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The Wellness Effect: UT Physicians’ programs inspire healthy living

You don’t have to be an experienced cook to prepare meals that are healthy and easy in the kitchen. At UT Physicians, we don’t just explain why you need to reduce your body weight or lower your cholesterol to improve your health, we show you how.

Within commercial kitchens located at community-based clinics, experts lead cooking and nutrition classes to convey to people the knowledge they need to succeed.

“People can make simple meals that are healthy and stay within their budget,” explains Christina Englehart, a community health education specialist. “A lot of people come to our classes and are surprised by how much fat or salt is in the food they are eating. We teach them how to make easy substitutions when cooking at home, which lead to a healthier lifestyle. Many of our participants are diabetics who want to cut carbs from their diets.”

Tanya Cooksey said it is a wonderful opportunity to attend cooking classes at UT Physicians – Victory clinic in north Houston. 

“I have told several of my friends to come and check it out. I have gone home to make the recipes I have learned here,” said Cooksey. “The substitutes have made a difference in my life. I would never have thought to boil an omelet in a bag or make hash browns out of cauliflower. They have taught us to add spices so the food is still flavorful without all of the fat.”

Those who are willing to stretch their cooking comfort zone reap the benefits of feeding their body the nutrition it needs to function properly. 

“Working with participants, I’ve learned that people who are willing to try a variety of healthy foods end up enjoying the food and all its benefits,” says Andrea Randolph, UT Physicians nutritionist. “Eating is a habitual and personal experience—an experience some are unwilling to change until they expand their cooking comfort zone. When participating in cooking demonstrations, food turns into an adventure each week as participants see different easy and affordable recipes. Participants then share how the food turns out when they made it at home.”

It’s a unique experience, says Kathy Tatum. 

“Other places just tell you one thing and it’s up to you to do your own thing, and I was obviously not going to get my weight under control by trying to solve it myself,” says Tatum. “I started attending the nutrition classes and learning to read labels, then I started attending the cooking classes. Eating healthy is not that bad. The food still tastes good. In the nutrition class, they actually taught me to look at the label and that the first ingredient should be the best ingredient.”

“At UT Physicians we want to make a long-lasting impact in the community,” says Latanya Sam, practice manager for UT Physicians – Victory. “We know the people who come into our clinic. We have seen how the cooking class helps people. That’s why we are here.”

The cooking demonstrations are held on the third Tuesday of each month from 5:30 p.m.  to 6:30 p.m. The clinic is located at 7364 Antoine Dr., Houston, 77088.

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Healthy Living Meeting

Healthy Living Meeting from noon to 1 p.m. at Heritage Health Center, 128 N. Bent St. Powell Police Officer Matthew Brilakis will present information on scams. The meeting is open to the public, and refreshements and healthy snacks will be provided. To RSVP or for more info, call 764-4107.

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Healthy Living: Mystery Meat Allergy

Most of us enjoy a good, juicy burger from time to time.

But imagine if eating red meat triggered a severe allergic reaction!

At one time, it was very rare reaction and limited to a few hundred people in the southern United States. 

But now, as ticks begin to migrate north, experts say it’s a health problem that is on the rise.

Courtney hunter explains in Healthy Living.

Darrow will be re-tested in about eight months to see if her alpha-gal levels are still high.

Dr. Commins says allergic reactions vary in patients and some may need to carry an EpiPen.

He adds the lone star tick has expanded up the east coast and as far north as Minnesota.



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You Must Do These For A Quick Weight Loss And Healthy Living

Staying fit and healthy should be the first priority for one and all. But there are still some of us that struggle to take care of our health, and this could have a negative impact on your health. For instance, it could be hard to find the time to exercise regularly, prepare home cooked meals each day, limit junk and processed foods, avoid the intake of refined sugar and so on and so forth.  However, making some small changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you in the long-run and benefit in the future. So let’s have a look at what can you do to get fit and stay healthy.


Staying fit and healthy should be the first priority for many people.
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Early Morning Habits That Can Help In Weight Loss And Keep It Off Forever

6 important tips to keep you healthy and fit:

1. Fresh fruits and vegetables:

It is very important that you include lots of fiber in your diet. Fiber is extremely important as it helps in weight loss and aids in digestion. So make sure that you include lots and lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet. It will help promote fullness and then eventually control your hunger pangs.

2. Whole grains:

Whole grains should be a part of an overall healthy diet. It helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may also lower the risk of heart disease. Whole grains are rich in fiber which is important for a healthy bowel function and helps reduce constipation. Vitamin B in the whole grains help the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Also read: A Simple Guide To Healthy Snacking For Quick Weight Loss

3. Protein:

Adequate amounts of protein is also essential for overall growth and development. It has high satiety levels. Therefore, protein-rich foods like eggs, cheese, dairy products, chicken, meat, nuts and legumes should be incorporated in your diet.

4. Avoid junk and processed food:

Junk and processed food should not be included in your diet. These foods have harmful preservatives and are high in fats and salt. All the more, these foods have no nutritional value and may lead to weight gain. Hence, home cooked food is the best.

5. Say no to refined sugar:

Slashing refined sugar from your diet should be an important step towards healthy lifestyle. Refined sugar has many health hazards as it leads to weight gain, high blood sugar levels and other chronic medical conditions. Therefore, to satisfy your sweet tooth you can always try a fruit salad or a fruit smoothie.


Slashing refined sugar from your diet should be an important step towards healthy lifestyle.
Photo Credit: iStock

6. Avoid unhealthy fats:

Unhealthy fats like sour cream, sauces, burgers, pizza and other fast food may only lead to excessive intake of calories. Instead look for some healthy fats like nuts, ghee, cheese and starchy vegetables. But even these too should be eaten in moderation.

Apart from these changes in the diet, one should also give equal importance to regular physical exercise. Also, stress and adequate sleep is extremely important to stay healthy and fit.

Also read: Health Expert Luke Coutinho Tells Us How This Lifestyle Change Can Help In Weight Loss!

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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Healthy Living: Tips for indoor winter gardening – Meriden Record

Cold weather doesn’t mean the end of growing season, if you’re willing to get a little creative.

Plenty of vegetables thrive when planted indoors. Among these are a variety of lettuces, arugula, spinach, kale, microgreens, tomatoes, and carrots, just to name a few.

As someone who enjoys salads daily, I chose to grow arugula and butterflayspinach. To start, all you need are a few items that you can find at your local garden center. I used organic non-GMO seed packets, a block of seed-starting mix, water, recycled paper cups, scissors, index cards, and a marker.

I prepared my seed-starting mix by placing the block into an empty bucket and pouring a half-gallon of water on top of it until it expanded. From reading the back of the seed packets, I learned that spacing the seeds 1.5 inches from one another would be optimal for harvesting the leaves at a younger age.

Using scissors, I poked drainage holes in the bottoms of the six-inch deep paper cups. After filling the paper cups about three-quarters of the way with soil, I sowed my seeds and loosely sprinkled a half-inch of soil on top. I used index cards to label the outside of the cups.

In approximately two weeks, the seeds will be germinated and visibly growing. In 35 to 40 days, the arugula and spinach will be ready to harvest. I plan to harvest them by carefully cutting the leaves at the stem, allowing them to stay rooted and continue growing.

Each of these plants need watering every other day. Checking for moisture on the top layer of soil daily will ensure that the seeds don’t dry up.

It’s important to place the plants in an area of your home where direct heat won’t cause the seeds distress. In order to produce a successful harvest, the arugula and spinach will need three to six hours of sunlight per day. The best sunlight for these greens is full to partial, so a sunny window ledge will help them thrive.

If you are especially adventurous, you could grow root vegetables like carrots or tomatoes upside down in a recycled soda bottle. For the more advanced gardener, there are a selection of LED growing lights, and aquaponics systems to choose from at your local gardening center.

But, growing fresh vegetables in your home during the winter months doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. You can even use seeds from vegetables you’ve already purchased to begin your indoor garden oasis. Instead of tossing away stems and seeds from foods you’ve prepared, you can plant them in soil. Ginger, celery, and turmeric are a few of the especially receptive plants whose leftovers you can use to sprout your own garden right from your kitchen.

With some patience, your green thumb can yield an entire salad full of vegetables and herbs you’ve grown all on your own during winter.

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford resident,  NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris –

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Improve your health at the Radish Winter Wellness Festival – Quad

Fun, informative booths

At the Radish Winter Wellness Festival taking place Saturday, Jan. 19, inside SouthPark Mall, Moline, you’ll find dozens of booths featuring area organizations, businesses and health professionals. They will offer information, live demonstrations and free samples of a wide range of products and services that support health and wellness.

Here are some of the booths you will find:

Audibel Hearing Solutions: Staff will work with you or your loved one to find a personalized hearing-care solution that will fit your unique lifestyle. Personalized hearing care includes diagnostic evaluations, education and rehabilitation tools.

Concept by Iowa Hearing Aid Centers: Learn more about your hearing health and hearing loss.

Cornbelt Running Club: The Cornbelt Running Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting running and walking throughout the area. It offers 5K training and more.

Holmes Shoes: Schwenker Mougin will be showing comfortable winter shoes.

Jazzercise: Jazzercise offers 60-minute fitness classes incorporating cardio, strength and stretch movements for a total body workout. Catch a demonstration at 11 a.m. 309-221-8360,

LivWell Seniors: Learn more about LivWell Seniors’ senior-care referral and placement services. 563-265-1577,

Lundgren Family Chiropractic: Learn how to improve your quality of life with chiropractic care.

MDS Advisors: Learn more about MDS Advisors, which works with clients to provide the least costly alternative for ADA Compliance. 309-230-9771,

Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center: Learn more about local donor centers, donation eligibility, volunteer opportunities and more. Free blood-typing tests for those who are interested. 800-747-5401,

Natural Grocers: Learn more about Natural Grocers’ complete grocery experience that focuses on high-quality and affordable foods. 563-355-4396.

NutritionWorks Holistic Health: Learn how you can naturally improve your health without drugs or surgery. 563-355-4864.

One Human Family: Learn more about One Human Family of the Quad Cities Area, an organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the Q-C.

Quad-Cities Women’s Outdoor Club: Learn more about the Q-C Women’s Outdoor Club, which promotes activities at all skill levels and camaraderie with an eye toward environmental awareness and education.

Southpark Psychology: Southpark Psychology offers comprehensive diagnostic, testing, treatment and counseling services for all age groups. 309-797-2900,

Your CBD Store: Learn more about the benefits of organic CBD oil and try a free sample. 563-528-5642.

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What You Should Know About Cracking Joints

Cracking my knuckles has become an everyday habit for me. And chances are you crack your knuckles regularly as well. But there’s so much we don’t know about this habit. Does it cause any harm? And why can’t you crack your knuckles twice right away?

In this article, I will answer these questions and share facts you may not know about cracking joints.

What You Should Know About Cracking Joints

Why do joints crack?

The cracking noise in your joints comes from the compression of nitrogen bubbles, which naturally occur in the space between your joints.

Our joints tend to crack more as we get older, because the cartilage wears off, making the surfaces rougher. This makes them produce noise as they rub against each other.

Is cracking knuckles bad for your joints?

Have you ever been told that cracking your knuckles or other joints can cause arthritis? Well, that’s an old wives’ tale. There’s convincing evidence that cracking your joints doesn’t do any harm.

In one experiment, a physician who regularly cracked the knuckles of one hand for decades took some x-rays of their hands. They found that there was no difference in arthritis between the two hands. Researchers also made the same conclusion in this larger study.

There are a few cases, however, where people have hurt their joints by cracking them. That usually happens when you use too much force or the wrong technique.

Joint noises don’t increase the risk of arthritis.

Are you worried that the popping sounds from your knees, neck, or hips are increasing the risk of arthritis? There’s no need to worry. That’s a normal occurrence.

You should only be worried if the joint noises are accompanied by swelling, pain and other joint symptoms. In such a case, it’s important to see a doctor.

Shot of a senior group of woman and men working out together at the gym

Joint sounds could be a sign of tight muscles or tendons.

Sometimes your joints make a clicking or snapping sound due to tight muscles or tendons surrounding that joint. You may notice this during your workouts, especially when doing repetitive movements, such as a popping sound in your knee when doing squats.

You can fix this by improving your flexibility. Stretch the muscles attached to the cracking joint before and after you exercise. For your knees, stretch the hamstrings, quadriceps, IT band muscles and calf muscles. For the elbow, stretch the biceps, triceps and forearm muscles.

Why you can’t crack your knuckles twice.

As I explained earlier, cracking occurs due to compression of the gas between the joints. After cracking your knuckles, it takes time for the gas bubbles to form again, and that’s why you can’t crack your knuckles back-to-back.

Now you can crack your knuckles without guilt but dont do it in a quiet environment. It can be annoying to some people.

Related at Care2

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3 Tips For Going From Vegetarian To Vegan

Going vegetarian is simple enough, but transitioning to full-on veganism presents a whole new set of challenges. Can I really let go of cheese? How will I get enough protein? What happens when I want to eat out? These are the questions that plague the mind of someone who’s on the fence about going vegan.

Transitioning to a plant-based diet is a renewing experience – and one that will reward you for years to come. Do it well and you’ll feel more energetic, save money and be able to face your plate without an ounce of guilt. Trust me, it’s worth it! Ready to take that next big step? Here are my five best tips for going from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one as smoothly as possible.

First, get your priorities straight.

Going vegan is a personal choice and one that people make for a variety of reasons. Before embarking on this journey, take some time to think through your motivation. What, deep in your gut, is urging you forward? Is it a desire to protect animal life from harm? To lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle? Whatever it is, identify it. Write it down. Keep it close. You’ll need the motivation later.


Second, treat the experience like it’s an adventure – it is!

Looking at your transition to veganism as a journey (not as an obligation or a chore) is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success. Let yourself enjoy the experience without expectations of doing things perfectly. Try new foods, cook an off-the-wall recipe, add odd, new ingredients to your fridge. Going vegan will open up your taste buds to a whole new world of flavor!

Third, consider bringing a friend along for the ride.

Having a buddy go through the process with you can make all the difference. That solidarity can really come in handy! Talk regularly, discuss how you’re feeling about the whole thing, brainstorm possible solutions if the road gets bumpy. Don’t have a friend who will try it? Consider joining an online community on Facebook or another vegan forum. You’d be surprised how supportive people will be.

Friends eating smoothie bowls topped with fresh tropical fruit

Fourth, try making veganized versions of your favorite meals.

Burgers, egg scrambles, macaroni and cheese…whatever your favorite meal, I promise it has a vegan dupe! Browse the web, click around on Pinterest, ask for suggestions in online forums. There are a wealth of delicious, satisfying, vegan comfort foods awaiting you!

Fifth, allow yourself to take it slow if need be.

This isn’t a race – it’s a journey – and your transition will be a lasting one if you make a conscious, sustainable effort. Remember: any step toward a fully plant-based diet is a positive one. Meatless is better than its alternative, dairy-free is better than its alternative, plant-based is better than its alternative. Whatever you can commit to now, today, is enough. Just keep your eyes on the end goal and make it happen in time.

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Exercise, tips for healthy living, presented at the YWCA

The group laughed while learning how to do simple, yet effective, exercises in a chair, and listened intently while getting tips on nutrition, finances and seasonal affective disorder during a free workshop Thursday at the YWCA Bradford on West Corydon Street.

The inaugural event, titled “Find Your Balance in the New Year,” drew in a number of men and women from the community. The program, which included healthy snacks and beverages, was provided by four professionals: Mary Anne Polucci-Sherman, licensed psychologist at Behavioral Health Services and Bradford Regional Medical Center, who spoke about seasonal affective disorder (SAD); UPMC registered dietician Mariann Kahle who spoke about the importance of eating healthy foods and snacks; exercise science professional Natalie Marasco of the Bradford Family YMCA who demonstrated physical fitness; and Dan Minich, a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial, who spoke about managing finances in one’s personal life.

“This is the first year we’ve done anything with this, to my recollection, and on a cold, wintery evening like this, the turnout is great,” said Vanessa Castano, YW executive director. “When you have a small (venue) like this it can be a little more intimate and people feel more comfortable asking questions and interacting.”

During her presentation, Polucci-Sherman said SAD affects a number of people and is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year, usually in the winter. SAD mimics major depression, but is different because the symptoms leave in the spring and summer months. She said natural light is a good combatant of the disorder, and those with the illness should make sure they have plenty of sunshine in their homes, if possible. She said light therapy can also be effective, as well as making time for fun. Polucci-Sherman said going outside, even on cloudy days, is also important as it will provide some vitamin D and can lift moods. Exercise can also alleviate the symptoms.

In her presentation, Kahle spoke about the different extremes of eaters, from those who eat only when they’re hungry, or instinctively, to the overeater who talks and thinks about food all the time or is always on a diet. She noted the latter can lead to obesity, which so prevalent in the United States that bariatric surgery, which removes 80 percent of the stomach, is even conducted on adolescents.

Kahle said people can change their eating habits simply by pausing five seconds before ingesting something mindlessly, which at the end of the day can save 400 to 500 calories. Kahle said finding something to do with the hands, such as cleaning out a junk drawer instead of eating, or drinking a hot cup of tea, can also stave off food cravings which can go away in 20 to 30 minutes.

During her demonstration, Marasco showed participants how to exercise daily, even in the office or in front of the television.

“Make it a priority to take care of yourself,” Marasco told the group. “On average, we spend about 9.5 hours sitting. Compare that to the 7.5 hours of sleep we may get … and we’re doing a lot of sitting.”

Marasco said 30 minutes of exercise are recommended daily, but even 15 would be helpful by using several simple exercises. She then demonstrated with the group exercises that can be done while sitting or standing by a chair, such as interlacing the fingers and reaching toward the sky as high as possible and with the palms facing up hold the position five seconds. Other demonstrations included pulling bent knees to the chest, one at a time, and holding five to 10 seconds, as well as more advanced exercising such walking or jogging in place and doing squats by standing up and sitting down in a chair.

“A little activity throughout the day we can reverse inevitable weight gain and build our strength and endurance,” Marasco advised.

Minich was the final speaker and brought a laugh from the group when he opened his comments by noting the organizers “got the boring stuff out of the way” before his presentation on finances.

On a serious note, Minich said financial management takes three things.

“It takes awareness, it takes discipline and it takes sacrifice,” Minich said. “Just like the other talking points we heard tonight, it’s not going to come if we don’t put a little work into it.”

Minich said people should build a budget; create an emergency fund; downsize and substitute; review spending; eliminate unnecessary expenses; and keep a budget journal, among others to gain financial stability.  


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Healthy Living: Don’t get sick riding public transit

As Seattle prepares for the viaduct to shut down on Friday, January 11th, city leaders are hoping more people choose to use public transportation to keep traffic back-ups to a minimum.

If people heed that warning, it may mean buses, trains and ferries will be packed with lots of new faces.  With the added crowds, comes the added risk of spreading illness during the winter months.

Not to fret, there are simple ways to minimize your chances of getting sick.  Most of this you know, but it’s always worth reminding…

Use hand-sanitizer or wash your hands before and after riding public transit.  While on the train, ferry or bus, try to keep your hands in your pockets or you could consider wearing gloves.  Doctors also say keep your hands away from your face, especially your nose and mouth since that’s the easiest way for germs to get into your body.

If you’re already sick and have to ride public transit, doctors say remember to be conscious of the germs you could be spreading to others.  That means covering your mouth when you cough and if possible, staying home if you’re already sick.

Getting enough sleep and making sure you vaccinated are other important steps you can take to avoid getting sick, according to many doctors.   We’re still in the middle of flu season, and the flu vaccine is still available.

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