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Mar 10 / Lea Madjoff

Overcome the Weight-Loss Plateau

Original Source:  10 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight by Lindsay Holmes Huffingtonpost.compicture

Provided by: Ulliance

This article was featured in Ulliance’s Wellness Wednesdays on 3/9/2016

The biggest enemy to a weight-loss plan? The dreaded plateau.  It can be frustrating to work so hard only to hit a major wall. After weeks of progress, suddenly you’re seeing the same number reflected on the scale or the same fit in your clothes. What gives?  Truthfully, there are plenty of habits that could be sabotaging your progress — you just may not recognize them. Below are a few surprising reasons your weight-loss goals are stalling.

  1. You’re prioritizing exercise over diet. Many people believe that they can indulge in a few more scoops of ice cream after an intense gym session — a method of thinking that does more harm than good. The truth is, healthy bodies are made in the kitchen. Research shows that diet is slightly more important than exercise when it comes to a healthy weight loss transformation, although both are crucial overall.
  1. You’re not sleeping enough.  Getting proper rest can improve every aspect of your life — including the number on the scale. Research shows that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. Rack up Zs to help drop pounds.
  1. You’re chained to your desk.  A sedentary workday could be destroying your weight loss goals without you even realizing it. Studies show that sitting for an exorbitant amount of time at work can lead to weight gain. Try prioritizing breaks, scheduling mobile meetings and even going for a longer walk at lunchtime. Bonus: There are huge well-being perks to gain from the activity as well.
  1. You have an underlying mental health issue.  Research suggests that mental health conditions like depression can lead to changes in appetite, which can result in weight gain. If you’re feeling more than just a general sadness and it’s a feeling that persists, check in with a medical professional. Other symptoms include a loss of motivation and low energy.
  1. You’re opting for diet soda.  Diet soda lures you with the promise of being a healthier option, but that’s hardly the case. Research shows that calorie-free, artificially-sweetened drinks may actually contribute to weight gain and increase cravings for real sugar. Opt for water instead.
  1. You’re not eating enough.  Kiss that cleanse goodbye. Slashing calories isn’t always the best way to get healthy, particularly if it means you’re not getting any nutrients at all. The ideal avenue to a healthy weight is to engage in a balanced diet. That means eating plenty of natural fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.
  1. You’re constantly running on the treadmill.  Or only going to SoulCycle, or only trudging on the elliptical. Variability in your workouts is vital. Make sure to add a strength training component to your fitness routine as well as switch up your type of cardio. Challenging yourself will help you see better results.
  1. You’re underestimating how much you eat at restaurants.  Sure, that salad may seem healthy, but you can’t really know how much dressing the kitchen slathers on or what kind of preservatives they use for some of the ingredients. Cooking at home saves an average of 250 calories over a restaurant meal, Fitness magazine reported. If you do go to a restaurant, here are some tricks to make it as healthy as possible.
  1. You’re stressed.  Excessive worry can wreak havoc on any health plan. Studies suggest that stress is connected to weight gain thanks to the body’s production of cortisol, which may lead to unhealthy food choices. If you’re looking for a way to mellow out, try one of these handy tricks.
  1. You’re watching your favorite show while you eat dinner.  Sorry, “House of Cards” fans. You may want to pause your marathon when you’re eating. People tend to consume more when they’re distracted than they would if they were mindfully focusing on their meal, according to Harvard Health. It all comes down to your brain processing what’s going on in your body, which it can’t do as effectively when you’re watching Frank Underwood tear through the White House.

Looking for more weight-loss hints? Check out these healthy tips here — and say “sayonara” to the plateau.   10 Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight by Lindsay Holmes


Feb 5 / Lea Madjoff

Tweeting Not Sleeping? What is Your Social Media/Sleep Balance? By Dr. Michael Breus

Original Source:

Provided by Ullianced426man-in-bed-with-phone-300x200
Was featured in their Wellness Wednesdays on 2/3/2016

Social media has become a fixture of modern life, a constant stream of information coming and going, and a way to stay perpetually connected.  Have you ever wondered how all that Twittering, Instagramming and Snapchatting might be affecting your sleep? According to just-released research, time spent on social media may be seriously undermining nightly rest.

Sleep and the digital generation
Young people are among the most avid and heavy users of social media, and this latest research focused on the effects of social media engagement among young adults. The results strongly indicate social media use in young people is linked to sleep problems. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh examined social media use and sleep in a group of young adults, and found that heavier users of social media are significantly more likely to experience disturbances to their sleep.  Their study included a nationally representative group of 1,788 adults between the ages 19-32. Researchers measured both the frequency and volume of social media use. Social media volume was a measurement of the amount of time spent engaged daily. Social media frequency was a measurement of the number of visits to social media sites over the course of a week. Researchers gathered sleep data using patient-reported information about sleep habits and experiences. So these data are subjective not objective.   The scientists’ analysis showed a strong correlation ( a relationship, not a cause) between social media use and sleep disruption. Among participants, heavier volume and frequency of social media interaction was associated with significantly greater likelihood of sleep problems.  The highest volume users of social media–those in the top 25 percent–had nearly two times the risk of sleep disruption as those in the lowest 25 percent.  The most frequent social media users–again, those young adults in the top 25 percent–had nearly three times the risk of sleep disturbance as those in the lowest 25 percent.

This study did not address what is driving the relationship between social media engagement and sleep. Is frequent, heavy social media use contributing directly or indirectly to sleep problems. Are people who have trouble sleeping more likely to be using social media more often than better sleepers? Or are both influences in effect? These are important questions that need to be the subject of additional study.

The impact of social media on health, sleep
Science is just beginning to assess the impact of social media use on health and well-being. This current research is one of the first studies to draw a link between social media engagement and risk of sleep disturbance. But other recent scientific evidence has also provided insight into social media’s possible role in undermining sleep and health in young people:

  • College-age adults who check social media sites during typical sleeping hours are more likely to suffer daytime tiredness and cognitive impairment, according to research. They are also more likely to use sleep medications. (Other research shows that young adults are extremely likely to keep their phones or mobile devices near their beds, and are very likely to use these devices while in bed.)
  • A 2015 study of teenagers ages 11-17 found that social media use was linked to diminished sleep quality. Researchers also found social media use linked to lower self-esteem among teens, as well as to elevated levels of anxiety and depression. This study examined time of day as a factor in social media’s effect on sleep, and found that using social media at night was especially detrimental to teens’ sleep.

Links to depression, anxiety
Other research has demonstrated troubling associations between social media use and psychological health in children, teens and young people.

  • Frequent use of social media among children and teens in grades 7-12 has been linked to increased levels of psychological stress and diminished mental health, according to research. Higher levels of social media use also increases teens’ risk for becoming victims of cyber-bullying.
  • A recent study of more than 1,700 young adults ages 19-32, also conducted at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, examined the link between social media use and depression. (This investigation involved some of the same researchers as the current sleep and social media study.) Researchers found that young adults with the highest rates of social media engagement were at significantly greater risk for depression.

Depression and sleep have a complicated, bi-directional relationship–that’s to say, each condition can significantly influence the other. People with depression very often have trouble sleeping, and people with sleep problems are more vulnerable to depression. The effect of social media on mood and psychological well-being, in children and in adults, has important implications for sleep, but is not yet well understood.

Social Media/Sleep Balance
All of these studies, like the current one, draw compelling connections among sleep, sleep-related problems, and social media use. But none of them establish underlying cause. Given the outsized role that social media plays in the lives of most young people–and people of all ages–it is critically important we develop a better, more thorough understanding of how social media behavior is affecting sleep and health, if at all.

In the meantime, it is important to draw boundaries on social media time, and to help children and teenagers learn to do so as well. With such easy and unlimited access, it’s not difficult to understand how establishing and maintaining limits around social media might be difficult, but it is not impossible. You can have your tweet, post, or chat in a healthy way, it just about making a decision for balance in your social media world. Let’s call it your social media/sleep balance (like your work/life balance).

The Sleep Doctor Guide for Social Media/Sleep Balance:

  • Charge your mobile devices out of the bedroom (this way you can’t hear it buzz in the middle of the night).
    • Stop social media use at least an hour before bedtime (this can be a tough one, try 30 minutes at first, then make it a little longer).
    • Replace this time, with light reading (not on an electronic device), simple stretches, meditation or deep breathing.
    • Don’t check Social Media in the middle of the night when you may wake to use the restroom.

Sweet Dreams!

Article Source:  Tweeting Not Sleeping?  What is Your Social Media/Sleep Balance? By Dr. Michael Breus

Image Source:×200.jpg


Oct 29 / Lea Madjoff

Halloween Safety Tips for Grown-ups

Halloween Safety Tips for Grown-upsWellness Wednesday
Parents of trick-or-treating kids can get so caught up in the fun themselves that they might forget some simple safety ideas that could keep everyone out of trouble. Having a fun and safe Halloween will make it all worthwhile.  Kids love Halloween! They get to dress up and get free candy! What a perfect holiday! Give your kids some precious Halloween memories that they’ll have for life.

If you take your kids to a sponsored event, like a safe Halloween thrown by your church or community center, make sure to keep an eye on them at all times. Even though it seems less dangerous, you are still in a strange environment full of people that you don’t know. All it takes is a minute with your back turned to find your child gone.

Cell phones are everywhere now! Everyone seems to have one, they can be so affordable. Make sure that your child has a pre-programmed cell phone with him/her if they go out on Halloween night! Make sure that all important numbers are already there and ready for use.

Below are more common sense tips that can help adults keep their kids safe:

As bad as it sounds, this is just a fact of life now. Get on the internet and check your local state website for sex offenders. Almost every state has one, just do a search for your state sex offender site. Look up your zip code and it should have a list of registered offenders in your area that includes street addresses. Make sure that your kids stay away from these houses!
Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home. Make sure that they know not to deviate from the planned route so that you always know where they will be.
Trick or treating isn’t what it used to be. In most cities it’s not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with them. If you can’t take them yourself, see if another parent or two can.
Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it’s fire proof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind,  make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
Know what other activities a child may be attending, such as parties, school or mall functions. If they are going to be at a friend’s home, get the phone number and make sure that you’ve met the parents.
Make sure you set a time that your kids should be home by. Make sure they know how important it is for them to be home on time or to call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
Kids will be kids. Explain to kids of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, that clean up and damages can ruin Halloween for everyone. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they’ve made.
Serve your kids a filling meal before trick or treating and they won’t be as tempted to eat any candy before they bring it home for you to check. Check your local grocery store or craft store for Halloween cook books full of tasty treats on a horror theme for both kids and adults.
Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Make sure that costumes won’t get in the way when they are walking, which could cause them to trip.
Teach your kids about not getting into strangers cars or talking to strangers, no matter what the person says to them. Explain to them as simply as you can that some adults are bad and want to hurt children, that they should never go into a house that they don’t know, get into a car or go anywhere with a stranger. Also, tell them what to do should this happen, to scream as loud as they can to draw attention and to run away as fast as they can to someplace safe.
Be sure to show your children know how to cross a street properly. They should always look both ways before crossing the street and should only cross at corners or crosswalks. Make sure that if you have more than one child, they know to take the hand of the younger child when they cross a street.

Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your kids and they’ll carry on the tradition that you taught them to their own families some day!


Oct 19 / Lea Madjoff

2016 Wellness Warriors Annual Open Enrollment

Enhance your health and wellness – Join Wayne State University’s Wellness WarriorsWellness Warriors Logo Program.

ENROLL THIS OCTOBER AND BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR THE CHANCE TO WIN AN IPAD. The winner of the October drawing will be announced in November. Do not miss out!

CASH INCENTIVES – You will receive $75 for enrolling in the 2016 Wellness Warriors Program. You will also have the opportunity to earn an additional $175 in cash incentives throughout the year.

All employees that participate in the Enrollment Screenings will receive a WSU and Wellness Warriors branded draw string bag with a Welcome Packet inside!


STEP 1: Sign up for an appointment during one of the Wellness Warriors Open Enrollment sessions on Academica through Trainings, Seminars, Workshops. On TSW, sessions through November 4th are available. Stay tuned for additional time slots and locations.

STEP 2: Prior to attending your Wellness Warriors Open Enrollment appointment complete the Health Risk Assessment.

STEP 3: Attend your scheduled appointment where you will complete – the biometric screening.

STEP 4: Everyone who completes all enrollment steps will be notified and welcomed to the 2016 program.

For more information visit:
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try” -unknown

Wellness Warriors Committee

Sep 14 / Lea Madjoff

Tips to help you start fall on the right foot

Original Source: Hello September

Provided by Ulliance
Was featured in their Wellness Wednesdays on 9/9/2015.

Back-to-school season is officially here, and if you’re feeling a bit out of shape from all of those summer indulgences (think cocktail parties, BBQs, and lots of ice cream), I’m here to help you start fall on the right foot.

  1. Every little bit counts
    People are often all or nothing when it comes to exercise, and think that if they can’t hit the gym for an hour, it’s not worth it. FALSE! Not being able to squeeze in a sweat session is not an excuse to do nothing. There are plenty of things you can do that don’t require tons of time or equipment.  Walk or park your car a little bit further than you normally would to get some extra steps in. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do some jumping jacks during a commercial break for your favorite show. Take a walk around the block after dinner. The little things add up, so make every effort to stay active.
  2. Don’t Diet, Just Make Smart Choices
    If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, a quick fix diet might help at first, but ultimately the weight will pile back on. Fad diets are not sustainable! My philosophy when it comes to being fit and healthy is simple: Eat well, sweat often and laugh your ass off. It’s truly the magic trifecta to looking and feeling amazing without losing any of the fun along the way. Eat lean protein and veggies at breakfast, lunch and dinner, then keep the same principles with smaller portions for two snacks a day. What to do about carbs? If you’re looking to slim down, eat the starchy ones only on days you’re working out. Veggies and fruits can (and should) be enjoyed whenever you like. Most importantly, skip the fads and remember: simple is always best.
  3. Make Dining Out A Touch Healthier
    When it comes to eating out at a restaurant, the temptations are endless — think bread basket, wine, and dessert. Good news is, you can still enjoy eating out, by making a few simple changes. First, choose ONE temptation and stick to it. Want a glass of wine? Have it. But, if you are going to indulge in some vino, pass up the bread basket and stick with a decaf skim cappuccino or herbal tea for dessert.
  4. Have a Bad Day? Get Back on Track
    Often times, we have a day where our eating or exercise gets off track, and use this as an excuse to engage in an all-out eating frenzy. No one is perfect. We all have moments where we could have done better. The key is to not let one mishap capsize your entire ship. Acknowledge that you made a choice that was outside of your goals. Then, cut yourself a little slack and commit to making your very next choice a positive one that’s in line with your goals. Can’t resist some late night pizza? Sleep it off, wake up, have a big glass of water, hit the gym, and make smart choices moving forward. When you make a wrong turn, the GPS doesn’t tell you to stop and go back home. It redirects you. The same thing is true of eating and exercise. All you have to do is redirect yourself back toward the finish line.

Employ these tips and be confident in your ability to stay strong when the going gets tough (trust me, it will). Remember, just relax. Being lean, healthy and fit isn’t as complicated as most people think. Drink lots of water, eat well, and sweat often.

Aug 5 / Lea Madjoff

Want to get more out of your breaks?

Original Source:  25 ways to get more out of a five minute break by Jan Bruce

Provided by: Ulliance and was featured in their WellnBlog Post 8-5-15ess Wednesdays on 8/5/2015

Whether you work from home, in a cubicle, or at a call center, you are likely to take a few breaks during the day (rare though they may be). They may be so short and fleeting, in fact, that you’re tempted to let them pass by altogether.

Don’t do this. Why? Because there’s a lot that happens, and can happen, in the short, sweet span of a five-minute break: You can stretch your body, shift your mood, have a laugh, take a few deep breaths, or change your perspective (by looking somewhere besides your screen). The benefits of this brief respite go beyond the chance to flip through Facebook (again). Instead, you can use it to recharge your batteries, reduce the negative effects of stress, and reconnect to your sense of wellbeing.

Stumped on how to do all that in a short break? Here are 25 (yes, 25!) quick ideas to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit. Try one or two — you’ll be better off than you were five minutes ago.

  1. Take a tech-free break. Lift your eyes off your screen(s) and check out the scene around you. Just changing your field of vision gives your brain a chance to recharge.
  2. Find a quiet corner, close your eyes, and breathe in for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale completely to a count of eight.
  3. Step outside and let the sun shine on your face, arms, back, or legs (sans sunscreen). The vitamin D boost is good in the moment and over time.
  4. Send a video message. Yes–you can use tech to create something meaningful. Forget text: Film yourself delivering a 30 second message, telling an audience of one how much you appreciate him.
  5. Surprise one friend with an actual phone call. No answer? Leave a fun message.
  6. Walk around and connect with as many people as you can, even if it’s brief or little more than a pat on the back.
  7. Compliment more than one person. See how many genuine kind words you can share in under five minutes.
  8. Take a brisk walk. Outside is recommended.
  9. Check your posture. This simple exercise can change how you breathe and feel: Imagine a string connected to the top of your skull, drawing you upward toward the ceiling. Feel yourself getting longer and lighter, your ribcage floating over your pelvis.
  10. Do a speed round: ten wall push-ups, ten toe touches, ten squats, and a ten-second wall sit.
  11. Choose a food that tastes really good–a sliced apple with some almond or peanut butter, for example, or a small cup of soup.
  12. Drink some water. You may not think about it much–but being dehydrated can really slow you down. Replenish your inner resources with 8 oz right now.
  13. Savor a snack. Post a pic of a snack you love on Instagram. Take a few deep breaths before diving in. As you eat, pay attention to the appearance, textures, and flavors of your food.
  14. Read that article you saw two weeks ago on Facebook and keep meaning to check out.
  15. Dip a few pages into a novel.
  16. Watch an inspirational TED talk (or part of one).
  17. Check in on a friend who’s going through a tough time. Even if it’s just a text that says you’re thinking of her.
  18. Write a list of 10 things that you are grateful for.
  19. Name two positive outcomes for every situation that has you worried.
  20. Tune into a negative thought that’s been rattling around your head all day and Trap, Map, and Zap
  21. Straighten up your workspace. You’ll clear your mind and feel more in control of your day.
  22. Do a quick purse or wallet dump. Clean out all the old gum wrappers and receipts and put back only what you really need.
  23. Brew — and sip — some tea. Never underestimate the calming ritual of even a simple tea ritual. Try a different flavor, such as lavender, chamomile, or peppermint.
  24. Find that belly laugh. Watch that dog video everyone’s been sharing lately, a clip of a great sitcom, or a few minutes of your favorite comedian’s stand-up routine.
  25. Hit play. Listen to five minutes of the most beautiful music you have at hand — the tunes that make you feel calm and positive about the world.  25 ways to get more out of a five minute break by Jan Bruce


Jul 22 / Lea Madjoff

Looking for a easy side dish recipe?

Looking for a easy side dish recipe to bring to your next White Bean Caprese Salad.bmpbarbecue? Try this White Bean Caprese Salad from

Nothing says summer like a Caprese salad, and this one is made with white beans for added protein and fiber. It’s EASY to make, and there’s no cooking required which is a bonus during these hot summer temperatures we’re having this week.

You can serve this as a side salad along with grilled fish or chicken, but this would also be great as a main dish.  Perfect to make ahead and this can easily be halved.

Servings: 6 • Size: 3/4 cup • Weight Watchers Points+: 4 pts • Calories: 142 • Fat: 4.5 g • Carb: 18 g • Fiber: 4 g • Protein: 8 g • Sugar: 2 g  • Sodium: 127 mg • Cholesterol: 12 mg


  • 1 (15-oz) can Great Northern (or White Kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 1/2 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze


Combine beans, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and
finish with balsamic glaze.

Jun 25 / Lea Madjoff

12 ways to make a healthier summer

Original Source:  12 Healthy Swaps in Time For Summer by Dr. Lisa Young

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance
Summer is here, marking a time of barbecues, outdoor eating and gatherings with family and friends. It is also means going to the beach and wearing (while also feeling comfortable in) your favorite bathing suit.  To enjoy the summer season and social gatherings that go along with it, it is important to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.  Here are several healthy — and simple — swaps to make this time a healthy season. Try to incorporate at least one swap per day and you will be on your way to a healthier summer.

1. Wake up practicing gratitude instead of complaining.  Be grateful for the good things in your life, instead of the bad things. While we can all finds things in our lives that could be better, things could also be a lot worse. Starting your day with a grateful heart opens us up to receive all of the miracles that life has to offer.

  1. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal instead of a bowl of granola. Not only is oatmeal filling and contain fiber, it’s also lower in calories and sugar, when compared to granola. While a half cup serving of oats contains just 1 gram of sugar, many varieties of granola contain upward of 10 grams of sugar.  Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, shown to reduce cholesterol levels. The type of fiber in oatmeal, beta glucans, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and also for weight control. Oatmeal also contains minerals, including magnesium and potassium, which promote heart health.
  2. Top your oatmeal with fresh blackberries instead of sugar. Blackberries taste sweet and are high in antioxidants and fiber while adding bulk to your portion of oatmeal. Sugar, on the other hand, is nothing more than empty calories
  3. Drink sparkling water instead of soda. Soda contains pure sugar, is liquid candy and a waste of calories. Swapping soda for sparkling water can save you hundreds of calories. For flavor, add a splash of lemon, lime or cucumber or throw in a few fruit flavored ice cubes (pour your favorite juice into an ice cube tray and freeze).
  4. Eat a salad made with kale instead of iceberg lettuce. In general, the darker the green, the more nutrients it contains. While iceberg lettuce is mostly water, kale is richer in nutrients and antioxidants such as folate, fiber, and vitamins A and C.
  5. Top your salad with grilled salmon instead of steak. Salmon contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids known to prevent blood clots and promote heart health. Red meat, including steak, on the other hand, is high in saturated fat.
  6. Toss cherry tomatoes instead of croutons into your salad.  Adding tomatoes to your salad will boost your intake of antioxidants such as lycopene and vitamin C without contributing too many calories. Croutons, on the other hand, contain few nutrients and are mostly empty calories.
  7. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Engaging in unstructured exercise such as taking the stairs or parking your car a few blocks away from where you are going is a great way to rev up your metabolism. Taking the stairs is also a great way to boost lean body mass.
  8. Snack on peanuts instead of chips. Hungry for a snack? Adding a handful of peanuts to your diet is a great way to boost your intake of healthy unsaturated fats which may benefit the brain as well as the skin. Peanuts are also rich in the antioxidant vitamin E. And even better, eating peanuts may protect against major causes of death.
  9. Eat ‘spaghetti’ primavera made with spaghetti squash instead of white pasta.  Not only will you save lots of calories by swapping pasta for spaghetti squash, the squash will also give you a healthy helping of folate, vitamin C, fiber and magnesium. And even better, you can enjoy a generous portion without having to worry about gaining weight.

    11. Enjoy fresh corn on the cob instead of mashed potatoes.
    It’s great to take advantage of produce in season. Corn on the cob is fresh and sweet while also containing a healthy dose of fiber. It is also portion controlled so it is hard to overdo it as you would mashed potatoes.
  10. Swap your salt for a dash of turmeric. Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to reduce the amount of salt you ingest.  Turmeric in particular, not only adds a zesty flavor but it also contains anti-inflammatory properties which may promote health.


Jun 1 / Lea Madjoff

The Unique Effects of Stress on Men

Article Provided by: Ulliance, WSU’s Employee Assistance Program Provider

We all deal with stress at one time or another, most of us on a daily basis. We are constantly confronted with pressures in our lives, which in turn often leads to stress and possibly even burnout. We each develop individual levels of tolerance and our own unique ways of dealing with stress; but even so, sometimes it seems like it can be too much to handle.

 What causes stress?

Stress is a reaction to stressors: those situations and decisions with which you are confronted throughout the day, events over which you may or may not have control. Your level of stress is based on how you react or respond to the stressors in your life. Stressors can include everyday events such as rush hour traffic, work deadlines and paying bills. They can also include episodic events such as illness, job changes, or losing friends or loved ones.

Although men and women’s average stress levels may be similar, the physical and psychological toll of long-term stress on men and women is quite different.

In addition to the numerous health impacts of stress experienced by both sexes, tension and anxiety can have a unique effect on the male mind and body, starting with the immediate stress response. While stress tends to activate the “tend and befriend” response in women, men have been found to react to stress more with the aggressive “fight or flight” response.   The fight or flight response forces our bodies into “emergency mode”, which takes care of only immediate, short term needs of the body.  When anyone operates long term in the fight or flight response mode, the body suffers long term damage.

The following are some additional ways stress can affect the male body:

  1. Early Heart Disease Risk As A Result Of Inherited Stress

An extensive body of research has established that stress is a risk factor in the development of heart disease, and inherited stress can also increase the risk of early heart disease. A study at Henry Ford Hospital found that men with a family history of heart disease had a diagnosis of heart disease an average of 12 years earlier than those without a family history. They were also more likely to have a higher stress symptom score (an evaluation based on worry, impatience, anger and other symptoms) than men without a family history of heart disease — suggesting that the propensity to get stressed may be, to some degree, inherited.

“Depression and stress are known risk factors for heart disease, and they both have strong heritability,” lead author Mark W. Ketterer, Ph.D., of Henry Ford Hospital’s Department of Behavioral Health, said in a press release. “None of the other risk factors, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes, were shown to have a significant familial link in this group. Therefore, it’s likely that men who have an early onset of heart disease might have a genetic predisposition to stress, which causes the heart disease.”

  1.  Accelerates Prostate Cancer Development.

Chronic stress can accelerate the development of prostate cancer, suggesting that prostate cancer patients could benefit from stress reduction as part of their treatment.

  1.  Erectile Dysfunction.

According to WebMD, 10 to 20 percent of all cases of erectile dysfunction (ED) are linked to psychological factors like stress, anxiety and depression.  Normal erectile function depends on proper functioning of the parasympathetic nervous system (also known as the “relax and renew” system) — but when we’re stressed, we’re operating from the sympathetic nervous system (associated with the fight or flight response).

Men may experience trouble getting an erection, or have difficulty maintaining one.

  1. Lower Sperm Count.

Stress and anxiety could play a large role in male fertility.  Recent studies conducted in Italy, as reported by Reuters Health, found that men who were stressed ejaculated less and had a lower sperm count and concentration than those who were not under stress. Stress was also positively correlated with deformed and less mobile sperm.

  1. Social Withdrawal.

A 2010 University of Southern California study found that men who are stressed out exhibit less activity in the brain regions associated with understanding others’ feelings. When placed under acute stress, the men had less of a brain response to facial expressions, especially fear and anger, whereas women had greater activity in these brain regions.  Under stress, men tend to withdraw socially, while women seek emotional support.  Social withdrawal is both a symptom of and can lead to depression and yes, more anxiety and stress.

How do you know when you’re too stressed?

Stress does have unique effects on men vs. women.  So, how do we know how much stress is too much? Burnout refers to stress reaching such high levels that it interferes with your ability to function normally. The following are typical signs that you may be developing burnout:

  • Having difficulty making decisions, or frequently doubting yourself
  • Finding it hard to remember things
  • Procrastinating
  • Experiencing an increase in negative thinking
  • Avoiding certain people or phone calls, or withdrawing from family, friends or coworkers
  • Being late for or absent from work more often than usual
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling overwhelmed, confused, angry, anxious, depressed, impatient, inadequate, or crying a lot
  • Having difficulty controlling your temper
  • Increased physical problems such as high blood pressure, constant colds or infections, or digestive problems
  • Increased use of alcohol or other mood altering chemicals

 What can I do to deal with my stress more effectively?

Your stress level is affected by the number and severity of the stressors you have as well as how you respond to them. People who feel the healthiest usually have a variety of tools they use to deal with stress. Having a set of stress reducing beliefs can be particularly helpful in dealing with stress. Examples of these would include:

  • Stress is not good or bad, it’s just a part of life.
  • I will choose how I want to deal with stress.
  • I will use the support of others to help me deal with stressors.
  • Stress is normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
  • I will only focus on what I have control over.
  • I will take things one day at a time.

There are many other things which, when done regularly, are very effective at preventing and reducing stress. These include:

  • Eating regular and balanced meals
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Having fun
  • Being creative
  • Yoga or meditation
  • Volunteer work

There are also certain things that increase stress, so consequently you may want to avoid them:

  • Heavy drinking and drug use
  • Over or under spending
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Caring for everyone except yourself
  • Over or under eating
  • Overworking

When to seek professional help…

Sometimes intense stress can go on for too long or become too difficult to deal with on your own. Chronic or traumatic stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and overall burnout. When this occurs, reaching out for professional assistance is beneficial. EAP counselors through Ulliance are trained to help you assess your current situation and begin to develop a plan to reduce your stress. If you are an Ulliance Life Advisor EAP-eligible employee or family member and would like further information about how to manage your stress, call 1-800-448-8326.


May 28 / Lea Madjoff

Want to curb your sugar consumption? Find out where sugar is hiding!

Original Source:  Sugar, Where Are You Hiding? By Bruce Y Lee

This article was featured in Wellness Wednesday from Ulliance
Blog Post 5-28-2015
You don’t always see something until you look for it. Branches hanging over sidewalks and holes in my clothes have taught me this lesson. And now sugar has.

The recently released “Curbing Global Sugar Consumption” report from the World Cancer Research Fund International highlighted the overconsumption of sugar around the world. Just like reality television, sugar is relatively cheap to produce and keeps people entertained. But also like reality television, it can be difficult to avoid consuming sugar, and over consuming sugar can be very bad for you. Sugar overconsumption can lead to obesity and all the health problems associated with obesity.

The report highlighted policies that can curb sugar consumption, including raising awareness of sugar in products. You may already know that many beverages can be loaded with sugar. In case, you don’t know or recall, take a look at the left photo.

In the photo, the plastic bag next to each drink is the amount of sugar in that drink. And of course, sugar lives in candies, jellies, jams, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and other baked goods. But sugar can hide in many other places less obvious. Experts compiled the following 10 ways that sugar tends to hide in what we eat and drink.

  1. It’s in the label. Do fashion labels matter to you? Would you recognize the difference between a Rolex and a Relax watch? Do you pay as much attention to food labels? Take a closer look at the sugar content in the labels of foods that you eat. You may be quite surprised…
  2. Sugar by any other name…However, these days you may need a thesaurus when reading a label. Have you ever run into someone who changes his or her name to change his or her image, but really remains the same person? That’s sugar. Sugar can go by many different names:
Brown Sugar Corn Syrup Demerara Sugar Dextrose Free Flowing Brown Sugars
Fructose Galactose Glucose High Fructose Corn Syrup Honey
Invert Sugar Lactose Malt Maltodextrin Maltose
Maple Syrup Molasses Muscovado  Sugar Barbabdos Sugar Panocha
Powdered Sugar Confectioner’s Sugar Rice Syrup Sucrose Sugar (granulated)
Treacle Turbinado Sugar      

In the end, these are all sugars. Of course, not all of these different types of “sugars” are exactly the same… and may have different impact. But if you want to substantially reduce your sugar intake, don’t think that just “substituting” sugar with maltose or brown rice syrup will do it.

And be careful about anything that’s been “sweetened,” such as sweetened yogurt. While treating a person well can make you seem sweet, it is not necessarily the same with food.

  1. Don’t be saucy. Saucy can work if you are celebrity but is not always good for food. Sauces frequently have lots of calories, salt, and… you guessed it… sugar. Even sauces that don’t taste sweet can be loaded with sugar. Have you checked out how much sugar is in spaghetti sauce? Just as Superman and Supergirl act differently when they are in their civilian alter ego garbs versus their hero costumes, a food drenched in a sauce acts like the sauce. You don’t always realize how much sauce you are actually eating. For example, the only way a friend of mine would eat vegetables would be to drench them in sauce so that he could no longer taste their original taste and texture.

Any liquid substance that you pour on food to change its taste is in effect a “sauce” and can have lots o’ sugar. These include ketchup, salsa, and salad dressings.  If you want to cut down on sugar, either forego sauces or make “sauces” from items that do not have added sugar such as plain tomatoes.

  1. Dairy to be different.  Lactose intolerant and feel like the Goodyear blimp after you eat some dairy products? Perhaps you have used non-dairy substitutes to escape the lactose. Be careful, though. Many dairy substitutes such as soy, almond, and coconut milk can be loaded with sugar.
  2. Bread the wrong way. Bread, bagels, English muffins, and many other bread-like substances can have quite a lot of sugar, corn syrup, or the equivalent.
  3. Are you cereal? Cereal doesn’t have to be kids’ cereal to have a lot of sugar. Many seemingly healthy “adult” cereals have added sugar or syrup.
  4. Meating some sugar. Are you a meatasaurus who thinks that eating mainly meat will keep you away from sugar? Not necessarily. Many luncheon meats can be infused with sugar, and barbeque sauce can make you a sugarsaurus.
  5. You never know what happens in the can. Many things in a can (e.g., canned vegetables and fruits), a box (e.g., granola, popcorn, flavored oatmeal, crackers, and frozen pizza), or bag (e.g., trail mix or chips) are not alone and room quite closely with sugar or the equivalent.
  6. How much did you drink? Beverages can be a deceptive source of sugar. Sodas certainly. But so can juices, vitamin water, and sports and energy drinks. Coffee and tea can also have sugar with them.
  7. What a jerkie. Many dried foods such as beef jerky, trail mix, and dried fruit can be sugar sources.

So sugar is all around us. Completely avoiding sugar is quite difficult… unless you don’t eat… which would cause other problems. But being more conscious of what you eat to cut down sugar intake (especially the hidden sugar intake) is quite possible. Just keep your eyes open for sugar… and low-hanging branches…