Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Personalizing lung cancer care through biomarker testing

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Over the last decade, the scientific community has gained a greater understanding of genetic mutations, or abnormalities, associated with the development and progression of cancer; these mutations are also known as biomarkers. The presence or absence of a biomarker can help physicians determine the most appropriate treatment approach for each individual patient based on their specific type of cancer.

In some cancers, like breast cancer, testing for biomarkers is already an established best practice.

However, for other cancers, the regular use of biomarker testing is still gaining momentum; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one example.

NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer – in fact, about 85 percent of patients with lung cancer are diagnosed as having NSCLC. Today, there have been multiple biomarkers identified and believed or known to play a role in the development and progression of this disease. One of these biomarkers is a mutation in a protein known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); it is one of the most common biomarkers identified in NSCLC patients. Another biomarker being closely studied in NSCLC is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearrangements. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancers have EGFR mutations, while another two to seven percent have ALK rearrangements.

There have been significant advancements in the research of NSCLC over the past 10 years including increased knowledge of biomarkers, which can inform treatment decisions.

Traditional surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which can remove or kill some normal cells along with cancer cells, were once the only options; however, targeted therapies are now an option for some patients who have a biomarker. Targeted therapies generally work by influencing the processes that control growth, division, and spread of cancer cells, as well as the signals that cause cancer cells to die naturally (apoptosis), the way normal cells do when they are damaged or old.

“The discovery of genetic mutations and the process of testing for them – known as biomarker testing – is changing the diagnosis and treatment landscape for patients with cancer,” said Kevin Lokay, vice president and business unit head, Oncology, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “It allows us to determine if a patient’s cancer is associated with a genetic mutation, leading to a more detailed diagnosis and giving us the tools we need to map out an individualized treatment approach for each patient.”

Ideally, biomarker testing happens immediately after a patient is diagnosed with a disease like lung cancer to help ensure that he or she can start on the most appropriate treatment as early as possible.

A team – that may include pulmonologists, pathologists, oncologists and other health professionals – typically works together in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer, including biomarker testing. There are multiple steps involved in biomarker testing for patients with advanced NSCLC, including:

* Taking a sample of lung tissue from a patient

* Analyzing/confirming type of lung cancer

* Testing the tissue sample for biomarkers

* Determining an individualized treatment approach

What can you do? You can increase the awareness of biomarker testing. If you or a loved one is diagnosed with lung cancer, be empowered by asking about biomarker testing. You can learn more about the biomarker testing process via an easy-to-understand brochure titled, “Individualizing Your Lung Cancer Care: Informing Decisions Through Biomarker Testing,” which can be found on and was developed by Boehringer Ingelheim in collaboration with the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and EmergingMed.

Healthcare professionals involved in the care of patients with lung cancer can find out more through Boehringer Ingelheim’s Let’s Test initiative ( to learn more about the importance of automatically testing for biomarkers in advanced NSCLC and the importance of a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to testing.

Five super nutrients that help you age well

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

(BPT) – Parents often use the adage “You are what you eat!” to encourage children to make healthy food choices, but the saying is equally true for mature adults. Providing your body with a variety of nutrients lets you feel your best, and may even prevent disease and help you live longer.

Allison Tannis is a nutritionist, author and professional consultant. She believes that aging well means eating well. She recommends these five super nutrients to help baby boomers and older adults age well and stay healthy.

1. Omega-3s

“It can be hard to see fat as healthy, but omega-3 fatty acids are potentially one of the most important nutrients for our health,” says Tannis. “Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to the maintenance and function of our eyes, brain and nervous system – parts of us that start to weaken with increasing age. In addition, these healthy fats have great ability to fight inflammation that is the cause of painful joints, cardiovascular disease and even wrinkles.”

How can you get your daily dose of 1 to 2 grams of omega-3s, as recommended by the American Heart Association? Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines and Arctic char are good sources of omega-3s. Plant sources of omega-3s include flax, chia and hemp. It can be difficult to get enough omega-3s from food sources, so supplements are a good alternative.

“Every morning I wake with the best intentions of eating healthy, but then life can get in the way,” Tannis says. “Using daily supplements ensures my body gets all of the essential nutrients it needs to be at its best. I take Nordic Naturals fish oils, available in liquids, soft gels and even an effervescent drink.”

2. Vitamin D

“Vitamin D is really only available to us from the sun,” explains Tannis. “Sure, there are foods such as milk and orange juice that have added vitamin D. For some, these foods are a great choice, but for others, it can be hard to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin through fortified foods.”

Older people are prone to vitamin D deficiency, and therefore, may experience muscle weakness or impaired intestinal absorption. Tannis suggests that everyone, no matter their age, consider a vitamin D supplement if diet and sun exposure aren’t adequate. From tasteless liquid drops to pills that combine multiple nutrients, there are a variety of options for vitamin D supplementation.

3. Probiotics

“Probiotics fight inflammation, promote digestive health and much more,” says Tannis. “With age, there is a decrease in the most prominent probiotic in the colon, Bifidobacteria, leaving the colon prone to inflammation, which increases the risk of disease and discomfort.”

Foods like kefir and yogurt are common sources of probiotics, but often it’s not enough to get the full benefits. Probiotic supplements are a great way to maintain and rebuild probiotic levels in your digestive tract. “Seek out one with lots of different probiotic species,” recommends Tannis. “You’ve got hundreds of kinds of probiotics in you. Each probiotic offers its own unique health benefits to your body, so having lots of different kinds in your system can help your body be at its best.”

4. Green foods

“Greens are packed with more nutrients per bite than almost anything else on your plate. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and more,” says Tannis.

What green foods are the best?

“The best greens to eat are the ones you like – you don’t have to hate your food. Love your food! Choose some greens that you enjoy and then, once a week, try something outside your comfort zone,” Tannis suggests. “If you simply can’t stomach enough greens, there are plenty of powders available, from simple single ingredient products to complex formulas.”

5. Multivitamins

No matter what your age, eating a balanced diet provides your body with plenty of nutrients. “Try to ensure that at some point each day you enjoy foods from each color of the rainbow, and artificial coloring doesn’t count,” says Tannis.

Taking a multivitamin is one way to ensure your body has the minimum amounts of the essential nutrients it needs each day to function properly. If you are considering a multivitamin, look for one that is designed for your age, activity level and gender. -

“Food hasn’t changed, even though it feels that everyone is telling you something new about it,” says Tannis. “Enjoy a well-balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and fish. Nutrition really can be easy to swallow.”


Secrets for a streamlined routine: How to look flawless in seconds

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominated star of the TV series “Nashville,” Connie Britton was one of these women whose routine involved multiple steps. Back on set and busier than ever, Britton offers up her favorite tips for simplifying her routine.

* Connie’s beauty secret: “I have tried many products over the years and have a cabinet full of the latest moisturizers, sunscreens and foundations to prove it,” says Britton. “I was so excited to finally discover POND’S Luminous Finish BB+ that has short and long term benefits – it gives me flawless coverage instantly and evens out my skin tone while brightening and moisturizing my skin. It really does it all and keeps its promise.” Britton has teamed up with POND’S to help women get flawless skin. The multi-tasking beauty benefit cream is formulated with Tone Perfecting Complex and visibly fades dark spots.

* Snacks to swear by: Busy routines allow for little time to sit down and enjoy a meal. “I make sure to carry high protein, healthy snacks like almonds that are great for my skin and help keep it radiant,” explains Britton. As a bonus, being prepared with healthy snacks make it is easier to resist the urge to give into the temptation of sugary treats.

* Get glowing: Britton’s other secret for beautiful skin? “I love doing exercise that feels like it strengthens and nourishes inside and out, so lately I have been doing a lot of yoga, which incorporates body, mind, and spirit,” she says. “I always feel great after!”

* Make-up for lost time: “As a mom, it’s tough to fit in a full eight hours of beauty sleep,” says Britton. “But I’m always really amazed at what a difference a couple of coats of volumizing mascara make in the morning. It actually helps me look bright-eyed and well-rested.” After curling lashes apply two coats of mascara for eyes that looking instantly brighter and awake.

For more tips from Britton, visit the POND’S Facebook page at

What you need to know before undergoing a cosmetic medical procedure

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

As the quest for the perfect body and flawless face continues, many consumers have turned to spas, salons and walk-in clinics for cosmetic medical procedures at bargain prices. With the number of these facilities increasing, more consumers are influenced to believe that certain cosmetic procedures are easy, inexpensive and risk-free.

“In many instances, dermatologic surgeons, who are properly trained and experienced in performing cosmetic medical procedures, are sought to correct the mistakes of inexperienced and unqualified physicians,” says Dr. Susan Weinkle, president-elect of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS). ”Consumers should be aware that lower prices do not mean equal training and treatment, and should be cautious that these discounted prices could put their health at risk as a result of the provider’s inadequate training and lack of expertise.”

Dr. Weinkle and the ASDS urge consumers to recognize that all cosmetic procedures are medical procedures that should be performed by a qualified physician or under the close supervision of an appropriately trained physician.

Serious side effects, such as burns, infections, scars and pigmentation disorders can occur when consumers visit non-physicians or physicians who do not specialize in dermatology and perform treatments like laser hair removal, deep chemical peels, acne therapy and other procedures, says Dr. Weinkle. Non-physicians do not have the necessary medical training, and physicians who are not board-certified in dermatology lack the qualifications to determine and optimally perform the best treatment for your concern, or to handle complications adequately, should they occur.

“It’s critical that consumers take precautions and understand that dermatologic surgeons with the experience and knowledge of the health and function of the skin should perform cosmetic surgery procedures,” Dr. Weinkle says.

The ASDS suggests consumers follow these tips before undergoing any cosmetic medical procedure:

  • Check credentials: Research the physician before undergoing the procedure to ensure that he or she is board-certified in dermatology. To find a board-certified dermatologic surgeon, visit
  • Don’t rely on price: If a procedure’s cost seems too good to be true, it probably is. Bargain-priced treatments may end up costing you in the long run if they cause harm, need correction or are ineffective.
  • Make sure a doctor is on-site to closely supervise: Most cosmetic surgery procedures should be performed by a physician. If the physician is supervising a procedure, make sure he or she is immediately available on-site to respond to any questions or problems that may occur while the procedure is being performed.
  • Ask questions: Always ask questions no matter how minor your questions may seem. Good questions include the following: Who will perform the procedure? Is this treatment right for me? What if something goes wrong? What procedures are in place to deal with an emergency? What training does the staff have? Is this laser, device or technique appropriate for my skin type? How many of the procedures do you perform in a month? May I see before and after photographs?
  • Be sure your medical history is taken: Before undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, make sure the physician is aware of your medical history, including allergies to medications and previous surgeries.
  •  Don’t be afraid to walk away: Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, find a more reputable location.

For more information and to download a free pre-cosmetic surgery questionnaire, visit

Expert Q&A: Wear and tear or osteoarthritis of the knee?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Jeffrey E. Rosen, M.D., a leading osteoarthritis expert and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation at New York Hospital Queens, shares expert insights and advice that all osteoarthritis of the knee sufferers should know, including ways to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle and common disease misconceptions.

What is osteoarthritis?

Often referred to as “wear and tear,” osteoarthritis is a chronic disease in which the cartilage, or cushioning tissue between the surfaces of joints, wears away. When cartilage surrounding the joint breaks down, the joint has to bear more weight; this transmits across the joint possibly leading to changes in the underlying bone.
What are some common misconceptions about osteoarthritis of the knee?
Osteoarthritis is often confused with osteoporosis, which is a disease that affects the makeup of the bone, as opposed to the joints and cartilage surrounding the bone. Another common misconception is that osteoarthritis of the knee only affects older people.
Who is at risk of developing osteoarthritis?
There are certain factors that can increase a person’s risk including weight, age, gender and injury or trauma to the knee joint. Those who have had repeated trauma to the knee joints, also referred to as “micro-traumas,” are at higher risk, and women are affected more than men. Approximately 60 percent of the nearly 27 million people affected by osteoarthritis of the knee are women.ii
What are the symptoms? How can you tell it may be time to see your doctor?
General osteoarthritis of the knee symptoms include stiffness, particularly when getting up in the morning, aching in the joints and pain while walking up and down stairs. Patients will normally use over-the-counter medications to treat the symptoms. However, if symptoms progress over time or you start to feel a “crunching” sensation from inside the joint, this may be a sign that it is time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Also, consult your doctor when pain, stiffness or swelling becomes too persistent or starts to affect your stability when standing. Another sure sign to seek medical attention is when symptoms cannot be alleviated with an anti-inflammatory or an over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen. The key to a better outcome is seeking support early and before the problem progresses too far.
How is osteoarthritis knee pain treated?
Traditionally, physicians have approached treating osteoarthritis in a step-wise fashion, beginning with improving diet as well as a modified exercise program, then moving towards pharmacological intervention as needed. However, now physicians are starting to try different treatment approaches to help get the best result possible for patients as quickly as possible. My preference is to use multi-modal strategies where I can combine treatments and therapy strategies.
Non-interventional Treatment, Modified shoe wear/orthotics, Assisting device (e.g. cane), Weight loss Nutrition and proper diet, Over-the-counter Medication, Glucosamine for joint health Pain medication (e.g. acetaminophen), Interventional Treatment, Cortisone or hyaluronic acid injection therapy, Partial joint replacement, Total joint replacement

What type of questions should people who suffer from osteoarthritis knee pain ask their doctors when it comes to diet, nutrition, exercise, treatment options, etc.?

I tell my patients the importance of being informed. Ask your doctor about ways to maintain proper body weight and an exercise program that is appropriate for you. It is also important to keep an open dialogue with your doctor about worsening symptoms so treatment can be adjusted as necessary.
What are three things you would recommend someone diagnosed with osteoarthritis knee pain to keep in mind?

Maintain a healthy body weight. It is essential to maintain a healthy body weight. In fact, every 10 pounds, either lost or gained, is magnified by four times depending on the physical activity being done by the individual. Stay active and exercise. Keep up an active lifestyle and make sure this includes a stretching and exercise program.

A common misstep is to focus on cardiovascular training only or weight training only, whereas a combination of the two is ideal. Stronger muscles can act like shock absorbers to joints, so a strength training program is beneficial.
Educate yourself about your disease. Finally, it is imperative to be educated about your condition and aware of the contributing factors so you know when it is the right time to see your doctor.For more information, please visit:

Delaying treatment for minor health issues could cost more in the long run

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Many families go through a check and balance process when it comes to their health. They try to determine if avoiding the cost of medical bills as well as time off from work is worth the risk of delaying medical treatment for a problem – especially when they question how serious the problem is for their long term health.

Many health experts agree that delaying needed and recommended treatments will end up costing individuals and the country far more in the long run. Some relatively minor problems, including high blood pressure, hearing loss, joint pain and carpal tunnel syndrome tend to escalate if left untreated, putting a patient at risk for more serious (and expensive) health consequences.


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a good example of an ailment you might think you can live with rather than pay the cost of treating it. It’s surprisingly common, with up to 5 percent of the workforce affected, according to the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal. On average, affected workers lost 27 days of work to recuperate from CTS last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With people spending more time on their computer or online, more people are likely to be exposed to the repetitive motions that can lead to CTS.

While severe cases may require surgical treatment, studies have shown that early treatment with splinting and massage can help alleviate this painful condition. Appropriate splinting (or bracing) helps keep the affected wrist in a neutral position, minimizing pressure on the irritated nerve, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Massage can also be effective, researchers have found. A report in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies indicates massage can reduce CTS symptoms. While only your doctor can make an actual diagnosis, once you know you have carpal tunnel syndrome there are simple, low-cost steps you can take to supplement your own treatment, including:

* Adjust your posture to minimize strain. Sit up straight and don’t rest your wrists on the edge of your keyboard tray while typing; try to maintain a straight wrist position.

* Stay hydrated. Proper hydration is essential to the healthy functioning of all our tissues.

* Ask your doctor to recommend appropriate exercises to keep the wrist flexible.

* Wear a wrist brace, even when you sleep. A special night brace is best. 

While you can purchase a low-cost brace in most drugstores, a better option might be one that combines bracing and massage benefits, such as the IMAK SmartGlove. Made of washable, breathable cotton material, the SmartGlove encourages proper hand and wrist position to help alleviate carpal tunnel symptoms, and an ergoBeads pad cushions your wrist and improves circulation with a massaging effect.

It makes sense to save yourself long-term pain and money by addressing the problem early. Consult your doctor if you experience wrist pain that might be carpal tunnel syndrome. To learn more about CTS relief, visit

Teaching kids to brush their teeth

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

Kids in general either hate brushing their teeth or they simply couldn’t care less. However, it is important to teach your kids how to brush their teeth to avoid dental and other health problems. With a little patience, creativity, and a handy tool, you should be able to get your kids to brush their teeth in no time.

For preschoolers

It’s relatively easy to teach preschoolers, as long as it’s fun for them and is done through rhythm and rhyme. Let your kids know that there are germs that we can’t see living on their teeth and it’s important to get rid of them. You can even make a song about teeth brushing.

When teaching your kids how to brush their teeth, first show them the proper way to go about it. Once you have demonstrated the up and down, round and round process of brushing teeth, hand your kids their brushes and let them try. Use a safe kids’ step stool to help them reach the sink. Choose one that is self-retracting so that when your kids are done using the sink, the step stool automatically retracts underneath the sink and out of adults’ way. Once they are able to do the whole brushing process themselves, make the event and exciting and joyous one. Clap and cheer for your kids. Tell your other family members how good the kids were and have them cheer for the children as well. Have your kids show other family members how they too can brush their teeth.

Things to do:

• Show your kids how excited you are about brushing, and get even more excited when they brush.

• Make brushing a fun experience.

• Ask them to show you how well they can brush their teeth.

• Make it a point to show other family members how good the kids can brush their teeth.

For Grades K-3rd

Kids this age learn things through presentation and repetition. Offer your kids to watch you as you brush your teeth, explaining things as you go along. Come up with creative analogies: “plaques are invisible bugs that eat away at your teeth. The only way to get rid of them is to brush your teeth.”

Things to do:

• Regularly offer your kids to watch yourself brushing.

• Be consistent with brushing times

• Come up with creative analogies or explanations about brushing teeth

Grades 4th-6th

At this age, there is no better way to effectively teach your kids to brush their teeth than to show them what happens when a person does not brush his/her teeth. Gather pictures of people’s teeth the have serious decay. Or better, get pictures of people with rotten teeth. During your visits to the dentist, teach your kids about proper brushing by asking for pictures of people who do not brush their teeth and explaining to them, “This is what happens to people who do not brush their teeth.”

You can also add that there are health risks when they do not brush their teeth. Some of these include gum diseases such as gingivitis (swollen or inflamed gums), periodontitis, gum infections, bone destruction, and tooth loss. It has even been found that gum disease is a likely risk factor for heart disease and stroke for adults.

Things to do:

• Ask your dentist to share stories, pictures and information of the hazards of not brushing teeth.

by: Dana Mulder

Throw a perfect party – without costs and clutter

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

It’s easier than you think.

Celebrating that special event doesn’t have to break the bank or leave you the not-so-proud owner of items you’ll have no use for once the party is over. There is another solution: rent what you need. You’ll wow your guests and save money in the process.

Not sure what can be rented? Here are some ideas to create a party beyond your guests’ wildest expectations.

Create the perfect environment

Many party planners feel constrained by the materials they already own when hosting a party, but the truth is renting opportunities allow you to create an atmosphere limited only by your imagination. If you’re looking to hold your party outside, rent a tent. Your area rental business will have tents available in all shapes, sizes and styles, allowing you to pick the perfect one for your event. Heating and cooling units are also available so your guests will always be comfortable, regardless of weather conditions.

You’ll also be able to rent tables and chairs, saving you from having to try and borrow these items or, worse yet, buying more for this one occasion. It creates a more relaxing atmosphere for your guests and they’ll be able to sit and rest rather than having to stand up throughout the event.

For a more formal affair, your local rental store can also provide linens, table service and stemware to complete your look. This will keep you from having to use disposables or from washing dishes when the event is finished, allowing you to relax and enjoy your company.

Wow them with food

If you’re in charge of planning the party, you’ve probably been nervously pondering what you will do about the food. No other party aspect requires so much work, and often you still find yourself eating leftovers for weeks. But rental stores offer several options that will help you wow your guests and indulge them at the same time.

Keeping foods the perfect temperature is always a challenge when hosting an event, but there are some great options available for rent. An ice table is a great way to keep things chilled in the summer heat, preventing undesirable illness. For hot foods, chafers will keep main dishes hot for hours so guests can eat at their leisure.

When it comes to that main course, grilling allows you to feed a lot of people with minimal prep work. But what if you don’t have a grill? You can always rent one. Many rental facilities offer grills of varying sizes, allowing you the chance to pick the right grill for your event.

Consider renting a popcorn machine for your party. People get hungry at different times and a popcorn machine allows your guests to serve themselves and munch on this delicious snack while they wait for the main course.

Activities for kids of any age

Whether it’s a birthday party, a family reunion or some other gathering, odds are children will be at your party. If your venue lacks the appropriate activities to entertain kids for the long haul, consult your area rental facility for options.

An inflatable bounce house will keep your youngest guests entertained for hours while obstacle courses or laser tag are great options for your teenage guests. And the biggest kids at your event will enjoy a casino night with the games you rented.

If you’re expecting a large number of children at that family reunion, you may also consider renting a helium tank and providing balloons for your younger guests. The kids will be entertained, and you’ll save yourself from being out of breath all afternoon.

Chances are you know what that next once-in-a-lifetime event in your family is. The only question is, how will you celebrate it? Consult your local rental facility or visit for more ideas. You’ll quickly learn that the only limit to planning your next party is your imagination.

Simple ways to give meals a boost of flavor

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

(BPT) – Flavor is a top priority whether you’re cooking for a gathering or simply putting food on the table for a weeknight meal. Great tasting food can do a lot: turn a party into a success, make guests rave and even get the kids to clean their plates. Luckily, you don’t have to be a five-star chef to give your meals a flavorful boost that everyone will love.

You can easily turn standard dishes into outstanding ones with some savvy cooking secrets. In fact, putting a subtle spin on the classics can surprise everyone at the table. They might not expect more than the average beverage, snack or burger, but with the right ingredients, you’ll hear a chorus of “wows” after the first bite.

To add some extra flavor to your meals and gatherings, keep these tips close at hand in the kitchen:

* Behind-the-scenes burger ingredients. Ground beef can only go so far – it’s up to you to give it the extra edge. Luckily, options to jazz up the average burger are virtually unlimited. Work in spices like cumin or chili pepper, and herbs like basil or oregano. Flavored soup mixes, such as onion, are a great choice as well. Another option for a palate-pleasing surprise is to press two thin patties around your choice of cheese, before grilling to a safe temperature.

* Set out flavor-packed snacks. As the outdoor entertaining season kicks off, having snacks on hand is essential so that guests can graze. Fill serving bowls with something a little out of the ordinary, or a new take on a classic, like Snyder’s of Hanover’s Flavored Pretzel Pieces, which come in an array of flavors like Hot Buffalo Wing, Jalapeno, and Bacon Cheddar. You can also use these tasty treats for creating out-of-this-world chicken fingers – simply crush them up and use them as breading.

* Fill drinks with extra flavor. A cooling beverage is a sublime thing on a hot day, but a basic glass of water just won’t cut it. One tasty – and pretty – way to upgrade tap water is to add flavor-infused ice cubes. To make the cubes, mix water and your chosen ingredients (fruits, herbs and juices all work well) in a blender, pour into cube trays, freeze and pop into your drinks when ready.

* Blend up an unexpected salsa. Whether you scoop it with chips or pour it over grilled meats, a flavorful salsa can earn you some bragging rights. Black beans and olives can bring zest to tomato salsa, and adding chopped avocado to blended tomatillos is a perfect meeting point between salsa and guacamole. Many fruits stand up well in a sweet-and-spicy salsa – try peach, pineapple or mango for a tropical twist that’s bright in color and flavor.

* Spice up your salads. A tossed salad can be a perfect addition to a summertime meal. They tend to be light and nutritious for any guests who watch their waistlines during bathing suit season. It is important to add exciting ingredients to your salad to prevent it from falling flat. Try using Pretzel Pieces flavors like Buttermilk Ranch or Honey Mustard and Onion as croutons to pack an unexpected punch. Find this recipe and more at

Making your meals memorable doesn’t require any special culinary expertise – just a few tips and some creativity. Use these ideas, put your own spin on a dish and you’ll have a table full of happy diners.

Decoding your digestive health

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Digestive health plays a major role in achieving overall health and wellness, and according to digestive health expert and author, Dr. Steven Lamm, understanding how to manage digestive health issues is the best way to achieve long-lasting relief and overall health and wellness.

Take care of your gut and it will take care of you
The digestive system, also referred to as the gut, is a unique and perfectly created system that, when impaired, can increase risk of developing infectious, inflammatory and functional GI diseases, as well as immune-mediated and metabolic disorders. Good digestive health is also recognized by many as being a requirement for overall good health.

“When we take care of our gut, we take a step toward achieving overall health and wellness,” says Dr. Lamm. “However, many modern day triggers, such as stress, medication and foods low in nutrients, can cause problems that affect our day-to-day lives.”

These triggers disrupt the balance of the digestive system and manifest as many of the issues people experience, including:

* Heartburn/frequent heartburn
* Gas/bloating
* Irritable bowel syndrome
* Diarrhea
* Constipation
* Nausea/vomiting

According to Dr. Lamm, it is also important to know that some digestive health issues can be caused by underlying conditions or even genetics. If digestive health issues are persistent, worsen, or are accompanied by blood, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite, a physician should be consulted.

Getting to the gut of the problem
For many, navigating the world of digestive health can be overwhelming. How do you determine what your specific problem is and what might be triggering the issues? And how do you figure out which available treatment may help manage the issues?

When trying to understand and seek the best course of action, Lamm suggests keeping in mind the following tips:

1. Be aware of the existence of issues; your digestive health should be seamless
2. Pay attention to your body and triggers; know how to identify and self-diagnose
3. Establish an easy fiber routine, such as including Benefiber(R) in your diet, to help maintain a healthy digestive system
4. Use appropriate over-the-counter medications to help manage digestive health issues, such as Prevacid(R)24HR for frequent heartburn, Gas-X(R) for gas and bloating
5. Consult a physician if issues are persistent, worsening, or if there is bleeding, unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite

For more on Dr. Lamm’s digestive health information and tips, visit