Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Sweet Potato Awareness Month

Sweet Potato Awareness Month

It’s Sweet Potato Awareness Month, and fall is the perfect time to make the most of this veggie. Try these healthy sweet potato recipes all season long.

First up is a Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl that’s a great replacement for oatmeal or cereal.

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

 

These Twice Baked Chicken Fajita Sweet Potatoes are an easy all-in-one meal.

Twice Baked Chicken Fajita Sweet Potatoes
Image and Recipe via Big Oven

 

Taco night is going vegetarian with light Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Tacos | Vegetarian

 

This Roasted Garlic and Sweet Potato Polenta is perfect for nice holiday dinners with guests.

Roasted Garlic-and-Sweet-Potato Polenta
Image and Recipe via Real Simple

 

Combine all your breakfast favorites in these Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.

Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

 

Creamy Salmon Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls are a beautiful replacement for takeout.

Creamy Salmon Sweet Potato Noodle Bowls (Paleo + Whole30)

 

This warm and savory Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice is great for chilly nights.

Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice

Coconut Sweet Potato Lentil Soup with Rice.

World Kindness Week

World Kindness Week

It’s World Kindness Week, and it’s the perfect time to give back, give thanks, and do something nice for your loved ones or community.

Bring flowers to your grandmother or the nice older lady next door, have tea, and listen to some of their stories and memories. You’ll probably learn something and brighten their day.

Tea with Grandma

 

Write notes of inspiration and kindness on slips of paper and stick them in books you’re lending to friends or library books you’re returning for the next reader to find.

Notes of Inspiration in Library Books

 

Cook a meal for a friend of family member going through a hard time or even just a busy season at work.

Cook a Meal for Friends

 

Go to the nearest public park with friends and pick up trash or volunteer with a group to clean up alongside highways.

Picking Up Trash

 

Bake extra of your favorite dessert and bring them to work to share or deliver them to a friend who could use a nice surprise.

Bake for Others

 

Babysit your friend or family member’s kids so they can go out on a date night or make time for self-care. Or pet-sit while they go on vacation.

Pay for coffee for the car behind you in the drive-thru or dinner for a couple or family at the same restaurant as you.

Pay It Forward with Coffee

Epilepsy Awareness Month

Epilepsy Awareness Month

It’s Epilepsy Awareness Month, and epilepsy is the 4th-most common neurological disorder.

While epilepsy is a spectrum of many kinds of seizure types and levels of severity, misunderstandings of the disease from others can cause challenges sometimes worse than the seizures.

If you’ve ever had a seizure or seen someone have a seizure, they can be scary. Learn more about how they work.

Understanding Seizures

 

If you see someone having a seizure, knowing what to do can save a life. Know how to respond.

Seizure First Aid

 

Adults living with active epilepsy are more likely to have unhealthy behaviors or other chronic health problems, which can worsen the symptoms of epilepsy. A healthy lifestyle can help.

Healthy Lifestyles and Epilepsy

 

Many states have varying laws about driving with epilepsy, and transportation can be a challenge for those living with epilepsy. Learn more.

Epilepsy and Transportation

 

An important part of having and caregiving for epilepsy is knowing how it affects independence and day-to-day living. These resources can help.

Living Independently with Epilepsy

 

If you’re living with epilepsy and have suffered from discrimination, you have legal rights. Learn more about these and getting legal help.

Epilepsy and Legal Protections

Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month

Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month

It’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month. Gluten-free diets are commonly used to treat Celiac disease, sensitivities, and allergies. If you or your loved ones need this kind of diet, these recipes can help this holiday season.

First up is a transformed comfort food, Gluten-Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles

Gluten Free Zucchini Chicken Parmesan Bundles

 

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Oatmeal is ideal for family gatherings during the holidays.

Gluten-Free Gingerbread Oatmeal
Image and Recipe via The Blissful Balance

 

Whip up a perfect fall dinner with this Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili.

Gluten-Free Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
Image and Recipe via The Conscientious Eater

 

This Gluten-Free Creamy Mushroom Risotto makes an impressive light dinner for guests.

Creamy Mushroom Risotto (Vegan + GF)

 

Lighten up grab-and-go breakfast with these Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins.

Gluten Free Paleo Pumpkin Muffins with Almond Flour

 

Making pasta at home doesn’t have to be a challenge! Try Gluten-Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese.

Gluten-Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese:

Gluten Free Ravioli with Spinach and Cheese

 

These soft Healthy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cookies will be a hit this holiday season.

Healthy Gluten Free Pumpkin Cookies

Care for Pets in Holidays and Hard Times

Vantage Point: Fur Babies

November, where did you come from? I swear it was just yesterday that I was stressing out about what I was going to buy to contribute for Thanksgiving dinner last year.

Full disclosure, I’m not a very good cook.

During the holidays, most of us get lists ready of everything we would like to accomplish before the festivities begin. Along with those lists, we still have to do our daily tasks, like taking care of our families and our pets. These four-legged children are a part of our families, and we want them to feel loved during the holidays and for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, the holidays mean a stressful financial burden for many people. It never fails that life happens and that bad situations happen all at once. When dealing with your four-legged children, they might need some care during this busy season and cause extra expenses you are not expecting. Thankfully, our community has different resources to help support those unexpected situations.

The Wenatchee Valley Humane Society has many programs that can assist during the difficult times. One of the programs they offer is Pets for Life, which has the intent of “keeping people and pets together during the times they need each other most.”

This program can help board pets without cost if the owner can’t afford to do so. Typically, our seniors use this program when they need to be admitted for inpatient care and don’t have anybody to watch over their pets. Pets for Life can also help with the financial burden if your pet needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian, and it can also help supply food for your pets.

Another wonderful program the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society offers is a low-cost spay and neuter program to help low-income citizens spay or neuter their pets at a very low cost. If you or anybody you know could use these services, call the Wenatchee Valley Humane Society at 509-662-9577 or stop by.

Knowing that we have such an amazing place that can help with our pets offers peace of mind to get geared up for our busy season. The holidays are intended to be full of love and joy and spent with everyone you care about. This includes our pets, and thanks to the assistance of this organization, we can feel comfortable that our pets will be by our side.

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

An App for Better Dental Health

Long View: Dialing In to Better Dental Health

I have a confession to make. My toothbrush talks to my cellphone, and I’m pretty much OK with that. I’ve brushed my teeth well over 36,000 times in my time on this planet, and suddenly now, in my 50th year, I need my phone to tell me if I’ve been doing it correctly.

Having good teeth is a genetic gift I inherited from my grandmother. She grew up in an era before there was fluoride in the drinking water, and her father didn’t believe in traditional medicine. I wonder if she ever even went to the dentist as a child. And yet, when she passed away, well into her 90s, she didn’t have a single cavity.

I’m lucky to have inherited her teeth DNA. I’ve only had two cavities in my life and both came after a pregnancy and were so shallow I didn’t even need Novocain. So they don’t count.

This is good news because I have a very low gag threshold and can’t stand having any kind of metal dental instrument in my mouth. Just getting X-rays at the dentist once a year is traumatic for me. I have to give myself a pep talk while biting down. “Just breathe and don’t throw up, just breathe and don’t throw up.” If I had to withstand anything more exotic than a quick cleaning, the dentist would probably have to sedate me.

Getting back to my talking toothbrush, thanks to Bluetooth technology, an app on my phone tells me if I’m brushing long enough, too hard, too soft, or not long enough in a certain area. How my phone knows this is pure sorcery in my opinion, but I’m taking my phone’s advice and trying to do a better job of brushing. After all, good oral hygiene is a part of our overall health and well-being.

In my line of work, I get a lot of feedback from seniors on Medicare. Time and time again, one of their questions is, “How am I going to pay for my dental care?” This is a valid question because original Medicare does not pay for dental care. Without purchasing a separate dental insurance policy, the expenses of cleanings, X-rays, cavities, root canals, crowns, partials or even dentures must come out of your own pocket. (Whew, just typing those procedures made me queasy.)

Some people get to remain on their company’s dental insurance policy when they retire. Others will decide to purchase private dental insurance as part of their overall retirement health insurance expenses. Many people that don’t have these options are kind of left wondering what to do now.

There are many Medicare Advantage plans that offer members a set-amount dental benefit along with medical coverage to help offset some of the expense of dental care. It won’t provide as extensive of coverage as a private dental insurance policy does, but the benefit does help offset some (or all if you have teeth like my grandmother’s) expenses of good dental care.

If keeping your pearly whites in working order is a priority for you but the extra expense of full-blown dental insurance isn’t, a Medicare Advantage plan might be a solution. While you’re at it, you can consider looking into one of those high-tech toothbrushes like mine. As your mother always told you, the best dental care starts with good brushing habits.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Vegetarian Month

Vegetarian Month

It’s Vegetarian Month, and whether you’re a longtime vegetarian, interested in trying it for a week, or just looking for Meatless Monday meal ideas, these healthy vegetarian recipes will be perfect for adding to your rotation.

First up are Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce that make the most of eggs and potatoes.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
Image and Recipe via Little Spice Jar

 

Game day cravings don’t have to be heavy with this Creamy Vegetarian White Chili.

Creamy Vegetarian White Chili

 

This beautiful Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake is so delicious, no one will guess it’s also healthy.

Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake

 

Looking to lighten up your burrito bowl craving? Try this Taco Grain Bowl with Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas.

Taco Grain Bowl With Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas

 

Save on your takeout budget with this homemade Chickpea and Potato Masala that’s just $1.72 per serving.

Chana Aloo Masala (Chickpea and Potato Masala)

 

These Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles are vegetarian but also protein-packed.

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

 

Whip up Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for an easy dinner that’s ready in just 25 minutes.

Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron