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Four ways to maintain a clean bill of health


You have a clean bill of health, but how do you maintain it? That’s a question that weighs on the minds of many. With a few helpful tips, you can help prevent common ailments.

1. Focus on a well-balanced diet: When planning your meals, keep the five basic food groups in mind – fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Choosemyplate.gov offers helpful information on portion sizes as well as healthy suggestions.

2. Get some exercise: Not only is exercise beneficial for warding off stress, it also helps keep your heart healthy and helps defend against high blood pressure, obesity and arthritis. Thirty minutes multiple times a week is best.

3. Allow yourself enough sleep: Sleep gives our bodies time to rejuvenate. The average recommendation for adults is about eight hours per night.

4. Establish a relationship with a primary care provider: By developing a relationship with a primary care provider, you and your loved ones will have someone to turn to with your medical questions and receive the personalized care you deserve.

For help finding a primary care provider who is right for you, call Affinity NurseDirect at 1-800-362-9900 or go online to Find A Doctor: www.affinityhealth.org/doctor.

Staying healthy during flu season

sneezingWhile the best way to stay healthy this flu season is to get vaccinated, there are some other things you can do to protect yourself.

Here are a few:

1.  Practice good hand hygiene. Encourage everyone in your family to practice regular handwashing, especially after using the bathroom, before and after handling or eating food and after coming in from the outdoors. Handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.

2.  Take cover. Get into the habit of sneezing into your inner elbow. If you have a tissue, cover your nose and mouth with it when you sneeze or cough.

3.  Don’t touch. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.

4.  Replace and wash items. Buy a new toothbrush after a cold or other illness. Wash your bedding at least once a week, especially pillow covers. Wash gloves, scarves and any other attire that covers your face or mouth. This is helpful in keeping germs away.

5.  Stay hydrated. Dry nasal passages make it easier for the flu virus to breed, so its important to drink plenty of fluids. Water is a natural moisturizer for the inside of your body. Aim for eight cups of water a day. Swap out fizzy carbonated drinks for herbal tea. Increase your fluid intake if you are on a high-fiber or high-protein diet. Continue Reading »

Lentil cake recipe

lentilsMy favorite vegetables are lentils and black beans. So when I came across this recipe for lentil cakes, I knew I had to share it!


  • ½ tsp of curry powder
  • 1 cup crimson lentils *
  • 1 cup beluga lentils*
  • 1 cup split peas
  • 1 cup sweet onions diced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 quarts water
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala*
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, to sauté the cakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper or to taste Continue Reading »

Celebrate Halloween, not the candy

halloween candyHalloween. The crisp, October breeze in the late afternoon and the mounds of giggly, costumed kids running around the neighborhoods asking for treats is a sight to be seen! Halloween is a fun day filled with laughter, surprises, tricks, and…treats.

Many parents wonder what to do with the candy, most of which have little or no nutritional value. Kids want to eat it (preferably all in one sitting!); parents want to curb its consumption. Some parents want the treats out of sight to avoid the temptation for their own sake!

Here are a few suggestions to having a guilt-free Halloween: Continue Reading »

Celebrating a healthy Thanksgiving

The proverbial Thanksgiving meal brings to mind images of buttery mashed potatoes, turkey with gravy, stuffing, creamy green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows, cranberry sauce, pumpkin, cherry or pecan pie and many other tasty dishes. Who could pass that up?

Studies have shown that the average person will gain over one pound during the holiday season. While one pound seems harmless, research shows that this extra weight can be quite stubborn, still present a year later. When next year’s holiday season rolls around, another pound is put on and the cycle continues.

The average American will consume more than their fair share of food on Thanksgiving Day alone. Estimates on how many calories are consumed range from 3,000 to 4,500 calories just for that day.  Whatever the number may be, the fact is, Thanksgiving Day offers ample opportunity to “overdo it.”

However, there is a way to enjoy these classic dishes without going overboard, gastronomically speaking. Below are some tips to accomplish just that.

Start with smaller portions. This can be achieved in many ways. Using smaller plates gives the illusion that we are eating a lot as we fill it up. Another strategy is to cut down on the portions of each dish. Instead of two full scoops of mashed potatoes, try one scoop. You can always go back for more if you are truly hungry for more. Using these strategies allows you to taste a little bit of everything without overdoing it.

Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. This is one of the primary recommendations from MyPlate, and it makes sense. If you fill up first with vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and fruits, chances are you won’t feel that hungry for foods high in fat and calories.

Remember, dessert often follows the main meal. Pumpkin pie and other delicious desserts are often staples for Thanksgiving. To truly savor the flavors and aromas of these, eat them while you are still feeling slightly hungry. In the words of a child: “Save some room in your tummy for dessert!”

Beware of liquid calories. Good wines and other spirits may be offered during Thanksgiving. Juices and other sweetened beverages may be available to children. Practice portion control with these and try to drink water as well.

Get moving. It takes an average of one to three hours (longer if you are pregnant) for food to be digested. The more we eat and the more fat content is in the food, the longer it will take our bodies to digest it. To encourage digestion, take a walk after dinner or engage in another gentle physical activity.

The real purpose of Thanksgiving is..? Remind yourself that the celebration you are sharing with friends and/or family is about being thankful. It is about being with people you love and esteem while appreciating the blessings in your life. It is not about the food.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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