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Fire up the grill for these healthy cookout ideas


Summertime means cookout time, but just because it comes from the grill doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy! We have ideas for keeping your summer diet healthy for your heart and your waistline—all it takes is thinking a little differently about the standard grilled menu.

Go fishin’
Forgo the traditional beef griller for fish! Oily fish, like tuna and salmon, are full of omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. You could form patties or treat a fillet with lemon juice, and add your favorite herbs and spices for even more flavor. Keep in mind fish cooks fast, so you want to be attentive while you are grilling it.

Slim down your burger
If you can’t go without your red meat, use lean or extra lean beef and drain or pat off the excess fat after you’ve grilled it. Did you know that the recommended serving size for a hamburger patty is three ounces? A three ounce burger is the roughly the size of the palm of your hand. Keep your patties on the slim side, or add in finely chopped vegetables like peppers or onions to make a thick burger that’s heavy on nutrients.

Think green
Take the mixed veggie-burger one step further by grilling vegetables instead of meat. Kabobs are an easy way to grill up a variety of veggies, and they’re easy to handle, too. Fill a skewer with veggies like mushrooms, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini or yellow squash—anything with some “flesh” to it should work well. Lightly spray the skewered veggies with olive oil and place them on the grill. For the most flavor you’ll want to keep flipping occasionally, until they are slightly blackened. You can also grill corn on the cob right in its husk; place on the grill for about 30 minutes, rotating occasionally. Let it cool for about five minutes after removing it from the grill, and before you peel the husk off. Continue Reading »

My NICU experience


This is a guest blog post by Jenny McCollian, St. Elizabeth Hospital patient

My first child, my daughter Maya, was born 12 weeks premature, but my second pregnancy seemed just as normal as any other. Because Maya had been born early, I was getting regular checkups every two weeks or so to keep an eye on things. At a checkup a week before my son James was born, I found out that he was going to come early. He arrived at exactly 28 weeks, on September 16, 2014, and I’m so happy that we had a NICU available right in our hospital to take care of him.

I started having pains late at night on September 15 and knew something was up. We initially went to the emergency room at St. Elizabeth Hospital, and when the staff on call realized that I was going into early labor, they went into action in seconds. Once the labor and delivery team came in, things were flawless, perfect. Even though my doctor, Dr. Darling, had just left to go home, he came right back to deliver James. The NICU nurses were all so sweet—truly friendly, caring and compassionate. I just loved them all.

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Why do I have an appendix?


The appendix is a mysterious part of the body. Located on the right side of the body near where the small and large intestine meet, this thin tube is about four inches long. Its purpose? We’re not sure! Some experts theorize that the appendix stores good bacteria that are capable of restoring the digestive system after diarrheal illnesses. Others say that the appendix has no purpose and is just a remnant from previous stages of evolution.

While we don’t know why the appendix exists, we do know that it sometimes causes pain, though, true to its mysterious nature, we don’t know why that happens. Appendicitis—when the appendix becomes inflamed, infected or ruptured—causes severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. If you’re experiencing constant, severe pain in your lower right abdomen that becomes worse when pressed or during movement, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to your clinician.

The most basic test for appendicitis is a simple physical exam. Your clinician may also request an ultrasound or a CT scan to show whether or not the appendix is swollen or has ruptured. If tests show that you have appendicitis, you’ll have your appendix surgically removed via an appendectomy. Depending on the method—a traditional large cut or a minimally invasive laparoscopy—recovery time varies, but it is not an uncommon procedure and the majority of patients recover within a few days to weeks with little to no complications.

While we don’t know why we have an appendix, we do know that we can get by without one; removing the appendix does not cause any direct health problems.

What is a midwife?


The tradition of having a midwife for childbirth is a long one, but make no mistake that today’s certified nurse midwives (CNM) are highly trained medical professionals.

A CNM is an advanced practice nurse with a master’s degree in nursing who specializes in the care of women across their lifespan. CNMs are considered independent practitioners, who have the authority to write prescriptions.

The main difference between a midwife and an OB-GYN is in the perspective of care for their patients. Midwives are trained as nurses first, in the health promotion model of care. This means that they are trained to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle choices while taking into account physical, emotional, mental and spiritual factors of health. OB-GYNs are trained in the medical model, which focuses mostly on the physical aspect of care and treatment. They specialize in surgery and illness processes, and midwives specialize in education and management of normal pregnancy and birth.

Because they are not called out of the office as frequently for emergencies and surgeries, midwives often have the luxury of being able to spend a great deal of time with their patients. A midwife can typically offer a highly personalized, natural process of care for your pregnancy and birth, and will have a collaborative agreement with a physician, who can consult or assist if risks or issues emerge.

If you decide that a midwife is the best choice for you and your baby, Mercy Medical Center has an expert team of certified nurse midwives, who are now accepting patients. For more information, visit http://www.affinityhealth.org/Affinity/Services/Obstetrics-and-Gynecology/Midwives.htm



Making mealtimes less stressful for your child

Making mealtimes less stressful for your child

Mealtimes can be a battlefield for many families, leading to stress and impaired relationships between a child and food. If your child is struggling with eating habits, seeing a specialist could help. To determine if intervention is needed, answer the following questions:

Does your child:

  • Have a history of failure to thrive or poor weight gain?
  • Have a limited diet or struggle to add new foods to his or her diet?
  • Refuse foods or food groups based on texture, color, temperature, smell or appearance?
  • Need constant reinforcements or rewards to participate in mealtimes?
  • Gag, cough or choke when eating?
  • Require longer than 30 minutes to complete a meal or snack?
  • Graze or snack all day?
  • Get most of his or her nutrition from milk or supplements?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your child might benefit from the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Feeding Group. The SOS group meets for one hour once a week for 12 consecutive weeks, and is designed to assess and treat all the factors involved with eating/feeding difficulties. This approach focuses on desensitization for increased food acceptance, which leads to increased food intake and improves oral motor skills to empower children to safely eat a variety of textures and foods. Continue Reading »

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.