Single Serving: Making Meals for One

Meals for oneAmericans now eat over half of their meals alone. Part of the reason is perhaps that 27
percent of all households now consist of just one person –the highest level in U.S. history. Cooking for one can be challenging. Here are some tips for making meals for one:

  • Beware of bulk. When grocery shopping, buying in bulk is often a better deal, but only if you eat everything before it spoils. Plan meals ahead of time and buy only what you need. If you do buy in bulk, buy items that can be more easily separated and stored or frozen. Foods such as dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables should be purchased in small amounts so that they don’t spoil.
  • Stock up on staples. Stock your pantry with staples such as pasta, beans and rice. These items don’t go bad and can be used to cook multiple meals. Know what your personal portion size is and only cook that amount.
  • Fill up your freezer. If you’ve been avoiding cooking a favorite recipe just because it makes six servings, go ahead and cook it just for you. Portion leftovers into containers, seal tightly, label with the date and freeze for up to two months.
  • Love leftovers. With a little planning, you can make one recipe for dinner and have enough left over to make a totally different meal the next day. For instance, have baked chicken breast with vegetables for dinner and rice one night, and toss the leftover chicken into a salad the next night.
  • Reduce recipes. Learn to cut recipes in half, or even into quarters if necessary. If the recipe calls for a large egg, try using a small egg or just the egg white to cut the recipe in half.
  • Find a friend. Know anyone else who’s dining solo? Suggest that each of you finds a recipe that serves two and cook it. Keep one portion for yourself and swap the second portion so you’ll have each have two different single-serving meals.

Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

Oncologist Charles Winkler, MD

Oncologist Charles Winkler, MD

Most people in our region have spent a considerable time outdoors in their lifetime, whether it has been working on a farm, playing on a ball field or soaking up the rays in the back yard.

The truth is if you have spent a lot of time outside, then you are at risk for skin cancer. Sun exposure is the major risk factor for melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

Skin cancer facts

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined over the past three decades. Skin cancers include melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell. Of the three, melanoma is the hardest to treat.

The timing of finding a melanoma is critical. Every few months, perform a self-examination from head to toe, paying special attention to moles. You know your skin and if you see a change, then make an appointment with your primary care doctor and get an appropriate referral.

Warning signs

Signs of skin cancer include:

  • Any change in size, color, shape or texture of a mole or other skin growth
  • An open or inflamed skin wound that won’t heal

Signs of melanoma also include:

  • A change in an existing mole
  • A small, dark, multicolored spot with irregular borders — either elevated or flat — that may bleed and form a scab
  • A cluster of shiny, firm, dark bumps
  • A mole larger than a pencil eraser

Skin cancer screening

Baptist Health Paducah partners with Lourdes hospital and the Kentucky Cancer Program every summer to offer a free skin cancer screening. For more information, phone KCP at 270.442.1310 or learn more online.

Almonds vs. Pistachios

Hungry? If you need a satisfying snack fast, one of your smartest options may be a handful of healthy nuts, like almonds or pistachios. Recent studies show that eating small portions of nuts as part of a nutritious diet may help prevent heart disease and cancer, and is a habit recommended by both the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Almonds vs Pistachios

How Clean is Your Kitchen?

Kitchen-germsKitchens contain some of the most germ-ridden items in an average home. In a study conducted by NSF (a public health and safety organization), 36 percent of kitchen items tested contained E. coli, 36 percent contained salmonella, 14 percent were contaminated with listeria and 100 percent of the items contained mold.

Here are some of the most common culprits along with tips on how to keep them clean:

  • Smelly sponges. Kitchen sponges are the No. 1 source of germs in your home. The best way to clean a sponge is to wet it and microwave it for two minutes.
  • Creepy can openers. A dirty can opener is a good place for germs to grow. Wash your can opener in the dishwasher after each use. If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand-wash after each use. Pay extra attention to the area around the blade.
  • Contaminated compartments. Your refrigerator’s compartments are common spots for harmful germs. Once a month, remove all compartments from your refrigerator if possible. Use a clean cloth and wash the bin with a mild detergent mixed with warm water. Rinse with tap water and wipe dry with a clean towel.
  • Sticky shakers. Because they’re handled so frequently, salt and pepper shakers can be covered in germs. When you clean your kitchen table after a meal (preferably with disinfectant wipes), be sure to wipe off the salt and pepper shakers, too.
  • Scary spatulas. You might be surprised to find that many spatulas are actually composed of two pieces that pull apart (the inside part can harbor germs). Take your spatula apart and wash it in your dishwasher.
  • Moldy coffee machines. Mold and mildew can be hiding in the reservoir of your coffee maker. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.
  • Bacteria-filled blenders. Blenders are very difficult to clean, which is why they are on this list. Wash all of the dismantled pieces in the dishwasher after each use.

Tips to become a better runner – that don’t include running

Become a Better RunnerWhether you’re trying to run farther or you just want to be able to run a few miles without stopping, here are some ways to become a better runner (without running):

  • Fill up with the right fuel. Before and after a run, have a snack mix made up of carbs and protein. Carbs help fuel your muscles, while protein builds them up. Mix nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt with peanut butter and cinnamon to make a creamy dip that goes well with apple slices.
  • Be sure to stretch. After every run, do some light stretching. Stretching relieves muscle tightness and soreness, so you can bounce back and be ready for your next run. Prevent Common Sports Injuries.
  • Make water work. For regular runners maintaining a constant supply of water in your body is essential to performance. Dehydration leads to muscle fatigue and cramping. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. More on days you run.
  • Say yes to Regular running leads to tight joints and muscles — yoga helps loosen them. Start with a simple low lunge pose (a position that’s similar to a running stride). Put one foot forward and lunge so that your front knee is over your front ankle and your back knee is down. Move your hands from the floor to your knee and, if steady, overhead. Hold the position for five breaths and then switch legs and repeat. Enroll in a yoga class to get stronger, sharper and less injury-prone.
  • Start strength training. Complement your running routine with workouts that strengthen muscles in your core, upper body and quads.
  • Recharge with rest.Your body needs to recharge if you want to have enough energy for a good run. Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
  • Inspect your shoes. Most shoes wear out after 300 miles. You often can’t see the wear, but, your knees, hips, back and tendons know it. If your shoes have seen better days, go to a running store and get a new pair.

Tips to Help Avoid Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Staying Fit While PregnantNearly half of all pregnant women gain too much weight during pregnancy – which increases the risk of pregnancy complications.

If your pre-pregnancy weight was in a healthy range – a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9, you should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during the nine months of childbearing. If you were underweight at conception (a BMI below 18.5), you should gain 28 to 40 pounds. If you were overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9), you should gain 15 to 25 pounds. Talk to your doctor about how much weight you should gain.

Here are some tips on managing weight gain during your pregnancy:

  • Forget about eating for two. During pregnancy, you are providing nourishment for two bodies. However, this does not mean doubling your daily calorie intake. Most women should consume 1,800 calories a day during the first trimester, 2,200 calories a day during the second trimester and 2,400 calories a day during the third trimester.
  • Curb food cravings. While you may crave foods high in sugar and fat (ice cream and fried foods), choose foods that are high in fiber (fruits, vegetables and whole grains). They will fill you up and help curb your cravings for high-calorie snacks.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
  • Keep moving. Walking the dog, swimming or an aerobics class are all good choices. Prenatal yoga is also a great way to stay active. In addition to keeping you fit and in shape, it also helps you body prepare for delivery. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.
  • Hit the hay. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to weight gain by slowing down your metabolism, causing you to eat more and making you feel too tired to work out. Make up for interrupted sleep by going to bed earlier or napping during the day.

Inform your family and friends of your little one’s arrival.

6 Sports Eye Safety Tips for Children

Sport sunglassesApproximately 600,000 Americans suffer sports-related eye injuries every year, and approximately 43 percent occur in children under the age of 15. If your child is signed up for tee-ball, baseball, softball or soccer this spring, take a look at following six tips to keep them from becoming a statistic:

  • Schedule an eye exam for your child. Have your child’s eyes checked before participating in any sport. Annual eye exams can detect a vision problem and improve performance in addition to saving sight later in life.
  • Make sure your child wears protective eyewear. About 90 percent of all sports-related eye injuries could be avoided by wearing proper eye protection. For sports such as basketball, baseball and soccer, your child should wear sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses. A helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times for sports such as lacrosse and baseball. All protective eyewear should comply with American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) standards. Regular glasses do not provide proper protection.
  • Inspect eyewear regularly. Kids grow up quickly. Check the fit of your child’s protective eyewear at least once a year, more often if he or she has had a growth spurt.
  • Learn first aid. If your child suffers an eye injury, you need to know what to do. For instance, if your child is struck in the eye, gently apply a small cold compress to reduce pain and swelling. Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the eye.
  • Seek help immediately. Take your child to the eye doctor for any eye injury. Vision problems can develop quickly and worsen without proper treatment.
  • Shade your child’s eyes from sunlight. Proper protection from UV rays is also essential to keep kids’ eyes safe and healthy. If possible, have your child wear hat when playing outside. Be sure that your child wears sunscreen, too.

Quick Fact: Baseball accounts for the largest number of eye injuries in children ages 5 to 14.

Tax Time Stress Relief Tips

Tax Day StressApril 15 is the second most stressful day of the year behind Christmas. Whether you’re stressed about finishing your taxes or paying your taxes, here are some simple (and cheap) ways to take it ‘EZ’ on tax day:

  • Watch a funny movie. Laughing is a great way to ease stress. Rent a funny movie and put the tax deadline behind you.
  • Take a bath. And while you are relaxing in the tub, play some soft music, burn some aromatic incense and roll in the waves of relaxation.
  • Hit the gym. Drop your pencil and calculator and pick up a water bottle and some free weights. You can shed some stress and some pounds at the same time.
  • Grab a book. Reading can help you forget about the stresses of the day. Find a good book, curl up in a comfy chair, and let your mind unwind.
  • Play. If you have children, spend some time when you get home just hanging out with them. Ask about their day. Go for a walk or play in the yard. It will help you relax and remind you of what’s really important. If you don’t have kids but are a pet owner, take a few minutes to give them extra head scratches and belly rubs.
  • Meditate. Experts say meditating just 20 minutes a day can make you a much calmer person. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment or special clothing and you can pretty much do it anywhere. Find a quiet place in your home, sit down and start.
  • Sleep. Perhaps the best stress-reducing freebie is sleeping. Hit the hay early for a long night of well-deserved shuteye. And hopefully you’ll dream about fun ways to spend that tax refund.
  • Organize your records. Once you’re finished with this year’s taxes, make notes of everything you’re required to hand in, then create a filing system that accounts for each category or item. You’ll be better prepared when next April rolls around.

Fact or Fiction? The truth behind 5 shingles myths

Shingles-MythsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1 million people in the United States get shingles each year, and about one out of three people will get shingles during their lifetime. While shingles is common — and likely to become even more common as the population ages — many people don’t understand the disease.

Shingles is a viral infection that causes a painful skin rash or blisters on the skin. It is not usually life-threatening, but it can lead to long-term pain (post-herpetic neuralgia), problems involving the eye and other rare, but serious complications. Here are 5 common misconceptions about shingles and the facts you need to know:

Myth: Shingles only affects the elderly.

Fact: More than half the shingles cases occur in people age 60 or older, but it can occur in healthy people of all ages, including children. Those who have weakened immune systems are more at risk.

Myth: The main symptom of shingles is a rash.

Fact: A rash is a defining characteristic of shingles, but pain is usually the first and often the most troubling symptom. Some people have debilitating pain that can last for months or even more than a year, and there is no treatment or cure.

Myth: Shingles is the same disease as chickenpox.

Fact: Shingles and chickenpox are caused by the same virus, but they are not the same illness. Chickenpox is usually mild, affecting children. Shingles is caused when the virus that causes chickenpox becomes re-activated years later. It occurs in people who have had chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine.

Myth: Shingles isn’t contagious.

Fact: Shingles is much less contagious than chickenpox, but a person with active shingles can still spread the virus to anyone who has not had chickenpox, causing them to get chickenpox (not shingles). The virus is spread through the fluid from open blisters, and a person is not contagious before the blisters appear. Once the blisters form scabs or crusts, the person is no longer contagious. Shingles is less contagious than chickenpox, and the risk of a person with shingles spreading the virus is low if the rash is covered.

Myth: There is no way to prevent shingles.

Fact: A vaccine is now available to treat shingles, recommended for anyone age 60 or older. It is available at your doctor’s office or at Baptist Health Urgent Care and Express Care clinics.