Newsletters


UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter
January/February 2017


Image result for happy new year images healthy


In This Issue:
  • Five Habits to Adopt in the New Year
  • How to Stick to Your Goals
  • FREE Classes for ALL UCSD Health Employees:  New Schedule!
  • Recipe of the Month:  Buffalo Chili
Happy New Year!  The first 2017 edition of the UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter is dedicated to new starts, goal making and sticking to goals.  Now that we are in February, how are your New Year's resolutions working?  Are you sticking with them or might you need a little push to keep them going or get back on track?  We've got you covered.  Also, our free fitness classes, offered to all UCSD Health employees, are going strong with a new schedule.  Check one out today!  Lastly, take a look at an interesting twist on chili for a fun and different meal this week.  

5 Habits to Adopt in the New Year
Still trying to hone in on what you want your goals to be in the new year?  We likely all have an idea of what we would like to do.  But, sometimes we could use a little inspiration to create healthy and beneficial habits.  Suggested by The Chopra Center, here are five ideas to keep you focused:
    Image result for healthy habits images
  1. Set a Fitness Goal:  The goal to exercise more in the new year is not specific enough to stay on track.  Make it measurable, such as "complete a 30-minute group fitness class three times per week," or "run a 5K race by April."  This will help to keep you focused.  Once that goal is reached, keep the momentum going by setting another goal.
  2. Color Your Plate:  The goal to "eat healthier" might be too general to actually eat better...but a rapid diet overhaul might be hard to continue long-term.  A realistic expectation is to make the small change of adding in nutritious foods.  For example, add colorful vegetables to your plate at mealtime.  When these foods make it onto the plate, there is less space for unhealthier items.  In time, you can then focus on adding clean proteins and quality fats to balance out the meal.
  3. Create Time-Out:  Does down-time seem impossible when there are so many items to check off the list each day?  While relaxation time may seem like a luxury, allowing yourself to have some time each day will reinvigorate your energy and focus...and lead you to be more productive overall.  Start with a small amount of time, such as 10 minutes, and work your way up to 20 or 30!  A few ways to decompress include:  read, soak in a bath, walk in nature or focus on the breath.
  4. Breathe:  Breathing is automatic so why practice it?  Mindful breathing can reduce stress, lower heart rate and decrease blood pressure.  It can be practiced in such exercise methods as yoga and tai chi or guided in a progressive muscle relaxation such as the ones offered free from The UCSD Health Center for Mindfulness.
  5. Say Thank You:  Studies demonstrate that those who practice gratitude generally feel more optimistic about their lives.  This may even lead to better sleep and a stronger immune system.  Start by keeping a journal of three ways in which you are thankful each day.  Or, use your talents to give back to the community, friends or family.
How to Stick to Your Goals
Now that you have selected your goals, here are a few ideas to adhere to them!  Often, setting a goal involves creating a new habit.  Habits can be a challenge to create.  How can you make habits stick?  Thanks to Whole Foods Market and The Chopra Center, there are many tricks to try.  Find out what works for you!
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  • Write Your Goal...and a Plan:  Not only will writing down your goal leave you more apt to accomplish it but writing a weekly plan will take you one step farther.  For example, if you would like to cook more meals at home, take some time on Sunday to plan your menu.  It can be simple, but putting a goal or plan into writing will help you to stick with it and stay organized.
  • Find an Accountability Partner:  Tell a friend or loved one your goal and give them an update each week.  When you have someone to answer to, other than yourself, you are more likely to stay focused.
  • Recruit:  Perhaps your accountability partner would like to achieve the same goal.  A group dynamic is motivating and keeps you even more accountable because someone else is depending on you to stay on track.  Plus, you can bounce ideas off each other to keep the goal fun.
  • Pairing:  Take an old habit and combine it with a new one.  For example, if you want to floss your teeth every day, you could store the dental floss in such a way that you must pick it up in order to get to your toothbrush.  That way, it's already out when you brush your teeth so you might as well floss!
  • Moderation:  Doing a little is easier than doing a lot.  If you want to exercise five days per week, commit to two.  Get that consistent before doing more.  It might feel too easy but that is the idea!
  • Abstain:  This might be one of the harder ways to go about achieving a goal but it works well for some.  If your goal is to cut out a habit, this involves going all out by completely abstaining from the behavior.  
  • Scheduling:  Set your goal as an appointment in your calendar with a reminder prior to the appointment.  When you have committed officially with your schedule, you are more likely to stick to your goal because nothing else can get in the way.
  •  Make it Easy:  Think about the roadblocks you might have with a goal and brainstorm ways to get around them to make it simpler.  For example, if you would like to start taking an exercise class, where is the easiest place to go?  If you want to go after work, perhaps find a studio or gym that is close to work.
  • Better is Better:  Changing habits is a marathon, not a sprint.  You may have some setbacks but any positive forward movement is positive.  If you back peddle a little, get back on the bike and continue the ride!
Resolve to Exercise This Year?  Try Our FREE Classes!
Speaking of making New Year's resolutions simpler...UCSD Health offers FREE on-site fitness classes at the Hillcrest and La Jolla Medical Centers.  The latest schedule goes through June 30.  Classes are open to ALL UCSD Health employees.  No need to register.  Just bring yourself and a mat/towel and perhaps a colleague!  Enjoy Pilates, CoreFit, Yoga, Meditation and Zumba.
Are there classes that you would like to see on the schedule?  Are you at a location that does not have access to these classes?  Request a class or send your feedback to Brenna Joyce, UCSD Health Employee Wellness Coordinator at bjoyce@ucsd.edu.

Winter Recipe:  Buffalo Chili
Yes, you read that correctly!  Buffalo (aka bison) meat can be an interesting addition to your protein repertoire.  What makes it so nutritious?  Buffalo :
    Buffalo Chili
  • Contains less saturated fat than other meats
  • Is typically grown free range and is grass-fed (check the label to confirm) and thus contains omega-3 fatty acids
  • Provides more iron than beef
  • Cannot be injected with hormones and therefore contains no bovine growth hormones 
The recipe below, courtesy of Whole Foods Market, can be altered to your protein preference:  you can switch out the buffalo for ground turkey, chunks of chicken or diced tempeh.  Short on time?  Add the ingredients to a crock pot before work and come home to a perfectly cooked meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground buffalo
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, stemmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt added chili powder
  •  1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
Method:
  • Heat large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.
  • When pot is hot, add buffalo and brown, stirring often, for 5 minutes
  • Add onion and carrot; cook until both soften, about 5 minutes
  • Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze pan, scraping brown bits from the bottom of pan
  • Add cauliflower, bell pepper and garlic; cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes
  • Add cumin, chili powder vinegar, tomatoes and beans plus 1 cup water; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover
  • Stir occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes
  • Serve garnished with chopped cilantro


UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter

November/December 2016
Image result for holiday fitness images
In This Issue:
  • Maintain Don't Gain During the Holidays
  • 7 Habits for a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season
  • Holiday Recipe Makeovers
  • How to Make the Holidays Active
Maintain Don't Gain During the Holidays!
The average American gains 1-5 pounds over the holiday season and usually does not lose it. Over time, it can add up! To encourage and support weight management and healthy habits over the holiday season, UC San Diego Health Employee Benefits offers a 7-week Maintain Don’t Gain Challenge from November 14, 2016 – January 7, 2017. This Challenge is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente and provides participants with tools, motivation and education to maintain weight throughout the holiday season. During the first and last weeks of the challenge there are weigh-ins and weigh-outs. Weekly emails with tips, resources, and challenges will be sent to all participants. Participants will receive incentives for participating including a 30-day Build-a-Meal booklet and an opportunity to win a mountain bike!

Join at any time during the program by emailing Brenna Joyce, bjoyce@ucsd.edu.


7 Habits for a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season
Do thoughts of the holidays bring a sense of stress?  This year, how about trying the following seven suggestions to care for yourself, decrease stress levels and enjoy the holiday season.  Credit to The Chopra Center for their ideas!


  1. Enjoy Sparingly.  While it may be unrealistic to refrain from holiday treats, it is possible to limit them.  Try taking a small portion and immediately follow up with a non-caloric beverage such as water, sparkling water or hot herbal tea.  This will fill the stomach and decrease the urge to go back for seconds.
  2. Fit in Regular Exercise:  It doesn't need to be endless hours at the gym but simply finding time to get in as much movement as possible can keep your body on track over the holiday season.  Try one of the following:     
    1. Schedule a fitness class so that you are committed to a time and specific activity
    2. Set a meeting time with a friend to meet at the gym, go for a walk or jog
    3. Take the family to walk around at December Nights at Balboa Park
  3. Center Yourself:  Try taking 5-30 minutes at the beginning, middle or end of your day to focus on your breath and reconnect with your body.  When the mind gets overwhelmed even a two-minute time out can make a difference.  The UCSD Health Center for Mindfulness offers a variety of free guided mindfulness meditations.
  4. Do Something Special for Yourself:  When you are spread thin giving to others during the holiday season, take some time to recharge with a treat for yourself.  You could...
    1. Take a break in the middle of errands to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of herbal tea
    2. Get a massage or pedicure
    3. Meet up with a friend you haven't seen in a while
    4. Turn off your phone and computer for an entire afternoon
  5. Start a Gift Exchange:  If the thought of purchasing gifts for all of your friends and family is overwhelming and financially straining, try gift exchanges among the groups.  You could even invent themes and monetary caps to keep gift giving fun and lower-stress.  Interesting ideas include:
    1. Museum passes
    2. Fitness classes
    3. Concert tickets
    4. Easy-to-care-for plans such as succulents
    5. Cooking classes
  6. Keep it Light:  Even though holidays are times of celebration, they can become times of disappointment or sadness when expectations aren't met or they are not as perfect as planned.  If you experience such feelings, acknowledge them and see if you can lighten the burden:
    1. Watch a funny movie
    2. Spend time with a positive friend or family member
    3. Go to a comedy show or watch your favorite comedian
    4. Start a chain of joke telling with friends
  7. Time to Reflect:  Take time to reflect about the past year by journaling or with a close friend or family member.  Consider what you have accomplished, interesting experiences, lessons learned, people who have influenced you and how to use all of your experiences to continue to move forward.  
Holiday Recipe Makeover:  Cinnamon-Dusted Cacao Truffles
How about doing #1, above (Enjoy Sparingly) with the following recipe?  While it is a healthier version of truffles, the strong flavor can help to satisfy a sweet tooth.  Enjoy with a cup of hot peppermint tea during a time out from the demands of the holiday season.


Health Benefits:

  • Cacao Powder:  nutrients are preserved better than in cocoa since cacao powder is not manufactured under high heat.  Additionally, cacao provides flavanols which are antioxidants, magnesium and may improve cognitive function.
  • Dates:  Contain vitamins, minerals and fiber
  • Cinnamon:  Stimulates insulin activity (helps to keep blood sugar levels lower)
  • Coconut Oil:  A medium chain fatty acid that digests quickly (to become energy) and may improve cognitive function in neurological diseases.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup grade B organic maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes
Directions:
  • Line 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  • Combine pumpkin, coconut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes and pecans.  Place pan in refrigerator for 1 hour, or until firm.
  • Slice into squares and serve.  Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Serves 6

This recipe is from The Chopra Center.  Visit The Chopra Center for this recipe and other healthier dessert recipes.
Keep Moving:  Make the Holidays Active
Sneaking in fitness can be challenging in general, let alone during the holiday season when there are parties, travels, baking and shopping.  At the same time, this is when we need fitness the most to maintain weight, boost energy and de-stress.  Even though we might not feel much energy to exercise, it is important to try, even if it's less that you would normally complete.  Often times, if we say we will exercise for just 10 minutes, we end up continuing and surpass expectations.
Here are a few smart ways to fit in fitness. Every step counts on your mission to manage your weight!
Image result for holiday fitness images·         Move more. Use the stairs. Take a stroll at lunch. When you run errands, walk as much as you can. Basically, any time there’s a chance to move, do it because it all adds up.
·         Make it social. Start a walking group at work. Keep your dog happy with a quick run. Catch up with an old friend or family member while you boost the health of your heart.  You could even find a local fitness class or go on a hike as a holiday get-together with friends…or even a holiday office celebration!  Perhaps you can take the family to walk around December Nights at Balboa Park.  Don’t forget UCSD Health Benefits sponsors FREE onsite fitness classes in Hillcrest and La Jolla.  Take a look at the schedule here.  
·         Break it up. If you don’t have time to exercise for 30 minutes, split it up into two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute walks. You will get the same health benefits and it might also feel less stressful than making a longer commitment.


UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter
October 2016
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In This Issue:
  • UC San Diego Health Five-Week Employee Wellness Course
  • Desk Stretch
  • Eight Ways to Reset Your Mind
  • Recipe of the Month
  • Active Autumn Events
Happy Autumn!  Now that we are getting back into a regular schedule after the summer months it's time to get wellness back on track!  If solid habits are established now in October they are more likely to be maintained as the holidays approach.  This includes consistent movement, solid nutritional habits and dedicated time to stress reduction.  Your UCSD Health benefits provide all of these!  Our FREE on-site fitness classes are going strong.  Take a look at the schedule to find those that fit into your day...many of them will double dip and help to bring down stress levels in addition to incorporating movement.  Jump back into meal preparation with this month's Spooky Salad that combines a bit of crunch, a little salt, a touch of sweet and fun color into one bowl.  Maybe getting outdoors is something you enjoy?  There are countless options in our community and those listed below cover biking, walking, running and dancing throughout San Diego!  

At a Location Near You:  The 5-Week Wellness Course!
Are you ready to make healthy lifestyle changes?  We have just the program and...we come to you!  Five, 45-minute learn-at-lunch weekly meetings are led by a certified health professional to educate participants in wellness topics that facilitate small changes to improve one’s lifestyle.  Topics include workplace movement, stress reduction and nutrition.  Available to all departments upon request to Brenna Joyce, UC San Diego Health Employee Wellness Coordinator:  bjoyce@ucsd.edu.
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Desk Stretch:  Lengthen the Calves
The calf is comprised of two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus, which merge with connective tissue at the base of the calf.  This tissue connects to the Achilles tendon at the bottom of the leg.  The  calf muscles aid to point the foot and ankle joints as well as flex (bend) the knee joint.  When the calf muscles are chronically tight, the ability to move the ankle decreases.  What makes the calves tight?  Heeled shoes, including running shoes, sitting often and failure to stretch.  In order to preserve range of motion in the ankle and feet (and thus movement efficiency), try the following calf stretch:

    Blog - Standing Calf Stretch
  • Stand at a wall or behind a chair
  • Place hands on wall or chair and step left foot forward
  • Look at both feet to make sure they each face directly forward and heels on ground 
  • Gently bend the left knee (your left knee should be above the left ankle)
  • Keep the right leg straight with the right heel pushing into the ground; make sure the right foot faces forward during the stretch
  • Hold 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side

Eight Ways to Reset Your Mind...Without Meditating
There is no doubt that meditation benefits many.  For some, however, the task may seem daunting or difficult to keep stillness.  With the help of ideas from The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, here are eight ways to de-stress and practice mindfulness that are different from meditating.  Mindfulness is an act of being engaged in the present, in a non-judging manner.
  1. Take a Nature Walk:  Nature helps to get away from technological distractions such as computers, phones and television.  Your attention can focus on surroundings of vibrant colors, different sounds, plants and animal life.  Take note the sensations your body feels before, during and after the hike and if they change along the way.  Find new places to explore in Outdoor Guides.
  2. Gardening:  You can simply go into your backyard or patio to get in touch with nature!  The act of getting your hands in the dirt and touching the plants is an act of mindfulness that will calm the mind.  Take it deeper into the present and note the sensations of touching the dirt, different colors of the plants, how your stress levels feel and the sounds of digging into the dirt or the crunching of leaves.
  3. Get Out Your Coloring Book!  Yes, just like you did when you were a child!  You get to be creative, keep focus (read:  mindful) by staying within the lines and relieve stress.  There are coloring books geared toward adults, too!
  4. Dance:  Try dancing to your favorite music at home or take a class.  Let your body feel the beat and move as it wants.  If you take a class, your mind will need to be completely focused on what you are doing...giving you little opportunity to think about anything else.
  5. Mindful Exercise:  Any type of exercise can be mindful.  It just requires one to be present and focused on what is happening in the body:  sensations, awareness of movement, the breath and attention to form.  If you take a class such as yoga, tai chi or Pilates, the experience may be enhanced with the instructor guiding you through the movements to keep you in good form and present in the moment so your thoughts have little opportunity to wander.
  6. Yoga:  One form of mindful exercise, yoga uses the body as a focus which enables the mind to be calm.  Try these five poses to do in the morning, from MindBodyGreen.
  7. Play an Instrument:  Instruments are another creative outlet that can bring mindfulness to your day.  You don't need to be experienced and some instruments including the drum, gong and chimes allow you to play away!  Focusing on what you will do and how you will play allows the mind to stay present and focused on the activity.
  8. Watch a Sunset:  Another encounter with nature, just seeing the sunset can make all of one's cares and worries leave the mind.  Look at the colors, where light reflects and the sensations you feel in your body as a result.  

Halloween Recipe:  Spooky Salad
Not only is this salad addictively delicious, it is also full of nutrients.  The cabbage and carrots provide antioxidants and cancer-fighting properties.  The seeds contain beneficial fats.  The ginger in the dressing is an anti-inflammatory and may even boost immunity.  The colors in the salad are reminiscent of Halloween:  purple, orange, green and black!

Ingredients:

    Image result for spooky slaw
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/3  cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (raw or roasted)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)
Toss together salad ingredients then mix in the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger (adjust to your taste; more or less, as needed)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T honey or 1/4 tsp stevia
Allow the salad to marinate in the dressing at least 15 minutes.  It's a perfect dish for a potluck, an accompaniment at dinner or to bring to work, adding a protein on top to round out the meal!


Get Moving:  Events in Your Community
Keep moving throughout fall as we approach the holidays and you are more likely to maintain (not gain) when the celebration season arrives.  The more we move, the more calories we continue to burn.  Additionally, exercise enables us to keep good nutrition habits since we are more likely to reach for healthier food options when we get consistent, purposeful exercise.  Here are three opportunities to get involved in the community and make exercise fun!


  1. Schedule a Fun Walk/Run on a Holiday:  There are many races taking place on Thanksgiving Day.  They generally start early in the morning making it a perfect opportunity to get some movement before the day gets away!  These races are also a wonderful way to get the family to be active together.  The San Diego Run for The Hungry also includes a day-of food drive for the needy.
  2. Stay Safe on the Bike!  Love to cycle or thinking about taking up the activity you enjoyed as a child?  Oceanside Parks and Rec is offering a Bicycle Traffic Skills Course to keep you safe on the road.
  3. Get Your Dance On:  Combine a fun walk or run with a little choreography!  The 2nd Annual Hip Hop Health and Wellness 5k aims to show neighborhood solidarity, health and innovative thought to encourage creativity and create forward thinking in the community.


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Attention:  Candy corn may be harmful to your health!





UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter
Summer 2016

In This Issue:

  • New Free On-Site Fitness Classes
  • Desk Stretch
  • Five Ways to Move During Your Workday
  • Recipe of the Month
  • Get Active in San Diego

Summer is Movement Time!
April brought us ideas to clean up our nutrition.  Now it's time to focus on movement!  Do you sit the majority of the day?  Take a look at the article, "Five Ways to Fit Movement Into Your Day," for simple, quick ideas to allow your body to move.  Or, try one of our free on-site Employee Wellness Program fitness classes.  Classes will continue over the summer and we have new additions!  There are also many opportunities to move within San Diego community.  Have a fun, movement-based summer and there will be more to come in the fall!

Move at Work:  FREE On-Site Fitness Classes
The summer schedule of free UCSD Health employee fitness classes begins in July.  We are continuing with Pilates at Hillcrest and Yoga and Meditation & Mindfulness in La Jolla.  We have also added an evening Pilates Barre at Hillcrest and a noon Pilates in La Jolla.  Come check them out...and bring a colleague!  To view the updated schedule, look here: http://ucsdhswellness.blogspot.com/p/exercise-now.html.
Are there classes that you would like to see on the schedule?  Are you at a location that does not have access to these classes?  Request a class or send your feedback to Brenna Joyce, UCSD Health Employee Wellness Coordinator at bjoyce@ucsd.edu.

Desk Stretch:  Open the Hip Flexors!
   
The hip flexors  are located on the front of the thigh muscles, where the lower body meets the upper body.  They tighten when sitting for long periods of time and, on the opposite end, from over-activity.  These two ends of the spectrum can lead to muscle imbalances and low back pain.  To reverse tightness in the hip flexors, try this "anti-desk" stretch:

  • Place hands of back of chair for support and bring left leg forward, foot flat on ground, and right heel off ground
  • "Tuck" pelvis under so that shoulders are directly over hips to feel a stretch down the front of the right leg
  • Hold 15-30 seconds
  • Repeat on opposite side with right leg forward
  • Perform this stretch 3-5 times during your workday
Check out this video for a demo:


Get Moving During Your Day:  Five Ideas to Anti-Desk
Image result for images hunched back at deskHave you heard about the movement to sit less and move more?  The negative effects of sitting are experienced by many (tight hip flexors, anyone?) and you may be one of them.  Excessive sitting impacts the body's metabolic system and harms circulation.  It also causes decreased breathing efficiency and aches and pains from being in fixed positions that are not natural for the body.  The American Medical Association (AMA) agrees that sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for personal health.  Their policy recommends organizations offer sitting alternatives, including standing desks.  One study demonstrated 45% increased productivity in standing desk users compared to their seated counterparts (Garrett, et al., 2016).  Standing is like walking:  it increases energy, burns extra calories, strengthens muscles and posture, increases blood flow and ramps up metabolism.  Sitting, on the other hand, will tighten hips and limit range of motion.  With lack of use, gluteal muscles can weaken affecting stability and power when walking and jumping.  Jutting the head forward while at a computer leads to cervical vertebrae strains causing neck, shoulder and back pain.  To combat the effects of sitting, try these simple ways to incorporate movement during the workday:

  • Take scheduled breaks AWAY from the desk (and take your breaks!)
  • Stand up and pace while on the phone
  • Walk to a co-worker's desk to ask a question, instead of emailing or calling
  • Use a standing desk for portions of your day
  • Stand up at least once per hour

Summer Recipe:  Keeping it Cool!
Summer heat might decrease the desire to cook - or eat - a hot meal.  To keep it cool but still pack in nutrition, salads can be a perfect solution.  This cucumber, avocado and feta salad takes just a few minutes and has only five ingredients.  It's simplicity in a bowl!  The salad can be a side dish or a meal and provides the following:

  • Cucumbers hydrate, provide skin-friendly minerals and flush out toxins
  • Avocados contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber and potassium
  • Dill offers vitamin C and manganese

Find the recipe on Two Peas and Their Pod here:   http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/cucumber-avocado-and-feta-salad/.  Bon appetit!



Out and About:  Fitness Fun
Why not get out and enjoy the summer sunshine while getting fit?  Get a group of co-workers, bring the family or participate on your own in a fitness event such as The Color Run at the Waterfront Park.  You can find out details and register for the event here:  http://thecolorrun.com/locations/san-diego-ca/?var=7952&cmp=18N-PB1101-S7-T5-128182-7089269&1=le-576067.


UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter
April 2016

In This Issue:
  • Desk Stretch
  • Five Fixes for Nutrition Challenges
  • UC Walks
  • New FREE Fitness Class
  • Weight Watchers Series 
  • UC Wellness Lecture Series
  • Get Active in San Diego

Spring is Here!
 Hello, UCSD Health!  As we enter the heart of spring, it's a good time to do some cleaning.  Beyond the house, we can also consider it a time to clean up our nutrition, fitness and overall well-being.  This spring, get back to eating clean with some quick fixes to common nutritional challenges, join us in our UC Walks event on May 18, register for the new Weight Watchers series or participate in one of our free on-site fitness  classes.  We are here to help you feel well and have fun along the journey!  Anytime you have questions or feedback, please email hswellness@ucsd.edu to let us know!


Desk Stretch:  Ode to the Hamstrings!
The hamstrings are composed of three large muscles that run along the back of the thigh.  They serve to bend the knees and move the hips backward.  When seated in a chair the hamstrings shorten and become inactive.  This can further lead to lower back pain because tight hamstrings impede proper hip motion.  Knowing this, take one minute out of your day to stretch the hamstrings (and you don't even need to get out of your chair!)


Hamstrings Stretch Video


Solved!  Fixes for Five Common Nutritional Challenges
Many of us promised to eat better in the new year...and it started off well!  But now, perhaps some familiar habits re-established themselves and the consistency of eating well became difficult.  Here are some common nutritional predicaments and ideas to keep you on track.  The original article is credited to the Whole Foods Market blog.

1.  Breakfast...What's That?
     Skipping breakfast may set us up to eat more later in the day.  Sure, it can be an added task to complete in the morning but there are plenty of healthy grab and go options to start your day right (it might even help if #3 is you!).  A few ideas:
  • Apple or banana spread with almond butter (add a sprinkle of cinnamon for extra antioxidants)
  • Cottage cheese with blueberries and pistachios (or other nuts/seeds)
  • Two hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit
  • Greek yogurt with strawberries
  • Whole grain bread spread with almond or peanut butter and topped with banana slices

Image result for healthy breakfast images
2.  Not Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables
     Sneaking vegetables and fruits into your meals throughout the day can help to ensure you get enough (2-1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups fruit).  Try a piece of fruit at breakfast, adding vegetables to an egg scramble, snacking on fresh vegetables and hummus or adding a variety of colorful vegetables to a salad.

3.  Late Night Snacking
     Exploring the root of late night eating can be a good start...is it boredom or true hunger?  Try keeping a food journal to find out the cause.  If it is boredom, come up with several activities that you enjoy (eg, reading a book, taking a hot bath, calling a friend) to keep on track and brush teeth right after dinner.  If you are truly hungry, revisit what you ate for dinner.  It may be time to make meal changes to keep you feeling full longer with fiber-rich foods and high quality protein.  If you do need a snack be prepared with lower-calorie, minimal sugar options.

4.  Lack of Sleep
     Too little sleep can cause hunger cues despite having had enough calories.  Take a look at our March newsletter for tips on sleep health!

5.  Failure to Plan...
     ...equals plan to fail!  Create a menu at the beginning of the week and shop for necessary ingredients.  Healthful meals don't need to be complicated or take endless amounts of time to prepare.  Eating Well offers quick, five or less ingredient recipes.


UC Walks:  May 18

Image result for uc walks 2016 imageCome out and play!  UC Walks is a UC-wide event on Wednesday, May 18.  No matter where you work you have an option.  You can visit our blog for Hillcrest registration; La Jolla is listed on Blink.  Not only are there two opportunities for a group walk but there is also the full wellness package:  outfit yourself in a free t-shirt, grab a snack from the UCSD Registered Dietitian Interns and UCSD Weight Management Program, get your benefits questions answered from our Benefits office representative, be present with the UCSD Mindfulness Center, find out your body fat percentage and wind down with a chair massage.  Everything at the event is FREE!!!  We hope to meet you there!

New and FREE:  Yoga in Hillcrest!
Image result for yoga poses images male  
Please join us for 5pm Yoga in the Camelot Room in Hillcrest.  This and all of our free class offerings are located here.


Weight Watchers:  New Series Begins in May!!
Are you ready to make nutritional changes in order to lose weight?  Weight Watchers is starting a new 17-week series on May 5.  UCSD Health employees receive 50% off the class fee!  Weekly meetings are on the La Jolla campus in ECOB.  For more details have a look at the Weight Watchers section of our blog.

Image result for weight watchers logo

Interested in starting a Weight Watchers series in Hillcrest?  Please email Brenna Joyce, bjoyce@ucsd.edu.  If we get enough interest we can start a series at an additional location!


UC Wellness Lecture Series  
The next lecture in the UCSD Wellness Lecture Series is Mindfulness in the Workplace taking place on May 19 on the La Jolla campus.  This is a lunchtime lecture...head back to work with a new frame of mind!

Get Active in San Diego:  Coast to Crest 5K and 5-Miler
Looking to get active in the community?  The inaugural Coast to Crest 5K and 5.3 mile races will take place on Sunday, May 1 at the San Dieguito River Park.  A fast and flat trail course that is sure to be a fun event! 




UCSD Health Employee Wellness Newsletter
March 2016

In This Issue:
  • Recipe of the Month
  • Desk Stretch
  • Seven Steps to Better Sleep
  • UC Wellness Lecture Series
  • FREE Fitness Classes

March is National Sleep Month!
Sleep is essential to our health and well-being.  Quality sleep can help to promote positive energy levels, aid in increased productivity and protect us from acute and chronic health problems.  This edition of the UCSD Health Employee Wellness newsletter is dedicated to practices that may help your sleep!  Please try the stretch, recipe or any of the sleep suggestions and post a comment!  We would love to read about your experience!

Desk Stretch:  Figure 4 Gluteal Stretch
Many who experience low back back pain believe it is caused from...well, low back problems.  This may be the case but often tight gluteal muscles are the culprit!  To stretch the gluteals:

  • Sit in chair and cross ankle over opposite knee
  • Gently lean forward from hips, until stretch is felt in buttock of crossed leg
  • Increase stretch by gently pressing down on knee
  • Hold 30 seconds
  • Repeat






Recipe of the Month:  Morning Kale Smoothie
After a night of quality sleep, try this smoothie to start your day!

Packed with nutrients, this smoothie offers a little sweet - and some spice - to get your morning going.  Enjoy these health benefits:

Kale:  offers vitamins C, K and Folate (a B-vitamin) plus the anti-oxidants beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.  It's also a good non-dairy source of calcium.

Cinnamon:  the Ceylon variety has anti-inflammatory properties and may help to lower fasting blood sugar levels.


Ingredients:
1/2 bunch kale (or other leafy green such as spinach or Swiss chard)
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 dash cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup water (or until desired consistency is reached)

Directions:  Layer ice then kale in blender.  Add remaining ingredients.  Blend.  Voila!

Sleep Awareness:  Seven Steps to Better Sleep!

Try these steps, as suggested by the National Sleep Foundation, to better sleep...

Make the Time:  Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to function properly.  Make appropriate adjustments to get to sleep on time!

Digest:  Leave at least two hours between eating and going to bed.  By allowing time to digest before bed you will get better sleep.

Power Down:  Blue light from screens (TV, phone, computer) can disrupt the circadian rhythm, affecting your ability to sleep; this is due to alerting signals that electronics send to the brain.  Turn off mobile devices before bed and refrain use at least one hour prior to sleep.

Create a Sleep-Promoting Environment:  Find a comfortable mattress, pillow and bedding.  Paint the walls a cool-feeling color.  Keep the room dark and wear an eye mask.  Use a white noise machine if distractions keep you up.

Create a Bedtime Ritual:  Deep breathing, stretches and relaxing music can help your body wind down to prepare for sleep.

Set Troubles Aside:   Keep paper and pen by your  bed to write down stresses and worries prior to sleep.  Get them out of your mind so your brain can focus on sleep!

Limit Caffeine and Alcohol:  Alcohol may help sleep onset but it can negatively affect the body's ability to sleep deeply and continuously.  Caffeine is a stimulant; it's effect on the body can last for hours so best to refrain mid-afternoon onward.


UCSD Health and Wellness Lecture Series
The Health and Wellness Lecture Series offers quarterly events on topics related to personal well-being.  You can even go back to watch previous lectures!  Presented on March 30 is "How to Use Food as Medicine to Support the Immune System, Protect the Body and Fight Disease."  For further details visit the following link:  UCSD Health and Wellness Lecture Series

Sleep Well After One of Our FREE Fitness Classes!
Our free classes, open to ALL UCSD Health employees, are offered weekdays at both Hillcrest and La Jolla medical centers.  To see a current listing of classes check out the Health Fitness calendar on the right side of this very blog!







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