Skin Safety: How well do you know your skin?

women on the beachJoin  Dr. Sax from University Park Dermatology, to learn about healthy skin and what you can do to protect your skin this summer.  Dr. David Sax is a board certified dermatologist and an expert on skin cancer. He is dedicated to bringing you clinical excellence, highly personalized treatments, and accessible and efficient service.

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday June 2nd, 2015

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2042

Beyond the Stress Ball Recap

stress ballOur May Girl Talk on Health addressed the topic of stress and ways we can manage it. First, all attendees were gifted a simple tool they can use when feeling stressed- a Blue Cross Blue Shield stress ball. Then Mary Masi from the Sarasota Mindfulness Institute spoke about mindfulness and the many incredible ways to apply mindfulness in stressful situations. Mary took our group through a laughing meditation and described several positive affects of just laughing off stress. We then participated in two other simple, quick meditations to bring on lasting mindfulness. Mary hosts classes at the Mindfulness Institute. Visit http://www.sarasotamindfulness.org for class schedule.
The following information was provided by Florida Blue.

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness means:
• Being fully present in the moment
• Focusing on one thing at a time
• Pay attention to what’s going on around you – and within you
• Making space between a stimulus and your response
• Accepting without trying to control

Examples of ways to incorporate mindfulness into your daily routine:
1. Take a minute or two before you get out of bed just to “be” before you start the day. Notice how you feel, linger as you stretch, make a conscious choice to start the day with gratitude.
2. When you get in your car, do one thing at a time: put on your seatbelt (pause), put the key in the ignition (pause), turn the car on (pause), put the car in gear (pause) …..notice how good it feels not to hurry through these small tasks you do throughout the day.
3. While driving, choose not to play the radio or talk on your phone. Instead, just focus on driving or enjoy the scenery or a conversation with someone in the car. Notice the way you feel as you simplify your car ride, breathing deeply if you feel tense.
4. When you get to work, sit in your car for a few moments before you head inside. Notice your physical body and your thoughts. Ask yourself if your current thoughts and feelings will help start your day off in the best way possible, or if there is perhaps an attitude check that would be helpful.
5. At work, use a reminder to periodically check your stress level and practice a stress-reduction technique if necessary. For example, whenever the phone rings, release the tension in your jaw; whenever you return to your chair from a break, take three deep breaths.
6. Eat at least a few lunches each week without doing work at the same time. If you are eating with co-workers, try just observing the conversation without thinking about what you are going to say next. Listen to the tone of their voices or try to figure out how each person is feeling. Or, make lunch your “alone” time to recoup and reflect.
7. If a co-worker approaches while you are in the middle of something, make a conscious choice to either a) stop what you are doing and give that person your undivided attention; b) ask the person for a moment to finish up what you are doing and then give them your attention; or c) tell them you are in the middle of something and ask if you can call them later in the day.
8. As you walk to the car after work, notice the way the air feels on your face and look around you. What haven’t you noticed before because you’ve been thinking about other things or hurrying?
9. When you are driving home, notice if you are rushing or feeling negative. Are you tense because of traffic? What good is that doing you? How does it feel to stop fighting or being angry about the situation and just accept the moment as it is?
10. When you pull into the driveway at home, sit quietly for a few moments before going inside. Use a relaxation technique so you can enter the house with a positive attitude. When you go into your home, be aware of your family. What haven’t you noticed about them until now? What are they really asking for from you? How will you respond?

BREATH AS RELAXATION
Focusing on your breath is the simplest and most widely-used form of relaxation. After just a few seconds of deep breathing, you’ll notice immediate changes in your body and mind, often including lowered heart rate, decreased feelings of anxiety and clearer thinking. Although it may be ideal to sit quietly or even lie down, you don’t need to do either in order to get the benefit of breath focus. If you are in a position where you are unable to sit or lie down, simply stand where you are and bring your attention to your breath.

Simple Deep Breathing

With your mouth closed, begin to inhale slowly through your nose. Take your time as you inhale … allow the air to fill and soothe your body. When you’re ready, exhale slowly through your nose or mouth. Take your time with your exhale … let your body relax as you do. In a rhythm that feels comfortable to you, continue to inhale and exhale slowly. Do not force the air in or out. Allow the breath to naturally deepen and slow as you go. As you breathe, bring your mental awareness to your breath, allowing other thoughts to simply float by. Enjoy the feeling of the air coming in and out …

Deep Breathing with Countdown or Calming Words

Enjoy some deep breathing as described above. This time, on each exhale, you will say either a number or a calming word to yourself. If you choose numbers, start at 5, 10 or 15 and work your way down to one. If you choose calming words, repeat your word (i.e. “relax”, “peace”, “let go”) to yourself each time you exhale.

OTHER RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

There are many other physical and mental relaxation techniques including toe tensing, progressive relaxation, guided imagery and more. Consider finding a CD or podcast with audio versions of these relaxation techniques – iTunes has many.

Toe Tensing

Alternately tense and relax your toes, drawing stress and tension from the rest of the body. For this one, it’s best to either sit upright or lie down.
Think about your toes. Visualize them.
Take a deep inhale. Hold briefly. Exhale strongly.
Now pull all 10 toes back toward your face.
Hold them back for 5 – 10 seconds.
Now relax your toes. Wait a few seconds as you inhale.
Again, exhale strongly and focus on your toes – spreading them wide and pulling them back.
Repeat the above cycle at least a few times in a row.

Guided Imagery

Choose a comfortable posture. Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a favorite, peaceful place. This place can be anywhere you have been that makes you feel content and relaxed, or even somewhere you’ve never been but you imagine being wonderful – maybe on a sunny beach with cool breezes, or sitting atop a mountain after a fresh snow, or even in your own home.
With your eyes closed, cultivate a detailed image of this place. See the beauty in this place. Notice your surroundings. Feel the air around you. Hear the sounds. Think about what it would smell like. Take in every aspect of this place as you begin to deepen and slow your breath. Relax and enjoy your vacation. Stay as long as you need to.

Beyond the Stress Ball: Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

stress ballThis powerful workshop offers practical tools for managing stress that go beyond traditional advice. You’ll learn how effective thinking, mindfulness and relaxation techniques can lower your stress level and increase your quality of life.

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday May 5th, 2015

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2042

Eating Better with Chef Nancy!

IMG_3795Chef Nancy Waldeck returned to GTOH this month and brought with her three delicious and easy to prepare dishes; Black bean dip with homemade pita chips, Brussels sprout salad, and fresh fruit with balsamic dressing.
Some of her takeaway tips were:
How to save cuttings from veggies in the freezer to make our own veggie stock without preservatives or extra sodium.
Encouraged everyone to make our own dressing. She advised us to stay away from soy bean oil, which is cheap but not good for you. Soy bean oil has omega 6 fatty acids, which is inflammatory and can increase risk of disease, (unlike omega 3′s which are anti-inflammatory and good for us).
Turmeric is another powerful anti-inflammatory.
IMG_3794Chef Nancy also informed us that kale is no longer the “it” veggie. Cauliflower has taken over in popularity. For those of us that never managed to acquire a taste for kale, this is GREAT news!
She also recommended the Environmental Working Group, which is a site that gives you info on organic foods, www.ewg.org
Recap by Norma Pitzer-Kelly

EAT BETTER BY Cooking Once, Eating Twice or Three Times!

chef nancy waldeckCome join Healthy Chef Partyologist Nancy Waldeck as she shows you the culinary tips and techniques that you can use to cook healthy meals at home. We’ll take easily accessible ingredients and cooking techniques can will you help translate traditional recipes into delicious healthier foods. You’ll even enjoy samples of the terrific recipes to inspire you to recreate them at home!
Presentation Objectives

Provide participants culinary tips and techniques that they can use to plan ahead to cook healthy meals at home
OUTCOME: Participants will see tips and techniques in action.

Help participants understand how the addition of planning, easily accessible ingredients and cooking techniques can help translate traditional recipes into delicious healthier foods.
OUTCOME: Participants will learn how make healthy food taste great with widely available vegetables and herbs.

Demo, Share and Taste 3 recipes and answer culinary questions.
OUTCOME: Participants will have questions answered and recipes to take home.

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday April 14th, 2015

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2042

Choosing Wellness: Chemical Hazards Hiding In Your Home Recap

Plastic detergent bottles with spongesAt our March Girl Talk on Health, Michelle Young presented “Choosing Wellness: Chemical Hazards Hiding In Your Home.”

She discussed everything from toxic flame retardants on baby mattresses, bedding and clothes, to lead laden lunchbox linings (on the vinyl lunch boxes) which are toxic to our bodies and are known carcinogens. The worst part is that the US Government approves it’s use.

We also discussed Atrazine, which is one of the most widely used farm pesticides in the US. Studies have shown that male frogs exposed to Atrazine turned into females!! Sadly there is little to no research available on its effects on humans. Manatee County is #2 among six Florida counties with the highest levels of Atrazine.

Michelle gave us a list of Just Say No products, these include: GMO, chemical cleaners, pesticides, body care products, plastic & vinyl, carpeting, non-stick cookware, stain/wrinkle resistant clothes, hand sanitizers (some are endocrine disrupters), canned food (BPA), and particle board furniture (treated with formaldehyde).

The Say Yes list: Non-GMO/organic, cast iron, stainless steel, ceramic, stoneware, solid wood furniture, Reverse Osmosis water, plant based oil soaps, stainless steel water bottles, and glass containers (vs plastic).

Below are some good websites for looking into the chemicals we are bring exposed to and how to protect ourselves:

National Drinking Water Database: www.ew.org/tap-water/
Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org
Food and Water Watch: www.foodandwaterwatch.org
Washington Toxics Coalition: www.watoxics.org
Consumer Reports: www.consumerreports.org
(Arsenic in rice and conventional apples): www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm
Mind Body Green: www.mindbodygreen.com
BioInitiative 2012: www.bioinitiative.org/conclusions
Toxic Free Kids: www.toxicfreekidsblog.org

by Norma Pitzer-Kelly

Choosing Wellness: “Chemical Hazards Hiding in Your Home”

Plastic detergent bottles with spongesAs a Mother and Wife, Michelle Young is committed to protecting her family’s health. Having witnessed her parents’ poor and uninformed lifestyle choices turn into lifelong struggles with illness and disease, she has chosen a far different approach to health and wellness for herself and her family. While no expert in Green Living, Michelle strives to inform herself as much as possible about the potential health impacts of any and all consumer items she and her family might use. Bordering on obsessive from the perspective of some, Michelle lives by the motto “Knowledge Is Power” as she has witnessed firsthand the negative impacts of an “Ignorance Is Bliss” approach to living. Join Michelle for a discussion about choosing wellness over convenience and consumption. Bring your own examples to share of how you choose wellness in your daily life.

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday March 3rd, 2015

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2046

The 8 Colors of Fitness Recap

On Tuesday February 3rd, Girl Talk on Health presented a talk called “The 8 Colors of Fitness” presented by Lori Blanco of Florida Blue.

The 8 colors of fitness is a method by which you take a short quiz to find out which color you correspond with regarding the type of workout that bet fits your personality. Many times people will start a fitness routine but won’t stick with it, research shows that the reason might be that its not what “fits” you. For instance you love the outdoors, walking, hiking, biking, swimming, etc, but you join a gym. Being cooped up inside is not for you, so you quit. Well you might be a Green – greens feel refreshed and renewed by spending time alone in nature. Or conversely you sign up for a couch to 5K program and being out in the elements doesn’t suit you, so perhaps a gym workout is best. You might be a Blue. Like classes like zumba or aerobics?  You might be a Red. Being active is in our DNA, you just have to find your niche.

To find out more visit www.the8colors.com to get more info and to take your quiz.

Purchase the book The 8 Colors of Fitness

Color Me Fit: The 8 Colors of Fitness

Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is figuring out what kind of physical activity works for you – which we all know can take years of trial and error. If you would like to “cut to the chase” and determine your fitness personality, this presentation will help you discover how you can create an exercise program you’ll never quit. Join us and the Florida Blue Registered Nurses to identify your fitness goals for 2015 and put a successful action plan in place.

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday February 3rd, 2015

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2046

Happy for Health: The Psychology of Happiness

Happy can help lead us to healthy. Happiness is associated with improved immune system function and better overall health. For many years psychologists focused their attention only on psychological problems, but in recent years some psychologists have turned their attention to the study of happiness. These researchers have learned a lot about what truly makes people happy. In this presentation, we will discuss what researchers have learned about the physiological impacts of increasing our levels of happiness.

Presented byKathleen Monahan
Kathleen Monahan, Ed.D., NCCC
Career Counseling Sarasota

When: 6:30-8 pm on Tuesday December 2nd, 2014

Where: Florida Blue Center
285 N. Cattleman Road
Sarasota, FL 34243
Off University Parkway (Exit 213)
1/2 mile west of I-75
NOTE: Do NOT follow GPS directions. They will take you south of Fruitville.

Cost: FREE
Seating is Limited. To reserve your seat RSVP to Florida Blue at 941-308-2046