gluten-Free?

By PPSM Staff

Today gluten-free foods are everywhere and considered as an overall health-promoting type of food. But why is this? While gluten is a protein found it wheat, barley and rye, think of it more like glue as it helps dough stick together. Since our bodies are designed to be able to digest a wide variety of gluten based products, but our modern diet is mostly composed of a single form of gluten-containing grains. Our digestive systemis not equipped to handle such a large intake of gluten, creating a chronically low level of inflammation. Since a large portion of our immune system actually resides in the digestive system, the result is the development of a range of gluten-sensitivity disorders and autoimmune diseases.1

Gluten sensitivity has been proposed as a causative factor in a multitude of conditions ranging from autism, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even infertility.2,3 A gluten-free diet may be a proper lifestyle change for those effected by conditions like this. Even those that have other digestive issues may benefit from a gluten-free diet. Trying the lifestyle change for 6-8 weeks is usually long enough to know if gluten is a contributing factor to any digestive issues.

While converting to a gluten-free lifestyle may seem like a daunting task, once you spend a little time to learn what foods you eat contain gluten and look for alternatives everything else is easy. The best way to begin is to either slowly eliminate foods or try to change foods you currently eat that are made of wheat, barley or rye and replace them with quinoa, buckwheat, or millet based foods. As you investigate, you may be surprised to see how many foods actually do contain gluten in them. Many processed foods and breads, deli meat, and soy sauce are just examples. While it might be hard to eliminate these foods, remember the benefit for eliminating them vastly outweighs eating them, in terms of overall health.

  1. Fernandez-Feo M, Wei G, Helmerhorst E, et al. The cultivable human oral gluten-degrading microbiome and its potential implications in coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. Clinical Microbiology & Infection. September 2013;19(9):E386-E394.
  2. Gasbarrini G, Mangiola F. Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases. United European Gastroenterol J. 2014 Aug;2(4):254-62.
  3. Herfarth HH, et al: Prevalence of a gluten-free diet and improvement of clinical symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014; 20(7):1194-7.

Breakfast Should Never Be a Hunger Game

By Adam Jellison

It doesn’t make sense that less food would equal more weight, but according to Dr. Michael Pismarov of Performance Spine and Sports Medicine, it’s true for people who skip breakfast.

“Those who skip breakfast often weigh more and are more likely to eat higher calorie snacks throughout the day to rid themselves of hunger,” Pismarov said.

He said for adults, skipping a meal here and there is okay if nutritional requirements are met throughout the day, but he said children should never skip as their brains and body need regular refueling.

However, what’s for breakfast is just as important as having it. He said convenience breakfasts can be counterproductive. Some foods, like smoothies can be very healthy if they are done the right way, but there is an ugly side to smoothies if they are prepared with high fat, high sugar items like chocolate, ice cream and peanut butter. He said these can significantly increase calorie count without adding to the nutritional value.

“Some restaurant smoothies can rival or exceed the calorie count of cheeseburgers,” said Pismarov.

Other options such as cereal, waffles and pancakes are also not ideal as they have a high glycemic index and will raise blood sugar levels causing an insulin response, according to Pismarov. “Cereal and protein bars can be just as tricky as smoothies. Although there are some that are healthy and okay to eat. The majority of the bars on the market are typically laden with excess sugars,” he said.

The ideal balance would be a healthy distribution of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. A meal such as oatmeal with almonds and blueberries could fit the bill.

There is one other breakfast item he recommends which might surprise people, coffee.

“Drinking coffee with breakfast is a great idea as it can improve energy levels and make you feel less tired,” according to Pismarov. “Coffee can also help fight depression and make you happier. In a typical western diet coffee may be your biggest source of antioxidants.”

Reshape your body the healthy way: A primer on nutrition and exercise

By PPSM Staff

It’s summer and that means the mad rush is on to slim down right in time for swimsuit season.  While there are many “diets” out there to choose from, don’t you think it’s time to make some long lasting progress?  Here are a few tips to get you in the right direction:

Make small incremental changes over time for the best results.  You have to be realistic about weight loss.  It doesn’t occur in week or monthly time increments just because bikini season is here.  Healthy habits take 2-3 weeks to form but first you must define where your weakness occurs.  Concentrate on this one habit at a time and make it realistic in the “real world.”  Whether it’s poor food choices, portion sizes, or eating too little, you have to assess and correct the sticking points before moving on.

Implement a plan that is reasonable and can work with everyday life.  Deciding to eliminate food groups or go on a special diet doesn’t work for most people.  In most life situations, this just won’t work.  Think of family dinners, birthday parties, or special occasions.  These overly restrictive diets leave little space for wiggle room.

Stay away from extreme dieting and focus on normalizing eating patterns.  Large calorie deficits can lean to hormonal dysregulation if done for long periods of time.  Fasts, cleanses, and calorie manipulation do work in the short term but, again, offer little long term effects other than potentially detrimental ones.  Focus on a nutritious approach and healthy meal selections when planning your approach.

Don’t count calories excessively.  They are important but don’t tell the whole story.  Our body is a complex system that requires hormones and enzymes to break down the food we eat.  The type of food we eat rather than the amount can influence our energy expenditure and fat loss.  Fat loss and hunger control are influenced by neuro-peptides that arise from the brain as well as the gastrointestinal tract.  Hormones are also released, sometimes in coordination with or because of these neuropeptides.  The signaling your body receives from food, from circulating hormones, and from these neuropeptides can lead to feedback loops that can be negative to long term health if the signaling if flawed.

For more information and a look at the most beneficial exercise, join us for a free seminar at NJAC in Lawrenceville, NJ Thursday, June 26th at 6:30.

Soda is a Four Letter Word

By Matthias H. Wiederholz

America has an obesity problem.  And it seems the rest of the developed world is following suit.  A question that many people wonder is whether soda consumption increases the likelihood of weight gain. The short answer is YES.

Soft drink consumption has increased globally from 9.5 gallons per person per year in 1997 to 11.4 gallons per person per year in 2010.  Simply a 1% rise in simoft drink consumption contributes to an additional 4.8% overweight adults, 2.3% obese adults, and 0.3% adults with diabetes.1  If this trend of increased consumption of caloric beverages continues, it is clear that these rates will rise drastically.

There is an alarming statistic. Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) in the United States is increasing.2,3  About half of mothers with children age 2 reported that their children drank SSB’s at least one day per week.  Moreover, there is a much higher likelihood that children who drink the highest amount of SSB come from low-income families.  These families are the same families that likely have limited access to quality healthcare.

So what does this mean for society in general?  Well, SSB consumption is increasing and the obesity epidemic is worsening.  Insulin resistance is becoming commonplace.  Based on the studies outlined above, we can conclude that soda consumption is certainly contributing to this problem.  In fact, as mentioned earlier, soda consumption predicts weight gain.

Therefore, if you don’t want to gain weight, don’t drink soda!

don’t drink soda


  1. Basu S, et al. Relationship of Soft Drink Consumption to Global Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes: a Cross-National Analysis of 75 Countries. American Journal of Public Health. Nov 2013; Vol 103, No. 11: pp. 2071-2077.

Rage Against the Gluten Machine!

By PPSM Staff

Certainly you have all heard about gluten-free diets by now. Why is this all the rage? Why is avoidance of gluten helping so many people battle various problems from digestive issues to allergic symptoms? Theoretically it comes down to the proteins gluten and gliadin. These are proteins found in wheat. So what’s the big deal with these proteins found in wheat you ask? Well, certain individuals form antibodies to these proteins which essentially attack the gut lining. This is called Celiac Disease. This is the most severe form of gluten intolerance and it literally represents an autoimmune process. Autoimmune issues are some of the most difficult problems to treat and often involve heavy duty drugs that basically suppress the immune system (not good for fighting infections and overall health). If these people eat gluten, they will have serious problems. The gut lining is only one cell layer thick! That means it is very sensitive to the many insults it faces daily. The standard American diet is already a nasty insult. Add an autoimmune process on top of that and you have chaos!

But what about people who test negative for Celiac Disease but still have intolerance to gluten? These individuals often exhibit the same symptoms as those people with Celiac Disease but they don’t form antibodies to these proteins. That means the body is not attacking itself like the autoimmune process of Celiac Disease, but harmful inflammation occurs which irritates the gut lining in much the same way. How do you know you have this intolerance? One way is simply to avoid gluten and see whether this eliminates your symptoms. A more sophisticated way is to come to our office and have this tested with a food sensitivity test. It’s a simple blood test and will show exactly what foods your individual body is intolerant to. Simple!

There are patients I have seen that have tested negative for Celiac Disease and negative for intolerance to gluten but they still say to me that their symptoms get better when avoiding gluten. Why would this be? Almost always it’s because of another intolerance. The beauty of the food sensitivity test is that we also test for various chemicals and food additives. I’ve seen many intolerances to glyphosate in these individuals. What the heck is glyphosate you ask? Well, it’s in most of the food you eat. It’s a chemical and you may even be familiar with it. You probably spray it on a lot of the weeds in your back yard. It’s called Round Up. That’s right. You are all ingesting Round Up when you eat many foods including most of the wheat that is available to us. This makes sense now, doesn’t it? These patients are not intolerant to the food, but rather they are now intolerant to the chemicals that are sprayed on the food as pesticides. It’s sprayed on so many things that sensitivities develop. Amazing and disturbing!

If you have any symptoms of gluten intolerance including gastrointestinal upset, gas, bloating, diarrhea, cramping, etc, please consider getting tested. Don’t stop with a simple Celiac panel. Get tested for food and chemical intolerances as well. We offer this testing and it’s covered by most insurances. Simply call to schedule an appointment to discuss your issues and get on a path to wellness today!

PSSM sponsors Shady Brook Farm’s *Holiday Light Show*, a Bucks County tradition

By PPSM Staff

PSSM has partnered up with Shady Brook Farm as a Top Sponsor for their annual Holiday Light Show, Bucks County’s most anticipated community event of the year!

annual Holiday Light Show

Experience the magic of millions of lights illuminating acres of farmland at the Shady Brook Farm 2013 Holiday Light Show!”

This event makes a wonderful holiday tradition for families and friends. There are incredible new displays this year, including the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’….and our very own PSSM customized light display!!

Our PSSM light display is located upfront by the ticket booth entrance. You can’t miss it, at 18′ high by 60′ wide – also seen from highway I-95! We couldn’t be more thrilled of our awesome display and, of course, our partnership with Shady Brook Farm!

Our display design pays homage to a keyword at PSSM; Performance. Its aesthetic correlates to our 3 significant graphic rings shown on the PSSM logo – our performance rings of service & achievement, acknowledging the state-of-the-art non-surgical multidisciplinary platform we offer. Our logo is lit with the animation of a flaming torch, representing PSSM’s promise to serve, treat & help heal our patients. “Our Patients Results are our Goals”.

New Sponsors of the Holiday Light Show

Here is an excerpt from the Bucks County Courier Times special edition Holiday Guide, handed to all who attend the light show:  New Sponsors of the Holiday Light Show, by correspondent Sandi Pachuta:

Percy Naranjo, Chief Executive Officer of Performance Spine & Sports Medicine, said he is excited that his medical practice is a new light display sponsor for Shady Brook Farm this year.  Naranjo’s practice is one block down the road from the farm, and he is pleased they are neighbors.  “We are in step with Shady Brook and how they interact with the community,” said Naranjo.

“We are so glad Shady Brook is having us as a sponsor for the community-oriented event of the light show; Shady Brook Farm provides a great environment for the family all year long,” said Naranjo.

Naranjo has been taking his children, now ages 5 and 7 years, to the light show ever since they were babies. “The light show is awesome, and we have been attending the show ever since we moved to the area six years ago,” said Naranjo. 

Performance Spine & Sports Medicine ( is slated to open its third location in Bordentown, NJ, in December.  The practice began in 2009 in Lawrenceville NJ, followed by the Newtown location in 2011.”

After visiting the light display show, we encourage everyone to enjoy all that the farm has to offer, including the market for their selection of nutritious fruits and nuts for added holiday health!  PSSM brochures are available all year long in the Farm Market and Garden Center, also handed out together with the Holiday Guide on special evenings during the light show event.  Spread the word; PSSM is at your service.

The Holiday Light Show is on display now through January 5, 2014 from dusk to 10PM.  Visit for prices.

Shady Brook Farm is celebrating 100 years in business and we couldn’t be more proud to be associated with this farm’s iconic heritage, commitment and service to Bucks County.  Enjoy some holiday light show magic ~ Doctors orders.  😉

Happy Holidays from PSSM!