MountainStar Health - November 05, 2019

LILI Newsletter November 2019

The Ogden Regional Medical Center / Heart Center, "Losing It & Loving It" weight loss class & support group newsletter


I lied, I think November is also a favorite month of mine. A time to be thankful, everyone, no religious pigeon-holing of who celebrates what. Thanksgiving is for all of us. I challenge you to think of at least one thing you are grateful for every day this month. And while we are at it, think of at least one way you can contribute to the betterment of your community. We are all in this together folks.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Success Story

I am stealing a patient's story, totally incognito, to make a point with y'all. A patient I have been working with since March to improve their blood sugar and weight has done very well. Total weight loss of 15 pounds, glucose level much, much improved. They also feel better and have more energy. But, what is so good about this person's journey, is that they made doable, reasonable changes. No more fruit juice and (almost) no more regular soda, smaller portions, less snacking and they eat whole over refined grains now. They did not turn their life upside down, they still eat many of the same foods they were eating before, and things are not perfect, but enough has been changed to get some really positive results. So, all of you out there who feel that losing weight, improving your blood sugars or cholesterol levels is just too daunting, listen up. Take BABY STEPS. Work on what does not feel overwhelming. Once that is under your belt, take on another aspect of your diet and/or lifestyle that needs work. It does not have to be done overnight, nor does it usually involve a complete remodeling of your diet. Small changes can reap big rewards. I see it every day. Keep the faith people, you can do this too.

Have you tried Tempeh?

Tempeh is whole soybeans that are fermented through partial cooking and inoculation with a fungus. The soybeans are pressed into a firm block or patty. It is a traditional Indonesian food, high in many nutrients such as protein, manganese, magnesium and some B vitamins. The texture is firm, the flavor is earthy. It is a good substitute for animal protein in soups and stir fries. Try it roasted in the recipe below.

The Importance of Variety

The Hidden Brain podcasts on NPR are intriguing to me. The topic the last time I listened was how interacting with others much different from ourselves, say, on a work project, produces a superior outcome. Diversity and variety keeps life interesting and we are less apt to become bored. This also applies to how we go about losing weight. I was so tired of eating my standard lentil and brown rice stew/soup I could have screamed. Enter a new cookbook and I am again interested in cooking healthy meals, trying new recipes and ingredients. It's been fun! If your routine, circle of friends, books you read, movies you watch, and foods you eat are on a repeating loop, jump out of that rut! Try something new every week, make an effort to make friends with a coworker from a different culture or country. Listen to a different genre of music. Start a new hobby. Sign up for a continuing education class in a topic you had never considered. Why not? A friend of mine had never painted until her 50's. She is winning awards and has an amazing talent. Who knew? When we feel stimulated, challenged and a bit uncomfortable perhaps, we will learn and experience so much more. It's good for the brain and the soul. To all of you creatures of habit out there, I challenge you to branch out. Yes YOU.

Creative Differences: The Benefits of Reaching Out to People Unlike Ourselves, Hidden Brain Podcast, Shankar Vedantam host, aired January 24, 2019.

Pooh vs. Eeyore

Ah, emotions and weight. A large percentage of those who take my weight loss class are "emotional eaters", using food as a way to manage their emotions, regardless of hunger cues. Most of us are not taught how to deal with anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration, etc. in constructive ways. I recently saw the movie "Judy", about Judy Garland. That poor creature was mistreated from the get-go, by multiple people out to exploit her and her amazing talent. Drugs and alcohol were ways she dealt with her emotions and trauma. Not healthy ways, but it amazed me she could function at all. Most of us may not have such an abusive upbringing, but we all have to deal with these darn emotions! Interestingly, ongoing sadness, anger and loneliness, can increase our cortisol level, which makes it more difficult to lose weight. When we increase the positive emotions of joy, contentment and happiness, the cortisol level will decrease. Positive emotions are much more subtle than the negative ones, but they do have an amazing impact on our overall health. I make it a point to listen to the LaughUSA comedy channel on satellite radio. I am always on the look-out for amusing stories, memes, what have you. We don"t necessarily need to laugh our way through life, but increasing our positive emotions may make it easier to drop some stubborn poundage. How does one do this? By changing the way we think, by interacting with positive people, by reading and watching inspiring books or movies, getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising, and being kind to ourselves. All of these things impact our emotions. It may be a long row to hoe, but it is very much worth it. One way to gauge if you are more like Pooh Bear or Eeyore is to take the test at It"s free and can be taken repeatedly. The results can vary widely from day to day, but the overall "temperature" of your emotions may be hampering weight loss. If you are feeling 3 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion, that seems to be the tipping point for overall well-being, and perhaps weight loss.

Brummet, BH et al (12 May 2009), Positive affect is associated with cardiovascular reactivity, norepinephrine level, and morning rise in salivary cortisol, Psychophysiology, retrieved from 21 October 2019

The Other Half

I have counseled thousands of patients throughout my career as a dietitian. One common theme that shows up repeatedly is this: we are all so good at eating foods high in protein, and foods high in starch (and sugar). But we leave out half of the foods we should be eating, or really, the other half of the plate. The federal government"s "My Plate" which replaced the Food Guide Pyramid, is a very easy tool even a first-grader can use to plan a healthy meal. We are leaving out the vegetables and fruits, which are the least processed foods on the plate typically. Why is it so hard for us to eat an apple or a handful of carrot sticks? They are readily available foods, often all they require is a quick scrub with a vegetable brush, a few strokes from a knife and they are ready to go. Or they come frozen, canned, dried".it really is not that difficult. I think we have fallen under the spell of processed food for one, and two, if vegetables were boiled beyond recognition in our childhood, we may turn up our noses at them. I have even written up a handout specifically on how to include more vegetables in one"s diet. They are whole, natural foods loaded with nutrients, whereas the processed foods generally have most of these nutrients stripped away. And we wonder why we are so fat and sick! Come on people, you can make these changes. These foods will make you feel peppier, less constipated, happier, lower your risk of all kinds of maladies, and possibly prolong your life. I get it"do you?

Roasted Fall Medley with Tempeh

This is an incredibly colorful and easy fall dish using tempeh. I make this often.

half of a small red cabbage, chopped

1 red onion, cut into eighths

1 medium turnip or sweet potato, chopped

2 apples, sliced into sixths

8 ounces of tempeh, cut into one-inch cubes

Set the oven to 435 degrees. Pour the ingredients onto a baking stone, or line a baking pan with parchment paper. Drizzle with 3 +/- tablespoons of oil, season with salt, pepper and sprinkle with caraway seeds or rosemary. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stir/turn to evenly brown the pieces. Place back into the oven and roast until golden brown, another 15-20 minutes or so. Cool slightly, toss together, and serve with brown or whole grain mustard.

1/4 of the recipe is ~300 calories.

Fall Support Groups

Mondays, 2-3 pm, Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30 pm

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
---Albert Einstein