Focus On Health - March 23, 2023

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Mather Hospital recognized nationally for exceptional patient experience

Mather Hospital has earned the Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ for a third consecutive year (2021-2023) and is among the Top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for patient experience for the second year in a row (2022-2023).

The Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ recognizes hospitals that provide an overall outstanding patient experience and is based on ten measures related to doctor and nurse communication, hospital cleanliness and noise levels, and medication and post-discharge care instructions. The award is based on data collected from surveys of the hospital’s own patients.

“It is our goal at Mather to continually evaluate and improve every aspect of our patients’ experience from the moment they walk through our doors,” said Executive Director Kevin McGeachy. “This applies not only to the outstanding clinical care they receive but everything from the quality of the food to the cleanliness of their rooms. I am

proud of our entire team for this recognition for the third consecutive year.”

Patient experience is the sum of all interactions, shaped by a healthcare organization’s culture, that influence patients’ perceptions across the continuum of care. The survey used by Healthgrades is the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems (HCAHPS) survey (2021).

The HCAHPS survey asks respondents to rate various areas of hospital care based on if the measured action took place, and if so, how frequently the patient perceived the measured action to take place. In this way, HCAHPS seeks to measure how often key behaviors occur rather than how well hospitals perform those behaviors.

Healthgrades also named Mather Hospital one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals for 2023. This achievement places Mather Hospital in the top five percent of hospitals nationwide for overall clinical performance across the most common conditions and procedures.

Mather Hospital also received Healthgrades’ 2023 America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Gastrointestinal Surgery Award™, the 2023 Gastrointestinal Care Excellence Award™, the 2023 Gastrointestinal Surgery Excellence Award™, and the 2023 Critical Care Excellence Award™. Mather Hospital also received the Pulmonary Care Excellence Award™ for an eighth consecutive year (2016-2023) and the Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award™ for a fifth year in a row (2019-2023).

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Medical Massage for PAIN RELIEF & RELAXATION Experience pain relief now pays for medical massage 136210 Test your knowledge of the common cold ................ 4 Kids can set the pace for longterm health ................. 5 What to do after being diagnosed with high BP ..... 5 Cover story: Interested in joining a gym?.................... 6 Wellness word search ......................................................... 6 Five sleep habits essential for heart health ................. 7 Designing your garden for better mental health ..... 8 Bad eating habits to avoid ................................................ 8 Staying healthy at your desk ..........................................10 Tips to jump start your weight loss post pandemic .... 11 Recipes: Eat the Rainbow ................................................13 The basics of meditation ..................................................14 Simple tips to boost well-being .................................... 15 INSIDE
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Test your knowledge of the common cold

Sniffles, cough, sore throat ... these can be symptoms of any number of conditions, but are often a byproduct of the common cold.

Colds are the result of more than 200 different viruses, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Adults experience an average of two to three colds per year, and rhinoviruses cause most of them. Despite what people may believe, colds are not exclusive to the cold weather months and early spring. Although a person is more likely to catch a cold during the winter, it's still possible to get a cold in the summer.

The American Lung Association states that colds are minor infections of the nose and throat. Despite typically producing only mild illness, colds account for more visits to the doctor than any other condition in the United States. People will experience many colds in their lifetimes, and this true or false quiz can test their knowledge about them.

1. Colds are highly contagious.

True: Colds most often spread when droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus are transferred by touch or inhaled.

2. Antibiotics are a known remedy for a cold.

False: Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, while colds are viral. That means antibiotics will be ineffective at helping a person recover from a cold.

3. Colds are sometimes serious for people.

True: People with weakened immune systems, asthma or conditions that affect the lungs and breathing passages may develop serious conditions, even pneumonia, from colds that linger.

4. Cold weather or being chilled causes colds.

False: While many colds occur during seasons when the weather is cold, transmission is likely higher then due to people staying indoors, and thus closer to one another, when temperatures dip. But the cold air itself has nothing to do with the cold.

5. Rhinoviruses that cause colds also can trigger asthma attacks.

True: These rhinoviruses also have been linked to sinus and ear infections.

6. Colds can’t be caught from shaking hands.

False: Colds can be transferred through touch, including shaking hands. It’s recommended to wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

7. You feed a cold and starve a fever.

False: Harvard Medical School says there is no need to eat more or less than usual if you have a cold or flu. However it is important to increase fluid intake to avoid dehydration. Fluids also help keep the lining of the nose and throat from drying out.

8. Vitamin C, zinc, eucalyptus, garlic, and others are not proven cold remedies.

True: Various herbs, minerals and other products have gained a reputation as cold remedies but there are no scientific studies that support such assertions.

9. One should avoid caffeine or alcohol while experiencing a cold.

True: Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages can lead to dehydration, which is the opposite of what the body needs to recover.•

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Kids can set the pace for longterm health

Long-term health is not something that many young people routinely consider. After all, it’s easy to feel invincible during one’s childhood and adolescence. But the steps that young people take early on can affect their health as they get older.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, establishing healthy behaviors during childhood and adolescence is more beneficial to long-term health than trying to change poor behaviors in adulthood. The following are some ways young people can set the course for healthy outcomes throughout life.

Prioritize healthy foods

According to the childhood recreation group Mountain Kids, habits and actions performed subconsciously are hard to break because repeat habits trigger dopamine in the brain, causing pleasurable feelings that reinforce the behavior. So grabbing a slice of cake after school for a snack becomes rote. Instead, stocking the refrigerator and pantry with sliced fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt, lean protein like hummus and whole wheat dipping crackers can set the course for more responsible eating behaviors.

Eat meals and shop together

Kids can learn what healthy eating and portion control looks like if it is modeled by their parents. Children should be

involved with reading nutrition labels and understanding the ingredients that comprise the foods they commonly eat. When dining out, choose restaurants that utilize menus that indicate the caloric content of meals. Children will learn to recognize and embrace nutritious foods and that can continue into adulthood.

Eating as a family also benefits mental health. Stanford Children’s Health says eating together as a family can encourage children’s confidence in themselves and improve communication. Children who regularly converse and interact with their parents may be less likely to engage in substance abuse or act out at school.

The CDC says 21 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19 are obese, and two in five students have a chronic health condition.

Avoid tobacco

Tobacco and nicotine vaping products can contribute to many negative health conditions. Youngsters who avoid these products throughout their lives may improve longevity and reduce their risk for various illnesses.

Increase physical activity

The CDC says 21 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 19 are obese, and two in five students have a chronic health condition. A sedentary lifestyle may be one contributor to these statistics. At home and in school, adults can encourage physical activity as an effective means to prevent obesity.

The Department of Health and Human Service recommends that children and adolescents age six and older get at least one hour a day of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, such as running or biking. Muscleand bone-strengthening activities also are recommended.

Children who learn early on to appreciate physical activity reap long-term benefits that extend well into adulthood.•

What to do after being diagnosed with high blood pressure

Hypertension, a condition marked by abnormally high blood pressure, is more common than many people may recognize. A 2021 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated that nearly half of adults in the United States, or roughly 116 million people, have hypertension. And the World Health Organization notes that the number of people living with the condition has doubled to 1.28 billion since 1990.

Despite its prevalence, hypertension is not normal, nor is it something to take lightly. In fact, the American Heart Association notes that, if left undetected or uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to an assortment of serious, and potentially deadly, conditions, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease.

Since the threat posed by high blood pressure is so significant, it’s imperative that individuals know what to do upon being diagnosed with hypertension. The AHA notes that individuals diagnosed with hypertension can try various strategies to get their number down to a normal, healthy range.

• Eat a healthy, low-salt diet. A diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils ensures people are getting ample nutrition from healthy sources. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is designed specifically to help people manage their blood pressure and emphasizes limiting salt, red meat and foods with added sugars, including sweets and sugary beverages. It’s important that all people, and especially those with high blood pressure, limit their salt intake, as sodium is known to increase blood pressure.

• Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. The AHA notes that excessive alcohol consumption can raise blood pressure. In addition, despite what popular misconceptions may suggest, there is no evidence to suggest that red wine consumption is good for heart health. Like other alcoholic beverages, red wine should be consumed in moderation, if at all. Individuals should limit their alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day for men and no one more than one drink per day for women.

• Exercise regularly. Routine exercise benefits the heart in myriad ways, including helping people control high blood pressure. Individuals recently diagnosed with high blood pressure who are unaccustomed to physical activity should work with their physicians and a personal trainer to design an exercise regimen that’s within their abilities. As their bodies get used to increased physical activity, people can then work with the same individuals to tweak their routines so they can keep making progress toward their fitness goals. Routine exercise also helps to reduce stress, which the AHA notes is another step people with hypertension should take to lower their blood pressure.

• Shed extra weight. Each of the aforementioned strategies can help people shed extra weight, which is another step the AHA recommends for people with high blood pressure. The AHA notes that losing as few as 10 pounds can help to manage high blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight also reduces strain on the heart, thus lowering the risk for high blood pressure and the conditions that can arise from it. •



Interested in joining a gym?

Consider these 5 steps first

You know staying active is important, especially as you age, so you're considering signing up for a local gym. If you've put off joining a gym for this reason, here's what you need to know to feel comfortable and confident. Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle at every age, but it is particularly important for seniors. Why? Sharlyn Green, a national trainer with SilverSneakers, says it goes beyond physical wellness.

"Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, boost your memory and decrease the risk for some diseases such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease," she said. "It can help you stay independent and able to keep doing the things you enjoy. It's time to bust the misconception that gyms are only for younger people and fitness enthusiasts. Gyms are for everyone, no matter their age or abilities."

To help everyone feel comfortable and confident as a new gym member, Green recommends these steps:

Step 1: Get a tour

Have someone who works for the gym show you where everything is. Don't expect to understand immediately what it all does or how to use it. You're simply establishing baseline knowledge so you can build your experience from there. Remember, don't be afraid to ask questions during or after your tour. Employees at a good gym will take an inclusive approach and be happy to help you by clarifying information or guiding you appropriately.

Step 2: Request a training program

People new to gyms typically get the best results from a personalized program created by a trainer. Print out the program for reference and to record what you do - which machines, how much weight, how many times you lift, etc.

Another option: For those who want a hybrid approach of working out at home or in a gym environment, participate in live, instructor-led and on-demand virtual classes and use the SilverSneakers® GO mobile app to get workout programs you can tailor to your fitness level and track your progress. There you can access live options for people who want a hybrid approach of working out at home or in a gym.



Get to know the exercises

It's important to know where the equipment you need is and how to use it. Work with a trainer if you have questions. This person can guide you on proper techniques so you get the most out of your workouts and prevent accidents. Understanding the equipment and gym etiquette is important

for your safety and others'. For example, you don't want to unintentionally walk into someone's workout space and cause them to trip, fall or drop heavy weights.

Step 4: Learn how to adjust machines

Understanding the purpose of a machine is the first step, then you need to know how to adjust it to fit your needs. Depending on your height, weight, fitness level and goals, you may need to adjust certain machines every time you use them. When in doubt, ask. It's better to pause and use a machine correctly than go forward and risk hurting yourself or others. A trainer or gym employee can help you, so don't be shy.

Step 5: Know how much weight or resistance to use

A good trainer will guide you in finding the appropriate weight or resistance for each exercise and share that information in your program. Use this as a foundation and adjust as needed, keeping in mind that as you progress, you'll likely make changes to continue your health journey.

Again, if something isn't clear, ask. It's always better to start easier and adjust up rather than start too difficult and risk hurting yourself.

"The machines and different spaces at the gym can be a great asset for seniors who want to focus on their well-being," said Green. "Remember to create a well-rounded workout routine that includes stretching, strength training and cardio to help improve flexibility, muscle mass, heart health and much more."

SilverSneakers offers a broad range of physical activity, mental enrichment and social engagement opportunities in 2023. Members can go to thousands of fitness locations across the nation, plus take group exercise classes designed for seniors and led by supportive instructors. To learn more or check eligibility, visit•

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Five sleep habits essential for heart health

In the days following a time change due to daylight saving time, research shows a marked increase in heart attacks and strokes. However, losing sleep anytime can be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

"Getting a good night's sleep every night is vital to cardiovascular health," said Donald

attack and stroke, lack of sleep may also put people at risk for depression, cognitive decline and obesity.

Consider these five small changes in daily habits that can make a big difference in sleep quality:

Make healthy living a habit: Eat a balanced diet, get regular physical activity and manage stress to support a healthier night's sleep.

Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA, past volunteer president of the American Heart Association and chair of the department of preventive medicine, the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research and professor of preventive medicine, medicine and pediatrics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

"Adults should aim for an average of 7-9 hours and babies and kids need more depending on their age. Unfortunately, we know as many as 1 in 3 people do not get their recommended amount of sleep each night," he said.

According to Lloyd-Jones, the amount of sleep and quality of sleep are important, and both can have significant impacts on cardiovascular health, as well as overall health. In addition to increasing risk for cardiovascular conditions like heart

Research in the Journal of the American Heart Association shows maintaining a consistent sleep pattern may play an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease. Researchers found falling asleep at different times or sleeping an inconsistent number of hours each night, even variations of more than two hours a night within the same week, were tied to developing hardened arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

"We know people who get adequate sleep manage other health factors better as well, such as weight, blood sugar and blood pressure," Lloyd-Jones said. "The American Heart Association recently added sleep to the list of factors that support optimal cardiovascular health. We call these Life's Essential 8 and they include eating a healthy diet, not smoking or vaping, being physically active and getting adequate sleep, along with controlling your blood pressure and maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and lipids, healthy blood sugar levels and a healthy weight."

Set the alarm for morning and night: Stick to specific times to go to bed and wake up each day and commit to a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible. Along with a wake-up alarm, try a bedtime alarm to indicate it's time to start winding down.

Establish bedtime habits: Once your bedtime alarm goes off, move into a familiar ritual, like brushing your teeth, washing your face or taking a warm bath.

Relax and unwind: Take a few minutes to destress. Consider reading, journaling, meditating or listening to music to ease into a good night's rest. Take a technology break: A bedroom free of light and technology equates to better sleep, so keep your phone and other devices away from the bed. Try logging off your electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.•

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Designing your garden for better mental health

Spring is an exciting time for gardeners. It’s an uplifting and inspiring time of year, a period of new beginnings and growth.

Gardening is not only a means for beautifying outdoor spaces and growing delicious foods. According to those who spend significant time in the yard, getting outside can also support your well-being.

Landscape architect Doug Scott of Redeem Your Ground recently shared his insights on gardening and mental health.


Active Benefits: Gardening exercises the body and clears the mind. Studies show that increased outdoor exposure leads to fewer long-term health problems, helping improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength, and dexterity — all leading to better mental health. Simply planting, growing, harvesting and maintaining plants gives you a direct emotional boost. Why? Gardening helps foster nurturing instincts and restores a sense of hope and purpose, ultimately improving self-esteem.

Passive benefits: Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry. Scientific evidence proves that just being in nature has positive impacts on stress levels and brain chemistry. It can also lower blood pressure, increase concentration and improve mood. What’s more, being outdoors offers a deeper sense of belonging and a new sense of purpose outside the daily grind.

Bad eating habits to avoid

Experts confirm what we already know: We’re eating badly, and we’re eating too much. The U.S. in general does poorly in these rankings, and some states typically do worse than others, as well. Taken together, the numbers seem to paint a grim portrait. But we can turn these poor showings around, with one personal choice at a time. They really do start to add up over time.


The diet of a typical American is often weighted toward unhealthy choices. We get more than the recommended daily limits on calories derived from added sugars, refined grains and solid fats. These diets also exceed recommended levels of sodium and saturated fat. Often times, the problem is simply the result of dietary choices. We don’t eat enough fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the nationwide obesity rate has doubled since 1990.


Average daily intake keeps rising, by hundreds of calories, even as we produce a surplus of available food for consumption. Often times, the extra calories are derived from very familiar places: fast-food restaurants. These franchises have more than doubled since the 1970s. The problem is made worse by an over-reliance on processed and packaged foods, coupled with sugary drinks. They’re more often consumed by those from so-called “food deserts,” where millions of Americans — including their vulnerable children — live too far away to regularly shop at a supermarket.


Sodium intake continues to be a huge issue in America, with many adults consuming more than 1,000 milligrams a day above the federal guidelines. Total fat intake has also skyrocketed, doubling since 1980. Blame often goes to soda, dairy and grain desserts, pizza and fried foods, but there aren’t always


Scott advises designing your garden to reflect how you want to live outside. He typically builds “rooms” connected by meandering paths for resting, unwinding and feeling restored. However, your outdoor spaces don’t always need to be quiet. They can encourage activity as well. If you enjoy company, create gathering spaces. Or, if you

have hobbies that can be done outdoors like exercising, painting or writing, you can set aside areas for them.

Finally, Scott recommends designing your garden to awaken your five senses. Here’s how:

Sight: Choose calming colors, or those that bring you joy. The simple sight of a breathtaking array of plants or an arrangement of favorite flowers is bound to give your mental health a boost.

Taste: Growing your own food will provide you with an incredibly rewarding harvest. Not only will you be able to enhance meals with the fruits of your labor, you’ll get the personal satisfaction of a job well done.

Hearing: Among the plants and flowers, add fixtures, such as wind chimes and water features, that’ll produce soothing sounds. And with the new habitat you’ve created, you’ll enjoy bird songs, too!

Touch: From the light, feathery textures of petals to the rough surfaces of bark or bush stems, touch offers a deeper sense of connection to nature.

Smell: You may already use aromatherapy indoors. Take this concept outside by growing fragrant flowers and herbs, so you can literally “stop to smell the roses.”

By gardening, your mental health will be better off for it. Just be sure to start small, simple and stress-free.•

convenient choices to eat healthier. That’s led to a focus on correcting food deserts, and in addressing the growing number of families who suffer from food insecurity.

In the meantime, West Virginia (38.1%), Mississippi (37.3%), and Oklahoma (36.5%)

had the highest obesity rates, while the least obese places were led by Colorado (22.6%) the District of Columbia (23%) and Hawaii (23.8%), according to the CDC. Even though Coloradoans fare best, those numbers are those numbers are still up 7.6% since 1990.•

Doug Scott
Even small, measurable changes can make a big difference

Getting a high-quality ultrasound, echocardiogram or x-ray is often a necessary protocol for a healthcare provider to determine a medical diagnosis. But visiting a traditional brick-and-mortar radiology office can often prove time-consuming and difficult for many patients. Especially those who may have transportation or mobility issues, memory loss, PTSD, debilitating symptoms or are just too busy during normal office hours.

That’s why Marlo Suazo, owner and CEO of Mas Imaging Portable Radiology, established a service that would bring hospital-quality services to the patient instead. “I wanted to do something that could improve people’s lives and save time in their day without compromising quality radiology,” he says

The service provides hospital-quality x-rays, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, EKG/pacemaker checks and doppler studies to patients in the comfort of their own home or care facility. Appointments are available 24/7, 365 days a year, and reports are made available in less than 24 hours so that necessary treatment can begin without delay.

“We have been working with Marlo and his company for over two years,” Dani Laino, Executive Director at Somerset Gardens Senior Living states, “Mas Imaging Portable Radiology is always at our front door when needed to same day, and they consistently provide great safety and sanitation. Our residents really enjoy the energy of their workers.”

Staying healthy at your desk


Sedentary lifestyles can lead to a variety of worrisome health outcomes, including diabetes, mobility issues and obesity. Sometimes, your busy work schedule plays a role. We can become so engrossed in what we do at our workstations that we never get up and move around. Some are so busy that they don’t even leave for lunch, eating right at their desks. Break the cycle by getting healthier while you work. Bring a few coworkers along as you make these important lifestyle changes. Like other office projects, it’ll be easier if you work together as a team.


Desk jobs, jobs where we remain seated, and other positions that require us to remain at a workstation keep us from moving around on a regular basis. Even those who hit the gym a few times a week still find themselves in a static position for hours on end. That can tip the balance, even with a committed exercise routine. Then there are those who are so committed to work that they don’t feel they have the time for anything else other than rushing home.

Unfortunately, those who sit for lengthy periods of time are at greater risk for bone, joint and posture problems. Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are some of the conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles. Lower energy levels can hamper mental alertness, directly impacting your work.

Beginners may find that developing a solid plan involves weeks or months as you slowly incorporate more and more physical activity into your routine. In some cases, you may have to get very creative in order to incorporate regular movement into your busy schedule.

Start by adding “passive” exercise into your work life: Park further away from the building or, if possible, bike or walk to work. Take the stairs, rather than hopping on the elevator. Get up and walk over to a coworkers desk to discuss a project instead of simply emailing.

These small changes can have a big health impact — and you’ll be building endurance and strength. Next, incorporate regular exercise time, at home or at the gym. This may need to be immediately before or after work hours — or later in the evening, after other obligations at home have been dealt with. Some people even convert a portion of their lunch break.•

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Five tips to jump start your weight loss post-pandemic

With spring finally here, new survey results suggest that 2023 will finally be the year that Americans bring their health back into focus.

According to a recent poll of 2,000 U.S. adults aged 30 and above commissioned by Nutrisystem and conducted by OnePoll, two in three Americans credit the past two years with teaching them how important their health really is. And 71% believe the pandemic has taught them to be more observant of their health. The poll also revealed that two-thirds of Americans said weight loss is a “top health goal” for them over the next year.

However, for many, losing weight can seem like a difficult task. The truth of the matter is it doesn’t have to be. Courtney McCormick, corporate dietitian at Nutrisystem, offers the following tips to help you take that step toward a healthier you.

Keep healthy food in sight

Having healthy food at arm’s reach can make losing weight easier. A Cornell study found that women who kept a bowl of fruit where they could see it weighed an average of 13 pounds less than those who didn’t. Plans like Nutrisystem deliver healthy, portioncontrolled options right to your door, making it even simpler to make good choices.

Drink more water

What’s not to love about water? It’s hydrating and keeps your body healthy. Water aids digestive health, regulates body temperature and even aids in losing weight and

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Give yourself a bedtime

Children aren’t the only ones who need a bedtime! Adults need a set bedtime as well to be productive the next day. Setting a certain bedtime and sticking to it will also help your body get the rest that it needs to burn stubborn fat. “Not having a good night’s rest can lead to craving sugar and fatty foods, which can also lead to weight gain,” says McCormick.

Work out in 10-minute sets

If you’re short on time or have back-toback meetings, working out in intervals of 10 minutes three times a day creates more flexibility in your busy schedule. Doing this creates long-term healthy habits that will help you lose and maintain weight.

Forgive a slip-up

Mistakes can actually help you understand what is healthy for your body. Having a slipup allows you to consider the progress you’re making in your weight loss journey and be able to hold yourself accountable when making future healthy decisions.

maintaining the weight loss. This is because water helps you stay full between meals and avoid unnecessary snacking. In fact, feeling hungry is often a sign that you’re actually thirsty and it’s time to get hydrated.

There is no better time than now to focus on your overall health and wellness goals. When you are geared with the tools to succeed, living a healthier lifestyle is easily achievable.•

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As you grow older, you don’t want to worry about how your family will manage your end-of-life plans.

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Focusing your menus on healthconscious recipes that look as good as they make you feel is key to making positive lifestyle changes. Adding big flavors that satisfy cravings to easy, go-to recipes can be a big step toward reaching health goals throughout the year.

"Eating the rainbow" refers to adding fruits and veggies of varying colors to your diet, such as red tomatoes and beets, green cucumbers and avocados, orange carrots and pumpkins and beyond. Complementing fresh produce with the nutritional benefits of tuna and salmon — like heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D and potassium — can take your meal planning one step further.

Whether you're commemorating a special occasion, hosting a gathering of

friends and family or simply enjoying a night in, good food shouldn't mean ditching good eating habits.

Try these Salmon Chili Bites for a quick and delicious snack option. They can easily be doubled, tripled or more for a party appetizer. Feature the recipe with a "rainbow" of veggies, crackers, meats and cheeses on a charcuterie board for a crowd favorite that can satisfy guests with big, bold flavor.

Ditch boring salads and find joy in food while maintaining healthy eating goals by upping your salad game. Say goodbye to bland, boring greens and enjoy salads with your favorite toppings, like a colorful combination of protein-packed tuna and fiber-rich veggies in this Mediterranean Tuna Salad, which is completed with a bright dressing and topped with feta cheese and parsley.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

PREP TIME: 20 minutes

YIELD: Makes 1 to 2 servings



• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


• 1 can (5 ounces) Chicken of the Sea Chunk

Light Tuna, drained

• 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

• 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives

Salmon Chili Bites

PREP TIME: 15 minutes

YIELD: Makes 2 servings


• 2 pouches (2.5 ounces each) Chicken of the Sea Low Sodium Wild-Caught Alaska Pink Salmon

• 1 tablespoon chili crisp

• 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

• 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

• 2 bell peppers, cored and cut into 2-inch squares

• 1 green onion, thinly sliced

• minced cilantro

• black sesame seeds

• 1 cup chopped English cucumber (about 1/2 cucumber)

• 1/4 cup feta cheese

• 1 tablespoon minced parsley

• pita chips (optional)

• crackers (optional)


To make dressing: In large bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil and oregano.

To make salad: In dressing bowl, add tuna, tomatoes, olives and cucumber. Gently toss to cover salad with dressing then top with feta and parsley.

Serve with pita chips or crackers, if desired.


In bowl, combine salmon, chili crisp, vinegar and sesame oil.

To serve, top each bell pepper square with some salmon, green onion, cilantro and sesame seeds. If leftover pieces of bell pepper remain, chop and add as additional garnish.

Note: If serving with cheese plate, place salmon mixture in small bowl and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

Salmon Chili Bites Recipes courtesy of Chicken of the Sea Mediterranean Tuna Salad

The basics of meditation

7 steps for beginners

Mantra meditation is another form of the practice in which individuals silently repeat a calming word, thought or phrase. The repetition is designed to block out distractions.

Taking steps to safeguard mental health is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that mental health affects how individuals think and feel, the choices they make, and how they relate to others, which underscores just how important it is to prioritize mental health.

Meditation is a popular practice with a history so lengthy it may surprise even its most devoted practitioners. According to Psychology Today, some archaeologists trace the origins of meditation all the way back to 5,000 BCE. The global spread of the practice is believed to have started around the fifth or sixth century BCD, when trading along Eurasia’s famed Silk Road exposed the practice to various cultures.

The lengthy history of meditation is proof that the practice is no mere fad. In fact, people from all walks of life have much to gain from meditation. Novices can start their meditation journeys with this basic rundown of a practice that has inspired devotees for thousands of years.

What is meditation?

The Mayo Clinic notes that meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine that intends to produce a tranquil, relaxed state of mind. When practicing meditation, individuals focus their attention and aspire to remove potentially stress-inducing, jumbled thoughts from their mind. Are

there different ways to meditate?

The Mayo Clinic reports that there are three ways to meditate. Guided meditation is a popular form of the practice in which individuals form mental images of places or situations they find relaxing. Guided meditation practitioners employ their senses of smell, sight, sound, and touch during a session, which may be led by a guide or teacher.

Mindfulness meditation is a popular form of the practice that emphasizes awareness, or mindfulness, and acceptance of living in the moment. The Mayo Clinic notes that individuals practicing mindfulness meditation will focus on what they experience during meditation, such as the flow of their breath, as they attempt to observe their thoughts and emotions.

How do I meditate?

Mindful Communications, which offers corporate training, practical advice and other insights regarding mindfulness and meditation, notes that meditation is both simpler and more complex than most people think. But the following seven-step prospectus can serve as a useful foundation for meditation novices.

1. Take a seat. Individuals are urged to find a calm, quiet place to sit.

2. Set a time limit. A short session between five and 10 minutes can help novices.

3. Notice your body. Individuals should be stable and sit in a position they can maintain for a while.

4. Feel your breath. As you breath in and out, make an effort to feel the sensation of your breath.

5. Notice if your mind wanders. It’s likely that your mind will wander to other places during your sessions. Pay attention to when it does and then refocus your attention to your breathing.

6. Don’t judge yourself. Wandering thoughts during meditation are not deserving of scorn. When the mind wanders, simply return to meditating without obsessing over the thoughts that came into your head when your mind wandered off.

7. Close with kindness. As your session draws to a close, gently lift your gaze and take a moment to notice your surrounding environment, how your body feels and your thoughts and emotions.

Meditation can pay numerous dividends. More information about meditation can be found at•

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LET'S GET HEALTHY: Simple tips to boost well-being

Age may just be a number but healthy habits, including eating wholesome food, regular exercise and getting enough sleep should be part of every person’s daily routine, no matter how young or old they are.

Successfully integrating healthy activities into your lifestyle requires making these choices a habit. Fad diets, for example, may initially help take off weight, but ultimately fail to help a person maintain weight loss as they are unsustainable in daily life. With exercise as well, it’s important to create a sustainable habit with an exercise program you enjoy.

Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease and diabetes, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Adults who sit less and engage in any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity will gain some health benefits.

Weight-bearing activities like lifting weights and yoga can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength, which is particularly important for older adults who experience reduced muscle mass and muscle strength with aging. Weightbearing exercises are also beneficial to bone health, particularly for women.

Walking may be the most perfect means of exercise for people of all ages. You can do it just about anywhere, whenever you have the time. You can do it alone or with a friend, family member or family pet, with no equipment needed beyond a decent pair of walking shoes or sneakers.

Walking is easy on the joints, promotes weight loss, doesn’t require training or a membership and is appropriate for any level. The cherry on top? It costs nothing. Many people choose to walk indoors on a treadmill or at their local shopping mall, but if you walk outside, you’ll get the additional benefit



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Johness Kuisel


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of fresh air. Talk about a low calorie lunch hour! What’s stopping you?

For those of us who can’t be as active, another key element of overall health that should not be neglected is regular socialization. Connecting with people feeds our emotional health and reduces stress. If that socialization session includes some good laughs, that’s a bonus.

Did you know that social laughing has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, much like physical exercise, to lighten your mood and reduce stress?

Laughing also invites more oxygen into your system, another health benefit. If you google, “laughter yoga,” you’ll find a great variety of online yoga classes that focus on the power of laughter to invigorate and relax participants. It may sound funny, but it works.

At Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan retirement community, our current favorite group exercise is cardio drumming. We place a stability ball in a bucket (or other secure platform). That ball then acts as a drum for each participant. Our drummers, who

either stand or sit behind their drum, are led through a variety of drumming patterns, alternating drumsticks with maracas or tambourines and singing along for a whole body and brain workout. As part over our overall wellness program at Jefferson’s Ferry, we also offer other activities for all fitness levels and interests including dance, yoga, swimming, and tai chi. Bridge, book and film discussion groups and various crafting groups also thrive on the Jefferson’s Ferry campus.

As Long Islanders, we’re fortunate to have access to a variety of low cost fitness and other classes including cultural, craft, creative, educational and discussion programs through our libraries, school districts, senior centers and YMCA locations.

What are you waiting for? Spring is here! Recruit your family and friends to join you and get up and get out there.

Joanne Lehmann, LPN, is the Health and Wellness Program Manager and Katherine Fallon is the Life Enrichment Program Manager at Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community in South Setauket.

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Times Beacon Record Newspapers are published every Thursday.

Address: P.O. Box 707, Setauket, NY 11733; telephone: 631-751-7744; email address: desk@tbrnewsmedia. com; fax: 631-751-4165; website: Entire contents copyright 2023.

Joanne Lehmann, LPN Katherine Fallon