Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy? Adoption is an Option.

The following is a guest post from Baker Victory Services.

If you’re currently facing an unplanned pregnancy, you might feel as though your world has been turned upside down. If you’re not ready to be a parent, your pregnancy probably seems overwhelming – there are physical and emotional changes happening to your body, you don’t know where to find prenatal care, you aren’t sure if you have insurance coverage, etc. You’re probably thinking, “What do I do now?”

You do have options, and it’s not too late to choose how to move forward.

When you choose adoption, you’re making a selfless and loving decision to provide your child with the best life possible. Adoption has evolved significantly over the years, and each decision you make is carried out through the entire adoption process.

By choosing which type of adoption plan you’d like to make – open, semi-open, or closed – you can decide the level of contact you’d like to have with your child and the child’s adoptive family post-placement.

Types of Adoption


In an open adoption, you select your child's adoptive family. If you wish, you may have an ongoing relationship with them after the adoption.


In a semi-open adoption, you will learn basic information about the adoptive family, such as their first names and where they live. All communication will take place through an agency, such as Baker Victory Services.


In a closed adoption, your adoption agency will choose the adoptive family. The identity and contact information of the adoptive family will not be shared with the birth mother.

For more information about adoption types, visit the Baker Victory Services blog.

Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide what’s right for you and your baby, but you don’t need to make your decision alone.

How Baker Victory Services Can Help

Baker Victory Services can help you explore all of your pregnancy options and help you build a plan for the future. You should feel confident knowing that you are making the right choice for you and your baby, whatever that choice may be. To speak with a confidential, counselor, call or text 799-3333 or email

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Can Eating Too Much Sugar Cause Diabetes?

"Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes?"

Ginny Lyons, RN, Responds:

No. Genes that you inherit from your parents play a role in whether you get diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) is usually diagnosed in childhood and means that the body does not produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) means that the body becomes resistant to insulin and cannot process glucose properly. Type 2 diabetes is more related than Type 1 to environmental factors, like diet, but it also involves inherited genes.

The good news is that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by eating a healthier diet and increasing exercise.

– Ginny Lyons

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.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Enjoy Holiday Parties and Buffets Without Regrets

The following tips were provided by Registered Dietitian Ann Marie Smokowski, who offers nutrition counseling at the Mercy Comprehensive Care Center and the Mercy OB/GYN Center. Click here to learn more.

The holiday season lasts almost seven weeks. During this period, it's common for many people to gain anywhere from one to two pounds. Prevention is key in this situation. Here are some tips to diffuse any weight gain.

If You're at a Party...

  1. Exercise: Make sure you exercise sometime during the day before the celebration. Take a brisk walk in the morning or during your lunch period. Try to make exercise a regular part of your schedule, at least 150 minutes of cardio on a weekly  basis. 
  2. Snack Beforehand: Before the event, make sure you eat a small, healthy snack, so you are not starving when you arrive at the party.
  3. Carry a Beverage: Keep a glass of a low-calorie beverage in your hand (club soda, water, unsweetened iced tea, diet soda) so that it's awkward to eat at the buffet.
  4. Eat Slowly: Enjoy the taste of the food you are eating.
  5. Scope Out the Buffet: Give the buffet a "quick look" so you can quickly evaluate the food options at the part table. Make a note of the low-calorie foods that are available vs the high-calorie options.
Don't give up the fight! Remember even if the person falters. It is only one event. Awareness of your environment is key. You can take the above tips and use them for your next event.

If You're Given Desserts as a Gift...

Share with family, friends or neighbors. 

If you're having a party, you can serve these sweets to your guests. If there are leftover sweets at a party, I usually divide and distribute them for the guests to take home. 

Bring some of the treats to work in the lunchroom.

If You're Pressured to Eat by Family or Friends...

Engage the person making the comment in conversation. Hopefully, you can distract them by changing the topic.

You can then try to select small amounts of a variety of foods from the holiday table. You may try second helpings of the food that are lower in calories, like salad, vegetables, yams, etc. Always be conscious of the portions you are serving yourself.

There is no crime in pacing oneself and not feeling overstuffed and uncomfortable.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ask Us Anything: I Found a Lump in my Breast. Now What?

"I found a lump in my breast. What do I do now?"

Registered Nurse Michelle Wysocki Responds:

First of all, do not panic. Eight out of ten breast lumps are not cancerous.

Breast lumps are very common, especially in younger women, and often go away by the end of the menstrual cycle.

But do not ignore any change in your breast. The best advice is to see a doctor right away.

The doctor will talk about your personal and family medical history and can often tell a lot about the lump from its size and the way it moves. A mammogram or ultrasound test may be done to help tell the difference between normal and abnormal lumps. In a small percentage of breast changes, a biopsy will be done to examine the tissue. If the lump turns out to be a benign tumor or a cyst, then it is not cancer.

– Michelle Wysocki, RN

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

Friday, November 15, 2013

Winner of Joel Harper's Slim & Fit Exercise DVD

Sixteen readers entered our giveaway for Joel Harper's Slim & Fit Exercise DVD.

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

The winner is:


Nancy said that she uses the gym and an elliptical at home and walks with weights.

Congratulations, Nancy! To claim your prize, please email Amy Kirst (

If the prize is not claimed by December 6, 2013, a new winner will be drawn.

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, November 13, 2013

Buffalo Activities to Share With Out-of-Town Guests

If you're at a loss for what to do with your out-of-town guests this winter, consider the options below, organized by interest.


The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site takes you back to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. You'll see where Theodore Roosevelt was inaugurated and where he wrote his first official proclamation as President of the United States. In December, the house is decorated for a Victorian Christmas, and from Dec. 7 to Dec. 14, admission is $5 (regular admission is $10 for adults).

Further north at the Castellani Art Museum, the Freedom Crossing exhibit tells the story of the Underground Railroad Movement in Buffalo Niagara. The museum is located on the campus of Niagara University and admission is free.


The Albright-Knox Gallery is a must-see for art enthusiasts whose tastes lean toward modern art. Public tours are on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. and on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Admission is $12 per person.

Shutterbugs will enjoy the CEPA Gallery, a downtown museum dedicated to the art of photography. Admission is free. The College Street Gallery in Allentown also specializes in photography and is open Wednesday - Friday.

Literature & Books

Take the book lover in your family to see the original handwritten manuscript of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The manuscript is displayed at the downtown library's Mark Twain Room. Admission is free.

Less than a mile away, browse the shelves downtown at Old Editions Book Shop. The store carries second hand books, antique maps and vintage magazines.

Cars & Trains

Take a peak inside the newly renovated Pierce-Arrow Museum. Its collection of historic cars include a 1902 electric carriage, a 1909 Thomas Flyer and a 1918 Pierce Arrow 7-passenger touring car. The museum is open Thursday - Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults.

For a kid-friendly activity, hop aboard the North Pole Express at the Arcade & Attica Railroad. You'll journey through the snow-covered countryside, pulled by a vintage 65 ton General Electric Center-Cab locomotive. Kids can visit with the elves and jolly St. Nick himself at Santa's Workshop. Tickets are $16 per person.


Just because there's snow on the ground, doesn't mean you can't hit the green. Play miniature golf ($5 per person) at the The Paddock Chevrolet Golf Dome or tee off at the driving range. The golf dome is open daily.

For hockey lovers: take in a Sabres game, or for the budget conscious, opt for Atlantic Hockey instead. Local teams include Canisius and Niagara University.

Arts & Crafts

At Creative Essence in Clarence, drop by to make a craft or sign up for a workshop in knitting, jewelry making, felting and more.

Seamstresses can take a class at Elmwood Village Fabrics, while knitters can drop by the Elmwood Yarn Shop on Hertel Avenue for a $5 open lesson.


For the cook who loves to shop, check out Penzy's Spices on Elmwood and D'Avolio Olive Oils, Vinegars & More, which has locations in Buffalo, Williamsville, Lewiston, East Amherst and Ellicottville.

At Delish! on Amherst St. in Buffalo, you'll find the perfect stocking stuffer. Choose from cooking gadgets, gourmet sauces, spices and marinades. Delish! also offers cooking and baking classes.


Catch up with your family or friends at the White Linen Tea House in North Tonawanda. Afternoon tea includes a garden salad, tea sandwiches, fresh scones, and fruit.

For a more casual experience, Elm Street Bakery in East Aurora serves up artisan breads and pastries and features seasonal foods in its cafes. Sunday brunch features live music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If you're craving cupcakes, you'll find red velvet, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes at Swirls Market Cafe, also in East Aurora. Special flavors change daily (a schedule is available on their website).

Updated to Add:

Buffalo ComedySportz is recommended by Heather Sue Boyer, who says, "It is fun for everyone! Date night, birthday, family night, girls/guys night...everyone should check it out! I guarantee you will have a great time!" ComedySports describes itself as family-friendly improvisational comedy, played as a sport. Shows are on Fridays and Saturdays, and tickets are $5-$10.

Where do you plan to take your out-of-town guests?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Why Does My Period Begin Again a Few Days After It Ends?

"Why does my period begin again a few days after it ends? Sometimes, my period will last a week. Then a few days later, it's back again. Is this normal? I will be 44 soon and have had my tubes tied."

Ginny Lyons, RN, Responds:

This is a sign of perimenopausal phase before menopause begins. It is also called the menopause transition.

Perimenopause begins in your late 40s and is characterized by irregular periods, skipped periods, irregularities with flow, light or heavy clotting, mood changes, hot flashes, night sweats, nervousness and anxiety.

These are all normal changes to come; all can be tended to. Treatments are available to ease the symptoms. These include estrogen therapy and natural and homeopathic remedies.

Perimenopause concludes after 12 calendar consecutive months of no periods, at which point you have reached menopause.

It is important that you see your gynecologist for check ups and the evaluation and treatment of symptoms as they occur.

– Ginny Lyons

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.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Buffalo Blog Spotlight: Emily Bites Cooking Blog

Meet Emily, a Western New Yorker who shares Weight Watchers-friendly recipes at

Her recipes have been featured on Oprah; Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show, Anderson; and she has been profiled in Fitness Magazine. Her simple, good-for-you recipes are easy to make, and they're organized by course so that you can easily find your favorites (click here for the recipe index).

How did you make the transition from eating microwaved meals to cooking at home? 

At the time, I'd been doing Weight Watchers for a while and it was working! The only problem was that I was eating a lot of the same things, and I was getting a little bored. The thing is, I love food, and committing to lose weight didn't change that. I was craving a lot more flavor and variety than frozen meals provide, so I decided to try cooking a few simple recipes. What a difference!

With just a little effort, I learned I could create meals for myself that were full of flavor and much more filling than a frozen entree. The home cooked meals were also a way better use of my Weight Watchers points because they kept me satisfied longer for the same number of points.

The biggest surprise for me was that I genuinely didn't have to sacrifice any of my favorite foods; the lightened up recipes on my blog taste just as good (if not better) than their traditional counterparts.

What has motivated you to continue to eat healthy? Has your blog played a part?

I can't pretend that I'm perfect. I struggle at times and have ups and downs like everyone else. I actually just re-committed recently after falling off the wagon for a while and gaining some weight back.

The most important component of staying on track for me is to be prepared. Meal planning, grocery shopping, and having healthy options available is key. The times when I struggle are when I'm traveling a lot or when I have too much on my plate and I don't make the time to stock my kitchen and get organized.

What my blog does is make me sure that I can do this. I can eat healthy. I can lose weight. I don't have to sacrifice a thing. I can eat all my favorite recipes and know they'll taste amazing and keep me full. My blog gives me confidence. All I need is to take a little time every week to plan out my meals, make a grocery list, and ensure I have plenty of options on hand.

I want to feel healthy and be a good role model for my readers, and that's motivating to me.

Of the recipes that you've featured on your blog, which are your favorite?

It's so hard to pick! I'll just highlight some off the top of my head. The Butternut Squash Soup on my blog is creamy, velvety and full of flavor. It's perfect for this time of year and no one would ever guess it's light.

Meatballs are one of my favorite foods, so my Slow Cooker Meatballs & Marinara or Spaghetti & Meatball Soup are both favorites.

The Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Singles make a super easy and delicious grab-and-go breakfast.

Cheesy Chicken & Stuffing and Bubble Up Enchilada Casserole are both easy weeknight comfort foods with minimal prep time.

My "main course muffins" have always been popular, especially the Taco "Cupcakes" and the Mac & Cheese Muffins.

There are a ton more I could name, but for brevity's sake, I'll stick to those for now.

Do you have a strategy for days when you're busy or unable to cook dinner but would rather not turn to fast food?

Leftovers make great dinners! It's a good idea to freeze some extras when you have them for nights when cooking is just not going to happen.

If you know ahead of time that you won't be able to cook, you can always let your slow cooker do it for you while you're working. It's great to walk through your front door and know dinner is already ready!

Making sure your kitchen is stocked with ingredients to make fast and easy foods like sandwiches, salads, breakfast-for-dinner or English muffin pizzas is a good idea as well.

What are some ingredients that you consistently replace? Do you have any go-to substitutions?

I use a lot of white whole wheat flour, high fiber pastas and other whole grains. Much of what I do isn't just substituting reduced-fat ingredients, but I do use several reduced-fat dairy products. I use 2% cheeses fairly frequently (never fat-free) and 1/3 less fat cream cheese.

You can usually substitute fat-free half & half for cream in most recipes. Greek yogurt is also a fantastic addition to creamy sauces, and you can often reduce the butter in baked goods and add Greek yogurt in its place.

I also like to find ways to bulk up recipes with vegetables, black beans or other filling ingredients that will allow me to stretch the portion size while keeping the recipe tasty and satisfying. Using lean meats is also a great way to keep your meals on the lighter side.

How did you learn which ingredients to use in your substitutions? Trial and error?

Trial and error definitely played a large role. You can't be afraid to take a risk and try things in the kitchen! There are also a lot of great resources online if you're stuck and need an idea to lighten up your recipe.

If someone is interested in adapting recipes in their own kitchen, how would you recommend that they get started?

I recommend starting by making some already lighter recipes, like the ones on my site! Cooking delicious, light recipes that are already proven builds confidence. I think as you become more comfortable in the kitchen, your ability to get creative making or adapting your own recipes naturally develops.

When I started cooking, I had little to no experience, and now I'm able to brainstorm and invent my own lightened up recipes from scratch. It just takes practice and a willingness to try.

Head over to Emily Bites to check out Emily's recipes (and beautiful photography). Don't forget to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to make sure that you don't miss her latest recipes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Is it Possible to Have a Gynecological Exam Without Pain?

"I have not had a GYN exam in two years, as it has become painful for me. When the speculum is inserted, it pinches and causes me pain. Is it possible to have an exam without this pain? I am 66 years old."

Dr. Samuel Saleeb Responds: 

No patient should have a painful GYN exam.

If pain does occur, it may be due to use of a metal speculum, use of a larger speculum than needed, lack of estrogen (in menopausal women not using hormones), associated diseases (like prolapse) or a rough examiner.
In my office, I use plastic soft speculum, the smallest size possible. I use plenty of lubricant and I go very easily.

Still, if my patient starts to feel discomfort, I abandon the speculum exam and use only a digital exam.

In a digital exam, the provider inserts two gloved fingers into the vagina and places the other hand on your abdomen, applying slight pressure.This exam permits the detection of any growths, abnormalities, swellings, or areas of tenderness in the pelvic area.

– Dr. Samuel Saleeb

Dr. Saleeb is a urogynecologist, which is a gynecologist who specializes in the care of women with pelvic floor dysfunction. He practices at the Saleeb Uro-Gynecology Center in Williamsville. He also practices twice monthly at the Ken-Ton FamilyCare Center in Tonawanda (a full evaluation of the pelvic floor is not available at this location).

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