Here’s a great appetizer or camping snack for the holiday weekend. The beans, vegetables and cilantro are not only rich in nutrients and fiber; they add a zing to whatever they are paired with.
For a low fat version of this appetizer, skip the chips and try salsa on raw jicama, carrots, celery or zucchini, sliced thinly like a chip.
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15.5 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 cup Italian salad dressing (fat free)
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
Mix beans, peas, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno peppers in a large bowl.
Season with garlic salt.
Add dressing and cilantro; toss to coat.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.
Beyond providing expert care to every person who walks through our doors, Wyoming Medical Center is committed to fostering the highest level of health and wellness in our community. It’s one of our core values.
From inspecting children’s safety seats to sponsoring the Casper Marathon, we are taking our care to the streets. Look for us in the coming months as we promote a lifetime of health for Natrona County.
Many people have asked me what the hardest part of being on the Ideal Protein diet is. Is it when people bring donuts in the office? Is it the crazy cravings for pizza? How about being invited to a barbecue? All of the above, really, but I think the hardest part of this or almost any diet is this: Weekends. Weekends have always been my downfall when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet, and they’ve proven to be a significant challenge on Ideal Protein as well. My “weekends” start Friday and continue through Sunday. Unfortunately, three days equates to nearly half of the week, so my weight gain isn’t exactly mysterious.
I’ve focused on staying very busy the past several weekends, and summertime in Wyoming is great for road trips. My husband and I headed out for a few day trips and some overnights too. A few weekends ago, we took the hourlong trek to Castle Gardens in the wee hours of a Sunday morning (my husband the photographer insisted on getting the best light). I packed my vanilla drink mix and we hit the road. While the packets do present easy options for taking the diet on the road, the McDonald’s drive-through is far more appealing.
The weekend after, we met my parents in the Bighorns. Camping proved to be a challenge, but my extraordinarily supportive family made it easy enough to push through the weekend. We rode four-wheelers, played cribbage and barbecued. But believe me, the lack of s’mores around the campfire did not go unnoticed.
Last weekend we ventured off to Cody and Powell. I had never been to Powell, and was able to focus my energy on the excitement of seeing a new place. On the way home, we headed over Highway 14A and enjoyed a new section of the Bighorns neither of us had seen. Being born and raised in Wyoming, there aren’t many highways I’ve never been on, but that was one of them. My Ideal Protein packets were along for the ride.
After just five weeks on Ideal Protein, I’ve officially reached and passed the halfway point to my goal of losing 38 pounds. In some ways, I feel like I’ve been doing this for months, but when I think about just a month ago, I can’t believe that I’m already more than 20 pounds lighter. Yay me!
If you are interested in finding your ideal weight using Ideal Protein, call the WMC Weight Management Program at (307) 577-2158.
My Ideal Tracker – Week 5
Pounds lost this week: 5
Pounds lost so far: 22
Pounds to go: 16
Power tip: Focus on what you can control – you can control what you eat!
If he had ever thought of getting down, giving up or feeling sorry for himself, Benjamin Doyle had only to look at the younger children on the cancer ward.
“I mean, they’re hooked up to IVs, hooked up to oxygen, they’re being pulled around by their parents in their wagons and they have these huge smiles on their faces,” said Doyle, a senior at Natrona County High School who is fighting brain cancer.
“I thought, ‘Holy cow. If they can get through it, I can get through it.’”
Doyle is an A student and a very good bowler. He’s so good, in fact, colleges are recruiting him. Doyle is also one of eight junior volunteers in Wyoming Medical Center’s new junior volunteer program. This summer, volunteers worked on the medical floor, delivered books and magazines to patients, worked in surgical staging and performed other needed duties. Doyle, who has an interest in business and marketing, volunteered in marketing while also delivering new-mother guides to patients at The Birth Place.
“The junior volunteers program is designed to give students experiences that will help them determine if they want a career in health care. It helps participants see the value in the work they are aspiring to do, and the kind of nurse or doctor they want to be,” said Jillian Riddle, volunteer coordinator.
Doyle’s frequent stays in the Denver hospital made him want to volunteer. There, volunteers brought in their dogs and made patients more comfortable. He wanted to do the same at Wyoming Medical Center, he said.
In the ninth grade, Doyle suffered debilitating headaches. He Googled “headaches every day” and the results came up “brain tumor.” He told his parents and they told him to stop trying to self-diagnose on the Internet.
On June 30, 2011 – a week and a half before his 16th birthday – Doyle went for his 10th-grade sports physical. He hadn’t grown for three years, according to his chart. Dr. Michael Granum, a pediatrician at Wyoming Medical Center, ordered an MRI. Doyle and his mother drove to Denver that night.
“Half my brain thought, I’m done. That’s how it hit me,” Doyle said. “The other half was saying you can get through this and kick this tumor’s butt. Sure enough, I’ve done it twice now.”
Doyle was diagnosed with a slow-growing, golf-ball-sized glioma tumor – a tumor that originates in the glial cells in the brain or spine. He underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments and got a clean bill of health.
Five months later, the headaches returned. Doctors found fluid where the tumor had been and his mother drove to Denver with Doyle clutching a bucket, the pain so bad he threw up the whole trip. Doctors inserted a shunt – a tube running from his head to his stomach – but it clogged and doctors had to operate. That’s when they discovered the tumor had returned, bigger than the first time.
To the first of his new round of chemo treatments, Doyle brought a bell. When the nurse walked in, “I rang that bell and said ‘Bring it on. Round 2.”
Through 11 weeks of chemotherapy, this time at Rocky Mountain Oncology in Casper, Doyle fell asleep at prom and during his ACTs. (He’ll take the test again this year.) In May, he walked his good friend, a fellow student fighting her own cancer, across the stage. His tumor is about the size of a pea and the fluid is gone, but they’re keeping an eye on it.
This spring, his mother saw a flier about the junior volunteer program and asked if he’d be interested. Since June, he has volunteered an average of seven hours a week here while working two jobs. He plans to volunteer when he can during this school year, all while maintaining his 3.8 GPA, raising his bowling score and preparing for college.
“I just think I can encourage patients, give them background of who I am and what I’ve been through. I can give them advice on having a positive attitude,” Doyle said. “I mean, that really keeps things going and helps out. You can’t let yourself get down.”
Volunteer at WMC
Wyoming Medical Center always needs and welcomes new volunteers. There are many ways to help including assisting the chaplain, working in the Cottage Gift Shop, greeting visitors and patients, flower delivery and more. For more information, visit the volunteers’ page on our website.
* Junior volunteers: Junior volunteers must be at least 16 years or older, advance through the application and interview process and pass a back ground check. Find the application here.
The start of Wyoming high school football on Friday means packed bleachers, high-flying cheerleaders and helmet-cracking starts off scrimmage.
It also means an increased risk of concussion.
“In recent years, there’s been a huge uptick in our awareness in the importance of concussion, and I think the reason for that is we now understand that a concussion doesn’t just happen when the force of the blow is strong enough to render you unconscious,” said Dr. David Wheeler, a neurologist with Wyoming Medical Center and Wyoming Neurologic Associates in Casper. “A minor blow to the head, even if it doesn’t cause any noticeable change in function, takes its toll.”
Neither is concussion a concern only for football coaches.
Our first contribution is this concussion pocket guide designed for Wyoming high school athletic coaches. Use it to help determine whether a player has suffered a concussion, even when he or she may not have lost consciousness, and what your next step should be.
Print and cut it out, paste the backs together and keep it with you for handy reference in practice or during games. You can also get one by calling the Wyoming Medical Center Community Development Office at (307)-577-2556.
This week marks four weeks since I started Ideal Protein. As of my weigh-in Tuesday, I’ve lost 17 pounds. Last week I blogged about “only” losing 2 pounds, but after that post, I started receiving compliments on my clear weight loss. I also couldn’t ignore the fact that my pants fit like they’re supposed to — the metal tangs of the zippers aren’t hanging on for dear life. It’s great when the scale shows you a nice number, but you can’t beat feeling like you’ve lost weight.
Week 4 at Ideal Protein triggers measurements. I’ve lost 2 inches from my chest, 3 from my waist, 3 from my hips, 1 from my thigh and a half-inch from my arm. My body mass index (BMI) is also down nearly three points from just four weeks ago.
Aside from all the numbers, I just feel better. My body is now used to the low-calorie, high-protein diet, so I don’t feel hungry very often, and when I do, I can usually peg it to boredom over hunger. I sleep well at night and getting out of bed in the morning is easier.
Lumping all of these pounds and inches together gives me the motivation to push forward. The Ideal Protein plan is not easy, but in some ways, the hefty restrictions make it more doable. I don’t have to worry about counting calories; I just have to know what I can and can’t eat.
As I approach the halfway point, I’ve already started thinking about how I’m going to maintain my weight once I reach my goal. Any suggestions? I’ve lost weight before, but slowly but surely, the weight comes back on. I have to figure out how to break this cycle!
More on that later. For now, I’m just happy to be carrying around nearly 20 pounds less of me every day.
My Ideal Tracker – Week 4
Pounds lost this week: 1
Pounds lost so far: 17
Pounds to go: 21
Power tip: Check yourself – are you bored or hungry?
If you are interested in finding your ideal weight using Ideal Protein call the WMC Weight Management Program at (307) 577-2158.
Mandy Cepeda is the senior manager of community development at Wyoming Medical Center and contributor to The Pulse. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, she started her career as a copy editor at the Casper Star-Tribune over 10 years ago. While she decided journalism was not for her, she married one of the photographers, Dan, in 2006. They enjoy a lovely life together with their pound-puppy mutt, Maddie.
Healthy people may experience symptoms from red and itchy eyes to strained breathing. Put off your outdoor run or weeding your flower bed until the haze passes, Hussieno said.
For patients with asthma, allergies and lung diseases such as COPD, haze and smoke can be more dangerous. They may suffer from increased shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, wheezing, increased coughing — typically a productive cough which produces phlegm or mucus.
“Most of my patients have fragile conditions and limited lung capacity so anything could push them over the edge,” Hussieno said. He offered these tips for patients susceptible to smoke and haze.
Stay inside. Limiting exposure will help limit troubling symptoms later, he said.
Take your medication. If you are asthmatic or a patient with COPD, be sure that you are using your respiratory inhalers regularly and as directed.
Have a plan. Think about ways to treat your condition in case symptoms worsen. Have extra medications on hand. Decide in advance on trigger points for when you should call your doctor or specialist for help in managing your aggravated symptoms. “They can help you control the symptoms before they are significant enough. Hopefully that will keep you out of the hospital.”
Monitor your symptoms. Take note of how you feel and pay attention if you start developing smoke-related symptoms and if they worsen with time. If you have one, use a peak flow meter – an inexpensive, handheld device that measures air flow through the lungs, Hussieno said. “Any patient can blow on that tube and see roughly their lung capacity. If there’s a decline in that lung capacity, they should have a plan in place,” he said. Refer to your plan if symptoms decline. “If you start having fever, chills or more significant coughing with colored mucus, it might indicate a secondary infection and that might require an antibiotic treatment,” Hussieno said.
Seek help: When you’ve followed the plan and felt no relief from symptoms, seek medical care. “If the symptoms are severe and significant, you’re best option is to go to the emergency room,” Hussieno said.
As kids across Natrona County head back to school this morning, now is the time to reflect on how your child’s nutrition and exercise habits affect their ability to learn.
For a healthy start to your school year, incorporate these tips into your daily routine:
Make sure your child eats breakfast every day. Breakfast is a very important meal for everyone, not only our growing children and teens, but adults as well. We’ve found those who eat a sensible breakfast in the morning not only show higher test scores, but also concentrate better and solve problems more easily.
Teach your child to choose whole grains, whole vegetables, whole fruits and low-fat or fat-free dairy for most meals – at school and at home.
Plan a healthy snack your child can eat before activities. Ideas include the fruit or vegetable slices or whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.
Learn the foods your child likes and teach him or her about the foods needed for a lifetime of health.
Include your child in finding ways to include healthy and tasty foods at every meal.
To get started, try this On-the-go Breakfast Wrap to add some variety to the “most important meal of the day.” Then, make these Apple Peanut Butter Crunch Balls ahead of time so they’re ready before your child’s after-school activity.
On-the-go Breakfast Wrap
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup rinsed and drained black beans
4 lightly beaten eggs
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 cup shredded Monterey jack
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
6 corn tortillas
Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add black beans and sauté for one minute.
Add eggs, salsa, shredded Monterey Jack, salt and a dash of pepper.
Use a heat-resistant spatula to stir the mixture until the eggs are set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Divide the scramble among 6 warm corn tortillas, then roll and wrap them in foil.
Apple Peanut Butter Crunch Balls
(Not intended for those with peanut allergies or children under 2.)
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup low-fat vegetable oil spread
1/4 cup honey
1 cup rice and wheat cereal flakes, coarsely crushed
1 cup bran flakes, coarsely crushed
1/3 cup finely snipped dried apples
2 tablespoons finely chopped peanuts
1/8 teaspoon apple pie spice
In a medium saucepan, combine peanut butter, vegetable oil spread and honey. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat. Stir in cereals, apples, peanuts and apple pie spice until well mixed.
Transfer to a small bowl; Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Divide mixture into 18 portions. Using slightly wet hands, firmly press mixture into balls (moisten hands as needed).
Let stand on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet about 15 minutes or until firm. Store, covered, in refrigerator. Makes 18 balls.
I got the inspiration to begin hula-hooping in April, from pictures and videos of one of my friends having a great time hooping. It looked like something fun and I wanted to learn. From the kids section at Target, I bought two hula-hoops, one for me and one for my 2-year-old daughter (she’ll grow into it, right?). I tried it when I got home and failed miserably to keep the hoop around my waist. The hoops now sit outside unless my daughter plays with them.
Cut to July.
I needed something healthy to start blogging about to contribute to our new hospital blog. Healthy has not been a lifestyle my family and I have dedicated ourselves to living. Don’t get me wrong. We have tried multiple times to change our lifestyle — from trying to cut out soda, buying an elliptical (which now is collecting dust), and growing a garden to have healthy fruits and vegetables. We have good intentions, just horrible follow-through.
This is what prompted my “Can fat girls hula-hoop” Google search. I needed healthy inspiration and maybe fat girls just couldn’t physically hula-hoop. But I wasn’t going to give up just yet.
The results of my Google search were surprising. Not only couldfat girls hula-hoop, it is actually an amazing weight-loss program that is growing in popularity. Even a few celebrities have joined the craze. Hooping for 10 minutes can burn about 100 calories, and you are using your core muscles to keep the hoop up. You do, however, have to use an adult hoop, not one from the kids aisle at Target. Adult, weighted hoops tend to work better for weight loss, and for beginners.
This was it. I was going to hula hoop!
I contacted a well-known Casper hooper, Natallie*. I had been told she could make the weighted hoops I needed. I told her I wanted to learn to hula-hoop and wanted mine to be pink and snazzy. Before making my custom hoop, she wanted me to try out different sizes and weights. She wanted to meet at a park here in town — during a music festival, a public place, with people – watching me learn!
Deep breaths. I was so not ready for that, my intention was to purchase the hoop and fail miserably in my backyard 100 times until I finally got it, but I went to meet with her anyway. Another first-time hooper was there too, which made me feel a little better. I stood with the hoop around my back as she explained the different weights of hoops, where you can hoop on your body (arms, legs, neck, etc.) and that bruising is normal!
Then she said, “Go ahead and spin it.”
I laughed out loud, but Natallie reassured me that it would be ok. “Here goes nothing.” I thought. I spun the hoop and down it went, sigh. She reminded me that posture is very important, and keeping my shoulders back and looking forward and up would help.
The more I tried, the better I got. I am by no means an expert, but I can at least keep the hoop up for a couple minutes. I ordered my hoop, which I should get within the next week or so.
I know that hooping isn’t going to be the only thing I need to do to shed pounds, but it may be the motivation I need to change other habits to help lose weight and become healthier.
Health Benefits of Hula Hooping
Ten minutes of hooping burns 100 calories.
Muscles used include abs, obliques, glutes and others when hooping on other parts of the body.
Use a weighted hula-hoop for added resistance for shaping and sculpting muscles.
Hula-hooping is less of a chore and more fun, so it can improve your mood.
Increases flexibility of the spine to help prevent back injuries.
*Natalie is a well-known Casper hooper who not only loves hula-hooping, she also makes each hoop especially for you! Proceeds from her hoop sales go to charities. If you are interested in purchasing a hula hoop find her on Facebook by joining the Casper Hoopers group page.
Valerie Hess is project coordinator for the Community Development Office. In her six-year career at Wyoming Medical Center, she has worked in quality and regulatory, nursing administration and administration. She found her passion in the Community Development Office and now leads the hospital’s social media platforms. She is pursuing her degree in business administration. She is the mother of a spunky 2-year-old daughter and considers herself a closet video-gamer.