All posts filed under “Fall

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Staying stress free this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. It is a time when people come together, laugh, have fun and eat great food. Yet planning travel, cooking, family time, and the other million things that come along with the holidays can be very stressful. Below you will find tips and tricks on how to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy this Thanksgiving.

  • Get organized
  • Plan your shopping trips
  • Clean out your fridge
  • Prepare side dishes the day before
  • Thaw your turkey (in the fridge)
  • Ask for help preparing for guests
  • Set up your table first thing on Thanksgiving morning
  • Keep people out of the kitchen
  • Make notes for next year (bake the pie longer, double mashed potato recipe, etc.)
  • Don’t over indulge
  • Get some fresh air
  • Take a break
  • Tell a funny story
  • Put out games for entertainment
  • Make cleanup a group activity
  • Pack light if going out of town
  • Stay well rested

Mental, physical, and emotional health is very important. Hoping the tips above can help keep your Thanksgiving stress free. Also remember the holidays are about family and friends, the food is an added bonus. So even if your turkey is dry and your house gets messy just know that this time of year is about being thankful and happy as well as healthy, no dry turkey or cold stuffing can ruin that.

Trivia: Which president was the first to make Thanksgiving a national holiday? Comment your answers below.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Stacy Spensley

diabetes
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National Diabetes Awareness Month – Are you at risk?

Not only is November men’s health month, but it is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are currently 29.1 million people who have diabetes and another 8.1 million people who are unaware of their condition. The American Diabetes Associations uses November to help spread awareness and raise funds to help find a cure. Here is what you need to know.

Facts

  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Insulin is naturally produced in the body and is used for energy.
  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body no longer makes insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes begins with insulin resistance where the body cannot use insulin to produce energy.
  • Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal and is a sign of type 2 diabetes.
  • 37% of adults (20+ years old) in the U.S have  pre-diabetes.
  • Having diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Risk of Developing Diabetes

  • 45 years or older
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Unquenchable thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Being tired all of the time
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Fruity odor to the breath
  • Headache
  • Shaking, and weakness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Slow healing
  • Hunger
  • Pain or numbness in the hands or feet

It is important to understand your risk of developing diabetes. Even if you have the signs and symptoms that are listed above it does not automatically mean you have diabetes. These signs and symptoms may be caused by other medical conditions.  If you have any concerns it is important to get them looked at by your doctor. This November do your part and help spread awareness, it could help find a cure, save a life, and extend support.

Found out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking a simple risk test provided by the American Diabetes Association. Follow the link below.

American Diabetes Association Risk Test

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Victor

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What is manlier than a well groomed moustache?

November is Movember, a month long campaign focused around men’s health. The Movember Foundation is an international non-profit organization that is all about spreading awareness and raising funds for men’s health issues. Their main areas of focus are on are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, and physical inactivity in men. Their cause is represented by growing a moustache (mo), getting active, or donating during the month of November. The Movember Foundation uses the funds that are raised to improve programs that save lives. Ladies are welcome to take part in the events as well, sign up and take the pledge to move  or donate during the 30 days of Movember. Below are facts about men’s health as well moustache facts, do your part and help spread awareness.

Men’s Health Facts

  1. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  2. Men 65 years and older are at a higher risk for prostate cancer
  3. 1 man out of 38 diagnosed will die of prostate cancer
  4. Half of testicular cancer cases are in men 20-34 years of age
  5. Most cases of testicular cancer can be treated and cured
  6. The highest rate of depression is in men 40-59 years of age
  7. 41% of men do not exercise enough

Weird Moustache Facts

  1. Mo is Australian slang for moustache
  2. There is a World Beard and Moustache Championship competition
  3. The average moustache has 600 hairs
  4. Albert Einstein had a moustache for over 50 years
  5. A man touches his moustache an average of 760 times a day
  6. Facial hair grows half an inch a month
  7. The world’s longest moustache is 14 feet long

There are lots of ways to grow, give and move for men’s health in November. Help raise awareness about conditions like prostate cancer, mental health and physical inactivity. Since 2003, Movember has raised $650 million and funded more than 1,000 men’s health programs around the world. Let us know in the comments below how will you grow, give, or move this Movember.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Anna Gearhart

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The hidden health benefits of pumpkins

Oh October, the spiciest month of them all. Did you know that pumpkin spice is actually cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves? These are the ingredients that give your pumpkin spice lattes that lovely aroma and taste.  They are staple ingredients in your pumpkin pies and pumpkin breads. But what about the actual pumpkin? Surely they are for more than just carving. Below are 5 surprising facts about pumpkins and 5 ways to incorporate pumpkin into your diet.

5 facts about pumpkins

  1. Pumpkins are one of the lowest calorie vegetables, one cup of cooked pumpkin is only 49 calories.
  2. Pumpkins are rich with vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin  provides over 100% of your daily need of vitamin A; vitamin A is essential for healthy vision.
  3. Cooked pumpkin seeds are a great dose of daily fiber.
  4. Pumpkins are packed with vitamin C, helping boost the immune system.
  5.  The beta-carotene compound which gives pumpkin their orange color can help in disease prevention.

5 ways to add pumpkin to your diet

  1. Stir pumpkin puree into soup, stew or chili, it won’t change the taste much but will increase the nutrients in your meal.
  2. Stir pumpkin puree into yogurt.
  3. Add pumpkin puree to pancake batter.
  4. Add chopped and roasted pumpkins to  salads.
  5. Try adding pumpkin to a protein shake to boost its nutrients

Also note, there are edible pumpkins for eating and decorative pumpkins for carving.  You may eat either but the pumpkins labeled for eating taste better. Let us know in the comments below how you will add this low calorie, disease preventing, and vitamin rich vegetable (actually it is a fruit) to your diet.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by John Morgan

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.
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10 facts you need to know about breast cancer

As you may know it is that time of year when we start to see football players, basketball players and athlete’s alike wearing pink during their games, and for good cause! October is known to many as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.

  1. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.
  3. Even though it is rare, breast cancer can occur in men.
  4. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  5. Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
  6. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk, no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  7. Complete a breast self-exam once a month.
  8. Stop smoking to support overall health.
  9. Make your mammogram appointment a priority.
  10. Early detection and treatment is key in fighting breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer. We’re rallying with the Portland Trail Blazers during Moda Health Months to spread the word.

Join us in keeping breast cancer top of mind. Follow us at #modahealthmonths on Facebook and Twitter.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by williami5

Time to get back in to the classroom
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Transition from summer to school

The days are getting shorter and thoughts of getting kids back to school are in full swing.  Every parent faces the inevitable task of transitioning kids from a summer schedule to a school schedule.

Here are several areas of transition to concentrate your focus:

1. Anxiety – Both kids and parents may have anxiety about going back to school.  Talk with your kids about their anxiety and help them with a plan to return to school. Recognize the anxiety and plan a fun day to celebrate the end of summer.

2.  Sleep schedule – If your kids are used to staying outside late to play it can be a hard  shift to catching an early school bus.   Start at least one week before school by shifting the wake up and go to bed time by 10 minutes each day.

3. Healthy eating  - The ice cream truck will soon be gone and it’s time to start moving the kids from summer sugary and salty snacks back to healthy and natural snacks and meals.

4. One-on-one time – Kids grow up so quickly, try to schedule good quality time with each of your kids before everyone gets busy with the school year.  Make some final summer memories just the two of you.

If you’re kids are riding the bus for the first time, check out the School Bus 101 guide on tips to ease any fear or anxiety – for both of you.

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  USAG – Humphreys

bento lunch
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Lunch is served

There are two camps of thought; 1) a brown bag lunch from home is healthier than cafeteria food, 2) changes in cafeteria food make it healthier than what Mom’s packs from home.  There are many internet articles to support both claims but ultimately you’re going to do what’s best for you and your kids.

Today, we’ll focus on lunch from home.  How can we pack a lunch for ourselves and our kids that is nutritious, fun, and not boring? Let’s face it, what’s good for our kids is also good for us.   Let’s focus on moving away from a basic sandwich, chips, carrots, and cookie.  Let’s talk “bento-esque” lunches.

Small portions of a variety of interesting lunch items will keep your kids interested in lunch and avoid the “swap” of something they don’t like.  How about a small meat/cheese roll up, gold fish crackers, kiwi and berries, with a chocolate pudding?  There are so many options for lunches but they key is to keep the portions in check and make it fun, colorful, tasty, and healthy.   Parents.com has a large list of bento style lunch ideas.   There are also lots of idea on Pinterest if you search “bento lunches”.  Don’t get hung up on the fancy bento dishes/containers, you can just as easily use baggies or individual plastic/glass storage containers from home.

If your family chooses lunches from the school cafeteria, try supplementing with additional fruit or veggies.  It’s fun to see what school lunches look like in other countries.  America certainly has room for improvement in many of our schools.   And kudos to those schools that are serving nutritious and good food to our kids.

Start gearing up for school and get a plan of action.  Lunch can and should be fun.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Melissa

Pacific Northwest Hiking
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No-nonsense tips for safe hiking

There’s still so much of summer left.  Have you ventured out to a hiking trail in the beautiful Pacific Northwest?  Whether you’re a novice or seasoned hiker there are many simple steps to keep yourself safe and enjoy your hike.

Follow the Hiker Responsibility Code.

Be prepared:

1. With knowledge and gear.  Become self-reliant by learning about the terrain, conditions, local weather and your equipment before you start.

2. To leave your plans.  Tell someone where you are going, the trails you are hiking, when you will return and your emergency plans.

3. To stay together.  When you start as a group, hike as a group, end as a group.  Pace your hike to the slowest person.

4. To turn back.  Weather changes quickly in the mountains. Fatigue and unexpected conditions can also affect your hike. Know your limitations and when to postpone your hike.  The mountains will be there another day.

5. For emergencies.  Even if you are headed out for just an hour, an injury, severe weather or a wrong turn could become life threatening.  Don’t assume you will be rescued; know how to rescue yourself.

6. To share the hike code with other. 

REI, the leader in outdoor equipment, also has a great list of 10 day hiking essentials to make your day fun and safe.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Loren Kerns

Pacific Crest Trail
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Go Wild – 4 tips to safe hiking

We all receive inspiration in many different forms. This can come from an experience, books or even watching a movie. In the film Wild it displays a woman who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail on her own. She surpasses obstacles and creates a movement that motivates those who watch.  This leaves many of us anticipating on how we can accomplish a similar trip. Here are some tips to keep you safe while hiking:

  1. Disclose your location - Let people know where you will be hiking, the duration of your hike, who you are with and when they should expect you back.
  2. Watch the climate - Check the weather and be aware of the circumstances. There is nothing wrong with postponing a trip due to bad weather.
  3. Be prepared - Wear proper attire; carry supplies that you can anticipate to use (ex. First aid kit), have plenty of water available.
  4. Plan properly - Become familiar with the hike and stay on trail as best as you can. A map and compass are good tools to assist with direction.

The most important tip is to have fun and make the most of your journey. Take lots of pictures, and soak in the beauty of nature that is all around you.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Miguel Vieira

bike commute challenge
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How your transportation could be transforming your waistline

UPDATE: Moda Health came in 9th place for the bike commute challenge!  The 78 bikers who participated clocked in over 6,000 thousand miles, which is about equal to biking from Portland to Miami, and back again. Way to go Moda employees! To learn more about the Bike Commute Challenge and Moda Health, check out the article HERE.

September is coming which means we are gearing up for the Bike Commute Challenge. This event  challenges employees to stop driving and start biking to work. Many different companies in the area are competing against each other to see who bikes the most.

Not only does biking to work save you from car expenses, but a recent study shows that people who walk, bike, or even take the bus to work have lower levels of fat than those who drive! The average weight difference was about 6 pounds for men and about 5 pounds for women.

Try biking, walking, or riding the bus to work to cut your car costs and lower your risks of complications from obesity. Let us know how you get to work!

caption-arrow  Feature photo by clappstar