Knowing the Heart

By: Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Prevention Program; Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Public Health During the month of February there is a constant theme of gratitude for the people we love.  But how we can pay gratitude to our heart? The heart is essential to life. It cannot be heard unless one listens, but it always gently beats to remind you it is there. The heart works every day to pump blood throughout the body; from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Blood contains oxygen and vital nutrients and carries carbon [...]

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

By: Charlene Cariou, MHS, CHES, Comprehensive Cancer Prevention Program Manager, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Cervical cancer screening can prevent cancer – don’t put it off! Start the new year off right and get screened for cervical cancer. Get screened regularly- cervical cancer can be prevented when cell changes are caught early and treated Did you know? Cervical Cancer Quick Facts: 3 out of 10 Idaho women still need to be screened for cervical cancer – most of these women have health insurance coverage. Idaho ranks 50th in the nation for cervical cancer screening, we can do better! Women [...]

Celebrating Responsibly This Holiday Season

By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division Idaho sets the perfect holiday stage for us every year.  We hear songs like, “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “O Christmas Tree” that put us all in the holiday spirit. We also hear, however, many songs that reference and promote alcohol and being drunk during the holidays such as “Drunk on Christmas,” “One More Christmas Beer” and “All I Want for Christmas is Whiskey.” They tell us to “Eat, Drink and be Merry,” and many of us do. In fact, 16% of adults say they drink more than usual during [...]

Journey Towards Wellness

By: Kara Federonick, MPH, Treasure Valley YMCA With National Diabetes Awareness Month in full swing, I want to touch on the value, importance and process of journeying towards wellness.  Every human walking this earth knows just how challenging change can be, but there is question as to whether everyone knows just how valuable change is- and not only change, but also how important the journey and struggle towards change is.  Taking a look at examples in the natural world around us, butterflies would not be able to fly if they did not struggle in breaking out of the cocoon after [...]

Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Eat Beans

By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.”  If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food. Beans are Versatile There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served [...]

Knowing the Heart

By: Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke Prevention Program; Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Public Health

During the month of February there is a constant theme of gratitude for the people we love.  But how we can pay gratitude to our heart?

The heart is essential to life. It cannot be heard unless one listens, but it always gently beats to remind you it is there. The heart works every day to pump blood throughout the body; from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Blood contains oxygen and vital nutrients and carries carbon dioxide and waste to be recycled and eliminated.

We have heard it all before: Eat your vegetables. Consume heart-healthy proteins such as fish, legumes, or lean poultry. Eat fewer foods containing high amounts of sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Exercise regularly.  Reduce stress.

We all know those things are easier said than done. So, what is the magic trick? Tell me something I haven’t heard before that would make those things easier to do.

Health professionals say it’s important to pair heart health recommendations with behavior changes.

The heart beats and takes care of us every day, but it is easy to forget about. Unfortunately, we don’t always worry about our lifestyle choices until they result in medical issues. Educating yourself can help prompt questions regarding your heart. Why should I care about eating a heart-healthy diet? Why do I need to exercise? What does the heart even do?

Learning about the heart is no easy task. After all, it is a complex organ involved in an entire circulatory system!

The American Heart Association is a great place to begin exploring that pumping powerhouse in your chest. The organization’s website has a “Health Topics” tab that contains information on the different illnesses involving the heart. You can learn about the risks in the privacy of your home. Knowing the risks beforehand might help you be more motivated to prevent heart disease. This website also contains great ideas for reducing stress, remaining active, and promoting health.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has free evidenced-based nutrition information to create heart nourishing eating patterns. It equips you with the tools needed to build your own nutrient-packed grocery lists as well as the confidence you might get by reading information from a trusted resource. Simply type in “Heart” in the search box and, voilà, multiple articles for hearty indulgence.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services lists daily activities and recommendations to get the heart pumping like a well-oiled machine.

So as you’re writing your Valentine’s for your loved ones this Feb. 14, take a few minutes to consider your heart and the healthy steps you might take to show it some gratitude on the holiday of hearts.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

By: Charlene Cariou, MHS, CHES, Comprehensive Cancer Prevention Program Manager, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Cervical cancer screening can prevent cancer – don’t put it off!
Start the new year off right and get screened for cervical cancer. Get screened regularly- cervical cancer can be prevented when cell changes are caught early and treated

Did you know?
Cervical Cancer Quick Facts:

  • 3 out of 10 Idaho women still need to be screened for cervical cancer – most of these women have health insurance coverage.
  • Idaho ranks 50th in the nation for cervical cancer screening, we can do better!
  • Women should have their first PAP test in their 20’s and regularly until age 65.
  • Cervical cancer is PREVENTABLE through regular screening.


Reduce your Risk
What increases your risk for cervical cancer in the first place?

  • Tobacco use – smoking doubles your risk for cervical cancer
  • Almost all cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and girls at ages 11-12.

Call to Action
Get screened and encourage your friends and family to talk to their doctor about getting screened.


For more information about cervical cancer, check out these resources:

Celebrating Responsibly This Holiday Season

By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division

Idaho sets the perfect holiday stage for us every year.  We hear songs like, “Let It Snow,” “Winter Wonderland” and “O Christmas Tree” that put us all in the holiday spirit. We also hear, however, many songs that reference and promote alcohol and being drunk during the holidays such as “Drunk on Christmas,” “One More Christmas Beer” and “All I Want for Christmas is Whiskey.” They tell us to “Eat, Drink and be Merry,” and many of us do. In fact, 16% of adults say they drink more than usual during the holidays and 97% of adults went to work hung over after a party, or know someone who did1. If you decide to consume alcohol this holiday season, it is important to know how to do so in a fun and responsible way.

First, it is estimated that 97+ million Americans will hit the roads between December 23 and January 12.  It is illegal to drive with a 0.05% blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher which most women can reach by having just 2 standard drinks; for men, it is around 3 standard drinks. It can be easy to drink more when socializing, so you are encouraged to plan ahead.

Second, it is important to know what you are drinking, how much you are drinking and over what period of time. The standard used when relating alcohol equivalency is: one 12 fl. oz. beer (5% alcohol) = one 5 fl. oz. glass of wine (12% alcohol) = one 1.5 fl. oz. shot of 80-proof liquor (40% alcohol). This can be a bit misleading, however, as many cocktails have 2.0-2.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof liquor in them so if the standard equivalency rule is used, you will actually consume almost two drinks in one. Also, as the proof of the alcohol gets higher, or the amount of time lessons between drinks, the effects on the body can change dramatically.

Third, mixing alcohol and medication is a no-no. Serious harm can come to you and others so do not combine the two.

Fourth, there are so many opportunities to be with friends and family during the holiday and it is fine and legal to enjoy alcohol if you are over the age of 21; and it can be a lot of fun when done responsibly. Mixblendenjoy.com is the state of Idaho’s retail website where you can find more information about party planning, drink recipes and product availability around the state. It is a great tool to have when planning your holiday event.

Last, but certainly not least, if you are driving, entertaining or headed to a family function with children, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks available. A fun and easy drink is a Cranberry Lime Mule Mocktail. Start with a copper cup (if available), fill with ice, add one part cranberry juice, two parts non-alcoholic ginger beer or ginger ale, add a squeeze of lime, then garnish with a lime and a few cranberries. Delicious and festive!

Wishing you and yours a happy, safe and fun holiday season and make sure to keep singing -“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Let’s Start the New Year Right!”

Sources:
1 Harris Interactive Survey for Caron Treatment Centers, 2017.
2 Newsroom.AAA.com

Journey Towards Wellness

By: Kara Federonick, MPH, Treasure Valley YMCA

With National Diabetes Awareness Month in full swing, I want to touch on the value, importance and process of journeying towards wellness.  Every human walking this earth knows just how challenging change can be, but there is question as to whether everyone knows just how valuable change is- and not only change, but also how important the journey and struggle towards change is.  Taking a look at examples in the natural world around us, butterflies would not be able to fly if they did not struggle in breaking out of the cocoon after metamorphosis.  Diamonds and pearls would not be formed if not for the immense amount of pressure they endure, and gold not refined if it does not pass through the fire.

Anytime we hear words like diabetes and obesity, there is often an immediate response to run in the opposite direction; they are often considered taboo topics.  I ask, however, what has running in the opposite direction from an issue ever helped?  When we examine the health landscape of our nation, we see obesity affecting not only our adults, but now our children as well.  We see diabetes and prediabetes on the rise and affecting an ever increasing portion of our society with 84 million with prediabetes and over 30 million with diabetes.  Change is absolutely essential and crucial to turning the health of our nation around, but what might this journey towards change look like?  Here are a few steps on the journey towards wellness:

  1. Know and recognize the value of the life you have. You bring value to those around you and can make an incredible impact on society, but you need to make that choice.  You need to know and realize this, and know you are a gift and your life has a purpose.  You are needed but if you do not see this, if you do not pursue to change and grow into the best version of yourself, you rob yourself and others of the gift you have to offer.  Your health matters, you matter!
  2. There is a gap between knowing you need to change and wanting to change and an even greater gap between wanting to change and actually being ready to change and starting to implement change in your life. Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself where you are on this journey and what it will take to get you from where you are to the next step in this journey.  If you need help processing and identifying where you are, ask for help from a friend, family, or community resource.  Asking for help does not mean one is weak, rather it shows how strong someone is for realizing we weren’t meant to journey life alone.
  3. Once you have identified where you are on the journey towards wellness, get connected with the tools, resources and individuals around you available to help you progress towards the best you. Whether that starts with a friend, health professional, church or community group, or local gym or YMCA, find out where you stand, what you need to change, and get plugged in!

 

Remember, you are a priceless gift and gem in the making.  But first comes the struggle; the struggle is good and has a purpose.  Let’s journey together towards wellness and change!

Resources for Diabetes and Prediabetes 

Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Eat Beans

By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission

According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.”  If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food.

Beans are Versatile
There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served as a main course or a side dish. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans can be considered as a main protein entree or a side vegetable. That is versatility at its best!

Beans are Easy to Prepare
Whether you are cooking them dried or straight from the can, they are easy! Dried takes a little longer, but the process is simple (*see instructions below). Once they are cooked and ready to go, add them to soups, hummus, salads, or even smoothies! Visit the Idaho Bean Commission’s website for recipes ideas.

Beans are Inexpensive
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, beans are a great cost-conscious alternative! Adding them to your menu as a main dish protein can cut your budget tremendously. Chef Brenda recommends making homemade black bean burgers, hearty vegetarian chili, or topping entrée size salads with beans as your main protein source.

Beans are a Protein and a Fiber-Rich Superfood
Most Americans are getting enough protein. However, they are often deficient by about 10 grams of fiber a day. By adding one cup of cooked beans to their diet, they will be adding about 12-16 grams of fiber a day. Additionally, beans are high in antioxidants.  They are also low in calories and saturated fat.

Beans are Excellent for Weight Loss
One cup of canned black beans is only 218 calories! Not only are they low in calories, they provide lots of bulk during digestion. So, they will keep you full longer! Adding beans to your diet is one of the best ways to get a variety of nutrients for such a small number of calories.

*How to Prepare Dried Beans
Rinse and drain one pound of dry beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in sauce pan and cover with 6 cups water. Either soak overnight or boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water. Replace with clean water and cook beans at a low boil for one to two hours, until beans are tender.

Rock Your Role!

By: Rebecca Sprague, MPH, Health Education Specialist, Suicide Prevention Program, Division of Public Health

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is September 9-15. This will be a time when some of us honor loved ones lost to suicide. Many will renew efforts to prevent suicide deaths. It is also important to focus our attention on hope, help, strength and recovery!

We all have a very important role to play in suicide prevention and intervention.  Here are just a few ways that you can Rock Your Role!

  • Learn the warning signs
  • Watch for signs in friends, family & co-workers
  • Take action when you see signs of suicide in a person and get them to help

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about suicide
  • Isolation & withdrawal
  • Agitation & sleeplessness
  • Nightmares
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased use of alcohol/drugs
  • Talking about feeling hopeless
  • Previous suicide attempts

Taking Action

  • Call/Text/Chat the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-HELP or idahosuicideprevention.org/chat/
  • Take them to a crisis center near you (see crisis center information below)
  • Take them to the emergency department or doctor’s office
  • Schedule a visit with a behavioral health provider
  • Contact your employee assistance program

What are Your Strengths?

We’ve all got ‘em! But sometimes it can be hard to identify them, especially when we’re feeling down. Helping others identify their strengths or healthy ways to cope can be just the thing they need to get them back into a place of hope and recovery. These strengths can be any number of things. For some it means connecting with nature, for others it means singing, reading a good book, spending time with a pet, hanging out with a positive friend or talking to a counselor.

Crisis Centers

Idaho’s Behavioral Health Community Crisis Centers (BHCCCs) provide services to adults in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder crisis services. The BHCCCs are open 24 hours, seven days a week to assist adults 18 and older in crisis to become stabilized and connect them with community resources to help them effectively deal with their situations and avoid further crises.

Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho
7192 Potomac Drive
Boise, Idaho 83704

North Idaho Crisis Center
2195 Ironwood Court, Suite D
Coeur D’Alene, Idaho 83814

Behavioral Health Community Crisis Center of East Idaho
1650 N. Holmes Avenue
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401

Crisis Center of South Central Idaho
570 Shoup Avenue West
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301