“Food for Thought”

College of DuPage Nursing student Bertie Schlossberg asks, “Do you or someone you know have a food allergy or intolerance?” If you answered yes, you might want to keep reading.

Per the Food and Allergy Research and Education network (FARE), 1 in every 13 children in the USA underage 18 have food allergies. Although less common in adults. Food allergies affect nearly 15 million people a year (healthykids.org). Below I have included some easy recipes …whether you are just starting out on your new diet or you are a seasoned pro you are sure to enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment or share your favorite allergy friendly recipe.

Gluten Free (www.melissassouthernstylekitchen.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-lasagna/)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-cup-Lasagna

Ingredients you’ll need:
2  [8 oz] softened cream cheese [16 ounces total]
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 [14 oz] box chocolate graham crackers gluten free
1 [12 oz] bag miniature peanut butter cups
3/4 cup cocktail peanuts [sea salted peanuts or plain salted peanuts]
Chocolate drizzle:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Topping:
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To prepare the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together in the microwave until smooth. Melt in 15 second increments stopping to stir periodically. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a medium mixing bowl, whip together both blocks of softened cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Whip for 2-3 minutes until fully combined and smooth. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Add 16 ounces of thawed whipped topping, 8 ounces at a time. Continue to whip until fluffy and light. The filling will be divided into thirds to layer the dessert.
  5. Remove the wrappers from the peanut butter cups and chop. Roughly chop the peanuts. Divide both into thirds for layering. In a 9 x 13 inch dish start with one layer of graham crackers.
  6. Add ⅓ of the filling mixture, sprinkle with ⅓ of the chopped peanut butter cups and ⅓ of the chopped peanuts.
  7. Gently press the next layer of graham crackers into the filling and repeat, ending with the final ⅓ of the peanut butter filling.
  8. Frost with whipped topping, and sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups and peanuts. Drizzle with chocolate.
  9. Chill for at least 4-6 hours before cutting.

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When you eat and how frequently may benefit heart health

What times someone eats during the day and how frequently may play a role in having a healthy weight and heart.According to an American Heart Association scientific statement published Wednesday, eating breakfast, avoiding late-night eating and mindful meal-planning are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, blood vessel diseases and stroke.

However, current research doesn’t dictate the best approach.

“There’s conflicting evidence about meal frequency,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D., writing group chair and associate professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City. She said studies have shown the benefit of intermittent fasting and eating smaller, frequent meals throughout the day.

Fasting every other day helped people lose weight in the short-term, but its long-term effects haven’t been studied, according to the statement. And there’s no guarantee that such fasting can be sustained.

“I can see scenarios where intermittent fasting can backfire,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., R.D., a statement co-author and nutrition professor at Penn State University. For example, people who fast one day could eat more than twice as much the next day, she said. She also questioned what would happen if someone who fasted regularly for lengthy periods of time – weeks or even months – then started eating regularly every day.

Because there’s not a lot of information about how people could practice intermittent fasting, Kris-Etherton cautioned against using it as a weight loss or weight management strategy until further information is available.

Eating frequent meals has also been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease risk factors, says St-Onge. One study of men showed that those who ate more than four times a day had a lower risk of obesity than those eating three or fewer times a day. But other studies have found the opposite, with a greater risk of weight gain over time in those reporting eating more frequently. Read more

5 Habits of Happy Relationships

Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Specializing in Health and Wellness located at 9 North Main Street, Suite 11 in Lombard Illinois 60148 recently shared in a Lombard Town Center Newsletter the following very helpful information.

Relationships are a crucial part of who we are and something that most people need in order to feel they’ve lived a fulfilled life. Although relationships are common, it doesn’t mean they are easy. Whether you are looking to strengthen romantic, friend, work, or family relationships, building and sustaining healthy, meaningful relationships require time, energy, and consistently practicing the following five habits:

  1. Listen. When your partner talks to you about their day, listen. When you are having an argument, listen. When your partner is struggling with a difficult decision, listen. (Shocking that a psychologist would value listening, huh?!) Listening involves putting aside your own thoughts and being fully present and available in the moment for them. Listen without the worry of what you are going to say next. There is power in listening and in being heard. If both of these things are practiced regularly you and your partner will experience a heightened sense of connectedness as well as improved communication. (Que next habit!)
  2. Communication. Learning healthy productive ways to communicate can be a relationship game changer. How you communicate can make the difference in whether your relationship will last or be one in the past. Healthy communication involves sharing what you love about your partner, but also bringing up things that are troubling you. Sweeping things under the rug, rather than discussing them openly and honestly, will undoubtedly build resentment and a faulty foundation. Read more

The Power of One Fruit

College of DuPage Nursing Student Aesha Patel asks, “What if I told you that you can achieve optimal health benefits by eating just one green fruit, a zucchini?” That’s right, zucchini is a fruit that is cooked as a vegetable because it is best when eaten in cooked dishes.

You might be surprised to know that consuming zucchini will help you lose weight tremendously. According to LiveStrong Foundation, the calories presented in a zucchini is only thirty-three, but it still satisfies your stomach fully. Not only does zucchini have low calories, it is also rich in fiber and has a high water content. Zucchini is also a source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, potassium, copper, and phosphorus. Having that one go to vegetable without having the feeling of an empty stomach, makes your life that much more easier.

The easiest way to fill your stomach in a healthy manner is by making zucchini chips. You will need six simple ingredients: olive oil, bread crumbs, freshly grated parmesan, salt,  pepper,  and a zucchini.

Directions are simple:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Slice the zucchini into thick rounds and toss them into a bowl with olive oil.
  • In another bowl mix in the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper as well.
  • Dip each individual zucchini piece into the mixture, making sure each side of the zucchini gets coated well.
  • Spray cooking spray on a baking sheet and spread each zucchini piece onto it.
  • Bake the zucchini until they are golden brown and crisp. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Enjoy this simple recipe and enjoy the power of the zucchini.

5-Minute Health Hacks

Sandy Getzky, the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus, and a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild composed the following article just for the Healthy Lombard blog. Thanks Sandy!

Hi, busy bee! Can you give me 5 minutes of your time? Yes? Great! I have good news for you then: you have the time you need to take care of your health.  Yes, 5-minute time pockets are all you need to do something kind for yourself: strengthen and tone your muscles, prepare a nutritious lunch, recharge with a healthy snack, feed your brain, and so much more.

Five minutes in exchange for added protection from a myriad of stubborn illnesses and infections — such as coughs and colds, flu, nail fungus infection, digestive problems — which might take you days, weeks, or months to treat! Wouldn’t you agree that investing 300 seconds for your health is well worth it?

So here are 5 fun and quick 5-minute health hacks:

1.  5-minute plank challenge – This is my personal favorite, so it deserves the top spot on this list. Planking strengthens your glute, all your major core muscles, and your back.

Doing planks regularly will improve your ability to carry heavy objects, boost your metabolism, increase your flexibility and balance, and even benefit your brain.

A plank might look easy to pull off, but let me warn you: unless you are already working out regularly, you probably will not be able to successfully accomplish the 5-minute plank challenge on your first try.

But don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself and find out. This video will guide you in the 5-minute plank challenge.

2.  5-minute recipes – Even if you are a novice in the kitchen, you can whip up something healthy and delicious in 5 minutes.

Eggs are a protein-rich and easy-to-make option — how about a salad made up of organic mixed greens, dried or fresh fruits, olives and feta cheese, topped with poached egg? Try a vegetable omelet or a whole wheat bagel topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon, egg, and chives.

Wraps are also a good idea — tacos, pita bread, nori sheets, Swiss chard, or lettuce wrapped around a colorful and nutritious filling can satisfy your hunger pangs in a healthy way.

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Some foods and herbs may help ward off the flu

Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, shared in the Daily Herald that he is often asked in winter is “should I get the flu shot?” He answered that his answer varies. Some people need all the protection they can get and others not as much. Truth be told, it is rare that the flu shot actually prevents the flu. Fortunately nature has provided some natural options to the flu vaccine. There is reasonable medical research that some foods, herbs and supplements may be effective in the prevention and treatment of influenza.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota is the name for the American licorice plant. The active ingredient is a group of compounds termed glycyrrhric acids. Licorice stimulates the production of anti-viral compounds called interferons. It also has anti-inflammatory properties so the symptoms of the flu may be blunted. The most interesting aspect of licorice root (at least to me) is that it actually prevents the influenza virus from getting into the cell, reducing the risk of the cell actually becoming infected. Overall licorice root is safe, however the glycyrrhric acids may cause high blood pressure.

Ginseng is an herb that is often used in Oriental medicine. Ginseng is classified as either red or white. Heat white ginseng and it becomes red ginseng. A number of medical studies have shown that red Korean ginseng helps to significantly reduce the symptoms and duration of upper respiratory tract infections. Although not shown specifically to reduce the incidence of influenza, it is historically used during influenza season to maintain health. Red ginseng can cause an increase in blood pressure in those with high blood pressure. Insomnia can be an issue as well as migraines in those who are sensitive to the effects of red ginseng. Read more

New sick leave law gives more flexibility

The Daily Herald Newspaper shared that a new Illinois law, which allows family caregivers to use up to half of their sick leave benefits at work to take time off for a family member’s illness, injury or medical appointments, went into effect Jan. 1, AARP Illinois reports.

More than 1.5 million Illinoisans are family caregivers, and many struggle to balance their paid work with the responsibilities of caring for a sick parent, spouse, sibling or child.

Without this law, some had to make tough choices such as whether to cut back on work hours or quit their jobs altogether to be able to care for their loved ones.

“Businesses will also benefit,” said Bob Gallo, AARP state director. “This law is likely to improve employee morale by reducing stress and offering support and flexibility for family caregivers.”

New blood pressure treatment guidelines raise concerns

The Daily Herald posted recently that a new guideline published last week recommends less-aggressive blood pressure treatment for many people.

The guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that people 60 and over who have no history of cardiovascular disease shouldn’t be treated for hypertension unless their blood pressure is persistently at or above 150/90.

The American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all consider treating blood pressure at 140/90 to be a major way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, especially stroke. So, the new guidelines raised concern among these groups.

AHA President Dr. Steven Houser warned that relaxing blood pressure targets without sufficient evidence could create a false sense of security for some people who need to understand that high blood pressure is dangerous but can be controlled.

“We just can’t afford to back off on our efforts to control this major risk factor,” Houser said.

What the ancient Greeks can teach us about herbs

 in the Washington Post shared that at a point in the 9th century, someone noticed a problem with all those ancient handwritten texts: The scribes had left their Caps Lock on.
Every character had been rendered in uppercase, or, in the terminology of philologists, majuscule. Suddenly, people who could read found this EXTREMELY ANNOYING and clamored for minuscule script.This shift created a new industry among the quill pushers of the day who would take moldy papyrus works — say, the landmark 1st-century herbal by Dioscorides describing 600 medicinal plants — and render them into manuscripts in the new style.Alain Touwaide, an expert in this field, says this development was an advancement in information technology as momentous as the appearance of digital books in our own time.

Touwaide, with his wife and fellow researcher Emanuela Appetiti, created an organization named the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions 10 years ago whose mission, in part, has been to study the proliferation of manuscripts after this development.

This subject speaks to a deeply important and interesting aspect of garden history: how our forebears relied on a knowledge of herbs (and to a lesser degree, animal products and minerals) to manage maladies and keep themselves healthy.

Years before the institute was formed, Touwaide came to see a problem: Manuscripts were lost or misfiled, and the actual number of copies of a given text was often significantly understated. Now 63, he has haunted dozens of national, university and private libraries over his career in search of missing or hidden manuscripts.

The result is a new book, essentially an inventory of Greek medical manuscripts spanning the Byzantine Empire between the 5th and 15th centuries.

A Census of Greek Medical Manuscripts: From Byzantium to the Renaissance” will not make any bestseller list: It is a list of specific manuscripts that Touwaide and Appetiti, a cultural anthropologist, have tracked down, often by going to the libraries that hold them. One entry alone may have taken them days to pin down, especially if they had to find their way by bus and taxi to visit a monastery on a Greek hilltop somewhere (population: one monk).

The census is an inventory of all known surviving Byzantine medical manuscripts — it lists their titles and locations — and is primarily a tool for other researchers to spread knowledge of horticulture, botany, medicine and literature in the Middle Ages. It took 30 years of concerted effort, Touwaide said, and increases the number of known manuscripts from approximately 1,500 to 2,300, tracked to some 150 locations. Although they were written during the Byzantine Empire, they record texts dating to 5th century B.C.

Among Touwaide and Appetiti’s richest haunts have been the National Library in Paris and the Vatican Library, though Washington has its own riches in such places as the Library of Congress and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda. The Austrian National Library is extremely proud of having Codex Vindobonensis, the most impressive of the more than 100 manuscript copies of Dioscorides’s seminal work. An early physician, Dioscorides was so good at identifying the therapeutic value of certain plants that his knowledge is still valued today.

This is more than just an exercise in logging historical documents. No two manuscripts of the same text turned out quite the same, and the fascination is in how they differ. Some of the manuscripts were copied by healers who would add their own pharmaceutical notes based on local practice and knowledge.

Comparing the manuscripts, Touwaide could see that the same plant might have different utility based on its location. This is because herbs take on varying chemical properties based on their terroir and because different human populations developed different genetic tolerance or susceptibilities to disease.

The more a given herbal preparation appears between texts, the higher the probability it’s the correct remedy, Touwaide said. The couple have been based in Washington for 17 years but are moving the institute, formerly affiliated with the Smithsonian, to Southern California, where Touwaide now teaches.

Far from quackery, these herbals were lifesavers, and the people who copied the words and illustrations shine through the murkiness of the Dark Ages as heroic figures to Touwaide and Appetiti. “I have admiration for these people but more than that, respect,” Touwaide said. “I’m amazed by what they have done, the exactness of the observations, the accuracy in keeping the information, and all the pain” of copying for long hours by candlelight.

Sometimes they didn’t know the plants firsthand and would wing it. Touwaide likes to show students an image of a cinnamon “tree” that the scribe rendered as a stick of cinnamon with a tuft of leaves on top.

“Alain would show this to students and they would laugh,” Appetiti said, “but then he asked them if they could describe a pepper plant, and they were, of course, lost.”

Touwaide said that in contrast to the learning embodied in these manuscripts, “we live in an age of inflation of information and deflation of knowledge.”

Another lesson from these texts is that there was little or no separation between medicine and diet, a link that is at best tenuous in the West today.

I asked them if they were stranded on a small island, what plants they would extract from antiquity to keep themselves healthy. At the top of the list would be rosemary, oregano, garlic, lavender and onions. But they would also seek out a pomegranate tree. The fruit “has a lot of properties,” Appetiti said.

Touwaide would also want those biblical gifts of frankincense and myrrh, derived from tree gum resins. “They are the antibiotics of history,” he said. “But I would need to find a merchant.”

@adrian_higgins on Twitter

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Make 2017 Your Healthiest Year Yet

Research shows that when it comes to the New Year, everyone’s top priority is their HEALTH. Yet, 92% of people will FAIL or give up on their resolutions. That only leaves a mere 8% who actually succeed. Take a moment and think about which percentile you’ve fallen in since the year began…Are you still going strong or have you fallen off the ladder? Do not fear. We are here to help you succeed!! We’ve learned that all it takes is a little bit of accountability and action to be able to maintain your 2017 goals.

Bring a friend or 2 and join us Sat. 1/28 for an exciting seminar, which covers the secrets you need to:

  • Lose a few pounds
  • Improve your diet
  • Boost your energy
  • Jumpstart your health

Our key speakers include Dr. Timothy Weselak, DC, CCWP & Julianne Schager, ACE Personal Trainer. Both are incredibly talented professionals and have extensive health-related backgrounds in order to share with you the most up to date knowledge on the topics of nutrition, exercise, weight loss, and overall health and wellness.

As a free bonus for you, Glen Prairie (well-known for their local natural and organic ingredients) is providing a healthy brunch to enjoy during the seminar!! Yumm.