MountainStar Health - March 10, 2020

LILI Newsletter March 2020

The Ogden Regional Medical Center / Heart Center, “Losing It and Loving It” weight loss class and support group newsletter


Sloppy, slippery, muddy, rainy, snowy, windy March. I love writing about change, therefore I love writing about the month of March. Changes are afoot! Spring is on its way, and the dark, cold winter is headed for the door. Any change involves some pain, uncertainty, a little bluster, and finally, sunny skies. What is in your life that is cold and dreary? And needs to be shown the door? We celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day and the spring equinox this month.

In good health,

Jennifer James

Success story

When we talk about success, overcoming something in our thinking or personality that holds us back can be a success. Easier said than done! Our greatest enemy is ourselves. And our greatest cheerleader can be….ourselves. Pay attention to what people routinely tell you. If they are always complaining about how rude, scatter-brained, perfectionistic, or stoic you are, it might be worth taking a look at changing, or at least modifying that trait. For years I have been told I am too intense and need to relax. A friend even went so far as to ask me, “why can’t you just *#%?!/ relax?”. So guess what? I am trying to slow down and calm down. And you know what? I kind of like not feeling so rushed or frenzied. I like feeling calm. So, I think this might stick. Is there an aspect of your personality that drives others crazy? Or something that is holding you back from being all you could be? No harm in swallowing our pride and making some adjustments. Granted, we can’t change the core of who we are, and we shouldn’t. But many people are well-meaning, and they are trying to help us out with how we affect those around us. I know stressed, intense people drive me nuts. I certainly don’t want to affect others in that way. So, for Lent I am going to relax and lighten up. Stay tuned.

My grandfather loved to garden, and he always had a little currant bush, with bright red “berries”. Currants are very similar to grapes. Zante currants, the most common variety, are from a special variety of grape, black Corinth grapes, grown in California. They are made into jam or dried and used in baked goods. Try the Irish soda bread recipe with currants featured below, or try some in your oatmeal next time.

Walking around the halls at work the other day, I encountered a number of people. When I asked how they were, invariably, with one exception, people commented on how miserable life/work/the weather/their health was. For the record, I was having a groovy day. So….we are not refugees on the Mexico/American border, we are not suffering through a civil war in some third-world country, we have modern medical care, transportation, education, technology, access to healthy food and so on. I always try to have some form of inspirational reading, book on CD, what-have-you that inspires me. And you know what? I have to disagree with my friends. Life is miraculous! Period! My niece gave birth to her first child in December. What a miracle a baby is! And she is cute beyond belief. I can’t get enough of her (me, who did not want children). The tilt of our earth, the seasons, the three phases of H2O, all the different languages humans speak, colors, sounds, on and on. Come on people! You have the privilege of living a life on planet Earth. It involves suffering, that is a given, but it also involves many wonderful, wonderful things. Our thoughts and emotions have energy. Are yours positive or negative? Let’s turn our attention to what is working and what we can appreciate. If you are giving off negative energy, expect negative things to boomerang back to you. The good news is that you can change it. So do it. Ya dig?

Margarine vs. butter

Over the course of my life as a dietitian, this is one question I am asked repeatedly. What’s better? Butter or margarine? The short answer is, they both aren’t great. The short solution is, why not put some natural peanut butter or mashed avocado on your toast? Or rub it with a mashed clove of garlic? Why do we need fat on toast anyway? Butter contains saturated fat, which can increase your LDL cholesterol. Hard margarine contains trans-fat, which increases LDL and lowers the good HDL. Soft tub margarine is better, but it is a highly processed food. If you know anything about me, I am not keen on processed foods. One option is the butter/olive mixtures you see in the store. And remember, all contain a fair amount of calories. I have butter in my refrigerator, but it takes me months to use a half-pound of it. I do not buy margarine. I cook with canola and olive oil. So, with this information, it is your decision my friend. If you can’t live without butter, track your saturated fat intake and keep it below 20 grams per day, lower if you have heart trouble (not romance, mind you, physical problems with your ticker. I hope that answers your question.

Intermittent fasting

What do I think of intermittent fasting (IF)? Guess what? We are all doing this if we sleep 8 hours or more each night. Breakfast is break (the) fast. See? Going 12 hours without food I don’t see as a problem, unless you take insulin or have struggles with hypoglycemia. Our gut needs a rest from digesting, just like we need a rest from our daily activities, aka sleep. One approach to intermittent fasting is to go without food for 16 hours. Interestingly, our liver uses up its supply of glycogen (sugar) in 10-12 hours, before breaking down fat for energy. If we can make it to at least 12 hours, it should help us lose some fat tissue. The 5:2 Diet recommends five days of eating regularly, and 2 days off with calories limited to 500 per day for women, and 600 for men. There does seem to be a benefit in a variety of health parameters, such as improved insulin resistance and decreased inflammation with IF. My personal opinion? I think it is too difficult to sustain for most people. Who wants to be hungry all day long? Most of the studies done on intermittent fasting were on laboratory animals, and none were long-term, even in humans. Reasonably limiting the amount of food we eat, as long as it is not too extreme (such as fasting for days at a time) is not a bad thing. Assuming of course that the food we eat is healthy, balanced and adequate in a sensible, sustainable way. Maybe this approach will work for you. I hear that broken record starting to turn, playing the cold and sober truth once more. Which is to just eat less food. Period.

Brody, Jane (2020) The benefits of intermittent fasting, viewed at

Fisher, Roxanne (2019) What is the 5:2 diet?, viewed at

Irish soda bread with currants

This is a very traditional Irish bread, and in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I am throwing the “nothing-but-super-healthy” approach to the March winds. This is made with butter and buttermilk. I could not help substituting whole-wheat pastry flour for the usual enriched flour. The currants and orange zest add a lovely flavor. It is very easy to make. This is a compilation of several recipes I found online. For the record, it is delicious. Warning: this is not a low sodium recipe, but can be modified.

  • 4-1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold cubed butter
  • 1-3/4 cups 1% fat buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 cup Zante currants

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the buttermilk, egg and orange zest. Set aside.

Stir together the dry ingredients, and cut in the cold butter, until the flour is crumbly.

Stir in the currants until well covered in flour, breaking them apart if needed.

Add the buttermilk mixture, stirring until it forms a soft dough. Knead about 20 times on a floured countertop. Do not over knead!

If the dough gets sticky, dust the bread with more flour. Form into a 8-9 inch round loaf.

Place in a large cast iron skillet and use a sharp knife to make an “X” on the top. Place in the oven.

Bake for 45 minute, and then place on a wire rack to cool.

Toast when still warm or cooled and spread a little Irish butter or jam over the top. Heaven!

1/6 of a quarter loaf: 170 calories, 182 mg sodium

(entire recipe 4100 calories, 4375 mg sodium)

To decrease the sodium, use 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1-3/4 cups of 1% milk in place of the buttermilk, cut the salt to ½ teaspoon for 115 mg per slice.

To further reduce the sodium, ¼ teaspoon of salt gives 90 mg per slice, no salt 65 mg sodium per slice.

Spring class and support groups

Losing it and loving it weight loss/wellness class

Tuesdays, April 14th-June 30th
6:00-7:00pm (first class 6:00-7:30pm)
$125 (ORMC employees and volunteers, $105)
Heart Center Conference Room
To register and pay: or 866-887-3999

Support groups

Mondays, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Tuesdays, 4:45pm-5:45pm
Free to LILI graduates

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”