Eat Local. Eat Healthy. Eat Beans.

By: Chef Brenda Wattles, RDN and The Idaho Bean Commission

According to the Idaho Bean Commission, the number one reason to eat Idaho’s beans is due to our rich volcanic soil and clean mountain water that produces the “highest quality, disease-free bean seed in the world.”  If that isn’t reason enough, Registered Dietitian and Chef Brenda Wattles adds five more reasons to eat our local, healthy food.

Beans are Versatile
There are ten varieties of beans grown in Idaho. All of which have their own flavor profile and texture that offer numerous ways to prepare them. Beans can be served as a main course or a side dish. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, beans can be considered as a main protein entree or a side vegetable. That is versatility at its best!

Beans are Easy to Prepare
Whether you are cooking them dried or straight from the can, they are easy! Dried takes a little longer, but the process is simple (*see instructions below). Once they are cooked and ready to go, add them to soups, hummus, salads, or even smoothies! Visit the Idaho Bean Commission’s website for recipes ideas.

Beans are Inexpensive
If you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, beans are a great cost-conscious alternative! Adding them to your menu as a main dish protein can cut your budget tremendously. Chef Brenda recommends making homemade black bean burgers, hearty vegetarian chili, or topping entrée size salads with beans as your main protein source.

Beans are a Protein and a Fiber-Rich Superfood
Most Americans are getting enough protein. However, they are often deficient by about 10 grams of fiber a day. By adding one cup of cooked beans to their diet, they will be adding about 12-16 grams of fiber a day. Additionally, beans are high in antioxidants.  They are also low in calories and saturated fat.

Beans are Excellent for Weight Loss
One cup of canned black beans is only 218 calories! Not only are they low in calories, they provide lots of bulk during digestion. So, they will keep you full longer! Adding beans to your diet is one of the best ways to get a variety of nutrients for such a small number of calories.

*How to Prepare Dried Beans
Rinse and drain one pound of dry beans. Discard damaged beans and any foreign material. Place in sauce pan and cover with 6 cups water. Either soak overnight or boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and soak for one to four hours. Discard soaking water. Replace with clean water and cook beans at a low boil for one to two hours, until beans are tender.

Rock Your Role!

By: Rebecca Sprague, MPH, Health Education Specialist, Suicide Prevention Program, Division of Public Health

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week is September 9-15. This will be a time when some of us honor loved ones lost to suicide. Many will renew efforts to prevent suicide deaths. It is also important to focus our attention on hope, help, strength and recovery!

We all have a very important role to play in suicide prevention and intervention.  Here are just a few ways that you can Rock Your Role!

  • Learn the warning signs
  • Watch for signs in friends, family & co-workers
  • Take action when you see signs of suicide in a person and get them to help

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about suicide
  • Isolation & withdrawal
  • Agitation & sleeplessness
  • Nightmares
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased use of alcohol/drugs
  • Talking about feeling hopeless
  • Previous suicide attempts

Taking Action

  • Call/Text/Chat the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-HELP or idahosuicideprevention.org/chat/
  • Take them to a crisis center near you (see crisis center information below)
  • Take them to the emergency department or doctor’s office
  • Schedule a visit with a behavioral health provider
  • Contact your employee assistance program

What are Your Strengths?

We’ve all got ‘em! But sometimes it can be hard to identify them, especially when we’re feeling down. Helping others identify their strengths or healthy ways to cope can be just the thing they need to get them back into a place of hope and recovery. These strengths can be any number of things. For some it means connecting with nature, for others it means singing, reading a good book, spending time with a pet, hanging out with a positive friend or talking to a counselor.

Crisis Centers

Idaho’s Behavioral Health Community Crisis Centers (BHCCCs) provide services to adults in need of mental health and/or substance use disorder crisis services. The BHCCCs are open 24 hours, seven days a week to assist adults 18 and older in crisis to become stabilized and connect them with community resources to help them effectively deal with their situations and avoid further crises.

Pathways Community Crisis Center of Southwest Idaho
7192 Potomac Drive
Boise, Idaho 83704

North Idaho Crisis Center
2195 Ironwood Court, Suite D
Coeur D’Alene, Idaho 83814

Behavioral Health Community Crisis Center of East Idaho
1650 N. Holmes Avenue
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401

Crisis Center of South Central Idaho
570 Shoup Avenue West
Twin Falls, Idaho 83301

Get your sparkle on!

Holiday time can bring out the best – and the worst – in people. Don’t let the stress and hub-bub dull your attitude. Try these things to keep your sparkle on!

Monday Blues?

Are Mondays your least favorite day of the week? The Monday Blues can be a passing tiredness, an indication of a poor job fit, or a screaming need for an attitude adjustment. If hopeless, tired, sad, stressed, overwhelmed, impatient, and unpleasant pretty much describe you on Monday mornings – you may need to do something. Why? Because you deserve better and so do your co-workers! If Monday Madness has grabbed you and you feel you may be a victim of The Blues, check out some of these ideas…
  • Identify the problem; if your work leaves you feeling underappreciated, stressed, and overwhelmed – name it and claim it; then you can start dealing with it
  • Don’t dwell on Mondays like a looming dark cloud that dumps on your weekend
  • Get sunlight and fresh air on your weekend – refresh!
  • Be ready for Monday … start on Sunday by getting your food and clothes lined out; synch up your calendar
  • Dress like you want to be at work – it makes a difference!
  • Practice good self-care – don’t overdo Sunday with heavy foods/drinks
  • Get some sleep! Lack of shut eye makes everything and everyone more difficult
  • Focus on the things you are excited about in the week ahead
  • Eat a good breakfast
  • Try not to over-pack your weekend; have some down time
  • Have a positive attitude; use positive self-talk while you drive into work
  • Maintain a manageable Monday work schedule – keep it light when you can
Share what you do to make Mondays work for you…

Women are special.

Heart disease – it is the #1 killer of women in America. Cardiovascular disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 American women’s deaths each year. Breast cancer takes 1 in 31 American women’s lives each year. In spite of these numbers, many women live more in fear of breast cancer striking than heart disease. Both are important women’s health issues; both deserve the time and attention of all women. Be in the know about heart disease and women. Know the warning signs, know the risk factors, and know how to stay healthy. Heart disease is not just a man’s disease; it is not just for “old” people; it does not occur just in frail or inactive people. Get the facts. What are you doing to take care of your heart?

No time for the gym?

]It’s a pretty common challenge. There’s always something more important to do… Oddly, I do find time to sit and watch TV or play video games. Sound familiar? If this challenge hits home with you, try creating your own home workout area. You can still watch TV and play video games and you can be physically active while you do it! Shop for equipment at garage sales, second-hand stores, or your local big box store. Here’s some simple workout equipment for your workout area.
  • A set of 3-pound weights or cans; use while on the phone, while seated on a stability ball, while watching TV
  • A sturdy chair or stool
  • A yoga mat and foam roller – watch your favorite show from the floor!
  • A stability ball; there’s one at nearly every garage sale! Stability balls bring on laughter while strengthening muscles
  • A set of elastic thera-bands; they come in different colors/strengths and they’re great for stretching while sitting or standing
  • Don’t care for thera-bands? Choose exercise bands with handles on the ends
  • If simple is what you want, forget all the equipment and plug in a walking DVD. In 15 minutes or less you can have a good little workout (these are great for the office as well!)
  • Broom handles are good tools to use across your shoulders, draping your arms over the tops then slowly stretching your waist and sides
  • Stationary bikes are perfect for TV watching. Be sure you get a good fit for your back and your posterior; it’s got to be comfortable for you. Many stationary bikes are more affordable than a year’s gym membership!
  • Don’t forget your measuring tools: pedometer, tape measure, scale, BP monitor, tracking sheet
So, no excuses! Time is a-wasting! We tend to think we will somehow magically have more time in the future. Not so. The time is NOW. Move it. What simple resource do you use at home to exercise or stretch? How do you make it easy?

Damage control?

“I love the holidays but I want to practice damage control this year…” my coworker stated as she left my office. It sounds fairly clinical, but it’s true. The magic of the Season can lead one down the path of destruction and compromise! What gets compromised? – nutrition, budget, sleep habits, exercise, YOU! I did a quick review of my last two weeks. I traded away two trips to the gym to finish holiday house decorations. I traded away at least three trips to the grocery store for after-work holiday get-togethers. Tonight I am trading sleep time and relaxation to get the holiday cards written. UGH! There’s hope – you can stop the madness. Practice damage control…
  • Make a budget for entertainment, food, and gifts
  • Schedule exercise; put it on your calendar
  • Prepare at least one healthy meal every day
  • Quit the “clean plate club”
  • Eat slowly; savor your food
  • Have a plan before you arrive at a buffet or office potluck
  • Meet with friends around events, not food
  • Let go of perfectionism!
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should; guard your time
  • De-stress with three yoga tips
  • Slow down, take a breath; be in the moment, not on your way to the next moment!
Share what you do for damage control during the Holidays.

No Buts About It!

Your colon is a critical part of your plumbing system. After so many years, you need to have a look at the pipes to be sure everything is working well, check for general wear and tear, and find anything that could cause a future disaster. Just like the pipes in your home, it’s easy to put off an inspection and it’s never convenient when the system goes down. No one likes surprises. So, do yourself a favor. Read the Screening Guidelines. Get checked, if it’s your time. Use the resources on Your Colon.  Read Straight Talk About Colon Cancer.  As a  friend of mine says, “Colonoscopies are like plungers. It’s better to get one before you absolutely need it.”

Use your “app-ti-tude”

Dedication, desire, motivation, reward – things you need to make any fitness app work. I know that. But part of me is waiting for an app that “knows” what I have eaten, records it for me, flashes an update on my eye glasses every hour, and physically alerts me with a nudge or a pinch when I stray outside the plan. Probably not gonna happen. In the meantime…here are some fitness apps to try in 2014 (my current fave is Lose It!). Do you have a favorite fitness app that works for you?

Take it outside!

The next time you feel like falling into the recliner or perching yourself comfortably with your laptop, smart phone, tablet or whatever… STOP! Take it outside. In fact, take the whole family outside. Put down the remotes, put away the technology, turn off the power. Unplug. There’s a whole world waiting for your family – outside. Unplug and Be Outside is happening across Idaho in April and May. Try a new activity. Have a family contest. Each family member can choose an activity for everyone to try – rock climbing, golf, fishing, bike rodeo, geocaching, star gazing, camping, belly dancing, hockey, zumba, ice skating, gardening…and the list goes on! Come on – reconnect with the earth. Take it outside! How does your family “take it outside” and be active?

Your Colon

Feeling a little embarrassed to talk about your colon? Colon health isn’t really “coffee table talk”, but come on – we all own one! So, get comfortable with your colon. Talk to your doctor. Learn the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer. Know the screening guidelines. Get a free at-home kit. Review the resources; walk through the “inflatable colon”. Colon embarrassment is not worth dying over. For a practical and fun take on colonoscopies, watch the 2.5 minute “Jo-Jo Video”.

“App” this!

Apps are everywhere. There’s an app for anything and everything from aging bodies to talking tom cats. Here’s a few health-related apps to help you make good health choices. Check them out… What’s your favorite health app?

Go With Your Own Glow

Tanning is out. Being cool with the skin you’re in, is in! Learn to create your own glow without hours in the sun or time in a ‘skin cooker’ (aka tanning bed). If you have teens, young women, and young men in your life who are ‘beauty’ conscious, clue them in to what happens when sun ages skin – it’s the look of leather. So, where did this all begin – this fascination with being tan? Check out the video… What things have you done/said to bring the skin cancer and skin aging messages home to the young people in your life? Share what’s worked for you…