Tuesday, November 25, 2014

10 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, it’s important to keep your healthy habits in check.

University of South Alabama dietitian Nancy Brumfield, RDN, has shared a few tips to help you enjoy the holiday – without sabotaging your health.

Exercise. If you want to eat more and not gain weight you have to move more. Add an extra walk or a few more minutes to your exercise routine. If you are not typically active, step outside for a walk and enjoy the weather. You can break it up to 15 minutes a couple of times a day. “This includes the cooks,” Brumfield said. “A short walk will clear your mind and invigorate you. You will enter the kitchen more relaxed and ready to go.”

Also, if you are thinking of joining a gym after the New Year, consider doing it now. “Beat the crowds that show up the first of January,” Brumfield said. “You will have a better opportunity to benefit from the gym staff in establishing a workout plan that fits your needs, and you will have more energy during the holiday season.”

Never arrive hungry. Avoid banking your calories by skipping meals prior to the big feast. Eat something before the big meal that is lighter and includes lean protein, vegetables and fruit. You will be less likely to overeat.

Hydrate before you sit down to eat.  By consuming a large glass of water prior to eating you will be less likely to overeat because you will feel fuller.

Be picky. Decide what you are going to enjoy the most. Brumfield said most people who go through a buffet never see what is there until they reach the end of the line and their plate is overflowing. “Step back and look at the bounty of food before you begin,” she said. “Admire it and then make a decision on what you really want to have that pleases your palate without adding on too many extra calories.”

Focus on vegetables. Brumfield suggests filling half of your plate with vegetables, ¼ of your plate with meat, and ¼ of your plate with starch to limit the number of calories. Also, avoid using heavy sauces and cream soups for your vegetables. “Try roasting them with a small amount of olive oil and fresh herbs,” she said. “You can even squeeze lemon juice on them to perk up their natural flavor.”

Be sensitive to guests with special dietary needs. Those who are diabetic or gluten-free, for example, can enjoy the meal by planning ahead. The diabetic will be able to make healthy choices by following the suggestions listed above.

To satisfy those who are gluten free, try cornstarch-based gravy instead of flour. “There are many items they may be sensitive to that contain gluten,” Brumfield said. “Check food labels, and share your menu with them ahead of time.” In addition, you should keep food items that contain gluten in separate serving dishes. For example, serve your sliced turkey on a platter and serve the dressing in a separate dish.

For those with high blood pressure, offer foods high in potassium, calcium and magnesium. “This includes most fruits and vegetables,” Brumfield said. “Foods that are highest in sodium include canned soups, which are often used for casseroles. If you must cook with canned soup, use the low sodium brands. By shopping for fresh or frozen foods and using less of packaged instant or convenience foods section of the supermarket you will avoid the foods that contribute the most sodium to meals.

For the vegetarian, prepare vegetables without meat as a seasoning. Be creative and use fresh herbs. You can also add nuts for a little protein.

Brumfield also suggests inviting your guests who have special dietary needs to bring a dish to share with others.

Limit alcohol. It adds calories and makes you sleepy. Sip, don’t gulp.

Be highly selective with sweets. Avoid trying a serving of all desserts offered. Try a fruit-based dessert. Healthier choices include ambrosia, which is low in calories and packed with antioxidants. Pound cake versus those with icing can cut your calories in half. Try a small serving, and eat slowly.

Make the meal about being thankful and enjoying those gathered at your table. Engage in conversation. “Go around the table and list the things you are thankful for,” Brumfield said. “This will force you to eat more slowly, and you will be less likely to reach for that extra helping.” In addition, consider contributing canned goods to a local food bank or inviting a neighbor over for your family's Thanksgiving meal as an expression of thankfulness.

Lastly, take a walk after your meal. It’s not really the turkey that makes you sleepy, according to Brumfield. “Turkey has no more of the amino acid tryptophan that most other meats, dairy products, seeds, nuts or chocolate. Just the suggestion to yourself that turkey makes you sleepy will make you sleepy,” she said. “Get up, move around, and engage others in being active with you.”

For healthy Thanksgiving recipes, click here.

Dr. Michael Welsh Gives 2014 Baugh Lecture

Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, gives the Charles M. Baugh Lecture Nov. 20, 2014, at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, talks with Dr. Samuel Strada, dean of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, before giving the Charles M. Baugh Lecture Nov. 20, 2014.
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine hosted the Charles M. Baugh 2014 Endowed Lecture in Basic Medical Sciences on Nov. 20, 2014. The event featured Dr. Michael Welsh, a Howard Hughes Investigator at the University of Iowa and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lecture is held in memory of Dr. Charles M. Baugh, who served twice as dean of the USA College of Medicine and as vice president for medical affairs.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Welsh and the Charles M. Baugh lecture.

Monday, November 24, 2014

USA Medical Students Host Mobile Mental Health Outreach Event

Chris Buckley and Lindsey Stewart of the USA College of Medicine PsychSIGN chapter distribute tote bags with informational brochures on depression, anxiety, and substance abuse at the Mobile Mental Health Outreach event Nov. 8, 2014.
The Mobile Mental Health Outreach, a new initiative created by the University of South Alabama College of Medicine PsychSIGN chapter, was held on Nov. 8, 2014.

PsychSIGN is a student interest group for USA medicine students interested in a career as a psychiatrist. The event was held to provide health screenings at local shopping centers for hypertension, depression, and substance abuse. Several of the PsychSIGN officers led a group of student volunteers to the Mobile Flea Market on Schillinger road for the opening event. In less than two hours the group reached more than 150 patrons by distributing tote bags with informational brochures on depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and teen suicide. Each tote bag also contained contact information for CarePointe, the entry point into the majority of AltaPointe's programs and services.

“The aim of this outreach was twofold: get valuable information into the hands of those struggling with mental illness and addiction, but also to provide these educational materials to people who may not understand that these conditions are very debilitating to those who suffer from them,” said medical student Chris Buckley, PsychSIGN chapter president.

The American Psychiatric Foundation awarded the PsychSIGN chapter with the 2014 Helping Hands Grant in order to fund the initiative for the next three years. The yearly allotment for the chapter is nearly $4,000.

Buckley thanks the PsychSIGN sponsor, Dr. W. Bogan Brooks, as well as Dr. Sandra Parker and the rest of the department for their continued support. He also wanted to extend a very special thank you to PsychSIGN officers Natalie Hallmark and Heather Griffin for their tireless dedication in maintaining and managing the requirements of the APF grant.

“It’s wonderful that the USA chapter of the Psychiatry Student Interest Group Network was awarded a nationally competitive Helping Hands Grant from the American Psychiatric Foundation,” said Dr. Brooks. “The funding helps make it possible for medical students to address the profound need for improved mental health education and assistance in an underserved community like Mobile.”

December Med School Café - 'Multiple Sclerosis: A Simple Message About a Complicated Disease'

The December Med School Café lecture will feature Dr. Elizabeth Minto, assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine and a neurologist with USA Physicians Group.

Her lecture, titled “Multiple Sclerosis: A Simple Message About a Complicated Disease,” will take place Dec. 11, 2014, at the USA Faculty Club, located at 6348 Old Shell Road, on USA’s main campus. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at noon.

During the talk, Dr. Minto will discuss the “Who, What, When, Where and Why” of multiple sclerosis. She will discuss current treatments for the disease and its secondary symptoms, and she will review some of the exciting developments that have occurred and continue to occur in our understanding of this complex disorder.

Dr. Minto attended the USA College of Medicine for two years before completing her medical degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in 2003. She completed an internship in internal medicine in 2004, followed by neurology residency in 2007, both at Vanderbilt University.  She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

The Med School Café lecture and lunch are provided free of charge, but reservations are required. For more information or to make reservations, call Kim Partridge at (251) 460-7770 or e-mail kepartridge@health.southalabama.edu.

Med School Café is a free community lecture series sponsored by the USA Physicians Group. Each month, faculty from the USA College of Medicine share their expertise on a specific medical condition, providing insight on the latest treatment available.
Dr Minto Med School Cafe Teaser from USA Health System on Vimeo.