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flower in handCenter For Health Newsletter

Winter 2008

WINTER 2008  
Winter brings us opportunities for reflection and for looking ahead. We hope that you are making your health a priority this year. We are here to help. In this issue, we offer information about selecting foods that support and increase your health. Good food is one of the most fundamental elements of a healthy lifestyle.
We welcome the addition of new services and practitioners this January. Dr. Maria Gentry launches her private practice in Osteopathic Medicine. Ann Kinner Johnson, CYT joins us to offer private Svaroopa yoga sessions and we expand our massage therapy department with the addition of Todd Hover, LMT. Information about our new practitioners and services will be available online at very soon.
We hope that you find something inside this newsletter that contributes to your health and happiness in 2008!
Choosing a Whole Food Diet  
waiting areaStep by Step Towards a Healthier You

The idea of eating whole foods is simple: by improving the quality of the food that you eat you will improve your health.

Life energy or qi, as the Chinese call it, is present in all of nature. Your body turns the energy of the food that you eat into its own vital energy. It is with this principle in mind that we recommend choosing the highest quality foods, in their natural state, to increase your health.
Understanding how to choose whole foods is different from adopting a new diet. There are no set amounts of this food or that, no gallons of vegetable juice or strict prohibitions on certain food categories. What is most important is to think about your options for food and choose the ones that have the greatest ability to increase your health. Much of the food that is available to us contains chemicals that have been added during the growing or processing. Though there are many reasons for chemical processing of food, the bottom line is that the foods that contain the most vitality are the ones closest to their source of origin, without additives, chemicals, preservatives and pharmaceuticals.
Diets come and go. Maybe you have tried many different diets or maybe you are eating the same things that you have always eaten. Either way, if you are ready to think about the food that you eat as a tool for health, the idea of eating whole foods may be refreshingly simple.

Eating is a habit. It is a very basic need for our survival.There is a connection between the food we eat and the way we feel. If your goal is to choose a healthier diet, you will have the most success if you begin slowly and thoughtfully. Rather than making huge changes in your diet all at once, take it step by step.

Building better food habits has a life long impact. Eating is something that you do for your body each and every day. By choosing good foods and avoiding poor quality and over processed foods, you provide your body with fuel and the feeling of being well nourished. Do not take a self-punishing approach as you work to eliminate foods that are harmful to your health. Focus instead on including healthy foods at the core of your diet. Remember that your body is in a constantly seeking balance. If you work to build healthy eating habits they will take the place of unhealthy ones because there is no room for both.

Steps towards choosing whole foods:

  • Look at the foods in your cabinets. Read the ingredient lists and try to figure out what ingredient is the main source of nutrition in each product. For example - wheat flour is usually a central ingredient in bread, rice in a rice cereal, and apples in applesauce.
  • Look for whole foods that offer the same main ingredients that you enjoy eating, without the extra processing and additives. Select foods that contain only identifiable ingredients. Avoid foods that contain lots of chemical names.
  • Replace your staples as they run out with organically grown and minimally processed foods. Organic food has been produced without the addition of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hormones. This means that you are not consuming the residues from these additives that, while they may have a role in certain kinds of farming, do not contribute to your health. Experiment with different whole grain and multigrain products until you find those that you like best.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store first. Here you will find the bulk of a whole foods diet - fresh vegetables and fruits, meat, dairy and fresh baked goods. For your grains, head for the bulk section and buy the grains themselves - flours, rice, quinoa, millet, oats etc - rather than grain based products that contain additives. There are whole sections of the grocery store that are unnecessary - like the potato chips/ soda/ cookie aisle. It may take some effort, but many people find it hard to go back to eating highly processed foods after they get away from the habit.
  • You don't have to sacrifice all convenience. Nor is it necessary to adopt an entirely new set of flavors and basic ingredients. Rather, the key is to learn to prepare higher quality, natural versions of the foods that you like. For example, some canned food items, like Progresso lentil soup, are full of additives and preservatives. Other similar products, like Amy's organic lentil soup, while not fresh, are made of higher quality, whole food ingredients. Look for simple, quick alternatives to the foods that you have discovered to be full of additives. For example, if you love packaged, quick cooking rice products (like Rice-a-Roni), you might discover that whole wheat couscous cooked in chicken broth is a tasty alternative that takes no more time or effort, just knowledge.
Practitioner Directory  
All practitioners can be reached at the Center for Health office at 274-7520. Additonal contact numbers are listed below.
Abigail T. Costello LMT, LAc
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal and Dietary Therapies, Clincical Massage
Maria Gentry DO
Osteopathic Medicine
Maren Waldman BA, LMT
Massage Therapy
Traci Wells LMT
Massage Therapy
Todd Hover LMT
Massage Therapy, Cancer Wellness Services
Ann K Johnson CTY
Yoga and Meditation Instruction
Michael Costello MS, PT
Tai Chi and Ba Gua Instruction
Quick Links
What's On The Menu?  
Breakfast is a Great Opportunity.
Choosing good foods for your first meal gives you energy for the day, helps to keep your blood sugar stable and curbs the tendency to overeat at lunch or snack the day away.

Here are some ideas for whole food breakfast options that give you a filling, balanced first meal.
Steel Cut Oatmeal
Combine 3 cups water with 1 cup oats. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered or uncovered for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has been absorbed & the oats are thick.
For a quicker oatmeal, look for chopped steel cut oats in the bulk section. They do not require soaking and cook up in just a couple of minutes because they are cut into smaller pieces.
Serve with pure maple syrup or honey to sweeten. Cinnamon adds both flavor & warmth and sliced almonds provide protein and add a moistening effect.
NOTES: 1 cup oats makes 3-4 cups oatmeal. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Steel cut oats are quite inexpensive in bulk. To save time in the morning, soak the oats overnight in the pan, then cook for a shorter time in the morning. For variety, try dry roasting the oats before adding the water.
Total time: 5-30 minutes
Sesame Eggs
Heat about a teaspoon of untoasted sesame oil on a low flame. Add eggs and allow to cook to your preference. Sesame oil is nourishing and moistens the body from the inside out. A daily dose of sesame oil is a great help for winter's dry skin and hair. It will also help with constipation and a dry cough.
Total time: 3-5 minutes

Greens with Garlic and Rice Vinegar
Use kale, collard greens, spinach, or swiss chard. Chop leaves into strips & stalk (except for spinach) into 1/2-inch pieces. Chop 1 clove garlic & saute in 1 tsp vegetable oil for about 1 min. Add greens & 1/2 tsp rice vinegar & cook until just wilted (about 3 minutes.)
NOTES: Greens can be cooked alongside the eggs in the same pan. Use sesame, olive or vegetable oil in the pan first, start with the greens, then add the eggs on the other half of the pan. Feel free to experiment!

Total time: 5-7 minutes
All of us at the Center for Health wish you a healthy and happy start for 2008. Stay warm, get a bit of extra rest and enjoy the season's beauty!
Abigail Thomas-Costello MS,LMT,LAc
Director, Center for Health