Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Giveaway: 1-year Subscription to EatingWell Magazine

EatingWell magazine features dozens of delicious and nutritious recipes, smart shopping tips, and healthy-in-a-hurry menus.

Amazon reviewer Karen said, "I've got subscriptions to 3 cooking magazines (EatingWell, Bon Apetit, and Everyday Food), and this one is by FAR the most useful.

I want healthy food, but I also work long hours and can't spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The recipes in EatingWell are tasty, easy to make, and creative. The ingredients can be found at any grocery store and are usually things I have on hand.

I look forward to every issue to find out what new recipes we'll be cooking up this month. I highly recommend it!"

Check out EatingWell by registering for your chance to win a yearly subscription (6 issues).

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 go-to meal when you're in a hurry?
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 September 11th. The winner will be announced on the blog. 

To make sure that you don't miss the winner announcement, subscribe to the blog in your feedreader or subscribe to our monthly email newsletter (see the sidebar).

Prizes that are not claimed within 5 weeks of the winner announcement will be carried forward to the next draw.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ask Us Anything: My Doctor Recommended Ablation for My Heavy Periods. Can You Tell Me More?

"I have had heavy periods that last for a month or more. I am in my late 40's. My doctor talked about an ablation. Can you tell me more? I am worried about missing a lot of time from work."

Dr. Diane Sutter Responds: 

A small device is place into the uterine cavity and the superficial endometrium is temporarily destroyed. The procedure is very quick, usually under 10 minutes and can result in very light or absent menses for as long as 5 years.

Uterine ablation can take place in your gynecologist's office or as an outpatient surgery, and you may not need to take off more than one day from work.

Dr. Ali Ghomi Adds:

Endometrial ablation is considered the least invasive surgical option to address menorrhagia or heavy periods.

 The procedure is considered highly effective with an overall patient satisfaction rate of 80%. Approximately one-third of women stop having periods altogether after ablation. 

Complications of surgery are extremely rare. A small percentage of women experience worsening of uterine cramping after ablation, especially if they have had history of cesarean sections, tubal ligations or fibroid uterus.

This is an outpatient procedure. Recovery is usually a matter of days. Some women experience significant uterine cramping up to 72 hours after surgery.

Overall, patients do very well after endometrial ablation. There are different modalities of performing endometrial ablation, but no one technique has been found to be superior to the other.

Dr. Scott Zuccala Adds:

I think it important to have a proper work up for abnormal bleeding, one of the most common causes for visits to the gynecologist.

The work up may include a pelvic sonogram, pap test, endometrial biopsy, cbc and pelvic exam. The cause of the bleeding will dictate the treatment, as well as a person's expectations.

If there is no problem with the endometrial lining, such as hyperplasia (abnormal growth) and no fibroids that extend into the cavity, then an ablation is a reasonable option. Although it should be remembered that it is not a form a birth control.

Medical therapy should also be reviewed, as should birth control pills, progesterone, progesterone IUD and lysteda. These forms work in many circumstances and do not expose the patient to surgery.

That being said, an ablation is an excellent alternative that allows conservative treatment and short recovery with people returning to work/activities within 2 to 3 days. The downside is that it does not always fix the problem. Conditions such as adenmyosis (deeply embedded endometrial tissue) may affect the results.

The key is to have a diagnosis before treatment, if possible, so that the treatment can be tailored to the cause. And just as important is to have a realistic expectation of the result.

About Our Physicians

Dr. Diane Sutter

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.

Dr. Ghomi

Dr. Ghomi is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and Chair of The Robotic Surgical Committee at Sisters of Charity Hospital.

Dr. Zuccala

Dr. Zuccala is a gynecologic surgeon at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

He practices obstetrics and gynecology, including minimally invasive surgery, and vaginal and pelvic reconstruction for prolapse and urologic incontinence surgery.

He was one of the first surgeons in the Buffalo area to perform minimally invasive gynecological surgery for non-cancerous conditions using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

4 Ways to Make Time to Cook

If you’re looking to lose weight or improve your diet, skip the restaurants and eat at home.

While dining out is easier than cooking, it’s also more expensive and takes away your control over what and how much goes into your food.

Here’s how you can make time for cooking, even with a packed schedule.

1. Choose Fast and Easy Recipes

Keep a list of recipes that you can turn to during busy times.

Where to Find Recipes 

For recipes and menus, Jennifer Turesky, a Registered Dietitian at Sisters Hospital, recommends and

Also check out the No Time to Cook? App from Real Simple. It has over 850 quick and easy recipes and a built-in timer to keep you on schedule while you cook.

What to Look For

Choose recipes with:
  • 500- 600 mg or less of sodium per meal 
  • zero trans fat
  • no partially hydrogenated oils

Sample Recipes

When you’re pressed for time, don’t overlook eggs. “They’re quick, inexpensive and a great source of protein and nutrients,” said Turesky.

Also try:

2. Cook Meals in Advance

If you don’t have time to cook during the week, Turesky recommends preparing larger portions on weekends or days off. Freeze them for later use.

If your days off are packed, try waking up at an hour earlier or skip the evening TV.

3. Keep Your Freezer Stocked

Always keep frozen fish on hand. “Take it out the night before, and it will be ready to cook on the grill, stove top or in the oven for dinner.”

Other foods that can be frozen:
  • Pizza crust – Once thawed, top with sauce, grated part-skim mozzarella cheese and pre-cut vegetables
  • Taco meat
  • Meatballs
  • Hamburgers
  • Turkey burgers 
  • Meat loaf 
  • Chili
  • Salmon burgers
“I encourage lean meat, ground sirloin or 90-95% lean ground beef, and 99% lean ground turkey,” said Turesky.

Add a vegetable or salad to any of the meals above for a balanced dinner. For dessert, opt for fruit.

“If you need to have starch with dinner, try instant brown rice, or microwave a sweet potato. It’s quick, easy and nutritious.”

Don’t let leftovers go to waste. “Freeze your leftovers and save for them the next week or two weeks,” said Turesky.

4. Use a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

Let the crock pot do the work for you and come home to a warm meal. Recipes to try:
Slow cooker recipes can be high in sodium, so remember to look for those with 600 mg or less.

If you need assistance with eating healthy, Jennifer provides nutrition counseling at Sisters Hospital in Buffalo and leads a 12-week LIFESTEPS© program to help adults change their eating and physical activity behaviors.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Is Frequent Bacterial Vaginosis Normal?

"Does an IUD cause more frequent infections? Also, is frequent bacterial vaginosis normal? How may I prevent it from recurring?"

Dr. Diane Sutter Responds: 

An IUD does not cause more frequent infections.

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common condition in women. It is an overgrowth of normal bacteria that is found in the vagina of every woman.

The normal pH of the healthy vagina is 4 to 4.5 (more acidic). When something happens to disrupt the normal flora of the vagina, the pH gets higher (greater than 5.0) and patients may notice an irritated, raw, feeling; a vaginal discharge; the classic "fishy" odor, especially after urinating or intercourse; and a woman may complain of being a "little itchy".

Causative factors that disrupt the vaginal pH are antibiotics (especially those taken for dental, sinus or upper respiratory infections). BV is almost common in the summer with chlorine pools and hot tubs being a more basic pH (greater than 7.0).

Recurrent BV is best managed by a three step approach:
  1. Antibiotics to kill off the bad bacteria
  2. Rephresh, an over-the-counter product designed to bring down the vaginal pH
  3. Probiotics to re-colonize the vagina with the good lactobacilli that make lactic acid and keep the pH acidic; I recommend traditional yogurt without nutrasweet, eaten daily until there is no longer a problem.
– Dr. Diane Sutter

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. Click here for her office information.

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

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Buffalo Fitness Groups That Can Motivate You to Work Out

Exercising can feel like a chore – especially if it's not a part of your regular routine. But the problem might not be a lack of willpower; exercising solo may be to blame.

Exercising as part of a group is not only more fun, it puts you on a schedule. It's an appointment that you're more likely to keep when you know that others are holding you accountable. Your workout buddies can motivate you to keep going and become a source of inspiration or even healthy competition.

If you belong to a Buffalo gym or fitness center, getting started is as easy as attending their next fitness class. But if you've opted to skip the gym, try these options that don't cost a dime.

Walking for Fitness

The Walking for Fitness group walks in Tonawanda on Monday evenings and has had walks in Amherst, Clarence and East Aurora. Group members are free to propose new locations.

Group member Teri said, "I don't exercise ever. Walking I can handle. Loved it."

Rolling Buffalo

If you bike, skateboard, or roller blade, join the Rolling Buffalo group. Distances can be a little long (10 miles plus), but you're free to break off from the group when you've had enough for the day.

The Fleet Fleet Sports Buffalo Running Group

This group runs year-round and meets on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. The Fleet Fleet Sports Buffalo Running Group also has a discussion board where you can search for a running partner in your neighborhood.

Buffalo Hiking Club

Buffalo Hiking Club is for both beginners and experienced hikers. The group has hiked in Allegany State Park, Boyce Hill State Forest and more. 

If you're new to hiking, read their message board for a list of supplies to bring.

Free Sunday Yoga Class

Hand to Heart Yoga offers an all-levels yoga class on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Your first class is free; after your first visit, it's $5. Click here for details.

Even if you're exercising alone, tap into the power of the group by using Lift, a free web and smartphone app that lets you track your achievements and get encouragement from others who share your goals.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Winner of Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas

Thank you to all who entered our giveaway for Quick & Healthy Recipes and Ideas.

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

Cathy P

Cathy said, "Living alone, it is sometimes hard to make food for ones self. This book would make good preparation easy."

Cathy, to claim your prize please email Amy Kirst ( by September 2nd.

Prizes must be claimed within 3 weeks of draw.

Congratulations Cathy!

Don't Miss Our Next Giveaway

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

5 Ways to Increase Your Energy

This post was originally written when the blog launched in September 2011 and will be new to many of our readers, who have joined us since it originally published. I love Kevin's insight, especially about finding your passion in life.

If you’re feeling tired or worn out, reclaim your energy with these energy-boosting tips.

1. Get Enough Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, what makes for a good night’s sleep depends on your age. Newborns need as much as 12-18 hours of sleep while adults need 7 to 9. Sleep requirements also vary by person, so don’t feel guilty if your spouse needs only 7 hours to feel rested while you need 9.

2. Eat Healthy Foods

Catholic Health’s Deborah Richter, a registered dietitian at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, recommends making healthy food choices to increase your energy.

Choose lean protein (low-fat lunch meats, for example), whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.

If you’re a coffee drinker, drink smaller portions, 2 to 3 ounces every hour or two, to get the maximum energy benefit.

3. Exercise

“Regular physical activity significantly improves your energy levels,” says Deborah.

To incorporate exercise into your daily routine, take a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, turn your housecleaning into a workout, or volunteer to walk the family pet.

Be mindful of opportunities that present themselves throughout the day and push yourself to be more active, rather than taking the path of least resistance.

4. Find Your Passion

Passion is the key to feeling energized, says Catholic Health Educator Kevin McCue.

“So many people I talk to seem to have no passion in life. By finding something that you truly love to do, you tap into one of the greatest things in our human existence: enthusiasm. Find your passion and you will find more energy!”

Take up a hobby, or many hobbies, until you find the one that resonates with you.

Or go back to something that you used to enjoy but haven’t made time for recently. What roadblocks did you encounter and how can you overcome them? If time is an issue, can you pursue your hobby in smaller chunks throughout the day?

5. Be Positive

We all talk to ourselves – but research has shown that more than 70% of that self-talk is negative. And negativity is a big energy-zapper.

“You’re not motivated or inspired when you have negative self-talks,” says Kevin.

He recommends taking negative statements and reframing them into something positive. If you’re feeling depressed about your job, think about how thankful you are to have one.

Make it a habit to give thanks for what you have. Every morning when you wake up, make a list of what you’re grateful for. Your positivity will put you in the right frame of mind to deal with the day’s challenges without depleting your energy stores.

Monday, August 5, 2013

How to Tap Into Your Creativity to Improve Your Health

This article was published last May and has been updated to include new strategies for finding your creativity.

Break out your paints, camera, knitting needles, or whatever else you need to tap into your creativity. Because being creative isn't just for kids – it's actually good for your health.

Not only are you happier when you follow creative pursuits, but you're better able to deal with stress and have less anxiety. Plus, they give you a sense of purpose. (Source: CNN)

As adults, we can sometimes lose sight of our creativity. We get caught up in checking chores off of a to-do list or are wrapped up in our favorite TV programs.

Give yourself permission to be creative. You might feel as though taking time out for creative endeavors isn't productive, but breaking away from your daily routine will benefit you in the way you think and feel. Turn off the voice that's telling you that you're wasting time, and reward yourself for your efforts.

Find pockets of free time. If you're strapped for time, consider how you're currently spending your days, and what you could be doing differently (or not at all) to fit your new pursuit into your schedule.

To track how you're using your time, use Toggl, a free web and smartphone app that times your daily activities. Use it for a week and then take a look at Toggl's report to see if there's any wasted time that you can put to better use.

Make a list of new things you want to learn or do. Examples include:
  • Taking photos
  • Drawing 
  • Painting
  • Interior decorating / refinishing old furniture
  • Sewing, knitting or embroidering
  • Scrapbooking
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Gardening
  • Journaling / Blogging (I use a password-protected Tumblr blog)
  • Writing poetry
  • Cooking
  • Baking
  • Soap Making
  • Programming 
  • Building websites
  • Exercising
  • Dancing
  • Skiing
Try new things until you find something that resonates with you. Look at your list of new endeavors and try everything at least once. What do you think about in your free time or look forward to the most?

Newness creates excitement. When the newness of your activity has worn off, what stays with you?

Be social. Share your pursuits with your friends and get them involved. Get together once a week to report your progress. Social accountability is a strong motivator.

My hobby is sewing, and I'd never get anything accomplished if it wasn't for my sewing group, Buffalo Modern Sewing. I go through spells where I rarely sew at home, but when we meet for a few hours to work on our projects, it's the push that I need to get going.

You and your friends may wish to create a Facebook group, where you share your experiences and plan events to participate in together.

If your friends don't have similar interests, consider joining a Meet Up group that is pursuing the same goals.

Make it a habit. Let's say that you've found something that you love to do, but find that you keep putting it aside. Try Lift, a free web and smartphone app that allows you to make a list of desired habits and check-in when you achieve them.

For example, if you want to learn how to draw, your goal may be to draw something every day. Enter that habit into Lift, and open the app on your computer or smartphone to check-in when the goal is completed for the day. At the beginning of every day, Lift will email a report of how many times you've completed your goal and encourage you to keep going.

Lift also has a social component, which is what makes it so effective. If someone on Lift is striving for the same goal, you'll be able to "join the habit" and pursue your goals together. You'll see his or her check-ins and be able to share and receive encouragement.

Hobbies not only provide stress relief, but they boast self-esteem and give you a sense of accomplishment. Take advantage of online tools and add a social component to make the process more fun.

How will you add more creativity to your life? What hobbies would you like to pursue? Or what hobbies are you pursuing already?
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