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Author: Meredith Mitchell

It’s Time to Start Saving Some Precious Time!

It’s Time to Start Saving Some Precious Time!

Happy Monday McKinley!!!
How’s everyone doing with the back-to-school rush? Whether you have kids in school or not, we’re all looking for ways to save time, especially when it comes to weekly meals.  Here are some ideas that will help with meal-planning, grocery shopping and even workouts! 
Try a Meal Planning App on Your Phone:  The one I’ve been using is called PrePear. Here’s what I love about it:
·         You can select recipes to create your own meal plan and your grocery list will auto-populate once you add the recipes to your cart
·         You’ll get to view your macronutrient (carbohydrates, protein and fat) percentages for the day
·         You can add the items in your pantry and it will come up with a recipe for you
·         If you pay for the “Gold” version for $99/year, there are specific meal plans with grocery lists already prepared for you to choose from
Try a Grocery Shopping or Grocery Delivery Service:
·         Kroger offers Pickup (formerly known as ClickList)
·         Publix offers Instacart
·         Shipt is available in some locations
Try a “Heat and Eat” Meal Delivery Service: Most meals cost between $9-$12
·         Michigan:                                                                                   
o   My Metabolic Meals                                                               
o   Clean Plates Detroit       
o   Fit Foods Rx                                                             
·         Florida:
Try a Meal Kit Delivery Service:  They grocery shop and meal plan for you, you do the cooking.  
·         Blue Apron
·         Hello Fresh
·         Home Chef
Try a 24 Minute Workout:
·         Workouts don’t need to be an hour long, not even 30min long to be effective.  What if you could get a GOOD workout in 24min, would you do it?  Over the last couple of months I’ve been teaching 24min classes using the AMRAP format (As Many Rounds As Possible in 24min) and people have been LOVING it!!!  Below you’ll find 2 samples of the workouts we’ve done. Give it a try!

Workout #1

  • 10 back lunge with shoulder press
  • 20 pop squats
  • 10 tricep push-ups
  • :30 plank
  • 10 sit-ups or crunches

Workout #2

  • 10 squat and bicep curl
  • 20 kettle bell swings
  • 10 plank to push-up
  • 10 toe touch crunches

 Yours in health and wellness,

Meredith Rodriguez



Add This to Your Routine and You’ll Be Shocked!!! SMR

Add This to Your Routine and You’ll Be Shocked!!! SMR

Hi everyone!!

If you’veSMR ever had the pleasure of receiving a massage you know how refreshed and loose your body feels after.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could give your muscles that kind of relief daily? You can with self-myofascial release (SMR)!  Most people will identify with this technique as “rolling out” or” foam rolling” even though the foam roller is just one of the tools that can be used for SMR.

Self-myofascial release is a method used to alleviate muscle tension, improve blood flow and accelerate the recovery process.  There are several videos and routines you can follow (see below) to learn how to achieve SMR but here is a quick example to give you an idea.

  • Using a foam roller to alleviate muscle soreness in your quadricep, you would slowly start moving your quad up and down the foam roller until you found the “sore” or “sensitive” spot. Once you’ve found the spot you would either hold your position or make a tiny rocking motion (1” range of motion) forward and back for 30 – 60 seconds.

Self-myofascial release tools:

Here are a few examples of how to videos:

Whether you need to relive sore muscles from a tough workout or just need to relieve tension from your shoulders after a hard day, I think you’ll find SMR can really help.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

Yours in Health and Wellness,


Go Ahead, Grab a Cup of Joe…It’s Healthy!

Go Ahead, Grab a Cup of Joe…It’s Healthy!

Good morning McKinley!!
It’s true, black coffee (decaf and regular!) is packed with antioxidants and has a long list of benefits you can reap daily! Not a fan of black coffee, more of a café mocha (Tall = 200 calories, 24g sugar), caramel macchiato (Tall coffee-cup= 180 calories, 23g sugar) or iced cappuccino (Small = 180 calories, 35g sugar) fan? Keep reading, you may reconsider your morning beverage and save some money if you choose to brew at home.
Here are 10 Reasons to Enjoy your Coffee Black :
1. Great source of antioxidants
2. Short term memory boost
3. May help protect against cognitive decline
4. Heart Healthy – Lowers risk of some heart diseases
5. Helps curb certain cancers
6. Lessen your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
7. Reduces risk of Liver Disease
8. Can enhance exercise performance
9. Can help curb depression
10. Guards against gout
Savor your morning coffee, have fun with it, try some different brands of coffee beans and find something you love! Keep in mind, coffee can have a diuretic effect so it’s still very important to stay hydrated with water throughout the day.

Yours in Health and Wellness,


Summer = Fun in the Sun AND Sunscreen!!!

Summer = Fun in the Sun AND Sunscreen!!!

Good afternoon McKinley!!

Summer is almost here and there are some important things to think about as we get ready to have fun in the sun!  We all love the sun (and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival in Michigan), but need to be careful and protect our skin from the harmful rays that can cause skin cancer.  According to, about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than all the other cancers combined :-(.

The good news is, we can protect our skin from UV rays with sunscreens and protective clothing.  As we start looking for sunscreen, we need to keep in mind that our skin is our largest organ and everything we put on it can affect the way our bodies function.  When you’re choosing sunscreen or any skin care product for that matter, it’s important to read the ingredients and make yourself aware of how they can affect your health.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.  Every year they continue to review more products to assess their toxicity levels and how safe they are for us to use.  They have made it very simple to look products up and see how “good” or “bad” they are for us by giving it a score of 1 (good) – 10 (bad).  Check it out below:

  • Click here to search for sunscreens and other products you use daily:


  • You can also download their app EWG Healthy Living, and scan bar codes or search for products to see how they rate

 When choosing a sunscreen…

Say “No” to:

  • SPF above 50
  • Retinyl palmitate
  • Aerosol spray and powder sunscreen
  • Oxybenzone
  • Added insect repellent
  • Nanoparticles

Say “Yes” to:

  • Hats and shade in mid-day sun
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide as active ingredients, otherwise known as Avobenzone (at 3%)
  • SPF 15 to 50, depending on your own skin coloration, time outside, shade and cloud cover.
  • Use a lot and reapply every hour

Last but not least, I want to encourage all of you to have a whole-body skin check yearly.  Much like having a mammogram, it’s important to know what your baseline is and what is normal for your skin.  If you don’t have a dermatologist, call your doctor and ask if they could give you a recommendation :-).

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell


2018 McKinley Wellness Challenge

2018 McKinley Wellness Challenge

Hi Everyone!

Are you ready to start rockin’ the 2018 McKinley Wellness Challenge?!?! If you’re new to McKinley or just need a MWC refresher, here is a quick explanation. For this challenge, you will have the opportunity to complete whole being wellness activities that focus on financial, emotional, physical and social well-being to earn points. Once you reach your first 100 points, you will receive a $50 gift card of your choice and your name will be placed into the end of the year drawing for a Grand Prize!!!

Below you will find links to the spreadsheet with the list of activities and their point values (**we added a few more activities) and to the MWC point tracker spreadsheet to help you track your progress. This year, to help keep you accountable, I will be sending an email out at the end of every month with a request for you to submit your point totals for that month. Starting January 1st, 2018, you will have the entire year to earn your 100 points. However, I realize we have some go-getters out there that will earn 100pts by the end of the month!! Remember, to help keep you motivated throughout the year, your name will be entered in to the end of the year drawing for EVERY 100 points you earn!!!

2018 MWC Tracker

2018 McKinley Wellness Challenge

As always, email or call me with any questions 🙂

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell


Great American Smoke Out 2017

Great American Smoke Out 2017

Good Afternoon Everyone!!

The Great American Smoke Out is TODAY!!!

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smoke Out event. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a smoker, your body will start to recover just minutes after your last cigarette!! Check it out:

Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time

It’s never too late to quit using tobacco. The sooner you quit, the more you can reduce your chances of getting cancer and other diseases.
• Within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover:
• 20 minutes after quitting
o Your heart rate and blood pressure drop (Mahmud A, Feely J. Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification. Hypertension. 2003;41(1):183-187.)
• 12 hours after quitting
o The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
• 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
o Your circulation improves and your lung function increases (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 193, 194, 196, 285, 323)
• 1 to 9 months after quitting
o Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
• 1 year after quitting
o The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
• 5 years after quitting
o Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010 and World Health Organization. Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p. 341.)
• 10 years after quitting
o Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010 and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
• 15 years after quitting
o Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s (World Health Organization. Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p. 11.)
These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps your heart and lungs.

Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

Quitting while you’re younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

Is today the day for you??

If it is, CONGRATULATIONS on making a very hard and important decision. We realize it can be very daunting when you make the decision to quit using tobacco and want to remind you of the resources available to you:

McKinley Provides:

Find a cessation program that works for you and McKinley will reimburse you up to $300 per year! That’s right, McKinley will pay for one smoking cessation program of your choice per year to help you kick the habit. In addition to traditional cessation programs, this benefit even includes non-traditional methods such as hypnosis and acupuncture.

This is how the program works:
• You must be tobacco free for 3 months to be eligible
• Submit your receipts to your manager for approval
• Done!

If you elected your benefits with McKinley this year, Cigna Provides:
One on One Coaching!
You and your personal health coach will design a plan of action and develop coping responses sure to help you quit. This program is available to Cigna customers only.

Did you know that there are medications that can help you quit smoking? McKinley’s prescription drug plan through Cigna covers several of these anti-smoking medications – many at no cost to you. Check with your doctor to see if this method might work for you!

Whether you have been a smoker for 5 years or 25+ years, your body will start to experience the benefits of being smoke free within 20min of your last cigarette! Every hour you go without a cigarette your body continues to heal!
Cigna – 1-800-244-6224

Quit Smoking Aps:
• My Last Cigarette
• Livestrong MyQuit Coach
• Quit it Lite
• Quit Smoking: Cessation Nation
• Craving to Quit
• Quit Smoking – Quit Now

Have a great day!!