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Healthy S aratoga Spring 2017


With Marcie Fraser and bryan Briddell

Healthy Recipes from

jodie fitz, farmers' MKT, cornell co-op

lyme disease ...and so much more! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 1



Welcome to


Healthy Saratoga... the magazine!


A Saratoga TODAY Publication

ealth Healthy SH arato ga y

Chad Beatty

From The Editor

General Manager Robin Mitchell

Chris Vallone Bushee Managing Editor

Creative Director/ Managing Editor Chris Vallone Bushee


Advertising Designer Morgan Rook

Advertising Sales Jim Daley Cindy Durfey

Contributing Writers Alice Corey Denise Dubois Christina T. Fisk Marcie Fraser Himanee Gupta-Carlson Megan Harrington Diane Palma Megin Potter Mary jo Salomon Maureen Werther Diane Whitten

Photographers Alice Corey Photography Pattie Garrett Pat Hendrick Photography P.O'Toole Twentyone3 Photography Andrew Ranalli

Published by

Saratoga TODAY Newspaper Five Case Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 tel: (518) 581-2480 fax: (518) 581-2487

Healthy Saratoga is brought to you by Saratoga TODAY Newspaper, Saratoga Publishing, LLC. Saratoga Publishing shall make every effort to avoid errors and omissions but disclaims any responsibility should they occur. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2017, Saratoga TODAY Newspaper

Spring / Summer 2016

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With Marcie Fraser

Healthy Recipes Nutrition and cooking tips



Heart Health


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Wow - this will be our fourth issue, working with the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce to help get the word out about their #HealthySaratoga initiative, and we couldn’t be happier! Being recognized as the healthiest county in New York State for the second year in a row, is such an accomplishment for Saratoga County …now the motivation to stay there is even higher!

Healthy Saratoga …the magazine, has become the community’s resource for “spreading the word” on all matters health related and we have a great issue in store for you! •

• •

Whether you’re dealing with food allergies (page 26), looking to lose weight (page 48), or trying your best to stay healthy and avoid disease (page 14), we have insightful articles that cover a wide range of healthy eating strategies …and let’s not forget all those great recipes! A MUST READ in this issue is our piece on Tick Season and the danger of Lyme Disease (page 55).

If you’re looking to ramp up your exercise routine… we have tips from Marcie Fraser (page 29), three gym spotlights, a new county-wide initiative to promote our local parks (page 12) and numerous road races and family-friendly activities, leaving you no excuse to be “looking” for the right activity to motivate you : )

Speaking of motivation, I’d like to introduce Stephanie Cash Hogan. I first met Stephanie when she submitted her engagement photos to be featured in Saratoga BRIDE magazine ...then of course we had to feature her wedding too! I’m sure no introduction is needed as she’s had the whole town behind her in her quest for the Boston Marathon (see page 44). We’d all watch her facebook and Instagram posts… of her running and smiling, and running and smiling, and running and smiling… well, you get the point! This girl has grit!!

Steph – you motivate ALL of us, not just your first-grade students at Galway Central School!! #BostonStrong

Steph with Mom, Julie & Brother, Stephen

e! Here's Steph after the rac

Thank you to our readers for these remarkable story suggestions and to all our advertisers who allow us to provide this informative magazine free of charge. Please mention us by name when visiting their businesses. As always… I love hearing from you!

Send your comments and story ideas to Stay healthy, Saratoga!



Alice Corey is a freelance writer and professional photographer located in Saratoga County, specializing in newborns, weddings, and commercial work. After a career as a critical care RN, Alice managed a territory for Pfizer pharmaceuticals for a decade. She is a self proclaimed wine snob, food enthusiast, and loves the Saratoga social scene. Alice resides in Ballston Spa with her husband Michael and her two young daughters. You can find more of her work @


Denise Dubois is the founder/owner of Complexions Spa for Beauty & Wellness with two locations in Albany and Saratoga Springs. With over 32 years of experience working in the beauty and spa industry, she specializes in skincare and wellness programs for her clients. Complexions Spa has been recognized as a leading day spa locally and nationally receiving numerous awards in many categories including sustainability practices and green building design. She can be reached at (518) 306-5502 or at


Jodie Fitz is a wife, working mother of three and the creator of the Price Chopper Kids Cooking Club. She will be releasing two cookbooks in 2015; The Chaotic Kitchen; a collection of recipes to help make the lives of busy families just a little bit easier when it comes to mealtime & Cooking Up Fun; designed to get kids taste testing and experimenting with foods.


20 year veteran journalist, currently working as the Health and Fitness reporter for TWC News. Her published book, WHERE’D MY BUTT GO? is a selfhelp nutrition book that contains the knowledge and experience gained from her work as a Behavioral Eating Specialist. Marcie holds a Master’s in Public Health and is working on her Doctorate. An avid ballroom dancer, tri-athlete and retired bodybuilding champion, Marcie has motivated and counseled thousands of individuals. She is considered by some, THE FOOD THERAPIST.



Megan is a freelance writer who has written for a variety of publications including national magazines, local newspapers, and websites. When she’s not writing, she enjoys training for marathons and coaching fellow runners. After spending the previous seven years in New York City, Megan and her husband recently relocated to the Village of Cambridge and are loving their new community at the base of the Adirondacks.


Madison is a freelance writer who received her bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing from the State University of New York Cortland. She enjoys spending her free time writing books, exercising, and horseback riding. As a new comer to the area, Madison looks forward to the exciting opportunities ahead of her and wants to thank her mom for always supporting her creative adventures.

DIANE PALMA MS ED Diane Palma, a resident of Saratoga Springs, is very active in the local wellness community. Being a mental health therapist, Reiki ll practitioner and a hair and makeup professional, Diane is well suited in her quest to treat the whole person. Her articles support her current dream to resurrect the Saratoga Spa State Park to its original intent of being the greatest health resort in the world! Check out her Self-Care Challenge blog @


Megin is an expressive writer and artist with work published in books, newspapers, corporate communications and online. A resident of the region for over 20 years, she continues to discover anew the interesting people, places and products it has to offer. As a mother to her active young son, she is inspired to explore even more.


Mary Jo Salomon is a speech language pathologist who works with elementary aged students and developed a passion for her vegan lifestyle. She became certified as a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator (VLCE) through the Main Street Vegan Academy in August 2015. Since then, MJ has been working to help people interested in adopting a plant based and vegan lifestyle. She is a member of the Albany Vegan Network.

Empire State College professor Himanee GuptaCarlson grows vegetables and raises chickens, ducks and goats with her husband Jim at Squashville Farm in Greenfield Center. She writes and edits articles on the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for Saratoga Today, and coordinates a community garden and farm-to-pantry food donation program for the Franklin Community Center. Her book Muncie, India(na), on growing up as the child of immigrant Indians will be released next year.




Susan is a past Chamber Chair, former Treasurer of The Wesley Foundation Board, past co-chair of Soro imist and currently serves as Secretary of The Flower and Fruit Mission of Saratoga Hospital as well as Chair of Saratoga County Health and Wellness Council. Susan is an avid runner and has competed in several triathlons and half marathons locally and throughout the state.


Maureen Werther is the owner of WHE Strategic Business Solutions, specializing in helping entrepreneurs and small business owners in the areas of business development, brand management, public relations, communications and marketing. She is also a lifelong writer and her articles have appeared in numerous local and regional publications. Currently, she is working on a book about the ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic in upstate New York. Diane Whitten is a food and nutrition educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County where she’s worked for the past 17 years. Her classes focus on healthy eating and cooking, plus food preservation methods. Her nutrition radio spots can be heard on WJKE the Jockey and WABY Moon Radio. Her bi-monthly column, Know Your Farmer Know Your Food, is published in the Saratogian and Troy Record. Diane has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Nutritional Sciences, and a masters’ degree in Education from the College of St. Rose. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 7


Start here & join the #healthysaratoga movement!

Food and Nutrition 14

cornell cooperative brings you The Mediterranean Diet


meet our farmer!


Weeknights Made Easy... With Jodie Fitz


Thinking of going vegan?


Thinking of going dairy-free?




it’s time to get moving! 29

Workout with Marcie Fraser


ramping up with sbc bike and box


meet dr. bryan briddell of saratoga peak performance


paying it forward with charity runs


ymca's Miles for a mission


meet stephanie cash hogan

For Medical Needs



Saratoga hospital's bariatric surgery options


Smith weight loss and wellness


it's tick season


what you need to know about vein care


Thinking about a chemical peel?


we're going to the dogs : ) SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 9

Settingwiththe pace our



ast year, we celebrated when the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin first reported that Saratoga County had become the healthiest county in all of New York State.

In 2014, our County was ranked fifth in this same comprehensive health assessment study. So it was quite an accomplishment to see Saratoga County rise to the top rating. But we didn’t rest nor did we become complacent. Not for one minute, in fact. Getting to number one was an achievement. Staying there then became the mission. After all, we want to establish Saratoga County as one of the healthiest places to live and work in the US, not just for one year but permanently. So being recognized as the healthiest county in New York State, again in 2017 for a second year in a row in the same assessment study, is a very positive trend. This top ranking in both 2016 and 2017 demonstrates that the work being done by dozens of private, public and nonprofit organizations to improve individual and workplace health and wellness is making a positive difference. When we launched the #HealthySaratoga movement, our Health and Wellness Council began by hosting a series of events for our members across Saratoga County to celebrate June 2014 as Employee Wellness Week. This included an employee wellness walk and a networking mixer and meet up designed to promote the members of our Health and Wellness Council. This year, we will again host these increasingly popular events. We have hosted three Health and Wellness Weeks, in January of 2017, 2016, and 2015. Right around the time many people set health and wellness goals for the year, our Health and Wellness Week offers individuals the chance to try for free - and perhaps for the first time - activities that can help them achieve their goals. The activities are run by our members who are experts in yoga, mindfulness, spinning, eating healthy, personal fitness, exercise and more. So while individuals get to try something new, they are doing so at a member location perhaps becoming a client or customer as well. We also created a #HealthySaratoga pledge program. Members of the Chamber are invited to take a pledge to join the #HealthySaratoga movement to ensure Saratoga County remains


SUSAN HALSTEAD CHAIR OF THE SARATOGA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S HEALTH & WELLNESS COUNCIL AND OWNER OF FAMILY VISION CARE CENTER, IN SARATOGA SPRINGS one of the healthiest places to live and work. When signing the pledge, members must indicate what specific actions they will take to improve wellness in the workplace and to support employees seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. (See page 11 to sign up TODAY) This year, we’ve launched two brand new programs as part of our #HealthySaratoga movement. Because remember, we like to win, and we want to do even more to stay on top! The first is the publication of monthly Workplace Wellness Guides. Each guide features short columns written by members of the Chamber’s Health and Wellness Council. Each column is written to provide readers with ideas to Live Fit. Eat Fit. Get Fit. The guides are distributed to all of our members via email and shared with the public via social media. Those who receive or open these guides are encouraged to share them with employees, friends and family. You can also print and post each guide in your workplace or at home. The second is a new Healthy Parks – Healthy Saratoga initiative. (See page 12) This effort is international in scope and recognizes that individual and community health is reliant on a thriving park system that is valued highly by the communities that it serves. Locally in Saratoga County, we are blessed with limitless possibilities for outdoor recreation in our national, state and local parks and trails. We believe this abundance of outdoor resources is one of the reasons why Saratoga County is such a healthy place to live, work and play. We have the Saratoga National Historical Park. We have Moreau, Peebles Island, and the Saratoga Spa State Parks. We have the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park. We have the Champlain Canal Trail, the 100 Acre Woods Trail, the Kalabus-Perry Trail, the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail, the Louden Trail, the Edie/Bullard Road Trail, the Zim Smith Trail, and so many more open spaces on and around our lakes, rivers, and streams. These outdoor spaces, parks and trails offer a wide range of healthy recreational options for people of all ages. You can hike, bike, snowshoe, cross country ski, walk your dog or just by yourself, swim, kayak, mountain bike, run, or simply relax. Many of these activities can be done on your own schedule, with family and friends, and for free. For information on any of these programs or events, we invite you to visit the Chamber’s website at We have a page dedicated to our Healthy Saratoga initiative that is updated regularly. You can also follow the Chamber on social media to stay up-to-date on everything we do to help ensure Saratoga County remains the number one healthiest place to live and work in all of New York State.

NowThe it's Saratoga your Join turnCounty - Join TODAY Chamber ofTODAY Commerce Fill out the #HealthySaratoga pledge and fax back TODAY: (518) 587- 0318


Our company/organization supports the mission of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce’s #healthysaratoga movement which is to establish Saratoga County as one of the healthiest places to live and work. We recognize that healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive, and that there are ways in which employers can positively support the achievement of the personal wellness goals of our employees. We strive at all times to create and support a safe and healthy workplace. We hereby pledge to join the #healthysaratoga movement by (check one or more): (

) Inviting local health and wellness professionals into our workplace to educate our staff from time to time.


) Offering healthy snacks for our employees and customers as well as water versus soda whenever possible.


) Select a walk, run or cycling event and register a team of employees who will participate together.


) Encourage employees to spend a few minutes periodically during each day to stand, stretch and relax.


) Support any member of our staff as much as possible if they enroll in a smoking cessation program. AND/OR we pledge to support the health and wellness of our employees by:


) _____________________________________________________________________________________


) _____________________________________________________________________________________


) _____________________________________________________________________________________

Name of Company/Organization: _______________________________________________________________ Key Contact Person: __________________________________________________________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone: __________________________________ Email: __________________________________________ Signed: _____________________________________________________________________________________ Chamber members are invited to complete this pledge form and to forward it to the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, 28 Clinton Street, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 or via email to


These Chamber Members have already taken the pledge...


The "Healthy Parks. Healthy People." initiative is international in

scope and recognizes that individual and community health is reliant on a thriving park system that is valued highly by the communities that it serves.

Locally in Saratoga County, New York, we are blessed with limitless possibilities for outdoor recreation in our national, state and local parks and trails. We believe this abundance of outdoor resources is one of the reasons why Saratoga County is such a healthy place to live, work and play.


We have the Saratoga National Historical Park . Here in the autumn of 1777, American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender. This crucial American victory in the Battle of Saratoga renewed patriots’ hopes for independence, secured essential foreign recognition and support, and forever changed the face of the world. Saratoga National Historical Park is actually made up of three sites, none of them physically touching the others: the Battlefield (in Stillwater, NY), the Schuyler House (in Schuylerville, NY, about 8 miles north of the Battlefield)

and the Saratoga Monument (in Victory, about 3/4 miles west of the Schuyler House). The Park is about 3,400 acres in size. The Battlefield is the largest of the three Park units, at about 3,000 acres. Within the park, there are multiple opportunities for hiking, cycling, walking, and other healthy recreational activities for people of all ages.

We have three New York State Parks in Saratoga County as well: Moreau Lake State Park - The activities you can do here include: biking, fishing, hiking, swimming, hunting, ice fishing, snow shoeing, cross country skiing and more. Moreau Lake State Park's lake lies amid hardwood forests, pine stands and rocky ridges. Shady groves of trees shelter picnic grounds and a pavilion overlooking the lake. Wooded campgrounds are quiet and secluded, offering facilities for group campers, as well as tent and trailer sites. Two pavilions, each with a 120-person capacity and a 20' x 30' tent which can accommodate up to 75 people, may be reserved on a daily basis. The sandy beach, nature, hiking and cross-country ski trails, opportunities for boating, fishing and ice fishing, and proximity to the Saratoga Springs and Lake George areas make the park attractive to visitors. In the summer, beach lounges, beach umbrella and fishing gear can be rented. In the winter, snowshoes are available for rent daily. Peebles Island State Park - Peebles Island State Park is at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. It offers spectacular river and rapids views for walkers and joggers who take advantage of the miles of paths through the gently rolling and wooded landscape. Picnickers and fishermen come to relax and winter visitors use the facilities to cross-country ski, hike and snowshoe. Saratoga Spa State Park - Saratoga Spa State Park,

distinguished by its classical architecture and listed as a National Historic Landmark, is noted for its diverse cultural, aesthetic and recreational resources. In addition to the nationally-known Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the Spa Little Theater, the National Museum of Dance, the Saratoga Automobile Museum, the Gideon Putnam Resort and Roosevelt Baths and Spa, the park offers a multitude of traditional recreation opportunities.

The Peerless Pool Complex consists of a main pool with a zero-depth entry, separate slide pool with a 19' double slide and a children's wading pool with a mushroom fountain. The slide pool has a minimum height requirement of 48" tall. The Historic Victoria Pool is a smaller pool surrounded by arched promenades. Both pool areas include food and beverage services, showers, locker rooms and restrooms. The Saratoga Spa State Park Golf Course offers two beautiful golf courses; a championship 18-hole course and a challenging 9-hole course, complete with pro shop and restaurant. For more information and to reserve a tee time online visit:

high school and college athletes. Winter activities include cross-country skiing on approximately 12 miles of trails, ice skating, ice hockey.

Local Parks and Outdoor Resources: Saratoga County includes hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, running, cycling, cross-country skiing, horse-riding and more. There are natural trails and mountain biking trails. We're home to the Great Sacandaga Lake, Saratoga Lake, and the Hudson River adding to the recreational opportunities locals and visitors alike can explore and enjoy. Saratoga PLAN, the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail, and the Champlain Canalway Trail are among a range of local organizations that are working diligently to embrace the idea that our local parks, trails and open spaces can and should be used by those looking to live a healthier lifestyle. Roohan Realty has created an online guide and map to the area’s parks and trails; a water, lakes and rivers map; as well as a winter recreation opportunities map at

Saratoga County Trails: The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors and the Saratoga County Planning Department have consistently invested in the preservation of open space, the protection of farmland and the construction of significant trails and trail networks across Saratoga County. They have an online guide with links to many of the trail maps that showcase the following amazing outdoor options for residents and visitors alike to enjoy while living a healthy lifestyle: 100 Acre Wood Trail System, the Kalabus-Perry Trail; Louden Trail; Saratoga County Snowmobile Map; STEP NYSERDA Trail, Edie/Bullard Road Trail; Zim Smith Trail and the LFTC Trail System at

we’re Proud to live and work in NY’s Healthiest County!

The gentle terrain offers picnic areas, shady stream side trails, suitable for the nature-lover or the casual walker, as well as certified running courses used by joggers and SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 13


the Mediterranean Diet

WRITTEN BY DIANE WHITTEN, FOOD & NUTRITION EDUCATOR, CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION The Mediterranean diet tops Google’s list of most searched diets, but it isn’t a weight loss diet, it’s a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and physical activity. When it comes to healthy eating there’s no one super food or magic bullet that will lead to health and longevity. When longevity is studied, however, what researchers find is certain lifestyles that lead to the healthiest people, including those who live in the Mediterranean region.

Researchers started paying attention to the Mediterranean lifestyle after World War II when they observed the low rates of heart disease in that region when compared to the U.S. where it had become a major public health concern and continues to be the leading cause of death in Americans 14  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

today. Since then, many research studies have been done on the Mediterranean diet that show reduced risk of certain types of cancer, dementia, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes, in addition to heart disease. In fact, there is so much evidence that a Mediterranean diet is good for our hearts that cardiologists recommend it to their patients. But why wait to be a patient before adopting this healthful eating pattern?

Many people already include Mediterranean meals in their weekly menus because they’re so good. Italian restaurants are one of the most popular ethnic restaurants because the food is so delicious and varied. So, why not plan your meals around the Mediterranean meal pattern? Begin by eating more plant-based foods including whole grains, and fresh fruits and

vegetables, in fact make them the largest part of your plate. Then include fish and seafood; the American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week. Make dairy foods a regular part of your diet, especially Greek yogurt which is high in protein and calcium, plus lesser amounts of cheese for its fantastic flavors. One of the biggest differences between the typical American diet and the Mediterranean diet is the amount of meat consumed. An American plate usually features meat at its center, but in many Mediterranean style meals a small amount of meat is used more as a flavoring agent than as the main entrée. Think about Spaghetti and Meatballs where the grain is the main dish and the meatballs are an addition to it. When cooking, many Americans have already made the

switch to olive oil which is a healthy antiinflammatory fat. Imports of olive oil have quadrupled over the past twenty years. Finally, end your meal with some delicious fruit and save the sweets for special occasions. Another lifestyle aspect to the Mediterranean way of eating is to eat slowly, not rushed as is too often the case in American households. The Slow-Food movement began in Italy to counter the move toward Fast Food which is soulless due to the industrial nature of it. Taking time to shop for the best, freshest foods is something we can do at our many local farmers’ markets. Freshness is greatly valued in the Mediterranean way of eating, so they shop several times a week. We can do that

by shopping at the Saratoga Farmers’ market on Wednesday or Saturday, or the Spa City Farmers’ Market on Sundays. Other local farmers’ markets are open on other days in surrounding communities, so we are fortunate to live where fresh, local foods are so readily available. Besides shopping for fresh foods, the SlowFood movement encourages cooking from scratch to avoid highly processed foods which are usually high in fat, salt and/or sugar. Make cooking a family affair where kids can learn to cook. Most importantly, eat slowly with enjoyment of the food and company. Meal time is when family members can talk, share their day and bond. Research shows that kids from families

that eat together do better in school and are less likely to use drugs or abuse alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, wine is a typical beverage of choice in the Mediterranean, but it’s rarely consumed without food. For more information about the Mediterranean Diet go to our website, for links to resources and recipes.

F lip the page for recipes!! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 15


½ cup plain low-fat yogurt 2 Tbsp. reduced calorie mayonnaise 1½ tsp. dill weed, crushed 1 tsp. sugar ½ tsp. salt 2 cups sliced peeled cucumbers ½ cup grated carrot ¼ cup thinly sliced onion

In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, sugar and salt. Add cucumbers, carrot and onion; stir to coat with yogurt mixture. Serve immediately. This salad will get watery when stored. The yogurt and mayonnaise mixture can be made in advance then stirred into the vegetables just before serving. Variation- add or substitute ½ teaspoon cumin powder for dill weed. Makes 4 servings.


6 cups mesclun (mixed baby greens) 1 T fresh tarragon 1 ½ lb beets

• • • •

3 T balsamic vinegar 3 T olive oil 8 oz goat cheese ½ cup water

Peel and slice the beets. Cook them in ½ cup water with the olive oil. Remove them when done but not too soft. Simmer the remaining water and oil until reduced to ¼ cup. Chop the tarragon and mix it and the vinegar into the reduced cooking liquid. Slice the goat cheese with a warm knife. Just before serving, spread the mesclun on a serving platter. Make a pleasant arrangement of altering slices of beets and goat cheese. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve promptly. Makes 8 servings.

SHRIMP GUMBO • 1/4 pound frozen, raw shrimp • 1 Tbsp. olive oil • 1 large onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, diced • 14.5 ounce can cut okra

• • • • •

2—14.5 ounce cans stewed tomato (no salt added) 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium 1 tablespoon hot sauce 1/8 teaspoon ground clove 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

Defrost shrimp and remove shells, if necessary. Heat olive oil on medium in a six quart saucepan, add onion and sauté until onion is transparent, add garlic, stir for one minute longer. Add all remaining ingredients except shrimp. Cover, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add defrosted shrimp, and continue to gently simmer for 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. Makes 8 1-cup servings. Nutrition Facts per 1 cup Serving: 130 calories (25% calories from fat), 3g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 85mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 13g protein, 15% DV Vitamin A and iron, 30% DV Vitamin C.


MEDITERRANEAN CHICKPEA STEW WITH POLENTA • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided • 2 cups diced eggplant • 2 cups diced zucchini • 1 cup chopped onions • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1 tsp. dried oregano • 1 tsp. ground paprika • 1/8 tsp. dried red pepper flakes • 1 can (28-oz.) plum tomatoes

• • • • •

(no added salt) 2 Tbsp. tomato paste (no added salt) 1 can (15-oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained Salt and ground black pepper 1 tube (17-oz.) prepared polenta, cut into 8 slices 1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

In small Dutch oven, heat one tablespoon of oil over mediumhigh heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, onions and bell pepper. Cover, reduce heat and cook until vegetables soften, eight minutes. Add garlic, oregano, paprika and red pepper flakes. Holding a knife vertically, work it up and down in the can of tomatoes to chop coarsely. Add the tomatoes with liquid to vegetables. Mix in tomato paste and chickpeas. Cook until vegetables are soft but still hold their shape, 10 minutes. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. The stew can be made up to two days ah ead and reheated. Meanwhile, brush polenta on both sides with oil. Heat a griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add polenta slices, in one layer, and cook until they begin to brown on bottom, five minutes. Turn and brown on second side, four – five minutes. To serve, divide polenta among four wide, shallow bowls. Top each with one-fourth of the stew, garnish with parsley and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.


1/4 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios 8 dried figs ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese 1 Tbsp. honey

Toast the pistachios in a dry skillet over a medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop coarsely. Cut each fig in half crosswise and place the fig pieces on a serving dish, cut side up. Make a small indentation in the cut side of each fig half with a small spoon or your finger. Put ½ tsp of the ricotta cheese onto each piece of fig and top with a pistachio. Drizzle with honey and serve. Makes 4 servings Nutrition Facts: 156 calories, 2.5g fat, 5g fiber, 24mg sodium Source: Food

Per serving: 390 calories, 12 g total fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 61 g carbohydrate, 11 g protein, 11 g dietary fiber, 500 mg sodium Source: American Institute of Cancer Research, Health-e-Recipes 2-23-2010, SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 17


1/4 cup bottled roasted red bell peppers 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/4 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. black pepper 2 garlic cloves 1 (15 1/2 oz.) can chick peas (garbanzo beans)

Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Store well-covered in refrigerator. Spread on cracker or pita triangle. Yield: 1 3/4 cup (serving size 2 Tbsp.) Per Serving: 49 calories, 1.3 gm fat, 0.2 gm sat fat, 1.7 gm protein, 1.5 gm fiber, 171 mg sodium Source: Cooking Light


1 can (13 3/4 oz.) chicken broth, reduced sodium 1 cup couscous, whole grain 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 cup each chopped zucchini and red onion 1/2 cup grated carrots 1 clove garlic, minced 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) rinsed & drained 1/2 tsp each ground cumin, curry powder, salt and red pepper flakes

Bring broth to boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Heat oil in large skillet. Add zucchini, onion, carrots and garlic; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Add beans, seasonings and couscous; cook and stir until thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes Makes 8 servings.


Per serving: 200 calories, 5 g fat, .5 g sat. fat, 220 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein. Source: Culinary Journey to Mediterranean

TOMATO BRUSCHETTA • • • • • • • •

ZUPPA DI PESCE (FISH SOUP) • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil • 1 medium onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 2 (14 oz.) cans (no salt added) Italian style diced tomatoes-undrained • 1/2 cup dry white wine • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, minced (or 2 tsp dried basil) • 1 lb. fish filets, cut into chunks • Parmesan cheese, if desired 1.

Heat oil in large saucepan. Add onion and garlic. Cook 4-5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, wine and basil, breaking up tomatoes with back of spoon.


Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, 10 minutes.


Add fish. Simmer 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.


Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with cheese and additional basil leaves, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

1 baguette 6 large vine-ripened tomatoes 1 large sweet onion 1 tsp. salt 6 cloves garlic 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil Balsamic vinegar glaze to drizzle (see recipe note below)

Slice baguette into two-inch-thick pieces, brush with olive oil and bake four minutes in a 375-degree oven. Set aside. Chop tomatoes and onion, place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let this set to release the juices from the tomatoes. Meanwhile chop garlic, add to tomato mixture along with basil and olive oil, gently mix together. Let sit for at least 30 minutes to bring out the flavors. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices, drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze. Makes 6 servings. Note: Balsamic vinegar glaze can be found in the vinegar section at many supermarkets. To make your own, gently simmer 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan until reduced to 3 tablespoons. Per Serving: 160 calories; 10 g fat (1 g sat); 0 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 2g fiber; 460 mg sodium. Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (30% daily value), Vitamin C (50% dv).

Per serving: 270 calories, 30 g protein, 9 g carbohydrate, 11 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 70 mg sodium. Source: Adapted from Journey to Mediterranean


Harvesting Wisdom: Lessons in Farm Life



ave and Liza Porter’s lessons on farm life roll out as jokes: How do you make a small fortune in farming? You start with a large one. They continue with photos of furry hooved newborns in the barn. They evolve into converting customers to farmers.

In the lessons are stories of honest labor, the coming to terms with the fact that if you have livestock you will also have “death stock,” and the elegance of living with nature’s cycles. 20  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

“When you’re farming, you’re in tune with those rhythms all the time,” says Liza. “You’re faced with a reality you can’t manipulate your way out of. It’s the most cleansing experience I can think of.”

After a long search, they obtained Longview Farm, which consists of 42 acres and a “great view.” They established a goat herd, and started raising pigs.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” says Dave. “Yet, it’s something I wish everyone would experience.”

They also brought chickens into the mix.

The Porters made cheese through Homestead Artisans, and for a decade owned Longview Farm in Argyle. Chefs, college students, artists, and even corporate executives cycled through their farm, helping to repair fencing, to wash cheese utensils, and even to sing at night to the goats that the two of them raised. Jeannine Laverty recalls how Liza coaxed her into farm work. “I was working three days a week for the Denisons but also worked two days with flowers for Barbara Jefts at Native Farm Flowers. One day, Liza said to me, ‘You’ve got another day left over. Why don’t you come work for me?’” “So that season, I helped Liza make cheese, move the portable fencing for the goats, feed the pigs, and care for the chickens. It was a grand time.” Although Dave’s mother grew up on a farm, Liza grew up in Westchester County. Trained as a physicians’ assistant, she began making pressed flower cards around 2000 that she sold at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. At the market, she discovered that no one was selling cheese. “I thought, ‘I can do that,’” Liza said, “and Dave converted a room in our garage. We had the smallest creamery in the state.” The cheeses were a hit with customers, but they were relying on other farmers for milk. “We decided that we needed a farm,” Liza said, “and so we set out to find one.”

“If you have a farm, you have to have chickens,” said Liza. There is, of course, more to it than that. As Dave puts it, “Meat is a by-product of dairy. In order to make cheese, you need milk, which means animals need to lactate so you have to be producing new kids from your goats regularly.” Chickens clear pests from the soil, making its fodder healthy for goats. They also lay eggs and are eaten as meat. Pigs eat the whey that is produced from making cheese, which results in great-tasting pork. All of the nutrients that the animals ingest are returned to the land, which sustains the farm. “That’s really what farming is about,” said Dave. “About turning what appears to be a waste product into something valuable.” Now, the Porters are entering a new cycle of life: retirement. They sold Longview Farm in March to Leah Hennessey, who plans to continue farming, and have moved to Glens Falls. Retirement means the end of their weekly presence at the Saratoga and Glens Falls farmers’ markets, where, as Liza says, they built “a close family feeling with so many customers.” It does not, however, end their imprint on agriculture, as my husband and I can attest. Our farm started with hens and baby goats from Dave and Liza. It grows through the wisdom they have imparted to us and continue to share.

Baby Kale Salad with Blueberries

Grilled Vegetables with Quinoa

Adapted from recipe by Savor the Best, shared by My Saratoga Kitchen Table

Adapted from recipe by The Chew, shared by My Saratoga Kitchen Table



Serves: 4

(*Ingredients available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market)

Lemon Vinaigrette: • • • • • •

⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard* 1 Tablespoon honey* ¼ teaspoon sea salt few grindings of black pepper ½ cup olive oil*

Salad: • • • •

6 oz. fresh baby kale* 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled* 1 cup fresh blueberries* ½ cup sliced almonds


Lemon Vinaigrette: 1.

Whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, honey, and salt. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a stream, blending well. Add a few grindings of black pepper.

Salad: 1.


Serves: 4

(*Ingredients available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market)

• • • • • •

1 cup quinoa, rinsed 2 cups water 1 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices* 1 yellow squash, cut into ¼ inch slices* 1 medium onion, sliced* 7 Tablespoons olive oil, divided*

• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved* • 1 lemon juiced • 2 Tablespoons mint leaves, chopped* • 2 Tablespoons basil, chopped* • ½ cup goat cheese, crumbled*


1. 2.

3. 4. 5.

Add the kale to a wide, shallow salad bowl. Add a third of the vinaigrette and massage the kale by taking a handful of the kale and squeezing firmly. Continue lifting more kale and squeezing tightly 6. until the kale wilts and turns a bright shiny color. Add cheese, blueberries and almonds. Top with remaining vinaigrette. 7. 8.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. In a medium pot, bring water to simmer. Add quinoa, cover and turn the heat to low. Cook until quinoa is tender about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, add zucchini, yellow squash, and onion with 2 Tablespoons of oil and toss to coat. In a small bowl, add the tomatoes, 1 Tablespoon oil and toss to coat. Place zucchini, squash and onion on the grill (or use grill pan) and grill for 3 minutes or until golden. Flip and grill the other side until golden and tender about 3 minutes. Place the tomatoes on the grill in foil packet and grill until charred and tender about 5 minutes. In small bowl add lemon juice, 4 Tablespoons olive oil and whisk together. In a large bowl add the cooked quinoa and grilled vegetables and mix to combine. Add the dressing, mint, basil, and cheese. Toss.

Notes: Instead of using a grill, roast vegetables in a 400-degree oven until charred. Substitute chicken or vegetable broth in place of water. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 21


HI, I’M JODIE FITZ! I’m so excited to be sharing some of our family favorites with the readers of Healthy Saratoga magazine! I have spent the last six years traveling in SIX (!) states cooking with kids & families…I can relate to the BUSY COOK : ) As my recipe collection continues to grow, I am starting to share some of the recipes that you will find at our house for meals… Enjoyed by both family… and friends! I am always experimenting & creating tasty bites, finding the simplest way to do it & love sharing great flavor and time saving finds along the way.


• 1 cantaloupe melon • Strawberries, Grapes, Pineapple, Watermelon, Blueberries & Raspberries


1. Cut the cantaloupe melon in half. Remove the seeds 2. Using a sharp knife cut the edges of the cantaloupe like a flower to create a flowered fruit bowl. 3. Wash and hull the strawberries. Slice them into bite-sized pieces.

Wash the grapes and cut them in half. Remove the exterior of the pineapple and cut it into edible chunks. Remove the rind of the watermelon and dice the fruit. Wash the blueberries and raspberries. Stir all the fruit together to make a fruit salad. Place the dip (recipe below) in the bottom of the cantaloupe flower and then fill the edible bowl with fruit salad for a delicious treat.

BLUEBERRY FRUIT DIP Ingredients • ¼ cup frozen blueberries, thawed Directions

• 3 oz. plain non-fat Greek yogurt • 3 oz. vanilla low-fat yogurt

• 1 tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Puree the blueberries in a mini food processor or blender. Stir the plain Greek yogurt together with the honey. Fold the low-fat vanilla yogurt and blueberries together. Top the dip with chia seeds. 22  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

BLACK BEAN BURGERS Makes 5 patties



1. Mash the drained beans in a bowl with a spoon or avocado tool. Add the onions, bread crumbs, egg, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black and cayenne peppers to the black beans. In a cutting fashion, mix all the ingredients together. 2. Form the mixture into burger-styled patties. 3. Cook the patties in a skillet coated with non-stick cooking spray, covered, over medium to low heat. Cook until each side is toasted brown. 4. Serve with sharp cheese melted on top with a spread of guacamole (below) on a FlatOut® Fold-it®, which are only 100 calories. 5. Do I double the mix? Yes, I do! And then I take the extra patties, wrap them individually in parchment paper and freeze them for a future meal. It’s a fallback and a freeze ahead meal; double awesomeness!

• 2 - 14.5 oz. cans of black beans, drained • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped • 1/2 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs • 1 large egg • 1 teaspoon onion powder • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper • 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper

GUACAMOLE Ingredients


• 2 avocados

1. Remove the skin and pit of the avocados. If you are adding grape tomatoes to the mix, cut them into quarters. We use both the red and the golden, especially in this recipe. 2. Add the cilantro, sweet onion, lime juice, garlic, pepper, onion powder and sea salt. Using an avocado tool or fork, mash all the ingredients together to make your guacamole.

• 2 tablespoons cilantro • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion • 1 tablespoon lime juice • 1 small clove garlic • 1/2 teaspoon pepper • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt • Grape tomatoes (optional)

What’s my favorite guac tool? The Zyliss avocado tools #LOVETHEM!

You can always catch what’s going on in our lives at and, or check out my new cook books - available on my website! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 23


The words “vegan” and “plant based” have been popping up all over the place it seems. Often people start down this road for health reasons, but soon learn ethical and environmental reasons for being vegan. When I decided to go vegan almost six years ago, I began my plant based journey. People who are vegan eat a 100% plant based diet, and exclude animal products, such as wool, down, and leather, from their lifestyles for as much as is practicable. But you don't have to be vegan to eat a plant based diet. This is a diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, and excludes animal products including meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Recently, there has been a plethora of research studies that found that a whole food plant based diet is very healthy for you. With books such as “How Not to Die,” by Dr. Michael Greger, “The End of Dieting,” and “Eat to Live,” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, “Whole” and “The China Study,” by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, the verdict {science} is in. Just like Mom always said, “eat your veggies!” One big take away from these books is that plants do not have artery clogging cholesterol, yet contain much needed fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

“What do you eat?” is my most commonly fielded question when people learn that I am vegan. I often found myself searching for a list in my head, so I decided to start an Instagram page, mjsveg, that is just plant based food. Basically, any food that I have loved that was not plant based has a plant based version that can be found by searching for recipes online and consulting cookbooks. Cookbooks are how I began to learn to cook this way to achieve the flavors and textures that I loved in my “pre-vegan” life. I have a huge cookbook collection, and current favorites include “Oh She Glows,” by Angela Liddon, “Isa Does It,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, “But I Could Never Go Vegan,” by Kristy Turner, and any cookbook by Robin Robertson. There are so many amazing vegan cookbooks out there that you won’t have a problem finding one that suits your needs!

“Where do you get your protein?” It is not widely known that one cup of cooked spinach contains 5 grams of protein. One cup of black beans contains 15g of protein. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 5g of protein. Lentils are another excellent source of protein at 18g per cup and peas have 8g. Tofu has 20g per cup and tempeh (a fermented What about working out and developing muscles? Great news! Vegan soy cake) has 31g per cup. “Okay, but iron?” One cup of cooked athletes abound! Check out Serena Williams (yes, the tennis champion), lentils contains 6.6 mg, edamame has 3.5 mg, and one cup of cooked chickpeas has 4.7 mg iron. Even one large russet potato has 3.2 mg Scott Jurek (endurance runner), John Joseph (triathlete), David Carter (football player; his blog is “The 300 lb. vegan”). Even Tom Brady touts a of iron. O ne vitamin that is supplemented in a plant based diet is vitamin B12, however it can be found in fortified foods. mostly plant based diet during training and football season.


Where do you begin? I have found that investing in some quality kitchen tools makes cooking, dare I say… enjoyable and less time consuming. I recommend starting with a good knife, stainless steel pan set, various sized cutting boards and stainless steel mixing bowls. Some things that are more pricey, but very useful, include a food processor, a good blender, and a tofu press. Less costly are a lemon squeezer, a garlic crusher, a micro-plane (a wonderful tool for grating fresh ginger, lemon peels, and garlic). Cooking is not as time consuming as we imagine in our heads. Some tips I would like to share include prepping vegetables on the weekend or after you are done shopping. Buying frozen or precut vegetables and fruit. Cooking a couple of meals on your day off in advance of your work week. Cooking grains ahead of time, such as rice, quinoa, and pasta. I like to buy grains in bulk and store them in ball jars. Going plant based does not end your social life. When I first began my vegan lifestyle, I looked at online menus and called restaurants to see what plant based options they could offer. It has been very positive. Nowadays, I know quite a few restaurants in the area that I can enjoy.

Whether you decide to try meatless Mondays, or vegan before six, adding more plants to your diet is a step towards better health.

Cashew Pilau with Raisins and Peas This is an easy and delicious recipe by Robin Robertson from her book “Vegan Fire and Spice” published 2008 by Vegan Heritage Press

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

1 TBSP cold pressed canola oil 3 scallions, thinly sliced 3 cups cold cooked basmati rice (I use black rice or Himalayan pink rice) 1/2 cup frozen peas 1/4 cup golden raisins 1 TBSP orange juice 1 tsp Garam Masala 1/2 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. Cayenne 1/2 cup roasted cashews

2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley


Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, rice, peas, raisins, orange juice, garam masala, salt, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the rice is hot and the raisins are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the cashews and parsley and fluff with a fork to combine. •

Roast the cashews by placing them in a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat and stir often until lightly browned. You can modify this recipe to suit your taste.

Garam Masala can be made from other spices, and can be purchased in bulk from Four Seasons or Healthy Living Market.

Included are Four Seasons, Cantina, Karavalli, Little India, Scallions, Thai Gardens, Esparanto’s (great vegan pizza!), Park Side Eatery, and even Country Corner café, just to name a few! When I am attending a conference, I call ahead and typically receive an amazing fresh and delicious alternative to the main offerings. Just call ahead, and you will find that most restaurants are happy to accommodate! Since I have started to eat this way, I have discovered a variety of foods and flavors that were not a regular part of my diet. My spice cabinet is constantly restocked with cumin, coriander, garam masala, and many others. I have learned that tofu is like a chameleon, and can take many forms, including imitating ricotta cheese in stuffed shells. Whether you decide to try meatless Mondays, or vegan before six, adding more plants to your diet is a step towards better health. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 25

away Dairy?





s most of us know, the diet world is constantly changing and evolving. The question is, what will they think of next? The current trend appears to be a dairy-free diet! You may be thinking to yourself; there is no way I will live without my cheese! Despite your dairy-filled diet, there are many benefits to telling dairy to moo-ve over!

So, what is a dairy free diet? For some people, it isn’t a matter of choice. For those who are lactose intolerant, they must eliminate any foods that contain lactose. For others, it is just a simple change of adding smaller portions of their favorite milk proteins. The primary sources of dairy come from cheese, milk, butter, sour cream, and even the favorite sweet treat, ice cream. Just take a look at all of the benefits that come with a dairy-free diet, and you'll see why the trend is on an uprise.

DAIRY-FREE BENEFITS While being on a diet can be overwhelming sometimes, it is motivating to reap the benefits of all your hard work. When you kick the dairy from your diet, here are just a few improvements you will see within weeks! 1. Better Digestion Did you know that around 75% of the population has a certain degree of lactose intolerance? When you switch over to a dairy free diet, you can avoid the digestive issues such as cramps, bloat, and gas that many people suffer from at some point in their life. 2. Breathe Easier Dairy has also been connected to respiratory tract issues. Interestingly enough, A1 milk stimulates more mucus production in your gut glands. This is why people who have dairy allergies tend to have more respiratory symptoms as well as asthma. 3. Better Bod Bathing suit season is coming upon us, and fast! One of the most common side effects of consuming dairy is


bloating. Dairy causes excessive gas in the intestines, which is why we suddenly can’t button our pants after a dairy-filled meal. True, it tastes delicious, but luckily for us, there are some fantastic dairy alternatives! 4. Reduce Risk of Cancer In 2001, Harvard studies found that a high calcium intake could increase one's risk of developing prostate cancer. Other studies found that dairy products contain pesticides and growth factors that have been linked to breast cancer cell growth. It is believed that cancer has a real link to your diet. Just another reason to switch to a dairy-free diet, or at least minimize your dairy consumption. 5. Clear, Beautiful Skin Do you suffer from acne? It is believed that dairy contains an anabolic steroid that stimulates acne in the first place. If you remove dairy and take a probiotic supplement, your face will thank you. It’s a much better alternative to those harsh face washes! It’s incredible what you can do, naturally!

DAIRY ALTERNATIVES If you are concerned about removing dairy from your diet, it is not as hard as it may seem! At first, change can always be difficult, but at the end of the day, you will be happy you did! Here are some tips on how to start removing dairy from your diet, today!

Milk The following kinds of milk are all great alternatives. If you use whole milk for your coffee, try some coconut milk. Almond and hemp milk are also great for cooking or in your cereal. You will be surprised just how delicious the alternative can be! • Coconut Milk • Hemp Milk • Almond Milk • Rice Milk Snack Time Does your snack time normally consist of something with dairy? Whether you are a cheese addict or enjoy your occasional yogurt as a snack, there is a dairy-free snack to keep you full and satisfied. On top of being healthy, they are simple and delicious! • Vegetables • Granola Bars • Fruits & Nuts • Air Popped Popcorn (Skip the butter)

Dessert Let’s be honest, the real thing we are worried about is giving up our ice cream! Luckily, you can still satisfy that sweet tooth without any dairy! Below, we will give you some delicious alternatives to any dairy dessert you may feel you can’t live without. • Blend bananas and coconut milk together to make your own ice cream at home. • Use almond milk when baking any muffins, cakes, or even pancakes. • Enjoy smoothies? Use hemp or rice protein powder! Much like with any lifestyle choice, the hardest part is getting started. When you begin to cut dairy out of your diet, you will be glad you did. With so many benefits, it is really a no-brainer. Try out one of our alternatives today! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 27







n order to trim down and shape up your bod for summer, you need to speed things up. The goal of this workout is to keep the weight light, and movements quick to maximize your fat burning cardio engine… and recovery breaks should be brief. Rest periods should be kept brief so check with your doctor to be sure you are cleared for this type of workout.

This workout consists of supersets of two muscle groups at a time; saves time and burns fat fast. Forget reps, we are going for time (seconds.) Beginners aim for 15 seconds per exercise, avid exercise buffs push for 45 seconds per exercise. Let’s begin with the biggest muscle; your legs and shoulders. One move hits it all.

SQUAT WITH AN OVERHEAD DUMB BELL PRESS Grab some light dumb bells, hold them upright at chest level, knuckles facing back. Legs are a bit more than shoulder width apart, keep a slight bend in your knees. Keeping your shoulders square and facing forward, squat down until hams are parallel with the floor. Press back up through your heels to an upright position. While in the standing position, go into the second exercise for shoulders, a dumb bell press. Use the same weight, press the dumb bells over your head, reach and straighten your arms toward the ceiling, return dumb bells back to the start position, then get back to squatting. Repeat this super-set for up to 40 seconds. Take a brief recovery break and repeat three more times… keep a timer and go for it! Next we are buffing up the arms. Super-setting biceps with triceps is a recipe for strong, sexy arms.

BICEP HAMMER CURLS Bicep Hammer Curls: Grab some dumb bells, knuckles away from your body. Legs are shoulder width a part, keep knees slightly bent, shoulders are slightly forward and place your elbows in front of your hips. Pull the weight up to shoulder height, squeeze the bicep, return to start position and repeat for up to 40 seconds…. Then and go right into triceps kickbacks.

TRI-CEP KICKBACK Tri-cep kickback: Using the same dumb bells, bend over until your hips are at a ninety degree angle. Keep your back flat, elbows are slightly above your hips. Extend the arm straight back, contract the tri-cep, return to start position. Repeat for up to 40 seconds. THEN begin the superset over three more times to complete four sets. Brief rest time and now we hit your back and hamstrings…

When doing any exercise remember to use caution. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 29

Good mornings with a

dumbbell row: Grab some light dumb bells, legs are shoulder width apart. Slowly bend at the waist, being sure you do not lock your knees. Allow the weights to carry you down to the floor, feel the stretch. Once you have gone down as far as you can (if you can, tap the weight on the floor)… then pull your upper body back up by using your ham strings. This move is hard to do right. If your back is slightly arched and your butt is sticking out, you are doing it right! Pull your upper body up until you’re completely upright, then we go into the bent over row for the back.

Bent Over Row: Keep the same weight, bend at the waist until you are at a 90-degree angle, keep a slight bend in the knees. When your back is parallel to the floor extend your arms toward the floor. Pull elbows back up above hips, pinch shoulder blades together and repeat the move for up to forty seconds. Repeat the superset three more times.

Time for awesome abs. You can do abs all day and they will tone up, but if you want a nice six pack, you have to use some resistance, i.e. a medicine ball. Let’s do double crunches for a tight belly.

Double ab Crunch:

Lie on a comfy matt, secure a medicine ball between your knees. Comfortably support your neck with both hands. Pull your shoulders off the matt and aim your chest upward toward the ceiling, at the same time bring your knees up to your chest. Aim to lift your lower back off the floor. CRUNCH! HOLD the position at the top for 3 seconds, exhale and return. Do 5 sets of 25 second intervals.



Now we have to rev up the cardio, what’s the best way? Hands down, the stair stepper. Fast steps will speed up your heart rate and burn the fat fast. Step at a pace where you’re happy and no one wants you to talk. You should aim to be out of breath for 2 minutes, then bring it down for 1. Repeat the interval 7 times (equaling 14 minutes of intense cardio, with 7 minutes for recovery).

A sexy, slimmer bods take a bit of time to achieve, but do this routine no less than three times a week and in 6 weeks when the beaches are open… you’ll have the bod for it! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 31

HIITing the Gym

with: High Intensity Interval Training Owner of Bike & Box, Heather LaFountain


It’s time to throw a punch, and take the fight out of boxing.

The SBC Bike & Box Studio is a new gym where just about anyone can gain the power and finesse of a boxer, without having to face the brutal bare-knuckle knock-outs that the sport of boxing is famous for.

“It’s a total body workout every time. It really hits everything and keeps it interesting,” said the gym’s owner Heather LaFountain. Always passionate about fitness, LaFountain has numerous certifications and has been teaching it since 1997. She began Saratoga Boot Camp (SBC) eight years ago, and since then, has taken more than 500 clients outside into area parks during the early morning hours for an exciting interval training workout. While continuing these popular classes, the SBC Bike & Box Studio also offers a unique variety of indoor combination classes that sets it apart from other gyms in the area. “It’s really working well. People really like that it’s really different,” said LaFountain. Although the gym has been open since last June, the grand opening and ribbon cutting just took place on April 6th. 32  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

A set of 12 stationary bikes and a series of separate stations are set up with workout equipment including long bags, uppercut bags, pull-up bars, kettle bells, medicine balls, and more. Everyone’s favorite is the Boxmaster, a punching station with both heavy bags and focus pads, said LaFountain. This equipment is used in the gym’s flexible HIIT class, a 30-minute circuit that begins every three minutes for a twohour block. This format lets members join in at any time and takes away the anxiety of being late for class.

“The HIIT-30 is so different and efficient, fast and effective. It’s such a good workout in such a short time, people really gravitate towards that,” said LaFountain. It’s also extremely personalized. “That’s the beauty of this type of workout. I customize it for the ability of the client. The whole point is I’m there to give you that one-on-one attention, that’s really important to me,” she said. Building a strong core and sculpted upper body while increasing stamina, conditioning the legs, and increasing coordination and mobility, the workouts also aim to build confidence and release aggression. Office workgroups come over during their lunch hour and student groups are working out there with their coaches.

renovations, his parents Chuck & Sandy, and her own parents John and Jeannie Mook, who have been important supporters of this innovative new gym open, said LaFountain.

“They can jump right in, they love it,” said LaFountain, whose own “It took a long time to find the right location, but there’s daughters Caroline, 15, and Lauren, 11, walk over afterschool. ample parking, it’s easy to get in and out, and it’s about as The team of instructors at the SBC Bike & Box Studio is flexible and easy as you can imagine,” she said. offering the popular HIIT-30, combination spinning and floor workout classes for anyone ages 14 and older, but SBC Bike & Box Studio is at 250 Washington Street, there are plans to provide kids classes in the future. West Hill Plaza, Suite 101, in Saratoga Springs. For more In addition to her instructors’ help, it has been LaFountain’s information go to family, including her husband, Jason, who did all the gym SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 33


Saratoga Peak Performance Making your “good better and your better best” whatever your goal may be WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALICE COREY


idely regarded as the Saratoga “trainer to the stars,” Dr. Bryan Briddell has helped hundreds of athletes of all ages realize their peak athletic potential. In an industry with many options, it is Dr. Bryan Briddell’s approach and experience that sets him apart. Bryan has a Ph.D. in the Department of Movement Science from Florida State University and more than 30 years’ experience with a proven track record for success with athletes of all ages and all skill levels earning him a spot amongst the top sports conditioning experts in the Capital District. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 35

“ I look up at that wall

and I see the legacy I want to leave behind. The impact you make on young kids and people, increasing their self-esteem and self-worth, that is why I’m passionate about doing this. ”

After working in academics at Skidmore, teaching in the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, and leading the tennis team as the head coach, Bryan’s passion for personal training blossomed as he opened The World Gym with a group of partners. From there he worked as a certified personal trainer finding space wherever he could, including his own home, to work with clients. What started out as one man with a dream soon blossomed into a lifelong career. Now he calls a 3,800-sq. ft. training facility with a team of 9 trainers home. “I always wanted a space like this,” says Bryan sporting a smile filled with modest pride. With proximity to downtown Saratoga and I-87, the space allows people to come from Glens Falls to Clifton Park and beyond with a fairly easy commute. Unlike other traditional “gyms” filled with intimidating weight machines and equipment, the professional trainers are the force driving people’s success at Saratoga Peak Performance. Bryan is very selective when hiring trainers to join his team,


they all must have a “certain passion and enthusiasm" for health and fitness. Bryan says what sets his training facility apart is the “Strength in Diversity” that he has worked hard to acquire and build. He has trainers with certifications and knowledge of boxing, rowing, functional movement: including yoga & Pilates, boot camp, Olympic lifting, the wildly popular HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and much more. Bryan is the guy - athletes, parents of young athletes, and regular people - seek out if they are looking to increase their performance. Helping athletes in at least 23 sports to achieve their fitness goals; the sports range from those you'd expect like baseball, basketball, hockey, football and swimming to ballet, rock climbing, even motocross. His “wall of fame” features scores of athletes that he has helped in the past. Athletic training can never start too early, he has trained aspiring athletes as young as seven at the training facility. Ages 3-11 are the

most formative years for the development of motor skill competency, as the brain is rapidly developing. Thus, early exposure to proper athletic movement patterns will have a lifelong impact on athletic development and ultimately athletic performance. For the youngest athletes, Bryan conducts a “guided discovery obstacle course” which allows him to assess the needs and movement mechanics of each child. He is then able to create an individualized training plan for them. He has trained kids to get them off the bench, to earn them more playing time and to move them to starting positions.

hold them accountable for their dietary choices. He asks that they record what was eaten, how much was eaten, and at what time it was eaten. He then offers his clients substitutions that can be beneficial in helping them attain their goals, whether that be weight loss or muscle building. Bryan doesn’t just preach to his clients either. He is a walking example of how to live a healthy lifestyle. He has competed in body building competitions and knows first-hand the sacrifice and discipline that is necessary to achieve top fitness goals.

“I look up at that wall and I see the legacy I want to leave behind. The impact you make on young kids and people, increasing their self-esteem and self-worth, that is why I’m passionate about doing this.” You don't have to be a professional athlete or aspiring professional athlete to seek Bryan’s help. His expertise in functional movement allows him to help people of all ages to move better within their own body’s capabilities. His interdisciplinary approach has allowed him to expand his knowledge base, keep current, and work with other experts in his field. Bryan’s focus is “total health and wellness” with the goal of increased mobility and “prolonged independence” that will benefit his clients well into their senior years. He wants to add life to their years, in addition to adding years to their life. Everybody has athletic potential whether we seek to use it for competition and sports or just to complete ADLs (activities of daily living.) Beyond “giving people a good sweat,” Bryan’s forte, is observing a client and making small modifications that make a significant impact on mobility and, as a result, performance. Bryan is well connected with many likeminded professionals and often consults with and refers his clients to physical therapists, occupational therapists, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors and massage therapists. He has studied and networked with this group of, in his words, “exceptional healthcare professionals.” It is this connectivity and willingness to learn that has allowed Bryan the next level of success. “What makes Bryan so special is his unique ability to individualize each client’s workout to maximize their results. With clients ranging in age ability, he can modify and adjust workouts based on their individual goals. This has been his career for over 30 years. He is a gentle, but tough trainer and he won’t let you back down if you’re capable. He always says, ‘You didn't come here for easy.’ Bryan has an amazing history of building people’s strength. Strength in muscle, but also in their lives. Healthy body, Healthy mind.” -Pam W. current client

“He is the most knowledgeable trainer I have ever had - and over the last 20 years - I have had many! He is well read, attends seminars with top experts from all over the country and he brings all of this into his training. Currently, I feel ‘old and out of shape,’ yet I’ve never felt uncomfortable here. His training facility is genuinely a friendly welcoming place and all the trainers greet you with a smile.” -Kim K. current client Bryan and his group of trainers are accepting new clients and athletes for individual and group training. The facility is conveniently located at 30 Gick Road in Saratoga Springs. There are several ways you can “join” the training facility: on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Bryan says, “the cost of training is not just another expense, but rather an investment in your future.” After an initial consult that determines what trainer and what program or classes are right for you and your goals, you are on your way to reaching your peak potential!

In the spirit of total health and wellness Bryan also coaches people on nutrition. He encourages clients to keep training journals that SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 37

Paying it Forward...


PHOTOS BY P.O’Toole Twentyone3 Photography

Kelly's Angels 5� annual Mo�er-Lovin' Day 5K. The word is spreading �at we're here to help kids who've lost a parent (or sibling) to cancer. Just �is week we've put smiles on �e faces of 7 Capital Region children. You don't have to be a runner to participate. In fact, I'd estimate half of us walk �e course. It's a great family event on Mo�er's Day morning in �e Spa State Park ---> Upstate Photo Fun offers a free photo boo�; Saratoga Gelato gives out delectable gelato; and King Bros Dairy brings its world-famous chocolate milk. I’d love to see you �ere! Sincerely,


Mark Mulholland President Kelly's Angels, Inc.

Sign up here: 38  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

Paying it Forward...




The Cantina Kids Fun Run is held each year on the first Sunday in June. It’s the only run in Saratoga that’s designed especially for kids! Kids choose the ¼ Mile or 1 Mile course, all kids receive a medal and the top three boys and top three girls on each course receive trophies. Before and after the run, families can enjoy

face painting, healthy snacks, and live music from 101.3 The Jockey. Best of all, participating kids are raising money for pediatric care at Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department. A run for kids, all about kids, that benefits kids…a great family event right in downtown Saratoga Springs! Founded in 2008 by Cantina owners Jeff and Heath Ames, the Cantina Kids Fun Run has raised over $330,000 for pediatric care at Saratoga Hospital’s Emergency Department. The Ames family has a very personal connection

Taylor’s Heroes welcomes children and teens seeking healthier lifestyles! Taylor’s Heroes is a non-profit organization created in 2011 in memory of the 2009 Saratoga Springs High School graduate David Taylor Miller, who was killed on active duty while serving in the U.S. Marines in Afghanistan. "The whole idea behind the charity is to help children get fit and learn the basics of nutrition while they have a lifetime to enjoy the benefits,” explained Leslie Miller, board president and the mother of Taylor.

to the cause: their daughter, Tessa, now 15, was born with a rare and extremely hard to control form of epilepsy. Knowing that excellent pediatric emergency care is important to all parents, whether for a broken arm, stitches, or something more serious, Jeff and Heath created the event to give back to the community. For more information, go to cantina-kids-fun-run or call (518) 583-8340.

Paying it Forward...


Miller and a board of advisors came up with a plan of action to help kids and teens establish healthy eating and exercise habits they can carry through their lifetime. The curriculum centers around a free 14-week fitness and nutrition program for children ages 8 through 18. Participants are given a free membership to the Saratoga Regional YMCA for three months; weekly group personal training; nutrition and cooking classes with their families; a food diary

to track daily diet and activity; and an opportunity to win prizes at the completion of the program. The program is offered to area children year-round. For more information on Taylor’s Heroes, visit, or call (518) 683-8425. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 39




Riding into Wellness Wringing the sweat from her soaking wet hair, Gale Orcutt paused only for a few moments after pedaling a whopping 90 miles before heading over to yoga class. She had just finished Miles for a Mission, a 4-hour Cycle-athon that took place on Sunday, April 2 in Wilton to benefit the Saratoga Regional YMCA Annual Scholarship Campaign, which helps low income residents afford memberships. “It’s for the kids. It’s totally awesome,” said Orcutt, between breaths. An avid outdoor cyclist during the summer months, she enjoys doing her winter training at the gym. “The teachers here inspire us. The Y is a wonderful organization. It’s a family, we really are a family,” she said. This was her second year taking part in the event. As her cycling group’s designated lead cheerleader, she rounded up six people to participate in the event, one of which was Rudy Gossweiler, who’s been a cycling enthusiast for 20 years. “I’m a passionate rider. I love riding,” he said. Even with his extensive experience however, this event proved a worthy challenge. “I feel exhilarated I did all four hours without getting off. The first three hours were alright, but the fourth hour was tough – I had to fight,” said Gossweiler. Others really help to encourage him, however, which is what makes this gym unique, he said. “It’s the best gym I’ve gone to in my life. It’s the people that work here at the Y and the people that join the Y – they’re equally as friendly,” said Gossweiler.

Real Life Super Models Moms who come to the gym to stay in shape are the people that group fitness instructor Justina McNamara looks up to the most. “They really are my family. They think I’m kidding when I say that, but I’m not. They say, ‘We need you,' but little do they know, I need them,” she said. For many, having a common interest in taking classes at the gym has ignited a friendship that now exists beyond it. They’ve set up carpools, playdates for their kids, and lunch dates with one another. “Some of them are best friends now,” said McNamara. She has been with the SRYMCA for five years and came up with the idea for the Miles for a Mission event last year as a way for the already active cycling community to work together for a common cause. “I wanted it to be something they wanted to do. I didn’t want it to be a “me” thing. I wanted it to be an “us” thing,” she said.

In Good Company As one of the four instructors motivating the dedicated participants, McNamara knew ahead of time she would be the one leading them as they struggled through that difficult final hour. Expectations of facing these already exhausted riders, the family of friends that she most admires, and asking them to give even more, created feelings of anxious excitement within her the day before.


“I said, ‘I feel like it’s my wedding day tomorrow, I’m so nervous’, it really was surreal.” When she walked into the gymnasium, she was amazed at the sight before her. The rows of riders atop the stationary bikes looked so much bigger than she remembered it being the previous year. Attendance had nearly doubled, to 40 participants this year.

advantage; the knowledge that they were helping to ensure the entire community has the same opportunity.

“People look at us as a swim and gym place, but when they come in, they realize it’s more of a community. We have kids from 6-weeks-old in our daycare classes, up to 90-year-olds who are here working out. Our core values are social responsibility, youth “It was a heat wave of sweat when I walked development and healthy living. It’s about in. It was like a spin class on a different level,” stuff that’s much more important than just said McNamara. coming in and working out,” said Health Music blared and stories from scholarship and Wellness Director Sue Lipscomb. recipients were shared to help motivate Mark Your Calendars riders, as bottles of water and bananas were handed out by volunteers to maintain their Miles for a Mission helps to bring the SRYMCA energy and hydration levels.

one step closer to reaching their goal of raising $275,000 in funds for their annual scholarship campaign. The next event is… The 27th Annual Saratoga Regional YMCA Golf Tournament, being held on Wednesday, June 14, at the Saratoga National Golf Club. This event welcomes both casual and serious competitors, with a bar-b-que lunch and evening awards banquet. All proceeds will go directly to making memberships to the YMCA affordable to all. For more information go to

These were possible, along with the t-shirts and backpacks of gear given to each participant, thanks to the generous donations from the event sponsors, which included Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Hoffman & Edgette, Inc., Joann’s Candy House, and Kane's Fine Wine & Spirits. “This is a testament to the connections that the instructors make, I just move some bikes,” said Wilton Branch Director Chris Defibaugh. It’s a positive effort and one that

brings people together.

Health for All After the event was over, several of the volunteers were soon out playing basketball in the space that had been home to the cyclists just 30 minutes before. Basketball is the sport that Mike Miakisz, SRYMCA’s Marketing Director enjoys most, he said, but the effort that the cyclists put in, many of which rode between 80 and 110 miles, was truly awe-inspiring. “My hat goes off to these people. I see the older people get into it and handle it with ease. It’s cool to see,” he said. Miles for a Mission afforded participants the benefit of a workout with an added 42  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

SELECT LOCAL Road2017 Races

Your Capital Region source for running footwear, apparel, and accessories. We offer a free custom fit process and 11 leading brands of footwear. Ask us about upcoming Good Form running classes, winter apparel clinics, and our Fleet Feet Distance Project training programs for runners of all

abilities. Make new running friends in our year-round Running Club, hosting weekly runs throughout the region. Fleet Feet Malta | Rte. 9 Shops of Malta | 400-1213 Fleet Feet Albany 155 Wolf Road | 459-3338

SUNDAY, MAY 14TH – 7:30 AM



Mother Lovin’ 5k Day

39th Annual Freihofer’s Run for Woman


5K Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run to raise money to help children who have lost a parent, caregiver or sibling to cancer. Saratoga Spa State Park, 10 Roosevelt Drive

5K and Kids Fun Run Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY

5K Run/Walk - All proceeds go to Danny Ward Scholarship Fund 25 Lakehill Rd, Ballston Lake, NY

SUNDAY, MAY 21ST – 7:30 AM SPAC Rock & Run Half Marathon, 5K, 10K, & Kids 50 Yard Dash

SUNDAY, JUNE 4TH – 8 AM Cantina Kids Fun Run


¼ Mile ,1 Mile to support emergency medical services at Saratoga Hospital Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, NY

4th Annual Saratoga Casino and Raceway Night Run

1 Mile Footrace on the Harness Track & 1/4 mile Kids Fun Run Benefits the Saratoga Springs History Museum 242 Jefferson St. Saratoga Springs

SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH-9:30 AM Daffodil Dash 5K and Kids Run


Scotties Stampede, the Ballston Spa 5k for Education



Firecracker Road Race

THE W.W.T.D RUN N' ROLL for hope 5K

4 Mile Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway

Warming Hut, Saratoga State Park, NY

5K Walk/Run Garrett Rd by The Ballston Spa Central School District tennis courts

SATURDAY, MAY 20TH - 9 AM Ryan’s Run Presented by Saratoga Springs Teachers Association 5K Support research for MIOP – Malignant Infantile Osteopetrosis Saratoga State Park-Warming Hut

SATURDAY, JUNE 3RD-10 AM Charlton Heritage 5K Run/Walk

SATURDAY, JULY 8TH- 8 AM Friends of Wilton Rec ParkFest 2017 5K/1K Run/Walk

SATURDAY, JULY 22ND – 8 AM 21st Annual Silks and Satins 5K Jeff Clark Memorial Race - Support Special Olympics New York 415 East Ave. Saratoga Springs, NY

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9TH – 8:30 AM Malta 5K 5k to benefit Vet Help, Malta Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Malta Ambulance and Round Lake Fire Dept. HVCC Tec Smart Campus, 345 Hermes Rd. Malta, NY

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17TH – 7:45 AM The Saratoga Palio Melanie O’Donnell Memorial Race Half Marathon, 5K & Children’s Run Saratoga Springs City Center, 522 Broadway SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 43






or every child, there are big shoes to fill. When given the right ones, what they can do is amazing.

After Thanksgiving recess last year, Stephanie Cash Hogan’s class of 1st graders at Galway Central School rushed in, eager to show her the medals they’d earned in the Turkey Trot race. The kids knew she would be proud of them, because she’s a runner, too.

“I talk about running and what time I have to get up in the morning, and they see that running pays off. Having a teacher who they can see work so hard at something, it shows them the value of hard work,” said Hogan.

Photo by Pat Hendrick Photography


Like most kids their age, the 19 students in her class are learning how to read and write, which comes easier to some than to others, she said.

“When I see a child encounter a problem or “When I’m trying to meet a goal, I try to think of difficult situation, I can empathize with that each day, and do my best each day, each single more, I know how to motivate them more,” mile, and don’t look too far ahead,” she said. she said. She often finds herself repeating Sometimes Hogan runs with her dog Ted, an aloud to them the same things she tells herself Australian Shepard-Golden Retriever mix when searching for the stamina to finish a race. breed that has run up to 13 miles at her side. “’You can do it! You’re almost there!’ Positive “He was born to run,” she said. affirmations of any kind. To them, a 20-page When she laces up her running shoes, Hogan book seems like Everest, or like a marathon is doing more than running, she’s motivating does to me,” said Hogan. others to get out and conquer their dreams. It was at a difficult time in her own life that “Your mind is the hardest thing to train – Hogan began running. Stressed out from believe in yourself,” she advises. teaching while completing her Master’s Degree, she started out running just 30 Steph’sTraining Partner minutes a day in 2012. “I love to run. I’m in my own little world and I just think about the run,” she said. Progressing quickly, that same year she ran in several shorter marathons before her first full marathon in 2013. Since then, she’s run several more marathons, pushing herself to improve each time.

Your mind is the

hardest thing to

train – believe in yourself!

“The goal wasn’t to go further or faster, it just started becoming easier and easier,” she said. Last fall, Hogan’s finishing time in the Mohawk Hudson Marathon qualified her for a coveted spot to compete in the upcoming Boston Marathon. “Boston is to Marathons what the Kentucky Derby is to horse racing. The city shuts down, people line the streets. It’s so emotional. It means so much to the city and people throughout the world,” said Hogan.

Her training regimen involves getting up at 4:45 a.m. daily, and then, just taking it step-by-step. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 45



Diane Palma is an Integrative Beauty & Wellness Self-Care Consultant.


ost of us think of wellness in terms of illness, we assume that the absence of illness indicates wellness.

There are many degrees and levels of wellness, just as there are degrees of illness. Our emotional state often sets the stage for physical and mental disease. Cancer can be brought on by excessive stress that weakens the immune system. Negative emotional states can also lead to abuse of the body -through smoking, abusing alcohol and overeating in attempts to substitute for other more basic needs such as acknowledgement and respect, a stimulating and supportive environment, and a sense of purpose and meaning. Wellness is the process of integration characterized by awareness, education and growth.

We are not perfect.


Self Care

Distortions lead to imbalances in the ways we process energy. Breathing, sensing and eating are the three energy sources that we need to fuel ourselves. It is essential to look below the surface signs to address the real needs. Wellness is about choices and allowing yourself to move toward a happier life and positive health.


Self-Responsibility, and Love: Respecting your body through nutrition, exercise, personal care and safety. Caring for all aspects of yourself; body, mind, emotions, spirit and sharing your caring with others.

Read that again… Wellness is about choices and allowing yourself to move toward a happier life and positive health.

2. Breathing: Breathing is living; the prana, or life force. “Air is the first food of the newborn”-Edward Rosenfeld

Baby boomers are captivated by the concept of wellness. With longer lifespans, there is greater emphasis on health and fitness, and opportunities that allow them to unplug, destress and recharge. This trend warrants the need for more meaningful experiences, whether that means adventure, exercise, self-empowerment or service.

3. Sensing: How we self-protect. Through our instincts and our senses; sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. For example, our fears cause us to freeze up when we are being touched.

As a self-care consultant, I came across this wellness tool to help customers better understand the areas of their life in which they are out of balance. The Wellness Inventory is one of the first and oldest assessment tools developed by Dr. John W. Travis (one of the founders of the wellness movement). It is a practical whole-self approach to wellness and utilizes 12 dimensions of whole person functioning.

4. Eating: Food is our medicine. Food is the raw material needed for building and repairing body parts. Our diets and eating habits are highly imbalanced. 5. Moving: Everything within us is moving (lungs expanding, heart pumping). The unmoving body becomes a home for infection and depression. To block movement is to block change. The more you move the better you move. 6. Feeling: What am I feeling? Most ignore their feelings. We judge, repress, discount, worship, and run from our feelings. The expression of emotions: anger, fear, sadness and joy are energy outputs.

7. Thinking: Is dependent upon our sensory data. The images and energies that fill our minds affect our physical bodies, influence the people around us, and create our community. Think about what you are thinking about. Appreciate how powerful your thoughts direct your experience of reality. (The Law of Attraction) 8. Playing and Working: The need for balance. If there are significant, ongoing problems in either your work life or play, your state of health will usually reflect it. “Life’s door, love’s door, God’s door- they all open when you are playful. They all become closed when you become serious.” -Osho 9. Communicating: Includes verbal, nonverbal, speaking and writing. Feeling and thinking lead to your communication with your internal self-talk, and external dialogue with others. 10. Intimacy: Respecting boundaries with yourself and others. From being a friend to being in a long-term marriage this is a higher level of wellness opening us up to new levels of meaning in life. 11. Finding Meaning: Finding meaning is a process. Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? What do I want? What is real? What is true? Addressing these questions encourages a balanced life by slowing down and looking within for the answers. Learn to look within and begin to trust your own inner voice, your own wisdom, your gut. 12. Transcending: Being fully awake and engaged in the present moment. Watching the waves at the ocean and losing your sense of time and space, or the total absorption in a piece of music. While we are in nature we experience no judgements, we thrive in nature, we are alive, we are present, we are one. The Wellness Inventory taught me that we are either in learning mode or protective mode, and that resonated with me as a mental health therapist. An example of learning mode is when we transmute the pain of heartache into wisdom. Finding meaning is the most personal and challenging experience anyone can address, because it requires looking inward and self-searching. Which some find frightening. If your issues do not enhance your life you may want to make some changes. Worry and fear is often part of the emotional process of adjusting to change and working it all out. Which is an example of being in protective mode. For example, some people are thrown into deep depression with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or boredom. Others may launch themselves anxiously keeping themselves occupied at all times, while others may engage in risky behaviors such as overeating, drinking to excess or taking drugs. They remain in protective mode when self-medicating or self-preserving themselves by living in the past and facing the anticipation of change. Wellness is a choice. Wellness is a way of life. Wellness is a process of developing the awareness that there is no end point, but that health and happiness are possible in each moment. Wellness is about self-care. Begin by taking a deep breath, slowing down and, stay in learning mode. Be well. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 47




ccording to results of a 2011-2014 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services, more than 36 percent of adults in America are classified as obese. The prevalence is only slightly higher for women than for men. And the percentages increase with age. In 2013, the American Medical Association voted to classify obesity as a disease. The consequences of obesity are far-reaching and alarming. Health risks associated with being overweight range from sleep apnea and orthopedic issues, to heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer. The list goes on.


If you are one of the 36 percent of Americans reading this, chances are you have tried every diet and weight loss program out there. Perhaps you lost some weight. But, then you gained it right back again. No matter what you’ve tried, you just can’t seem to get the weight off and keep it off. Most people know what bariatric surgery is and many may consider it to be too extreme. They may believe they simply lack the willpower to lose weight, and they can do it on their own if they really put their minds to it. And they may be correct. But for others, bariatric surgery may be worth investigating. Dr. Dmitri Baranov, MD, PhD, FACS is Medical Director of Saratoga Hospital’s Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program and he is emphatic that obesity is a complex, multi-factorial disease. He stiffens at the notion that bariatric surgery is taking the easy way out when it comes to weight loss. He equates that notion with the analogy of a surgeon who doesn’t remove a cancerous growth from the body because that would be “taking the easy way out.” The Saratoga Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program offers more than just surgery, according to Dr. Baranov and the program's website. The program incorporates a comprehensive, life-long approach to treating the disease of obesity, drawing on the expertise of nutritionists, psychologists, pre- and post-surgical support systems and monthly support groups.

Mark came from an Italian family, who thought there was something physically wrong if you started losing weight. He was also involved in a serious car accident around this time, from which it took him 18 months to recover. “My right leg was smashed in the accident. I used to play volleyball and basketball, but after the accident it became a struggle to exercise.” The accident also resulted in Mark changing careers, leaving a job that involved a higher level of physical activity and going to a more sedentary desk job in front of a computer. “Because I had less physical activity and I was also around food more, I began to eat more. The weight just snuck up on me,” he added. Mark also decided to quit smoking around this same time – a great decision in and of itself, but another factor in packing on the pounds. One of Mark's BEFORE pho


Patients are assessed on several levels, including body mass index (BMI), precipitating factors such as genetic predisposition, environmental components, and emotional and psychological factors. While Dr. Baranov readily admits that choice is also a contributing component of obesity, he maintains that, in the overall picture, it is a small one. Most, if not all physicians and mental health professionals agree that many people use food as a crutch and there is commonly an emotional or psychological undercurrent that influences a person’s overeating to the point of obesity. Another factor contributing to obesity is the increased inability to make healthy food choices. In some instances, this is a learned behavior, such as growing up in an environment that promotes unhealthy eating habits. Recent research, however, suggests that excessive sugar consumption can dull the part of the brain whose job it is to tell you to stop eating. So, for some people at least, when it comes to a commitment to serious weight loss and re-learning healthier eating patterns, the deck may be stacked against you. Mark Griffin, a 60-year old local man who has lost nearly 100 pounds since seeking treatment at the Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Program at Saratoga Hospital in 2016, is one of those people who had several contributing factors working against him in his quest to lose weight. He described himself as a “skinny little kid” growing up. But, things began to change for Mark right around the time he turned 30. “My hair fell out, my metabolism slowed down and things just started to change.”

By the time Mark was 35, he had been diagnosed with diabetes and the orthopedic problems that were a result of his auto accident were now exacerbated by the additional weight his body was forced to carry around. By the time Mark reached his mid-50s, his 5’ 10” carriage was hauling around almost 300 pounds – nearly twice his ideal weight of 160 pounds. He had also added sleep apnea, hypertension, high cholesterol and – ultimately a triple bypass to the list of his rapidly expanding medical rap sheet. Realizing that he wanted to reclaim his life and reverse his downward spiral, Mark decided to explore bariatric surgery and participation in a supportive weight loss program. 2016 was not Mark’s first visit to Dr. Baranov’s office. He had considered the bariatric route before, only to rule against it. He was one of many people who insisted that he could do it on his own. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 49

Dr. Dmitri Baranov (third from the right) and his team, pictured above, in an OR at Saratoga Hospital.

“’I see you’re now wearing a Fit Bit,’ he said to me. And when I showed him my progress chart – I was already burning about 22,000 calories per week – he saw that I was finally serious about weight loss and my health,” said Mark.

a dangerously high score of 10.1. A score of six or below is considered “good,” and anything above six is classified as “pre-diabetic.”

Mark said his recovery period was “great” and he had little if no bad side effects or complications following surgery. Of course, he is careful to follow his eating routine very closely.

Patients who decide to embark upon the bariatric program must commit to losing a certain amount of weight before they even have surgery. In addition to the doctors, they visit with a nutritionist, a counselor and even a fitness professional to map out a plan of action.

Dinner these days looks a lot different for Mark. So does his workout routine. Mark is a member of the Saratoga YMCA and he works out there whenever possible. When he can’t make it to the Y, he uses Global Foundries’ facility during his lunch break or in the middle of the day.

Mark recalled that it was a tough protocol, but one that had to be followed “To a T.” Part of the reason for the strict protocol is insurance. Companies must be convinced that it is medically necessary for a person to undergo bariatric surgery. Mark noted that, by 2016, the outlook of his insurance company – and others – was beginning to change, as they began to embrace the potential cost-savings of insuring a healthier client base. Before Mark started the treatment program, his glucose levels were at 50  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

medication; he doesn’t have to wear the uncomfortable sleep apnea mask; and his bone and joint pains have all but disappeared.

“I can now use the elliptical,” he said happily. Up until recently, his workout activity was limited. One of Mark's BEFORE photos.

On the day following Mark’s surgery in 2016, his blood sugars were already dropping and his score is now 4.5. He is no longer on diabetes

Mark’s wife is also pleased with her husband’s return to good health. She struggled with her weight and, while she is one of the people who opted to lose weight on her own, she and Mark embarked on their weight loss journey together and, as a result, they have changed their lives for the better.

“Our whole quality of life has been turned around,” said Mark, who now weighs in at 192 pounds. The icing on the cake, as it were, was Mark’s meeting with Saratoga Hospital’s Director of Marketing, Peter Hopper. Peter asked Mark if he would consider being a spokesperson for the Hospital’s bariatric program. “Only 20 percent of bariatric patients are males,” said Mark. “And they asked me to advocate to the male population,” a job he takes seriously. Mark cautioned that, just as with smoking, drinking or any other addictive behavior, the temptations are always out there and choice continues to play an important role in his and other patients’ ongoing recovery and maintenance programs. The monthly support group Dr. Baranov's team hosts at the Gideon Putnam is another key way to keep patients engaged, encouraged and committed to their new healthy lifestyles.

"You have to be armed and have the wherewithal to say ‘No’ to food choices that were impossible to turn down before." - Mark Dmitri Baranov, MD, PhD, FACS

“It’s ultimately a decision you have to make,” said Mark. “You have to be armed and have the wherewithal to say ‘No’ to food choices that were impossible to turn down before.” But Mark seems committed to his new lifestyle. He’s getting ready to ride in the Tour de Cure for the third year in a row. “I’m trying to get to the “Champion” level of fundraising, so we can educate more people and find a cure for diabetes,” he said, smiling. To find out if you would be a good candidate for bariatric surgery, or to find out about an upcoming free information seminar and more information about the different types of minimally-invasive laparoscopic bariatric surgery available, visit Saratoga Hospital’s website: SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 51

Need help Pictured left to right: Suzanne, Lonney and Deb DeSimone

dieting? Get support!


“Weight Loss”

...those two simple words can strike fear into the hearts of Americans. Whether you have been overweight your entire life or have experienced a life event that caused you to gain weight, the search for help can be daunting. Thousands of companies, doctors, websites and infomercials offer shakes, bars, potions, pills, containers, calorie counting, point counting, surgery, and a gazillion other ways to help you lose the weight… “easily.” The truth is there is no “easy” fix. Weight loss takes consistency, effort, knowledge and will. With that being said… weightloss doesn't have to be painful, super restrictive or cause you to avoid friends and outings. Saratoga happens to be home to Smith Weight Loss and Wellness on Rt. 9. Run by Chiropractor Matt Smith, their weekly ads boast transformational photos with jaw dropping results. Saratoga Publishing decided to take a


closer look and answer some of the obvious questions… Are these “real” people? Is it possible to lose “THAT’ much weight in 12 weeks? …and without starving yourself? How does it work? We attended one of the Smith Weight Loss and Wellness’s free weight loss seminars to find out for ourselves. Here the program’s Clinical Director gives an overview of the program and begins to educate potential clients on their methods. Focusing on permanent healthy lifestyle change, the staff at Smith Weight Loss and Wellness completes a body composition analysis which measures the percentage of fat, muscle, water, and bone in your body. This helps to determine which program is right for you. Next, they determine your BMI which is an accurate indicator of how overweight you are. They also analyze your body fat percentage which is a direct measurement of your fitness level and how healthy you are. After this you are put into a manageable 12-week weight loss program that cuts dairy, sugar, and ‘toxic’ fats. The cornerstones of the program are education on nutrition and exercise, a support network, behavioral modification training, accountability, sustainable

weight loss, and hormonal imbalance regulation. Now for the FUN part, remember the transformational ads I mentioned? The Center has an entire wall with before and after photos displayed in neat rows of like-sized black frames. We asked if we could meet some people that had seen success with the program. We chose one man and one woman - that had unbelievable before and after photos! A married couple, named Lonney and Suzanne, with larger than life personalities. Together, in one year, they have lost 143 pounds at Smith Weight Loss and Wellness. They are real life people just like you and me. Suzanne shared with us that she has always been on the heavy side, while Lonney says his weight gain occurred over time and after the passing of his father. With the framework of the Smith Weight Loss Program and the support of their Clinical Director, Deb DeSimone they have been able to support and encourage each other. They both admit that the true motivator, for them, was their rapid results. After just 2 weeks Lonney had lost 17 pounds and Suzanne had lost 16 pounds. She cried when she stepped on the scale and saw the number dip below 300lbs for the first time in a long time. The loss encouraged them to stick to the program with no cheating for the 12 weeks, and boy was it worth it. Lonney lost 63 pounds and Suzanne lost 42 pounds in just 12 weeks’ time.

Lonney has hit his goal weight after a year, Suzanne still wants to lose a significant amount. They have learned how to balance their choices and are still able to enjoy life without feeling deprived. Lonney could discontinue all his medications for blood pressure and diabetes and has increased his physical activity to levels that would have put him in the back of an ambulance before the weight loss. Suzanne now shops at “normal” stores which before was impossible for her. Overall, they gave Smith Weight Loss

and Wellness an A+ and are so happy with their healthy bodies and lifestyle. Whether you have always struggled with being overweight or you gained weight after a life event or just gained over time, it may be beneficial to attend one of the free seminars to learn more about the program and financial commitment at Smith Weight Loss and Wellness. Happy Losing!

By skipping high fat, high carb foods, incorporating meal planning and snack preparation they could feel satiated through the weight loss. They increased their lean protein consumption, added nuts to snack bags for grab and go pre-portioned treats, traded white rice for brown rice and eliminated alcohol and sodas all together for the 12 weeks. Now they are at a place where they don't have to be so strict. Lonney will have a cocktail occasionally and skip something else later in the week. Suzanne, a whiz in the kitchen, has modified recipes and gotten creative to enjoy healthier versions of her usually calorie laden favorites such as strawberry almond “sorbet” which happens to be dairy free! While SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 53



Failure Cycle

How are your jeans fitting? A little snug? Have you stepped on the scale lately and been disappointed with the number? If so, how’s your mood? If you are feeling frustrated, disappointed, depressed or even angry, it’s to be expected. You may be on your way to what I call the Failure Cycle. If you’re not feeling successful with your weight or fitness level, it’s time to take a look at patterns that may keep you from succeeding. The Failure Cycle is a syndrome in which repeats itself time and time again. Most everyone gets into failure at some point. Thin people who have never struggled with their weight get into failure but they know intuitively how to get out of it. People with a yo-yo dieting history have a tougher time figuring out how to break the cycle of failure, so here is what you need to know about the Failure Cycle to break out: The Failure Cycle has three stages. STAGE 1: It begins with a sense of “failure.” Failure is different for everyone; it stems from an emotional reaction to a physical act. For example; getting on the scale and gaining weight; putting on a pair of pants or a skirt and they can’t button; or binging. These actions lead to self-denigration, guilt, sadness, sometimes anger and even self- hate. This leads to stage 2. STAGE 2: Avoidance. It is natural for humans to avoid negative feelings by making promises, rationalizations and excuses for their behavior. For example: “I’ll start a diet Monday,” I promise this will be my last piece of cake,” I can’t seem to lose weight even when I eat low fat foods, so why not just eat what I want.” Any of these scenarios pop into your head? These are excuses which actually reduce negative feelings that failure brings, this leads to Stage 3. STAGE 3: Overeat. The rationalizations, excuses and promises actually give you permission to overeat and then you are back to the beginning of the Failure Cycle. It then keeps going around. Sometimes the cycle lasts a few days, sometimes years. If you’ve ever wondered how a person can gain 100 pounds, it’s the result of this cycle. It’s time to break the cycle with skills that help you confront. Break the cycle by confronting behaviors right after Stage 2. The first two stages of failure will always be there; thin people who do not have weight problems go through these two stages, which are natural.


The key to a cyclical dieter is, once you feel the negative feeling from “failure” you have to acknowledge those feelings, and then start breaking the cycle. Yes, you may feel emotionally bad but don’t run from the feelings, feel them. NOW the work begins. Immediately dive into sweating. Exercise is the best way to start sweating but not everyone can exercise. SO, if you can’t get in a little cardio (even a brisk walk), add on more clothes and do some chores, dance, walk around. Get your body heated up! Heat will help the process of losing water retention and annoying bloat! Losing water weight can make you feel physically thinner -fast. If you can exercise, do it. Exercise releases endorphins and combats depression and anxiety. Next, eat “dirty foods,” i.e., fruits and vegetables (natural foods out of the ground). Start reducing white flour, sugar, increase water, and fiber. Begin keeping records of everything you eat! Continue with this behavior and over time you will begin to feel better and the cycle of failure will recede. Success breeds success. Each time you succeed in breaking the cycle, the better your chances of establishing healthier eating patterns. Success launches you forward to a fit and trim body -long term! Good Luck!!! STAGE 1: “FAILURE” Negative Feelings



Promises, rationalizations, excuses

Provided by



Like clockwork, every spring brings the same advisory from health departments reminding us that it’s “tick season,” and to be aware of your risk of getting Lyme disease. Wear a hat, they advise, tuck your pant legs into your socks, use a repellent. Check yourself, your children, and pets after coming in from outdoors. And if you think you have been bitten, see your doctor immediately.

The incidence of Lyme disease in the U.S. is now estimated to be nearly 400,000 new cases per year. Lyme disease is not only the fastest growing vector-borne disease, but it is the second most common infectious disease in the U.S., overall. The number of cases reported by county by public health officials every May represent only a fraction of the actual extent of the disease.

And there the advice ends and the confusion and controversy begins. For starters, there really is no “tick season,” as ticks that transmit Lyme disease are actively seeking blood meals almost year round. Questions about tick attachment times, when and whether to see a doctor, diagnostic options, treatments, and dozens of other questions abound, but clear answers are scarce. Varying medical opinions on topics of disease definition, diagnosis, treatment, persistence, drug efficacy and duration, and many other topics have made this one of the most confusing and frustrating diseases in modern medicine.

While it is generally accepted that Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics in the very early stage of infection, the illness is much more difficult to treat as the infection spreads throughout the body. It has been scientifically established that the bacteria may resist destruction by the immune system, and finds places in the body to build protected “colonies,” called “biofilms.” Once this occurs, the disease becomes much more difficult to treat.

Since being identified in 1976 and confirmed as a bacterial infection in 1982, Lyme disease has become a creeping menace. Originally believed to be prevalent only in the northeast, the disease is now found in all states of the U.S. In some cases, it is believed that victims acquired the disease in other areas while traveling, and brought the disease with them, which, in a mobile society, is a real issue to consider in diagnosing this illness. Not only do people move around – the animals do as well. The migratory patterns of animals, including birds, is one of the factors responsible for the everexpanding territory of the Ixodes scapularis, or black-legged tick. These ticks carry the causative bacterial agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, and a host of other dangerous pathogens that are transmitted to humans and animals with a single, painless tick bite.

Unfortunately, many victims of Lyme disease do not get diagnosed early in the course of the illness. The “signature” bulls-eye rash does not occur in a majority of cases, and other symptoms are often attributed to the flu or other conditions. Most cases start with non-specific symptoms – body aches, fatigue, brain fog, maybe a fever, maybe not. Lyme disease is noted for causing migrating symptoms – for example – one day your knee aches and the next


Partial List of Lyme Disease Symptoms Headache Burning or stabbing sensations; shooting pains Joint pain, swelling; stiffness of joints or back Muscle pain or cramps Neck stiffness, pain; neck creaks or cracks Ches pain; rib soreness Sore throat; swollen glands Upset stomach or abdominal pain Shortness of breath; cough Change in bowel function Bladder dysfuction; irratable bladder Testicular pain; pelvic pain Unexplained breast pain Unexplained milk production Numbness; tingling; tremor

Facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy) Twitching of the face or other muscles Skin hypersensitivity Fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina Unavoidable need to sit or lie down Unexplained fevers, sweats, chills or flushing Unexplained menstrual irregularity Unexplained weight loss or gain Unexplained hair loss Eyes: double, blurry, vision loss, floaters, light sensitivity Ears: hearing loss, buzzing, ringing, pain, sound sensitivity Pulse skips; cardiac impairment Heart block; heart murmur Heart palpitations; heart valve prolapse Sleep: disturbed; too much; too little; frequent or early waking

Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido Mood swings; depression; irritability Forgetfulness; poor short-term memory Difficulty thinking; confusion; poor attention Problem absorbing new information Difficulty with speech, writing Difficutly with concentration and reading Difficulty finding words; name blocking Disorientation; getting lost, going to wrong places Light-headedness; poor balance Vertigo, wooziness Increased motion sickness Exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol

you have a headache, and two days later you may have digestive problems. (See partial list of symptoms in Symptoms box.) Physicians who suspect Lyme disease may order a blood test called an ELISA, which detects antibodies against the bacteria. This test is highly inaccurate, delivering a correct result only about 50% of the time. (False negatives are very prevalent. False positives are very rare.) Unfortunately, too many physicians assume this test is reliable, and your insurance company may take the results as confirmation that you don’t have Lyme disease. A subsequent test often ordered, the Western blot, is also highly inaccurate, though somewhat better than the ELISA. Physicians must make a clinical diagnosis by reviewing all the symptoms and patient history to make an educated judgment, with or without blood tests.

may be requested after the fact. An even more accurate genomic-based test is expected to be available in 2018.

with Cure Unknown by Pamela Weintraub, Macmillan Press), but for most people, the critical issue at hand is simple: what should you do to prevent tick bites and what should you do (and not do) if you get bitten.

Because symptoms can be so varied, Lyme disease is misdiagnosed as other diseases at an alarming rate. (See Misdiagnoses box.) Patients who are misdiagnosed are often put on powerful medicines they don’t need for conditions they don’t have while their Lyme disease goes untreated and gets progressively worse. It is important for physicians to fully understand the broad range of possible Lyme symptoms and consider Lyme disease early in the differential diagnosis process. (See Symptom List in box.) The good news is that better tests are on the horizon. A more accurate urine test by Ceres Nanoscience is now available ( nanotrap-lyme-test), but few physicians seem to be aware of it. Insurance companies may not directly cover this test, but reimbursement 56  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

The absence of accurate diagnostic tests, paired with strongly held medical misconceptions about what Lyme disease is and is not, has

If you are a newcomer to the subject of Lyme disease, the Lyme Action Network has created a detailed flyer, Learn the Facts, to help you understand the disease, issues relating to diagnosis and treatment, and your options as a patient to enable you to become a well-informed advocate for yourself and your family. The flyer in pdf form can be downloaded at

resulted in an epic bifurcation of medical philosophies and a dangerous landscape for patients. Enough has been written elsewhere about this topic to provide anyone who’s interested with fascinating and welldocumented historical insights (starting

Check out the actual size of a Deer Tick

Common Misdiagnoses Autism Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Colitis Crohn’s disease Early ALS Early Alzheimers disease Encephalitis Fibromyalgia Fifth’s disease Gastro-esophageal Reflux disease

Infectious Arthritis Interstitial Cystitis Irritable Bowel Syndrome Juvenile Arthritis Lupus Méniéres Syndrome Multiple Sclerosis Osteoarthritis Prostatitis Psoriatic Arthritis

Psychiatric disorders (bipolar, depression, etc.) Raynaud’s Syndrome Reactive Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis Scleroderma Sjogren’s Syndrome Sleep disorders Thyroid disease & Various other illnesses

Important tips to remember that can help you to better care for yourself and your family include: 1. Lyme disease isn’t the only illness you can get from a tick bite. With a single bite, ticks can transmit a variety of serious illnesses. In the northeast U.S. ticks also transmit Babesia, Bartonella, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Powhassan virus, and other types of Borrelia that can cause symptoms that are “Lyme-like” in their presentation. Be aware that the ELISA test for Lyme disease does not detect any of these other infections. There are at least twenty-one recognized pathogens passed through tick bites. Additional tick-borne pathogens are discovered annually. This is an evolving and dynamic science. 2. Ticks can transmit diseases in minutes. It is not safe to assume that you are not at risk if a tick was attached for fewer than 24 hours. Unfortunately, this misinformation is routinely repeated by many health departments and amplified by the media. If a tick has been attached for any length of time, you are at risk of contracting a disease. 3. If you find a tick attached to your skin, REMOVE IT IMMEDIATELY, AND SAVE IT! You can put the tick in a zip-lock bag, and send it for analysis. In a short time, you will have a report indicating which pathogens were carried in the tick, and what infections you may have contracted. The tick will be used for research to track ticks and the diseases they carry. For a FREE analysis, download the submission information from:

For a fee-based test form:

4. To remove the tick, use a “Tick-Twister”

to “twirl” the tick out or fine-tip tweezers (or similar device) to pull the tick straight up. Do not squeeze the tick, as you risk squeezing the contents of the tick into your skin. Do not stress the tick by burning it or coating it with Vaseline, alcohol, or any other substance, as this will cause the tick to regurgitate the contents of its gut into your skin.

5. If your tick is confirmed positive for Lyme disease or any of the co-infections, bring your report to your doctor and request to be treated in accordance with the Treatment Guidelines posted on the National Guideline Clearinghouse (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

6. If you develop a bulls-eye rash (called erythema migrans or EM), this is an established indicator confirming Lyme disease, according to CDC standards. Even if you are confirmed for Lyme disease due to the presence of the rash, you should still send the tick to the testing facility to determine if the tick carried any other pathogens. 7. If you are unable to send the tick for analysis, the big question is whether to treat the patient with an antibiotic, or not. It is important for you to know that as a patient, you have the RIGHT to participate in decisions pertaining to your (or your children’s) medical care. Here are two circumstances that might confront you:   a) One standard of care says to “wait and watch” to see if a “bulls-eye” appears. Since the majority of people who contract Lyme disease DO NOT develop the signature rash, this may not be the best approach.   b) Some doctors recommend a single dose of doxycycline at the time of a tick bite believing it to be an effective “prophylactic” treatment to prevent Lyme disease. There is no scientific evidence to support this practice. There is evidence, however, that suggests this approach simply prevents the hallmark rash from occurring, further diminishing the probability that you would get an accurate diagnosis.

8. If you or your child has been bitten, ask for the Ceres Urine test to help confirm infection and discuss the risks and benefits of starting a full course of antibiotics with your doctor. ( 9. If you have not seen a tick, but have symptoms listed on the symptom list, you will need to work with your doctor or find a doctor who is willing to work with you. Ask for the Ceres Nanotrap Urine Test in place of or as an adjunct to the routine ELISA/ Western blot tests. Ask to be tested for the possible coinfections – Babesia microtii and Babesia duncanii, Anaplasma, Erlichia, and Bartonella. Labs that are CLIA certified and licensed in New York State include Igenex and Clongen. You may have to pay up front for testing from these labs, but you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement of your out-of-pocket costs.

personally access the publication online, print it, and take it with you to your doctor. Access the guidelines at this link: Remember, as a patient, you have the RIGHT TO INFORMED CONSENT. You and your doctor should be fully informed about all available treatment options. You have the right to participate in the decisions regarding how you want to approach your treatment. For more extensive information, please refer to

Prevention Tips

• • • • • • • •

• •

Wear light colored clothing so that you can see the ticks. Wear long sleeves. Tuck pant legs into socks. Spray your outdoor clothing with permetherin, which kills ticks on contract. Never spray it on skin. Store these clothes in plastic bags in the garage for your next outing. Use insect repellent. Spray it on outdoors. Wash off when you come in. Repellents with at least 20% DEET seem to be the most effective. Use according to directions. Natural repellents, like rose geranium oil and citrus oil, can also be effective, but not as effective as DEET. Do frequent “tick checks” for adults, children and pets. Throw your clothing into the dryer for 5-10 minutes when coming indoors. Heat kills ticks.

the Lyme Action Network’s “Learn the Facts” flyer: For more extensive information, please refer to the Lyme Action Network’s “Learn the Facts” flyer:

10. If you are diagnosed with Lyme disease, you should know there is more than one standard of care for treatment of the disease. Your physician may not be aware that updated evidence-based, peer-reviewed and published guidelines are available. You can SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 57


Vein Care

What You Should Know About Venous Insufficiency and How You Can Treat it David Hindson, MD is an interventional radiologist with Millennium Medical Imaging at Saratoga Hospital and is the medical director of the Varicose Vein Program at Saratoga Hospital.


aura Gibbins had been suffering in silence from a feeling of heaviness, cramping, severe fatigue in her legs and numbness in her feet for nearly three years. The longtime staff member at Saratoga Hospital didn’t realize that she was suffering from a “real” medical problem.

Then, when she suffered a fall on the stairs, she hit a vein in her leg that was already enlarged and her symptoms worsened. Laura did not have the large, ropy and bulging blue veins on her legs that are the hallmark of varicose veins; so, she did not realize until she went to her doctor that she was suffering from venous insufficiency. She knew she had to do something about it, but she was uncomfortable being treated in her GP’s office. Luckily for Laura, Saratoga Hospital had begun an employee screening around the same time she was having her problem. The screening is part of the new Varicose Vein Program at Saratoga Hospital, and its goal is to identify and treat people suffering from varicose veins and venous insufficiency. The screening and treatment are now available to the public. WHAT IS VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY? Dr. David Hindson, MD, is an interventional radiologist who heads up the new program, and I recently had a chance to speak with him and learn more about venous insufficiency, as well as effective and minimally invasive procedures available to treat varicose veins. Dr. Hindson explained that our veins contain valves that maintain blood flow in one direction, back to the heart. Venous insufficiency and varicose veins are caused by a breakdown in a vein’s ability to return blood to the heart, resulting in blood flowing downward towards the ankles and a “pooling” of the blood in the veins. “Think of a valve as an upside-down parachute and imagine the blood collecting in it,” he explained. When a valve breakdown occurs, patients begin to experience the kinds of symptoms that Laura was living with daily. If left untreated, further symptoms may develop. Thick, bulging blue veins that we 58  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

Written by Maureen Werther

all know as varicose veins are the most commonly known visual attribute of the condition. Over time, the skin may become itchy, cracked and sensitive. It may also become thickened and eventually develop sores and ulcers. Naturally, this condition, if left untreated can have a serious negative impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to participate in normal everyday activities the rest of us may take for granted. In Laura’s case, she would come home at the end of the day and collapse into a nearby chair, fatigued by the ongoing pain and discomfort in her legs. Even the idea of going for a short walk with her husband seemed too difficult to attempt. WHO SUFFERS FROM VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY? Dr. Hindson explained that there are several predisposing factors that raise a person’s risk of developing venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including age, obesity, prolonged standing, family history, multiple pregnancies and being female. However, he added that patients must also have “sensory” symptoms – like the ones Laura suffered with for years – as well as “visual” symptoms, for insurance to cover surgical treatments. He also noted that there is no way to predict if a spider vein – those feathery little veins on our legs that so many find unsightly – are a result of venous disease. “Varicose veins are the manifestation of the underlying venous insufficiency,” he added. SCREENING AND TREATMENT “Ultrasound screening is the gold standard for evaluating venous insufficiency,” said Hindson. For years, the treatment for varicose veins involved a procedure known as “stripping.” Multiple incisions would be made and the vein would be pulled out of the leg. “The theory was that, by destroying the damaged vein, it would drive the blood back to the deep vein and back to the heart,” said Dr. Hindson.

He even let me pick the music in the treatment room on the day of the procedure

While the theory is correct, today’s treatment is far less invasive and traumatic than stripping. The interventional radiologist inserts a tiny catheter into the vein, which is then “fed” to the top of the vein. Once the catheter is inserted, lidocaine is injected to anesthetize the vein and reduce any discomfort. The catheter is then heated, using radio frequency, to 120 degrees, causing the vein to collapse around it and die. In essence, the vein is cauterized and destroyed. “The entire procedure is done through a small incision and patients leave the hospital the same day,” said Hindson. INSURANCE Most insurance companies will cover the procedure if the patient has “medically relevant” symptoms, including the ones mentioned earlier. The ultrasound provides definitive proof that the valves in the veins are not pumping blood in the right direction and are causing the pooling and resultant pain, swelling, discomfort and fatigue. “Even then, some insurance companies will require that a patient undergo a three-month period of using other measures, such as compression stockings, NSAIDs, rest and elevation of the legs,” said Hindson. If the other treatments fail to reduce symptoms, then in most cases, the surgery will be covered by insurance. POST TREATMENT RESULTS Laura could not be happier with the treatment and the expert care she received at the hands of Dr. Hindson and the rest of the team. “Dr. Hindson was wonderful. He really took the time to explain the condition and the treatment to me,” she said. In fact, she described her experience with the entire team in the interventional radiology department as supportive, attentive and caring. “He even let me pick the music in the treatment room on the day of the procedure,” she laughed. Laura is one of those rare people on whom local anesthesia does not work, something which made her very hesitant to have any type of procedure. When she explained this to Dr. Hindson, he offered “conscious sedation,” which is like the sedation one might receive during a dental procedure. For Laura, it was the perfect solution. Laura remained comfortable throughout the procedure and was shopping the next day. Now, just three months later, she is taking those walks with her husband on a regular basis. In fact, she logs about three and a half miles per walk. She is no longer too fatigued at the end of the day to do anything, but fall onto the couch. And she just returned from visiting her daughter, who is a triathlete, in Washington DC. While she was there, she accompanied her daughter on two different six-mile training walks. Her symptoms have completely disappeared and she calls it “life-changing.” To schedule a consultation, call (518) 580-2455. A referral from your primary care provider may be required. SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 59



What is a Chemical Peel and what can it do for me? WRITTEN BY Denise Dubois PHOTOS Provided


he phrase “SKIN PEEL” can be pretty scary, especially when we think of that Sex in The City episode where Samantha is forced into hiding behind a black veil because of her red, peeling face—the after effects of a peel gone bad. Today, the approach to this skin treatment is more persistent than aggressive, resulting in minimal downtime and no need to hide.

The reality is that chemical exfoliation is an effective treatment for creating beautiful skin anywhere on the body, including your face, hands, neck, chest, back and arms. It removes dead skin cells, reduces uneven pigmentation, increases hydration, diminishes large pores and softens the appearance of fine lines and rough texture— which is why we recommend it.


Our skin’s surface, known as the stratum corneum, naturally renews itself approximately every 28 days by replacing dead cells on the surface. This process slows over time as we age, and is further slowed by environmental damage. Chemical exfoliation is performed using a variety of solutions which all work by loosening the dead layer of skin, and causing it to shed. This controlled “injury” stimulates cells to produce more collagen and elastin, restoring skin texture, improving tone and evening out color. But to get the most out of a professional peel, a thorough consultation should be performed. Your goals and what you have done to take care of your skin to date can affect the outcome of your treatment and you should always share that information. A visual evaluation along with the use of imaging and a woods lamp also helps to ensure the

success of your treatment program. Furthermore, a supportive home skin care regime should be used to prep your skin for 10-14 days before your first treatment. We’ll also usually do a patch test during the consultation to test for skin sensitivity. Proper after care following your treatment will further enhance your results in the same way that having peels can improve product penetration. Most skin types can benefit from a chemical exfoliation treatment, with the exclusion of individuals using Accutane, those who have used Retin A within 5 days, or women who are pregnant or lactating. Those with active sun exposure or people who frequently use tanning beds, waxing services, have had recent injectables and anyone with compromised surface conditions such as eczema, scratches, wounds, cold sores and/or inflammation should consult a professional before seeking treatment. The Fitzpatrick Scale is a classification used to determine the amount of melanin in the skin and guides the esthetician in choosing the best peel options for the desired outcome. It deserves mentioning that there are many diverse types of exfoliating/peeling agents ranging from fruit acid enzymes such as papaya which decomposes dead skin, to commonly used acids like Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy Acids which include lactic, glycolic, mandelic and salicylic acid. Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA), and Jessner solutions are also an option. Solutions can be blended together creating custom formulas and often include tyrosinase inhibitors which decrease pigment. All peels come in varying potency and PH which either increases or decreases penetration and irritation. Some are left on while others are removed after the desired length of time. Dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are manual exfoliation methods which can be performed alone or in

conjunction with a chemical peel. They can increase penetration of a peeling solution by removing two to three layers of skin before the application of the peeling agent. The decision to have a deeper peel is always based on the amount of damage. Professional estheticians perform light to medium depth peels, but deeper peels which can reach the underlying dermal layer should only be performed by a doctor. It isn’t always the best option to go deeper and consistent light-to-medium depth peels can be just as effective if done regularly with the appropriate solution, so always keep that in mind. Working with an experienced esthetician is incredibly important, although consistency and commitment are just as vital when it comes to getting the best results. We recommend having a series of at least six peels performed regularly, every two-to-three weeks, depending on skin condition. As you proceed through your program, your provider will evaluate, consult and customize your solution, reflecting the results you’re achieving. But remember, you have a part to play, too—by committing to proper home care every day, twice a day, you maximize the impact of each peel. Once a series of six treatments are completed, maintenance should be done approximately every four-to-sixweeks and can be achieved by incorporating fruit enzymes into facial treatments for long-lasting results. You’ll experience minimal irritation with virtually no downtime, and your skin will look more radiant, luminous and less likely to show signs of discoloration. It will also be healthier and younger-looking. Call today for a clinical consultation and get the results you've been looking for! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 61

Unlocking the

Mystery of the Saratoga Gnosis Center Written and Photographed by Megin Potter Patrick and Judy Donovan

Ayears ago, many still wonder, “What is lthough it was founded more than 25

the Saratoga Gnosis Center?”

Patrick and Judy Donovan, directors of the center since 2001, are happy to answer this, while also helping you find answers to life’s bigger questions, as well.

“I had these really deep questions that needed answers. The idea of having a way back to my source that was practical, doable, and gave a real sense of satisfaction to a curious mind,” said Patrick about what first attracted him to study gnosis. Judy, who travelled the world for spiritual enlightenment, said that for her, gnosis practices help to answer the overarching, “Why?”

After an initial operation to remove a tumor, he knew it was time to take serious action. “I thought, I have to become involved here and do something. I did a lot of research, ate anti-cancer foods, and really accelerated my practice of meditation, using Nordic runes, Tarot, astrology… This is my energy. How can I use my energy? What is lacking?’ he asked. Married for 30 years, Judy, a trained clinical aromatherapist and reflexologist, was frustrated by the limitations of conventional medicine and the negative outlook expressed by her husband’s physicians.

“We, and other people, are walking around life and don’t understand; ‘Why is this happening?’ and ‘Why is this happening to me?’” she said.

“They didn’t know the healing component that we had; a foundation of trust in the goodness of the universe,” she said.

Through a curriculum of 35 free classes, the non-profit center encourages students to meditate on the truth within astrological, physical, emotional, and mystical traditions.

“The final way we learn is through experience. We feel it in the body, mind, emotions – we feel it on a cellular level. We know it’s the truth because for it to be the answer, it has to be constantly verified,” said Patrick.

“We believe that the truth exists inside of us and is revealed. We have a respect for all that’s gone before, and what is drawn from all those traditions. It does take work, consistency of practice, and continuity of purpose. We’re not studying just one facet of knowledge here,” said Patrick. Honing their skills over the years and at intensive secluded retreats, they use the knowledge regularly in their everyday lives. “I work in property management, herding contractors and subcontractors. Sometimes I feel like the top of my head is going to blow off because it comes so fast, but this clears away the confusion and makes it so there’s not a crazy confrontation,” said Patrick.


The biggest challenge for the couple came when Patrick was diagnosed with bladder cancer four years ago.

Within four months, Patrick’s cancer was gone.

Students from the Saratoga Gnosis Center have gone on to become teachers of it across the country. Judy summed it perfectly… “They change gradually and they become sanctified. They become clearer in words, thoughts, deeds, better employees, mothers, sisters, husbands, wives. We become better because our true nature is coming forth, and we have extraordinary practices that dissolve the ego.” Find them on Facebook by searching, Saratoga Gnosis Center.

How to Live to 100

Written by Megan Harrington Photo Provided


aula (Hamilton) Griffith was born on July 29, 1914 in South Glens Falls (the day after World War I began for all you history buffs!). She was the valedictorian of her high school class and studied music at Fredonia College in Western New York. Academically, Paula was far ahead of her time; in the mid-20th century, less than 5 percent of American women held college degrees. It’s no doubt that this intellectual curiosity helped Paula’s mind stay sharp.

Get out and about. Paula still does her own shopping once a week and loves to go out to dinner. She has many favorite restaurants in Saratoga Springs including the Olde Bryan Inn. When she was a bit younger, Paula was an avid traveler and explored the United States and Canada with the Cambridge Valley Seniors group.

Cherish family. Paula wed Watcyn in 1939 and was married for 34 years before her husband’s passing. Together, they had 2 children, 8 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. Paula enjoys spending time with her loved ones and says, “I’ve been very fortunate. I don’t know what I would have done without my family all these years.”

Paula will turn 103 this summer and is still living independently. We recently sat down with her to get some tips on how to become a centenarian. If you want to reach the triple digits, follow Paula’s lead: •

Practice clean living. Paula has never been a drinker or a smoker and she says, “I’ll eat just about anything in moderation.”

But don’t forget to treat yourself! Paula eats three square meals a day, but she always saves room for a little dessert. She admits, “I love cakes, pies, and cookies, especially!”

Keep yourself occupied. Declining eyesight has made it a challenge recently, but Paula has always kept busy with sewing, reading, and crossword puzzles.

Have a passion. Paula turned her love of music into a career. She taught private music lessons for many years, played the organ at the First Baptist Church in Cambridge, and was an active member of the Glens Falls Operetta Club. She’s also a big Yankees baseball fan and never misses a game on television.

Make time for exercise. Paula has always loved dancing and these days she enjoys walking when the weather is nice. When the temperature warms up, she’ll be taking laps around the Wesley Community grounds! SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 63

after her death in 2009, the chapter continued to grow. Now, they have more than 220 members with 250 therapy dogs and cover 12 counties. Last year, they participated in more than 50 community sponsored programs including fairs, parades, and awareness building events, and completed more than 4,800 visits.

WHEN YOU’RE WEAK, I’LL BE STRONG One of the most memorable visits for Reksc with another one of her certified therapy dogs, a Shih Tzu named Kumi, was to an assisted living facility the day after a gentleman lost his wife of more than 65 years. Ben, Cody, Kumi



Many of us enjoy our dogs at home, but hundreds of area residents are also taking their pets out into the community to visit with those who can benefit from their special blend of healing.

feelings of depression. Therapy dogs are invited to visit a variety of facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, Hospice, adult living, and day centers, rehabilitation, psychiatric, and residential centers, domestic violence facilities and women’s shelters, schools and colleges, and even into Albany airport for anxious travelers, and into private homes, among others.

These dogs are of all breeds and sizes, some have pedigrees and some have “It’s hard to explain. Animals have their been adopted. Although each is unique, own temperament and intuition – it still they all have the ability not only to surprises me how in-tune to people’s brighten someone’s day, but to form a needs they are,” said Reksc. It was her friendship that will never be forgotten. Shih Tzu Cody that first inspired her to become a therapy dog owner 11 “He said, ‘I’ll remember him forever in years ago. As a speech pathologist, my heart’,” said Patty Reksc, Director for Reksc witnessed first-hand the positive the Schenectady Chapter of Therapy impact Cody had on people. Dogs International, referring to a comment from a child, who also told her, visiting with the therapy dogs was the best day of his life.

I JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU LOVE It’s easy to underestimate the importance of an animal’s attention, but to those who are struggling, its continuing significance is priceless. Studies have shown that holding or petting an animal can lower a person’s blood pressure, improve social skills, reduce stress, and 64  |  HEALTHY SARATOGA | SPRING 2017

“Sometimes it can be tough, but the majority of the time it can be very rewarding and you do get a smile from them, even with the challenges. I definitely enjoy it and the dogs are really amazing.” Recognizing the role that dogs play in a person’s health and well-being, Elaine Smith founded Therapy Dogs International in 1976. The Schenectady Chapter began in May 1991 under the direction and guidance of Ann Kaczkowski. Even

“It was like she knew exactly what was going on. He held her for so long and she sat there for so long, it was like she knew he needed her,” said Reksc. When a student was killed after being struck by a car just outside of the Skidmore College campus on October 31, 2015, a group of 40 therapy dogs were brought within days to help bring comfort to a community suffering from the unexpected tragedy. “You could see the difference it made,” said Reksc. It is common for therapy dogs to bring up strong emotions during a visit. Tears, excited shouts, and exuberant gestures are all commonplace, but when even the smallest sentence is uttered from a mute child or an adult that is otherwise withdrawn, it is truly miraculous. “Sometimes when we visit a school, a child reads aloud to a dog and that’s the only time their teacher would ever hear them talk,” said Reksc. She experiences a lot of gratitude from children that she has visited. “If they didn’t work with the therapy dogs in school, where would they have ended up?” Reksc wonders.

I’ll remember him “forever in my heart

” 1

I’M JUST ONE CALL AWAY At doggie daycare, Lois Hammond’s Golden Retriever Bailey just sat by the door. “He never played with the other dogs, he just wanted to be with the people,” said Hammond. That’s when she decided to get him certified as a therapy dog. The same night he got his certification, they visited a woman with Alzheimer’s who kept instructing him to sit despite the fact that he was already sitting. That’s when the confused woman suddenly slapped Bailey across the face.


“She never moved a muscle. That said to the rest of us, ‘She’ll be a good therapy dog’,” said Hammond. When walking another of her dogs, Addie, who resembles Bailey in looks and temperament, Hammond passed by a contractor working outdoors. “Hi, Bailey!” he called out. It was a student from Argyle Central School who was in junior high when Hammond and Bailey had visited, more than seven years ago. “It just amazed me, and it showed me what an impact we had,” said Hammond.

It isn’t necessary to take expensive classes to have your dog become a therapy dog. Any dog with a good temperament can become certified. Therapy Dogs International is a volunteer group. There is no fee associated with any of the therapy dog visits. For more information go to To contact Chapter Director Patty Reksc visit their Facebook page (Schenectady Chapter of Therapy Dogs International). To contact Glens Falls Chapter Director Lois Hammond email


Meet our therapy dogs!

She is now the director of the new Therapy Dogs International Glens Falls Chapter. Formed in just the past year to serve more people in Warren and Washington Counties, they visit Saratoga County residents, as well. Through word-of-mouth, the chapter has already attracted 30 members, but there’s no limit to the number of new members that can join, said Hammond.





1. Oliver 2. Merlin 3. Ike 4. Lady 5. Tucker

6. Oliver 7. Onyx 8. Baci 9. Aslan 10. Sage




Saratoga's Gift to Oprah By Artist Raj Kang,

Painter of the True Inner Person Written by Maureen Werther, Photo by Andrew Ranalli


or artist, scholar and palmist Raj Kang, depicting the true inner meaning of a person’s being through art has been a lifelong passion and pursuit. Raj doesn’t remember a time when art did not hold a place of primary importance in her life.

As both an artist and scholar, Raj was not a big consumer of television and, amazingly, she did not hear of Oprah Winfrey until 2006. But when she did, it made a lasting impression on her. It was right around the time that Oprah announced the opening of her school for girls, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in South Africa. Raj grew up with a mother who had been impacted by the dowry system in India, and a father who was a social revolutionary. Both of her parents understood the value of education, particularly for girls in their society. Raj’s father was one of the first people in his country to work for the abolition of the caste system, as well as equal rights for women. Soon after hearing about Oprah’s school in South Africa, Raj had a vivid dream about the celebrity, whom she never met. In the dream, Raj saw Oprah dressed in a red sari, appearing in a dual role as both the Goddess Lakshmi and the Goddess Saraswati. Lakshmi represents abundance and, in the dream, Raj saw gold coins cascading from one of Oprah’s hands. In the other hand was a book, representing knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment, which epitomizes Saraswati. She knew she had to paint her vision. Raj worked on the painting intermittently for about five months, with the dream of donating the completed portrait to the Leadership Academy. It never happened.


Many years passed. Raj had a son who moved to Saratoga and she began dividing her time between here and the home that she and her family had made for themselves in California. Throughout the intervening years, Raj continued creating art and pursuing her study of palmistry as a path to understanding human beings without the trappings of their superficial outer shells. This past year, Raj decided to spend more than the usual month or two in Saratoga and she made plans to stay through the summer. She heard that one of Oprah’s students from Africa would be graduating this May from Skidmore College and she decided it would be a wonderful time to finally give the painting to Oprah for her school. Raj shared her dream and the story of the resultant painting of Oprah with many people in the community. “So many people from wellness groups within the community came together and said that we should give the painting to Oprah as a gift from the people of Saratoga,” said Raj. She added that, “We don’t want to make this commercial. It’s just going to come from the heart.” Raj and her friends have attempted to reach out to Oprah but, so far, they have been unsuccessful. They have also considered other ways of donating the painting, perhaps by having it on the stage on the day of graduation. Or they may try to have it hanging in the Tang Gallery during Oprah’s visit. Raj is content that it will all work out the way it is intended to. She knows that her painting of Oprah depicts the celebrity’s true inner beauty and she is committed to continuing to reach people’s hearts and “painting what they look like on the inside and who they really are.” SPRING 2017 | HEALTHY SARATOGA  | 67

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Healthy Saratoga Spring 2017  

Saratoga's premier health and wellness magazine.

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