Home » Archive by category "Uncategorized"

Recipe: Quinoa corn soup

Recipe: Quinoa corn soup

When I find a recipe to share, I often have to make adjustments to make it healthier. Sometimes I find substitutions to reduce the salt in a recipe or ways to cut down on fat. This recipe, however, is good just as it is. It’s from The Spoonriver Cookbook by Brenda Langton. (Photo courtesy of Mette Nielsen.)

I would recommend using fresh corn when it is season, but this soup can be enjoyed in the winter by using frozen corn as well.

Please remember to rinse the quinoa well before use to remove any saponin, which is a natural bitter tasting coating of quinoa which dissolves when rinsed.


  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 ears fresh sweet corn or 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen sweet corn
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Cilantro or ancho chili powder, for garnish


  1. Combine the water, quinoa and corn in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cobs.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, salt, parsley and oregano and continue cooking for another 8-10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or, for a smoky hot touch, add a pinch of ancho chili powder.

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 150 , Total Fat: 2 g, (Saturated Fat: 0 g), Sodium: 940 mg, Carbohydrate: 30 g, Fiber: 4 g, Protein: 5 g.


Submitted by Julia Salomon, nutrition educator and corporate dietitian.

Pregnant this summer? Here are 17 ways to beat the heat.

Pregnant this summer? Here are 17 ways to beat the heat.

Did you know that from 2009 through 2014, July, August and September were the top months for babies to be born? It also means that many expectant moms are 7-, 8- or 9 months pregnant during the summer.

With the exception of conception in September or October, most moms-to-be will experience the heat of summer during their pregnancy. Whether you’re in the midst of first-trimester morning sickness or you’re counting the days until your due date, here are 17 ways to stay cool during the dog days of summer.


  1. Wear comfortable, light-colored clothing. Light-colored material that reflects the sun and wicks moisture away from your skin will keep you cooler. Dark colors absorb the sun’s rays and retain the heat.
  2. Take off your rings. Summer heat can cause your fingers to swell. Even though it may be hard to take off your wedding ring, storing it during the hottest months of pregnancy may keep your ring in one piece and the circulation in your fingers healthy.


  1. Drink up. You can’t sweat if you’re dehydrated. Drinking water lets your body’s natural cooling system work for you. Staying hydrated also prevents achy joints. Adding ice to your drink can cool your inside body temperature. Avoid coffee, soda and fizzy drinks. They may taste good, but they can dehydrate you.
  2. Snack on frozen fruit. Frozen grapes, frozen bananas, frozen fruit juice or smoothie popsicles are nutritious ways to beat the heat without adding extra empty calories.
  3. Plan some cool meals. Smoothies, salads, sandwiches or slow-cooker meals can keep things from heating up at suppertime.
  4. Keep your house cool. With a bit of strategic planning, you can cool your house naturally. Open your screened windows in the evening and let fans pull in the cool night air. Pull your shades and close the windows when the sun shines during the day to keep warm air outside.


  1. Stay inside. When the sun is shining between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., seek refuge inside. If you don’t have an air conditioner, visit the library or take in a movie. You could also run errands get your shopping done during the hottest part of the day.
  2. Be wise when you are outside. If you have outside chores to do, try to schedule them early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it’s not as hot. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your head and provide a bit of shade.
  3. Go swimming. It’s a great way to exercise and beat the heat. You don’t have to swim. Wading in the water or dipping your legs over the edge of the pool also can help you cool off.
  4. Avoid sunburn. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Check the ingredient list to avoid oxybenzone, which has been shown to interfere with hormones. A topical product containing zinc may be the best choice for you and your baby.
  5. Exercise early in the morning. Make sure you stay hydrated, so you don’t overheat.
  6. Seek shade when you can.
  7. Enjoy a skin spritzer. The fine spray from a misting bottle or a hand-held misting fan can keep you cool as the water evaporates on a hot summer day.


  1. RICE yourself. Get plenty of REST, use ICE to create COOL COMPRESSES and ELEVATE your feet.
  2. Find a cool place to sleep. Nap or sleep in an air-conditioned or fan-cooled room. If your basement has healthy air quality, it may be cooler than sleeping upstairs.
  3. Take frequent showers. Be sure to dry the folds in your skin completely to avoid chaffing.
  4. Ask for help. If it is too hot for you to complete your household or outside chores, ask someone to help you.

These are just a few tips that we’ve found to keep you cool in the summer. But, 17 is such an odd number, isn’t it?

Can you help us build our list? We would like to give moms-to-be as many ways as possible to stay cool this summer.

Please share comments that include your favorite ways of staying cool during the hazy, lazy days of summer.

Keep your knees pain-free this summer

Keep your knees pain-free this summer

Whether you are active or a self-proclaimed couch potato, your knees take a lot of wear and tear. According to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 10 million people made appointments with their healthcare clinicians for knee-related pain and injuries in 2010.

And it’s no wonder the number is so high.

People are more active in the summer. You see more runners, joggers and walkers. People play ball, hike, garden and mow the lawn. The knee is intimately involved in all of these actions. To make the leg move smoothly, the knee joint works:

  • Bones
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments
  • Bursa
  • Fascia
  • Cartilage
  • Menisci

With all of these moving parts, one minor misalignment can cause major pain. Because of its complex structure, your knee is susceptible to arthritis, tears, tendinitis, bursitis, sprains, strains and ligament injuries.

Here are seven tips to help you avoid becoming a knee-injury statistic this year.

  1. Protect your knees from the ground up. Wear proper shoes. Feet that strike the ground incorrectly apply abnormal pressures on your knees. Wearing footwear designed for your activity also can help you avoid injury.
  1. Strengthen your quads and hamstrings. Together, these muscles stabilize your knee. Without strong quadriceps, the knee and knee cap are prone to misalignment. Strong hamstrings protect the back of the knee from hyperextension.
  1. Stretch your calf muscles. While the thigh muscles provide stability, the muscles in the lower leg allow for movement. Tight calf muscles can prevent the knee from moving freely. Make sure your calf muscles are strong and supple to prevent knee injury.
  1. Warm up for summer fun. Family reunions and summer picnics mean everyone can get into the game. When inactive people jump into an active game without warming up first, injuries can happen. It’s always a good idea to warm up and stretch before joining the kickball, softball or volleyball game.
  1. Summer is a great time to get into shape and lose weight. Warm temperatures invite people to get outside to walk, hike, bike and swim. Take advantage of the weather, get active and lose weight. Each pound of weight loss relieves up to three to four pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk or stand.
  1. Increase activity slowly. Whether you’re 15 or 50, if you start a new walking program, take up mountain biking, or train for your first 5K run, it’s important to start your activity slowly. An incremental training program builds strength and endurance and helps you stay active and pain-free.
  1. Wear protective knee gear. If you are prone to knee injuries or if your job requires heavy lifting, take precautions and wear a knee brace. Work with a sports medicine specialist, a physical therapist or your primary care clinician to determine the best protection for you.

If you experience knee pain, don’t ignore it. Pain is an indication that something is wrong. After an injury, you should Rest, Ice, apply a Compression bandage and Elevate (RICE) your knee. If the pain is severe or lasts more than a week, you should seek medical attention.

Ignoring knee pain could lead to long-term damage. Contact your healthcare clinician for an appointment.

Recipe: pizza sauce

Recipe: pizza sauce

Pizza seems to be one of those comfort foods for many folks yet considered a not-so-healthy choice. There are many ways to make your pizza healthier and the sauce if one item that could use a makeover.

Making pizza sauce is not hard and not all pizza sauces have to be tomato based. A basil or spinach pesto could be used or even a white sauce can be made. To keep things as traditional as possible this recipe is tomato based. To make it convenient this recipe used tomato puree but you can also make your own tomato sauce starting with fresh tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes. The sugar in most tomato based dishes is used to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes.


  • 1 onion finely minced (can use a food processor)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups tomato PUREE
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey or other sweetener of choice
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or some other hot pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat oil in pan and sauté onions until translucent over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté another minute with the onions. Add tomato puree, the herbs, salt and sweetener. Stir. Bring to a low boil then turn down heat and simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 20 minutes until sauce has thickened a bit and flavors have married. Add vinegar, stir and simmer for another five minutes.

Submitted by Julia Salomon, nutrition educator and corporate dietitian.

Four reasons your joints may hurt more in summer

Four reasons your joints may hurt more in summer

According to the New Jersey Metropolitan Pain Consultants, the heat and humidity of summer can affect your joints in several painful ways.

High humidity and changes in barometric pressure can increase your joint pain. According to a Science Daily article quoting  The Rothman Institute of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, your joints contain baroreceptors, which respond to barometric changes often associated with thunderstorms and severe summer weather.

If the tightness, stiffness and pain in your arthritic knee says, “There’s a storm coming,” it’s probably more accurate than most weathermen. Arthritis wears away the cushioning structures in the knee. When the tendons, ligaments, muscles and synovial fluid in your joints expand in response to the dropping barometric pressure, you can feel it.

You can find pain relief by using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), massage, supplements and ice or heat therapy. If your joint pain persists, call your orthopedic specialist about steroid injections. They can help relieve knee pain caused by a dropping barometer.

High temperatures and dehydration can affect your joint’s fluid levels. Less fluid means less lubrication. Less lubrication means more friction, which causes inflammation and pain. The cartilage that cushions your joints has high water content. When you sweat and don’t drink enough fluids, you decrease the cartilage’s cushioning effect, which can cause pain.

Heat and humidity can make it harder to deal with chronic pain. When it’s hot and humid, people can get cranky and irritable. Since dealing with heat and dealing with pain are both emotionally draining, coping with both of them at the same time can intensify the pain.

Inactivity stiffens your joints. When temperatures and humidity rise, it’s hard to find the motivation to move. Just walking across the room can have you breaking into a sweat. If your joints hurt, it’s tempting to hang out on the coach in front of the air conditioner.

But, it may not be the best idea. When you remain in one position for a long period of time, your joints become stiff. It can be hard to get moving, again.

If heat and humidity are keeping you down, use cold packs or a cold cloth on your neck and face to feel cooler. Drinking iced lemonade or flavored water can also help you cool off. If you choose to sit, don’t stay in the same position. Every 20 minutes, stand up or walk around for at least 5 minutes. It will help your body counteract the negative effects of sitting.

If your joints hurt more in the summer than at other times during the year, talk to your healthcare clinician. Your clinician may adjust your medications to help you avoid dehydration. He or she may prescribe specific exercises or recommend you drink more water. With a little planning, you can minimize your joint’s response to the highs and lows of hot summer weather.

If you want to speak with an orthopedic specialist, visit Ministry Health Care or Affinity Health System. Simply type orthopedics in the specialty area and you will have a listing of orthopedic experts in our healthcare group. Find one in your area and give them a call.

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.