A Healthful Diet: Pack a nutritious lunch and earn extra credit in health

By Jenny Petitti
Packing lunch for yourself and for your kids as you head off for work and school can be a budget-friendly and waist-friendly undertaking. If you plan ahead, you can use lunch time to fuel your body right by choosing nutritious foods, and a balanced diet will keep your energy levels high and your cravings low.
So, how do you pack a better lunch?
• Focus on fruits and vegetables. Diets high in fruits and vegetables helps reduce your risk of heart disease and may protect against certain cancers. Be sure to wash ready to eat fruits and vegetables. Some lunch-box-friendly ideas are: grapes, clementines, apples, oranges, berries, cherries, kiwi, banana, watermelon slices, peaches, pears, raw peppers, sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes and sweet potato wedges. Choosing whole fruits instead of juice or fruit bars packs more nutrients per calorie and will help keep you satisfied.
• Choose whole grains. Bread, pita, wraps and crackers made from whole grains will boost protein, iron, fiber and B vitamin intake. Whole grains have been shown to reduce diabetes risk, obesity, heart disease and some cancers.
• Pack lean proteins. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, hard boiled eggs and tuna, as well as low fat dairy like milk, yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese, help build muscle.
• Round out your meal with healthy fats. Fat is crucial in order to absorb key nutrients like vitamins A, D, E and K. Healthy fats like olive oil based dressings, fatty fish, flaxseed, avocado, guacamole and unsalted nuts help improve blood cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of heart disease.
• Keep your cool. Be sure to use in an insulated lunch box and ice packs to keep foods safe and cool.
Here are a few A+ lunch ideas
• Spinach Salad: 2 cups of baby spinach, 3 oz. grilled chicken, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup reduced fat feta cheese, sliced tomato, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil paired with 2 tablespoons of hummus and 15 whole wheat crackers.
• Tuna Wrap: 6 oz. can of tuna, rinsed and drained mixed with ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt, sliced red peppers, diced onion, handful of baby spinach, whole wheat wrap paired with 15 grapes and reduced fat cheese stick.
• Stir Fry: 1 fried egg, 2/3 cup brown rice with ½ cup of broccoli, ½ cup of carrots, ¼ cup red bell peppers, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.
Jenny Petitti is the registered dietitian at Tamworth Community Nurse Association. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to set up an appointment.
  • Category: Health

Flu season has begun; N.H. has first positive influenza test result

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has announced the first positive influenza test result of the 2016–17 flu season. The positive sample was identified by the State Public Health Laboratories from an adult from Rockingham County.

With the influenza virus circulating in the state, DHHS encourages all New Hampshire residents 6 months of age and older to be vaccinated against the flu at their earliest convenience, especially those who are at increased risk for complications.

"With influenza already beginning to circulate in our communities, we recommend that individuals 6 months of age and older get the flu vaccine," said Dr. Benjamin Chan, New Hampshire state epidemiologist. "It is difficult to predict how a flu season will progress, but the flu vaccine is safe and offers people the best protection to avoid illness and medical complications of influenza virus infection."

  • Category: Health

Non-profit provides assistance to cancer survivors and families in southern part of county

OSSIPEE — A West Ossipee-based organization modeled after Jen's Friends is providing financial assistance to cancer patients and their families in the southern part of Carroll County.
Celebrate Life Cancer Survivor Network, which has already given more than $25,000 to families in need, was recently granted 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, recognizing it as a fully tax-exempt charitable organization.
"This is a big deal for us," said Bernie White, a cancer survivor and president and founder of Celebrate Life Cancer Survivor Network, "Whether we like it or not, we are in competition for donation dollars with other non-profit organizations, and larger donors will inevitably ask if you are 501(c) because it means not only that we are tax exempt, but also their donations are tax deductible."
White doesn't see Celebrate Life Cancer Survivor Network as being in competition with Jen's Friends Cancer Foundation in North Conway.
"We used Jen's Friends as a model because we knew they set the gold standard in our area," White said, "but since they only serve Northern Carroll County and parts of Western Maine, we felt there were so many more families that needed help, especially in Southern Carroll County, and that's where we help fill the gap. We see ourselves as more of a complement to what they do by serving towns outside their service area. We have helped families in Tuftonboro, Wolfeboro, Ossipee, Effingham, Sanbornville, Wakefield and Gilmanton."
  • Category: Health

Remedies from the Earth: Antibacterial miracle?

By Deborah Jasien
There has been a lot of buzz about an essential oil blend known as Thieves Oil, which is currently trademarked by Young Living Oils. It is a combination of cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary, essential oils with strong antibacterial properties. However, the legend of four thieves is cited in a number of aromatherapy books throughout history.
The basic premise of the story is that for centuries, the bubonic plague outbreaks decimated Asian and European cultures. From this period came popular legends of thieves who were captured and charged with stealing from the dead. When the thieves were finally tried, they were offered leniency if they would reveal how they avoided contracting the infection as they performed these horrible acts. They revealed a concoction of herbs and vinegar that they rubbed on themselves before committing their crimes.
As time went on, researchers have taken the essential oils from some of these herbs sited in the legend and applied them to popular essential oil blends. Needless to say, it is important to note this is a legend and should not be used to support theories that this product can prevent the bubonic plague or any other disease or infection.
  • Category: Health

Diet Detective: Talk yourself in to better health

By Charles Platkin
Whether you're aware of it or not, most people's lives are accompanied by a stream of internal dialogue. Sometimes this internal talk is not very positive. An example would be constantly telling yourself, "I can't lose weight;­it's just too difficult." Or, "I'll never be able to get out there and walk every day." Or, "I can't eat at a restaurant without pigging out on the bread basket." There are several levels of impact this has on your weight-loss goals. Mostly it can cause stress.
As the book "Integrative Weight Management: A Guide for Clinicians" (Humana Press, 2014) points out: "The role and effects of stress on all aspects of obesity are clearly negative. Stress plays a role in potentiating obesity, maintaining obesity and undermining the obese person's power to reduce weight." Another study not focused on weight-loss found that "cognitive strategies, such as self-affirmations and positive self-talk, were helpful" in mitigating some of the "harsher effects" of the workplace. So at the very least, eliminating negative self-talk can reduce stress. Here are some tips to help you talk more positively to yourself about yourself.
Be positive and avoid negative self-talk:
Let's say you were sitting in the departure lounge in the airport about to take a trip to Florida. Would you ever get on an airplane once you'd overheard the pilot say to the co-pilot, "I don't think I can make it all the way to Florida. I just know I'm going to crash; I'm so scared."
Probably not. Why? You wouldn't take the risk. Research shows that having a negative dialogue is tantamount to convincing yourself that you cannot complete a task. Why start out with a disadvantage? Aren't you the pilot of your own life? You're the one in charge, so do you really want to be the one convincing yourself that you won't succeed? Granted, there are times when it's natural to feel insecure about your undertakings­ but don't be your own worst enemy.
A study in the Journal of Sports Sciences divided golfers of high and low skill levels into two groups to execute a series of putts. Those in the first group were asked to believe and tell themselves they would succeed and those in the second group were instructed to think and tell themselves they would not succeed. The investigators found that the players they'd instructed to engage in negative self-talk performed much worse than those who used positive self-talk regardless of their skill level.
The corniness factor:
The key to using affirmations effectively is to overcome "the corniness factor." Many people feel strange talking to themselves or putting up reminder notes on their refrigerators or mirrors saying "You are great," or, "You can do it today." You may even laugh at yourself when you start to use affirmations, and that's OK. Affirmations do sound funny at first. Eventually, however, as you become more comfortable with thinking of yourself as someone who can achieve your dreams, you'll become more comfortable with the strategies to reach them. And at the very least, if you don't feel comfortable with proactive self-affirmations, make sure to put a stop to negative self-talk ­telling yourself you can't do something.
It's normal and expected to feel strange and uncomfortable when you first start to make changes, so just pretend until it becomes real. And get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Be aware:
As automotive pioneer Henry Ford said, "If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing, you're right." Negative self-talk is associated with poorer performance. It simply undermines your ability to succeed.
Try to listen to your own internal dialogue and be aware of your current self-talk. You need to know what motivates you as well as what keeps you from being consistent and committed to your goal. Becoming aware of what you are saying to yourself is an important first step so you can know how much of your self-talk is negative, what the exact wording is, and then find the appropriate replacement language that will improve confidence, motivation and commitment.
Present tense:
Try stating your affirmations as if they are already true. "I am successful at eating healthy." "I am a good person." "I'm an exerciser."
Be specific and productive:
Vague goals lead to vague outcomes. Make your affirmations and self-talk strategies specific. "Being positive is not enough. Productive self-talk is more instructional and technical," says Michael Voight, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and professor at Central Connecticut State University. Instead of working simply to inflate the ego and improve self-esteem, productive self-talk helps you to focus on important environmental cues (e.g., there is a doughnut shop coming — I should pass it up) or technical/tactical aspects of performance.
The repetition of such positive statements will eventually lead to a change in the way you view yourself and your own capabilities. Gradually, the mind responds affirmatively, and you begin to experience your intended results.
Write it down:
When you begin to think of affirmations, write them down in the present tense on index cards or post-it notes and place them where you can view them regularly. Set up text reminders on your smart phone and repeat them to yourself, either as a kind of meditation or whenever you're experiencing a situation that normally upsets you, stresses you out, or damages your self-esteem. For the person who experiences problems on the job, such an affirmation might go something like: "I am a competent person who is capable of succeeding at this task." For an overweight person who struggles with a poor body image, the affirmation might be: "I am a beautiful person and I deserve to look the way I want to look."
When practiced and repeated over time, affirmations can alter your mental climate and empower you to make changes in your life.

Charles Platkin, Ph.D., is a nutrition and public health advocate and founder of DietDetective.com. Copyright 2015 by Charles Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter at www.DietDetective.com.
  • Category: Health