Try Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Beverages This New Year’s Eve

New Years Eve will be here tomorrow. Do you have a plan for celebrating without sabotaging your plans to live a healthy lifestyle? If you think that staying away from all of the festivities will be the only way to behave yourself, think again! Here are a few ideas for low calorie, healthier cocktails for you to drink while ringing in the new year.

Cocktails can pack a caloric punch when prepared with high-calorie mixers like juice, soda, tonic water, and simple syrup. Keep things light with these skinny drink choices.

If you want a Dirty Martini – (220 to 330 calories)

A better choice: Hot-pepper-infused vodka over ice with an olive (105 calories)

Martinis can be sneaky. A 4-ounce drink has around 220 calories, and many generous bartenders serve martinis in larger glasses. The bigger a drink, the more alcohol it has; therefore, the more calories it has. The addition of olive brine in a dirty martini only adds about 20 extra calories, which isn’t that big of a deal — but the sodium is. It can increase your thirst, which you may try to quench with more alcohol, and it can also make you feel bloated the next day.

If you want a Cosmopolitan – (212 Calories per 4-Ounce Serving)

A better choice: Raspberry-infused vodka with club soda, a splash of cranberry and a lime (115 calories)

A little vodka, a little Cointreau, some cranberry juice—you may as well be sipping a pack of liquefied fruit chews. And the more splashes of juice and shots of alcohol you add, the higher the calories climb.

If you want a Gin and Tonic – (120 to 166 Calories)

A better choice: Equal parts gin and soda water and a splash of tonic (100 to 140 calories)

Tonic water—that bitter-tasting bubbly mixer whose key ingredient, quinine, was once used as an anti-malarial medicine—has almost as many calories and sugar as soda. Cut the quinine beverage with soda water rather than ordering diet tonic (or diet anything) because research suggests zero-calorie artificial sweeteners can throw off the body’s natural response to intense sweetness, which can lead to weight gain.

It is best, of course, to avoid alcohol, but if it doesn’t feel like New Years Eve without a festive cocktail, there are definitely some choices that are better than others. Happy New Year from Dr. Heidi Ryan. Celebrate safely and healthfully!

Champagne cocktail for  New Year and Christmas Celebration

A New Kind of Resolution for a New Kind of You

To lose weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions every year. You’ve probably made it once or twice yourself, and we commend you for Healthy New Year Dollarphotoclub_74471379accomplishing such an ambitious goal. What? You didn’t actually stick to your resolution? Don’t feel bad; the majority of those who made the same resolution didn’t either. The good news is that losing weight isn’t the only path to well-being in 2016.

Good health happens when the physical, emotional, and social or environmental parts of our lives are in balance. When people resolve to lose weight, they are actually expressing that they want to feel and look better.

This year consider making a new kind of New Year’s resolution. Don’t make losing weight your main goal. However, you just might find that it’s a nice side benefit to being happy and healthy.

  • Get some fresh air.
    • Simply being in nature can have a big effect on an overloaded mind. Find a place in nature that speaks to you, whether it’s a spot in your backyard or a bench at a local park. Visit there regularly, even if it’s only for a short time.
    • Make an effort to get some fresh air every day. Park your car a little farther from the door in parking lots, take a quick walk around your office building at lunch, or wake up 15 minutes earlier and jog around your neighborhood.
  • Step away from the screen.
    • Research shows children who spend too much time in front of screens — computers, TV, video games — are at a greater risk for obesity, have a harder time falling and staying asleep, don’t focus well, and experience more anxiety and depression. Who’s to say adults are any different?
  • Sleep more.
    • If you want a major life overhaul without much effort, getting more sleep is the way to go.
    • Sleeping helps you burn fat, decreases stress, improves your immune system, and boosts your mood and mental clarity.
    • Slowly change your routine to add 15 minutes a night until you get to eight hours.
  • Add something.
    • Instead of subtracting soda, sugar, or fat from your diet, make a resolution to add something.
    • Add a serving of vegetables to every meal.
    • Add protein to your snacks.
    • Add two glasses of water to your daily routine.
    • Add 15 minutes of meditation to your bedtime routine or 15 minutes of classical music to your commute to help you destress.
    • Add some organization time to your daily schedule.

If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda. He and his team of experts can help you find the right treatment for you, and we wish you a happy and healthy new year!


Keep Stress Eating on the Holiday “To Don’t” List

There are several ways in which stress can contribute to weight gain. One has to do with cortisol, a stress hormone. When we’re under stress, the fight or flight response is triggered in our bodies, leading to the release of various hormones. Whether we’re stressed because of holiday demands or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives (or run like heck).Holiday Stress Dollarphotoclub_7160875

To answer this need, we experience a burst of energy, shifts in metabolism and blood flow, and other changes. If you remain in this state for a prolonged amount of time due to chronic stress, your health becomes at risk. Aside from a host of other dangers, chronic stress can also cause weight gain, which can sometimes create even more stress.

Chronic stress and cortisol can contribute to weight gain in the following ways:

  • Metabolism – Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This also makes dieting more difficult.
  • Cravings – People experiencing chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty, and sugary foods. This includes sweets, processed food, and other things that aren’t as good for you.
  • Blood Sugar – Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels, causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, a cluster of health concerns that can lead to greater health problems, like heart attacks and diabetes.
  • Fat Storage – Higher levels of stress are linked to greater levels of abdominal fat. Abdominal fat is linked with greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.

Stress and weight gain are connected in other ways, too. These are the top stress-weight connections:

  • Emotional Eating – Increased levels of cortisol can give you excess nervous energy and can often cause you to eat more than you normally would.
  • Fast Food – Experts believe that one of the big reasons we’re seeing more obesity in our society these days is that people are too stressed and busy to make healthy dinners at home, often opting to get fast food a the nearest drive-thru instead.
  • Too Busy to Exercise – Exercise may be one of the last things on your to-do list. Unfortunately, from sitting in traffic, clocking hours at our desks, and plopping in front of the TV in exhaustion at the end of the day, exercise often goes by the wayside.

This busy holiday season, try to eliminate stress where and when you can. It should be a time of loved ones and celebration; it doesn’t have to be a time of anxiety or overeating. Happy Holidays from Dr. Heidi Ryan!

No Excuses: Find the Smallest Windows of Time for Short Bursts of Exercise this Holiday Season

Realistically speaking, your goals this time of year should be to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge (the average weight gain is about a pound), hold on to your hard-won endurance (we can lose up to 20 percent of our cardiovascular fitness if we quit exercising cold-turkey between Thanksgiving and New Year’s), and put a dent in the inevitable stress of the season (so the stuff that’s supposed to be fun actually will be).

Fortunately, you can accomplish all those things—and you don’t need to carve out a huge amount of time to do it. Adding short bursts of intense effort can fire up your metabolism and fast-track results. In an Australian study, women who cranked out high-intensity interval training three days a week for 20 minutes (for 15 weeks) shed more fat than those who exercised for 40 minutes at a lower intensity over the same period.

These quick sessions aren’t just good for weight control; studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise—we’re talking 10 to 20 minutes at a time—can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction. Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels.

Whether you are on the road or at home, doing things like the following moves require no equipment or gym.   Do as many reps of each exercise as you can in one minute, moving from one to the next without stopping. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat the circuit a total of three or four times.

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Squat Jumps
  3. Side-to-Side Hops: Keeping your knees slightly bent and feet together, imagine you’re jumping back and forth over a line on the floor.
  4. Burpees: Squat to place your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank position, and do a pushup. Reverse the move to return to standing, jumping off the ground to finish each rep.

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Dr. Shawn Tsuda and his team wish you all happy holidays! If you’re considering bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas area, schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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Happy Holidays just got Healthier!

Tis the season for parties and holiday meals, and many of us are putting serious thought into our menus and preparations right about now. You might find yourself torn between putting on the traditional, fat and calorie-laden feast, justifying it in your mind as an only “once-a-year” event, but you aren’t doing anyone any favors by serving a heavy, unhealthy meal.

It’s understandable that you have traditional dishes that are “must haves” at many family holiday dinners–candied yams, giblet gravy, sausage stuffing–the list is rich and long! However, you don’t have to use the usual, old-fashioned recipes, and chances are your family won’t notice or will prefer the updated versions.

Take yams or sweet potatoes for example. In and of themselves, these are normally considered a very healthy choice until you add syrup and butter and brown sugar and marshmallows! Instead consider serving this traditional holiday side dish in an updated, healthy version like this scrumptious sweet potato casserole that gets its fabulous flavor from honey and freshly grated orange zest rather than the traditional stick of butter. To complete the healthy makeover we sprinkle a crunchy pecan streusel spiked with orange juice concentrate over the top. You can save the marshmallows for s’mores.

Makes: 10 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 1/4 hours

Sweet Potato Casserole


  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, (3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan. Mash with a potato masher. Measure out 3 cups. (Reserve any extra for another use.)
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk eggs, oil and honey in a medium bowl. Add mashed sweet potato and mix well. Stir in milk, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish.
  4. To prepare topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate, oil and butter in a small bowl. Blend with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over the casserole.
  5. Bake the casserole until heated through and the top is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4; cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Sweet potato casserole Dollarphotoclub_16730124

Look Into LINX to End Your GERD Complications

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly referred to as GERD or acid reflux, is a condition in which the liquid content of the stomach regurgitates (backs up or refluxes) into the esophagus. The cause of GERD is complex and may involve multiple causes.

The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD include:

  • heartburn
  • regurgitation
  • nausea

Complications of GERD include:

  • ulcers and strictures of the esophagus
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • cough and asthma
  • throat and laryngeal inflammation
  • inflammation and infection of the lungs
  • a collection of fluid in the sinuses and middle ear

GERD may be diagnosed or evaluated by a variety of procedures and tests. And the treatment of GERD is varied as well.

Treatments include:

  • life-style changes
  • diet
  • over-the-counter and prescription drugs
  • surgery

GERD is a chronic condition. Once it begins, it usually is life-long. If there is injury to the lining of the esophagus (esophagitis), this also is a chronic condition. Moreover, after the esophagus has healed with treatment and treatment is stopped, the injury will return in most patients within a few months. Once treatment for GERD is begun it is often continued indefinitely. However, some patients with intermittent symptoms can be treated only during symptomatic periods.

The good news is that there is a revolutionary procedure called LINX™ surgery that helps to alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux/GERD by GERD background concept glowingstrengthening the lower esophageal sphincter. The LINX™ device consists of a small flexible band of magnetic titanium beads that’s placed around the esophagus. The contracting magnetic force of the band strengthens the body’s natural barrier against acid reflux, while still allowing food and liquid to easily pass through when swallowing. Over 90% of patients experience a significant improvement in their reflux symptoms following LINX™ surgery.

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If you live in the Las Vegas area and would like to learn more about this procedure, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shawn Tsuda or Dr. Heidi Ryan. As the first LINX trained surgeons in Las Vegas and as the first digestive institute in the area to offer the only FDA-approved treatment for GERD, Dr. Shawn Tsuda, Dr. Heidi Ryan, and Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center are ready to help you fight back against gastroesophageal reflux disease!


Keep Moving to Live Longer

We’ve all heard the expression “use it or lose it,” and when it comes to your body, it’s true! Our bodies were meant to move. Regular exercise is necessary for physical fitness and good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the aging process.

When you exercise, your body uses energy to keep going. Aerobic exercise such as walking and bicycling improves your stamina by training your body to become more efficient and use less energy for the same amount of work.

Exercising with weights and other forms of resistance training develops your muscles, bones, and ligaments for increased strength and endurance. Your posture can be improved, and your muscles become more firm and toned. You not only feel better, but you look better, too!

Stretching exercises keep your body limber so that you can bend, reach, and twist. Improving your flexibility through exercise reduces the chance of injury and improves balance and coordination.

Exercise is also a key to weight control because it burns calories. If you burn off more calories than you take in, you lose weight. It’s as simple as that.

In a study from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, researchers have quantified how many years of life are gained by being physically active at different levels, among all individuals as well as among various groups having different body mass indexes (BMI).

The study found that adding low amounts of physical activity to one’s daily routine, such as 75 minutes of brisk walking per week, was associated with increased longevity: a gain of 1.8 years of life expectancy after age 40, compared with doing no such activity. Physical activity above this minimal level was associated with additional gains in longevity. For example, walking briskly for at least 450 minutes a week was associated with a gain of 4.5 years. Further, physical activity was associated with greater longevity among persons in all BMI groups: those normal weight, overweight, and obese.

The findings reinforce the strong connection between a physically active lifestyle and a normal body weight. These findings may also help convince currently inactive persons that even being modestly active is worth it for greater longevity, even if it may not result in weight control.

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Schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan if you’re interested in discussing bariatric surgery in the Las Vegas, Nevada area. She and her team of experts can help you find the perfect treatment for you.

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