Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shall we fast? Not so fast!

By Paz Etcheverry, Ph.D.

Detox is a shortened version of the word "detoxification”, which means the elimination of toxins from our bodies. While detoxification happens on a regular basis, detox diets, plans, kits, and programs have become very popular as a means to assist our ‘detox’ organs (mainly the liver, kidneys, and intestines) in getting rid of these nasty, entrapped toxins. The goal of a detox diet, if performed correctly, is to get the body back to a healthful, fresh state, that is balanced and minus the toxins.

However, some individuals believe that prolonged and/or unsupervised fasting is a suitable and healthy method to detox and lose weight at the same time. Oh no!!! Not so fast!!! Prolonged (i.e., for more than two days) and/or unsupervised fasting can contribute to an imbalance in our normal detoxification system. Prolonged fasting depletes our bodies from nutrients that are required by our detox organs to work effectively and efficiently. For example, the liver, our main detox organ requires vitamin C, vitamin E, amino acids, and sulfur-containing compounds (found in garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage), and the intestine requires dietary fiber to eliminate the toxins. Additionally, during normal detoxification, the liver cells produce free radicals. If we do not supply our body with antioxidants (vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, and polyphenols), we could have significant oxidative damage.

A weekly fast of 2436 hours (i.e., a day to a day and half) is an ideal health maintenance and detox measure. This type of food restriction has been shown to contribute to significant health benefits. Best results, in the long run, are when you fast on water only or on water with fresh lemon. If your blood sugar levels plummet, you can add a little honey or maple syrup to the lemon, or you can use freshly made fruit and/or vegetable juices or and herb teas. Juices are preferably freshly made, but if this is not possible then glass-bottled, unpasteurized, unfiltered is a good second. Pregnant and lactating women and children should not fast. Individuals with certain diseases/disorders should first consult their doctors.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Title:               Kaplan University Transforming Students
Byline:            From academics to entrepreneurs!
Author:            Dorette Nysewander, EdD, “DrD”

In 2009 an inspiring entrepreneur returns to college after many years away from academia to pursue the dream of owning her health and wellness business. In her own words, “while terrified about the unknown task ahead”, she was met by a professor for her first two classes that encouraged the thought process… Students, "It's never too late to be what you might have been" by George Eliot. Later she learned that George Eliot was actually a woman named Mary Ann Evans! The professor’s classroom manner, style of teaching and structure provided the foundation to press forward in completing Kaplan undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Who is this entrepreneur? It is my pleasure to present the accomplishments of Bobbie Covington Stokes, MSHE. In August 2014 Ms. Stokes completed a Master of Science in Health Education. With degree in hand she set out to name and register her S-CORP woman-owned small business, Your Health and Wellness Company, Inc. The organization’s mission is community health. In February 2015 the doors opened to service chronically ill and obese clients. Ms. Stokes wrote the program using the information learned in her Kaplan graduate program. The 3-step program implements health education, nutrition counseling and health related physical activity. Through this process the impact in five months of operation has been high retention rates and multiple success stories.

Business is location, location, location and Your Health and Wellness Company is perfectly positioned to care for the target population of underserved and indigent clientele. The facility has classrooms for health education, nutritional counseling and floor space with weights, cardiovascular machines and stretching areas for the physical activity or exercise programs. Local independent internal medicine physicians and one Carolina’s Medical Center physician refer their patients to the center. Ms. Stokes and colleagues are in the credentialing phase for Medicaid, Medicare, bidding on opportunities in Federal Business Opportunities and, in addition to working with other insurance companies and joining the local Chamber of Commerce.

Recognizing that there are not a multitude of ICD-9 Codes for prevention, wellness, and intervention services, as learned through Kaplan University the solution for business and social challenges are networking and research. Part of her process has been to network with the Small Business Administration, local politicians within the center's district and utilize the services of an independent public relations specialist. Through research she has identified for future exploration ABC Codes [codes for health and wellness reimbursement] and becoming a part of the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System or NPI Number. This allows the connectivity between working as a woman-owned business supporting patients of internal medicine physicians and receiving reimbursement from insurance companies.   

Hope you have enjoyed reading about the successful path that Ms. Stokes has taken from academics to entrepreneurs and learned from her professional savvy. Encourage you to reach out to her if you have an interest in this area or continue reading about her organization:

Your Health and Wellness Company, Inc.
2920 N. Tryon St Suite 212
Charlotte, NC 28206
(704) 604-3089
Keeping you well is our goal!

Title:               A New Direction for Wellness
Byline:            Where we live and work!
Author:            Dorette Nysewander, EdD, “DrD”

For thousands of years [wellness] has been a staple within communities of people if they choose to participate. Whether during the era of Hippocrates “Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food” or today’s practice of prevention, tools for making healthy lifestyle choices have been available. Thankfully sanitation and public health initiatives continue to provide all populations with basic needs for care. So do you want to know what the new direction for wellness is? It is called the Wellness Amenity Program Standard! This enables built environments to be readily self-assessed against a baseline of evidence-based criteria that defines health promotion.

May 13, 2010 Martha Johnson, Administrator, General Services Administration (GSA) signed the Prospectus Number: PHW-2011 Alteration Wellness and Fitness Program Various Building. From then until now projects in Federal buildings are being identified with new workplace standards, integrating mobility strategies and streamlining portfolios by consolidating at a higher workplace density. Operating costs are being reduced by embracing sustainable, high performing design and systems. To address the limits of public sector budgets, governments will increasingly be partnering with private-sector developers, facility managers, and other providers to deploy state-of-the-art workplace requirements.

As wellness focuses on the dimensions of the total person, the WELL Building Standards continues the continuum of care by using evidence based building materials and designs to support individuals living and working 90% of their lives within structured environments. These seven areas include:
We have all been encouraged to “Go Green”, however these standards take health and wellness to another level of living. Genzler, a well-known architecture firm is currently supporting the Health Human Services Agency HRSA, Rockville, Maryland by building a modern, sustainable office buildings that are cost-efficient, utilizing the latest technologies while meeting security, sustainability and workplace design. Look at the wellness innovations of Gensler’s designs!1

What are some differences? Air: Achieve purification of indoor air quality with strategies to remove airborne contaminants. Water: Optimize water filtration and treatment quality while promoting accessibility. Nourishment: Encourage healthy eating habits with food choices, behavioral cues and nutrient quality. Light: Minimize disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm through design, light output, lighting controls and task-appropriate illumination levels to improve energy, mood and productivity. Fitness: Utilize building design technologies and knowledge-based strategies to encourage physical activity with numerous opportunities for exertion in meeting daily fitness regimens. Comfort: Create an indoor environment that is distraction-free, productive, and soothing with solutions that include design standards of thermal and acoustic controllability of comfort. Mind: Support mental and emotional health through environmental design elements, relaxation spaces, and state-of-the-art technology2.

What this means to you? As a student of health and wellness there are multiple entry points into the field. If you have a background of interest in architecture this could define another direction for a career in wellness. As individuals living and working indoors, technology is continuing to ramp up standards to support our health… this is just one more!

1Gensler. (2015). Top trends shaping design. pg. 23. Retrieved from
2International Well Building Institute. (2015). Well building standard. Retrieved from  
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

     Yes, it is the middle of summer, but I love soup all year round!  One of my husband’s favorite is Squash and Sweet Potato Soup.  His mom said she never saw him eat either vegetable growing up, so she was shocked that this soup was well liked at our house.  Sweet potatoes are packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C.  Squash are loaded with vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium.

Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

1 butternut or 2 acorn squash
6 medium size sweet potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
1-32 ounce can of chicken broth
1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon yellow curry
Salt and Pepper to taste

     Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Wash all the vegetables.  Prick the sweet potatoes several times and lay on a cookie sheet.  Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, prick with a fork several times, and lay open side up on a cookie sheet. Bake both the squash and sweet potatoes for 45 minutes at 400 degrees or until fork tender.  Let cool.
While the squash and sweet potatoes are cooking, dice and sauté the yellow onion in olive oil until tender.  Add mince garlic and yellow curry to the onions, and cook until the garlic is tender.
Next, scoop out the insides of the squash and potato in a blender, leaving the skins behind. Fill the blender about ¾ full with squash and potatoes then add chicken broth until it covers them.  Continue this process until all is blended.  Add this mixture to the onions, curry, and garlic and heat until bubbling.  Finally, add salt and pepper to taste.

Written by:  Angela Ask MPS

Monday, July 27, 2015


Title:                    Mindsets…
Byline:                 Fixed or growth!
Author:               Dorette Nysewander, EdD, “DrD”

Educators are sometimes perplexed with students and their levels of achievement. Behaviors related to this sentiment include: [1] the student who rejects the opportunity to attempt new or different tasks [2] the student’s inability to reflect on a current reading when there is no definitive answer, or [3] the student that has no fear and presses forward no matter the academic challenge. So why the differences in these behaviors? Author Carol Dweck provides an explanation in her book Mindset: A New Psychology of Success.

Dr. Dweck discusses to types of learners those with a fixed or positive mindset. The fixed mindset is believing that qualities of intelligence, personality and certain moral character are carved in stone and cannot be changed. Whereas, the growth mindset is believing that basic qualities are things that can be cultivated through efforts. Individuals change and grow through application and experience.

For a quick assessment read each statement on intelligence and identify what applies to you:
1.      Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.
2.      You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.
3.      No matter how much intelligence you have you can always change it quite a bit.
4.      You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.

By reading each statement which do agree with more? Did you lean more towards 1 and 2 or 3 and 4? Were you a mixture? As you have probably assessed 1 and 2 suggest a fixed mindset whereas 3 and 4 target a growth mindset. Sometimes is it does depend on the belief? For example try reading the same statements above and substitute the beliefs of artistic talent, sports ability and business skill for intelligence. Any difference?

In exploring mindsets further think through the educational experiences that you have had. Were you praised for intelligence and ability or praised for your efforts? Comments from parents, teachers or coaches could be “You learned so quickly”! “You’re so smart”! You’re so brilliant you got an A without even studying!” These messages of praise are sincere and genuine however the impact on the student can have these results. “If I don’t learn something quickly, I‘m not smart”! I’d better quit studying or they won’t think I’m brilliant.  

Some of the best professors I have had always praised effort. One particularly would say “I will take a hard C performance over an easy A every time”! What he didn’t convey was that the student giving their best C effort was working through their level of ability towards a growth mindset and this should be praised. As a reflection on accomplishments from education to leadership some President’s, innovators, authors, and artists have all given their best C effort in school and look at the impact each has had on our society.

Take the full assessment or read this book. You might find other techniques and tools to use with students or answers to perplexing behaviors.

Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.

Google. (2015). Clip art. Retrieved from

Monday, July 20, 2015

Regulations on caffeine use

By: Jeanette Andrade PhD, RDN, LDN

I’m not going to lie, I love having a cup or 2 or 3 or even more cups of coffee on a daily basis. Even if it is hot outside and hot inside, I will have a cup. In fact my in-laws live in Ecuador where we really do not use the fans or air conditioning at all, so it is about 80 degrees or so in the house. I still have a nice, piping hot cup of coffee in the morning and at night. I tell my students it’s not because I crave caffeine as there have been many times when I do not have caffeine and feel fine. I think I just like the taste of coffee. What is the point of these few sentences? Well, there are new regulations out about the use of caffeine in products. Certainly coffee naturally has caffeine, so these regulations are more for the products that synthetically add caffeine to products such as the energy drinks or even the refined caffeine powders to add into protein supplements or a glass of water to give one that boost of energy. It surprises me that people overuse caffeine on a daily basis and so because of this regulations need to be out there. Now having 4 or more cups of coffee on certain days, yes, I am a guilty over user of caffeine, but I am talking about those who have 2 or more of the energy drinks on a daily basis.
A student once told me she would take at least 2, 5-hour energy drinks throughout the day as she needed to get through her day (i.e. working 2 part-time jobs and school). I asked her if consuming those drinks cause her issues. She said many times she gets jittery, so feels like the caffeine works. I asked her why she doesn’t use natural caffeine products for that boost and she told me she doesn’t get those odd side effects and cannot stay up late, so feels like those natural products don’t work for her. The good thing was she was telling me this as the reports started to come in about banning certain caffeine products due to the terrible side effects (e.g. death). I explained this to her and she said she would use caution and limit her use, but there she was each Monday night drinking a 5 hour energy drink in my classroom!
Now you are likely wondering, “well I do the same thing with caffeine- consuming it from natural sources or from synthetic sources and heard that it is ok in limited amounts.” The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has provided their scientific opinion in regards to the safe consumption of caffeine from all types of caffeinated products. The particular working group, EFSA dietetic, nutrition, and allergies reported that adults can consume 200 mg or 3 mg/kgBW on a daily basis. The tolerable limit is up to 400 mg/kgBW on a daily basis. Pregnant, lactating adult females, and children should not consume more than 200 mg/kgBW on a daily basis. For those who work out less than 2 hours per day, 200 mg of caffeine during that workout time does not appear to cause any harm (EFSA, 2015). What does 200 or 400 mg of caffeine actually look like in portion sizes? Well, here is a list of products and their caffeine amounts:

Starbucks 12 ounce coffee = 260 mg
Brewed 8 ounce herbal tea = 0 mg
Regular 12 ounce can of soda = ~ 35 mg
5-hour energy shot = 208 mg
9 Hershey kisses = 9 mg
Caffeine powder (1/16 tsp) = 200 mg (Center for Science in Public Interest, 2014)

If you would like a complete list of products that contain caffeine, please visit:

Does this mean now you cannot enjoy your caffeine? No, like any food substance, you need to moderate your amount. So go and enjoy your cup of coffee.

Center for Science in Public Interest (2014). Caffeine Content of Food & Drugs. Retrieved from

European Food Safety Authority (2015). Scientific Opinion on the Safety of Caffeine. Retrieved from
Friday, July 17, 2015

Wow! That little guy packs a powerful punch...

By: Jeanette Andrade, PhD, RDN, LDN

The kiwi. Yes, that little, tiny, tart green fruit that makes wonderful key lime pies. So, why talk about this little guy? Well:
1)      because during this time of year I get bombarded with key lime recipes and
2)      because there is so much more to a key lime than making a wonderful pie
If anyone lives in Florida you know key lime trees are very popular, but did you know that key limes originated in Southeast Asia and parts of India? (Moore, 2001) Key limes were introduced into the U.S. by Spanish and Portuguese explores in the 1800s (Ziegler & Wolfe, 1961).
As with other citrus fruits, key limes are packed with vitamins A and C, which are also considered antioxidants. Thus, the consumption of key limes may potentially reduce certain chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

Aside from those delicious key lime pies and bars, what else can you make with key limes? Well, you can make a wonderful key limeade or squeeze fresh key lime juice on top of cooked fish or chicken for an extra zest. Or how about a key lime avocado dip? Does this one sound tantalizing? If so, then check out the recipe below from Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice (Suzuki, 2014):

  • 2 large ripe avocados, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili pepper
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sweet red onion, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Mash avocadoes well and add all other ingredients. Should be chunky. Chill well for several hours before serving with tortilla chips.

Moore, G.A. 2001. Oranges and lemons: clues to the taxonomy of Citrus from molecular markers. Trends in Genetics, 17: 536-540.

Suzuki, R. (2014). Key lime avocado dip. Kellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice. Retrieved from

Ziegler, L.W. and H.S. Wolfe. 1961. Citrus growing in Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Fla. P. 51-53.

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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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