AIDS Awareness Month

AIDS Awareness Month

December is AIDS Awareness Month, and more than 1 million Americans are living with HIV, but 1 in 5 aren’t aware they’re infected.

Learning About AIDS

 

HIV has not disappeared since it was an epidemic. Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected. It’s important to continue to raise awareness and fund education.

Continuing to Educate About AIDS

 

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Eventually, it can destroy enough T cells that the body can’t fight off infections or other diseases.

Attacking T-Cells

 

The worst version of an HIV infection is AIDS, and those suffering from it get severe illnesses because their immune system is so damaged.

Damaged Immune Systems

 

In the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic began, those who contracted HIV weren’t likely to live more than a few years. Now, thanks to antiretroviral therapy, their quality of life is much better.

Improving AIDS Quality of Life

 

Antiretroviral therapy helps stop HIV from multiplying. Patients’ immune cells can then live longer and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

People at high risk for contracting HIV/AIDS can take PrEP to help prevent infection.

Protect Yourself with PrEP

Healthy DIY Food Gifts

Healthy DIY Food Gifts

As you get ready for the holidays, be smart about the treats you bring to loved ones with these healthy DIY food gifts.

First up are Rosemary Cheese Crackers perfect for munching. Try using whole-wheat flour!

Rosemary Cheese Crackers
Image and Recipe via Buzzfeed

 

Beautiful Homemade Extracts perfect for holiday baking make great gifts for the baker in your life.

Homemade Extracts
Image and Recipe via Spoon Fork Bacon

 

The tea-lover in your life will love this easy Chai Tea Kit jar as a gift.

Chai Tea Kit
Image and Recipe via Buzzfeed

 

The Easiest Berry Chia Jam is the perfect gift for the breakfast-obsessed person in your life.

Easiest Berry Chia Jam

The Easiest Berry Chia Jam

 

Easy appetizer at the family get-together is covered with Marinated Cheese & Olives.

Marinated Cheese & Olives ~ An Easy Appetizer or Food Gift in a Jar!

 

Add more flavor to every dish with these Flavored Salts made for gifting.

Flavored Salts
Image and Recipe via Country Living

 

Make winter meals easy for your loved ones with these 6 Homemade Soup Mixes in a Jar.

6 Homemade Soup Mixes in a Jar

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

It’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, and the ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Although these changes are part of normal aging, they can affect each individual at different rates.

Just as one plans for retirement, it’s important to plan for your transportation needs.

Planning for Future Transportation

 

December is the perfect time to have a conversation with loved ones as you come together for the holidays.

Talking to Family About Driving As They Age

 

When an older driver decides it’s time for a check-up, useful driving fitness education tools can help identify challenges and help them adjust.

Evaluate Your Ability to Drive As You Age

 

Driving intervention plans, drawn up between a client and therapist, can help older individuals drive safely for as long as possible.

When someone needs to adjust to keep driving or can no longer drive, family and friends can help with resources for independent transportation in the community.

Planning for a Future Without Driving

 

Exploring alternative types of transportation can help older adults stay independent. Options can include community networks, public transit, and ride sharing apps.

Resources to Stay Independent

 

Vision problems and certain medications can also cause issues driving early. Talk to your doctor to get help.

Health Issues and Driving As You Age

Buckwheat Month

Buckwheat Month

It’s Buckwheat Month, and this ingredient can help you go gluten-free and take the place of ingredients like oatmeal and quinoa. Plus, it’s delicious! Give it a try with this week’s healthy buckwheat recipes.

This easy Overnight Coconut Buckwheat Porridge is perfect for busy families.

Overnight Coconut Buckwheat Porridge {VIDEO}

 

This Warm Buckwheat and Beetroot Salad is a beautiful and hearty side dish for any meal.

Warm buckwheat and beetroot salad

 

Whip up these Crispy Buckwheat Breakfast Flatbreads for this weekend’s brunch.

Crispy Buckwheat Breakfast Flatbreads
Image and Recipe via Gather and Feast

 

Buckwheat Crepes are a light take on this kid-friendly favorite.

Buckwheat Crepes {Gluten-Free}

 

Cut out the flour with these Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies this holiday season.

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten Free)

 

Go gluten-free and skip the takeout with this easy and delicious Buckwheat Pizza.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pizza

 

These Apple, Almond, and Buckwheat Muffins will be a hit with the family for breakfasts on the go.

Image and Recipe via Green Kitchen Stories

Prepare for Holiday Travel

Vantage Point: The Gift of Preparedness

The holidays provide the perfect time for people to be out and about, traveling to various destinations.

You think about if you have all the gifts and various outfits with you in case different events arise. Did your family members pack what they need, and did you pack your toothbrush? Those are all very important things to focus on, but have you thought about what you might need if something during your travels goes awry?

Do you have what you need to make it through an unplanned emergency? Yes, I know it’s not fun to think about things that could go wrong. But if you do, it just might help or even be lifesaving, depending on the circumstance. Just one tip to remember when you’re playing the mental game of what could go wrong that I like to remember: not fear, just prepare. Don’t live in fear. Just try to have the basics covered.

Let’s imagine that you’re taking a holiday trip by car to visit family. Let’s say that they are pretty far away, a few hours, and the weather hasn’t been the greatest lately, but today it’s OK. They are forecasting snow closer to where your family lives, but you think you’ll beat the snow by an hour or so. But what if you don’t?

What if the car breaks down, and it throws your timeline off, and you do encounter that snowstorm? And what if you didn’t break down, but the storm is worse than predicted, and you can’t get to your destination? Do you have the supplies you’d need to get help or wait out the storm?

I know it’s literally impossible to plan for all the potential issues, but thinking of it in categories can help you plan the best items to have for you and your family. Think shelter, food, and water as a basic start. Your vehicle can hopefully be your shelter, so what about the other variables?

  • Stay hydrated and fed. 

    Because you’re traveling, you might pass through an area where there aren’t any stores close by, and now the family is hungry, and it doesn’t look like you’ll be moving toward your destination anytime soon. The first item you should think about having with you is water. It’s always smart to have water, from a few jugs or bottles to a whole case. You can never go wrong having extra handy. Next you should think about food. These can range from snack items to protein bars and high-calorie survival bars.

     
  • Keep warm. 

    Because you’re traveling in the winter in our imagined scenario, it’s probably going to be cold in your area. If something happens where you lose the heat in your car, do you have supplies to keep everyone warm? You might think about having warm blankets, hand warmer packets, layers of clothes to put on, and a thermos of warm soup, water, cocoa, or coffee. (And this isn’t the be-all-end-all list, but just some ideas to get you thinking!)

If you’re thinking that those are great starter ideas, but you might need more robust supplies, there are plenty of things out there to help. Winter travel kits at the local box stores make it easy to be prepared in a variety of situations. You can also search for more winter car travel safety tips online.

The possibilities are endless, and you really can tailor your needs to your family and their well-being. Happy travels!

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.

Family Time for the Holidays

Covered Bridge: If Only Time Stood Still

As a child with a birthday in December (of course shortly followed by Christmas), I can say I always wished the first part of December away. I was so excited about all the festivities to come that I merely wanted the days to pass until the real excitement began.

Even though I share a birthday with my twin sister and some of our presents consisted of sharing, I wanted nothing more than to see what gifts we might receive for our birthday. Fast forward 10 days, and all we wanted to see were the gifts we would receive for Christmas, hoping not to have to share those.

That’s usually the way kids work, right?

Now, as an adult, my daughter’s birthday is 2 days from mine, which means I care less about what I get and more about what we get to do for her. My husband and I rarely get gifts for one another. We find much more joy in giving to others than receiving ourselves.

These days, we look forward to making cakes for birthdays and favorite meals for our kids. We look forward to family coming to town to visit and trying our best to get thoughtful gifts for them that we hope they’ll enjoy.

We enjoy the extra company and chaos that ensues with it. We spend more time sitting around the table chatting with family and less time worrying about the cleanup of a meal we spent most of the day preparing. After all, it will be there tomorrow. Our family may not be.

It’s also important to remember that while some of us think of joy and family during the holiday season, others feel isolation and anxiety, and the shorter, darker days and cold weather don’t help. We often forget about those who may be living alone. I encourage you this holiday season to take an extra moment to make time for the ones who may need it more than you know.

During the holidays, which is oftentimes the only time we get to be with distant family, take the extra time to not worry about what can be put off until tomorrow. Spend it talking, communicating, and interacting. We rush through life as children to get to the next exciting moment, but what if the most exciting moments now are the ones shared over a meal and simple conversations?

Happy Holidays!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

National Pomegranate Month

National Pomegranate Month

It’s National Pomegranate Month, and you can work the in-season fruit into both sweet and savory recipes for a fresh burst of flavor. These healthy pomegranate recipes can help you get started.

First up is a beautiful dish for holiday breakfast, Cinnamon Spice and Pomegranate Oatmeal.

Cinnamon Spice and Pomegranate Oatmeal

 

Baked Balsamic Goat Cheese Stuffed Pomegranate Chicken is an easy weeknight dinner for the family.

Baked Balsamic Goat Cheese Stuffed Pomegranate Chicken

 

Lighten up everyone’s favorite with this Caramelized Butternut, Crispy Kale, and Fontina Pizza with pomegranate salsa.

Caramelized Butternut, Crispy Kale, and Fontina Pizza

Caramelized Butternut, Crispy Kale + Fontina Pizza

 

This beautiful Apple-Pomegranate Breakfast Crumble would be perfect for a Christmas morning surprise.

Apple-Pomegranate Breakfast Crumble (Gluten and Grain Free!)

 

Whip up a romantic date night with Beef Filets with Pomegranate-Pinot Sauce.

Fall Farro Salad with Halloumi & Pomegranates
Image and Recipe via My Fitness Pal

 

This Fall Farro Salad with Halloumi & Pomegranates is a celebration of colorful in-season veggies.

Fall Farro Salad w/ Halloumi & Pomegranates

 

Go vegetarian for dinner tonight with Baked Pumpkin with Rocket, Feta, and Pomegranate.

Baked Pumpkin with Rocket, Feta, and Pomegranate
Image and Recipe via Adeline and Lumiere

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