Category Archives: Healthy Living

Staying safe while exercising outdoors

By Jacy Fitzpatrick, Health Education Specialist, Spokane Regional Health District

Snow CarWith the winter months in full swing and a great potential of snowfall, colder temperatures, and severe driving conditions, pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists need to be extra cautious. Increased stopping time is needed at crosswalks, stop lights, intersections, and parking lots.

With this in mind, exercising outside and using other forms or transportation to get around isn’t a bad idea, it simply means remembering safety tips and rules are vital. Stickman Knows works to educate the community and increase awareness of the importance of safety in rain, snow, or shine.

Giving yourself ample time to get to and from destinations while driving is important. remember to increase stopping distance from other drivers. Slowing early at stop lights and sidewalks will protect you and others around. Stay visible after dark and in bad weather, use lights and reflectors at night and make sure you dress appropriately. Wearing layers so that you can adjust to the temperature will keep you from getting too cold and bright colors will help you stand out. Be careful when walking or biking passed stopped vehicles and be as predictable as possible.

For more safety tips and laws visit Stickman Knows today!

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What does 200 Calories look like?

Courtesy of, content from

Thanks to wiseGEEK, 200 calories means a whole lot more.  From butter to vegetables, take a look at how much bang you can get for your bite.

52 grams of a glazed doughnut

52 grams of a glazed doughnut

1,425 grams of celery

1,425 grams of celery

70 grams of a sesame seed bagel

70 grams of a sesame seed bagel

145 grams of uncooked pasta

145 grams of uncooked pasta

28 grams of butter

28 grams of butter

38 grams of cheetos

38 grams of cheetos

496 mL od Coca Cola

496 mL od Coca Cola

90 grams of flax bread

90 grams of flax bread

34 grams of fried bacon

34 grams of fried bacon

740 grams of mini peppers

740 grams of mini peppers

54 grams of puffed rice cereal

54 grams of puffed rice cereal

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Healthy Peanut Butter & Pretzel Truffle Recipe. Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Courtesy of : Eating Well, Where Good Taste Meets Good Health!

Chocolate is such a rich and indulgent treat it almost seems too good to be true that it could actually be good for you. Indeed, studies suggest that people who regularly eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate may have lower risk of heart failure and lower incidence of high blood pressure, hardened arteries and even strokes. You can feel good about indulging in these healthy chocolate recipes (in moderation, of course!).

Peanut Butter & Pretzel TrufflesChocolate Truffle

These peanut butter-pretzel truffles satisfy your craving for something sweet and salty.


  • 1/2 cup crunchy natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted pretzels
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted (see Tip)


  1. Combine peanut butter and pretzels in a small bowl. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 20 balls (about 1 teaspoon each). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and freeze until very firm, about 1 hour. Roll the frozen balls in melted chocolate. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Tips and Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  • Tip: To melt chocolate, microwave on Medium for 1 minute. Stir, then continue microwaving on Medium, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted. Or place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir until melted.


Per truffle: 64 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 1 mg cholesterol; 5 g carbohydrates; 2 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 53 mg sodium; 65 mg potassium.


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Step UP Annual Prize Winner!

This year Step UP gave away a FitBit One!

This year Step UP gave away a FitBit One!

Step UP and Go would like to congratulate Diane Britton as our annual prize winner for 2012! Diane won the FitBit One, a small and convenient wireless activity and sleep tracker that attaches to your shirt or pants and allows you to track everything from steps taken per day to the number of times you wake up per night. The FitBit is an awesome companion for anyone wanting to track their activity.

Diane moved to this area in 1991 because of her love of the outdoors and physical activity. She and her husband enjoy hiking and rock climbing, since there are endless opportunities in the Inland Northwest for these activities. Diane was always a fairly avid rock climber until an injury in 2004. She says the injury caused her to lose many of her goals and she started to gain weight. So Diane joined Weight Watchers to help get her back on track and in now a life time member. It was at Weight Watches that Diane acquired a pedometer and shortly after that she was introduced the Step UP website. She started using the physical activity trackers because she loved how easy it was to log her steps right off of her pedometer.

Diane, a Diabetes Educator, now encourages her patients to log their activity as well. She continues to log her steps for herself but also to be a good example to her patients. She says, “I can’t expect them to log their activity if I’m not logging mine.” Also, Diane says she really likes the events calendar offered on our website. She likes to get out in the community and be involved and the calendar gives her easy access to local events.

However, what Diane likes best about the site is the mapping system. She and her husband love to travel, so seeing her steps displayed on a map is very encouraging to her. Diane thinks it would be neat to have a “Tour around Europe” tracker, for those who can’t actually travel to Europe to still experience the sights! What do you think Step UP users?

Step UP and Go thanks Diane for using our trackers and for encouraging others to become more physically active. And again, congratulations on winning this year’s GRAND prize!

Diane logged more than 3 million steps on Step UP’s activity trackers in 2012, and for every million steps she logged she was entered to win the grand prize. Be encouraged to keep moving and tracking and you could be our next winner!

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Get Inspired: Step UP Participant’s New Year’s Resolutions!

Step UP and Go would like to thank everyone who shared their New Year’s Resolutions with us in January via Facebook and Twitter! It is so encouraging to hear what our participants are planning to accomplish in 2013. Here are some of their inspiring stories:

Mary Mimi workin her Zumba attire!

Mary Mimi workin her Zumba attire!

Mary Mimi Rorie shared her goals which include everything from more Zumba to hitting the treadmill and weights twice a week. She has been doing Zumba for 2 years already (very impressive!) but says she needs to add some variety to burn those calories! The best part is; Mary is 51 and says she is “motivated and ready to rock and roll.” She also ski’s on the weekends and recognizes that consistency is the key to success.

Kimberly Coca-Moore stated simply that she would like to eat healthier this year, commit to exercising three times a week and most importantly, “carve out a little time for myself each day.”

Shaunie Wyatt shared, “My New Year’s Resolution is to eat more greens and exercise more.” She plans to keep this up by using a “buddy plan;” finding someone who shares the same goals to keep her accountable.

Betsy Lawrence

Betsy Lawrence

Betsy Lawrence is going to walk a half marathon, and to get there she will be doing a lot of walking and Jazzercise!

Bo Apele’s New Year’s Resolutions are to open a 3rd Real Estate office and to donate at least $10,000 to Spokane charities! Hint, there are a lot of physical activity events (runs, races, etc.) that benefit local charities. Why not take on two worthwhile endeavors in one!

Jill Weiszmann

Jill Weiszmann

Jill Jasion Weiszmann is going to continue her workouts at Healthy U and increase her heart and body strength even more than she already has since her heart attack in January. She will accomplish this by continuing her workout program with the Deaconess Healthy U/Cardiac Rehab program.  Jill says, “It’s an awesome program. I’ve been incredibly successful thanks to all of the great nurses and  support I receive there. 13 more days and I’m off ALL heart medication since my heart attack last January. I’m on a countdown!”

For more information on the Healthy U program please visit The Deaconess Website.

Katie, our prize winner!

Katie, our prize winner, and her daughter!

Katie Stahl is our prize winner! For sharing her New Year’s resolution with us she was randomly selected to win a $10 Target Gift Card and the book A Year of Being Healthy.

Katie has a few New Year’s Resolutions, but the one that she is really working on is cooking at home. She says, “So many times I come home from work and make excuses of why fast food is a good option. This year i am striving to make dinner at home at least 6 days a week. This is important for so many reasons, but the one that is most important to me is my daughter. Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States and I do not want to contribute to that statistic.” Katie is working towards this goal by making a weekly menu and getting all fresh veggies on her weekly Friday grocery store excursion.

Thank you again Step UP users for sharing with us, your stories are truly inspiring!

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How You Can Improve Eating Behavior in 2013

New Years calanderJust in time for your New Year’s Resolution, this great article provides a few tips to help keep you on the right track for 2013!

Courtesy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Carolyn O’Neil

If you’ve banned bonbons and sworn off french fries, I don’t need to tell you that New Year’s diet resolutions are among the most popular self-improvement declarations.

But the trouble with telling yourself to make big changes — whether it’s with food or finances — is that it only takes a few slip-ups and you’re back to your old tricks again. That’s why nutrition experts say don’t be so rough on yourself, because adopting healthier eating behaviors takes some time.

In her new book, “The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook,” registered dietitian Janet Helm writes, “One recent study found that it takes an average of 66 days before a new habit becomes automatic.”

She adds that long-term behavior change is the result of small victories and little daily tweaks. For instance, when ordering a veggie omelet, ask the kitchen to double up on the veggies and halve the cheese to shave off significant calories and add fiber and nutrients.

Sometimes a new habit means continuing to enjoy the splurge foods you love, but less often.

“Eat your special foods in reasonable amounts,” registered dietitian Jill Nussinow suggests. “If you love cheesecake and eat it a few times a year, that’s fine. Love great croissants? Eat them occasionally, as in when you go to Paris or the best bakery around.”

Be specific

Diet declarations such as “I’ll never eat out again!” are just way too broad to be believed. Helm advises being as specific as possible so goals are action-oriented. For instance, instead of “I’ll be more active,” she suggests “Get up 30 minutes earlier so I can walk in the morning before work.”

Or, let’s say you love Southern foods. Rather than promising to back away from bacon totally, learn to enjoy Southern flavor favorites in moderation.

Resolve to eat more

While most folks think of nutrition improvements as a list of the things they’re not supposed to eat, registered dietitian David Grotto has come up with the lists of food you should be eating more to be healthier.

In his new book, “The Best Things You Can Eat,” he ranks nutrient-rich foods “For everything from aches to zzzz.” For instance, Grotto’s top foods for lowering cholesterol fall into three categories: whole grains, berries and legumes. Garlic, apples and olive oil make the list, too.

Another happy side effect of eating more healthy foods is that they keep you feeling full while crowding out the junk foods and fast foods you may be trying to consume less of in 2013.

Carolyn O’Neil is a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” Email her at

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Taking Charge of Your Family’s Nutrition

Overwieght ChildCourtesy of Going Beyond Insurance Coverage: Actionable Ways to Protect
Your Family’s Health
. Follow link for more articles.

By Hannah Cotts

Obesity in children today causes more health problems than drug abuse or smoking. One in three U.S. children and adolescents are overweight. This alarming statistic equates to a dramatic rise in health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, respiration illness, orthopedic problems and high cholesterol. Overweight children suffer social effects as well; frequent teasing can lead to a negative body image, low self-esteem and depression. The American Heart Association predicts that the habits of overweight children will lead to a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents.

Diabetes, the most common illness related to obesity, is a condition that must be carefully managed, and the associated costs are high. The American Diabetes Association reports that 10% of U.S. health care expenditures are related to diabetes; these patients commonly have medical expenses that are 2.4 times more than those without this illness. Heart disease, the most common diabetes complication, costs billions of dollars per year to families, insurers and taxpayers. For the  43% of patients who fail to properly manage their disease, it is estimated that $11,000 per year is required to maintain their health. Even with proper management of insulin dosages, monthly costs for insured patients can run as high as $120 a month.

Ensuring nutritional health for your family requires foremost that you are a good role model for healthy eating. Setting this example teaches your children that it is normal activity to choose foods lower in sodium, refined sugars and fats. Purchase whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible and opt for whole-grain breads over those containing refined flours. Junk foods like chips, candy and sugary cereals should be removed from your home and replaced with cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables. Cooking at home generally means that meals are healthier than eating out, and study after study has shown that eating together as a family promotes psychological well-being. Keep mealtimes consistent, offer several healthy options and allow your child to decide when he or she is full.

Other tips for ensuring that your child has a healthy diet include:

• Freeze individual boxes of low fat milk or soymilk and place in packed lunches for school

• Serve whole-grain or hot cereals with low fat milk

• Consider fun foods like string cheese or low fat frozen yogurt for dairy consumption

• Add a handful of high-fiber cereal to your child’s regular breakfast cereal

• Offer a fruit or vegetable with every meal

• Add low fat margarine, parmesan cheese or a light dressing to vegetables for flavor

• Dice vegetables very finely for use in sauces, meatloaf or pasta dishes

• Make popsicles with pureed fruit and yogurt

• Freeze berries, grapes and melon balls to add to cereal or yogurt

• Introduce fish, twice per week if possible; many chicken recipes are easily adapted to use milder fish like tilapia or cod

• Shop with sustainability in mind, and choose albacore tuna and wild-caught salmon over farmed or overfished species

• Limit red meats and offer healthier chicken or turkey instead

• Serve appropriate portion sizes

• Avoid commercial peanut butters loaded with sugar and fat, and opt for healthier choices like almond butter or organic peanut butter
There are some staples that are a part of a typical American childhood. While these can be provided in a healthy manner, there are some  common misconceptions about them. The classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, for instance, is a lunch box favorite. Remember that white bread has very little nutritional value, commercial peanut butter is loaded with excess sugar and hydrogenated fats, and most jellies have unnecessary sugars added. Choose whole-grain bread, organic peanut butter and sugar-free jellies or jams for this childhood treat.

Many parents also believe that whole milk is the best nutritional option for children. While infants and toddlers do need extra fat for proper neural development, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids older than 2 drink only 1% or skim milk. Snacks like applesauce and granola bars may seem healthy at first glance, but read labels carefully. Two popular brands of commercial applesauce, for example, contain refined flour, hydrogenated fat, high fructose corn syrup and numerous chemicals used for preservatives. A healthier option lists apples as the first ingredient on its food label and has no added sugars.

Learning to  properly decipher food labels is an important part of making healthy food choices. Ingredients are listed in a most-to-least order, so the first few ingredients on the list are what make up the bulk of the product. Cereal manufacturers, for example, are allowed to label a product “whole grain” with only a tiny amount of actual whole grain in the cereal; check labels carefully to ensure that whole-grain flour is among the first 3 ingredients listed. Sugars are another culprit that may be hiding behind names like high-fructose corn syrup or white grape juice concentrate; multiple items like this indicate that a product is packed with sugar. Tricky marketers similarly take advantage of lax labeling guidelines with the content of fruit, fiber and fats, so it behooves parents to pay close attention to food labels

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November Monthly Winner

Jen Westra at the finish of the St. Louis Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in October, she had just qualified for the Boston Marathon!

Jen Westra at the finish of the St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in October, she had just qualified for the Boston Marathon!

Congratulations to Step UP and Go’s monthly prize winner Jen Westra of Spokane, WA. Jen won a $25 American Express gift card for logging her physical activity on at least 10 times during the month of November

Jen is an avid runner and loves racing. She has run her share of marathons and half-marathons and in a few weeks will be flying to Disney Land with her girlfriends to run both a marathon and a half-marathon all in one weekend! She credits her love of running to her crazy friends who are always motivating her to push herself and try something new.

What’s inspiring about Jen’s story is that she has not always been athletic; even the thought of being considered such makes her laugh. She says that she wasn’t really active at all until she moved to Spokane 9 years ago. She started her running career training for Bloomsday and it took off from there. Jen says, “I never thought I could love to run, but I do now!” For Jen it’s as much about the running as it is about spending fun and quality time with her friends.

Jen started using Step UP and Go to track her activity last year; she participated in our WSU study using the Million Step Challenge and has been using the site since then. She has also used the Bloomsday training program and has completed the Million Step Challenge again. She says she loves the site and loves to move from point to point when she inputs her steps.

Congratulations again Jen for winning this month’s prize!

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Positive Outlook

Happy ManBy Heidi Hershley, Executive Director, American Heart Association

In some studies, researchers are looking at the link between an optimistic outlook and heart health. Other studies point to happiness as improving productivity, health, and quality of life.

While the direct health impact of either is unclear, what is known is that a positive state of mind serves you well.

Where to begin? Focus on a positive every day. Write down things you are grateful for or send a note of appreciation.

Release worry and unproductive distractions. Activities and meditation help.

Silver lining: Make a positive outlook a priority and enjoy the wellness benefits.

“It’s not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes us happy.” ~Charles Springer

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Digestion Foods: The Best And Worst Foods For Your Digestive System

Courtesy of The Huffpost Healthy Living

By Amanda L.Chan, to read more by this author Click Here!


When it comes to the best foods for digestive health, perhaps the best way of thinking about it is this: If it doesn’t cause any symptoms, then it’s good.

There are “foods that clean out your bowel system. Foods that help to keep you regular. Foods that will not increase reflux. Foods that won’t cause diarrhea,” Kristi King, R.D., a senior dietitian at Texas Children’s Hospital and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells HuffPost.

Good digestion starts the moment you put a food in your mouth, King adds, noting that foods that are “good” for digestion are generally those that make the digestive process easier.

Different nutrients from foods benefit the body in different ways, says Dr. Matthew L. Bechtold, M.D., F.A.C.G., a gastroenterologist at the Digestive Health Center at the University of Missouri – Columbia. However, even nutrients that aren’t readily absorbed by the body can be healthy — fiber, for instance, helps to ensure regular bowel movements.

Fiber is the “Roto-Rooter, the Drano, of the digestive system,” King says, though she notes that it is possible to have too much. People should generally have between 20 to 30 grams of fiber each day, which is the amount in five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables and about four to five servings of whole grains.

The body is designed to digest many types of foods, but everyone is different in that some foods may trigger digestion-related symptoms for some and not others, Bechtold says.

Bechtold and King offered up some of their picks for the best and worst foods for digestion, based on their ability to help keep things moving in the body, as well as their likelihood of triggering nasty symptoms like diarrhea and acid reflux.

BEST List: Fruits and Veggies
  1. Fruits And Vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are great for digestion because most are high in fiber, King says. Bechtold adds that the fiber in produce has an added benefit of regulating bowel movements.
  2. Whole Grains. Whole grain foods, including brown rice and wheat, also contain lots of fiber, making them another top food group good for digestion, King says. (Obviously this advice may not apply for people with chronic conditions like celiac disease or other gluten sensitivities, since wheat contains gluten.)
  3. Bananas. While all fruits and vegetables are generally good for digestion, bananas in particular are great because they don’t irritate the stomach. That’s why they’re part of the “BRAT Diet” for vomiting or diarrhea — that is, the bananas, rice, applesauce and dry toast diet. “Those are the four things that tend to be the easiest tolerated amongst people and they tend to be bland, so they won’t irritate the stomach like other foods,” King says. They are also good for replacing the body’s electrolytes, she adds.Water
  4. Water. “Water is excellent for digestion, and that’s one thing I think people don’t drink enough of,” King says. Water helps the digestive process because it helps move things through the intestines.
  5. Ginger. Spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric and peppermint are great for settling an upset stomach, King says. Try drinking ginger or peppermint tea, or sucking on a peppermint lozenge.
  6. Probiotic-Containing Foods Like Yogurt. Probiotics are good for the digestive system because they contain good bacteria that crowds out any bad bacteria that you may have in your gut, King says. You want to look specifically for foods that contain live bacteria, such as yogurt and kefir.
  7. Prebiotic-Containing Foods Like Asparagus And Oats. Prebiotic foods contain a type of fiber the probiotics feed off of to multiply, “so it’s good food for your good bacteria,” King says. Prebiotics are found in foods such as asparagus, onions, lentils and whole grains.

WORST List:coffee

  1. Spicy Foods. Spicy foods can be bad for digestion because they may trigger acid reflux symptoms for some people, King notes.
  2. Caffeine. Similarly to spicy foods, those containing caffeine can also trigger acid reflux, as it relaxes the esophageal sphincter — the flap that keeps what you’ve eaten down in your stomach — causing food to come back up into the esophagus, King says. What about coffee, which is high in caffeine yet always seems to help us “go?” King says coffee is powerful for triggering peristalsis — the term for movement of food through the intestines — it does contain caffeine, which means it can still cause reflux. But it could help someone who is struggling with constipation, she notes.
  3. Acidic Foods Like Soda. Like spicy and caffeinated foods, acidic picks like soda can also trigger reflux, King says.bacon
  4. Foods High In Saturated Fat. Fatty foods can induce heartburn and diarrhea due to poor absorption of fat, Bechtold says. King adds that you can tell if your diet contains too many high-fat foods because your stool will float to the top of the toilet. This is a sign that you might want to cut back on the saturated fat.
  5. Alcohol. Alcohol also relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which can then trigger acid reflux, King says. Bechtold adds that it can induce inflammation in the stomach.
  6. Dairy. Dairy can induce bloating, Bechtold says, as well as abdominal discomfort, particularly for people who are lactose intolerant.

To read more stories and blogs published by The Huffpost Healthy living Click Here!

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