“Clean” Food and Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Try It


The concept of clean eating is not new. Long before the era of TV dinners, our nation was mostly farmland and the outcome of cooking dinner was “clean food”. Since the 1940’s, food manufacturers have developed countless convenient, pre-packaged foods. We are open to endless possibilities in weekly trips to the supermarket. The problem is that we think little about what else may be in the package.

Countless medical studies have shown that chronic disease in the form of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancers often originate due to the type of food and added chemicals we eat.

Dietitians have long supported shopping the outer aisles of the supermarket to focus on fresh foods (not processed). Processed foods, the ones that come in a package with a list of ingredients that include long, multi-syllable words are suspect. These packaged foods contain chemicals to help keep the food fresh for longer on the shelf are suspect, and not considered “clean” foods.

Clean foods contain just one or two ingredients and are foods in their most basic form. Clean eating also eliminates extra added unhealthy fats, salt and sugar that manufacturers add to make the product taste better. Simple recipes made fresh don’t need all of those extras in order to taste great. Here’s a simple list of foods that are

  • Unrefined grains, like whole wheat bread and pasta, popcorn, steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice.
  • Fresh or frozen (not canned) fruits and vegetables.
  • Unprocessed meat; wild over pastured, pastured over grain-fed.
  • Hormone-free dairy.
  • Oils.

Now is the perfect time to try clean foods. Fresh foods are available in abundance at fresh air and farmers markets. Locally in Berks County, Pa., you can find fresh foods right from the growers in this list http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/PAeastfarmmarkets.php and here https://www.visitpaamericana.com/see-and-do/farmers-markets/

Finding simple, no fuss, 4-5 ingredient recipes are in abundance. Personally, my favorite go-to is Pinterest. Simply type the main ingredient you want to cook with into search and you are sure to find countless, simple recipes.

If you haven’t already, give clean eating a try. Shop local for fresh local meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Try new recipes. Your body is sure to respond in a positive way!

Additional Resources:



Protect Your Skin This Summer Season


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV damage can also cause wrinkles and blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.

Locally, in southeastern Pennsylvania, we had a wet, grey, chilly spring. While sun exposure has been limited for most people, the risk for over-exposure to sun is now much higher as the days are longer.


Take action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage by taking simple steps today to protect your skin:

  • Wear a hat with a wide brim all around that shades your face, neck, and ears. Baseball caps and some sun visors protect only parts of your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UV radiation to protect the skin around your eyes.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants. Tightly woven, dark fabrics are best. Some fabrics are rated with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). The higher the rating, the greater the protection from sunlight.
  • Use sunscreen products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. (Some doctors suggest using a product with an SPF of at least 30.) Apply the product’s recommended amount to uncovered skin 30 minutes before going outside, and apply again every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Check your skin regularly for changes. Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your skin regularly for new growths (like moles or lumps) or changes in old growths. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you find a change.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Take Control With Cold and Flu Prevention Now!


Flu reports are on the rise. In order to prevent a devastating illness and potential death for the very young, very old, and immune-compromised, it is very  important to pay particular care and attention to prevention. Here are some things that you can do to protect yourself, coworkers, family members and those we care for:

1. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer frequently. Everyone usually thinks about ourselves and washing hands but understand that young or old, sick people we care for also need reminders to wash hands frequently, throughout the day, every day.Key times to wash hands include after using the bathroom, before meals, after treatments and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose.

2. Wash hands with antibacterial soap and water when they are visibly soiled. Alcohol based hand sanitizer works and is effective when hands are not visibly soiled.

3. Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth without washing or sanitizing your hands first.

4. Cover your mouth. Avoid coughing into the air, even away from people. Cough into a Kleenex or your sleeve.

5. Disinfect! Your keyboard, phone and inanimate surfaces spread germs; so do door knobs, lights switches, faucets, to name a few popular places. Disinfect these surfaces with a Clorox/sanitizing wipe at least on a daily basis and more frequently as needed.

6. Use tissues once and throw away. Keep a bag or trash can close by to discard tissues in.

7. Get the flu shot; its not too late. If you haven’t received the flu shot yet, do it! The flu vaccine not only protects you from lost down time, you in turn protect your loved ones.

8. Stay home if you are ill. Guilt can cause us to get out of bed and drag ourselves to work or still want to attend the family holiday party when we are sick. You will get better faster and decrease the risk of infecting everyone around you if you take the time to rest and recuperate.

Facts about the flu shot and its impact on prevention from The Center For Disease Control: Why get the flu vaccine?

9. A key prevention that many people frequently forget about when caring for someone else is mouth care. There are many germs that live in our mouths. The germs grow very rapidly and exponentially if mouth care isn’t done frequently throughout the day. Brushing teeth and tongue after meals and at bedtime and swishing with antiseptic mouthwash along with handwashing will further the mission toward preventing pneumonia, flu, and other illnesses that are prevalent right now.

If you are concerned you or someone you love has the flu, review . This article on what to do if you get the flu From the Center for Disease Control site.

Following the prevention recommendations will hopefully keep you well. Let’s all stay healthy!

Giving the Gift of Health And Wellness


Coming up with a Christmas gift for that person who has everything can be challenging. Luckily, there are options this year. Gone are the days that one would resort to finding yet another cardigan or scarf for the hard-to-buy-for on your list.

Consider a little something that we are all searching for: a gift to health and wellness. What will you choose? Share your finds!

1. PhoneSoap 2.0 Phone Sanitizer and universal charger

Did you know that our cell phones contain more bacteria than surfaces in the bathroom?

This UV light zaps and sanitizes your phone while charging. Large enough for even the newest large model phones.


2.Extra wide talking scale

Now hear me out: most people would not take too kindly to receiving a talking scale but if your vision is limited and you have a health problem requiring that you check your weight daily, this is an example of a wide-based, stable scale that is perfect for the duty. A person with limited ability to step on curbs will be able to safely step up and down while be able to assure that the restricted carb and salt diet is working!


3.The Calm App for Meditation to Relax, Focus, and Sleep Better

We personally swear by this app. Receive an invitation to meditate for 15 minutes first thing in the morning, take a mid-morning break to focus on breathing to reduce stress and anxiety, or listen to a bedtime story and fall asleep like a baby. This APP will keep your gift recipient serene and well-rested all year long.


4.Phillips Medication Dispenser

Thirty five percent (35%) of hospital readmissions to the hospital are due to medication errors. The monthly fee for this medication dispenser provides piece of mind. A beautiful design which will provide piece of mind.



5. FitBit is for all of our lives


Imagine life with full or limited mobility…FItBit and the FitBit APP helps meet everyone’s  life wellness goals. Weight management, number of steps or activity, water intake, calorie intake, quality of sleep. This is seriously motivating to meet those goals and resolutions and stick to them!

6. An Indoor Wall Pocket Garden

A living wall, made of recycled materials brings the beauty of outdoors in, while reducing stress in the office or home. Improved symbiotic gas exchange between human and plant are added benefits.

Great American Smokeout: Stamp Out the Number One Preventable Cause of Disease and Death Today


Health Calls encourages tobacco-free living during the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout on November 16. Health Calls is encouraging everyone to commit or recommit to healthy, tobacco-free lives by participating in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout today, on November 16, 2017 or any day.

The most important thing smokers can do to improve their health is to quit cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco. We are showing our support for people who take those first steps toward making a plan to quit.

Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year more than 480,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. This means smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Yet, because tobacco is one of the strongest addictions one can have, about 40 million American adults still smoke. Doctors and public health officials used to encourage smokers to quit cold turkey on a single day. Today, the evidence shows that quitting is a process. It starts with a plan, often takes time and requires a lot of support.

Health Calls is partnering with the American Cancer Society, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support as people make their plan to quit. More information is available at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

Health Calls wants to help the people in our community to be healthy and happy. During this year’s Great American Smokeout, we hope everyone will join us – and encourage their friends, family and colleagues to join us – in committing or recommitting to year-around, tobacco-free lives.

Here are some tips to encourage people who are in the process of quitting tobacco.

1. Spend as much free time as you can in public places where smoking is not allowed.

2. Take extra care of yourself. Drink water, eat well, and get enough sleep. This could help you have the energy you might need to handle extra stress.

3. Try to avoid alcohol, coffee, or any other drinks you link with smoking. Try a different low- or no-calorie option instead.

4. If you miss the feeling of having a cigarette in your hand, hold something else, like a pencil, a paper clip, a coin, or a marble.

5. If you miss the feeling of having something in your mouth, try toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum, sugar-free lollipops, or celery.

6. Avoid temptation by staying away from activities, people, and places you link with smoking.

7. Make a list of the important reasons you’ve decided to quit, and keep this list with you to continually remind yourself.

8. Take deep breaths to relax. Picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.

9. Remember your goal and the fact that the urge to smoke will lessen over time.

10. Think about how awesome it is that you’re quitting smoking and getting healthy. If you start to waver, remember your goal.

11. Remember that quitting is a learning process. Be patient with yourself.

12. Brush your teeth and enjoy that fresh taste.

13. Exercise in short bursts. Try alternately tensing and relaxing muscles, push-ups, lunges, walking up the stairs, or touching your toes.

14. Call a friend, family member, or the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 when you need support.

15. Eat 4 to 6 small meals during the day instead of 1 or 2 large ones. This keeps your blood sugar levels steady, your energy balanced, and helps prevent the urge to smoke. Avoid sugary or spicy foods that could trigger a desire to smoke.

16. Reward yourself for doing your best.

17. Know that anger, frustration, anxiety, irritability, and even depression are normal after quitting and will get better as you learn ways to cope that don’t involve tobacco and the effects of nicotine subside over time.

18. Go for a walk. Exercise can improve your mood and relieve stress.

Quitting tobacco is a process. Take the first step today at cancer.org/smokeout or by calling 1-800-227-2345.

Improving Sleep Quality


Sleep tight!

A study conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in collaboration with the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study suggests there is a link between shift work and health.

The study found health problems with pregnancy among nurses. Results suggest that people working night shifts are more likely to experience spontaneous abortions, early preterm births, and menstrual-cycle problems.

There are take-aways for all shift workers from this study. No matter what the profession or trade, shift work, long hours, and sleep deprivation may have a negative effect on healthy lifestyle choices.

Sleep deprivation is associated with changes in hormones that can cause an increase in appetite. Shift work and long hours make it more difficult to find time for exercise. These issues combined increases the risk of obesity.

The shift in the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) effects the release of body hormones. The hormone responsible for sleep is melatonin and for awake time is cortisol. A shift in routine can conflict with the time the body normally releases the hormones. Melatonin is released with changes in light exposure. Changing the routine before bed will help shift the hormone release.

No matter the time you go to bed, you can improve your sleep by helping your body prepare for it by following these tips:

• Give yourself enough time to sleep after working your shift. The minimum hours of sleep for health is 7 hours.

• Avoid heavy foods and alcohol before sleeping. Limit caffeine in the form of coffee, soda, and chocolate; and limit other stimulants for several hours before bed.

• Get regular exercise for 25-30 minutes 4-5 days a week. Regular exercise will help reduce stress, stay healthy, and improve your sleep.

• Avoid rigorous exercise for at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.

• Sleep in a cool, dark room so you can fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.

•Reduce “blue light” from computers, television, smart phone and electronic notebooks for at least 60 minutes before trying to fall asleep.

• Get professional help from a healthcare provider if you are having continued difficulty sleeping.

Rehabilitation at Home: Regaining A “Personal Best”



Rehabilitation at Home: Regain Independence

Bill W. was pretty sick when he was admitted to the hospital recently. He spent time in Intensive Care and was treated with IV antibiotics for septic shock due to an infection of a non-healing wound on his leg. He spent 5 days in the hospital recovering from serious illness. He was encouraged to keep working on his recovery when he transferred to the general medical surgical unit. Bill didn’t feel so great though and was not always welcoming of the help of therapists who came to see him at his bedside.

“Don’t they understand I am sick? I can’t be bothered with walking or washing myself. I’m in the hospital. Shouldn’t they be doing that for me?”, he wondered as the Occupational Therapist talked about bathing at the bedside. So he told the therapist that he “didn’t feel like it today”.


When the Physical Therapist stopped by to take him for a walk he hesitated because he felt weak. Her explanation that it would help him be strong enough to go home helped, so he took a short walk down the hall and back to his bed.

Bill’s daughter and son both visited every day in the hospital and did their best to encourage their dad. When the case manager called Bill’s daughter, she recommended Bill go to rehab to recuperate for a short time after his hospital stay. He had been in bed for an extended illness and she was afraid he was too weak and might fall if he went straight home. Since Bill passed the walking test with the physical therapist, and refused occupational therapy, insurance did not consider him a candidate for inpatient rehabilitation. While they appealed the insurance company decision, Bill’s kids requested home health, in case he didn’t win the insurance appeal.

“I don’t need help,” Bill protested. Unfortunately, Bill didn’t win the insurance appeal and plans were made to go home. When Bill got home, he wasn’t able to make it up the steps to get into his house, so his family was forced to take him back to the hospital. Bill was readmitted to the hospital and received therapy services at the bedside for 4 more days until he was strong enough to do the steps to get into his house.

When Bill went home this time, his daughter Vickie and her mother did their best to help her dad settle in safely at home. Vickie stayed home from work the first 24 hours to help since her mom has health problems of her own. Vickie noticed Bill was pretty tired and  short of breath with the most minimal activity, and she saw his balance was off while he stood to put on a sweater that first afternoon home.

Vickie was pleasantly surprised that the home health agency didn’t just send a nurse out to see her dad. The nurse told the family that Bill would also see a Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist right away as she also observed his poor endurance and balance problems, too.

Bill, the nurse and therapists formed a bond. Bill and his wife committed to the agency’s home equipment and safety recommendations, and allowed these former strangers into the home to treat his wound, and provide therapy to make him stronger. While some refer to a “personal best” in relationship to fastest sprint or run time in a race, Bill was back to his “personal best” self in his ability to care for himself, with independence, in 3 weeks.

Independence gained or retained through rehabilitation is priceless.

Rehabilitation services occur in many settings. As this website demonstrates,  rehabilitation provides a total approach to treatment and care for people with short term as well as long term mobility and self-care needs for recovery. Some additional rehabilitation facts:

  • Rehabilitation services occur in hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, nursing facilities, at home with home health agency visits, and outpatient clinics.
  • Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled. Disability may be temporary or permanent. Disability does not discriminate – every person is at risk of disability. Therefore, everyone is a potential candidate for rehabilitation. Rehabilitation lessens the long term impact of disability.
  • Most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives.
  • Rehabilitation is an integral part of healthcare and a tremendous component in providing patients with positive outcomes.
  • Rehabilitation saves money and improves lives. For every $1 spent on rehab care, it is estimated that $11 are saved on long-term disability costs. People participating in rehabilitation programs of care are able to regain productivity and return to work, school and independent living.
  • Rehabilitation is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her own ability level.
  • Rehabilitation can lengthen life, improve the quality of life and reduce subsequent illness.