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& WELLNESS

HEALTH

Winter Edition

2011

Staying Cozy and Fit with Seasonal Soups

Keeping the Beat Heart Month Checklist That’s Sure to Keep Your Ticker Ticking

Surviving the Season PLUS Painting ‘Green’ Seasonal Scents Defeating Diabetes

How to Keep Colds And the Flu in Check

www.HealthyinHR.com


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LIFESTYLES

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BON APPÉTIT

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NOTHING WARMS YOUR WINTERY SOUL LIKE A PIPING HOT BOWL OF SOUP. STAY FIT AND COZY WITH SOME OF OUR FAVORITE RECIPES.

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HOW FORMER NEWS ANCHOR LEANNE RAINS BENEDETTO USED DIABETES AS A MOTIVATIONAL TOOL IN HER QUEST FOR HEALTHIER LIVING.

IN THE NEWS Take a look at how our state stacks up on health rankings and get a glimpse inside the nation’s 10-year plan.

TO THE BEAT The opportunity to prevent heart disease happens everyday. Celebrate your health and future this February during American Heart Month.

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OUNCE OF PREVENTION Cold and flu season is here but there’s still time to prepare.

CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE

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MIND MATTERS Stop seasonal fatigue this winter with a healthy dose of protein, sunlight and other secrets known to cure the winter blues.

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YOUR WORLD By covering up one problem with paint, you might be creating another.

UNLOCK THE SOOTHING POWER OF ESSENTIAL OILS AND WATCH THE STRESS MELT AWAY. 2

WINTER 2011

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NUTRITION INTENTION How do artificial sweeteners affect your body? Find out in this breakdown by Erica Steele of Essential Wellness, a holistic wellness center in Virginia Beach.


& WELLNESS

HEALTH Vol. 2, Issue #1 Winter 2010/2011

3NORING3LEEP!PNEA

Published by Pilot Media Cos.

Graphics Manager Kim Moore

Phone 757.222.5350

Design/Layout Mimi G. Davis

Mail 150 W. Brambleton Ave. Norfolk, VA 23510 www.healthyinhr.com

Hampton Roads Business Manager Debbi Wilson (757.222.5341) Hampton Roads Health & Wellness is a quarterly distributed throughout Hampton Roads in high-trafďŹ c locations including many doctors’ ofďŹ ces. Entire contents, ad and graphic design and www.healthyinhr.com copyright 2011 by Pilot Media Cos. Reproduction of any portion of this publication or its website without the publisher’s written consent is strictly prohibited. Information found herein is as accurate as possible at press time but should be solely used as a guide. For more speciďŹ c advice, please consult your family physician.

Sales Manager Bill Blake (757.222.3165) (sales@healthyinhr.com) Hampton Roads Editor Mary Flachsenhaar (757.222.5350) (editor@healthyinhr.com) Managing Editor Craig Ramey (editor@nccoast.com)

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In the News

The Health of a Nation Not bad, Virginia. For the second year in a row, we are #22 in an annual ranking of the nation’s health, state by state. The 2010 America’s Health Rankings were released Dec. 7, by United Health Foundation, showing overall improvements in its 21st annual report. The nation’s overall health improved by one percentage point, but reductions in smoking, preventable hospitalizations and infectious disease were offset by increases in obesity, children in poverty and lack of health insurance, according to the report. The outdoorsy folks up in Vermont are still faring the best, once again clocking in as the healthiest state. Mississippi takes the unhealthiest seat this year, with Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada and Oklahoma rounding out the bottom five. “The rate of gain, while positive, is wholly inadequate for us as a nation. We know with certainty that many people will suffer consequences of preventable disease unless we strengthen individual healthiness, community by community, across America,” Dr. Reed Tuckson, chief of medical affairs for United Health Group, said in a release. “The persistent year-after-year increase in obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes and other risk factors combined with a still unacceptably high use of tobacco means an increased burden of chronic illness, including diabetes, with medical care costs that will be unaffordable for any state, private employer or 4

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individual in the days to come. States are showing that we can successfully deal with health issues, but only by tackling those issues head on.” While public health funding in Virginia dropped from $81 to $68 per person in the past year, the commonwealth maintains a high rate of prenatal care for pregnant women, ranking #14, with 83.9 percent of pregnant women receiving care during the first trimester. In addition, Virginia has a low violent crime rate, ranking #7, at 227 offenses per 100,000 population; few sick days taken by employees per month at 3.0 days in the previous 30 days; and a low percentage of children in poverty, at 14.8 percent of persons under age 18. The challenges Virginia faces include a rise in its obesity rate during the past 10 years, from 19.3 percent to 25.5 percent of the population. (The report determined that 26.9 percent of Americans are obese.) Other hurdles for the commonwealth are high levels of pollution at 11.2 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter, which is on par with the national average; high prevalence of smoking, at 19.0 percent, above the national average of 17.9 percent; and low immunization coverage, with 86.7 percent of children 19 to 35 months receiving immunizations, which is 3 percent below the national average.


Our neighbor to the south, North Carolina, climbed two points in 2010, rising from 37th place to 35th. The state’s strengths include its low prevalence of binge drinking, low occupational fatality rate and high immunization coverage. Challenges noted include a low high school graduation rate, high percentage of children in poverty and high infant mortality rate. Significant changes in the 2010 report for North Carolina include a reduction in smoking, down from 25.1 percent to 20.3 percent over the last 10 years. Georgia improved the most throughout the year, rising from 36th position to 43rd, followed by other big climbers Idaho, Nebraska and South Carolina. “Every state can create effective solutions to many of the health challenges they face,” said Tuckson. “States can use America’s Health Rankings to identify their state’s and other states’ strengths and use those examples to address areas that need attention in their own state. The key is action. We must continue to work toward impacting change in unhealthy behaviors and other factors that negatively impact a state.” It is obesity, however, that continues to be the proverbial thorn in the side of our health as a nation. Since 1990, the number of overweight Americans has risen from 11.6 percent of the population to 26.9, meaning today, more than one in four Americans are considered obese. “Obesity and tobacco use are top contributors to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and other leading causes of premature death and disability,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “We cannot avoid these critical public and personal health battles. We must work with multiple stakeholders and our public health partners to develop with comprehensive solutions to solve this problem.” The report goes on to isolate smoking, children in poverty, lack of health insurance and diabetes as other contributing factors to poor health. To read the report in its entirety, visit americashealthrankings.org.

Tobacco War Lights Up The US Surgeon General’s report, “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease,” sheds new light on the damaging effects of tobacco use, stating that evidence shows that tobacco products are “lethal weapons capable of shortening the lifespan of smokers and nonsmokers alike.” The report, which was released in early December, lists how smoking contributes to cancer, cardio-

vascular disease, pulmonary diseases, and reproduction and development. It purports that tobacco is a contributing factor in one in every five deaths in the US and that even one random cigarette can trigger a heart attack. American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown is urging lawmakers for new federal regulations, including graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging, state-funded prevention and cessation programs, and higher tobacco excise taxes. “Policymakers must not allow complacency to rule in the fight against tobacco,” the AHA said in a Dec. 9 press release. “Bold, aggressive measures are needed to save lives, reduce the burden of disease and improve quality of life.”

Spreading the Word The US Dept. of Health and Human Services has unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Many of the risk factors that contribute to the development of these diseases are preventable. The Healthy People initiative is grounded in the principle that setting national objectives and monitoring progress can motivate action, and indeed, in just the last decade, preliminary analysis indicate that the country has either progressed toward or met 71 percent of its Healthy People targets. “Too many people are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions,” said Asst. Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh. “Healthy People is the nation’s roadmap and compass for better health, providing our society a vision for improving both the quantity and quality of life for all Americans.” Healthy People 2020 is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process that integrates input from public health and prevention experts; a wide range of federal, state and local government officials; a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations; and perhaps most importantly, the public. More than 8,000 comments were considered in drafting the new objectives. Based on the feedback, new topic areas have been included in the new initiative, including adolescent health; blood disorders; dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease; early and middle childhood; genomics; global health; health-related quality of life; healthcare-associated infections; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health; older adults; preparedness; sleep health; and social determinants of health. The new redesigned website, which allows users to tailor information to their needs, can be found at healthypeople.gov. „

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Bon Appétit

Soup’s On Staying Fit and Warm With Wintery Meals

By Amanda Dagnino

C

ampbell’s has been telling us for decades that “Soup is Good Food” and each winter we start to believe them a little bit. On those cold winter days when all you’re dreaming about is a warm pair of slippers and fuzzy pajamas, feel comfortable adding soup to your list of must-haves. It’s packed with nutrition and offers multiple benefits – from aiding digestion to soothing a cold – plus, it warms us up from the inside out. For as many years as Campbell’s has been lauding its usefulness, doctors have been studying exactly why soup seems to cure what ails us. Is it merely leaning over a warm, steaming bowl that helps clear the nasal passage? Or does chicken noodle soup have some magical anti-inflammatory affect? The speculations run the spectrum from plausible to just plain silly. The fact of the matter is that soup is an ideal vehicle for getting our required daily allowance of vegetables in one succinct package. There is little clean up. There is little cost. And there are numerous varieties from which to choose, with options everyone will love, whether carnivore or vegan. Plus, it’s just plain comforting. Nothing is better than a steaming cup of mom’s chicken noodle soup when cold symptoms appear. And a recent study by Penn State University shows that it can also aid in weight loss. People who added a small bowl of soup before their meal reduced their overall daily caloric intake and said they felt more satisfied. When working with canned or prepackaged soup, be aware of the salt content. Many pre-made varieties can be extremely 6

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high in sodium, although all of the major brands now offer a full slate of low-salt options to choose from. Keep in mind that if it is too low in salt, you can always add a touch of sea salt at home to give it a little flavor. Just don’t overdo it. Of course, homemade soup with fresh ingredients is always best. And today’s slow cookers make it an easy alternative, even if you are away from the home during the day. Sure, there’s some chopping to do in preparation, but keep in mind that a nice sized pot of soup can not only provide lunches for a week, but it freezes well, too. If reduced calories are your focus, make sure you stick to extra lean cuts of meat. Remember that beans and tofu have far less saturated fat than animal sources and there’s no rule that you have to be a vegetarian to enjoy them. To cut back on the fat content, cool your soup in the refrigerator prior to serving, allowing the fat to rise to the top so you can scoop it out before reheating. While we all know that broth-based soups are the healthiest, counting calories doesn’t mean you should always forsake its cream-based counterpart. If you’re cooking at home, try using whole milk (about 150 calories/8 grams of fat per serving) instead of light whipping cream (698 calories/74 grams of fat per serving) for an adequate, yet lighter, alternative. Ready to get started? Here are a few of our favorites, but keep in mind that soups are easy to modify and make your own. Leave out the stuff you don’t like and add a few of your favorite things. When it comes to soup, just about anything goes!


Our TOP 5 Picks 1

Minestrone 2 med. carrots, 1/4-inch pieces 1 med. onion, 1/4-inch pieces 1 large celery stalk, 1/4-inch pieces 2 cloves garlic, minced 3 med. all-purpose potatoes, peeled,1/4-inch pieces 1 can chicken broth 1 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 pound green beans, 1-inch pieces 1/3 cup small pasta, such as cavatelli or ditalini 1 pound Swiss chard, chopped 1/2 pound spinach 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel Grated parmesan cheese for garnish

Spray a medium pot with cooking spray and add carrots, onion and celery, cooking until brown. Add garlic and simmer for one minute. Add potatoes, broth, salt, pepper, thyme and six cups water; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add kidney beans, green beans and pasta; cook 10 minutes longer before stirring in Swiss chard, spinach and lemon peel. Cook about five minutes or until greens are wilted and tender. Top with grated parmesan if you like.

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Homestyle Chicken Noodle 1 whole chicken (3-4 lbs) 3 qt low-sodium chicken broth 6 carrots, peeled 4 stalks celery, ends trimmed 3 med. onions, peeled 5 black peppercorns 1 clove garlic, crushed 10 sprigs parsley 2 sprigs thyme 1 bay leaf 2 tbsp unsalted butter 4 leeks, tops and roots removed 1 tsp salt 1 tsp fresh-ground pepper 3 c. medium egg noodles

Place the chicken and chicken broth in a large stockpot and set it over medium heat. Roughly chop two carrots, two celery ribs and one onion and add to the broth. Add the peppercorns, garlic, two sprigs of parsley, thyme, bay leaf and enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until the chicken is very tender, 1-1 ½ hours. Remove the chicken and place in a large bowl. Strain the broth through a very fine sieve into a large, clean bowl or stockpot. Discard the

vegetables. If caloric intake is a concern, skim any fat off the top of the strained broth. Slice the remaining carrots, celery, onions and leeks into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and set aside. Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken, cut meat into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside. Chop the remaining parsley leaves and set aside. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook until the onions are clear. Add the chicken, the reserved broth, salt and pepper. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Stir in the egg noodles and parsley and cook until the noodles are tender.

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Mushroom-Soup with Barley 1 oz. dried mushrooms 3 c. water 1 large onion, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 1 celery stalk, chopped 12 oz. cremini or button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano 2 cans chicken broth 1/2 c. barley 1/4 tsp sea salt

In a small saucepan, bring the dried mushrooms and water to a boil. Remove and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coat a Dutch oven with nonstick spray. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook over medium heat about five minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and oregano and cook until vegetables are soft. Add the broth, barley and sea salt. Cook for 10 minutes. Line a fine mesh sieve with a coffee filter or paper towel. Strain the dried mushroom water into the pot. Rinse the dried mushrooms under running water to remove any grit. Chop and add to the pot. Cook until the barley is tender.

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looking for a smooth soup, straining it back in will provide the texture you desire. Prior to serving, reheat the puree and stir in cream and top with basil.

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Curried Butternut Squash Soup 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 c. onions, chopped 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp curry powder 1 tsp ground cumin Red (cayenne) pepper to taste 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, halved lengthwise and sliced thin 3 c. vegetable or chicken broth 3 c. water 1 lb. tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and onion and sauté until golden brown. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin and cayenne pepper; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add squash, vegetable or chicken broth, water and apples. Bring liquid just to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from heat and let cool 15 to 20 minutes. Puree mixture in a blender or food processor and transfer back into soup pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. „

Tomato-Basil 2 cans crushed tomatoes 2 cups chicken broth 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped 1 large shallot, diced 1/2 onion, diced 3 cloves garlic, sliced 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup cream 3 tbsp sugar Ground pepper

In a large stockpot, heat vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add sliced garlic, finely diced shallots and onion. Simmer until onion starts to caramelize. Add cans of crushed tomatoes and sugar and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in chicken broth and remove soup from heat. Puree the soup mixture in a blender or liquid-tight food processor. Put pureed mixture back in the pot. If you’re w w w. H e a l t h y i n H R . c o m

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To the Beat

Heart of the Matter F irst the bad news: Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of Virginians. Now, the good news: Awareness and lifestyle changes can reduce everyone’s risk, even that of those genetically predisposed to the disease. No better time to get this message out than February, Heart Awareness Month. The American Heart Association celebrates the month by encouraging people to learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke, and by promoting other awareness and education efforts. One of these is National Wear Red Day, Feb. 4, an AHA event designed to support research, education and community programs to raise awareness about the risks for women. Heart disease is still considered the No. 1 killer of women. The logo for this campaign is a red dress, which will appear on the windows of stores and restaurants throughout Hampton Roads. The AHA is providing store-owners with the paint, donated by Sherwin-Williams, and a red dress stencil. According to Teri Arnold, director of marketing and communications for the American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, “The association has dedicated $8.7 million to active research awards focused on cardiovascular disease and stroke in Virginia, including 15 Heart Association National Center awards being conducted at institutions within Virginia. “We urge everyone in Hampton Roads to recognize the importance of tools and skills that will increase survival rates from cardiac arrest. By incorporating these tools into aggressive programs, we can save thousands of lives each year.” Arnold, who is based in Norfolk and can be reached at teri.arnold@heart.org, encourages individuals to get a free heart-health assessment and personal action plan by visiting www.mylifecheck.org. Risk factors are also summarized here. 8

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A Look at Your Risk Factors Anyone interested in lowering their chances of heart disease should know there are many ways you can lower your risk. Some of them we have no control over, like family history, race or gender, but many others can be easily controlled at home. Risk factors for heart disease include: • Smoking • Obesity • High blood pressure • Lack of exercise • High cholesterol • Family history • Diabetes Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, it accounts for more than 440,000 of the more than 2.4 million annual deaths. Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing several chronic disorders. These include fatty buildups in arteries, several types of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (lung problems). Atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty substances in the arteries) is a chief contributor to the high number of deaths from smoking. Many studies detail the evidence that cigarette smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack. If you have additional questions about your risk of heart disease and/or heart attack, see the calculator at heart.org. Are you having a heart attack? While some heart attacks strike suddenly and without warning in true Hollywood style, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. The warning signs include: • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Learn the signs, but remember this; even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives – maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 911 or your


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Ounce of Prevention

Coping with Cold and Flu Season L

ast year’s flu season turned out to be less severe than initially feared, perhaps because the H1N1 scare made people more vigilant about flu vaccinations. Still, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an average 24,000 people in the US die from the flu each year, and more than 275,000 were hospitalized from just the H1N1 virus last season. Now another flu season is upon us. And while the World Health Organization has declared an end to the H1N1 pandemic, the organization expects the virus to circulate for years to come and to continue affecting young people most severely. That means getting vaccinated against the flu is just as important as ever. 10

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Flu season in the United States typically ranges from November through March and sometimes lasts into early spring. Now is the time to start protecting yourself and your family. The most important step is to get vaccinated, says the CDC. “Whether you’re among the more than 100 million Americans who get a flu shot every year or are on the fence about whether to get one, it’s as important this season as it’s ever been and now as easy as a trip to your neighborhood drugstore,” says Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “Pharmacies have become one of the fastestgrowing and most-trusted resources for flu shots in recent years, offering convenient, accessible and affordable flu prevention and health care services in thousands of communities nationwide.” While the CDC recommends everyone six months and older get vaccinated, it is especially important for children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions. Call your doctor if you have questions and contact your town hall or local pharmacy to see if they have a public clinic. As always, the easiest way to prevent and stop the flu from spreading is by practicing proper hand hygiene. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you’re on the go, keep a hand wipe or sanitizer product with you. Also, teach children to cover their nose and mouth with either a tissue or elbow – but not their hands. Knowing the difference between having a cold and the flu can be difficult as they both share many


of the same symptoms. Keep in mind, while a cold is rarely serious – and often more of a nuisance than anything else – the flu can lead to additional complications, particularly in young children and the elderly. A key way to identify the flu is the sudden onset of a high fever. A fever is your body’s natural response to an infection. However, it’s important to know that not everyone with the flu will have a fever. Other flu symptoms can include a headache, general aches and pains, fatigue, exhaustion, stuffy nose and cough. The right diagnosis can make the difference in treatment

and give you faster relief, so getting a quick and accurate temperature is essential. Remember that the flu is a virus and cannot be treated with antibiotics. While antivirals can cut the duration of the flu by a day or so, you can use some home remedies to treat flu symptoms. Check with your physician for more details.

Treating the Flu • Take a fever reducer and anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen (unless you have stomach conditions). • Rest, and rest some more. • Drink more fluids than normal to avoid dehydration. • Use a sinus rinse if you have congestion. • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air and help drain congestion. • Stay at home to avoid transmitting the virus to other people.

Five Things to Know About the 2010-2011 Flu Season 1. One shot. Last season, millions of people were vaccinated twice - first for seasonal flu starting in September and later for the H1N1 virus. This year, only one shot is needed for protection against both seasonal flu and H1N1. 2. Everyone 6 months and older. For the first time, the CDC is recommending universal flu vaccination - with everyone older than 6 months recommended to get a shot, including pregnant women. 3. Never too early (or too late). Flu shots were available early this year, with some retailers offering them in early August. A shot now will protect you all season long. Most retailers will offer shots through the spring, or while supplies last. Health experts agree: It’s best to get the shot early and be protected for the duration of the flu season, especially because flu season is unpredictable and no one knows when viruses will begin to circulate or when flu activity will peak.

4. More convenient than you think. Many local pharmacies offer flu shots. In fact, Walgreens, the nation’s largest retail provider of flu shots, offers immunizations at every one of its 7,500 pharmacies and all of its Take Care Clinics nationwide, every day. Some pharmacies even offer flu shot gift cards that make it easy for those you care about to get a flu shot (especially kids away at school and distant relatives). 5. Plentiful supply. According to the CDC, more than 160 million doses of flu vaccine have been produced. That’s more than ever before and a 40 percent increase over last year’s vaccine production, when shortages made it challenging for many to get a flu shot. „

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Content provided by ARA 11


Mind Matters Stop Seasonal Fatigue Cold

I

f it seems like it’s just harder to roll out of bed every morning when the temperature drops and sunrise comes later, you’re not imagining things – and you’re not alone. Whether they have chronic fatigue, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or an old-fashioned case of the seasonal blues, many people experience fatigue when seasons change and the weather cools. Fatigue is common, with up to 50 percent of adults reporting that they feel chronically tired, according to several recent surveys. In fact, at least 20 percent of doctor visits are made by people looking for relief from fatigue, one study reports. The season’s effect on fatigue and depression is well-known, with the American Academy of Family Physicians reporting six out of every 100 Americans suffer from winter depression or SAD. “Shorter days, darker skies, colder weather, poor sleep habits and the stresses that come with the busy holidays and months at the end of the year can leave many people feeling fatigued and depressed at this time of year,” said Dr. Elin Ritchie, a specialist in family alternative medicine. Even if your case of the seasonal blues is mild, it still makes sense to take steps to help yourself feel better – prolonged fatigue and depression can affect your overall health. Here are some tips for fighting fatigue: • Get as much (safe) sun exposure as possible. Open drapes and blinds as soon as you get up to allow sunlight into your home. If you can, take a morning walk. Get as much time outdoors as your schedule and the weather permit. Sunlight stimulates the production of Vitamin D in your body and also benefits your mental health. Remember, though, to use sunscreen, as the sun's ultraviolet rays can still damage your skin, even in winter. • Stick to a reliable sleep schedule as much as possible. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day. And make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep – declutter, choose comfortable and comforting linens and turn off the TV. • Choose foods that are high in protein. Fruits and vegetables provide many healthful benefits and definitely belong in your diet. But for long-lasting energy, you'll get more 12

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benefit from lean protein (like chicken and fish) and complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread or beans. Avoid too much sugar, no matter how tempting those holiday treats appear - sugar's energy rush is usually followed by an energy drop that can leave you feeling more fatigued. • Find ways to relax. The cooler seasons can be a very stressful time and stress can keep you awake at night. To combat natural levels of stress, find activities that relax you, whether it's container gardening indoors, meditation or aromatherapy. Relieving stress can help improve sleep patterns. It’s also important that you support your immune system, especially during cold and flu season. Fatigue can lead to illness. “New studies show that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune system,” said Ritchie. “Researchers believe that sleep should be considered a vital part of immune function, as it is clear that sleep and immunity are directly related.” Deficiency in anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 is a key factor in the cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, according to an article recently published in the Journal of Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. Consider a nutritional supplement, like Del-Immune V, that increases the activity of interleukins in the body. Supporting your immune system may help lessen the symptoms of fatigue. Patients who take a regular dose of DelImmune V to support their immune systems report a significant increase in energy levels. “This time of year can be exhausting for many reasons,” Ritchie notes. “But a few simple lifestyle changes, healthful diet and immune system support can help you feel more energized throughout the season.” „ Content provided by ARA


Consider the Alternative many commercial products aren’t really 100 percent pure essential oils and simply won’t provide the same beneďŹ ts of true botanically derived essential oils,â€? Havran added. Cheering and uplifting scents are provided by peppermint and spearmint oils, by the green, summery-fresh fragrance of sweet basil, and the fruity fullness of grapefruit and tangerine essences. Dispel sadness with the calming, reassuring and comforting aromas of neroli (orange ower), rose otto and rose absolute. “These precious essences are as powerful and emotionally supporting as a warm hug from a loved one,â€? Havran said. Think of the powerful image of a tree. The wood is solid and strong, the roots deep and secure, the bark thick and protecting, the branches and leaves reaching up to the sun and sky. It’s no accident that essential oils derived from trees can impart a sense of control and security in sad, uncertain times. Sandalwood and cedarwood are centering and balancing, vetiver is grounding and promotes a sense of tenacity, while oils of frankincense and myrrh help facilitate the emotional release and mental expression of pent up grief, and eucalyptus inspires us to check ourselves and take a deep, slow breath.

Curing the Winter Blues Makes ‘Scents’

Tips for ďŹ ghting the winter blues with essential oils:

When it’s chilly outside and you’ve had a long day at work, there are few things that can wash all those winter blues away as well as a nice warm bath. However, relaxing into the bubbles and warmth of the water isn’t the only way to dilute whatever may be riding on your shoulders. With a little forethought and a trip to a holistic store, you can mix up an aromatic potion of essential oils that not only smells nice, but relaxes the mind and body into a stress free trance. For those that may not be the oil mixing type, many holistic and natural stores have their own recipes and often make them in-house, which means there’s a better chance that all the ingredients are natural and made from essential oils. Remember, products labeled as fragrance oils are not the same as essential oils and often contain synthetic chemicals, thus going against any philosophy of natural or holistic healing. “The pleasant, evocative and completely natural aromas provided by essential oils can have profound and powerful effects on our mental functions,� said aromatherapy expert, Tom Havran. “This phenomenon is universal because of our shared human physiology. Our sense of smell is linked to the area of our brains that processes emotion and retains memory.� This technique is central to the practice of aromatherapy – and all that you need to partake of it are pure essential oils that are extracted from plants. “The synthetic fragrances found in

• Create an ambience of stability by sprinkling a bowl of pine cones with several drops each of cedarwood, frankincense and myrrh. • Evoke the atmosphere of subtropical sunshine by adding a few drops of grapefruit and tangerine to a pan of simmering water. • Place a single drop of peppermint or spearmint oil in the palm of one hand, rub hands together, cup them over your face and inhale the uplifting aroma. • Carry a small vial of aromatic "rescue remedy" in the form of rose otto, neroli, or rose absolute oil. When anything gets you down, simply sniff the open bottle and feel any emotional turmoil dissolve away. „ Some content provided by ARA

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13


Your World

Rolling Out a Greener World Breathe a Little Easier by Choosing the Right Paint By Amanda Dagnino

W

hether we rent or own, there aren’t many adults who haven’t found themselves responsible for painting a room at one point or another. Maybe you livened up the den with a bright new shade or covered that overwhelming red that was left in the dining room by previous owners. Either way, paint is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to give a room a facelift. It’s a mainstay as we put our mark on our surroundings and make them our own, but lately, all the talk about emissions and EPA labeling has made picking the type of paint more confusing than choosing the color. As concerns over environmental issues continue to rise, safe alternatives for everyday products have become par for the course. But can environmentally-friendly paint options provide the vibrancy and durability we’ve come to love from our favorite brand of paint? And does it really make a difference? Well, it has certainly gotten the attention of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it reaches out to raise awareness of the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in regularly-used latex interior paint. We all know paint doesn’t necessarily smell all that great – and the smell has a tendency to linger when it is applied without appropriate ventilation. But in recent years, scientists have found that that smell can also release unhealthy pollutants into the atmosphere of our home. As the paint dries, and for years following application, it emits these VOCs. Chemicals in this family include heavy hitters such as benzene, formaldehyde and ethylene glycol. Without appropriate ventilation, scientists say the chemicals build up within the home, and have been connected to a variety of symptoms, including eye and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, vision problems and asthma. While it’s true that chemicals in the home can come from a variety of sources, according to the EPA, the highest concentration comes from paint and the related chemicals. So what is considered an environmentally-safe alternative? According to the EPA, VOC levels must be lower than 200 grams per liter, although there has been discussion about lower14

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ing that figure to 150 grams per liter. In order to be marketed as a low VOC paint, the content must be less than five grams per liter. If there’s one thing we do have to be thankful for it’s that the natural paints of years gone by – think lime-based whitewash – are exactly that, gone. They were notorious for lackluster color options, poor coverage and limited durability – if you wiped the wall, you literally wiped off the paint, too. But that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. Most major manufacturers have jumped on board, with Benjamin Moore, Olympic, Kelly-Moore and Sherwin-Williams all serving up their own version of low VOC paints (visit eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_ paints for a complete list). It’s more expensive, expect to pay anywhere from $10-$20 more per gallon, but the peace of mind it buys may be worth it.

Low VOC Paints The first thing you’ll notice about paints with low or no VOCs is that there isn’t much of an odor. The paints use water as the base instead of the usual petroleum-based oil, significantly reducing the fumes. While there are still complaints circulating, most people seem to be having great results with the environmentally-friendly options on the market, commenting on the richness of the color and coverage. When working with the paint, keep in mind that it does dry significantly faster than traditional paint, sometimes making clean-up more difficult. And if you are working with both water and oil-based paints, make sure you keep your brushes separate – oil and water still don’t mix well. It’s also important to note that while your paint is low on VOC, the colorant added may not be. Make sure you check with the store clerk about the chemicals being added to create your color – nobody wants to believe they’re helping the environment when they’re not.


Lime Wash

Milk Paint

Yes, it still exists. And it’s a reasonably inexpensive alternative that is much more durable than its predecessors. The basis of the paint, limestone, a calcium-based mineral, is mixed with water to form this crude, yet functional, colorant. Thin, and applied in several coats, whitewash only works on permeable surfaces, such as plaster, concrete, brick and wood. Over time, the ďŹ nishes seep into the surface, creating a naturally-weathered look that adds tons of character to exterior hardscapes. While it can still be a challenge to work with, a wash is a completely natural option.

It’s been around since ancient Egypt, but environmentalists are still singing the praises of natural milk paint. A protein in dairy products is separated from the milk, mixed with water, clay and pigments to form a natural paint. Today, the product is sold in the powder form to be mixed with water at the time of use. This choice deďŹ nitely reduces options – milk paint only comes in a matte ďŹ nish and has a shelf life anywhere from 2-48 hours, so it must be used soon after mixing – but it deďŹ nitely puts you in touch with history. When making your decision, be sure to talk with the employees at your favorite paint supplier to make sure you’re buying a product that works well with your project. Whether you’re painting a footstool or a bathroom, there are certainly plenty of “greenâ€? options available. „



       



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15


Lifestyles

She Turned Bad News into Good Moves By Fred Kirsch Photography by Harry Gerwien

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eAnne Rains Benedetto got the news in January 2009. Type I diabetes. Her body had stopped producing insulin. “You don’t realize what a grim disease it is until you get it,” she said. “It can lead to amputation or blindness. I was terrified.” Rains Benedetto, a familiar face in Hampton Roads after a 10-year career as a TV news anchor, was determined to fight the disease in “the healthiest way I could.” The way turned out to be a fitness regimen. After seeing an episode of Oprah in February 2010 in which she learned the benefit of exercise for those with diabetes, she enlisted the services of a personal trainer and began working out five days a week. “Exercise wasn’t an option,” said Rains Benedetto. “I knew I had to do it. But I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed someone to push me.” These days, her fasting blood sugar has dropped dramatically. So has her dress size. “Ironically, here I have Type I diabetes, a chronic disease, and I feel better than ever,” she said. “I am so much stronger and have more energy. Exercise has changed my life in many ways. ” 16

WINTER 2011

Rains Benedetto grew up in Florida and graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in political science. “I got an internship at a TV station in Dallas and the first time I walked into the newsroom, I knew, ‘This was it.’ This was what I wanted to do.” Known as LeAnne Rains then, she came to Hampton Roads in 1990 as WAVY TV’s weekend anchor, later becoming the 5 p.m. anchor. After taking a year off to marry husband Michael and travel “the world,” she returned to the area and anchored WTKR’s 6 and 11 p.m. shows until 2001. She retired to tend to children Allie, now 12, Juliette, 11, and Marco, 9. These days, Rains Benedetto is director of communications for TFC Recycling, the family business, and runs LeAnne Rains & Co., a media services company where she produces and hosts shows for television. Her latest show was “13 Days Till Christmas,” produced for WVEC. She has been so sold on the power of exercise in combating disease that she frequently speaks to diabetes groups and was a recent participant in the American Diabetes Association’s “Step Out for Diabetes” walk.


Q&A with LeAnn Rains Benedetto on coming to grips with her diabetes and her views on fitness. Q: When did you realize that something might be seriously wrong? A: I started losing weight without trying and I didn’t have much energy. I just kept feeling worse and worse. But never did I think I had diabetes. Then, I got a call from my doctor saying, “You need to come in.” I had a fasting blood sugar of 280. (Under 100 is normal). Q: Had you had much of an exercise history before? A: I was never what you would call an athlete. I was one of those people who tried whatever was the current thing. If it was hot, I was into it. I did it all, aerobics, yoga. But not for long. I didn’t have the consistency or discipline, but I was determined to try fitness.

Q: So what did you do? A: Through a site called USA Elite Trainers, I found Ryan Bielat, a great trainer. Then, I signed up for nine months of workouts at Anytime Fitness. The key was to find a gym close to home. I knew whatever I did it had to be convenient and I needed someone to push me.

before I go to an event. I’m ready 24/7. It’s a good feeling. I learned that being thin doesn’t necessarily mean you are healthy.

Q: What are your workouts like? A: I work out an hour a day Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. And a half-hour on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It’s a lot like CrossFit. I never know what I’m going to be doing when I walk in. I love that variety. It can be a day of pushups, pullups and squats or running outside or weights. As I say, every day is a new adventure in pain.

Q: What has been the effect of your program on diabetes? A: I don’t ever envision not having to take injections, but the number has been greatly reduced. If I don’t work out for three or four days, my blood sugar numbers start rising. So I don’t need much motivation to keep exercising. The workouts make me feel more in control of the disease. Q: How about in general? A: My body has changed. (Laughs.) I now have natural shoulder pads. My clothes fit better. I look taller and thinner. I don’t have to say to myself anymore that I have to lose 10 pounds w w w. H e a l t h y i n H R . c o m

Q: Diet is huge for diabetics. What is yours like? A: (Laughs) It’s not where it needs to be, but it’s getting there. I try to limit myself to 15 grams of sugar a day. That’s like one bite of dessert. And I try to stick to a high-fiber diet. Q: You have worked hard to get the word out about getting other diabetics into a fitness program. A: I feel very strongly about how it has helped me. If I can help others, I want to do it. I feel very fortunate. Getting diabetes was my wake-up call to living a healthier life. Q: It is pretty obvious you are hooked.

A: I just signed up for nine more months of sessions. Q: What are your goals for 2011? A: The main goal is to keep trying to reduce the insulin I have to take. I also want to get stronger and I hope to run some 5Ks. 17


Nutrition Intention

Nothing Artificial About Being Sweet to Your Body By Erica Steele

W

hat are artificial sweeteners, what do they do, and most importantly, are they safe? Artificial sweeteners are chemically made additives used in a variety of drinks and packaged food products. Added sweeteners magnify the taste appeal of diet colas, sweet teas, coffees and more. These additives provide the sweetness of sugar without the added calories. According to Web MD, they may be 30 to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. Under the GRAS or Generally Recognized As Safe list released by the Food and Drug Administration, scientists have concluded that, for their intended use, sweeteners are considered safe. That determination is made based on the characteristics of the substances, the estimated dietary intake and the population consuming them. When real sugar enters the body, it instigates an insulin response, causing blood sugar to be stored in fat for energy. Artificial sweeteners lack the food energy that fruit – a natural sugar – contains. But, unfortunately, we tend to seek foods that taste good rather than those that nourish our bodies. A malnourished body is certainly more susceptible to deficiencies, disease and, of course, obesity. Ironically, artificial sweeteners, even though they may be superior calorically, can perpetuate our tendency to seek out foods that taste good rather than those that are good for us. Saccharin, the first artificial sweetener, was synthesized in 1897. It has been linked to bladder cancer in laboratory animals. Researchers haven’t proven a direct correlation between our DNA and that of laboratory animals, so these sweeteners remain on the GRAS list. The only way to determine definitively if they cause cancer is by testing them on humans. Since this type of research has been outlawed, the likelihood of this case study ever coming to a conclusion diminishes. 18

WINTER 2011

Saccharin, typically found in Sweet ’n Low, has high amounts of salt calcium, so it should be avoided by those restricting salt intake. It was added to the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the California Environmental Protection Agency in 1989 and remains on that list to this day. Aspartame is the non-saccharin sweetener found in Nutrasweet. Two-hundred times sweeter than sucrose, or standard table sugar, aspartame was discovered in 1965. After much controversy, beginning in 1975, the FDA conducted 15 studies to determine the safety of this sweetener. In 1979 the agency concluded that safety concerns were minor and the product did not need to be pulled, according to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. But in 2005, researchers in Italy found that aspartame might cause cancer and published their data through the European Food Safety Authority. The US issued a statement in 2006 that it was reviewing the data but to date has not announced any change to its earlier conclusions about the safety of aspartame Sucralose is an artificial sweetener often referred to as Splenda. It is used by many fast food establishments. In its evaluation, the Canadian Diabetic Association determined that the sweetener may be “consumed on a daily basis – 9mg/kg/day – over a person’s lifetime without any adverse effects.” Stevia is comprised of 240 herbs derived from the sunflower family and is the safest of all artificial sweeteners. In 2006, the World Health Organization conducted an experiment to determine its health risks and concluded that there was no evidence of carcinogenic activity. Stevia, which has been used in South America for hundreds of years, does not adversely affect blood sugar levels. It tends to have a licorice taste and can be overwhelming in its sweetness. It’s available in liquid as well as powdered form. As with anything in science, it is difficult to settle on absolutes when it comes to evaluating the safety of artificial sweeteners. The best rule may be that processed foods of any type should be consumed in moderation, at the most. An individual whose genetics or lifestyle make him or her more likely to develop cancer, might especially want to use artificial sweeteners with caution, according to what we know now. And of course, natural sugar to excess could lead to obesity and diabetes. The best recipe for a lifetime: Lots of natural, healthful foods, simply prepared, with high-sugar, highly processed foods kept to a minimum. „

Erica Steele owns a holistic wellness center in Virginia Beach called Essential Wellness (www.vabeachwellness.com).


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Health and Wellness Hampton Roads Spring 2011