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Real Inspiration for Women

Breaking Bad


Boost Your




Brain-Boosting B rain Boosting Foods  #inspirehealthmag



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Canterbury Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Kurt F. Martin, DDS, MD Craig E. Miller, DDS Ronald L. Roholt, DDS, MD Dental Implants – What are they? Similar in function to the root of a tooth, a single dental implant can be used to support one or two missing teeth, while two or more implants can be strategically placed to support fixed bridges or partial dentures. Several implants can serve as a comfortable foundation for a full upper or lower denture. Dental implants are surgically placed in, and fuse with, the jawbone to provide the stability necessary to prevent jawbone erosion. Further, dental implants are placed independent of your other teeth; so healthy neighboring teeth remain untouched. Their stability enables dental implants to function as well as the original permanent teeth they are replacing. Patients can eat anything they want and can speak clearly without worries that accompany other tooth replacement alternatives.

Why Choose Dental Implants? With the exception of growing children, dental implants can benefit people of all ages – even those with existing health concerns. Appearance. Dental implants look and function like your natural teeth while increasing your self-assurance and selfimage. Unlike removable dentures that slip, click and make you look and feel older than you are, dental implants give you the confidence to speak and eat without fear of embarrassing slips or clicking sounds. Tooth and jawbone preservation. Unlike bridges that require the cutting down or reshaping of healthy neighboring teeth, dental implants are self-sustaining because they are independently placed and fuse with the jawbone. Integration of the implant with the jawbone also helps prevent bone loss, which often accompanies bridgework and dentures. Unlike fixed bridges and removable dentures that rest on top of the gum line and do not maintain or preserve the jawbone, dental implants are placed in, and fuse with, the


jawbone to form a lasting bond that maintains and helps preserve bone density in the same manner as healthy, natural teeth. Reliability. Dental implants have a success rate of 95% over 20 years. Cost effectiveness. Depending on the number of teeth being replaced, dental implant tooth replacement may, in the long run, actually cost less than traditional bridgework. Also, bridges and dentures usually need to be replaced every 7-15 years. Over time, replacement costs associated with bridgework and dentures may far exceed the initial cost of dental implants.

The Dental Implant Team? Dental implant placement is a smooth procedure that involves the cooperation of you and the oral healthcare team that will provide you with a beautiful, natural looking and functioning replacement tooth. Your dental implant team is typically composed of you, your restorative dentist, and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon who will place the implant. You are the key member of the team, and all aspects of your case will be discussed with you before the procedure is scheduled.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon? Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry that includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a graduate of an accredited dental school who has completed an additional four or more years of training in an accredited, hospitalbased oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. They are certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

How Do I Schedule an Appointment? Ask your general dentist for a referral or we also welcome self-referrals.

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contents Januar y Februar y 2016




January  February 2016

All-Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu Season


ADHD: A Natural Approach


Breaking Bad Habits

8 NATURAL BEAUTY Perfect Skin: Avocado Face Mask


Top 7 Brain-Boosting Foods


Boost Your Metabolism — Feel Great, Lose Weight!


Guide to Living Gluten Free


Regaining Balance

healthy mind



hildren struggling to focus on tasks and control their behavior may be evaluated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Before giving a firm diagnosis, clinicians should assess underlying factors such as trauma, nutritional deficiencies and food allergies that could impact treatment. According to the clinical practice guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the first line of treatment is evidence-based behavior intervention in preschool-age children with ADHD. Behavior intervention involves both the child and parent to include:

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Parent training Avoiding distractions Effective discipline Changing interaction with the child Helping the child discover a talent

In addition to behavior strategies, a whole foods, nutrientdense diet free of artificial food colorings, preservatives and other allergens may provide some relief. Foods rich in the following nutrients can improve symptoms: Magnesium. Children with ADHD may have a mild magnesium deficiency, which produces symptoms such as irritability and decreased attention span. Vitamin B6. The body needs sufficient vitamin B6 to make brain chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine, which are affected in children with ADHD. A preliminary study found B6 pyridoxine to be slightly more effective than Ritalin in improving behavior among hyperactive children. Zinc. Zinc regulates the activity of brain chemicals related to behavior. Studies show that zinc may help improve behavior. Omega-3-fatty acids. Found in fish and fish oil, these play an essential role in normal brain function. Some findings suggest that fish oil supplements may improve the mental skills of children aged 8 to 12 years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a prescriptionstrength omega-3 compound for ADHD. This compound is considered a “medical food.” Mind/body techniques. Hypnotherapy, yoga and progressive relaxation may be useful in alleviating symptoms. These techniques help children learn coping skills they can use for the rest of their lives. A team approach consisting of parents, school administrators and health practitioners is necessary to address all factors affecting your child’s behavior, health and well being.  #inspirehealthmag



editor’s letter


Inspire Health Great Bend 2016 - All Right Reserved

It’s one of most powerful words in the world. “I loved my son from the moment he came into this world and made me a mother.” It’s also one of the most overused. “I love this pizza so much I want to marry it.” Sure, we all throw the word around a lot. Why? Because it’s filled with emotion and associated with positive imagery. Love is warm and comfortable like a new puppy. Love is profound and symbolic like a marriage ceremony. At some point in our lives, we all experience it. I feel love for my friends and family as well as for the many other passions of my life, among them music and writing. Inspire Health helps me with the last one. That’s why I love you guys. We all do. And we strive to put everything our readers need into one useful publication … which gives me an idea. What if I were to combine my love for music and writing? Remember Nat King Cole's song, “L-O-V-E”? I borrowed it for my own adaptation. It’s all about Inspire Health. L is for the latest books to read O is for observing lifestyle needs V is veggie, veggie, recipes with veggies E is exercise for arms and legs and waist and thighs Well, no. I never promised Gershwin, but it was fun to write. Guess I’ll keep my day job for now. Kisses! Michele Robert Poche


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Help us inspire others! We want to know what inspires you to live healthy. You could be published in the next issue of Inspire Health magazine. Email us at

Find us online! INSPIRE



Executive Publishers HAL G. FOX & SUZANNE POLK FOX Cover Health & Fitness Fashion & Beauty Kids & Family Destinations Editor Creative Director Art Director Graphic Designer Print Production National Sales National Sales National Sales National Sales


© 2015 Jumpstart Publishing, LLC, New Orleans, LA All rights reserved Printed in the USA by Fox Print Services ( The information contained in Inspire Health is intended for educational purposes only. A reader should never substitute information contained in Inspire Health for the advice of a health care professional. Jumpstart Publishing, LLC and publishers of Inspire Health, do not endorse or promote any of the products or services described in the pages of Inspire Health and the publishers do not verify the accuracy of any claims made in the editorial or advertisements contained in Inspire Health. Readers should not use the information in Inspire Health for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Readers should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or have or suspect they have a health problem.



January  February 2016

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resolve ward today does not mean you can’t move forward tomorrow. Don’t say “never mind” when you eat a cookie or two or decide to sleep in instead of going to the gym. ASK FOR SUPPORT. Accepting help from those who care about you strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues. For additional information on achieving and maintaining lifestyle goals, visit the American Psychological Association Web site at

Breaking Bad



By Patricia Danflous

re you looking to break a few bad habits this year? Ready to keep those end-of-the-year resolutions and lifestyle changes that will make you happier, healthier and more productive? Starting the New Year, a new season or even a new month with the resolve to improve is an age-old tradition. It can be a frustrating experience, however, if your list of commitments is longer than Santa’s naughty or nice list. This time around, prepare a realistic set of goals by reflecting on the changes that will have the most impact for you and your family. There is no magic start date to make a lifestyle change by breaking a bad habit. You may want to take the first step when the relatives and other houseguests have gone back to their own homes, or you may want to wait until your children are back in school. Meanwhile, start thinking about what you want to change about yourself, and narrow the selection down to one behavior. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), estab-

lishing small, sensible goals throughout the year increases your chances of reaching objectives to break bad habits or keep a healthy resolution. The following APA tips may help you prepare a list of resolutions — and, most importantly, keep them:

START SMALL. If you want to start exercising more, aim for three or four days a week, not every day. Looking to eat healthier? Start by replacing that late-night ice cream treat with yogurt or frozen strawberries. CHANGE ONE BEHAVIOR AT A TIME. Don’t get overwhelmed and reassess everything in your life at one time. One step at a time does work. TALK ABOUT IT. Share your experiences with family and friends. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with will make your journey to a healthier lifestyle easier and less daunting.

MOST POPULAR RESOLUTIONS  Losing weight  Quitting tobacco use  Volunteering to help the community  Attaining a promotion or new job  Saving money  Exercising more  Living with less stress  Managing finances efficiently  Traveling more  Eating healthy  Drinking less alcohol  Protecting the environment

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. No one is perfect. Taking two steps  #inspirehealthmag



t c e f r e P Skin AVOCADO FACE MASK natural beauty

By Whitney Alexandra


ired of searching the daunting aisles in the drugstore for the perfect skin products? Time to change it up. Head over to the produce section for the ultimate moisturizer and exfoliator. Fresh ingredients such as avocado, honey and oats bring nourishing vitamins to your skin, allowing you to glow naturally. The first ingredient to add to your facemask is AVOCADO. Avocado is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-rich foods in the world. Incorporating avocados into your diet, as well as applying it directly to your face, can do wonders for your skin. The creamy texture makes it perfect for a mask. This is the time to use your overripe avocados — the extra mush is the texture you want for your mask. Some key nutrients in avocados include vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A aids in skin cell regeneration, and vitamins C and E help to prevent against free radical damage, which typically is the cause of wrinkles and blemishes. Avocados are hypoallergenic, so they’re great for people who have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts.

Next ingredient: HONEY. Good old honey is another wonderful natural ingredient that can work wonders for your skin. Honey is antibacterial, helping to clean out pores and reduce and prevent acne. Similar to avocado, honey is also rich in antioxidants, which reverses free radical damage and prevents wrinkles. If you have oily skin, the good news is honey doesn’t dry the skin out. Instead, it stays at optimal moisture levels so your body doesn’t produce any excess oil.

Last but not least … BRING ON THE OATS. Classic oats are another natural soother and work well as a gentle exfoliator. Oats can heal and calm red spots caused by rosacea, eczema or reactions to harsh chemicals. Oats become slightly sticky when moist, which makes them great for taking off dead skin cells and allowing moisture to penetrate into the skin.

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 ½ ripe avocado  2 Tbsp. honey  ¼ cup gluten-free rolled oats Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mash until you get a smooth texture. Apply to your face, and leave on for 20 minutes before washing off with warm water.



January  February 2016

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mighty kids

BRAIN-BOOSTING FOODS e all want our kids to eat right. Fueling their developing bodies with nutritious choices is directly linked to physical fitness. But what about brain health? As the driving force for the human body, the brain deserves to be nurtured just as much as the arms and legs. Incorporating a diet rich in foods proven to boost the brain’s continued growth and development can have immeasurable benefits on your child’s focus, comprehension and memory. Try some of these brain boosters: 1. Dark, leafy green vegetables. Chock full of folate and other vitamins, leafy greens contain antioxidants that actually promote new brain cell growth. Additionally, regular consumption is linked with a decreased risk of dementia in later life. Serving suggestion: Pair with fruit (#5), low-fat milk (#6) and ice, then blend in a smoothie. 2. Fish (especially oily varieties). Fish offers both vitamin D and omega-3s to help with focus and concentration. It also protects against memory loss. Serving suggestion: Pan fry salmon and serve in taco shells with dipping sauce. 3. Nuts & seeds. These ready-to-go snack items are packed with vitamins and protein. They help boost mood and regulate the nervous system. Serving

suggestion:Toss with butter and your favorite spice combination. Bake in single layer at 250 degrees F for approximately 1 hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes. 4. Oatmeal. Filled with fiber, B vitamins and protein, oatmeal helps keep both brain and heart arteries clear and boost memory. Because it’s a whole grain, it digests slowly to give you steady energy. Serving suggestion: Prepare according to directions, then add cinnamon and berries (#5). 5. Blueberries. In addition to preventing memory loss, blueberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, so they naturally stave off both short- and long-term illness. Serving suggestion: Add them to smoothies (#1), roasted nut & seed snacks (#3) and hot oatmeal (#4). 6. Low-fat dairy products. Milk and yogurt (preferably plain, nonfat Greek) support brain health because they’re loaded with B vitamins and protein to help you concentrate. Serving suggestion: Add milk to your smoothies (#1) or yogurt to your berries (#5). 7. Chocolate (specifically dark). It gets you going by increasing the blood flow to the brain. Always remember to look for a high concentration of cocoa. That’s where all the nutrition and brain benefit can be found. Serving suggestion: Add dark chocolate chips to roasted nut & seed snacks (#3).

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By Michele Poche

EIDETIC: Remember important phone numbers or interesting words and facts with Eidetic, which uses a technique called spaced repetition. Notifications remind you when it’s time to retest yourself. (iOS) DUOLINGO: Learn a new language for free with this fun and addictive app. Each lesson includes a variety of challenges and instantly shows you which answers you get correct. (iOS, Android and Windows)  #inspirehealthmag



By: Tami Charbonnet & Melanie Fawer | Photos: Milestone Photography | Model: Melanie Fawer







1. SAMASTHITI (equal standing pose) Stand with big toes and heels together or feet hip width apart. Sink into soles of feet. Extend arms down sides of body, bringing shoulders gently back and shoulder blades down. Drop sit bones towards heels. Gaze eyes to tip of nose, with neck a natural extension of the spine. Free breathe. 2. URDHVA HASTASANA (raised hands pose or upward salute) On inhale, lift arms over head, bring palms together and look to thumbs.


shtanga yoga is pure classical Indian yoga made popular by K. Pattabhi Jois in the early 20th century. In Ashtanga, we travel through flowing, strong postures synchronized with the breath. Once yoga postures become familiar, we naturally feel a mind-body connection from the breath to the specific movement. With practice, this connection allows us to sink deeper into the movements, improving not only overall flexibility, but also stamina, strength and endurance. This gentle but powerful series of movements will help to increase flexibility, prevent injury, build strong core muscles, inspire mental focus and even create positive energy. Hold each posture for five deep breaths. Inhale in and exhale out deeply. Do not rush the movements. INSPIRE HEALTH

January  February 2016

4 3 3. UTTANASANA (intense forward bending pose) On exhale, hinge at hips and fold down over legs. Relax neck, and place hands on floor or shins. Gaze to tip of nose.

4. ARDHA UTTANASANA (half intense forward bending pose) On inhale, draw chest up halfway to lengthen spine. Straighten arms and look up.


5. UTTIHITA CHATURANGA DANDASANA (full plank pose) On exhale, bend knees to bring palms flat on the floor and step back to plank pose. Bring shoulders over wrists, palms flat, heels over balls of feet and eyes gazed to tip of nose. For a more advanced option, lower halfway into chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose), bending at elbows until they align with shoulders. Keep a solid core with elbows close to ribs as you lower. *If you feel pressure in lower back or if back sinks, bring knees to the floor.



6. URDHVA MUKHA SVANASANA (upward facing dog) Inhale into upward facing dog. Press down through palms of hands, lift chest, engage and extend through legs.

7 7. ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA (downward facing dog) On exhale, lift hips to the sky and draw them back as you step back onto soles of feet and sink heels towards the ground. Press back through arms and press knuckles of palms into the floor, opening shoulders so space is created between ears and neck. Gaze to navel and take 5 deep breaths.

Meditation Poses

8. Inhale and return to #4. 9. Exhale and return to #3. 10. Inhale and return to #2, then exhale to #1.

MEDITATION POSE 2: SAVASANA (corpse pose, for deep relaxation) Close eyes, face palms up, relax all muscles and let gravity take over. Bring awareness to inhalation and exhalation for 10 minutes. MEDITATION POSE 1: PADMASANA (lotus pose) An alternative can be half lotus or crossed legs. Sit with straight spine. Gaze to tip of nose. Take 25 deep, steady breaths.  #inspirehealthmag



exercise PINCHA MAYURASANA (feathered peacock pose)

BITILASANA (cow pose)

EKA PADA RAJAKAPOTASANA (one-legged king pigeon pose)



January  February 2016

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t s o o B Your Metabolism weight loss



By Tami Charbonnet

meals throughout the day. Monitor your calorie intake, and add a few servings of the following foods to your daily nutrition plan. These tips will help boost your metabolism and promote healthy weight loss while keeping you energized and ready to conquer your weight loss goals. Grapefruit and Lemons: burn calories by breaking down fiber and decreasing insulin levels. Pears and Apples: high fiber keeps you feeling full longer and takes more time to digest.This does wonders for metabolism. Oatmeal and Brown Rice: keep insulin levels low and are packed with nutrients and complex carbohydrates that speed up the metabolism by stabilizing insulin levels. Herbs and Spices (such as garlic, black pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper): linked to improvement of insulin sensitivity and help keep metabolism high. Broccoli: high in vitamins C, K and A. It also provides plenty of folate and dietary fiber, which activate the digestive track. *Tami’s book recommendation: The Metabolism Miracle by Diane Kress, RD, CDE

STAND UP FOR A SMALLER WAIST Simply sitting less can have amazing results for your health and waistline, according to a study conducted by a research team from the University of Queensland. The study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, shows that replacing sitting with standing helps lower blood sugar and blood fat levels. The study also suggests that walking for two hours a day could trim your waistline by three inches and strengthen your heart. It can be difficult to remember to take a break from sitting when you’re at work. Try using a timer to remind yourself to take breaks.


onsumption of specific whole foods gives the body a calorie-burning boost while speeding up the metabolism. According to editors at, research shows that the “act of chewing” foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins may increase calorie burn by up to 30 percent. When attempting to lose weight, always eat the recommended amount of calories for your body type and activity level. Denying or restricting yourself of too many calories will cause the body to go into starvation mode, slowing your metabolism. When metabolism slows, weight gain is inevitable. How can you speed up your metabolism? In addition to regular exercise, try eating small, nutrient-dense meals every 3-5 hours. This schedule will speed up your metabolism, curb your appetite, keep you from overeating and keep the digestive tract actively burning calories. However, this is not a free ticket to eat whatever you wish in small portions. The key to healthy weight loss is eating fresh, low-calorie, high-fiber, nutrient-dense

Start your life in a

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By Dr. Michelle Clay, D.O., CHHC

any people report having more energy and vibrancy when embracing a gluten-free lifestyle, relieving them of aggravating digestive symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain/cramping, diarrhea, gas, anemia and malnutrition. Conditions that produce these symptoms include: • Celiac disease (only 1 percent of the population) • Wheat allergy • FODMAPs allergy (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols, a group of poorly digested carbohydrates) • Bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis) Gluten-containing grains wheat, barley and rye are all high in FODMAPs. FODMAPs are found in a variety of foods that contain fructose, lactose and sorbitol, such as milk, some fruits (apples, watermelons), some vegetables (onions, asparagus) and legumes (lentils, chickpeas).



January  February 2016

A whole foods, holistic approach is best. While eliminating all gluten products can have benefits, it is important to consult with your primary care doctor, nutritionist, dietitian and/or holistic practitioner for an accurate diagnosis and to address any nutritional deficiencies that may exist as well as the emotional and social challenges that come with adopting a new lifestyle. The goal is to treat the cause, not mask symptoms.

GLUTEN TIPS  Eliminate all foods that contain wheat.  Keep a food journal to help track your reaction to different foods.  Introduce a whole foods diet consisting of the full spectrum of colors, including:  Green leafy vegetables  Citrus fruits to boost immune system and decrease inflammation  Avocados, which aid absorption of nutrients in other foods  Coconut kefir, which promotes bacterial balance in the digestive tract and helps boost the immune system  Look at the foods you already enjoy that are gluten free and really fall in love with them.  Join a gluten free or gluten intolerance group that can provide support, recipes and tips on how to read labels (some condiments and vitamins use gluten as a filler).  Download a gluten-free cheat sheet with advice on cooking or baking substitutions.  Plan and prepare foods ahead of time to take with you in case a long day becomes longer.  Embrace the process with love. Love and healing go together.

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u l F & d Col

Season By Michele Robert Poche


eeling congested, drowsy and just generally run down? It’s not uncommon this time of year. According to webmd. com, the incidence of colds and flu peaks in January and February. You and your family could be the next victims. Instead of running to the drugstore for medicines that often come with hefty price tags and bothersome side effects, why not try one of these all-natural home remedies for relief? Chances are you’ve already got some or all of the ingredients necessary in your pantry or medicine cabinet. Sore Throat For minor irritation, try gargling with a warm saltwater solution. It gently eases the discomfort and washes away mucus. For more severe pain, mix honey and apple cider vinegar for a thicker, more viscous gargling solution that will coat the throat. Neither should be ingested, and both can be used as needed. Congestion Hot liquids, whether inhaled (via steam from a bath or shower) or ingested (by drinking fluids like tea or chicken broth), can work wonders to open clogged nasal passages. Bonus: Ingested liquids can also prevent dehydration issues often associated with these illnesses. Feeling brave? Many



January  February 2016

swear by eating chili peppers. It’s a surefire way to clear your sinuses quickly. Upset Stomach Bananas and rice are both known stomach settlers, making them smart choices for much-needed sustenance when battling intestinal issues. Decaffeinated herbal teas infused with ginger and peppermint can also help soothe stomach upset. 5 HEALING SUPPLEMENTS

1. Echinacea • Purpose: Fights colds and infection and reduces duration and symptoms of illness. • Usage: Begin at first sign of illness and use up to four times daily for up to 10 days. • Caution: Should not be administered to ragweed allergy sufferers or used for more than eight weeks as it can be damaging to the immune system. 2. Elderberry • Purpose: Boosts immunity and reduces swelling and inflammation. • Usage: Should be administered in first 24-48 hours of symptoms for up to five days.

• Caution: Can counteract other medications, so consult your doctor before using. 3. Oscillococcinum • Purpose: Reduces duration and severity of symptoms. Note: It’s the #1 over-thecounter flu remedy in France, where it has been sold for more than 60 years. • Usage: Dosage varies depending on factors such as age and health. • Caution: There are no known side effects associated with it. 4. Vitamin C • Purpose: Reduces duration and symptoms of illness.

• Usage: Should be administered at first sign of illness via supplements, juices, lozenges and/or foods, especially citrus. • Caution: Follow dosages, as excessive quantities can cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea. 5. Zinc • Purpose: Fights infection, keeps the immune system strong and reduces duration of illness. • Usage: Should be administered within 24 hours of symptom onset. Take with food to avoid stomach upset. • Caution: Can counteract other supplements or antibiotics.

Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu annually.

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by Veronica Coons Photography by Hugo Gonzalez and Veronica Coons -

After experiencing a devastating bout of Guillain-Barré Syndrome that left her disabled, adjusting to her new limitations helped her to become a vital link between local volunteers and the Red Cross Blood Donation services in Great Bend. iving blood has always been a part of Aleta Ehrlich’s life. Her mother, she remembers, regularly volunteered for the Red Cross Bloodmobile. Then, later in life, she both gave and received blood. Every six to eight weeks, Great Bend’s St. Rose Catholic Church auditorium and the parish hall at Prince of Peace Parish Center fill with donors coming to give life-saving blood at regular Red Cross blood drives. Thanks to Aleta’s efforts there are plenty of people to greet, register, escort and feed these donors. What many don’t realize is, Ehrlich was once the recipient of these gifts, and is able to give back to her community in part because of the generosity of others when she faced a life-changing illness nearly two decades ago. Guillain-Barré Syndrome, GBS for short, is a rare disease that affects only one in 100,000 people. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, GBS is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system. No one yet knows why GBS - which is not contagious - strikes some people and not others. Nor does anyone know exactly what sets the disease in motion. Usually it takes hold a



January  February 2016

You’re going to go through life and whatever is going to get you will get you w few days or weeks after the patient has had symptoms of a respiratory or gastrointestinal viral infection. She is not sure where or how she contracted the virus. “You’re going to go through life and whatever is going to get you will get you,” Aleta reflected one bright October day at her home in Great Bend. An amazing attitude from one that endured a devastating case of the virus nineteen years ago. “On a scale from mild to severe, my experience with GBS was among the most severe.”

GBS strikes Aleta enjoyed sports, and played on recreational league teams well past when most of her peers had transitioned to spectators. On a Friday, she played one of the best softball games of her life, she recalled, feeling completely at the peak of health. It would be her last game. Five days later, she was completely paralyzed and in fear for her life. That’s how quickly GBS can strike.

She was helping her husband stock inventory at an auto parts store he managed in Ottawa that weekend. They had plans to visit her son at college in Pittsburg, and ate dinner at a restaurant before heading off to the hotel. The eatery was shut down for health and sanitation violations less than a month later. Doctors, however, have told her it could have come from a number of things - the food on the buffet, a public restroom, or even a flu shot. There simply are no tests to narrow down the possibilities. Her symptoms started when she stumbled while helping move items with her husband, and then pain which escalated quickly. Finally, she was taken to an emergency room, and from the time she arrived and was taken by wheelchair to a bed, to the time her family began to arrive, the paralysis had overtaken her. Her ability to breathe quickly diminished, her fear rising as she was unable to communicate what was happening to her. A neurologist found the infection at the base of her brain stem, and a tracheotomy was required so she could take in air. Treatment began, but it was a long road to recovery. She was placed on a ventilator, and transfusions of blood and plasma were started. After a few weeks, she was stabilized, and her doctor informed her

family that she would begin to get better, but recovery would take time. The first six months she was in the hospital, first in Wichita, later transferring to St. Rose where her husband could more easily be with her. “Part of that time, I was completely helpless, unable to move, to speak, to breathe on my own,” she said. She came to appreciate the kinder nurses, and to withdraw from others that failed to treat her with dignity. She came to understand the importance of having family members advocate for her. Finally, she regained some of her movement and strength and was able to go home. She spent another twelve months with home health aides, enduring physical therapy, and essentially learning to walk again. While she regained mobility and saw progress in many areas early on, she has never fully recovered. Years later, she has only limited use of her hands and is unable to steady herself for more than a minute without assistance. It’s something she’s learned over the years to adjust to, avoiding tasks that require dexterity and periods of standing.  #inspirehealthmag



Finding harmony Being dealt the hand, many might have folded. What GBS took from her was immense. Prior to the disease, she was a para in the schools, and helped her husband with his business, taking care of the books and also helping maintain the books for the family’s rental house business. “I’ve only ever applied for one job in my life,” she says. “The rest have all been offered to me.” Her skills as a touch typist are gone, reduced to hunt and peck. She enjoyed crafts, especially weaving wheat. As her skill increased, she entered intricate wheat weavings in contests and state fairs, winning many highranking awards for her designs. Many are displayed on the walls of her home, and others are stored away, destined to become gifts to family and friends. With limited use of her fingers, she can’t manipulate the stalks to bring out the detail needed to match the designs in her mind. Now, she simply appreciates the skill of others, and supports other weavers in their art. Despite all this, Aleta looks at the life she had prior to GBS as simply a different chapter. She needed to reevaluate her strengths and learn some new tricks, she realized. While she admits there were some dark days, her friends rallied around her and buoyed her, keeping her spirits up with encouraging cards, visits and little gifts. After recovering enough to become self-sufficient once more, she knew she needed to find balance between focusing on her own needs and being part of the community again. A job was out of the question, but she resumed the rental management tasks she was physically able to handle. She also began volunteering through her church, making phone calls to helping to organize funeral dinners and other church events. She learned the best ways to approach people, finding many were happy to volunteer. Word of her ability made it to Great Bend’s chapter of Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Director, MaryLou Warren, asked her if she would be willing to volunteer with them in 2006. By 2013, Linn Hogg, director with Volunteers in Action, asked her to become the Red Cross Blood Drive coordinator organizing twelve blood drives in the Barton County area each



January  February 2016

year, ensuring there are enough people to keep donors moving in and out as quickly as possible. There are six at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, four at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and two at Barton Community College each year — one on Halloween and one around Valentine’s Day. “All of the RSVP volunteers that help with the blood drives are very dedicated,” Hogg said. “We were looking for one person, who would step up and help coordinate the volunteers. We knew Aleta had the background to handle the volunteer scheduling and she knows her community.” Since taking on this leadership role, the communication with the volunteers, American Red Cross Staff and the Volunteers in Action office has improved. “Aleta is always on site. This means the volunteers have a person to voice their questions and concerns to and our program has a person to coordinate those volunteers. It was a win for all parties involved,” Hogg said.

Coordination In October, Aleta manned the check-in at the Barton Community College blood drive. It was her second blood drive that week, in addition to two funeral dinners she organized. “I can’t say enough that none of this would be possible without my volunteers who always say yes,” she said. And that’s where one of Aleta’s most important strengths lies. She can garner support for whatever it is she’s involved in. Her friendly and optimistic outlook attracts others who care about the things she cares about. Where some find it difficult to pick up the phone and make a call, for Aleta it’s second nature. “There are a ton of people out there that want to be of service,” she said. That day, she was joined by Clara May Brown, Dorothy Morrow, Marilyn Dougherty, and her long-time friend Jean Cavanaugh. As she greeted donors, some who had given gallons over a life-time all the way to one young woman who was nervously contemplating giving for the first time, her crew took care of the less-technical aspects of the drive. Some escorted donors to the refreshment station, while others served and chatted with donors as they drank juice or water and ate a variety of snacks. “I’m always so thankful to those loyal volunteers, and there’s always a need for new ones,” she said.

The college was implementing the new Rapid Check procedure for the first time that day, something Aleta is excited about because it will make for a better experience for everyone involved. Donors can now complete the questionnaire online and print out a confirmation before they come to the site, which helps shave off around 15 minutes of their visit. This, Aleta explained, is critical to gathering the most blood possible during a drive. And happier donors mean happier volunteers. It’s another example of her ability to accept and embrace change, taking whatever life hands her and weaving a masterpiece from it.


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