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New Year’s resolutions for a healthier you

Whip up a simple sorbet to indulge your sweet tooth healthfully.

Whip up a simple sorbet to indulge your sweet tooth healthfully.

(StatePoint) New Year’s resolutions can be a double-edged sword. While many of us feel inspired to make goals to improve our health, happiness and wellbeing, we often find the changes hard to sustain, and sometimes end up reverting back to old practices.

Check out these tips for starting and maintaining a healthier lifestyle.

Baby Steps

Many people start a new year hoping to improve their fitness routines and eating habits, and quickly become discouraged when results aren’t immediate. Instead of cancelling your new gym membership and opting for a box of chocolates by Valentine’s Day, set achievable and realistic goals to stay on track.

If losing weight is the objective, aim for 10 pounds instead of 50. If you succeed at losing the first 10, celebrate and make a new goal.

Instead of adopting an extreme diet, cut back on one snack a day or incorporate a smoothie as a healthy meal replacement. Use ingredients like fresh fruit, dark leafy greens, flax or chia seeds—even savory vegetables like beets–the possibilities are endless.

Fuel Up to Get Fit

Sticking to fitness goals takes the right fuel. Eating whole foods instead of processed foods will give you more and longer-lasting energy. Plus, a whole-food diet is more simple and sustainable than restrictive calorie counting or elimination diets.

Powering your body with snacks like low-fat yogurt topped with granola, fresh hummus and whole-grain pita, or an apple and peanut butter, will carry your body through a workout and help you feel fuller longer. To make delicious homemade nut butter, throw three cups of roasted, unsalted peanuts or cashews into a high-powered blender like a Vitamix machine and blend for a minute or so. The result is a gooey, good-for-you treat that will provide ample energy for healthy pursuits.

While grocery shopping, stick to the outer perimeter of the store and pick up nutrient-rich and versatile ingredients like avocados, chickpeas, bananas, nuts and spinach, that can stand alone or be mixed into everything from healthy salads to frozen desserts.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

Being healthy and eating whole foods doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your sweet tooth. Before you plunge into a tub of cookie dough, consider other ways to curb cravings. Make your own, customized whole-food ice cream without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives using a blender. Varieties like apple pie and spiced strawberry will delight without guilt.

Or try a simple sorbet: blend two peeled oranges, two tablespoons sugar and four cups of ice. Use a blender with special settings for this purpose, such as the Vitamix Professional Series 750. Its Frozen Dessert program, one of the machine’s five pre-programmed settings, allows you to make an easy, healthy dessert in minutes.

Looking for something that feels even more decadent? Find recipes like chocolate hazelnut spread and more at vitamix.com/Find-Recipes.

For a healthier new year, focus on small, attainable goals, and use whole foods to get creative with your diet.

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Five resolutions to keep your eyes healthy in 2017

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) UBER IMAGES - Fotolia.com

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) UBER IMAGES – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) The new year is the perfect opportunity for reflection, renewal and the chance to start fresh. Consider making lifestyle changes that can improve your vision and health throughout the year.

Here are five ways that you can help keep your eyes and body healthy in 2017.

1. Get an eye exam. An annual trip to the eye doctor is critical for the entire family to ensure healthy and sharp vision. But did you know your visit to the optometrist is important to your overall health too? A routine eye exam can potentially detect signs of chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and more. Because many symptoms of health conditions often don’t appear until damage has occurred, eye exams are a powerful, preventative health tool to keep tabs on what’s happening in your body.

An eye exam is a small investment for your eyes and body that’s well worth it, and a vision plan can help you keep the cost down. To search for a vision plan, visit vspdirect.com.

2. Eat an eye-healthy diet. You probably know carrots are good for your eyes, but so are dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens. Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for a hefty punch of key vitamins, and a vision protecting-substance called lutein.

3. Quit smoking (or never start). Smoking cigarettes has many well-known associated health risks, such as cardiovascular problems and cancer. Did you also know that smoking can contribute to the cause of many vision problems? Research links smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.

4. Maintain a healthy weight. Weight is a contributing factor for your overall health as well as your eyes. Conditions such as obesity and diabetes can lead to vision problems, like cataracts. By eating healthy portions and exercising regularly, you can reduce your risk.

5. Protect eyes from blue light. Much of our days are spent with our faces glued to devices like smartphones, computers and televisions. Those digital screens emit high-energy blue light, which causes digital eye strain that leads to headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and even neck pain.

Ask your eye doctor about the best options to help you reduce eye strain, including using lenses with coatings that reflect and absorb blue light. You can also follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away.

With a balanced approach to preventative care, you can help keep your eyes and body healthy throughout 2017 and beyond.

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New Year, New You: Resources to help you keep your resolutions

new-resources

(StatePoint) Making and keeping resolutions is difficult without direction or the advice of experts. Luckily, there are plenty of great resources to help, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.

Here are four books that can help you stick to your goals throughout the year.

Clean Eating

From quinoa and chia seeds to spinach and pomegranate, “Super Clean Super Foods” is a colorfully illustrated, comprehensive guide that shows readers how to incorporate unfamiliar ingredients into everyday dishes. The book explores the incredible health properties of each super food and includes tips on how to maximize its health benefits, allowing readers to work toward specific goals. For instance, you can create a food plan to boost energy, have a healthier pregnancy, limit jetlag, reduce aging, and more.

Achieve More

Whether you are seeking improvement in your career, relationships, or in your overall performance, “Success: The Psychology of Achievement,” can help equip you with the tools you need to drive yourself toward success using proven psychological strategies and expert advice. From positive thinking to work-life balance to learning how to say “no,” the lessons in this dynamic infographic guide, authored by an organizational psychologist, are tailored to your personal situation through questionnaires and self-analysis exercises.

Smart Meals

Bowls are a delicious way to lose weight and eat healthy, but they can also be laden with hidden calories. Inspired by the very latest bowl food trend, “100 Weight Loss Bowls,” features color-coded recipes engineered to come in at under 400, 500, or 600 calories, allowing you to easily build a nutritious meal plan that meets your daily target for gradual and sustained weight loss.

Workout Buddy

The first full-color fitness book that teaches you how to actively engage a partner in your workout routine, “Partner Workouts” features bodyweight exercises, yoga positions, cardio and more. Three long-term, comprehensive exercise programs provide regimens so you and your partner can motivate each other to achieve your fitness goals over a period of time. From choosing your partner and setting your goals to tracking your progress and nutrition, this guide doesn’t require a gym membership or expensive fitness equipment.

Start 2017 off on the right foot. Relying on books, tools and other resources can help you achieve your goals.

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Flu Shots Available at the CS School Health Center!

 

As a parent, you feel helpless when your child is sick and the flu can hit children hard, leaving them feeling miserable. Symptoms last for several days and include fever, chills, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. It takes approximately 2 weeks for the vaccine to be effective, so it’s important to vaccinate early in the flu season. The Cedar Springs School Health Center offers flu shots for your child. Call us today at 616-696-3470 to schedule an appointment! We have appointments available before, during and after school hours.

Not available to take your child to the appointment? Not a problem! As long as a consent form is on file, we are happy to see your child without a parent or guardian present. The school even provides transportation to the Health Center during school hours!

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Five smart steps to preserving brain health

Make memories and support brain health by spending time with friends and family.

Make memories and support brain health by spending time with friends and family.

(BPT) – Everyone knows aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping and lifting weights keeps muscles strong. But when it comes to keeping the brain healthy, most people are unsure what to do.

As you age, brain health and maintaining memory functions becomes a top concern. Turns out, these issues may begin sooner than you think.

“We tend to think about memory decline as an older person’s issue, but that’s not the case at all,” says Dr. Aimee Gould Shunney, a licensed naturopathic doctor specializing in women’s health and family medicine. “There was a study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal that examined cognitive function in people age 45 to 70. The researchers did not expect it, but they found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-year-old participants as well as the older participants.”

She notes there are two basic pathological processes that cause degeneration of the brain: oxidative stress and inflammation. Basically, the standard American diet and lifestyle contribute to those processes. So who is this really an issue for? Men and women of all ages.

No matter your age, you can take charge of your brain health by following these five smart steps from Dr. Shunney:

Healthy eating

“A Mediterranean-type diet that focuses on whole foods, good fats and foods high in antioxidants is a great place to start,” says Dr. Shunney.

She encourages her patients to focus on getting omega-3 fats from fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. She also recommends increasing fruits (especially berries) and beans (they’re packed with antioxidants). What’s more, research shows a little cocoa, coffee and red wine can act as antioxidants and are beneficial in low to moderate amounts.

Supplements

In addition to a quality multivitamin, Dr. Shunney recommends an omega-3 supplement. “Getting enough omega-3s is one of the most important measures we can take,” she says. “DHA is the dominant omega-3 in the brain. Just like we need to make sure babies have enough DHA to grow their brain, we need to make sure older people get enough DHA to keep their brains healthy.”

She suggests Omega Memory  by Nordic Naturals. It’s a DHA-dominant omega-3 formula that also includes other brain healthy ingredients: curcumin, phosphatidylcholine and huperzine A. Learn more at www.nordicnaturals.com.

Regular sleep

Poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline. “Studies show both sleep deprivation and sleeping too much impact cognitive performance,” Dr. Shunney says. “A good goal is to go to bed around the same time each night, sleep for 7-8 hours, and get up around the same time every morning.”

Thinking activities

“I recommend anything that keeps your mind working,” says Dr. Shunney. “Activities that require things to be arranged or puzzles that have to be put together. Crossword puzzles, word games and board games are all great.”

She also notes some activities to avoid: “It’s important to limit certain activities. The constant scanning of social media and newsfeeds eliminates creativity and keeps us on edge. Limit the time you spend doing that and instead do things that cause you to explore and think and put ideas together on your own.”

Socialize

“Social isolation has been linked with cognitive decline,” says Dr. Shunney. “In one study, people who were lonely experienced cognitive decline at a 20 percent faster rate than people who were not lonely.”

Make time to take a foreign language class, join a Toastmaster’s Club, take a watercolor class—anything that connects you regularly to other people.

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Provide safe sleep apace for baby during holiday travel 

Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

The holidays are a busy time of year, often spent traveling away from home. For families with babies, travel can be especially hectic when trying to remember all of the necessities. One item to put at the top of your list is a safe space for baby to sleep when you’re away from home.

To protect babies this holiday season, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding parents and caregivers to plan ahead and make sure there is always a safe space for baby to sleep—an approved crib, bassinet or pack and play.

“It’s important that everyone caring for the baby, including grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, knows how to put a baby to sleep safely. If everyone knows the simple steps to safe sleep, we can all do our part in preventing an infant death,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon.

Tragically, a baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan while sleeping in an adult bed, armchair or couch; with pillows or blankets; or with adults or other children. These deaths are 100 percent preventable with a safe sleep environment.

Michigan families are encouraged to follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and nighttime routine:

  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment.
  • Plan ahead and take a portable crib with you when traveling.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free—no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleepsack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.

You can make sure every baby is sleeping safe this holiday season. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/safesleep.

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Balancing end-of-life caregiving with holiday celebrations 

hea-hospice-balancingcaregiving-holidaysdecemberarticleimage

Create memories, enjoyment

Caring for a seriously ill loved one is difficult at any time of year. But the holidays can compound the stress as caregivers, especially those who mark the season in grand fashion, seek balance between the consuming responsibilities of meeting their loved ones needs and creating a memorable celebration.

Whether it’s continuing with longtime traditions or introducing new ones, the keys to a meaningful holiday while facing end-of-life are to:

* avoid overwhelming your loved one by scaling activities to the realities of the situation;

* think outside-the-box if elaborate annual traditions are not feasible; and

* remember that there is no right or wrong approach.

“The most important point is to remember that the stress of caregiving may leave little energy for the grand celebrations families have held in the past- so it is perfectly acceptable to scale down or simplify to keep it even more memorable,” advises Karen Monts, practice manager, counseling services for Hospice of Michigan.

Monts suggests considering such outside-the-box plans as:

* Opting for a family trip, if your loved one can travel;

* Donating as a family to your loved one’s favorite cause;

* Dining together at a favorite restaurant;

* Focusing on faith traditions, attending a religious program together; or

* Creating keepsakes and reliving memories such as taking a family picture, creating a memory stone, or recalling funny stories.

Monts also suggests that if having all the decorative bells and whistles are an absolute must and your loved one has been “the ‘king or queen’ of decorating, consider recruiting the help of friends and extended family, or hiring professional decorators.”

Thinking outside-the-box can also include hosting your celebration or special event on a day other than the actual holiday to ensure your loved one can fully participate.

“It’s important that family members continue to create memories with their loved ones,” said Monts. “About 10 years ago, a patient’s daughter decided to move up her wedding and held her ceremony in our facility between Thanksgiving and Christmas so that she could share the moment with her father. We helped plan the ceremony, and one of our spiritual care coordinators officiated. That was the gift she gave him that holiday. He relaxed after the ceremony, happy because he believed she was safe and taken care of. He died the following week. Unique experiences like that resonate with families and allow the memories of a final holiday season with a loved one to be cherished rather than ignored.”

Monts adds, “Many patients and families are incredibly hopeful, even at the end-of-life. They expect to celebrate. Even if holiday plans don’t materialize, families shouldn’t feel guilty. There is hope in the planning.”

In her 26 years in hospice care, Monts has learned many hospice patients want to “remember good relationships and the positive impact they’ve had on others.” The holidays offer a perfect opportunity for friends and family to share “how a loved one wants to be remembered and discuss that their life had—and still has—meaning.”

Monts suggests families build lasting memories by interviewing each other. “There are profound understandings that come out of that process,” she said.

There are many online resources to help get the conversation started. Story Corps (https://storycorps.org/) is a site Smith references to spark talks with patients, exploring such questions as:

What is your proudest moment?

How do you want to be remembered?

What is your most spiritual moment?

What are your thoughts about death and the after-life?

Do you have any regrets or last wishes?

What advice do you have for me, my children, or even children to come in our family?

Starting these conversations is typically the most difficult step in talking about sensitive and intimate feelings and viewpoints. But once the ice is broken, these exchanges can produce tremendous rewards.

In addition to planning ahead, Monts believes the only other absolutes in celebrating the holidays when caring for a seriously ill loved one are to “remember the only ‘should’ is doing what is best for you and your family during this time and to simply enjoy the holidays with your loved one, not matter how you choose to celebrate.”

For more information, call 888-247-5701 or visit www.hom.org.

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Recall on goji berries and cacao pods

hea-recall

Snow Monkey 8 oz pods should be thrown away immediately

FMIF Holdings, LLC is recalling Snow Monkey Goji Berry and Cacao 8oz. pods because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

To date, no illnesses have been reported from consuming Snow Monkey products.

The potentially at risk products are:

8 oz. Snow Monkey Subzero Superfood in Cacao delivered from online order between May and June 2016. Barcode reads ‘000000000000 Sample Only – Not for Resale’

8 oz. Snow Monkey Subzero Superfood in in Goji Berry delivered from online order between May and June 2016. Barcode reads ‘000000000000 Sample Only – Not for Resale’

Products were distributed via online order between May and June 2016 in CA, MO, MA, NY, FL, IL, NV, AZ, TX, HI, OR, CO, D.C., MI, CT, ME, NJ, NH. None of these products were sold at retail locations.

The products are packed in 8oz plastic pods with sticker labels. The Barcode reads ‘000000000000 Sample Only – Not for Resale.’ Barcode can be found printed horizontally on the side of the label next to the nutritional facts.

“We were informed by the FDA that Listeria monocytogenes were found in the continuous freezer line at ‘Dr. Bob’s’ Ice Cream manufacturing plant,” said a company spokesperson. “‘Dr. Bob’s’ is our former manufacturing plant, and we have used their continuous line on one occasion to fill some of our 8oz pods. Customers that have received our 8oz pods via online order between May and June 2016 are urged to dispose of any remaining products immediately as they may be at risk.

“The majority of our 8oz pods were filled with a batch machine, there was no Listeria found in the batch machine by the FDA. All other 8oz units sold in retail stores or online, outside of the May-June 2016 time frame, are not at risk of contamination.

“Listeria monocytogenes thrives mostly in unpasteurized dairy or raw foods. Although our product is dairy free and none of our ingredients are raw, the FDA believes there is a chance the bacteria could be present in our product because it was found inside ‘Dr. Bob’s’ processing equipment. Five Ice Cream companies have issued voluntary recalls of their products as a result of this situation. Dr. Bob’s has recently closed their business.

If you still have 8oz pods of Subzero Superfood in your freezer we highly recommend you do not consume it and throw it away.

Please contact us with and questions or concerns through kingdom@snow-monkey.com or (951) 878-0887 during weekdays 9am-4pm PST.

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Red Cross urges blood donation as one last gift to give 

 

It can’t be wrapped or placed under a tree, but the perfect gift can help save patient lives this holiday season. The American Red Cross urges eligible donors to give the lifesaving gift of a blood donation in December, a time when donations decline but the needs of patients remain steady.

Barbara Coger will never forget the donors that gave the blood that her husband received during the holidays. “I have been donating blood for some time, but really started encouraging others to do so after my husband received a donation on Christmas Eve,” she said. “He had not been doing well and would not survive much longer, but with that extra boost, he was able to share a big smile with me on Christmas morning, something I will always cherish.”

Donors of all blood types are needed this holiday season to help ensure a sufficient supply for hospital patients. To encourage donations, all those who come to donate Dec. 22, 2016, through Jan. 8, 2017, will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Donors are encouraged to make appointments and complete the RapidPass online health history questionnaire at redcrossblood.org/rapidpass to save time when donating.

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Five tips for good gut health during the holidays

Both the stress and the fun of the holiday season can take a toll on gut health. Take extra steps this season and beyond to feel your best. Photo (c) Revelant - Fotolia.com

Both the stress and the fun of the holiday season can take a toll on gut health. Take extra steps this season and beyond to feel your best. Photo (c) Revelant – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) The holiday season can be one of the most stressful times of the year and you may have noticed you’re more prone to colds and upset stomach when you’re stressed. Stress tends to slow the digestive process. What’s more, 70 percent of the immune system lies in the digestive system, according to findings reported in “Clinical & Experimental Immunology.”

Unfortunately, one of the most stressful seasons coincides with one of the most indulgent. To help, Vincent Pedre, MD, author of the new book, “Happy Gut: The Cleansing Program to Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Eliminate Pain,” is offering useful tips to lessen digestive upset and keep your gut healthy over the holidays.

• Pack healthful snacks. When traveling, people tend to grab unhealthy foods for convenience. Pack nutritious foods like carrots, apples, almonds and frozen yogurt to keep the body strong. Foods like yogurt, which contain probiotics, not only address digestive issues, but are said to help stave off colds. One study found that those who took a probiotic supplement with Lactobacillus rhamnosus, a type of healthy probiotic bacteria, recovered earlier and reported less severe symptoms.

• Eat mindfully. Eating in a hurry is a major no-no for good gut health, and makes you more likely to overeat, since it takes the brain about 20 minutes to recognize when you’re full. Plus, eating quickly can cause gas, acid indigestion and bloating.

“When we stop and really enjoy what we’re eating we’re less likely to overdo it, and we’ll avoid issues like emotional eating,” says Dr. Pedre.

• Relieve stress. Take some “me time.” Maintaining an exercise routine and practicing deep breathing relaxation techniques can do wonders for mental and digestive health, and help alleviate stress’ negative effects on the digestive system, such as gas, acid reflux and stomach cramps.

• Maintain a sleep routine. Get an adequate night’s rest of at least eight hours nightly. Your body and gut like predictability. Plus, staying up late could make you more likely to visit the fridge and eat that piece of chocolate cake that’ll lead to an upset stomach.

• Help your body naturally. Overeating or drinking is easy to do this time of year, but it can cause stomach distress. Check out local natural product retailers, which offer homoeopathic medicines like Nux vomica to relieve nausea, heartburn, acid indigestion or fullness associated with overindulgence of food or drink. While these uses have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for efficacy, Nux vomica is one of the most popular homeopathic medicines. It’s also easy to take. The pellets are quickly absorbed under the tongue without water, as opposed to being absorbed through the stomach, which may not be functioning at its peak. As a homeopathic medicine, it has no known side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, gas or drowsiness.

To learn about relieving a variety of acute stomach issues, explore the Boiron Medicine Finder app. This free resource, available on Android and iOS devices, allows users to find the right homeopathic medicine for many everyday conditions.

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