September is Cancer Awareness Month so there is no better time to talk about the importance of prevention and regular screenings. Breast and colon cancers rank among the top five types of cancer but with healthy lifestyle behaviors, screening, and early detection these types of cancers are largely preventable and treatable. And, guideline-based screenings are part of your Cigna health plan preventive care benefit which means they most likely won’t cost you a thing.Continue reading Cancer….the word no one wants to hear
The Covid pandemic has impacted our lives in more ways than we care to count and more ways than we may realize. On a global scale it has posed an unprecedented challenge to public health, our food system, and the world of work as we knew it. On an individual level it has steered many adults away from getting their annual physical and preventive screenings including colon cancer screening. With March being National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month there is no better time to talk about the importance of screening.Continue reading A little dose of prevention and screening….
It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever. While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits, such as:
- Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
- Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
The CDC recommends getting vaccinated before flu viruses begin spreading in your community, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February so getting vaccinated in October and into early November will offer the greatest protection.
You can get your vaccine at your primary care practice and at many local pharmacies. For a list of Cigna in-network pharmacies click here. BCBS VT members…to find an in-network pharmacy where you may be able to get a flu vaccine, click here. MVP members….click here. Staying in network for your vaccine will ensure that your vaccine is covered, and you don’t incur any unexpected costs. Most pharmacies offer flu vaccine on a walk-in basis, but it’s always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they have vaccine available and a staff person to administer the vaccine when you arrive.
This year it’s more important than ever for all of us to take action to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy and getting vaccinated is one of the best ways we can do that.
Fall has arrived and with that means cooler temperatures, shorter days, and for many of us, more responsibilities and demands on our time. While many of us may have been in our self-care grooves this summer, we often have a hard time maintaining these routines as we transition into fall and winter. As a health coach, I so often hear people say, “I fell off the wagon” or “I don’t know what happened. I was doing so good.” Well, I might be able to shed some light on what happened. The environment changed and instead of adapting we dug our heels in and tried to maintain the same routines under completely different circumstances. If you’ve been on the “on the wagon/off the wagon” in the past, I’ve got some strategies and new ways of thinking that just might help you drive the wagon exactly where you want it to go this fall and winter.Continue reading Seasons change and so can we
March is National Nutrition Month and along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics I invite you to focus on developing sound eating and physical activity habits. A healthy diet and regular physical activity are essential to a healthy life and, despite what we may think, small habits done consistently can have a big impact on the quality and quantity of our lives. This year’s theme, “Eat right, bite by bite” highlights the benefits of small action. Bite by bite and step by step we can achieve and maintain optimal health and well-being. Here are some of my top tips for making healthy eating and physical activity the easy choices .
We’re five weeks into the new year and for many of us our aspirations for 2020 have already fallen by the wayside. Life has a way of distracting us from what is most important and if we’re not careful, before we know it, time has slipped away. There is a verse in a Pink Floyd song that resonates with me every time I hear it. “And then one day you find, ten years have gone behind you. No one told you when to run. You missed the starting gun.” Life is short and we only have one chance to live the life we want. The time to act is now but how do we actually get ourselves to take action? How do we “get motivated”?
Here’s the secret about motivation…motivation comes after we start. Yes, the best way to get motivated is to take action. Taking action is not always easy. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do it all and to do it perfectly. We become too focused on the outcome. Let’s forget about the outcome and focus instead on the process. Focusing on the process, especially on just the first step can significantly increase our likelihood of success. Every habit that we have or that we want to have starts with a trigger, one small action that is like the first domino which sets the chain in motion. Once we do that first action, the rest of the steps fall into place with minimal effort. All we have to concern ourselves with then is taking that first step.
When we hear the word health, the first thing that often pops into our minds is physical health but mental health is just as critical to our overall well-being. Mental health is “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (WHO, 2014.). According to a 2007 article published in American Psychologist (Keyes, 2007), mentally healthy adults reported the fewest missed days of work, low levels of helplessness, having clear goals in life, high resilience and high intimacy, the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease, the lowest number of chronic physical diseases, the fewest health limitations of activities of daily living and lower health care utilization.
November is Diabetes Awareness Month so what better time to talk about diabetes and prediabetes. According to the CDC more than 30 million Americans have diabetes and one in three adults has prediabetes. Ninety percent of those with prediabetes don’t even know it. The consequences of diabetes, both physical and financial can be dire. People with diabetes are at increased risk of dementia, hearing and vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, lower leg amputations, depression, dental decay and tooth loss, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, bone fractures and nerve pain. As if that wasn’t enough, in Vermont diabetes is one of four chronic health conditions that is responsible for fifty percent of all deaths. Not only do people with diabetes suffer physically but they also suffer financially. People with diabetes spend up to 2.3 times more on their health care costs than do their healthy counterparts. Continue reading One out of three Americans has prediabetes and 90% don’t even know it. Could you be one of them?
When we think of good nutrition we often think about food but we don’t often think about water. In addition to proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, water is one of the six essential nutrients. The adult human body is approximately sixty percent water and we cannot live without it. Water plays a key role in every body process including regulation of body temperature, joint lubrication, removal of waste products, delivery of oxygen to body tissues and is essential in the formation of saliva which starts the process of digestion (Cross, 2018). Continue reading Water….a critical nutrient that we may not be getting enough of
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants” – Michael Pollan
Eating too many eggs will raise your cholesterol. It’s safe to consume eggs everyday. Saturated fat cause heart disease. There is no evidence that saturated fats increase one’s risk of heart disease. Carbohydrates are fattening. Maintaining a diet high in complex carbohydrates may be protective against weight gain. Organic foods are healthier. There is no difference in the nutrient content of organic and conventionally grown food. And on and on and on….. Continue reading Nutrition: Let’s get back to basics