Category - Health Tips

1
The Power of Habit
2
How to Get Started Mountain Biking
3
It’s Creepy Crawlies Time
4
Fabulous Fiber!
5
Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight
6
WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms
7
“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?
8
Hearing Loss and Diabetes
9
Learning Through Arthritis
10
10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel

The Power of Habit

By: Rorie Dunphey

Have you ever ‘decided’ to make changes to your health (lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising…), only to be disappointed in yourself days or weeks later having ‘failed’? You may feel disappointed in yourself due to a ‘lack of willpower’ or simply feel overwhelmed by how hard it is to change. In fact, change is not a ‘decision’, but rather it is a process that takes time and patience.

Don’t underestimate the power of habit! Habit formation (whether starting or stopping a behavior) is both physical and psychological. Our brain actually creates neural pathways for new behaviors. Our body and mind are in the habit of behaving in a certain way, and it can take time for a new habit to form or an old habit to diminish.

Change is a process, not an event. Here are some tips to help create healthy habits:

  • Practice patience. Research tells us that it takes as much as 180 days to truly let go of an old habit and adopt a new one. So hang in there!
  • Stop beating yourself up! Putting yourself down if you find yourself engaged in the old habit can damage our confidence. Instead, practice positive thinking and be compassionate with yourself.
  • Celebrate catching yourself. Instead of putting yourself down for ‘being weak’, congratulate yourself for being aware. Each time you catch yourself and become aware, you will build confidence and motivation.
  • Use structures to help remind yourself about the new behavior or goal. For example, put sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, set an alarm on your phone, or link the new behavior to something you already do (like walking right after breakfast).
  • Involve others in your goal. Let family, friends or co-workers know you are working to change. Enlist support and feedback to help. Find a partner with a similar goal to help motivate each other!
  • Work with a health coach or healthcare provider. They can provide support and accountability during the process of habit formation.

Don’t wait until New Years to make healthy changes in your life. Habits can be changed or created any time of year!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

 

How to Get Started Mountain Biking

By: Bonnie Strong, Copley Hospital Authorization Coordinator

Mountain bikes are a great way to exercise and get out into the woods. Compared to road bikes, they have bigger tires with rugged tread and suspension to absorb shock. Trails vary from smooth and flowy to technical single track.

After you figure out what kind of riding you want to do (trail, x-country, enduro, downhill) head to your local bike shop and they will fit you to the appropriate type of bike. There are different types of riding and bikes to match. Trail bikes are good for all purposes and most riders around here have these. Cross-country bikes are lightweight and good for smoother trails (they have no rear suspension); enduro bikes are ok for uphill and good for downhill, while downhill bikes are specific for lift assisted mountains and bike parks.

Ride some demo bikes or rent them and check out some bike swaps. Ask your bike friends what they’re into; it’s a great way to socialize. Grab some biking shorts, gloves, and a helmet. There are plenty of clinics at mountain bike centers (often free!) that will get you started and they’ll rent you a bike. Learn the basics and you’ll be on your way.

Most towns with mountain biking trails have a club that does a weekly group ride. If you’re not riding with others yet, it’s a great way to learn where the trails are, improve your riding and meet other riders. The rides are divided into different levels and you won’t be left behind. Meet up with the riders at your level on other days or head out on your own and keep learning and improving. Go to other bike shops in other towns for maps and ideas, and ride everywhere. Soon, you’ll be hooked!


Bonnie Strong is Authorization Coordinator at Copley Hospital and volunteers with Stowe Trails Partnership. When not biking, you can find her doing trail work and leading group rides.

It’s Creepy Crawlies Time

By: Leah Hollenberger

Creepy crawlies time is back and I don’t mean Halloween! Recently, local school boards and town health officers have had to discuss how to prevent the spread of bed bugs and lice.

The good news is that bed bugs and lice do not spread disease. They are annoying, but not dangerous. They’re also equal opportunists – found all over the world and in a variety of settings, from the chicest hotel to a neighbor’s home near you.

Head Lice

Lice is the easier bug to get rid of. Treatments for head lice are generally safe and effective when used correctly and available over the counter at any pharmacy. Most of these products are pesticides that can be absorbed through the skin, so use with care and only as directed.

As an alternative, some people recommend smothering head lice by covering the hair and scalp with mayonnaise or olive oil and leaving it on for eight hours. This should be followed by a vinegar rinse, which is thought to help weaken the “glue” that attaches lice eggs, called nits, to the hair next to the scalp. The Centers for Disease Control does not have clear scientific evidence that proves that the use of olive oil and/or vinegar is effective in killing lice.

With any treatment, you will need to carefully comb out hair with a fine tooth comb to capture lice and nits. You’ll need to check daily for two weeks or so to make sure the lice are gone. It is not uncommon to have to re-treat 5-10 days after the first treatment.

Head lice can’t live long if they fall off a person and can’t feed, which means you can focus on cleaning items used primarily by the infested person. Machine wash and dry any clothes, sheets, towels, hats, scarves, etc. that the person with head lice wore or used during the 2 days before the lice was discovered. Wash in a washing machine using the hot water (130 degrees) cycle and dry on the high heat seating. Clothing and other non-washable items (such as stuffed animals) can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks. This will suffocate the lice. The CDC recommends vacuuming the floor and furniture, especially areas used by the infested person. You should also soak combs and brushes in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

Lice is spread most often by direct head-to-head contact. To limit spreading, don’t share hats, scarves, brushes or combs. You don’t need to avoid someone with lice.

Bed Bugs

These little buggers are a bit tougher and they travel easily. They are very small and flat, so they can fit into really small spaces – something as thin as the edge of a credit card. They hide during the day, but you can look for signs of them near where people sleep. Although they can travel, they tend to stay within 8 feet of where people sleep. Check seams of mattresses, box springs, luggage, overnight bags, and the folds of bedding and clothes, etc. Bedframes, headboards, dresser tables, and clutter also provide hiding spaces. Anyone who travels frequently and shares living and sleeping areas where other people have slept has a higher risk of spreading or being bitten by bed bugs. Some travelers store their luggage in closets away from their sleeping area to reduce the chance of an infestation once they return home.

Bedbugs also leave signs that they are around. In addition to bug bites, they can leave a musty smell, very small reddish brown or dark brown spots or streaks from their poop, and/or shed skin in their hiding areas.

So what can you do if you have bed bugs? The only sure-fire remedy is to use a professional exterminator with experience in using heat to kill bed bugs. Experts say the infested area needs to be heated to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours. This can be expensive, so other options include trying to remove the bugs and keeping them away. That means careful and repeated vacuuming of the seams of mattresses and box springs, along and under carpet edges and baseboards and in other crevices, cracks and around clutter near the sleeping area. Be sure to empty the vacuum bag outside of your home after each session. Washing clothing and bedding on the hot water setting and drying on the high heat setting for at least 10-15 minutes is effective. You should continue to monitor for bed bugs daily, and keep vacuuming regularly.

The Vermont Department of Health’s website has good clear directions on how to deal with a bedbug infestation. Their site also provides a good link to “Lice Lessons” on the National Association of School Nurses website. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on both lice and bedbugs.

Anyone can have lice or bed bugs, through no fault of their own. There is nothing to fear as they don’t carry disease; usually, they cause itchiness and sleepless nights. Getting rid of them takes time and effort, so be kind to someone dealing with these creepy crawlies.


Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

Fabulous Fiber!

By: Rorie Dunphey

Health Benefits of Fiber_Whole Grains

Why is FIBER important?

A fiber rich diet has many benefits to a healthy lifestyle. It can reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as several kinds of cancer. It also can improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate digestion and help with weight loss. With farmers markets and CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) in full swing now, eating locally produced, fiber-rich foods is both easy and delicious!

What is FIBER?

There are 2 kinds: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help control blood sugar and cholesterol, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to our colon and can act like a brush, helping food pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Fiber can be found in fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and beans.

What is a WHOLE GRAIN?

A whole grain has 3 layers: the fiber-rich bran or outer layer, the endosperm or middle layer, and the germ or inner layer. Whole grains are not only rich in fiber, but also are loaded with nutrients. Some examples include whole grain breads, oats, corn meal, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, farro and popcorn. A refined grain is processed leaving only the middle or endosperm layer is left, thus removing much of the beneficial fiber and nutrients.

How much is ENOUGH?  It is generally recommended that people consume 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day. Add fiber to your diet slowly, over a few weeks. Too much too fast can cause bloating or gas.

How can I add more FIBER to my diet?

  • Eat 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits per day, ½ cup of whole grains (brown rice, whole grain bread), ¼ cup nuts, ½ cooked veggies, 1 cup of fruit
  • Read labels! Choose breads, cereals, pasta and crackers that list ‘Whole Grain’ as the first ingredient. Look for the ‘Whole Grain’ stamp on the package and beware of deceptive marketing. ‘Multi Grain’, ‘wheat’ and ‘enriched flour’ do NOT mean whole grain. Products with at least 10% of the ‘percent daily value’ are generally fiber-rich foods.
  • Eat more recipes with beans, barley, lentils, quinoa, bulgur or brown rice
  • Eat oatmeal or whole grain cereal for breakfast
  • Buy unprocessed foods, as processing often removes the fiber.

How do you sneak more fiber into your diet?


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.

Eating Healthy When Time Is Tight

By: Leah Hollenberger

Earlier this year, I attended a meeting that discussed food security in our community. Access to good, nutritious food is important because eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic conditions and diseases. Lots of numbers and statistics were shared at the meeting but one that jumped out was that 70% of Lamoille County residents don’t eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Think about that. Out of 10 people, 7 of us do not eat the recommended daily 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables. I say us because I admit I have had to work at getting 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables into my meals every day.

Lamoille County has outstanding resources to increase access to food, so perhaps access is not the only issue preventing so many from eating the recommended servings. Perhaps it is a combination of access, budget, time, and awareness. In other words, sometimes it is a lack of time to cook, other times it is a lack of planning meals in advance (which helps save money), sometimes it is because we’re eating out and not making good choices, and sometimes we’re just trying to make a meal out of what is left in the refrigerator or pantry.

How can we change that statistic? It’ll take a variety of approaches, but individually we can each start by cooking at home more and being more mindful of eating more fruits and vegetables.

Menu planning_Eating Healthy When Time is Tight_Copley Hospital_Live Well Lamoille

After making note of what I ate every day for a couple of days, I realized that I typically ate 2 vegetables at dinner if it was cooked at home and a fruit at lunch or as a snack. As empty nesters, my husband and I were definitely cooking dinner less often and eating out more which was also affecting our budget. What I ate for lunch sometimes got me up to 5-6 servings, but not consistently. So I decided to set three goals. The first goal was to eat at least one fruit at breakfast and one fruit and one vegetable at lunch. My second goal was to try to eat more meals prepared at home and if we ate dinner out, to include at least two vegetables. My other goal was to keep it simple: simple ingredients, simple prep. Who wants to spend a lot of time cooking or cleaning up?

That means breakfast is a cup of Greek yogurt with fresh berries or a cut-up peach, or two scrambled eggs followed by an apple, or peanut butter on wheat toast with a banana. For my husband, it means a whole grain cereal with fruit on top. Using fruit that is in season saves money, but you can also compare the cost of using frozen or canned fruit (packed in its own juice), or applesauce to stretch your budget.

For lunch, Copley Hospital’s Café offers a vegetarian entrée – often using locally-sourced, farm fresh vegetables – as well as a well-stocked salad bar. To encourage its employees to make healthy choices, they give employees one free fruit each work day. That helps me with my goal of keeping it simple. If I pack my lunch, it is usually leftovers from last night’s dinner, along with carrots or half a red pepper cut into strips. My husband usually eats beans and rice for lunch. (Yes, he eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. He makes a big pot of beans and rice every weekend and eats from it all week.)

For dinner, I discovered that pre-planning really helped us cook more at home. I tend to be the planner of the family, so I’ll make a large meal like pulled chicken or vegetarian chili in the crock pot on the weekend and plan several meals out of it. For example, we’ll have chili with cornbread one night; the second night, chili over baked potatoes; and the third night scrambled eggs with chili or chili with grilled cheese sandwiches. Stir-frys are fast and easy and, with so many different sauces one can make, along with using different vegetables, it is hard to get bored with them. Omelets with spinach, tomato, and mushrooms; tuna salad with red pepper and onion served on fresh spinach leaves; Mexican restaurant style black beans with ground turkey tacos are just a few of the quick meals we routinely cook. Since I’m not one to eat the same thing day after day for dinner and our schedules change constantly, I try to plan 3-4 dinners for the week at a time, using the supermarket sale flier, and try not to repeat any from the week before so we’re not eating the same few meals. Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are in season keeps costs reasonable but we also use frozen vegetables like corn, green beans, peas, carrots and broccoli and canned beans because they are easy and you can buy extra when they are on sale.

We have a couple of go-to resources we use for recipes. These include EatingWell.com, Skinnytaste.com, and Mark Bittman’s cookbook “How to Cook Everything.”  I also check out cookbooks from my local library and Copley Hospital’s Medical Sciences Library, which is open to the public. If we find one we really love, I’ll write it down and file it in our 3-ring binder for recipes.

Other resources to help you reach the recommended 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables include:

  • Healthyinasnapvt.org: A great website from the health department with tons of tips for everyone on stretching the food dollar.
  • 3SquaresVT:  Call 1-800-479-6151.  You can get 3SquaresVT benefits even if you do not get any other benefits from the state. If you get 3SquaresVT benefits, you will not be taking them away from others. 3SquaresVT is an entitlement program which means everyone who is eligible for 3SquaresVT benefits has a legal right to get them.
  • Johnson/Lamoille Valley CommUNITY Meal: United Church of Johnson, 100 Main Street, Johnson. 802-635-143.
  • Lamoille Community Center Community Meal:  24 Main Street, Morrisville, VT.  802-888-4302.
  • Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County:  24 Upper Main Street, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-5011.
  • (Free) Breakfast On Us: M-F, 7am-9am, First Congregational Church,  84 Upper Main St, Morrisville, VT. 802-888-2225.
  • Lamoille Community Food Share: M-F, 9am-11:30am; Sat 9:30am-11am. 197 Harrel St, Morristown, VT. 802-888-6550.
  • Johnson Food Shelf: Tues. & Fri, 9am-12noon. 780 Railroad St. 802-635-9003.
  • Call 2-1-1 and ask about food and nutrition resources available to you or check out the link for a list. The list includes WIC, summer meals programs, emergency food shelves and community meal sites, the Learning Kitchen and UVM Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

Leah Hollenberger is the Vice President of Marketing, Development, and Community Relations for Copley Hospital. A former award-winning TV and Radio producer, she is the mother of two and lives in Morrisville. Her free time is spent volunteering, cooking, playing outdoors, and producing textile arts. Leah writes about community events, preventive care, and assorted ideas to help one make healthy choices.

WIC Offers Fresh Produce From Local Farms

By: Nancy Segreto, WIC Nutritionist, Vermont Department of Health

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)  provides wholesome food, nutrition education and community support for income-eligible women who are pregnant or post-partum (including fathers and caregivers), infants, and children up to 5 years old. Our community now has three clinic locations, located in Johnson, Hardwick, and Morrisville.

In addition to the standard food offered by WIC, each summer the Morrisville WIC office distributes coupons worth $30 – $60 to families. These “Farm to Family” coupons can be used as money to buy produce from participating farmers at Vermont Farmer’s Markets, from July through the end of October. Families can meet the farmer who grew their food, tasting new foods while developing an appreciation for fresh, local whole foods. This program also supports Vermont farmers who receive 100% of the coupon value.

WIC recently partnered with Lamoille Valley Gleaning to offer monthly “WIC Gleaning Taste Tests” under our tent in the Morrisville WIC office parking lot. For those who may not know, “gleaning” is the gathering of extra crops from the fields after the harvest. Gleaning helps keep fresh, wholesome food in our community and supports a healthy food system. Past events have offered freshly harvested green beans, zucchini, lettuce, baby kale, arugula and more. Taste-tests and recipes are provided with themes such as pasta salads, soups, baby foods, and holiday inspirations.

The next WIC Gleaning Taste Tests will take place August 2, September 13, October 11, and November 8, from 2- 3:00pm at the WIC office (63 Processional Dr, Morrisville).

Families with Medicaid or Dr. Dynasaur insurance are income eligible for WIC. Know a family who might qualify for WIC? Tell them about us!

To connect with WIC today, visit: healthvermont.gov/wic or call 800-649-4357 or 802-888-7447 (Morrisville). WIC is an equal opportunity provider. For more information about WIC, visit the Health Department website at http://www.healthvermont.gov/local-health-offices/morrisville/wic-services.

“Fake News:” Does It Affect Our Health?

By: Stacy A. Wein, Health Sciences Librarian, Copley Hospital

“Fake news” is fast becoming the latest “buzz” phrase. But, what does it actually mean? Printing and handing out fake news is not new. As far back as the turn of the century the term “false news” was being used. The term defines news that is often sensational and is disseminated under the guise of news reporting. Real news explains and offers evidence or sources of information being presented.

With social media platforms and other modern communication channels and devices, fake news and misleading information is quickly passed around. “Gone viral” is often heard when a story, discovery, photo or comment on Google gets passed around at lightning speed. And here is the problem – the content, fact or fiction, has been sensationalized. No one has taken the time to find out if it is factual before passing the story on.

How does this affect our health? When misleading information is taken for fact, it becomes misinformation. Patients may be influenced or confused by misleading research reports. They may not be unable to understand the difference between an advertisement for a drug that is an honest, evidence-based claim or one that makes false and misleading claims about the product. This affects the patient or consumer’s ability to make safe decisions concerning their health and may lead to unsatisfactory health consequences and loss of trust.

It is important to know how you can evaluate the credibility of online information and what you may read or hear. The National Library of Medicine offers tools to help you evaluate online information. MedlinePlus provides a tutorial on how to evaluate online health information. You can click here or you can use the search box on the MedlinePlus homepage; just type “Evaluating Online Health Information” in the search box.

Copley’s Health Sciences Library serves both Copley’s Medical Staff and our community by providing customized health information searches through a variety of print and online resources. We invite you to browse through our library yourself (computers are provided for your convenience) or check out a book from our Consumer Health collection.

Here are additional resources:

A “GOOD” ad

For more information why this is a “GOOD” health advertisement go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082284.htm

A “BAD” ad

For more information about why this is a “bad” health advertisement, go to https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/PrescriptionDrugAdvertising/ucm082282.htm.

For reference questions or help locating reliable resources, call the Health Sciences Library at 888-8347 or e-mail our librarian at swein@chsi.org.

Hearing Loss and Diabetes

By: Nancy Wagner

People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without diabetes. People with prediabetes have a 30% higher rate of hearing loss than those with normal blood sugar, according to the 2009 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Scientists aren’t quite sure of the link or cause but have some theories:

  1. Chronic high blood sugars: These can damage blood vessels, thus disrupting blood flow to the cochlea, a small organ in the ear which is responsible for our hearing.
  2. Fluctuating blood sugars: frequent swings between very high blood sugars and very low blood sugars can damage the blood vessels in the ear.
  3. Chronic high blood sugars or rapid swings between high and low blood sugars may cause the cochlea to become inflamed and this swelling causes damage to the tissue and blood vessels.

Hearing loss usually happens gradually so it often goes undetected. Many times a family member or close friend will notice the problem before the person with diabetes does. Symptoms of hearing loss include:

  1. Frequently asking others to repeat themselves.
  2. Trouble hearing higher pitched voices/noises – women and young children.
  3. Needing to turn the volume up on your TV or radio or cell phone.
  4. Having trouble hearing when there is background noise.
  5. Having trouble following a conversation involving more than 2 people.
  6. Not understanding someone talking in another room or when their back is turned.

Risk factors for hearing loss besides diabetes include:

  1. 65 years old or older
  2. Regularly exposed to loud noises
  3. Genetically predisposed to hearing loss
  4. Smoking
  5. Non-Hispanic white
  6. Male
  7. Living with heart disease
  8. Frequent ear infections (now or when younger)

If you suspect you have hearing loss talk to your primary care provider.  He or she may refer you to an audiologist who will conduct a hearing test. Once the inner ear is damaged, you can’t restore hearing. However, there are devices available including hearing aids and amplifiers for your phone. The audiologist will also teach you strategies such as lip reading.

Hearing loss can lead to embarrassment and isolation so please reach out to your provider for help. I developed hearing loss about 8 years ago as a result of a genetic predisposition. I learned many strategies from my audiologist and wear hearing aids in both ears. Your audiologist will also have helpful resources on paying for your hearing aids.


Nancy Wagner is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator at Copley Hospital.  She enjoys helping others learn new things about nutrition, their health habits, and their chronic diseases

Learning Through Arthritis

By: Daniel Regan

arthritis_tips_Live Well Lamoille

At 72 most of my squash-playing days are behind me. Although I took up the game, a fast-moving racquet sport, too late in life, there was plenty of time, apparently, to pound on my joints. Soccer, before squash, had taken its toll too. Arthritic changes started showing up at least ten years ago on my ankle. In 2016, osteoarthritis of my left hip was bad enough for me to walk away from a consultation carrying a binder entitled “Preparing for Your Hip Replacement.”

I returned it to the clinic two months later. In the meantime, I had decided to try physical therapy combined with modest amounts of over-the-counter medication. Today, more than two years later, I have “graduated” to a prescription medication, but continue to work out one to two hours almost daily. Luckily, my current schedule allows that. I check in with a superb PT, who is an acute observer and listener, every three or four months for a “tune up.” Although others will choose differently, my road to an eventual joint replacement will be as gradual as she–and I–can make it.

No one chooses arthritis, although worse afflictions can be imagined. More than 54 million Americans, plenty of whom live in Vermont, live with doctor-diagnosed arthritis. Of those, more than 30 million have osteoarthritis, the most common form of disability in adults. If arthritis sufferers conveyed what they’ve learned from their experiences, the pooled knowledge would constitute a valuable life studies curriculum.

Here are some of the life lessons I think I’ve learned from living with arthritis:

  1. Revel in a good day, do what you can to endure a worse one; but try not to read too much into either. Unless one is extraordinarily lucky, or unlucky, the day-by-day trajectory is neither clearly up nor down. I don’t need a weather app, for instance, to provide painful confirmation that the barometric pressure is falling; but tomorrow the skies may clear. An overall trajectory may well exist, but each particular day need not reflect it.
  1. Appreciate the small pleasures of life. I take real pleasure in walking even short distances with something like the stride I remember. There are analogues in every sphere of life.
  1. Learn to accept assistance, but try to gauge what you really need. I use a sock aid, but only for the foot I struggle to reach, and am considering using a single hiking pole for longer walks. For life in general as for arthritis, it’s important to accept necessary assistance; but it’s also worth remembering that the Beatles sang about “a LITTLE help from my friends.” It’s a good idea, to the extent possible, to push yourself.
  1. Move! When life is less than stellar, passivity and inaction are apt to take over. Long-term, this is exactly the wrong response to life as to arthritis. On the other hand, although I try to move through the initial pain in anticipation of relief, if it’s too much and I need an easier day, I take it—without second guessing myself.
  1. Relax. Time is especially precious, compared to when I was 20; but no particular moment is indispensable, really. In particular, not every second must be used productively. Waste some time, shamelessly, allot extra time for tasks; and minimize multitasking, unless you really, really like having the news on all the time. Arthritis and life require a dual sense of time–as both precious and dispensable–and the ability to move back and forth between them.
  1. Seize any opportunity to examine what is at the core of your identity. I had to ask—am still asking—myself to what extent my sense of self is wrapped up in moving as I had before. More generally, what makes you you? And without a particular attribute or capacity, how could you reinvent yourself? That act of remaking oneself is also an exercise in humility.

It is also an exercise in empathy. Overall, living with arthritis has heightened my empathy for those—the many people–who move as gracefully as they can through life with pain either external or internal.

10 Tips to Eat Healthy During Summer Travel

By: Rorie Dunphey

The weather is finally improving and it is finally beginning to feel like summer. For many of us, summer means adventures and traveling. Is it possible to eat healthy when we are on the road having fun? Yes! Here are 10 simple tips to eating healthy when away from home;

  • Consider your drink – Choose water, unsweetened tea or drinks with no added sugars. Avoid drinking calories.
  • Savor a salad – Start your meal with a salad packed with vegetables to help you feel satisfied sooner. Ask for dressing on the side and use a small amount.
  • Share a meal or dish – Divide a main entrée between family and friends. Ask for small plates for everyone at the table.
  • Select from the sides – Order a side dish or appetizer as a meal. It is usually more than enough food!
  • Pack your snacks – Pack a cooler with ready-to-eat fruit, vegetables or unsalted nuts to eat on road trips. It can help you avoid stopping for junk food when you need to stop to fill the gas tank.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and fruits – Stir-fries, kabobs or vegetarian options can be healthy and delicious. Order meals without gravy or sauces. Select fruits for dessert.
  • Compare calories, fat and sodium – Many menus now have nutritional information. Look for items that are lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium. You can also ask your server about for healthier options.
  • Pass on the buffet – Order individual items from the menu and avoid ‘all you can eat’ buffets. Steamed, grilled or broiled dishes usually have fewer calories than fried or sautéed foods.
  • Get your whole grains – Ask for 100% whole grain bread, rolls and pasta when eating sandwiches, burgers or entrees.
  • Quit the ‘clean plate club’ – Be mindful of how full you feel and stop eating when you have had enough. Slow down and savor each bite. Pack leftovers away immediately to avoid nibbling and refrigerate them for tomorrow’s meal.

It can be often be challenging to eat balanced and nutritious foods when away from home, but with a little effort and planning, you can still have fun and be healthy. Enjoy and safe traveling!


Rorie Dunphey works under Vermont’s Blueprint for Health as the RN Chronic Care Coordinator at Family Practice Associates in Cambridge. She works one-on-one with people and also leads classes to promote health and help people better manage their chronic diseases. She also assists patients in accessing community and state resources to better coordinate their health and wellness needs. Rorie has a particular passion for promoting a healthy diet and exercise routine to inspire people to live their best life.