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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!!

Fresh Vs. Frozen

Fresh Vs. Frozen

image003-1Hello All,

When it comes to produce many of us struggle with keeping fresh fruits & veggies well stocked.

This is mostly associated with the “Fresh is Best” perspective applied to food, lack of time to prepare, and/or if it’s appetizing on any given day.

We are here to tell you that in the grand scheme of life, the universe and everything in it fresh produce is NOT THE ONLY OPTION.

So here is the 411 on FRESH VS FROZEN fruits and veggies:

• Most fresh fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe. This allows them time to fully ripen during transportation. It also gives them less time to develop a full range of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants. In the US, fruits and vegetables may spend anywhere from 3 days to several weeks in transit before arriving at a distribution center. Therefore, it’s important to focus on consuming fresh produce that is in-season.

• Seasonal Produce for the Fall includes: apples, beets, Brussel sprouts, cabbage (red & green), cranberries, pears, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkins, rutabaga, turnips, squash, sweet potatoes, and more. For the fill list CLICK HERE!

• Bottom Line: Fresh fruit and vegetables are often picked before they are fully ripe. Transportation and storage can take anywhere from 3 days and up to 12 months for some types of produce…when it comes to fresh produce your optimal choices are whatever are in season during that particular time of year!

• Frozen fruits and vegetables are generally picked at peak ripeness, when they’re the most nutritious. Once harvested, the vegetables are often washed, blanched, cut, frozen and packaged within a few hours of being harvested. Fruits tend not to undergo blanching, as this can greatly affect their texture. Usually, no chemicals are added to produce before freezing.

• Bottom Line: Frozen fruit and vegetables are generally picked at peak ripeness. Therefore, when our produce is unavailable locally/organically we can check out that freezer section at the grocery store and still receive the same nutritional benefits as if they were freshly plucked.

Honorable Mentions:

• Local. The closer to your home the produce was grown the more beneficial it is for your body and the environment (less travel time for the food equals fresher quality, higher quantity of antioxidants, and less fuel emissions into the world). Your also supporting local businesses which stimulates your local economy.

• Organic. Organically produced foods avoid: synthetic chemical pesticides, shun genetically modified organisms, and avoid irradiated treated foods. Organically produced foods help: get you higher amounts of nutrients (think antioxidants), reduce pollution and protect our water & soil, create a healthier environment for animals, farmers & rural area residents, as well as, financially support a sustainable food production system.

• We recognize that not everybody can afford to incur the cost of purchasing 100% of their groceries as organic products. Never fear…here are the top 12 fruits & veggies that should always be organic: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, grapes, cucumbers, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, imported snap peas, spinach, strawberries, and sweet bell peppers.

*** Check out this link for an in-depth look at the Buying Guide for Organic Produce article.***

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 4

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 4

Hello All,

If you’ve continued to follow this email series, then you have likely found yourself back on the wellness wagon! Maybe, you want to hop on, but feel overwhelmed by all the separate bits of information. Fear not!! You are now entering our final email of the Wellness Wagon Series… Putting It All Together.

Today, we are going to look at a Wellness Plan Template that can be applied to any goal a person would like to achieve. You will be able to see all the information from start to finish. Check it out!!!

Meet Bob Jones!

Bob (a fictional person) is a father of 3, husband and Full-Time employee (40+ hours/week). He always feels tired (no matter what time of day it is), lacks focus mid-afternoon (especially during the work week) and eats out for lunch 4 days/week. He’s also noticed that it is more and more difficult to keep up with his growing kids and that his clothing is a bit snug.

Bob has decided that enough is enough, it’s time to make a change! But, with all the different types of information available to him, he is unsure of how to get started. Lucky for Bob, he can follow this Wellness Plan Template to reach his goal!!!

Bob took some time to evaluate some important questions:

1. What would you like to see change about your current lifestyle today?
2. What excites you when you think about possibly making this change in your life?
3. If you started taking steps today towards making a change, what would your life look like in 3 months?
4. What motivator is important enough to you to help you make this change?
5. What is holding you back or standing in your way (obstacles) from making this change?
6. What are you ABLE to do to overcome these obstacles?
7. What are you WILLING to do to overcome these obstacles?
8. What would it take for you to be ready to make a change?
9. What would be a good SMART goal for you? Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time Sensitive

Bob is motivated to make a change and is ready to set a goal:


• Wants to have the energy to get through his work week and keep up with his growing kids.


• Would like to lose 10lbs in 6 weeks (losing 1-2lbs weekly is a very achievable goal to take off and keep off the weight).
• Start walking 30min daily, 5 days weekly.
• Find a lifestyle diet plan that will work for him and implement it immediately.
• Would like to consider adding other physical activities into his routine down the road.


• Bob realizes with his busy schedule it would be easy for him to skip his 30min walk some days or fall back into old habits. He has shared his goal with a good friend who has agreed to meet him for a walk 2x weekly to help keep him accountable.

Bob gets a baseline. How our body feels today.

Bob decided to:
1. Visit his primary care doctor for a check-up
• Had bloodwork (lab work) assessed
• Bob found out his cholesterol is HIGH
2. Keep a food journal with MyFitnessPal and figured out:
• He eats more than 130g of sugar almost every day
• Depends on sugar to pick himself up mid-day and then finds himself crashing soon after
• Has normal digestion after he eats meat proteins mixed with healthy fats like avocados and olive oil
• Has normal digestion after eating raw or cooked vegetables
• Depends on fast food more than 4x weekly

Finding the right plan for YOU. Questions to ask yourself:
1. What kind of meal plan appeals to me the most and will help me reach my goal?
2. Is this plan suitable to address my needs?
3. Will I have time to properly prepare for this diet?
• Am I going to go grocery shopping and meal prep all my meals weekly?
• Am I going to eat out for lunch every day and meal prep for the rest of my meals?
• Am I going to use a meal delivery service?
4. Is there anything about this diet I need to modify?
5. How can I prepare myself for special occasions?

Bob begins to experiment with the Paleo diet for these reasons:

• Bob likes to eat beef, chickens and fish
• The plan highlights high protein, lots of vegetables & healthy fats
• Bob hopes to cut back on pasta, potatoes and bread which the plan suggests cutting out completely
• Bob loves chocolate and the diet plan includes dark chocolate in its dessert recipes.
• The plan recommends avoiding processed foods such as soda.


• Bob decided he would meal plan for his breakfasts and dinners and would find healthy options at the places he frequents for lunch.
• On the weeks, he doesn’t have time to grocery shop he plans on using the meal delivery service factor75 which offers Paleo friendly recipes.

Along the way Bob decided to modify the diet plan by:

• Adding potatoes back into his diet. This provided him with a balanced feeling after his meals, but he still cuts out the bread, rice and pasta as those made him feel tired after meals.
• Having a “cheat meal” (paying attention to portion sizes) 1 day over the weekend because he finds that one meal doesn’t sabotage his diet plan


Meal delivery services:

  •  Smoothies:
    o Green blender
    o Daily harvest
  •  Meals:
    o Factor 75
    o Blue Apron
    o Hello Fresh
    o Plated

Meal Planning Assistance
This is an exciting new service that provides weekly meal plans that offer variety and flexibility allowing you to pick the recipes that best fit your needs that week. Shop yourself or choose to skip the grocery store by sending your Shopping List to Walmart Grocery, Kroger ClickList or Instacart through their website. Definitely worth a look!!

Grocery Shopping Apps
Whether you’re pressed for time or sick of coupon clipping, grocery shopping can feel way more difficult than it should be. Check out these great Apps!!

How to Plan for Special Occasions

Thanksgiving 2014

Diet Plans:

Ketogenic:  A ketogenic diet is a diet very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat. The reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates places the body in a state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state where fat provides most of the fuel the body requires to function.

The Zone Diet: The Zone Diet requires that you simply balance your plate at every meal and snack with these nutrients:

• Protein – 1/3rd of your plate, add some lean protein, about the size and thickness of your palm. This could include egg whites, fish, poultry, lean beef or low-fat dairy.

• Carbohydrates – 2/3rds of your plate, add a lot colorful vegetables and a little fruit. Fruits and vegetables to avoid are those that are high in sugar (e.g., bananas, carrots, grapes, raisins) or starchy (e.g., potatoes, corn).

• Fat – Add a little bit of monounsaturated fat. This could include olive oil, avocado, or almonds.

Paleo: A diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy, grains, some legume products and processed food.

Whole30: Eat moderate portions of meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables; some fruit; plenty of natural fats; and herbs, spices, and seasonings. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re whole and unprocessed.

Mediterranean: Emphasizes eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, small portions of lean meats & fish, and nuts. Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil. Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods. Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.

21 Day Fix: This diet combines portion control (using specific sized food containers) and physical exercise to promote weight loss.

Vegetarian: When people think about a vegetarian diet, they typically think about a diet that doesn’t include meat, poultry or fish. But vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude:

• Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.

• Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.

• Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.

• Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.

• Pollotarian diets exclude meat, dairy and fish, but allow poultry.

• Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.

Some people follow a semi-vegetarian diet — also called a flexitarian diet — which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

Vegan: Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.

Raw Food Diet: Raw “foodism” (or following a raw food diet) is the dietary practice of eating only, or mostly, uncooked, unprocessed foods. Depending on the philosophy, or type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selection of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products.

The 8 Hour Diet: This diet has an emphasis on Intermittent Fasting

Keep in mind that this is just a template. You can apply these steps to any goal you have in mind (physical, emotional, financial, social and more). This is a step-by-step process and is done gradually over time. If there are any questions, Meredith and I are here to help!


Stefanie Lembovski

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Band Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 3

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Band Wagon and I can’t Get Up Part 3

Good Morning Everyone!
If you’re following along with this email series, you’ve decided whether or not you’re ready to make a change and are on your way to figuring out what your baseline is.

Now it’s time to start forming the wellness plan that will be best for you. There’s an immense amount of information out there that can both influence and motivate us. For example, we can be motivated by someone’s success, read their story and then want to duplicate what they did with hopes of achieving the same results. Or, we can watch the latest health documentary and be influenced by their passion and want to adopt their lifestyle. It’s not a bad thing to be influenced or motivated by external things because we can learn a lot about ourselves, what we value, what interests us, etc. However, there are 100’s of diets and bloggers out there expressing their opinion about what health and wellness looks like to them…it can be overwhelming to say the least with all the conflicting opinions!!

In an effort to make your exploration process a little easier, I wanted to give you a short list of questions that I hope will help you start to piece together the right plan for YOU!
Questions to ask yourself:
1. What kind of meal plan appeals to me the most and will help me reach my goal?
2. Is this plan suitable to address my needs?
3. Will I have time to properly prepare for this diet?
• Am I going to go grocery shopping and meal prep all my meals weekly?
o Try using a grocery shopping app to keep you organize:
o Try out curbside grocery pick up if your local grocer offers it. Check out for recipes and grocery lists that can be sent to your local grocery store for curbside
• Am I going to eat out for lunch every day and meal prep for the rest of my meals?
o Figure out what local restaurants would be a good choice for you and figure out if any modifications would need to be made ahead of time
• Am I going to use a meal delivery service?
o Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Factor 75, Plated, Green Chef
4. Is there anything about this diet I need to modify?
5. How can I prepare myself for special occasions?
• Check out this article I wrote for Thanksgiving preparation. You may find a few tricks that will work for you…and you will still be able to enjoy your special occasion :-).
Beware of:
1. Diets that promise quick weight loss or promote diet pills. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Diets that exclude food groups. It’s ok to limit the amount of certain foods groups if your body responds positively to that limit but we all need macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to live.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or want to talk through any part of your plan. Okay, now take a deep breath and enjoy the process. You’re worth it!!!!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell


Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up! Part 2

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up! Part 2

Hi Everybody!

You did it. You took the time to assess yourself by asking tough questions to decide if you’re ready to make a change. If you find yourself ready, but have no idea where to start, you’re in luck. Today’s email addresses what to do now!!

Step 1: Get a Baseline
AKA the current, internal-state of your body.
Sometimes the body isn’t getting enough of one category and sometimes it’s getting too much. Your body will react to different stressors in your life. One of the most efficient ways (beyond how you feel) to determine what areas or systems of the body that need the most help is by getting some bloodwork (lab work) done.

Basic lab work includes the assessment of:
• cholesterol levels
• blood sugar levels
• hormone levels
• vitamin &mineral levels
• other lab tests based upon family medical history-pending Physician’s Request

Note: If you’ve recently had bloodwork done (i.e. at your 2017 annual wellness physical or within the last year) check with your doctor to see if they think it’s a good idea to get an update. This January is a great time to ask about these tests since they can get incorporated into your annual wellness physical.

Okay, you and your doctor have looked at your current state. There are a few areas that could be addressed. Maybe, everything checks out well, but you still want to take even better care or your body.

Or… maybe you chose to hold off on the bloodwork, don’t worry! You will still be able to follow through with the next step.

Step 2: Food Journaling/Process of Elimination
Now we’ll address the change you want to make and how your diet can make a difference.

Goals some of you may be considering:
• Lowering your cholesterol
• Eating less sugar
• You’re excited to go Vegan because you saw “What the Health” and now you can’t imagine eating                beef or drinking milk ever again.
• You were up late last night and now you want to PIYO your way to a healthier you.

Regardless of your goals, you’ll still need to begin with a nice long look at what you’re feeding yourself. The easiest way to do this is by tracking your food with an app. There are several to choose from, but the one we’ve found to be the most user friendly is MyFitnessPal. You’ll be able to see the full breakdown of your macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates), as well as, your micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and SUGAR).

Think of this information as your “nutritional blueprint”. You’ll see the areas that need improvement, be able to prioritize what you’re ready to change today and make a plan for the areas you are contemplating change.

When you eat something your body LOVES, you know it within seconds. However, it’s also important to identify the foods it disagrees with. You’ll know it when it bites back with unsavory symptoms—sometimes they are immediate and other instances take a little longer to identify.
Pay close attention to these types of feelings and reactions:
• Weight loss/gain
• Body composition
• Energy levels
o sluggish, tired, alert, focused
• Mood
o happy, sad, bored
•  Appetite
o loss or gain
• Sleep
o easy or hard to fall asleep
o stay asleep or wake often in the night
• Normal bodily functions
o specifically your digestive system

Here’s an example. If you feel miserable after eating dairy products, you may consider limiting them. If you don’t feel “right” on a low-carb diet after a while, you may need to try tweaking it by adding some healthy fats. Along the same line, some of us are trained to accept discomfort as being normal. Track how you feel in a journal for at least a week to spot any abnormalities in the way your body reacts to the foods you are consuming. This way you can start to eliminate foods that just don’t work for you.

Once you gather personal information from your experiences, make small, realistic tweaks instead of drastic changes. Introducing or eliminating too many things at once will simply muddle what’s working and what’s not.

Here are some examples of small changes:
• Decreasing how many times per week you eat fast food. Even if you drop that by 1 day per week                  you’ll begin to feel different!
• Drinking 8, 8-oz glasses of water each day. The average adult needs at least 64 oz. of water each day.
• If you drink 3+ sodas a day, start by cutting back to 2 a day until you’re motivated to cut it out                     completely.
• If you’re trying to incorporate more healthy fats into your diet, start by cooking with olive oil or by             adding an avocado to your lunch or dinner.

Next…take a moment to breathe! If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, know that it’s okay. This part of the process goes step-by-step. We fully recognize how mass amounts of information is flung at you left & right and is continuously happening in many areas of your life.

In the next part of this email series we will address and help you navigate you’re way through the different types of health information that surrounds us via television, social media, work emails (although these are some of the best bits of info…hehehe), through conversations with peers, etc. Stay tuned!!

As always, Meredith and I are here for support!

Stefanie (Lembovski) Welch

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up!!!

Help I’ve Fallen Off the Wellness Wagon and I can’t Get Up!!!

Hi Everyone!!!!

Have you ever “fallen off the wellness wagon” and had great intentions about getting back “on” but simply didn’t want to…so you didn’t? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the different diet and lifestyle plans that are available? Making a positive lifestyle/behavioral change that LASTS is a challenge for us all and if you’ve answered yes to either one of these, I think you’ll find this email series very helpful.

This series is going to be a guide to help you figure out if you’re ready to make a change and how to navigate your way through a magnitude of information to figure out the best lifestyle/diet plan for YOU! We’re all incredibly unique in the way our bodies respond to food and the way our minds react to the obstacles that try to roll us off the “wellness wagon”.

To help prepare you to make a behavioral change, there are a few questions I want to encourage you to ask yourself. Let’s get started!

1. What would you like to see change about your current lifestyle today? (below are a few examples)
• I want to sleep better at night
• I want to lower my cholesterol
• I want to start running
• I want to eat more vegetables
• I want to eat more healthy fats
• I want to learn how to cook healthier dinners

2. What excites you when you think about possibly making this change in your life?
3. If you started taking steps today towards making a change, what would your life look like in 3 months?
4. What motivator is important enough to you to help you make this change?
5. What is holding you back or standing in your way (obstacles) from making this change?
6. What are you ABLE to do to overcome these obstacles?
7. What are you WILLING to do to overcome these obstacles?
8. What would it take for you to be ready to make a change?

If lasting change is what you are seeking, take all the time you need to answer these questions sincerely and whole heartedly. Your answers will help you truly understand if you are ready and if you have a strong enough motivator.

Thankfully, people around you will encourage you to keep going, but you are the only one who can control the changes you want to make in your life. These choices are for you. Day after day you will be the one to choose to honor your body and the changes you want to make. Through the good, the bad and the ugly.

As always feel free to reach out to me or Stefanie for support. In the next email we will start talking about what your next step is .

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Meredith Mitchell
Corporate Wellness Director