Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Giveaway: Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas

Update: A winner has been chosen. Click here to find out who won!

Written by a registered dietitian, Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas offers recipes that use common, healthy ingredients without requiring a trip to the health food store.

This book includes weekly menus grouped by meal type (breakfast, lunch, etc.), grocery lists, and nutritional information for each meal.

Get your copy of this bestselling book for free! Simply follow the instructions below to enter our giveaway for your chance to win.

How to Enter

To enter to win, leave a comment below, with a screen name or first name (not as Anonymous), answering this question:
  • What is your biggest challenge when it comes to healthy eating? For instance, do you skip meals? Eat out frequently because you're short on time or away from home?  
To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age and a United States resident.

Winner Announcement

We'll choose a winner at random on August 12th. The winner will be announced on the blog.

You can subscribe to our blog by email or RSS to make sure that you don't miss the winner announcement. See the sidebar to subscribe.

Prizes that are not claimed within 3 weeks of the winner announcement will be carried forward to the next draw.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Six Strategies for Tackling Stress

Stress is often a part of our everyday lives, usually brought on by concerns about money and work, according to the 2012 report Stress in America.

While some stress is normal and can help you to react quickly in emergencies, reoccurring stress or stress that lasts too long is problematic.

The Huffington Post reports that stress can shrink the brain, help cancer cells survive against anti-cancer drugs, cause depression and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Strategies for Coping with Stress

 “Combating stress requires an unrelenting, proactive approach, featuring regular exercise, proper diet, and plenty of quality sleep,” said Kevin McCue, corporate educator at Catholic Health who teaches a stress management class.

“Americans are notoriously sleep-deprived, hence the booming sales of highly caffeinated coffee and energy drinks. Regular exercise (preferably aerobic) helps ward off stress and the bonus is that you sleep better. Never underestimate the power of deep healing sleep.”

1. Start an Exercise Program

Of the attendees at his Stress Management class, Kevin said, “I am stunned at how few have a regular exercise program. I urge them to find some kind of exercise that suits them.”

Exercise options include:
  • Biking
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Rollerblading
  • Spinning
  • Yoga
  • Ice Skating
  • Tennis
  • Jump rope

2. Laugh It Off

If you’re feeling your stress levels rise, take a weekend to de-stress with what Kevin calls a “laughter weekend.”

“Watch funny movies all weekend long. No dramas. No TV news. No tragedy. Just goofy movies that make you laugh and de-stress!”

3. Engage Your Senses

For a fast way to relieve stress, focus on one of your five senses:
  • Sight: imagine a soothing image or something that brings you joy (such as a pet)
  • Sound: listen to a favorite song, the sounds of the outdoors, a wind chime, a fountain
  • Smell: light a candle, smell flowers, get some fresh air, wear perfume
  • Touch: pet a cat or dog, wrap yourself in a blanket, take a bath
  • Taste: eat slowly so that you can focus on what you're tasting - try coffee or tea, fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate
Related Blog Post: To Live in the Present, Focus on Your Senses

4. Keep a Positive Attitude and Let Go of Control

For many of us, our negative thoughts feel natural and inevitable. In my own quest to be positive, I've turned to a book called Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie.

Bryon Katie believes that when we feel out of control and wish to change something or someone, we're rejecting reality, which is futile and can only cause misery. The solution: accept what is.

Her method asks you to question your thoughts and beliefs. "We are disturbed not by what happens to us, but by our thoughts about what happens," she wrote.

When you find yourself thinking a stressful thought, ask yourself:
  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know it's true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?
For example, if you're feeling overwhelmed by your workload, maybe you're telling yourself that the tasks in your queue need to be completed today. But is that true? Which tasks really have deadlines and which are arbitrary deadlines that you've assigned to yourself? Examining your thoughts could uncover that you've created a sense of urgency where there is none.

Related Blog Post: The Power of Thought on Your Health & Happiness

5. Manage Your Finances

The issue of managing your finances could be a blog post in itself. I like to read blogs about frugal living and have noticed a common theme among them all:
  • Keep a budget that details your income and your expenses.
  • Live within your budget, which may mean bringing in more income or reducing your expenses.
  • Change your perception and be happy living with less (Related Blog Post: Living Well with Less).
  • Track and control your spending. Because spending with credit and debit cards is easily forgotten, pay for your expenses in cash, when possible. For example, before grocery shopping, take your budgeted amount out of the ATM. Paying with cash will force you to stay within your budget and keep tabs on what you're putting in your grocery cart.
  • Practice self-control. In the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson writes that self-control is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes and the easier it is to resist temptation in the future.
Recommended resources:

6. Manage Your Workload

David Allen's Getting Things Done system, also referred to as GTD, is a popular system that illustrates how you can manage your workload without becoming overwhelmed.

Related Blog Post: Getting Things Done:  The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Key points:
  • Not everything is urgent. When you receive a request, your first reaction may be to take care of it immediately. But if you're constantly fielding incoming requests, then you're not spending enough time on the other stuff of your job.
  • Keep your to-do list in one place. Requests on post-it notes, in emails and those communicated in person all need to be collected and placed into one system. I like to use Checkvist, which is a free online task management system.
  • Sort tasks and emails into actionable items. When an email comes in or a project is given to you, make note of the related action items. What are the steps or actions that need to occur? Add these to your task list.
  • Organize your emails into next actions. Create a "Next Actions" folder in Outlook and move these emails into subfolders within it.
  • Do anything that requires two-minutes or less right away. If you receive a request that will take two minutes or less, do it immediately to move it off of your plate.

How Do You Cope with Stress?

When it comes to managing stress, “there is no one-size-fits-all strategy; what works for you might not work for me,” said McCue.

I asked Catholic Health associates how they respond to stress. Here are their strategies for coping:
  • Exercising, including walking and jogging
  • Listening to music and relaxation CDs
  • Watching TV or movies
  • Getting a facial or massage
  • Taking time off of work
  • Getting a good night's sleep
  • Maintaining a sleep schedule (going to bed at the same time each night and waking at the same time each morning)

For more information about stress, including strategies to cope, visit us on Pinterest.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Art of Stir Frying

Stir frying is a fast and easy way to put a delicious dinner on your table – perfect for a weeknight.

Not sure where to start?

At Mercy Hospital's latest cooking demonstration, Cooking Well at Mercy, Chef Chris Damiani demonstrated the four-step process.

Click here for the recipe.

Chef Christopher Damiani: Christopher Damiani serves as the assistant director of Food Services at Mercy Hospital. A professional chef with a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he oversees the menu planning for hospital patients and the Mercy Café.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Inexpensive Day Trips from Buffalo

If you want to get away without emptying your bank account, consider these days trips from Buffalo that are listed from shortest distance to farthest.

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario 

Park Shelter at Niagara-on-the-Lake

Although Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for its Shaw Festival, there's more to this 19th-century village than theater. Niagara-on-the-Lake is about a 45-minute drive from Buffalo.

Things to Do and See

  • Tour the Farmers Market at the Village on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop for breakfast or brunch and listen to live music.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake is known for its wineries. Many offer tours for about $10. Click here for a tour schedule.
  • At Chocolate FX, you can watch artisan chocolate makers chocolate-coat almonds, hazelnuts, cranberries and more. Tours are $5 per couple; children are admitted free. Tours are every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Niagara Apothecary Museum is a restored 1869 pharmacy that's open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in July and August; admission is free.
  • Stop for a picnic lunch at Simcoe Park and cool off in the wading pool. There is also a playground for the kids.
  • Thursday - Sunday, the Niagara Historical Society Museum offers hour-long walking tours that touch on the people and events of the War of 1812. The walk is $5 and includes admission to the museum. 

Rochester, NY

Kodak Eastman House
A little over an hour's drive from Buffalo, Rochester is the third largest city in New York State and home to George Eastman, founder of Kodak (whose home is pictured above), and Susan B. Anthony.

Things to Do & See

  • If you can't wait for football season, visit the Buffalo Bills Training Camp at St. John Fisher College. Click here for the practice schedule.
  • The George Eastman House, home to the Kodak founder from 1905 to 1932, is an urban estate with farm land, formal gardens, greenhouses, and stables. The 35,000-square-foot Colonial Revival mansion displays photographic collections and tours are offered daily. Admission for adults is $12.
  • See the home base of the suffragist movement, The Susan B. Anthony Museum and House. You'll learn how Susan B. Anthony struggled to obtain the right for women to vote and displays artifacts related to her work and life. Admission is $10 for adults.
  • Cobbs Hill Park is well known for its view of the downtown skyline. Go for a run or walk, or make use of the basketball and tennis courts. 
  • The Stone-Tolan Historic Site takes you through life in a rural frontier from the 1790s to 1820. The house served as a home, farm and tavern and has never been moved since it was built in 1792. Admission is $5.
  • Catch a star show at the Strasenburgh Planetarium for $7. Stars not your thing? See the Coral Reef Adventure, where you'll see what life is like on a coral reef.

Canandaigua, NY 

Row of Boat Houses on the Lake

This small resort town in the Finger Lakes is 90 minutes from Buffalo and even has its own island. According to, Canandaigua's courthouse on Main Street was the site of Susan B. Anthony's trial and conviction, where she was found guilty of treason for voting in the 1872 election.

Things to Do & See

  • Sonneberg Gardens & Mansion Historic Park was built as a summer home in 1887 by a wealthy New York City banker. Its rose garden has over 4,000 bushes, and the Finger Lakes Wine Center, located on its grounds, has a tasting room with a rotating selection of wines. Tastings are available for a nominal fee. Admission is $12 for adults. Guided walking tours take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on weekends.
  • The New York Wine & Culinary Center offers wine tastings for $2.50 per taste. All beers and wines are from the New York State region. Classes are also available.
  • Take a guided tour of the Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum. Built in 1816 by Gideon Granger, postmaster general to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, it includes many of its original furnishings. Admission is $6 for adults.
  • To celebrate its centennial, Canandaigua is hosting 100 Days of Entertainment in the Park through September 2 in Commons Park. Click here for performance times.
  • On Saturday, August 3, take part in the Canandaigua Wine Walk, where you'll purchase a wine glass for $5 and sample wines from participating merchants along the way.
  • The Ring of Fire Celebration on August 31 at 9 p.m. is a yearly tradition that signifies the end of summer, with thousands of flares being lit around the Finger Lakes.

    Toronto, Ontario 

    Toronto Skyline

    Canada's largest city, Toronto is about a two-hour drive from Buffalo. If you don't feel comfortable driving into city traffic, park your car at Burlington and take the GO train. Round-trip tickets are about $18.

    Things to Do and See

    • Walk the trails at High Park, which stretches from Bloor Street to the Gardiner Expressway. The park has a petting zoo, an off-leash dog park, an outdoor pool and the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, an adventure park for kids.
    • Visit the St. Lawrence Market on Saturdays to shop its Farmers Market and have lunch on the outdoor patio. Or postpone your visit until Sunday for its antique market.
    • The pedestrian-only Distillery District is the largest and best preserved collection of Victorian Industrial architecture in North America. Stop for lunch at its restaurants or cafes or browse the antique shops.
    • Need to cool off? Most public pools offer drop-in swimming for $2 for adults and $1 for kids.
    • Attend a free event, such as Movies in St. James Park on Thursdays or outdoor movies on Fridays. Click here for a complete listing of free events.
    • Smell the roses at Edwards Gardens, which is free to enter and is a favorite among brides. The garden includes perennials, rock gardens, a greenhouse, wooden arch bridges, a waterwheel, fountains, and walking trails.
    • Step into early 20th century farm life at Riverdale Farm, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Toronto. You'll see cows, horses, sheep, pigs and chickens, and can watch the staff go about the business of running a farm. Admission is free.
    • Boasting the largest drive-in screen in North America, Polson Pier offers discounted admission on Sundays, when you pay $25 per car (regular admission is $15 per adult).

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013

    How to Cook Salmon Using Pan Searing

    Mercy Hospital of Buffalo regularly hosts brief cooking demonstrations, called Cooking Well at Mercy, that are free and open to all hospital visitors and staff.

    At a recent show, Mercy Hospital Chef Chris Damiani showed us how to cook salmon using a healthy pan searing technique.

    The recipe and video demonstration are below.

    Chef Christopher Damiani: Christopher Damiani serves as the assistant director of Food Services at Mercy Hospital. A professional chef with a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, he oversees the menu planning for hospital patients and the Mercy Café.

    Pan Searing Salmon


    • 4 salmon fillets
    • 2 ounces flour
    • 1 pinch salt & pepper
    • 2 ounces olive oil
    • 1 ounce parsley, chopped
    • 1 pinch thyme, chopped
    • 1 lemon, sliced and squeezed over fish
    • 1 clove shallots, diced fine
    • 2 ounces butter, softened
    • 3 ounces white wine


    1. Preheat pan on stove on medium heat.
    2. Measure and prepare all ingredients; have ready to add.
    3. Season seafood with salt and pepper. Then lightly dust with flour (shake off excess flour.
    4. Heat olive oil in pan on medium high heat. Look for fain smoke to appear from the oil. 
    5. Add the fillets to the pan. Allow fillets to fall away from you as to not get burned by hot oil. Be careful that the pan is not too hot, as this will cause the product to burn and not cook evenly. Watch the fillets for color chance around the edges. Once the color changes around the edges: turn the fillet over gently. The seared side should have a nice golden brown color.
    6. Reduce heat to medium, cook 3-4 minutes until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Check at thickest point with digital thermometer.
    7. Turn off the heat. Gently push fish to corner of pan. Add shallots, parsley, thyme, lemon squeezed, white wine and butter in open area of pan. Allow to simmer for 30 seconds, and then baste over top of fish.
    8. Serve immediately or hold in oven at 175 degrees for a few minutes until rest of meal is ready to serve.

    Monday, July 15, 2013

    WomenCare eNewsletter Reaches Over 500 Subscribers

    Our WomenCare newsletter has reached a milestone! More than 500 subscribers have chosen to receive our monthly email newsletter, which is delivered on the first of every month.

    Thank you to all of our subscribers!

    If you haven't yet subscribed, here's what you may be missing:
    • Our monthly giveaway (an Omron Hip Pedometer in July) 
    • Our best blog articles from the past month
    • Healthy eating tips
    • Things to do in Western New York
    • Q&A with our health experts
    To give you a better idea of what to expect, here's a screenshot of last month's newsletter:

    How to Subscribe

    To subscribe to our email newsletter, please fill out the fields below:

    First Name:
    You can also use the sign-up box in the sidebar to the right.

    How Can We Make the Newsletter More Valuable to You?

    We are always looking for ways to improve. If there is something that you'd like to see in the newsletter, please leave a comment below.

    Thanks again for helping us to reach our milestone and for visiting our blog!

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Diet Plans That Are Too Good to Be True; And Those that Really Work!

    The following article is written by Beth Machnica, a student at SUNY Oneonta, who interns for Deborah Richter, a registered dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga.

    Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins, Paleo Diet – what’s the deal? With a forever-growing list of fad diets, how do we know if they’re hurtful or helpful for us? There are a few red flags to look out for when seeking a healthier way to eat.

    Leaves You Empty

    One of the first things to scope out for in the diet world is diets having major limitations on calories or certain nutrients.
    • Atkins limits the total amount of carbohydrates eaten in its first stages. Although it allows carbohydrates to be gradually brought back into the eating plan, this initial restriction may be dangerous if continued. According to the Institutes of Medicine, the body needs a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. Since the Atkins diet suggests less than 70 net carbs per day for its first three stages, this raises some health concerns.
    • South Beach is similar to Atkins with limitations on carbs in its first phases. This program offers guidance and advice from registered dietitians, which is a distinction from other plans. However, the diet may lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients while offering too much protein, which may be a concern for those with kidney conditions. Overall, it may be helpful in making us more aware of the healthful choices.
    • Paleo Diet is one that leaves your tank quite empty – meaning it's too low in carbohydrates. Although it bans processed foods and encourages healthy fats, having too little carbs won’t do much in terms of weight loss. The body is able to burn the most fat when it has enough fuel – meaning enough carbs.  Despite some of the healthy-sounding habits it may promote, the Paleo diet is not one that will result in long-term weight loss.
    All in all, try to stay away from diets that largely restrict this nutrient or any others. Instead of trying to eliminate carbohydrates entirely, be mindful of portion sizes and span them out throughout your day.

    Fat burns in a fire of carbohydrate!

    Aim for complex carbs such as whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, or beans. Eat more of these beneficial foods and try to eat less of the soda, candy, cakes, and cookies – which tend to be simple carbs that aren’t as useful to our bodies. Think SSSOO: Save Simple Stuff for Special Occasions Only.

    Too Good To Be True?  Not These!

    Another aspect to look out for is unrealistic expectations. If a diet promises it will make you lose 30 lbs. in a month, it is not realistic or healthy. In the same way, the promise of turning you into an Olympian athlete in a month is just as much of a red flag.
    • Nutrisystem tends to be more realistic compared to a fad like the Paleo diet. Nutrisystem states it may help you lose 1-2 lbs. per week – which is considered gradual healthy weight loss. Any more than this amount may be too rapid. With Nutrisystem, the food is already portioned out for you, but it can be pricey to follow. It has been rated to be fairly safe overall by health professionals, with the limitation that some nutrients may be missing.
    • Weight Watchers fits into a person’s lifestyle without requiring the purchase of special food (although the company offers its own brand of products for convenience). Every food fits into Weight Watchers, plus it emphasizes getting active. Weight Watchers can be helpful because it makes us more mindful of what we eat. This mainly stems from the requirement to count the points in what we eat, which may be tedious for some. The diet has been rated as safe by health professionals, so there is not as much need to worry about not getting enough nutrients. Habits learned should continue to be practiced even after you stop going to Weight Watchers – this is what makes it permanent.  

    Not A Lifestyle Change? Ditch It.

    With any new health habit – whether it’s getting active, eating better, or quitting smoking – the overall idea should be to make gradual changes towards better health, and to keep them for life. A diet that only requires 25 days or 8 weeks or 3 months is just like the sun in Western New York – temporary!

    By gradually changing our habits over time, we’re more likely to stick with them for life.

    Monday, July 8, 2013

    Winner of the Omron Hip Pedometer

    Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway for the Omron hip pedometer.

    A winner has been chosen at random from the comment entries using a random number generator.

    The winner is:

    Jessica Papadakis

    Jessica said that she'll add more steps to her day by taking the stairs at work, walking during her 15-minute breaks, and walking for 45 minutes every day after work.

    Jessica, to claim your prize, please email by July 29th.

    Prizes must be claimed within three weeks of draw.

    Congratulations Jessica!

    Don't Miss Our Next Giveaway

    To make sure that you don't miss out on our giveaway next month, subscribe to our blog using the email and RSS options in the sidebar to the right.

    Wednesday, July 3, 2013

    Summer Produce to Buy Locally

    Enjoy fresher foods and support Western New York by shopping for produce in season. Here's what's fresh for summer:

    Farmer's Markets 

    If you're not sure where to shop, check out these popular farmer's markets:

    • The Downtown Country Market on Buffalo’s Main Street is held on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., through October 24, 2013.
    • The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market is a producer-only market (all vendors grow or produce what they sell) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is open through December 21st.
    • The University Community Market (999 Broadway ) at the UB South Campus (on Main Street at Kenmore Avenue) is open on Saturdays form 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October 12.
    • The Broadway Market (999 Broadway ) is an indoor market that operates year-round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday – Saturdays.
    • The Clinton-Bailey Farmer’s Market on Clinton Street is open year-round. Summer hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. 
    • Alden's Farmer's Market in the Alden Village Plaza runs run every Saturday through October 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    East Aurora
    • The Kenmore Farmer's Market on the corner of Delaware Rd. and Delaware Avenue is held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through October.
    • The Lancaster Village Market at 4913 Transit Road in Depew is held on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is open until October 27.

    This information was compiled with the help of Deborah Richter, a registered dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga and is a certified diabetes educator. She teaches diabetes education classes and provides outpatient nutrition counseling. She has helped her clients to lose weight, reduce their blood pressure and feel better about themselves through healthy eating choices.

      Tuesday, July 2, 2013

      New Winner of the Tote Bag Giveaway

      Thank you to everyone who entered our giveaway for the Catholic Health tote bag.

      Unfortunately, Lisa C. has not contacted us to claim her prize within the three-week time period.

      According to contest rules, a new winner has been chosen. The winner is:

      Anna H.

      Anna H. said that she would like to see articles on our blog about time and stress management for full-time working moms.

      Anna, please send an email to by July 23rd to arrange for delivery of your prize. Congratulations!

      Note: prizes must be claimed within three weeks.

      Monday, July 1, 2013

      Ask Us Anything: How Can I Get My Period Back on Track After an Eating Disorder?

      "I have not menstrated in almost 3 years due to anorexia and bulimia. I have now reached a pretty healthy body weight, between 127 and 130, and I'm about 5 feet and 6 inches. I like to exercise. I do 20 to 40-minute walks regularly. And sometimes I do zumba, pilates or yoga (1 to 2 times per week) when I don't take a walk. I want to get my period back and sometimes worry if the amount of exercise and or my diet can be tweaked to hurry the process up. If you can shed any light on this, please let me know."

      Dr. Diane Sutter Responds:

      It is not necessarily your weight that is the issue but rather your percentage of body fat.

      Most women need to have at least 17% body fat to initiate menstruation and approximately 22% body fat to maintain or restore menstruation.

      You need to change your diet and exercise routine around so that you have a normal amount of body fat necessary to menstruate. A registered dietician can help you to evaluate your diet.

      Ginny Lyons, RN Adds:

      With proper diet, moderate exercise and weight gain, your cycles should begin and stabilize.

      However, not knowing all the medical facts and the duration of anorexia and excessive exercise regimen, I would like you to see a gynecologist for evaluation. You may need some hormonal therapy to "kick start" your cycles and get you back on regular menstruation.

      About Our Experts

      Diane Sutter, MD

      Dr. Sutter is a gynecologist whose interests include menopausal transition, osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment, and PMS. She sees patients at her office in Kenmore, NY.

      Ginny Lyons, RN

      Ginny Lyons, RN is a coordinator for Catholic Health's women's service line, WomenCare, a nurse clinician in women's health, a community health educator and a public health speaker for Catholic Health on wellness and prevention seminars.

      If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.
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