Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tied to Lower Drug Costs
People with heart disease spend a lot less on medications when they take steps to lower their risk of complications by doing things like getting enough exercise, avoiding cigarettes and keeping their blood pressure in check, a U.S. study suggests.
For the study, researchers focused on adults diagnosed with the most common type of heart disease, known as atherosclerosis, which happens when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on artery walls.
When these patients did as much as they could to avoid so-called modifiable risk factors for heart disease – inactivity, obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure and diabetes – their total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures were $1,400, the study found.
But patients who did little to modify these risk factors had total average annual pharmaceutical expenditures of $4,516, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“Individuals who are unwilling to modify their lifestyles so as to have a favorable risk factor profile would most likely resort to medications to control the risk factors,” said lead study author Dr. Joseph Salami of the Center for Health Care Advancement and Outcomes at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.
“A person getting little or no exercise has a higher risk of obesity,” Salami said by email. “Someone obese is more likely to have diabetes, high blood cholesterol and hypertension.”
For the study, researchers examined 2012 and 2013 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a national snapshot of spending based on surveys of almost 76,000 American patients, families, doctors and employers. The total pharmaceutical costs, reported in 2013 dollars, include patients’ out-of-pocket fees like co-payments and co-insurance as well as the portion of the tab covered by insurance or other sources, Salami said.
Among the survey participants, 4,248 adults aged 40 or older had atherosclerosis, representing about 21.9 million people in the U.S. population. They were 68 years old on average, and 45 percent were women.
Overall, average annual drug costs for each participant were $3,432. About a third of this was for cardiovascular disease drugs and another 14 percent was spent on diabetes medicines.
The remaining expenditures – more than half of the total – were for non-cardiovascular disease and non-diabetes drugs and were significantly associated with the modifiable risk factors, the study team notes.
Nationwide, this adds up to annual drug spending of $71.6 billion for patients with atherosclerosis, researchers estimated.
One limitation of the study is that it might overestimate expenditures because it’s possible some people prescribed medications for heart disease might be taking them for other reasons, the authors note. Researchers also lacked data on the type of insurance patients’ had or for individual characteristics of patients, doctors or pharmacists that might influence drug costs.
Costs should be considered in the context of how well treatments work, and the study doesn’t address this, noted Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.
“In some cases, the benefit that patients get from these non-pharmacologic therapies may be much more substantial than the benefit that drug therapy can offer,” Kesselheim said by email. “In other cases, the drug might be more helpful.”
The study also isn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove that people will spend less on drugs when they make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of heart disease, said Julie Schmittdiel of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland.
“It does suggest there is promise that addressing modifiable health behaviors will reduce costs,” Schmittdiel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.
Knowing this might help motivate some patients to make changes, said Stacie Dusetzina, a pharmacy researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who wasn’t involved in the study.
“I think many of us realize how hard these risk factors are to modify,” Dusetzina said by email. “But having incentives that include feeling better and saving money may help with motivation.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived: Jane Blakemore
Dr A Sullivan
Breakthroughs Help Vets Win the PTSD Battle
Thanks to medical miracles, veterans of today’s wars survive battlefield injuries that almost certainly would have been fatal just a generation ago.
But when those wounded warriors return home, they face another monumental challenge: How to mend their broken minds and bodies to resume successful, rewarding lives after they leave the military.
Fortunately, doctors and therapists are studying a number of innovative methods that could help get wounded veterans back on their feet.
Among the promising techniques for veterans currently being explored:
Electric Patch Treatment
Post-traumatic stress syndrome, or PTSD, plagues many soldiers returning home from war. Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles report trigeminal nerve stimulation, or TNS, has shown promise in treating chronic PTSD.
“This could be a breakthrough for patients who have not been helped adequately by existing treatments,” Dr. Andrew Leuchter said.
A second study is now under way.
Seventy-four soldiers seeking treatment for PTSD at the Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic at Fort Gordon, Ga., recently participated in a study on transcendental medication. Within one month, nearly 84 percent of the meditating soldiers had stabilized, reduced, or eliminated their use of the psychotropic drugs that were helping them to cope with their condition.
Meditating twice a day helped veterans remain calm and avoid the “fight or flight” response associated with PTSD.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Subjecting patients to oxygen at a higher-than-atmospheric pressure infuses the cells of their bodies with oxygen. This has proven especially effective in fighting infections and warding off the effects of concussion, a common injury sustained by soldiers.
But doctors report the Veteran’s Administration and the Pentagon have been slow to fully adopt the use of hyperbaric oxygen by veterans.
President Ronald Reagan famously remarked there is nothing as good for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse. Therapists say as soon as vets get around horses they tend to relax, and their anxieties begin to fade away.
OperationWeAreHere.com offers contact information for over a dozen equine-therapy organizations that work with veterans.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Sensitizing patients to their fears, and the stimuli that tend to trigger panic and anxiety, can help veterans learn to control their reactions. Researchers say those who return from war zones often suffer from “hypervigilance,” an exaggerated readiness to respond to perceived threats in the environment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients learn to respond productively to stressful situations.
Virtual Reality Therapy
Using computer-generated simulations, veterans under expert medical supervision can get in touch with traumatic events, to better process and understand their own reactions. One small trial suggested it might reduce the effects of PTSD, but more studies are needed.
Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Using a technique called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, PTSD patients learn to process the traumas they experienced thereby reducing anxiety. A patient brings to mind the disturbing images they cannot escape, while practicing deep breathing and focusing on the rapid movements of a therapist’s hand.
A technique just beginning to gain widespread acceptance, it appears to work by mimicking the rapid eye movements people experience during REM sleep.
Magnetic Resonance Therapy
Colloquially known as “brain zapping,” magnetic resonance therapy uses magnetic coils to stimulate the cortex. The FDA approved the procedure in 2008 to combat major bouts of depression.
Published studies suggest it could also help patients suffering from PTSD. The Washington Post reported the procedure is offered as a treatment for depression by the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived: Jane Blakemore
Dr P Carrothers
Yoga as Good for Back Pain as Physical Therapy
Chronic lower back pain is equally likely to improve with yoga classes as with physical therapy, according to a new study.
Twelve weeks of yoga lessened pain and improved function in people with low back pain as much as physical therapy sessions over the same period.
“Both yoga and physical therapy are excellent non-drug approaches for low back pain,” said lead author Dr. Robert Saper, of Boston Medical Center.
About 10 percent of U.S. adults experience low back pain, but not many are happy with the available treatments, Saper and colleagues write in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The American College of Physicians advised in February that most people with low back pain should try non-drug treatments like superficial heat or massage before reaching for medications.
Physical therapy is the most common non-drug treatment for low back pain prescribed by doctors, according to Saper and colleagues. Yoga is also backed by some guidelines and studies as a treatment option, but until now no research has compared the two.
For the new study, the researchers recruited 320 adults with chronic low back pain. The participants were racially diverse and tended to have low incomes.
The participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group took part in a 12-week yoga program designed for people with low back pain. Another took part in a physical therapy program over the same amount of time. People in the third group received a book with comprehensive information about low back pain and follow-up information every few weeks.
At the start of the study, participants reported – on average – moderate to severe functional impairment and pain. More than two-thirds were using pain medications.
To track participants function and pain during the study, the researchers surveyed them at six, 12, 26, 40 and 52 weeks using the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ).
Scores on the RMDQ measure for function declined – meaning function was improving – by 3.8 points over the 12 weeks in the yoga group, compared to 3.5 points in the physical therapy group. Participants who received education had an average RMDQ score decline of 2.5.
Statistically, participants ended up with similar functional improvements whether they underwent yoga, physical therapy or education.
More people in the yoga and physical therapy groups ended up with noticeable improvements in function, however.
People would feel a noticeable improvement with a four to five point drop on the RMDQ, write Dr. Douglas Chang, of the University of California, San Diego and Dr. Stefan Kertesz of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in an accompanying editorial.
They write that 48 percent of yoga participants and 37 percent of physical therapy participants reached that goal, compared to 23 percent of people who were in the education group.
For achieving noticeable differences in pain, physical therapy was again no better or worse than yoga. After 12 weeks, people in the yoga group were 21 percentage points less likely to used pain medications than those in the education group. That difference was 22 percentage points for physical therapy versus education.
The improvements among the people in yoga and physical therapy groups lasted throughout the year, the researchers found.
“If they remain the same after one year, it’s a good bet that their improvement will continue on,” Saper told Reuters Health.
One treatment method won’t help all or even most patients, wrote Chang and Kertesz in their editorial.
“Nevertheless, as Saper and colleagues have shown, yoga offers some persons tangible benefit without much risk,” they write. “In the end, however, it represents one tool among many.”
Health and Wellness Associates
Dr Jay J
Sunscreen Mistakes That Pose A Serious Risk To Your Health
The dog days of summer have arrived for most of us and that means lots of time spent out in the sun having fun. It can also mean a painful sunburn if you are not careful. Too much time, unprotected in the sun can lead to premature aging and damage to your skin. While there are a plethora of types of sunscreens to choose from, you must be careful not to make sunscreen mistakes that will end up doing more harm than good.
While it is a good idea to protect the skin from the damaging impact of UV radiation from the sun, you need to know the in’s and outs of sunscreen so as to avoid costly mistakes. Remember, we need the sun to help our bodies make vitamin D3, the nutrient that boosts our immune system, elevates our mood and fights cancer. The key is to stay safe and still get enough sun to keep your vitamin D levels in a healthy range.
Here is a look at the top mistakes you might be making when it comes to sunscreen.
Using chemical sunscreen instead of natural sunscreen
Sunscreen is a huge market and everyone wants to get a share of it. This means that some sunscreens are actually just a toxic cocktail of chemicals that could end up hurting you. The number one mistake you might be making when it comes to your sunscreen is which type of sunscreen you actually purchase and use.
Surprisingly, some studies have indicated that risk of malignant melanoma was highest amongst those who used the most sunscreen. This is undoubtedly due to the chemical makeup of the sunscreen.
According to a 2014 Environmental Working Group guide to sunscreen, over 75% of all sunscreen sold contains toxins capable of increasing the risk of cancer. Here is what they had to say:
“Our review…shows that some sunscreen ingredients absorb into the blood, and some have toxic effects. Some release skin-damaging free radicals in sunlight, some act like estrogen and disrupt hormones, and several can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation. The FDA has not established rigorous safety standards for sunscreen ingredients.”
Here is a list of just some of the toxic ingredients you might find in conventional sunscreen:
Para amino benzoic acid
Natural sunscreen products or mineral-based sunscreen products generally contain zinc or titanium. They do not break down in the sunlight and are not absorbed by the body. To stay safe, it is best to choose a natural, or mineral-based sunscreen that will not disrupt hormones, are not allergenic and offer effective protection.
Our recent round-up of the best natural sunscreens led to the conclusion that these were the best:
Badger All Natural Sunscreen
Tropical Sands Natural Sunscreen
Beauty By Earth Facial Cream
Kiss My Face Mineral Sunscreen
Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Sunscreen
Using spray-on sunscreen
Although they go on easy, spray sunscreens have hidden dangers. According to safety experts at Consumer Reports, spray on products contain some potentially dangerous ingredients that could be damaging if inhaled, especially to children.
According to Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst at Environmental Working Group, “These high-alcohol formulas could irritate the lungs, and their ingredients could be absorbed into the bloodstream.”
You wait to apply sunscreen until you arrive at the beach or the pool
Take the time to apply sunscreen before you head outside. This will allow you to be sure that you are well-covered. Too many people wait to get to the pool or the beach to apply their sunscreen and end up missing spots because they are in a hurry to get in the water or engage in other activities.
You only use sunscreen when you are headed outdoors
It is a good idea to use some form of natural sunscreen year-round, not just when you are headed to the beach or out on a boating trip. According to Cheryl Gustafson, MD, a chief dermatology resident at Emory University,”The sun’s rays can still reach your skin, for example, while you drive or sit by a window.” There are a number of natural moisturizers that contain some sort of sunscreen. It is a good idea to get into the habit of using these daily, no matter what you are doing.
You apply sunscreen with your clothes on
It is always best to apply sunscreen to your entire body when you are naked. According to Noelle Sherber, MD, a consulting dermatologist for the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center it is best to apply sunscreen naked in front of a full-length mirror because this “helps ensure you entirely cover tricky spots like the mid-back and backs of the legs.”
You pass over your lips
Many people do a good job of protecting their body and face from the sun but neglect their lips. Lips are highly sensitive to the sun and require special TLC from the sun. However, don’t use the same stuff you put on your body. It is best to purchase an organic lip balm with SPF protection (such as these Organic Lip Balms from Sky Organics) and apply it frequently when exposed to the sun.
You rely too much on sunscreen
Too many people rely on sunscreen for complete protection from the sun. There are a number of things that you can do to enhance your protection including:
Wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and a hat when participating in outdoor activities. There are many options available for lightweight clothing that offers protection. In addition, always wear a hat when outdoors in the sun.
Stay indoors or in the shade during the hottest time of the day. The sun is hottest during the hours of noon and 3 pm.
Eating foods that offer sun protection and build UV resistance can also help protect you from the sun. These foods include green and white tea, blueberries, red grapes or wine, salmon and fish oil, almonds, asparagus and pumpkin seeds, bell peppers and carrots.
Yes, the sun is fun, yes, we need the sun for vitamin D production,to build up an immune system in y our children, but we have to be very careful during the hot days of summer not to overextend our time in the sun. Chemincals in most commercially marketed sunscreens, are absorded in your skin and the liver tries to filter them out, and cant. You only have one liver
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived Sierra Bright
Dr Jay Jaranson
How Pomegranate Helps Clean Your Arteries
Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. When you have healthy arteries, blood flows through the body quite easily. As you age, fatty deposits, cholesterol and cellular waste products settle on the inner walls of your arteries. Research shows that pomegranate can actually help clean your arteries helping to keep blood flowing smoothly.
When arteries become clogged, the build up of arterial plaque can significantly reduce blood flow, and in some instances, arteries can become completely blocked. Since clogged arteries can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack and even death, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to reduce arterial plaque and do what you can to clean your arteries.
The Artery Cleaning Power of Pomegranate Juice
Making simple lifestyle changes are an excellent way to treat and prevent clogged arteries. This includes a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, but are some fruits and vegetables more helpful than others?
Pomegranates are extremely rich in antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins. Compared to other fruit juices, such as blueberry, orange and cranberry, pomegranate juice has the most antioxidant power. It is these high levels of antioxidants found in pomegranates that help clean clogged arteries.
Can Pomegranates Actually Reverse Atherosclerosis?
Promising research conducted on the benefits of pomegranate juice has found that
pomegranates can prevent clogged arteries and may even reverse the progression of atherosclerosis. Specifically, researchers have found that pomegranates encourage the production of nitric oxide, which is an essential chemical that promotes healthy blood flow and keeps the arteries open. This is helpful in reducing the effects of oxidative stress on blood vessels. Perhaps the most exciting finding from this research is the ability of pomegranates to reduce plaque accumulations that have already built up in the blood vessels.
Additional research has also found that drinking pomegranate juice had a significant effect on arterial plaque. Researchers instructed participants to drink pomegranate juice on a daily basis. Within three months, plaque accumulations were reduced by 13 percent. After one year, arterial plaque was reduced by 30 percent. Plaque accumulation actually increased by nine percent within the group of people who were not drinking pomegranate juice on a daily basis.
In addition to healthier arteries with less plaque accumulation, pomegranate juice has other positive effects on the heart, including reduced fat accumulation around the heart, reduced inflammation within the blood vessels, less oxidative stress and improved ECG results. Given the dangers of cardiovascular disease and clogged arteries, the results of this research are certainly promising. With the help of this exotic fruit, it is possible to clean your arteries and greatly reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Health and Wellness Associates
Archived : Jay Jaranson
Aspartame linked to vision loss, cancer and other illnesses
Aspartame – sold under the brand names NutraSweet, Sugar Twin and Equal – is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners available on the market. It is used as a low-calorie sugar substitute in more than 6,000 processed products worldwide, especially in diet or sugar-free foods and beverages.
While it remains the most used artificial sweetener, it has also faced controversy in recent years. As more and more research links aspartame to severe health effects, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of this hidden poison and are trying to avoid it at all costs. That’s why Pepsi proactively removed it from their diet soda last year.
Complaints of various health issues have been filed since aspartame first appeared on the market in the 1980s. As reported by The Nutritional Source, aspartame is one of the most exhaustively studied chemicals in the human food supply, with more than 200 studies completed.
Dr. Betty Martini, the founder of the worldwide volunteer force Mission Possible World Health International, which is committed to removing aspartame from our food, notes that aspartame has brought more complaints to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) than any other additive; it is responsible for 75 percent of such complaints.
Over the years, more than 90 side effects – including vision loss, seizures, brain tumors, cancer and mild rashes – have been associated with regular consumption of aspartame. Furthermore, it can mimic the symptoms of diseases such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue and depression.
When aspartame is processed by the body it breaks down into phenylalanine (50 percent), aspartic acid (40 percent) and methanol (or wood alcohol, 10 percent).
Aspartame can make you blind
We have all heard the stories about alcoholics ending up blind or dead after drinking methanol during Prohibition. Aspartame consists of 10 percent methanol which our body further breaks down into formaldehyde and formic acid. These compounds accumulate in the retina of the eye and destroy the optic nerve, causing vision loss and blindness.
Furthermore, methanol poisoning may cause central nervous system depression, and can lead to metabolic acidosis and coma.
As reported by Dr. Martini, in 1986 the Community Nutrition Institute petitioned the FDA to ban aspartame because so many people had gone blind and had seizures. Despite the apparent link, the FDA, backed up by the drug and chemical industry, refused to take aspartame out of production.
It messes with your brain
Excessive amounts of phenylalanine block the transport of essential amino acids to the brain, which contributes to reduced levels of dopamine and serotonin. While our brains need this amino acid, too much of it has been linked to emotional and behavioral disorders and brain damage.
Furthermore, too much aspartic acid, another amino acid present in aspartame, can cause over-stimulation and death of brain cells. It leaks too much calcium into the cells and triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which may damage and kill neurons.
G.D. Searle, the company behind the discovery of aspartame, was warned as early as 1971 that excess amounts of aspartic acid caused holes in the brain of mice and posed a serious threat to human health, yet nobody found it necessary to remove aspartame from the shelves.
Induces brain tumors
Before its approval, aspartame had been rejected multiple times over fears of brain tumors and cancer, the Huffington Post reported. In 1996, Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, and attorney James Turner, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame.
Even the FDA’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, told Congress that aspartame could cause brain tumors and brain cancer, and that approving it would violate the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food known to cause cancer.
Sadly enough, Donald Rumsfeld – who was CEO of G.D. Searle and part of Reagan’s transition team – and Monsanto joined forces. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the company that held the patent to aspartame. They managed to pull a few strings and played a substantial role in the approval of aspartame by the FDA.
If you need assistance in managing your aspartame intake, especially if you have diabetes, please give us a call and we can help y ou, in the comforts of your home, with all your healthcare concerns.
Health and Wellness Associates
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion whites
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces ground turkey breast
- 8 ounces ground pork
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced scallion greens
1.Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
2.Drain pineapple juice into a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
3.Finely chop enough pineapple to yield 1/2 cup. Press out excess moisture with paper towels. Reserve the remaining pineapple chunks for the sauce.
4.Lightly beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in carrot, scallion whites, ginger, five-spice powder, salt and the finely chopped pineapple. Add turkey and pork; gently mix to combine (do not overmix). Using a scant 1 tablespoon each, make 36 small meatballs. Bake on the prepared baking sheet until just cooked through, about 15 minutes.
5.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the reserved juice mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the remaining pineapple and the cooked meatballs.
6.To serve, thread a meatball and a piece of pineapple and/or pepper onto a small skewer or toothpick. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with scallion greens.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Freeze cooked meatballs in sauce airtight for up to 3 months. Defrost before reheating. Equipment: 36 short skewers or toothpicks
Per serving: 37 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 12 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 3 g protein; 0 g fiber; 101 mg sodium; 76 mg potassium.
Health and Wellness Associates
Mexican Garden Scramble
Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is one of the best ways to control your blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, but especially valuable are the potassium, magnesium, and even calcium that they provide. One way to ensure you are getting enough vegetables is to start your day with a serving!
This Mexican garden scramble includes flavorful peppers and onions, cilantro, and tomatoes folded into fluffy, protein-rich scrambled eggs. Topped with a bit of shredded cheese and creamy, potassium-rich avocado, this breakfast is a delicious and satisfying way to start your day.
3 large eggs + 1 egg white
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup tomato, diced
1/2 small avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons shredded colby jack or cheddar cheese
salsa or hot sauce
In a small bowl, whisk eggs and white until combined and fluffy. Set aside.
Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with oil and add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Turn heat to low, spray again, and add eggs. Cook over low heat, pushing eggs from outside of pan to the center with a rubber spatula, until almost done. Add cooked veggies and 2 tablespoons cilantro to the eggs and continue cooking until eggs are set.
To assemble, divide eggs between two bowls. Add tomato, avocado, cheese, and remaining cilantro. Top with your favorite salsa or hot sauce. Enjoy!
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
If you have other veggies on hand that need to be used up, feel free to throw them into the pan with the peppers and onions. Breakfast scrambles are a great way to use up vegetables that are about to go bad. Mushrooms, corn, and spinach would all be great additions.
To keep the calories, fat and sodium under control, be sure to stick to the small portion of cheese and avocado listed in the recipe. While nutritious, these foods are also calorie-dense.
If you need to watch your cholesterol, you can use all egg whites in place of whole eggs.
Cooking and Serving Tips
When making scrambled eggs, keep the heat on low and slowly stir from the outside edges inward for the best results.
Serve with a warmed whole grain corn or whole wheat tortilla and a serving of fresh fruit to round out the meal.
If you are having concerns about your food intake, please make an appointment with us and we can work on a personal health care plan.
Health and Wellness Associates
Skillet Peanut Butter Cinnamon Spice Cookie
Total Time 20 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 10 min
Yield 16 servings (129 calories each)
This decadent yet low-carb skillet peanut butter cinnamon spice cookie is the perfect treat for someone with diabetes. It takes less than ten minutes of prep time, has only five grams of sugar per serving, and is made with blood sugar lowering cinnamon. Most importantly, it’s delicious!
1 large egg
1 cup natural peanut butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup almond meal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanuts, optional, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, beat egg until slightly frothy. Whisk in the peanut butter, brown sugar, almond meal, vanilla extract, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt until well combined.
Spray an ovenproof skillet lightly with nonstick spray. Pour batter into the skillet and spread evenly with a spatula. If desired, sprinkle the top with a few peanuts and press down slightly.
Place cookie on a rack set in the center of the oven and bake 10-12 minutes until puffed and golden around the edges. Let cook 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Ingredient Variations and Substitutions
This is one of my favorite treats to make because I always have the ingredients on hand! Whenever I’m craving something warm, gooey and sweet, I know this skillet cookie is only 20 minutes away.
Even in your pantry is looking bare, this recipe is easy to adapt based on what you have on hand. You can use any type of nut butter—cashew butter and almond butter both work well. And if you’re in the unfortunate situation of running out of nut butter, you can make your own by blending a rounded cup of nuts with a tablespoon of oil in the food processor until if forms a creamy spread.
I made these with brown sugar, which has a richer flavor than white sugar, although you could certainly substitute it in a pinch. You could also use pure maple syrup or honey, but be sure to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees and cook it a couple minutes longer to prevent burning.
If anyone in your household is nut free, you can still make this cookie—just swap in sesame butter and leave out the almond meal. Made with sunflower seeds, it’s perfect for those with tree nut allergies.
For a vegan version, use a chia seed egg. Mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water and let it sit to gel for about 10 minutes before mixing in the other ingredients.
This trick is a perfect one to remember next time you run out of eggs.
If you’re feeling extra decadent, load this cookie up with lots of healthy add-ins. In the mood for something chocolatey? Swap the almond flour for ¼ cup cocoa powder, or stir in ½ cup chopped dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant polyphenols and flavanols. Want something fruity? Stir in a handful of frozen berries. This recipe is especially delicious with frozen wild blueberries.
Make an extra nutty cookie with different kinds of nuts and seeds, like walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds. Add a handful or two of dried fruit along with those nuts to make a granola inspired cookie. My favorite way to enjoy this cookie is with a handful of shredded dried coconut and dark chocolate chips.
Cooking and Serving Tips
This cookie is best when it’s slightly undercooked. The center might not look fully done when you take it out, but it will continue cooking as it cools.
Be sure to use a nonstick or well seasoned cast iron skillet to prevent sticking.
Health and Wellness Associates
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids Could Slow Aging
New US research has found evidence that including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet can help to promote healthy brain aging.
Led by Marta Zamroziewicz from the University of Illinois, the research team carried out two studies which looked at omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the blood of adults ages 65 to 75, and a possible relationship between these fatty acids and the participants’ brain structure and cognitive performance.
As the brain is made up of interconnected parts which age at their own pace, some brain structures and their function deteriorate earlier than others.
The first study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, focused on the frontoparietal network. This part of the brain plays an important role in fluid intelligence, which is the ability to solve new problems that have not been encountered before.
The team looked for a link between the size of this network, performance on tests of fluid intelligence, and the levels of several omega-3 fatty acids in the blood.
The results showed those with higher blood levels of three omega-3 fatty acids — ALA, stearidonic acid and ecosatrienoic acid — also tended to have a larger frontoparietal cortex, which predicted the subjects’ performance on tests of fluid intelligence.
The second study, published in the journal Aging & Disease, looked at the white matter structure of the fornix, which is found at the center of the brain and is important for memory. Previous research has also found that the fornix is one of the first brain regions to be affected in Alzheimer’s disease.
In the new research the team also found that the size of the fornix was associated with a balanced level of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the blood, and that a larger fornix was linked with better memory in older adults.
Although the team noted that further research is needed to test their hypothesis, Zamroziewicz added that “These findings have important implications for the Western diet, which tends to be misbalanced with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.”
“A lot of research tells us that people need to be eating fish and fish oil to get neuroprotective effects from these particular fats, but this new finding suggests that even the fats that we get from nuts, seeds and oils can also make a difference in the brain,” she added.
Call us and make an appointment for your personal health care plan.
Health and Wellness Associates