Backyard Bounty: Vegetables Are Nature's Original Nutritional Powerhouses

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

Tomatoes are a gardener’s favorite, plant in ground, raised beds or in containers.

(BPT) - You’ve probably heard the chatter around how a handful of unusual foods are must-eat nutritional powerhouses - and wondered how you’ll ever get your kids to try kale or chia seeds. But you don’t have to stress over how to incorporate the latest health food fads into your family’s diet in order to get powerful nutrition.

The truth is, those headline-grabbers aren’t the only nutritional powerhouses. Most vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, so quit worrying about how to pronounce acai or where to find seaweed in the supermarket. Instead, improve your family’s diet and save some money by growing nutrition-packed vegetables right in your own backyard. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Growing squash is easier than finding chia seeds. Many vegetables are easy to grow in any home environment, whether it’s a large garden plot or pots on your patio. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula and kale are full of nutrients and simple to grow, even for beginners. Transplants, like those offered by Bonnie Plants, make it even easier by helping you bypass the work of starting from seed. Plus, you’ll harvest six weeks sooner.

  • Healthy benefits go far beyond nutrition. Growing your own vegetables and herbs means you’ll always have a fresh supply of nutrient-rich food at home. But gardening also delivers healthful exercise, time in the fresh air, and it’s a relaxing and satisfying activity.

  • Gardens are good for Mother Nature. The more food you grow at home, the fewer natural resources will be needed to grow veggies in far off places and ship them to your local supermarket. Your garden is also a great opportunity to recycle household food waste as compost. Plus, when you choose Bonnie Plants in biodegradable pots, you’re saving millions of pounds of plastic from landfills. The pots decompose, add nutrients to the soil and help prevent transplant shock.

  • Gardening could get your kids excited about veggies - really! When kids participate in gardening, they take ownership of the plants they help grow. And with their hands in the dirt, they’re not on their cellphones or playing video games. Kids who grow veggies are much more likely to eat them, and make gardening an ongoing, healthy habit.

  • Save money at the supermarket. Growing your own food means you’ll spend much less money in the produce aisle. Plus, you can grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs, even expensive, restaurant-style “foodie” greens you may not have tried otherwise.

The plant pros at Bonnie recommend these nutrient powerhouses to jumpstart your garden:

  • Strawberries - Just one cup of berries contains 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended allowance of vitamin C. Phenols are potent antioxidants that work to protect the heart, fight cancer, block inflammation, and they give strawberries their red color.

  • Sweet potatoes - Alpha and beta carotene give sweet potatoes their bright orange color, and your body converts these compounds into vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, bones and immune system. A half cup of sweet potato provides nearly four times the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A, plus vitamins C, B6, potassium and manganese.

  • Broccoli - This green nutritional giant delivers vitamins C, A and K (associated with bone health), folate and sulforaphane that helps stimulate the body’s detoxifying enzymes.

  • Tomatoes - Tomatoes provide vitamins A, C and B, potassium and lycopene - an important phytonutrient thought to help fight various cancers and lower cholesterol.

  • Spinach - Spinach contains more than a dozen phytonutrients, and twice the daily recommended allowance of vitamin K. These nutrients contribute to cardiovascular and colon health, better brain function, eyesight and increased energy.

  • Kale - Kale contains vitamins A, C and K. A cup of cooked kale gives you more than 1,000 percent of the daily value for vitamin K. It’s also high in manganese, which promotes bone density.

  • Cauliflower - Low in calories and carbohydrates, cauliflower is packed with a long list of nutrients, including phytonutrients. They say cauliflower is the new kale!

For more information on growing nutritional powerhouse vegetables, visit Bonnie Plants is the largest producer and supplier of vegetable and herb plants in North America. You’ll find their plants at Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes and 4,700 independent garden retailers.

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Unleash Happiness: Tips for Living Your Happiest Life

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

(BPT) - Are you living your happiest life? How does your mood affect your health? Is happiness contagious? Researchers are finding these questions are worth asking, and multiple studies show happiness dramatically improves health, productivity, family bonds and even life expectancy. So it’s no surprise that the impact happiness has on people has spawned an initiative to spread happiness throughout the world.

So what can you do to live your happiest life? Researchers say it starts with choosing happiness. Making a conscious choice to be happy positively affects a person’s mood, and over time, can reset a person’s default happiness level, according to two recent studies published in The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Here’s a look at several ways to choose to be happy, including:

Savor happy moments, in the moment. An individual’s brain is hardwired to remember bad experiences more than good ones as a basis for survival. When something good happens, stopping to savor that moment helps to solidify it in the brain and re-wire it for happiness, according to Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness.

Connect with happy people. To be happy, spend time with happy people. It may seem like common sense, but researchers from Harvard found over the course of a 20-year study, the happiness of one person can increase the happiness of others in their network by an astounding 25 percent.

“In my job, I see firsthand how easily happiness spreads from one person to the next,” says Courtney Gastelo, a bartender at RA Sushi, which has several locations across the U.S. “That’s why RA Sushi‘s Happy Hour is so popular - we bring our guests together in a fun atmosphere where they can relax and enjoy great food and drinks with their friends.”

Gastelo recommends not waiting for the weekend; invite friends out for sushi and enjoy Happy Hour any day of the week. Doing so will positively affect the mood of everyone involved, “and science says it’s good for humanity,” she says.

Choose experiences over things. The value of new life experiences also creates happiness. That’s the finding of research from San Francisco State University, which shows that having a new life experience outweighs material purchases when it comes to long-term impact on happiness.

New life experiences don’t have to be expensive trips to exotic locations; they can be as simple as taking a dance class, mastering a cooking skill, trying a new food or learning how to speak another language.

Exercise. Hitting the road or the weights can turn a bad day into a good one. Research from the University of Bristol shows exercising on workdays has an even bigger impact on mood. It’s because exercising releases endorphins that have a powerful effect on happiness.

Going for a walk or hike outside has the added benefit of sunshine and fresh air, too. For an even more powerful happiness boost, researchers suggest finding an exercise buddy.

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Unscrambling The Dietary Guidelines

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

(BPT) - While 2016 is the Year of the Monkey on the Chinese calendar, in the world of food and nutrition, it’s the Year of the Egg.

The recently released 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides key recommendations for healthy eating patterns for the consumption of a variety of protein foods in nutrient-dense forms, like eggs. For eggs to be considered a nutrient-dense protein, eating the yolk is a must because the yolk is where key nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids are found.

What’s more, the new Dietary Guidelines no longer limit the consumption of dietary cholesterol which was a nutrient of concern in the past. Instead, the Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of saturated fats and trans fats.

“For years, many Americans were led to think that whole eggs should be limited or even cut out of their diets to avoid high cholesterol,” says Registered Dietitian Lyssie Lakatos. “These new recommendations show that eggs truly are a great source of protein and are filled with important nutrients we need. I’ve always recommended Eggland’s Best eggs since they are packed with three times more vitamin B12, five times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E and double the omega-3 fatty acids, when compared to ordinary eggs, thanks to their proprietary hen feed.”

Below, Lakatos gives tips on how to incorporate eggs into a healthy meal plan any time of day.

Breakfast: There isn’t a more classic breakfast food than the egg. Whether you like your eggs scrambled, poached or over-easy, they can be great all by themselves or paired with a bowl of fruit or whole grain toast. When pairing your eggs with other breakfast items, be mindful of foods high in saturated fat. Lakatos chooses Eggland’s Best eggs which contain 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs.

Snacks: Although eggs are a great breakfast food, we often forget they can also be the perfect snack. Lakatos keeps EB Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs in her refrigerator for a post-workout snack because they are rich in vitamins necessary for optimal muscle recovery such as B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin E.

Lunch and dinner: Whether it’s meatless Monday or you’re just looking to incorporate more eggs into your diet, there are plenty of ways to include eggs in your lunch and dinner. Lakatos loves mixing Eggland’s Best eggs into a great stir fry for dinner and using leftovers for lunch the next day.

For more information and recipes using Eggland’s Best eggs, such as a No-Fuss Stir Fry, visit

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Genetic Conditions All Pregnant Women Should Know About

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

March is Trisomy Awarenesss Month. Please go to for more information.

March is Trisomy Awareness Month

(BPT) - You’ve probably heard of Down syndrome, but did you know:

  • About one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with this condition?

  • A 45-year-old woman is 10 times more likely to conceive a child with Down syndrome than someone who is 35 years old?

  • Down syndrome is only one of several chromosome abnormalities called trisomies, and that two of the others, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13, are much more serious?

“Most women know very little about their risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. Many know nothing at all about other trisomy conditions that cause the majority of miscarriages, and are much more life-threatening to the baby,” says Dr. Jill Hechtman, medical director of Tampa Obstetrics. “With today’s highly accurate, non-invasive prenatal genetic screening tests (NIPTs), they can find out as early as nine weeks from a simple blood draw if their unborn child is at risk.”

What is a trisomy?

A trisomy condition means that some or all of a person’s cells have an extra chromosome.  How a trisomy affects a person will depend on which chromosome is affected and other factors. Health issues associated with the condition can range from mild intellectual and developmental disabilities and physical abnormalities (learning differences or infertility) to life-threatening problems with the heart or other organs.

What are the most common trisomies and their risks?

Trisomy can occur with any of a person’s 23 pairs of chromosomes, but the most well-known syndromes are:

Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down syndrome.

About 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 U.S. babies are born with this condition each year. People with Down syndrome usually have mild-to-moderate intellectual and developmental disability and heart abnormalities. They also are at risk for hearing and vision loss and other health conditions. Although children with Down syndrome will need extra medical care, most will live into their 60s.

The chance of having a child with Down syndrome increases as the age of the mother increases. At 35, a woman has about a one in 350 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome. But by 40, the chances are one in 100, and at 45, they go up to one in 30.

Learn more at National Down Syndrome Society

Trisomy 18, also called Edwards syndrome.

This is the second most common trisomy syndrome and occurs in about one in 7,000 live births each year. Babies with trisomy 18 have severe intellectual disabilities and birth defects that typically involve the heart, brain and kidneys. A small number of infants (more often girls) with the condition are able to live into their 20s and 30s, although they require full-time caregiving because of their significant developmental problems.

Only about 50 percent of babies who make it to term will live longer than one week and about 5-10 percent will live past one year. As with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 is more prevalent among older mothers.

Learn more at Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders

Trisomy 13, also called Patau syndrome.

This condition occurs in about one in 10,000 live births. Trisomy 13 infants will have severe intellectual disabilities as well as physical disabilities that could include heart defects, brain and spinal cord problems, and extra fingers and/or toes.

Although about 5 percent will survive the first year. More than 80 percent of babies with Trisomy 13 have birth defects that may involve the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs. Survivors experience severe intellectual disability.

Learn more at Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders

How can I find out if my child is at increased risk for Down syndrome or other trisomies?

Prenatal genetic screening tests from a simple blood draw that can be done in a physician’s office can determine your chance of having a baby with these conditions or other abnormal or missing chromosomes is increased or decreased.

Keep in mind, however, that not all NIPT tests are the same. For example, the Natera Panorama screening test is the only one currently available that can differentiate between mom and baby’s DNA.

Genetic screening tests are not replacements for diagnostic tests such as the CVS or amniocentesis. It is important to discuss all test results with your health care provider and obtain any recommended follow-up testing.

For more information on prenatal as well as other genetic tests, go to

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5 Ways to Revamp Your Run

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

(BPT) - Have you ever wished you could just snap your fingers and be able to run a marathon? If only it were that easy. Whether you’re training for a race, want to get in shape or simply enjoy the rhythm of your feet hitting the pavement, running takes consistency and practice.

“No matter where you fall on the running spectrum, there’s always room for improvement,” says Rebekah Mayer, National Run Training Manager for Life Time Fitness - The Healthy Way of Life Company. “If you’re striving to become a better runner, you might need to make some changes or switch up your routine.”

Below are five tips from Mayer to help amp up your run so you can feel great while making each workout count:

Ease into your outdoor runs

If you’ve been hitting the treadmill all winter and are just beginning to run outdoors, take it slow. Pavement is harder on your knees and joints than a treadmill belt, and your running form is a little different when you’re outside on the ground. Start by taking some easy workouts outdoors, and then progress into harder workouts. By then, all the trails will be fully clear and your legs will have a chance to adapt.

Ditch the background noise

Consider leaving your headphones at home. While music is essential to beat boredom on a treadmill, many runners come to enjoy the quiet solitude or group chatter when running outdoors, especially when you run with a friend. Without headphones, it’s also easier to hear traffic, animals or approaching pedestrians. If music is absolutely necessary, try running with only one ear bud in.

Make it memorable

Take the time to make some of your runs a little more interesting. Is there a trail system a short drive from your home or nearest health club? Even if it doesn’t fit into your daily routine, doing some runs at a more scenic location every so often can make the miles much more enjoyable. Changing up your routine also helps keep your body challenged so you can continue to build strength and endurance.

Gather your running buddies

Running with friends is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Running with a buddy on a treadmill is fun as well, but an outdoor running pal or group can help the time and miles pass more quickly. Life Time destinations nationwide host Tuesday Night Social Runs with varying distances and they’re complimentary for members and non-members. There’s nothing like good conversation to keep you entertained during your workout. Running partners can be good pace setters as well and might even suggest some new running routes or trails you’ve never tried before.

Dress the part

If you run in the dark, choose reflective clothing and a headlamp for safety. On rainy days, add a water resistant jacket and a cap to keep water out of your eyes. This will make the weather more tolerable. If temperatures are cool, choose an outer layer you can easily remove if you get too warm. Life Time is a firm believer that the right pair of shoes can help prevent injury, so make sure you find a pair that works for your running style.

Use these tips to make the most of each run or if you’re one of the thousands of Americans who’s currently training for a marathon, check out to sign up for a virtual or in-person run training plan.

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Sacramento Life Center Receives $12.5K Grant

Source: Kristin Thébaud Communications  |  2016-04-18

Marie Leatherby of Sacramento Life Center accepts a check from American River Bank to help low-income pregnant women. Photo courtesy Kristin Thébaud Communications

American River Bank has awarded a $12,500 grant to Sacramento Life Center for the nonprofit’s Mobile Medical Clinics that provide free medical services to low-income pregnant women, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling, education and resource referrals.

“This grant from American River Bank will almost fully cover the costs of having one of our Mobile Medical Clinics on the road one day a week for a year,” said Marie Leatherby, executive director, Sacramento Life Center. “We are grateful to American River Bank for supporting low-income pregnant women in our community and understanding the importance of women receiving care in their own neighborhood so transportation isn’t a barrier.”

For a schedule for the Mobile Medical Clinics, visit

“The Sacramento Life Center does amazing work coming alongside and supporting young women in need,” said David Taber, president and CEO, American River Bank. “This organization is truly a lifesaver.”

The Sacramento Life Center's mission is to offer compassion, support, resources and free medical care to women and couples facing an unplanned or unsupported pregnancy. The Sacramento Life Center’s licensed Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic includes a primary clinic and two Mobile Medical Clinics that provide all services for free, including pregnancy tests, STD tests, ultrasounds, peer counseling for men and women, education and resource referrals. The nonprofit also offers a school-based teen education program, a 24-hour hotline and a program for women seeking support after having an abortion. For more information about the Sacramento Life Center’s Sac Valley Pregnancy Clinic, visit For more information about the Sacramento Life Center or to make a donation, visit

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SOARing to Healthy Heights

By Elise Spleiss  |  2016-04-18

Students hold signs to help promote SOAR’s annual health fair. Photo courtesy SOAR

In the words of writer and activist Betty Friedan, “Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Get ready to get healthy, stay healthy, or help others get healthy!

Citrus Height’s 9th annual nation award winning “SOAR to Healthy Heights” spring senior health fair is upon us again. The event has become an annual fixture in Citrus Heights. This year will bring everything you look for in a health fair and more.

The free event will take place on Thursday, May 12th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Citrus Heights Community Center, 6300 Fountain Square Drive, next to Sam’s Club.

Honorary Chair, County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, will great attendees, setting the tone for a fun and informative day.

Wear your walking shoes and comfortable clothes. The four hours will go fast with 60 exhibitors dedicated to senior issues and concerns. Plan to join dance instructor Thomas Spencer at 9 a.m. for a good 30 minutes of rejuvenating chair exercises. At 10 a.m. enjoy a healthy 1.35 mile round trip walk from the Community Center to the Stock Ranch Nature Preserve and back.

Three workshops will give information on Fall Prevention along with Balance Assessment by specialist Kelly Ward; Senior Safety and Crime Prevention by Lt. Jason Russo, CHPD; and Becoming Dementia Aware and the Importance of Caregiving with “Dementia Whisperer” Laura Wayman.

At noon be sure to be seated and ready for a panel of experts answering questions and discussing all topics related to caregiving of all kinds.

Health screenings include blood pressure, diabetes, hearing, and vision testing.

All participants will receive a goodie bag provided by SAS Shoes.

Sponsors and partners include Neighborhood Area10, Arcade Creek Neighborhood 4, Northwest Neighborhood Area 1, Citrus Heights Lions, Republic Services, SMUD, and Sunrise Recreation and Park.

For more information contact Dr. Jayna Karpinski-costa at (916) 599-3647 or at


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