Whole grain? Whole wheat? Multi-grain? How to choose the best.

11 Feb

It can be difficult to know how to eat right when so many sources give conflicting or confusing information. Fad diets like Atkin’s spurred a nationwide uproar over carbohydrates, but eating only fats and proteins can lead to heart disease and keep our bodies from functioning as they should.

Women’s Health magazine writes about how to know when you’re really getting a whole-grain product and when you’re being fooled.

One of the tips says to read the nutrition label, because the first ingredient listed is the most present in the item.

Read the entire article here.


Depression common in African Americans

8 Feb

Mental health can be a difficult topic to bring up in our society and with our family members. Unfortunately, depressive illnesses are very common in the United States; more than 19 million Americans experience one, according to Mental Health America.

Depression isn’t a normal part of life for any person and shouldn’t be thought of as a passing phase. It’s not just experiencing life’s “ups” and “downs” and it’s not a personal weakness.

While any person can experience clinical depression, African Americans are more likely to be included in populations at greater risk for mental illness and depression in Blacks is often misdiagnosed.

“The myths and stigma that surround depression create needless pain and confusion, and can keep people from getting proper treatment. The following statements reflect some common misconceptions about African Americans and depression: “Why are you depressed? If our people could make it through slavery, we can make it through anything.” “When a black woman suffers from a mental disorder, the opinion is that she is weak. And weakness in black women is intolerable.” “You should take your troubles to Jesus, not some stranger/psychiatrist.” The truth is that getting help is a sign of strength. People with depression can’t just “snap out of it.” Also, spiritual support can be an important part of healing, but the care of a qualified mental health professional is essential. And the earlier treatment begins, the more effective it can be,” the website says.

Clinical depression is a serious medical illness that can usually be treated. Symptoms include feeling sad or anxious a lot of the time, sleeping too much or too little, being less interested in activities you normally take pleasure in, having difficulty making decisions, losing weight or gaining weight, and many more.

For a thorough list of symptoms and treatment options, please visit Mental Health America’s website.


Recipe: Lamb chops with cherry salsa

6 Feb

The Mid-Missouri Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® passed along this recipe for  lamb chops with cherry salsa we thought we’d share with you. Find more recipes as well as information for survivors, prevention tips, and details about the annual Race for the Cure and other upcoming events here.

Lamb chops with cherry salsa


  • 3 cups pitted and chopped cherries
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds bone-in lamb loin chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest


  • For the cherry salsa, mix the cherries, jalapeno, green onions, lime juice, mint, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Rub 1/4 teaspoon salt and the lime zest onto the lamb chops.
  • Grill the lamb chops over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side (cook longer if medium or well-done meat is desired).
  • Spoon cherry salsa over grilled lamb, and serve immediately.

Check out all of the recipes to find a special dish for Valentine’s Day.

Women abused as children much more likely to develop uterine fibroids

6 Feb

African American women who self-reported that they’d experienced sexual or physical abuse before age 11 faced greater risk of uterine fibroids in adulthood, according to new research led by Lauren Wise, ScD, of Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says these fibroids are common, noncancerous tumors in the uterus; the fibroids are rare in women under age 20 but common by age 50. Also, they’re linked to the estrogen horman and Black women are two to three times more likely to get them.

Wise’s study, which is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, included a large sample of nearly 1,000 premenopausal African American women in  the Black Women’s Health Study. Women who’d experienced physical abuse as children under 11 had an incidence rate 16 percent higher than women who hadn’t experienced any abuse; women who’d been sexually abused had a 34 percent higher rate.

Read more here.

Celebrate World Cancer Day by learning the facts

4 Feb

Today is World Cancer Day! We encourage you to use Feb. 4 as a time to learn more about cancer and how you can lower your risk, as well as to honor cancer survivors and remember loved ones affected by it.

World Cancer Day is an organization that works to correct common myths about cancer and to provide educational resources, such as fact sheets and videos you can download and share with others.

Daniel Fast serves as an opportunity to get back in touch with God

31 Jan

Daniel Fast is becoming more and more common among evangelical Christian churches, and many members of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Columbia are taking part.

According to a USA Today article, Daniel Fast  “is based on the Old Testament Prophet Daniel’s quest to avoid the delicacies offered by the Babylonian King’s court, forbidden in the Bible.” The fasting and abstaining are meant to help Christians spiritually and physically detoxify.

People following the fast can eat fruit, vegetables, soy products, water, vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds, but not dairy, refined flour products, sweeteners or fried foods. Some congregations eat meat and others eliminate it for the fast.

Some people follow a 21-day version that ends this weekend with a 24-hour period of prayer starting Saturday night. Others follow the Daniel Plan, a longer term program that can last up to one year.


To review the full Daniel Plan, visit http://danielplan.com/.

Getting Connected, Getting Support: African-Americans Living Beyond Breast Cancer

29 Jan

Living Beyond Breast Cancer is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, February 6, from noon to 1 p.m. ET about how caregivers can learn to receive care after a breast cancer diagnosis.

The speaker is Alisha Ellis, LMSW, MA, a licensed clinical social worker. According to the LBBC website, “She coordinates a mental health court diversion program at Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis. Ms. Ellis previously worked as an oncology social worker at Winthrop University Hospital’s breast health center, where she provided therapeutic, advocacy and programmatic support to people diagnosed with breast cancer, their family members and caregivers. She has served as the clinical coordinator of the Women’s Cancer’s Program at CancerCare and the clinical coordinator of the L’Oréal Paris Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Hope Line.”

Register online by January 30 or call (610) 645-4567.

Report to the Nation shows U.S. cancer death rates continue to drop

26 Jan

Here is a press release from the National Cancer Institute on cancer death rates:
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2009, shows that overall cancer death rates continued to decline in the United States among both men and women, among all major racial and ethnic groups, and for all of the most common cancer sites, including lung, colon and rectum, female breast, and prostate. However, the report also shows that death rates continued to increase during the latest time period (2000 through 2009) for melanoma of the skin (among men only) and for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and uterus. The special feature section on human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers shows that incidence rates are increasing for HPV-associated oropharyngeal and anal cancers and that vaccination coverage levels in the U.S. during 2008 and 2010 remained low among adolescent girls.

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The report, produced since 1998, is co-authored by researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). It appears early online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and will be published in print issue 3, volume 105.

The decline in overall cancer death rates continues a trend that began in the early 1990s. From 2000 through 2009, cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 percent per year among men and by 1.4 percent per year among women. Death rates among children up to 14 years of age also continued to decrease by 1.8 percent per year. During 2000 through 2009, death rates among men decreased for 10 of the 17 most common cancers (lung, prostate, colon and rectum, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney, stomach, myeloma, oral cavity and pharynx, and larynx) and increased for melanoma of the skin and cancers of the pancreas and liver. During the same 10-year period, death rates among women decreased for 15 of the 18 most common cancers (lung, breast, colon and rectum, ovary, leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, brain and other nervous system, myeloma, kidney, stomach, cervix, bladder, esophagus, oral cavity and pharynx, and gallbladder) and increased for cancers of the pancreas, liver, and uterus.

“The continuing drop in cancer mortality over the past two decades is reason to cheer,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. “The challenge we now face is how to continue those gains in the face of new obstacles, like obesity and HPV infections. We must face these hurdles head on, without distraction, and without delay, by expanding access to proven strategies to prevent and control cancer.”

Between 2000 and 2009, overall cancer incidence rates decreased by 0.6 percent per year among men, were stable among women, and increased by 0.6 percent per year among children (ages 0 to 14 years). During that time period, incidence rates among men decreased for five of the 17 most common cancers (prostate, lung, colon and rectum, stomach, and larynx) and increased for six others (kidney, pancreas, liver, thyroid, melanoma of the skin, and myeloma). Among women, incidence rates decreased for seven of the 18 most common cancers (lung, colon and rectum, bladder, cervix, oral cavity and pharynx, ovary, and stomach), and increased for seven others (thyroid, melanoma of the skin, kidney, pancreas, leukemia, liver, and uterus). Incidence rates were stable for the other top 17 cancers, including breast cancer in women and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men and women.

“While this report shows that we are making progress in the fight against cancer on some fronts, we still have much work to do, particularly when it comes to preventing cancer,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D. “For example, vaccinating against HPV can prevent cervical cancer, but, tragically, far too many girls are growing into adulthood vulnerable to cervical cancer because they are not vaccinated.”
The special feature section of the report includes an evaluation of the burden and trends in HPV-associated cancers as well as HPV vaccination coverage levels among adolescent girls. The report shows that from 2000 through 2009, incidence rates for HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer increased among white men and women, as did rates for anal cancer among white and black men and women. Incidence rates for cancer of the vulva increased among white and black women. Rates of cervical cancer declined among all women except American Indian/Alaska Natives. In addition, cervical cancer incidence rates were higher among women living in low versus high socioeconomic areas. Among men, rates for penile cancer were stable.

“This year’s Report correctly and usefully emphasizes the importance of HPV infection as a cause of the growing number of cancers of the mouth and throat, the anus, and the vulva, as well as cancers of the uterine cervix, and the availability of vaccines against the major cancer-causing strains of HPV” said NCI Director Harold Varmus, M.D. “But the investments we have made in HPV research to establish these relationships and to develop effective and safe vaccines against HPV will have the expected payoffs only if vaccination rates for girls and boys improve markedly.”

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The report also showed that in 2010, fewer than half (48.7 percent) of girls ages 13 through 17 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine, and only 32 percent had received all three recommended doses. Vaccination series completion rates were generally lower among certain sub-populations, including girls living in the South, those living below the poverty level, and among Hispanics. The national three-dose coverage estimate among girls ages 13 through17 in 2010 falls well short of the U.S. Government’s Healthy People 2020 target of 80 percent for three-dose coverage among girls ages 13 through15, and is much lower than vaccination rates reported in Canada (50-85 percent) and the United Kingdom and Australia combined (greater than 70 percent). The authors note that low overall vaccine uptake in the U.S. is likely due to a number of issues, including inadequate provider recommendations, provider reimbursement concerns, infrequent use of reminder/recall systems that would foster completion of the three-dose series, and other factors.

“As incidence rates for some HPV-associated cancers continue to rise,” noted NAACCR director Betsy Kohler, “these cases will contribute to the overall growing number of cancers associated with population aging and expansion, requiring additional resources for medical research and treatment, in addition to our careful tracking of these trends.”

Jefferson City women get fit with Zumba and set SMART goals

26 Jan

Today nine Jefferson City community members joined Walking in the Spirit team members and a Zumba instructor named Brittany for a fun morning of Zumba, a spiritual talk about stress management, and a discussion about setting SMART goals for the year. image

SMART stands for:

Specific – Identify who is going to accomplish what, when, where, why and how.

Measurable – How will you measure progress toward the goal? How will you know when you’ve reached it?

Attainable – Do you have the skills or ability necessary to reach the goal? Choose a goal that is most important to you, so you’re motivated to achieve it.

Realistic – You are the only one who can set a limit on your goal, so choose a high one you can reach.

Timely – Without a timeframe, there’s no sense of urgency or pressure to meet your goal, so give it a specific date.

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Examples of SMART goals include:

1. I’d like to lose 10 pounds by March 1, 2013. To accomplish this, I will perform 30 minutes of cardio four times and strength-training twice a week. I know this is important for my health, so I’m willing to commit the time and effort.

2. I want to cook more healthily for my family. I’ll choose three easy recipes at the beginning of the week, purchase the ingredients, and identify on which days my family and I will eat meals together from now until Easter. This will teach my kids to cook well, increase the time we spend bonding, and ensure we eat more nutritious foods.
In a recent article on The Daily Reflector‘s website, Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian and Ph.D. who works with the Family Medicine Center at East Carolina University, explains how to set SMART goals for long-term weight management. She wrote, “The person who counts calories and eats 500 to 1,000 calories fewer in a day and sticks to that plan, will lose, on average, 1 to 2 pounds per week over a period of about 24 weeks and then often plateau. This is what doctors mean when they tell you that realistically, diet and exercise can lead you to a loss of 7-10% of your body weight.

The calorie-counting approach is sometimes referred to as the conventional approach to weight loss. Contrast that with a person who takes a small change approach to weight loss and picks a strategy like: ‘Every day, I will leave one bite of my meat on the plate at dinner time.’ This type of strategy might only reduce calories by 100 per day, taking more than a month to lose a pound. However, the studies show that for the people who cannot stick with a calorie counting approach for 24 weeks but can make a small reduction in their calorie intake will end up at the same point.

This is similar to the tortoise and hare childhood story. But some people find the small change approach too frustrating. I have some patients who need to see an almost immediate weight loss in order to stay motivated. So they usually need something different than the small change approach, at least at the beginning of their quest for a healthier weight…

The strategies that we know can lead to long term weight management for most people include: eating breakfast, reducing portion size of the foods we eat and the caloric beverages we drink, drinking fewer calorie containing beverages, and moving more.”

Read the rest of the article here.

The healthy beauty queen and her breasts: What is a prophylactic mastectomy?

23 Jan

Some of you may have seen the recent story about Allyn Rose, a national beauty pageant contestant, who because of a family history of breast cancer has decided to undergo a double mastectomy, without having received a diagnosis of breast cancer.


Here at the Walking in the Spirit program, we want to make sure that you are informed when reading popular news stories about cancer.  Here is a little information about the procedure Ms. Rose is considering from the Komen website,

“What is a prophylactic mastectomy?

A prophylactic (pro-fi-LAK-tic) mastectomy (also called a preventive mastectomy) reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer by surgically removing her breasts even before cancer has been found. After speaking with a health care provider, a woman may choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy if she has:

• had cancer in one breast and wants to lower her chances of getting cancer in the other breast

• had a biopsy showing lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS)

• a genetic mutation which makes it more likely for her to develop breast cancer

• a strong family history of breast cancer

Your doctor may talk with you about a prophylactic mastectomy, but your decision should be made only after weighing all the facts. Like any surgery, you may or may not have side effects. There’s no need to rush to make a decision, as decisions about any surgery can be difficult.

Take time to gather information, talk to your doctor, get a second opinion and discuss your options with family and friends. If you have a family history of breast cancer, talk to your doctor about genetic counseling. Genetic testing will show whether or not you have a gene mutation that may increase your risk of breast cancer. Having this information can help you make an informed decision.

The best decision is one that is well thought-out and one that you are comfortable with, not one that is rushed.

Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a drug that may reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, such as tamoxifen or raloxifene and about joining breast cancer prevention trials.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure also has information about breast cancer risk.

Is such a procedure right for you or someone in your family? 

This is a serious decision you need to discuss with your doctor.

If you are concerned about your breast cancer risk, make an appointment with your physician.  Sit down with that person and talk to him/her about your personal history and family history.

Before the appointment, you might want to take a look at the Risk Assessment tools available. Here is one from the National Cancer Institute:  http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/

Although the tool may accurately estimate a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, these risk estimates do not allow one to say precisely which woman will develop breast cancer.  Please work with your health care professional to understand your results.

If you have questions about how to get started, you can also reach out to the local Komen Affiliate at (573) 445-1905 or the Komen National Breast Care Hotline at 1- (877) 465-6636.