Tag: wellness

  • Diabetes Education and Prevention

    November 6, 2019

    Tags: , , , ,

    Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body converts food to energy. Diabetes patients are unable to make enough of the hormone called insulin or cannot use the insulin that is made in their body efficiently.  When this happens, your body can respond in some serious ways that include liver damage, heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

    There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body just stops making insulin. These patients are usually diagnosed as children, teens, or early adults. Type 2 diabetes is a result of your body not using the insulin produced in an efficient manner. About 90% of all diabetic patients are type 2 cases. But, through education and prevention, the effects of diabetes on a person’s body can be lessened.

    How is food converted to energy?

    When you eat food, most of it is converted to sugar (glucose) and released into your bloodstream to provide you with the energy you need to do daily tasks. When your blood sugar levels increase, your pancreas is then activated to release insulin into your body’s cells and use it for energy. Insulin not only helps convert glucose to energy, but it also helps our body store glucose for future energy use.

    Diabetes = Broken Process

    In some people, the conversion process is interrupted and the message to the pancreas to release insulin into the cells to use for energy is done ineffectively. These patients have trouble balancing the correct amount of insulin in their cells and so therefore have a harder time maintaining energy levels. Diabetic patients try to get rid of extra sugar (blood sugar level of 180 +) through the kidneys and therefore have the need to urinate more often. When releasing large amounts of sugar through urine, it means that there is less available to convert to energy and leads to lethargy, loss of appetite, and excess burning of body fat.

    Education & Prevention is Key

    For people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, understanding how your body processes sugar and maintains healthy blood sugar levels is paramount. Those with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin shots to keep blood sugar levels even. These patients are unable to reverse this autoimmune disease and solely rely on insulin shots to level out glucose levels. Those with type 2 diabetes can control the progression of this disease by making healthy diet choices and exercising regularly. In some cases, type 2 diabetics also have to include insulin shots or diabetes pills.

    November is National Diabetes Month and is a great opportunity to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Maintaining blood sugar levels through diet and exercise as well as becoming aware of the effects of the eating choices you make is key to understanding this disease. For more information on diabetes and how to make good choices, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

  • Nutrition Tips for Busy Families | CA Benefits Advisors

    September 25, 2019

    Tags: , , ,

    The typical family in the US looks quite different today than it did 30 years ago. School, sports, church, clubs and activities, and longer work hours have changed the way we allocate our time as well as how we eat.  With families getting busier and busier, how do you make healthy eating a priority? It’s actually pretty easy!

    New Look/Old Concept

    Do you remember the food pyramid that your health teacher showed you in elementary school? It looked a little something like this:

    Grains were depicted as the largest food group, taking up the most room on the pyramid. We were encouraged to eat 6-11 servings a day! Dairy and meats comprised less than ¼ of the recommended foods. Today, the food pyramid has been completely reworked to now look like this:

    Gone is the illustration that suggested one food group was more important than another. New guidelines encourage a balanced plate of food and help users visualize what their actual plate should look like. Here are some simple tips for busy families to follow to achieve balanced nutrition.


    Make a Meal Plan

    Sit down with your family and brainstorm some meals that everyone likes. After you have a good-sized list of family favorites, make a menu of what you are going to make for dinner this week. When you go grocery shopping, buy only the items you need to make these dinners and stick to it. Not only will this cut down on making multiple trips to the grocery store each week (who has time for that?) but it also allows you to plan a balanced meal and ensures you have the ingredients to keep it balanced. Fewer trips to the store also means less money spent on impulse items!


    5 Food Groups & Being Sneaky

    Instead of placing a greater emphasis on one type of food, like in the old food pyramid, the United States Department of Agriculture now encourages an almost even distribution of food groups. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy should be nearly equally represented on your plate. Have a picky eater who just will not eat veggies? Sneak them in! Grate carrots to include in your lasagna sauce or throw a handful of spinach leaves in your child’s breakfast smoothie. Be creative to keep that plate a balanced one.


    Meal Prep = Saved Minutes

    The number one excuse busy families make for not eating healthy is that it takes too much time to cook at home when they need to be on the go.  It’s just easier and faster to grab a meal in the drive-thru versus making one in the kitchen. That doesn’t have to be so! When you make your week-long meal plan, you can choose the amount of time you can allot to meal prep. Don’t choose labor-intensive meals when you have a short window of time to cook and eat. Also, set aside a couple hours on the weekend and prep as much of the meals as you can for the week. Grill all the chicken you need at one time. Chop all the vegetables for the week and measure them out into baggies for each recipe. Portion out healthy snacks for the week so they are quick to grab on the way to the next activity. By spending a small amount of time planning ahead for the week, you will save yourself from bad food choices when you are at your busiest (and hungriest).


    Creativity is Key

    Food boredom is real. We are all guilty of saying “nothing looks good to eat” when we stare mindlessly into the pantry or refrigerator while searching for a snack or trying to figure out a meal.  To keep a busy family from getting bored of eating the same old stuff, be creative with your meals! And being creative doesn’t have to mean making flower shaped sandwiches or taking extra time to cook. Creativity is as simple as a Google search for “Grab and Go Breakfasts” or “Quick Healthy Meals.”

    Eating healthy doesn’t have to be out of reach for a busy family. By following these very basic and very simple tips, you can cook up a balanced plate of food for your loved ones each week. Your waistband and your wallet will both thank you for adopting some new nutrition habits. Your friends at your favorite fast food drive-thru may miss seeing you everyday, but you can always stop by and drop off a healthy snack to share.

  • 5 Tips to Beat the Heat | California Benefits Consultants

    August 19, 2019

    Tags: , , ,

    There’s no denying that summer has arrived. In fact, the news has been abuzz with Alaska’s heat wave in July that sent temperatures soaring between 20 and 30 degrees above average. When you are caught in the middle of a heat wave, it may seem like there’s nothing you can do to keep cool. But, there are ways for you to beat the heat this summer and stay safe from heat related illnesses.

     

    Avoid the Heat

    It may seem like a no-brainer to avoid the heat to prevent a heat related illness but some professions work solely outdoors. In those cases, there aren’t many options for avoiding the heat.  Be aware of the hottest time of day and limit physical activity outside during that time.

    Reduce Activity Levels

    Plan the most active job of the day to be in the morning when the sun and heat aren’t as intense. Heatstroke can occur when a person engages in strenuous activity for long periods of time in the heat. If possible, arrange workflows to include times of rest and times to visit a cooling station.

    Drink Fluids Regularly

    The underlying factor in most heat related illness is the inadequate supply of fluids for your body, in other words, drink more water! Heavy sweating depletes a person’s body of fluid and salt and this in turn can cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion. If this occurs, drink cool water or an electrolyte-replacement beverage like Gatorade. To prevent these two illnesses, drink plenty of water before you know you will be outside in the heat so that your body has sufficient fluids in reserve.

    Have a Buddy System

    When you know you will working outside or even playing outside in the heat of the day, make sure you have someone with you. If you should experience a heat related illness while alone, there would be no one available to offer first aid or call for help. As in the case of heatstroke, confusion and weakness along with fainting and possibly convulsions could occur. These are all series symptoms and require immediate action for treatment. The buddy system gives you a safety net of someone else who can recognize these symptoms and can act to save them.

    Take a Dip!

    The best way to beat the heat is by cooling off your body. Not everyone has access to a pool when spending time outside in the heat so if that’s the case, use cold compresses or ice and ice packs to lower body temperature. You can also remove excess clothing and spray your body with cool water. If you do have someone with you and you are experiencing a heat related illness, make sure they are watching you if you jump into a pool.

     

    By following these easy tips to beat the heat you can safely be outside when temperatures are at their peak. Enjoy your summer and stay cool!

  • Is Wellness Doing Well Even When It is a Good Idea?

    July 10, 2019

    Tags:

     

    The evidence has always been anecdotal.  The evidence has also sometimes been pointed in the right direction, but not the direction researchers want to see – they want to see proof that participation in wellness programs actually improves blood pressure, sugar levels, etc.

    The latest “downer” is a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which looked at the experience of 33,000 employees at BJ’s Wholesale Club over a year and a half.  The findings were that, despite exercise and weight watching, the employees experienced no significant long-term outcomes like lower blood pressure or improved sugar levels.  This adds to the recent Illinois Workplace Study, which also questioned the value of workplace wellness programs.  Proponents, of course, say that the JAMA study did not focus on enough variables, that not all programs are the same, and that education is not sufficient, especially given the often-irrational behavior attributed to everyone that can also defy measurement.

     

    So what happens to all the dollars spent on FitBits, Apple Watches and all the other buddy systems we need to keep us healthy?  It will require more research!

  • 5 Simple Tips to SPRING into Fitness! | California Benefits Team

    April 17, 2019

    Tags: ,

    Spring is here! That means it’s time to ditch those winter layers, and even that excess winter weight. No matter what your current fitness level, spring is a great time to refocus your habits and spruce up your routine.

    Get a Check Up or a Physical

    Before starting any new fitness regimen, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. Your medical professional will be able to assess any potential risks associated with starting a new fitness routine and may advise you on the types of activities you should try or avoid. For example, if you suffer from low back pain, your doctor can suggest the types of activities that will strengthen your muscles without extra risk of injury, and they may even suggest avoiding certain types of workouts.

    Hit the Trails

    If you enjoy walking, jogging, or biking, it’s time to take your workouts into the great outdoors. Indoor workouts are convenient, not to mention climate controlled, but it’s time to take advantage of the spring weather and enjoy those activities out of doors for a nice change of pace. While you’re at it, change your pace! Try increasing your speed or adding in some hills and add the extra challenge your current fitness level.

    Sign Up for a Race

    Spring is a great time to walk, jog, or run in a charity race. Whether it’s a cause close to your heart, or an event close to home, there are lots of 5K’s and fun-runs to choose from. Try searching on Facebook events for upcoming races. Sometimes the simple act of paying a registration can be all the motivation needed to get your running or walking back on track–figuratively and literally.

    Join a Local Team

    All work and no play can make for a very boring fitness routine. Try joining a local recreational sports league. Check with your local parks and recreation office for adult leagues. It can be a great way to get fit while making new friends. Soccer, softball, volleyball and even dodgeball are common. If you can find coworkers to join you, consider starting an office team of your own. Bragging rights can be very effective motivational tools!

    Start a Fitness Challenge at Work

    Start a sports team isn’t the only way to get the office involved. Consider starting an office fitness challenge. It could be something as simple as a “30-Day Water Challenge” or a “Biggest Loser” weight loss contest. The most important part of a fitness challenge at work is the opportunity to motivate one another, to challenge one another, and even to hold each other accountable.

    Start by assessing your current fitness level, consult a medical professional as needed, and set realistic goals for improvement. From there, the possibilities are endless.

  • Diabetes Education and Prevention

    November 6, 2019

    Tags: , , , ,

    Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body converts food to energy. Diabetes patients are unable to make enough of the hormone called insulin or cannot use the insulin that is made in their body efficiently.  When this happens, your body can respond in some serious ways that include liver damage, heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

    There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body just stops making insulin. These patients are usually diagnosed as children, teens, or early adults. Type 2 diabetes is a result of your body not using the insulin produced in an efficient manner. About 90% of all diabetic patients are type 2 cases. But, through education and prevention, the effects of diabetes on a person’s body can be lessened.

    How is food converted to energy?

    When you eat food, most of it is converted to sugar (glucose) and released into your bloodstream to provide you with the energy you need to do daily tasks. When your blood sugar levels increase, your pancreas is then activated to release insulin into your body’s cells and use it for energy. Insulin not only helps convert glucose to energy, but it also helps our body store glucose for future energy use.

    Diabetes = Broken Process

    In some people, the conversion process is interrupted and the message to the pancreas to release insulin into the cells to use for energy is done ineffectively. These patients have trouble balancing the correct amount of insulin in their cells and so therefore have a harder time maintaining energy levels. Diabetic patients try to get rid of extra sugar (blood sugar level of 180 +) through the kidneys and therefore have the need to urinate more often. When releasing large amounts of sugar through urine, it means that there is less available to convert to energy and leads to lethargy, loss of appetite, and excess burning of body fat.

    Education & Prevention is Key

    For people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, understanding how your body processes sugar and maintains healthy blood sugar levels is paramount. Those with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin shots to keep blood sugar levels even. These patients are unable to reverse this autoimmune disease and solely rely on insulin shots to level out glucose levels. Those with type 2 diabetes can control the progression of this disease by making healthy diet choices and exercising regularly. In some cases, type 2 diabetics also have to include insulin shots or diabetes pills.

    November is National Diabetes Month and is a great opportunity to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Maintaining blood sugar levels through diet and exercise as well as becoming aware of the effects of the eating choices you make is key to understanding this disease. For more information on diabetes and how to make good choices, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

  • Nutrition Tips for Busy Families | CA Benefits Advisors

    September 25, 2019

    Tags: , , ,

    The typical family in the US looks quite different today than it did 30 years ago. School, sports, church, clubs and activities, and longer work hours have changed the way we allocate our time as well as how we eat.  With families getting busier and busier, how do you make healthy eating a priority? It’s actually pretty easy!

    New Look/Old Concept

    Do you remember the food pyramid that your health teacher showed you in elementary school? It looked a little something like this:

    Grains were depicted as the largest food group, taking up the most room on the pyramid. We were encouraged to eat 6-11 servings a day! Dairy and meats comprised less than ¼ of the recommended foods. Today, the food pyramid has been completely reworked to now look like this:

    Gone is the illustration that suggested one food group was more important than another. New guidelines encourage a balanced plate of food and help users visualize what their actual plate should look like. Here are some simple tips for busy families to follow to achieve balanced nutrition.


    Make a Meal Plan

    Sit down with your family and brainstorm some meals that everyone likes. After you have a good-sized list of family favorites, make a menu of what you are going to make for dinner this week. When you go grocery shopping, buy only the items you need to make these dinners and stick to it. Not only will this cut down on making multiple trips to the grocery store each week (who has time for that?) but it also allows you to plan a balanced meal and ensures you have the ingredients to keep it balanced. Fewer trips to the store also means less money spent on impulse items!


    5 Food Groups & Being Sneaky

    Instead of placing a greater emphasis on one type of food, like in the old food pyramid, the United States Department of Agriculture now encourages an almost even distribution of food groups. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy should be nearly equally represented on your plate. Have a picky eater who just will not eat veggies? Sneak them in! Grate carrots to include in your lasagna sauce or throw a handful of spinach leaves in your child’s breakfast smoothie. Be creative to keep that plate a balanced one.


    Meal Prep = Saved Minutes

    The number one excuse busy families make for not eating healthy is that it takes too much time to cook at home when they need to be on the go.  It’s just easier and faster to grab a meal in the drive-thru versus making one in the kitchen. That doesn’t have to be so! When you make your week-long meal plan, you can choose the amount of time you can allot to meal prep. Don’t choose labor-intensive meals when you have a short window of time to cook and eat. Also, set aside a couple hours on the weekend and prep as much of the meals as you can for the week. Grill all the chicken you need at one time. Chop all the vegetables for the week and measure them out into baggies for each recipe. Portion out healthy snacks for the week so they are quick to grab on the way to the next activity. By spending a small amount of time planning ahead for the week, you will save yourself from bad food choices when you are at your busiest (and hungriest).


    Creativity is Key

    Food boredom is real. We are all guilty of saying “nothing looks good to eat” when we stare mindlessly into the pantry or refrigerator while searching for a snack or trying to figure out a meal.  To keep a busy family from getting bored of eating the same old stuff, be creative with your meals! And being creative doesn’t have to mean making flower shaped sandwiches or taking extra time to cook. Creativity is as simple as a Google search for “Grab and Go Breakfasts” or “Quick Healthy Meals.”

    Eating healthy doesn’t have to be out of reach for a busy family. By following these very basic and very simple tips, you can cook up a balanced plate of food for your loved ones each week. Your waistband and your wallet will both thank you for adopting some new nutrition habits. Your friends at your favorite fast food drive-thru may miss seeing you everyday, but you can always stop by and drop off a healthy snack to share.

  • 5 Tips to Beat the Heat | California Benefits Consultants

    August 19, 2019

    Tags: , , ,

    There’s no denying that summer has arrived. In fact, the news has been abuzz with Alaska’s heat wave in July that sent temperatures soaring between 20 and 30 degrees above average. When you are caught in the middle of a heat wave, it may seem like there’s nothing you can do to keep cool. But, there are ways for you to beat the heat this summer and stay safe from heat related illnesses.

     

    Avoid the Heat

    It may seem like a no-brainer to avoid the heat to prevent a heat related illness but some professions work solely outdoors. In those cases, there aren’t many options for avoiding the heat.  Be aware of the hottest time of day and limit physical activity outside during that time.

    Reduce Activity Levels

    Plan the most active job of the day to be in the morning when the sun and heat aren’t as intense. Heatstroke can occur when a person engages in strenuous activity for long periods of time in the heat. If possible, arrange workflows to include times of rest and times to visit a cooling station.

    Drink Fluids Regularly

    The underlying factor in most heat related illness is the inadequate supply of fluids for your body, in other words, drink more water! Heavy sweating depletes a person’s body of fluid and salt and this in turn can cause heat cramps and heat exhaustion. If this occurs, drink cool water or an electrolyte-replacement beverage like Gatorade. To prevent these two illnesses, drink plenty of water before you know you will be outside in the heat so that your body has sufficient fluids in reserve.

    Have a Buddy System

    When you know you will working outside or even playing outside in the heat of the day, make sure you have someone with you. If you should experience a heat related illness while alone, there would be no one available to offer first aid or call for help. As in the case of heatstroke, confusion and weakness along with fainting and possibly convulsions could occur. These are all series symptoms and require immediate action for treatment. The buddy system gives you a safety net of someone else who can recognize these symptoms and can act to save them.

    Take a Dip!

    The best way to beat the heat is by cooling off your body. Not everyone has access to a pool when spending time outside in the heat so if that’s the case, use cold compresses or ice and ice packs to lower body temperature. You can also remove excess clothing and spray your body with cool water. If you do have someone with you and you are experiencing a heat related illness, make sure they are watching you if you jump into a pool.

     

    By following these easy tips to beat the heat you can safely be outside when temperatures are at their peak. Enjoy your summer and stay cool!

  • Is Wellness Doing Well Even When It is a Good Idea?

    July 10, 2019

    Tags:

     

    The evidence has always been anecdotal.  The evidence has also sometimes been pointed in the right direction, but not the direction researchers want to see – they want to see proof that participation in wellness programs actually improves blood pressure, sugar levels, etc.

    The latest “downer” is a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which looked at the experience of 33,000 employees at BJ’s Wholesale Club over a year and a half.  The findings were that, despite exercise and weight watching, the employees experienced no significant long-term outcomes like lower blood pressure or improved sugar levels.  This adds to the recent Illinois Workplace Study, which also questioned the value of workplace wellness programs.  Proponents, of course, say that the JAMA study did not focus on enough variables, that not all programs are the same, and that education is not sufficient, especially given the often-irrational behavior attributed to everyone that can also defy measurement.

     

    So what happens to all the dollars spent on FitBits, Apple Watches and all the other buddy systems we need to keep us healthy?  It will require more research!

  • 5 Simple Tips to SPRING into Fitness! | California Benefits Team

    April 17, 2019

    Tags: ,

    Spring is here! That means it’s time to ditch those winter layers, and even that excess winter weight. No matter what your current fitness level, spring is a great time to refocus your habits and spruce up your routine.

    Get a Check Up or a Physical

    Before starting any new fitness regimen, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor. Your medical professional will be able to assess any potential risks associated with starting a new fitness routine and may advise you on the types of activities you should try or avoid. For example, if you suffer from low back pain, your doctor can suggest the types of activities that will strengthen your muscles without extra risk of injury, and they may even suggest avoiding certain types of workouts.

    Hit the Trails

    If you enjoy walking, jogging, or biking, it’s time to take your workouts into the great outdoors. Indoor workouts are convenient, not to mention climate controlled, but it’s time to take advantage of the spring weather and enjoy those activities out of doors for a nice change of pace. While you’re at it, change your pace! Try increasing your speed or adding in some hills and add the extra challenge your current fitness level.

    Sign Up for a Race

    Spring is a great time to walk, jog, or run in a charity race. Whether it’s a cause close to your heart, or an event close to home, there are lots of 5K’s and fun-runs to choose from. Try searching on Facebook events for upcoming races. Sometimes the simple act of paying a registration can be all the motivation needed to get your running or walking back on track–figuratively and literally.

    Join a Local Team

    All work and no play can make for a very boring fitness routine. Try joining a local recreational sports league. Check with your local parks and recreation office for adult leagues. It can be a great way to get fit while making new friends. Soccer, softball, volleyball and even dodgeball are common. If you can find coworkers to join you, consider starting an office team of your own. Bragging rights can be very effective motivational tools!

    Start a Fitness Challenge at Work

    Start a sports team isn’t the only way to get the office involved. Consider starting an office fitness challenge. It could be something as simple as a “30-Day Water Challenge” or a “Biggest Loser” weight loss contest. The most important part of a fitness challenge at work is the opportunity to motivate one another, to challenge one another, and even to hold each other accountable.

    Start by assessing your current fitness level, consult a medical professional as needed, and set realistic goals for improvement. From there, the possibilities are endless.

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