Home » Archive by category "Uncategorized" (Page 3)

Recipe: Slawtastic salad

Recipe: Slawtastic salad

I love cabbage and use it often in my salad. It adds crunch and color to salads not to mention fiber, vitamin C and other vitamins such as folic acid and manganese. This salad is a slight variation of the original Confetti Slaw found here. Experiment with the herbs in the dressing, or add a few drops of lemon to it.

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried dill)
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
  • ½ cup precut matchstick carrots

You could also use the pre-sliced broccoli slaw they sell at the stores instead of the cabbage.


Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and which until blended. Add cabbage and carrots. Toss to coat.

Nutrition Facts
Yields 4 (2/3 cup) servings
Calories: 40
Fat: 2g
Protein: 1g
Carbohydrates: 6g
Fiber: 1g
Sodium: 205mg


Submitted by Julia Salomon, nutrition educator and corporate dietitian.


What’s causing the pain in your gut?

What’s causing the pain in your gut?

Marie’s pain was severe–one of the worst she had ever felt. But as she sat in the Emergency Room 45 minutes later, the pain in her abdomen had subsided. Had she over-reacted?

There are many reasons for a pain in the gut. It could be a simple stomach ache caused by something you ate. Or it could be a life threatening problem such as a ruptured appendix.

Pain is a sign that something is not quite right, but it doesn’t necessarily require urgent or emergency medical attention. When it’s as severe as the pain Marie experienced or when it’s accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent constipation or swelling of the abdomen, it’s important to get medical help right away.

Inside the abdomen are numerous major organs–the intestines, stomach, kidneys, gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas and appendix. An infection, inflammation or irritation of any of these organs can cause pain. The problem could also be a growth or cancer on one of these organs. Pain that is localized usually gives some clue as to which organ or organs might be involved.

In making a diagnosis, a doctor will also want to know what the pain feels like (sharp, dull, stabbing, cramp-like, knife-life, twisting, piercing); how long it lasts; and what seems to trigger it. Is it worse after a heavy meal? Better after a bowel movement? Worse when lying down?

KIDNEY STONES: Marie’s pain–coming on strongly and then getting less intense after awhile–was a clue that helped her doctor find the cause: a kidney stone. A urine test ruled out another strong possibility: a bladder or urinary tract infection.

MENSTRUAL CRAMPS: Women are familiar with menstrual cramps–one of the most common reasons for abdominal pain. If the pain is severe enough to cause you to miss work or school, though, you should see your doctor.

Sudden cramping or pelvic pain could be a sign of an infection. Left untreated, it could cause scarring and damage to reproductive organs, resulting in infertility.

Other reasons for pain related to female reproductive organs include fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease and sexually transmitted infections.

FOOD POISONING: The most common cause of abdominal pain is food poisoning. In addition to stomach pain and cramps, symptoms usually include diarrhea, vomiting, mild fever, nausea and headaches. Most cases can be treated at home and will pass in three to five days. Get medical attention if the diarrhea lasts more than three days, you have a fever over 101.5 or show symptoms of severe dehydration.

GASTROENTERITIS: What is commonly called the stomach flu is really viral gastroenteritis–an inflammation of the stomach and intestines caused by a virus such as rotavirus or norovirus. These viruses can spread through food or drink but also by close personal contact. Students in dormitories and children in day care centers are particularly vulnerable.

GALL STONES: The gallbladder is a little sac that stores bile from the liver. And it’s a common source of abdominal pain. As with kidney stones, the pain can be spasmodic. When a stone is blocking a cystic duct, the gallbladder contracts vigorously. The pain may extend to the back or beneath the right shoulder blade, and it usually worsens after eating a meal, particularly fatty or greasy foods.

IRRITABLE BOWELS: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is less serious than inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. But many of the symptoms are similar: diarrhea, constipation (or a combination of the two); bloating, cramping and gas that may lead to bathroom emergencies.

While the pain and cramping of IBS can be distressing, the disorder does not damage the bowels, as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis do. The latter, however, usually have additional symptoms such as weight loss and intestinal bleeding.

APPENDICITIS is an inflammation of the appendix, usually caused by a partial or complete obstruction in the appendix, a small protrusion of the colon. If the inflamed appendix ruptures, fecal matter can fill the abdominal cavity–a medical emergency. What starts as mild cramping on the lower right side may gradually become more steady and severe.

There are many reasons you could be feeling a pain in your gut. In the vast majority of cases, it will pass quickly and there is no cause for concern.  When the pain is severe, persistent, recurrent or is accompanied by other troubling symptoms, there is good reason to act quickly.




“Abdominal pain in adults,” eMedicineHealth, WebMD, medically reviewed by a doctor, December 17, 2015.

“Abdominal pain,” MedlinePlus, updated by Jacob L. Heller, M.D., MHA, May 12, 2014.

“Abdominal pain,” WebMD Medical Reference, reviewed by Melinda Ratini, D.O., M.S., April 10, 2015.

American College of Gastroenterology, “Abdominal pain syndrome,” Lawrence R. Schiller, M.D., FACG, updated January, 2013.

  1. David Bryan, “Abdominal pain in elderly persons,” Medscape Reference, updated December 27, 2015.

Verneda Lights and Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D., “Appendicitis,” Healthline, medically reviewed by George Krucik, M.D., July 25, 2012.

“Bowel obstruction–topic overview,” WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise, last updated November 14, 2014.

Ann Pietrangelo, “Viral gastroenteritis,” Healthline, medically reviewed by George Krucik, M.D., September 17, 2012.

Ann Pietrangelo and Kathleen Chemey, “Is it IBS or something else?” Healthline, medically reviewed by George Krucik, M.D., MBA, May 5, 2015.

Diana Rodriguez, “Symptoms of gallbladder problems,” Everyday Health, medically reviewed by Robert Jasmer, M.D., last updated March 26, 2015.

Leo A.A. Spee, M.D., et al, “Predictors of chronic abdominal pain affecting the well-being of children in primary care,” Annals of Family Medicine, 2015;13(2):158-163.

Marissa Selner, Winnie Yu and Kathryn Watson, “Food poisoning,” Healthline, medically reviewed by Steven Kim, M.D., October 27, 2015.

“What causes abdominal pain? 20 possible conditions,” Healthline, medically reviewed by George Krucik, M.D., MBA.

“What causes painful menstruation?” Healthline, medically reviewed by George Krucik, M.D., MBA.

Swollen knuckles…not handy

Swollen knuckles…not handy

If you played basketball, volleyball or baseball during your youth, you are probably familiar with swollen knuckles. If the ball bounces off your fingertips rather than nestling in the palm of your hand, your knuckles absorb the brunt of the trauma, and the result is one or more swollen fingers–painful and hard to bend.

A jammed finger is ordinarily not very serious. After a few days of ice and rest, it will gradually start to get better. The ice reduces the swelling, and gentle bending of the finger will help with the stiffness.

When it comes to swollen fingers and hands, a jammed finger ranks as one of the least worrisome. Many other symptoms involving the knuckles, fingers and hand are serious enough to require medical attention.

INJURY: If the jammed finger is crooked, dislocated or extremely painful, it has probably suffered a more serious injury such as a dislocation, torn tendon or fracture.

A Boutonniere or “buttonhole” deformity–with the middle knuckle refusing to straighten while the fingertip bends backward–signals a tendon injury. This often occurs immediately after the injury and requires prompt treatment to avoid permanent deformity and loss of function.

A splint can be used to straighten the finger and protect it from further injury. Stretching exercises improve strength and flexibility. If treatment is delayed, surgery may be necessary. And if the delay is too long, even surgery may not prevent permanent deformity.

More common is a mallet deformity that occurs at the top rather than the middle joint. This often happens when the finger catches on something–during a fall or even while making the bed or pulling up your socks. The tendon pops off the tip, and the tip of the finger droops down. A mallet injury may not be all that painful, but it too requires prompt treatment with splinting and physical therapy.

      OSTEOARTHRITIS is a degenerative arthritis that involves wearing away of the cartilage that lines and cushions joints.  This type of arthritis is generally more common in older adults but can also occur in young adults who have suffered repeated trauma to the fingers through work or play.

As the cartilage wears away, some swelling and warmth can occur, but eventually you develop knobby rather than swollen knuckles.

A knobby, boney deformity of the joint at the end of the fingers is known as a Heberden’s node. It’s actually a bone spur or calcium deposit that forms as the bones try to protect themselves. A bony knob on the middle joint of the finger is known as a Bouchard’s node. These nodes may not be painful but can make it difficult to perform common tasks.

RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS is an inflammatory disease that can strike at any age–most commonly during the 40s and 50s. The immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joint, causing pain, swelling and warmth. Many joints are usually affected, but early signs often involve the small joints of the fingers and toes.

Whereas osteoarthritis can be gradual, rheumatoid and other inflammatory types of arthritis are more likely to work rapidly, so it’s important to get early treatment to avoid permanent damage to joint tissue.

INFECTION is another cause of swollen knuckles and fingers, and, again, prompt action is required. A small infection is easy to treat, but, left untended, infection can advance quickly and cause permanent disability or loss of the finger.

It’s important to note when and where the infection may have started and any circumstances such as an animal bite, puncture wound or cut.

When movement of fingers is difficult or painful, there is likely to be a deep infection involving tendons, muscles and blood vessels. Even if the symptoms of infection seem minor to you, it’s safest to get prompt evaluation and treatment by a doctor.

FLUID RETENTION: If you discover that your fingers are puffy enough that you can’t take your ring off, you may simply have fluid retention, usually because the weather is hot and steamy, and you haven’t consumed enough water.

Fluid retention is also caused by eating too many salty foods. When you take in excess sodium, your body compensates by retaining more water. Talk to your doctor if this happens to you frequently; you could have salt sensitivity and be at risk of high blood pressure.

Swelling, pain or other symptoms in your fingers and hands should not be ignored. There are many possible reasons, most of which call for medical attention.

Our expert orthopedic teams at Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System will create an individualized care plan to treat your hand or wrist condition. Your plan may consist of a conservative, progressive, non-surgical approach that includes physical therapy, pain management and medication.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Boutonniere deformity,” OrthoInfo, last reviewed December, 2013.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “Arthritis of the hand,” OrthoInfo.

Sarah DiGiulio, “7 reasons your fingers are swollen,” Prevention, August 4, 2015.

Jill Fanslau, “Why your jammed finger may be a much more serious injury,” Men’s Health, May 15, 2015.

“Finger infection overview,” Medscape Medical Reference, medically reviewed by a doctor, November 12, 2014.

Greg Freeman, “Inflammation and stiffness: the hallmarks of arthritis,” Arthritis Foundation.

“Knuckle swelling,” RightDiagnosis.com.

“Knuckle pain,” HealthGrades.com, last reviewed August 2, 2013.

Edward R. Lazkowski, M.D., “What causes hand swelling during exercise?” MayoClinic.com, December 7, 2015.

Elizabeth Narins, “Tight ring? Foods that slim swollen fingers,” Women’s Health, August 28, 2012.

Douglas Roberts, M.D., “6 signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, EveryDay Health, October 23, 2014.

William C. Shiel, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, “Early, mild osteoarthritis of the hands: what to do if it affects you,” MedicineNet Arthritis Newsletter, medically reviewed by a doctor, December 1, 2014.

“Swollen knuckle,” MedGuidance.

Thomas R. Trojian, “Jammed finger,” Medscape Reference, updated December 9, 2015.

“When RA affects your hands and fingers,” WebMD Medical Reference, reviewed by David Zelman, M.D., February 10, 2014.

Recipe: roasted carrots

Recipe: roasted carrots

When vegetables are roasted their natural flavors are enhanced. Some vegetables with slightly higher sugar contents may caramelize a bit when roasted which is the case with carrots for example or sweet potatoes. This recipe is a wonderful way to prepare carrots, colorize a meal and enjoy the sweetness of them. The other nice thing? It is quick!


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound baby carrots
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil (use extra virgin)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley or tarragon


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray
  • In a small bowl, mix together the carrots and the olive oil. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
  • Place the carrots into a bowl and mix with the agave nectar or honey. Sprinkle with parsley or tarragon.

Enjoy as a side vegetable dish with baked chicken; grilled fish or eat simply as a snack.

Submitted by Julia Salomon, nutrition educator and corporate dietitian.

Health hazards of sitting at work

Health hazards of sitting at work

Today’s worker spends more time than ever in a seated positon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that U.S. adults spend between eight and nine hours each day in seated and sedentary positions, mostly at work.

We all know that a sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity, but the health risks of spending too much time sitting may surprise you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prolonged sitting time is a risk factor for negative health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and premature death.

What about standing instead of sitting? Standing is not the answer. Research shows that prolonged periods of standing work comes with its own human health risks, including circulatory issues and musculoskeletal aches and pains.

However, taking breaks and avoiding prolonged sitting time can significantly reduce the risks associated with too much sitting. One option that has gained traction and has had positive results is the sit-stand workstation. These devices can be elevated or lowered to an appropriate height so that an employee can work either standing or sitting, and employees can change from a standing or seated position at any time during the work day without interrupting their work flow or process.

Research supports a sit-stand paradigm:

A recent study by the CDC found the installation of a sit-stand device was effective at increasing non-sitting time, reducing upper back and neck pain, and improving mood states. Furthermore, the removal of the sit-stand device largely negated all observed improvements within a two-week period.

A 2009 study found that discomfort complaints were significantly reduced among workers using the sit-stand paradigm, and that those workers showed no significant loss of data entry efficiency. The study concluded that implementing a sit-stand workstation is an effective workplace health intervention for reducing adverse effects of occupational “sedentariness” without negatively impacting productivity.

Beyond worker health, employers may be interested in potential costs savings associated with a sit-stand option for workers. A 2011 study reported on Ergoweb compared the musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) cost data on two similar employee groups – one  group could adjust their work stations and the other group could not. When comparing all cost (personal and worker compensation costs) the researches saw a three-fold increase in the cost for the employees in the non-adjustable group. When considering only the work related MSD costs, they experienced a 20X increase in costs for the non-adjustable group versus the user-adjustable Group ($74,300 per 100 workers vs. $3,500 per 100 workers, respectively).

But how can a company encourage workers to change their habits and adopt a sit-stand strategy? In a 2012 article, ergonomist Gene Kay, MS, CEA summarized the options an organization should consider:

  • Go Big: everyone gets sit-to-stand furniture and coaching & instruction on how/when to use it. This has the highest initial cost but has been shown to produce very good results.
  • Go Flexible: reduce your overall real estate footprint by deploying shared sit-to-stand workstations that two or more workers will use in combination with work from home, alternate shifts and periodic joint work in conference rooms etc. This can significantly reduce your real estate costs and produce excellent results with gains in productivity, retention, and engagement.
  • Go Alternate: Leave the primary seated station unchanged and identify alternate stand-up areas for other tasks. This could be a small raised portion of the fixed cube for stand up work (paper work, secondary computer tasks, etc.). Central printers and recycling can encourage users to get up and walk, as can, walking to more distant bathrooms and using stairs instead of elevators. This can produce some moderate results with a moderate budget.
  • Go Small: If the previous options don’t fit your budget or work demands, then only deploy sit-to-stand for those with a qualifying medical need — look for specific physician recommendations for conditions such as degenerative disc disorder, etc. This produces the least overall return on investment, but will help in individual cases

What else can you do?

If you’re not able or can’t afford to implement a sit-stand workstation, consider two simple options:

  • Encourage the use of pedometers, and reward employees who achieve a target step count.
  • Remind workers to take breaks. Some companies install software on the employee’s computer timed to remind them to stand up and walk around. Research has indicated that these prompts deliver positive results.

If your company needs help addressing any aspect of worker health, contact Ministry Medical Group Employer Solutions. We assist with:

  • Reducing worker compensation claims
  • Reducing lost work time
  • Reducing costs to the company and the employee related to health care costs and related health insurance
  • Improving employee health status and morale

 For more information, call (715) 346-5243 or visit our website


Author: Deb Kearns, OT, Industrial Rehabilitation Services Coordinator, Ministry Medical Group Employer Solutions

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.