Monday, November 30, 2015

Now that Thanksgiving is over...

Renee Gosselin, MS MBA RD
Nutritional Instructor 
Now that Thanksgiving is over, there maybe some of us wondering what are some of the fun ideas to burn off some of those extra calories that we possibly may have eaten.
Here is a list that outlines some exercises or activities that burn calories
Based on a 150# female
Sleeping     55 calories
Housework, moderate  65 and more calories
Walking 3 miles per hour 280 calories
Gardening   350 calories
Water Aerobics   400 calories
Rowing 550 calories
Dancing 260 calories
Tennis 350 calories
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Time of Reflection

What does Thanksgiving Day means to you? Is it all about the food, spending time with those whom you haven’t seen for a while, watching the football games and so forth? I’ve come to realize the Day of Thanksgiving should be much more meaningful than that. It should be a time of reflection in giving thanks and to be appreciative of the things that we have. However, there is another part to the word of thanksgiving which is “giving”. All of us can find ways to give back to those in need. It can come in the form of volunteering your time, sharing a skill, showing more kindness and etc. As you sit down with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day, let it be both a moment to be thankful while finding ways to give.

From My Family to Yours,

Written by
Dr. Shantel Anderson BA, MA, DHEd 

Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the children, you might want to check out this amazing and simple dessert!

§  1 roll (16.5 oz.) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies OR 1 package (16 oz.) Pillsbury Ready to Bake! Refrigerated sugar cookies (24 cookies)
§  1 container (16 oz.) chocolate creamy frosting
§  Candy corn
§  Orange decorating icing
§  Miniature candy-coated chocolate baking bits

Step 1:
Bake cookies as directed on roll or package. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Step 2:
Spoon chocolate frosting into 1-quart Ziploc Brand Storage bag; seal bag. Cut off tiny bottom corner of bag. On each cookie, pipe frosting on outer edge of half of cookie. Arrange candy corn over frosting for feathers.

Step 3:
Pipe orange icing onto each cookie to resemble turkey face and feet. Use orange icing to attach baking bits to turkey face for eyes. Pipe black gel on baking bits for centers of eyes.

Good eats!


Dr. Shantel Anderson BA, MA, DHEd 
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Handling Holiday Stress

 Handling Holiday Stress

Well, it’s that time of the year again to where we are hustling and bustling in preparation for the holiday season. Although it should be regarded as a joyous time of the year by which we are spending time with our family and friends, it can lead to what is called “holiday stress”. Holiday stress is when a person becomes overwhelmed with the seasonal activities such as shopping, cooking, attending parties and so forth. According to studies that have been conducted over the years, the average person will experience more stress during this time of the year than any other time. Don’t fret- help is on the way! =) There are things that we can do to handle holiday stress so we can have a joyous time during the holidays such as the following:

v  Plan ahead and prioritize according to importance.
v  Set a realistic budget. In other words, you don’t want to overspend while placing yourself in financial debt.
v  Accept your family and friends as who they are. Sometimes we place high expectations on others and when they don’t fulfill those expectations during the holiday season, we become stress and depress.
v  Don’t compare with other families. We have a tendency to believe that all families are perfect with the exception of ours. As a result, we can sometimes try and create the perfect family gathering.
v  Relax and have fun. Keep in mind; the holidays only come once a year so make the most of it.
v  Last, but not least, don’t forget the reason for the season. It should be a time to be appreciative and to be thankful for all things.

Written by
Dr. Shantel Anderson BA, MA, DHEd

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Thought on Meal Delivery Services

Emily Boldrin PhD, RD
In the last post I mentioned that I have been experiencing some serious medical issues. People, during this time, have been extremely generous. It has blown my mind and given me a new outlook in regards to the kindness of people. Even complete strangers. My husband’s company even pooled money together to help us. The gift they gave was a meal delivery service. The meal delivery service came once a week and had all we needed to cook meals for the week.
Granted this meal delivery service was not cheap, which is why I have never used this before. But for someone who was home bound with a kid and a husband to feed, this was a great gift. Nutritionally speaking (this is a health blog after all J), they included information on serving sizes and calories. They also included plenty of vegetables and whole grains.
Have any of you had experience with meal delivery services? What were your thoughts on the general format? On the nutrition content?
Friday, November 13, 2015

This Holiday Season...

Emily Boldrin PhD RD
To say that I have had an "interesting" last few months would be an understatement. I am sure many of you have had an “interesting” few months or years…even a lifetime. Be sure that I do not want to share my story to compare, because many of you have had worse and that isn't the point, but I share my story in order to reflect.
A few months ago, at 7 months pregnant, I had a Grand Mal seizure. It was out of blue, there were no symptoms, my pregnancy was going well and I (or so I thought) was the picture of health…according to my yearly checkups.  After I had the seizure, I was taken in an ambulance to the local hospital to get an MRI. The MRI revealed that I had a significant size tumor (about the size of an orange) in my brain. Thus I needed to undergo brain surgery (at 7 months pregnant) to remove the tumor in order to avoid hemorrhaging in my brain during labor and delivery.
Needless to say I underwent the brain surgery and spent some time in the hospital and at home recovering. During that time (like many others) I had the chance to reflect on what is important in my life and how it affects other people in my life. Frankly, the brain surgery was a gift to me and allowed me time to assess what was important.  This holiday season, I hope that you don't have to have a major life event to have a chance to truly reflect on what is important.
This holiday season…I hope you smile at strangers
This holiday season…I hope you take the time to hug your dog
This holiday season…I hope you love your family
This holiday season…I hope you share in the joy your friends bring
This holiday season…I hope you feast on some good food
This holiday season…most of all…I hope you are happy…
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Having Fun With a Vegetable Orchestra

By: Emily Boldrin PhD, RD

I freely admit, what I am about to write about is a little strange…perhaps a better word is “quirky”. But, ever since I saw the news clip (5 years ago) I have thought about it a few times a year.  This time, I thought about the vegetable orchestra while I was cooking with my 2 year old son. He loves to help me cook and his specialty is throwing spices all over the counter and floor. And I love it. J

Over the holidays, we will be doing a lot of cooking, my son and I. And inevitably we will have some left overs because, you never want to run out of food during the holidays (am I right?)! It particularly seems that produce is something I buy too much of – it all looks so good I just can’t resist!  So, I was trying to think of creative ways I could use the extra produce instead of just tossing it out when it goes bad.

This is where the vegetable orchestra comes in…to give you the back story, the vegetable orchestra is a real group of artists that tour (mostly in Europe) playing only produce for instruments. They have been doing it for 17 years now! They make instruments out of produce, using things like drills to make holes. But their creativity doesn’t stop there and it is inspiring! You can watch the clip on CBS Sunday Morning here:

In particular I like the “carrot clarinet” that they make. J How fun that would be for children and what a great way to get children familiar with vegetables in a non-threatening environment and in a fun way! I dare say, it may even result in your child eating more vegetables! I for one will be making "carrot clarinets" and "squash symbols" this holiday season. I hope you, your family and your kids do too!
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Stress Free Holidays: Yoga to Restore Your Body and Mind

Even with a healthy diet and some herbal allies, the holidays can still leave us feeling depleted or downright depressed.  If the thought of shopping for one more present or attending another holiday party makes you want to scream, it's probably time to take a step back and nourish your mind and body. 

The following are three restorative postures that can help you find peace this time of year. No need to strive, no need to grasp.  It's time to melt.
1. Supported Childs Pose: Begin by kneeling on a blanket, with your knees a little wider than hip-width apart.  Place a bolster, or 3-4 folded blankets between your thighs.  Sink your hips towards you heels, supporting your torso completely by the bolster and your thighs.  Turn your head to the side, reaching arms forward around the edges of the supports or behind you, resting on the floor.  Stay here for 3-5 minutes, turning your head in the opposite direction halfway through.  Allow the tension to melt off of the shoulders and lower back, and gently quiet the mind. 

2. Supported Side Twist: From childs, come to hands and knees and move the bolster or blankets to the side.  Feel free to move through a few Cat/Cow postures to release any tension in the lower back.  Drop your right hip down to the floor, supporting it on a blanket if necessary.  Keep your knees bent, legs extending out to the left as comfortable.  Place the short end of the bolster or blankets in contact with your right hip.  Lengthen the spine, and then gently turn towards your supports and lie down, turning your head to the side. Stay for 2-4 minutes, then repeat on the other side.  Feel the muscles of the entire back start to release, and allow this gentle twist to support your digestion. 

3. Legs up the Wall: Slowly press yourself up to seated, moving softly to the wall.  Place 2-3 stacked blankets about 6 inches from the wall.  Begin with your right hip and shoulder just grazing the wall, sitting on the side of the blanket.  Slowly swing your legs up the wall and let your head and shoulders rest on the floor.  Don't be discouraged if you need to wiggle to get your hips closer to the wall, or if it takes you a few times to get there.  Keep your legs firm on the wall, but release your arms to your sides, palms facing the sky.  Close your eyes and let go of all the tension and anxiety that's been building.  Stay here 5-15 minutes, then slowly bend your knees and roll off your supports.  Stay on your side for a few breaths, then slowly come back to seated.

Kristin Henningsen MS, CH, RYT

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Stress Free Holidays: Herbal Adaptogens

Although Fall and Winter are traditionally a time to go within and nourish ourselves, it is often quite the opposite.  The holiday season, with its sweets, holiday parties, and increased activity can lead to imbalances in the body that manifest as fatigue, stress, and illness.  To enjoy the holiday season amidst the chaos, consider adding a few adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine.

Adaptogens are herbs that help to provide balance, as well as restore and protect the body from every day stress.  While they don't alter our mood, they do enhance our bodies ability to adapt to emotional and physical stress, allowing us to approach each day with vitality.

If you start to feel run down during the holiday season, these herbs might be for you.

1. Ashwagandha: Revered for millennia in India, Ashwagandha is known to boost the immune system and ease anxiety.  It tonifies our entire system, while calming and strengthening the nervous system. Extremely useful if traveling to visit family!

Holy Basil: Also known as Tulsi, Holy Basil is another sacred herb in India.  A member of the mint family, this herb is famous for balancing out the body, mind, and spirit. It's a powerful antioxidant, and has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

3. Schisandra: This astringent berry has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Known as a tonic herb, it helps to reduce fatigue and increase physical performance as well as endurance.  Perfect for those long and draining trips to the mall.

4.  Rhodiola: This powerful adaptogen of the West has been studied in depth for its anti-stress and fatigue fighting properties.  It also acts to protect the heart and liver, as well as improve memory.

5. Eleuthro:  Commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eleuthro is also known as Siberian Ginseng.  Considered an exceptional tonic herb for thousands of years, Eleuthro helps to increase longevity and vitality during times of stress.

Of course, be sure to consult your doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner for proper dosage before adding any herbs to your daily regiment.  And enjoy the holiday season with vitality!

Be Well!

Kristin Henningsen MS, CH, RYT
Thursday, November 5, 2015

Stress Free Holidays: Strategies for Healthy Eating

It's coming!  The holiday season is bearing down on us and will without a doubt fly by in a flash.  As we approach this most wonderful time of year, take a few minutes to pause and consider how you will enjoy the season and avoid the guilt of overindulging.

1. Be Selective:  Before you start munching on the first appetizer or party platter you see, take a little tour.  Get a visual of all that is offered, and then choose wisely.  If you fill your tiny plate with mostly fruits or veggies, you won't have room for that bacon wrapped pastry puff.

2. Get Creative: We all have those old family recipes that are essential this time of year.  Consider transforming holiday favorites to have a healthy flair.  Replace lard or Crisco with coconut oil or good old butter (in moderation).  Replace white flour with whole wheat, almond, or oat flour.  And you can almost always cut the sugar in half. You can still have the nostalgia without the digestive issues.

3. Remind Yourself: It's easy to rationalize that this time of year is just too crazy to think about nutrition.  Now it's easier than ever to remind yourself what your nutritional goals are.  Use your favorite nutrient tracking app (I personally like MyFitnessPal), or just keep a copy of your goals on your refrigerator.  The points is--keep your nutritional plan front and center.

4. BYOB:  Whether it's food or beverage, ask your host if you can contribute and then bring a healthy option.  Most will welcome the offer.

5. Moderate:  Enjoy, these sweet and savory flavors are part of the season!  But do so in moderation.  Savor eat bite, chew thoroughly and fully appreciate the tastes and flavors you experience. Eating healthy doesn't have to mean depriving yourself completely.  But slow down....and enjoy the food,  not the guilt.

Eat Well!
Kristin Henningsen MS, CH, RYT

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Egg-citing News

            In my August blog post, I mentioned my family was raising free-range chickens.  The chickens have grazed all summer on insects, worms, grasses, weeds and extra produce from the garden.  We are patiently awaiting our first chicken eggs.
            Free-range eggs have many nutritional advantages over the USDA nutrient data for commercial eggs.  They have been found to have 1/3 less cholesterol, ¼ less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene (Alterman, 2007).
Where do you find these nutritious free-range eggs if you cannot raise your own chickens?  Look for eggs at your local farmer’s market or local grocery store labeled “free-range.”  You can even find farmers just outside your town willing to sell you their extra eggs.


Alterman, C. L. (2007, October 1). Retrieved November 3, 2015, from Meet Real Free-Range Eggs:
Monday, November 2, 2015

Favorite Exercise

             When I was a child, bike riding was one of my favorite things to do.  My trip to the swimming pool would involve a bike ride back and forth from my house.  My parents owned and managed a restaurant during my early grade school years; so many trips were made to their workplace on my bike, too.  My bike was not only a form of transportation; it was fun to ride and gave me freedom to roam the streets of my hometown.
Walking was another fond exercise of my teenage days.  My mom and I would have special one-on-one time walking the trails at our local park.  Since my mom worked full-time and took call as a Nurse Anesthetist during this time, I always looked forward to the walk together and some great conversations together.
If you are having a hard time finding an exercise you enjoy this fall, think back to your childhood.  Did you like jumping rope, shooting hoops with your friends, or just taking a walk in the park?
            Try for aim 30 minutes five times a week for a total of 150 minutes.  You can change your activities each day, so you do not get tired of the same exercise.  Here is a table with activities and calories burned per 30 minutes of exercise.

 (30 minutes)
135 lbs.
155 lbs.
195 lbs.
Bicycling <10 MPH
Horseback Riding
Walking 3.0 mph
 (Shapefit, 2015)


Shapefit. (2015, April 3). Calories Burned During Exercise. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from

  By Angela Ask MPS

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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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