A Healthy Recipe

Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Shrimp

 coconutsoup

Savor this Thai-inspired soup, with a base of creamy coconut milk, rich butternut squash, a hint of spicy peppers and succulent shrimp. For a shortcut, looked for peeled and cubed butternut squash in the produce department. Serve over rice or noodles if you like. Serves 4 to 6 people.

Ingredients:

2 tsp canola oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tsp red curry paste, more to taste

2 tsp light brown sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch

pieces, about 4 cups

2 cups low-sodium gluten-free chicken broth

1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted (optional)

Lime wedges

Method

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, sugar and salt and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in squash, broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and simmer just until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with coconut and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Nutrition

Per serving: Serving size: 250 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 175mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 26g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 23g protein.

Source: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes

Provided by Julie Padelford, Wellstyles Newsletter, November 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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Julie Padelford, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT)

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Seeing Doctor Regularly May Cut Your Colon Cancer Risk

Seeing Doctor Regularly May Cut Your Colon Cancer Risk

 The more often seniors with Medicare coverage visit their primary care physician, the less likely they are to either get colorectal cancer or die from the disease if they do, new research suggests. Moreover, the investigation also found that the greater the frequency of visits, the less likely such seniors were to die of any cause at all.

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“Specifically in terms of colorectal cancer this is very important to know, because that is one of the cancers that is preventable,” explained study author Dr. Jeanne Ferrante, an associate professor in the department of family medicine and community health at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Somerset, N.J. “And we found that people who do visit their primary care physician are more likely to get screened for colorectal cancer,” she noted. “And those people, in turn, are less likely to get colorectal cancer, as well as less likely to die from it.”

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The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women who face an average risk for colorectal cancer begin getting some type of routine screening starting at age 50. That can take the form of a colonoscopy once a decade, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy or virtual CT colonoscopy once every five years, and may result in polyp removal. Those at high risk due to a personal or family history of the disease, polyp development and/or inflammatory bowel disease are encouraged to start screening at an earlier age and to repeat the process more frequently.

For the investigation, the authors sifted through U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data on nearly 103,000 Medicare patients newly diagnosed with colorectal cancer between 1994 and 2005. Data covering another approximately 27,000 Medicare patients who died of the disease in that timeframe was also included, as was information on more than 62,000 patients who died of any number of causes. Given that Medicare typically kicks in at age 65 (and that colorectal cancer screening is not advised for people over the age of 85), the average age of those in the study hovered around 76.

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A review of Medicare claims paperwork was conducted to identify all primary care visits made during the four– to 27-month period leading up to a cancer diagnosis or death due to colorectal cancer or any other cause.

The result: Patients who had seen a doctor between five and 10 times in the allotted timeframe had a 6% lower risk of disease (and a 22% lower risk of colorectal cancer death) than those who had never seen their doctor or had visited just once. All-cause death rates were 21% lower the more often a patient saw their doctor.

That said, Ferrante stressed that in the world of cancer risk many different factors are at play, making it impossible to draw a simple cause-and-effect link between primary care doctor visits and a reduced risk for colorectal cancer diagnosis and mortality. “For example, we found that although we looked at a group of people that had universal care insurance, still more than one quarter had either never visited a primary care doctor or had done so just once in the study period,” she noted. “So it could be that the Medicare patients who do go in to see their primary care physician are so-called ‘healthy users’ to begin with. By that we mean people who are by definition more concerned about their health and make an effort to take better care of themselves in general,” Ferrante explained. “So, while we do want to emphasize the importance of seeing a primary care physician, the act of going might actually reflect other factors that contribute to a lower cancer risk.”

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Dr. Robert Schoen, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, suggested that the study should be interpreted as “yet another reason to go see your primary care physician. This looks at a basic research question,” he noted. “What is the benefit of going to a primary care physician? Do routine physicals help? Do blood tests help? What really is of value here?”

“And this study,” Schoen said, “clearly points to a big benefit that comes from going to your doctor, by showing this protective association. Now, there are caveats. Yes, we don’t know if the people who go are more health-conscious to begin with, and because this is based on observational data we don’t actually know what happens during these visits. What did the doctors actually recommend in terms of screenings? But even so, it is logical to presume that the more contact with a primary care physician, the more likely colorectal cancer prevention was discussed and acted on.”

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, November 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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ASPAA Fall Conference a Success!

The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association (ASPAA) held their annual conference in Prescott, Arizona, November 20-22, 2013.  School districts are one of the largest employers in any state and the personnel staff are the front lines in delivering high quality human resources services, including the provision of healthcare, dental and other benefits to their employees and their families.  With the massive changes in the healthcare system, now more than ever, the role of ASPAA in keeping its membership up-to-date on these changes is critical.

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Darlene Kracht of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT), Sheri Gilbert, VSEBT, Doug Layman, Gilsbar, Terri Fischer, Littleton Elementary School District and Carol Priborsky, Paradise Valley Unified School District

Darlene Kracht of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT), Sheri Gilbert, VSEBT, Doug Layman, Gilsbar, Terri Fischer, Littleton Elementary School District and Carol Priborsky, Paradise Valley Unified School District

 

 

40 Ways to Feel More Alive

40 Ways to Feel More Alive

“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” ~Joseph Campbell

As I write this, I am two hours away from my first weekly acting class in Los Angeles. I’ve been here for almost two years now, and though I loved Community Theater as a kid, I never so much as researched acting classes until a couple weeks back.

I frequently said I wanted to do it, along with painting classes, which I’m starting next week, but I always made excuses not to start either.

I was too busy. I didn’t have enough money. I didn’t have the time. I wouldn’t be good enough. I’d feel uncomfortable. I might not enjoy it. I don’t like commitment. It wouldn’t lead anywhere.

The list went on and on, but I realized the last two were the big ones for me. I chronically avoid commitment because I associate that with hindering my freedom. (What if I decide last-minute I want to go somewhere or do something else?)

Also, I hesitate to give large amounts of time to hobbies I have no intention of pursuing professionally.

I realized last month, however, that I want to prioritize more of the things that make me feel passionate and excited—and not just occasionally, but regularly.

I don’t know if these classes are “leading” anywhere. I just know I feel in love with the possibilities I’m creating—not possibilities for growth tomorrow; possibilities for joy today.

That’s what it means to really feel alive—to be so immersed in the passionate bliss of this moment that you don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow. You just enjoy what you’re doing and love every piece of it.

If you’re looking to feel that sense of exhilaration but don’t know where to start, you may find these ideas helpful:

SAY SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN MEANING TO SAY

 1. Tell someone how you really feel about them instead of waiting because you’re scared.

2. Tell someone what you really want and need instead of building up resentment.

3. Share your fears publicly, in a blog post for example, and ask the community to keep you accountable in overcoming them.

4. Tell a friend your greatest dream, and then ask them to hold you accountable in pursuing it.

5. Admit to a friend how you really feel about how you spend your time—then brainstorm about ways to improve it.

6. Introduce yourself to someone you’ve been dying to meet, even if you feel nervous.

7. Ask someone who’s done what you want to do for advice and encouragement.

8. Tell your boss what you can do instead of wondering if you’ll ever move forward professionally.

9.  Or tell your boss his services are no longer needed—then finally start pursuing your passion.

10. Tell yourself the truth instead of lying to yourself about the changes you want to make in your life.

TRY SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO TRY 

 11. Sign up for a class to learn a skill you’ve always thought would be fun.

12. If you can’t afford a class, look on Craigslist for free events related to that interest.

13. Ask a friend to teach you to do something you don’t know how to do—and offer to teach them something else in return.

14. Take that new class at your gym instead of worrying that you won’t be able to keep up.

15. Buy a new or used instrument and look on for instructional videos on YouTube.

16. Think of something you’d enjoy creating—a blanket, a song, or a small piece of furniture—and then do some research today to take the first step in doing it.

17. Write a blog post or take some photos and submit them to your favorite website.

18. Invite a few of your friends to play a sport you’ve always wanted to try, even if you fear you’ll seem uncoordinated.

19. Blast your favorite song and try a dance style you’ve always admired. Nothing makes you feel alive like getting your blood pumping!

20. Make a list of things you think you’d enjoy, and then pick one you’ve never done to try this weekend.

GO SOMEWHERE YOU’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO

 21. Plan a vacation to that destination you’ve always dreamed about visiting.

22. If you can’t afford that, research cheap ways to travel—staying in hostels, volunteering abroad, or transporting someone else’s car, for example.

23. Issue yourself a “life ticket.” According to Tiny Buddha contributor Jamie Hoang, we find ways to pay tickets when we get them because we have to. Think of travel in that same way—and be resourceful to make it happen.

24. Take a weekend road trip to somewhere close you’ve always wanted to visit.

25. Write down your three favorite hobbies and for each, a place you’ve always wanted to try(i.e.: a beautiful beach an hour away for surfing). Plan to go this weekend.

26. Invite friends to a restaurant, bar, or other establishment you’ve wanted to try, but have avoided in favor or familiarity. (Once you invite other people, you’ll be less inclined to change your mind last-minute!)

27. If you’ve avoided going to a new spot because it’s expensive, start a “fun night” savings jar today, and make trying that place a priority.

28. Make a list of fun “staycation” ideas (for daytrips in your area). Schedule at least two of them for the next month.

29. If there’s a conference you’ve always wanted to attend, book your ticket for next year, or see if you can volunteer there to get free or discounted attendance.

30. Plan some type of creativity-driven travel project—once a week or even month, take photos, draw, or write in a new spot you’ve wanted to visit

DO SOMETHING YOU THOUGHT YOU COULDN’T DO


31. Jot down three qualities you’d like to possess, then three choices or activities that coincide with them (i.e.: adventurous—white water rafting). Make a plan to do that thing. 32. Enlist a friend to help you face it fear, whether it’s quitting your job or skydiving.

33. Create a positive affirmation to replace a limiting belief (i.e.: tell yourself, “I feel confident around new people” instead of “I can’t meet new people—I’m too nervous”). Then use that new belief topush yourself out of your comfort zone.

34. Think of someone you admire and write down three things they do that you don’t think you can. Now make it a personal mission to prove yourself wrong.

35. Think of something huge you’ve wanted to do, but feared you can’t. Now shrink it down to something smaller but related (i.e.: climb Mt. Everest could start with join a rock climbing gym.) Do that smaller thing today. It’s a start!

36. Ask a friend to describe your potential. Find the parts that make your heart race with excitement, and then take one small step today to work toward that possibility.

37. Set a 30-day challenge—i.e. write 5 pages every day without worrying if they’re any good; after 30 days, you’ll have a first draft of a 150-page novel.

38. Ask yourself, “What would I try if I thought I wouldn’t fail?” Take one tiny step toward that goal today.

39. Ask a friend or your significant other to design an “opposite night” for you—a night when the two of you do things completely opposed to what you usually do.

40. Share something you want to do but think you can’t in the comment section here. Just putting it out there is a great start!

This is obviously a large list—and there’s far too much to do all at once. But maybe you can pick just one thing that resonated with you, or pick one thing every week or month.

The point is to do something to feel passionate, excited, and exhilarated.

We all have different interests that inform what we want to do; and we all have different responsibilities that might limit how we’re able to do them. But we all have the ability to make at least one tiny change, or take at least one tiny risk.

Today I’m going to spend several hours doing something I haven’t done in 10 years with people I’ve never met. I feel terrified, but oh so thrilled and alive.

What would give you that feeling?

Photo by YafutgarryknightAlec Schuelerchetbox, and John_DL

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About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) and Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself. She’s also the co-founder of the eCourse Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the HeroFollow @tinybuddha for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

J.O. Combs Unified School District – Honors Anti-Drug Poster Contest Finalists

J.O. Combs Unified School District – Honors Anti-Drug Poster Contest Finalists

The Pinal County Attorney’s Office sponsored its 2014 Anti-Drug Poster Contest and invited sixth graders to participate.  (the story on this at the bottom of this post)  J.O. Combs Unified School District Superintendent Gayle A. Blanchard, Ed.D honored the following three finalists and one semi-finalist in her Superintendent’s Update, dated November 13, 2013.

Dr. Gayle Blanchard, Superintendent, J.O. Combs Unified School District

Dr. Gayle Blanchard, Superintendent, J.O. Combs Unified School District

Finalists in the 2014 Pinal County Attorney’s Office Anti-Drug Poster Contest:

Joshua Hollar – 6th Grade student at Ranch Elementary
Chase Bulmahn – 6th Grade student at Combs Traditional Academy
Melody Borjon – 6th Grade student at Simonton Elementary

Semi-Finalist
Tanner Leitz – 6th Grade student at Combs Traditional Academy

Congratulations to J.O. Combs, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office, and especially the hard work, artistic talent and anti-drug message of the participants!

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Pinal County Attorney begins 2014 Anti-Drug Poster Contest

Date: 8/15/2013

Pinal County Attorney begins 2014 Anti-Drug Poster Contest

FLORENCE – Pinal County Attorney’s Lando Voyles proudly announces the kickoff of the 23rd Annual Pinal County Attorney’s Office 2014 Anti-Drug Poster Contest.

The 2014 Anti-Drug Poster Contest is designed to educate and engage Pinal’s youth on the importance of remaining drug free now and throughout their lives and is open to all 6th Grade students in Pinal County.

Of the top 60 submissions, which will receive name recognition on the calendar, six judges will determine the top nine and those nine students will be treated to a pizza party with County Attorney Voyles! From the top nine chosen, judges will then decide the grand prize winner, T-shirt winner and bookmark winner.

What prizes are at stake? The Pinal County Attorney’s Office will provide the Grand Prize winner’s class with a field trip!! Another student’s poster will be printed on T-shirts and another student’s put on Bookmarks, both of which will be given to each participating student and distributed throughout Pinal County! Finally, along with the Grand Prize, the T-Shirt, and the Bookmark Winners’ Posters will be an additional 6 posters chosen to be recognized all year as they will be featured on the 2014 Pinal County Attorney’s Office Anti-Drug Calendar!!

Principals should have received general information on the contest in the mail this week or last and additional information regarding the contest will be sent to Pinal schools in the coming weeks. Sixth grade teachers already aware of the contest and who are interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Pinal County Attorney’s Office in order to receive guidelines and the supplies required to participate.

All posters are due to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. No exceptions.

Pinal County Attorney Voyles said, “Promoting drug prevention and education in a fun and rewarding manner engages our youth. With students working with parents and teachers to complete posters, we hope they take the time to talk with their children about the risks and negative effects of drug use. This poster contest lends itself to many educational opportunities and I proudly continue this 23-year-old tradition in this County.”

For more information on the 2014 Pinal County Attorney’s Anti-Drug Poster Contest, please contact Deborrah Miller at Deborrah.Miller@pinalcountyaz.gov.

Information for this article provided by Sheri Gilbert of the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT)

 

Sleep Helps ‘Detox’ Your Brain

Sleep Helps ‘Detox’ Your Brain

New research shows that a recently discovered mechanism that removes waste products from the brain is mainly active during sleep. This revelation could transform scientific understanding of what sleep is for, and how it works and offers new directions for brain disease treatments. The team from University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), write about their findings in an online issue of Science.

Woman Sleeping

Lead author Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of URMC’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine, says, “This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake. In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.” The purpose of sleep has puzzled scientists and philosophers for millennia. While more recent research shows sleep can help with storing and consolidating memory, this alone does not balance the huge disadvantages it poses. From a survival point of view, sleep is rife with risk—all creatures are at their most vulnerable during sleep, especially when predators are around. But if sleep has no biological function, then could it just be an evolutionary glitch?

In 2012, Nedergaard and colleagues reported that by using new imaging technology on mice, they had discovered a previously unrecognized system that drains waste from the brain. In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine they dubbed this the “glymphatic system,” because it acts like the body’s lymphatic system but is managed by brain cells known as glial cells. The glymphatic system clears away toxins or waste products that could be responsible for brain disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.

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In this study, the team conducted a series of new experiments on mice and found that the glymphatic system is nearly 10 times more active during sleep. They also noted that the sleeping brain removes significantly more amounts of one toxic protein, amyloid-beta, which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Nedergaard says, “The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears that it must [choose] between two different functional states—awake and aware or asleep and cleaning up. You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean up the house, but you can’t really do both at the same time.”

The team also found that during sleep, the brain even undergoes physical changes that allows the system to work faster. Brain cells shrink by 60%, increasing the space between them so the toxins can be flushed away more effectively. Another discovery was that noradrenaline, a brain chemical that is released in bursts to keep the brain alert in response to fear and other stimuli, is less active during sleep, leading the team to suggest that the neurotransmitter may control the expansion and shrinking of brain cells during sleep-wake cycles.

Nedergaard says their findings are important for treating “dirty brain” diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, “Understanding precisely how and when the brain activates the glymphatic system and clears waste is a critical first step in efforts to potentially modulate this system and make it work more efficiently.”

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, November 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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