Author Archives: Rex Healthcare

Three-Bean Salad

This tangy bean salad is perfect for a picnic, and inexpensive to make. It only costs about $0.79 per serving to make this recipe!

092214_beansaladIngredients

  • 1 can lima beans (8.5 ounce)
  • 1 can cut green beans (8 ounce)
  • 1 can red kidney beans (8 ounce)
  • 1 onion (medium, thinly sliced and separated into two rings)
  • ½ cup bell pepper (chopped sweet green)
  • 8 ounces Italian salad dressing (fat-free)

Directions

1. Drain the canned beans.
2. Peel and slice the onion and separate into rings.
3. Chop the green bell pepper.
4. In a large bowl, combine the lima beans, green beans, kidney beans, onion rings and green bell pepper.
5. Pour the Italian dressing over the vegetables and toss lightly.
6. Cover the bowl and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. The salad can be left in the refrigerator overnight.
7. Drain before serving.

Number of servings: 4 Nutrition facts per serving: 170 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium, 35 g total carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 7 g protein, 4 percent vitamin A, 30 percent vitamin C, 2 percent calcium, 6 percent iron.

Recipe courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recipefinder.nal.usda.go.

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Good-for-You Cornbread

Try this healthier version of a classic comfort food and serve it up with chili or stew.

082514_cornbreadIngredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup soft tub margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (to grease baking pan)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and egg. Beat lightly.
  4. Slowly add buttermilk and egg mixture to dry ingredients.
  5. Add margarine and mix by hand or with mixer for 1 minute.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes in an 8×8-inch, greased baking dish. Cool. Cut into 10 squares.


Serves 10.
Nutrition facts (per serving): 178 calories, 6 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 22 mg cholesterol, 94 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 132 mg potassium.

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Back to School Safety Tips

As a new school year begins, it’s important for parents and children to take steps to help ensure safe and enjoyable school days. Here are some age-appropriate safety tips you can share with your children as they head off to school.

Tips for grade-schoolers

082514_school1Know the walking route. It’s important that young children understand how to get to and from school safely. If your child walks to school, pair him or her with a walking buddy. Ask that your child stick to the same pre-determined route every day, so that in case of an emergency, you’ll know his or her whereabouts. Have your child practice looking both ways before crossing the street and remind him or her to not talk to strangers.

Understand the bus rules. If your child rides the bus to school, teach him or her about proper bus etiquette. Wake County has reduced the number of bus stops this year, so make sure to check your bus route to see if it has changed.

Play it safe. Playground injuries are the leading cause of injury to school children ages 5 to 14 and to children in childcare.* Inspect your local playground, making sure adequate precautions are taken to prevent and/or minimize falls. If an injury does occur, make sure to check the Rex Express Care wait times on your way to urgent care.

Tips for teens

082514_school2Prevent sports injuries. Sports injuries are common among active teens – but they don’t have to be. Encourage your teen to use the right equipment (shoes, protective gear, etc.) for his or her sport, to warm up before playing and to rest when tired. Also, remind your teen to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Lighten the load. Heavy backpacks place undo stress upon a teen’s back and shoulders, which can lead to pain, stiffness and poor posture. Help your teen lighten up by buying him or her a quality backpack with padding and wide shoulder straps. The backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 10% to 15% of your child’s body weight. If it does, remove unnecessary items. Your teen should also carry the backpack over both shoulders to evenly distribute the weight.

Tips for college students

082514_school3Be aware of your surroundings. College students, especially new freshmen, sometimes feel that they’re immune to crime simply because they are on a college campus. Unfortunately, crime can happen anywhere. Students should take the necessary precautions, such as traveling with a group and avoiding compromising situations to ensure their personal safety. Most colleges and universities provide security personnel who will escort students to evening classes or to other campus facilities at night.

Protect your possessions. Students should keep their belongings safe by locking dorm rooms and windows and never leaving backpacks, purses, laptops, cell phones, etc. unattended.

* Source: Safe Kids Worldwide, www.safekids.org.

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Kristie’s Rex Sprint Triathlon Experience


Post by Kristie, Rex Wellness Center of Garner Member

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Kristie on Race Day morning

My triathlon journey began two years ago when I attended my friend’s triathlon. I just went to support her, but when I left her event, I caught the “bug.” At the time, I was pregnant with my twin boys and I remember thinking, “just let me get these boys out and settled – I’m doing that!” After they were a year old, I thought I would start to prepare myself for the triathlon, but I knew I needed a pool and the gym fees discouraged me. So I just signed up for a half marathon instead. While this was fun and definitely a bucket list item, my heart still wanted to do a tri.

I ultimately joined Rex Wellness Center and began the road to the triathlon. I had NO idea what I was doing. I was already a runner so I felt the most comfortable with this portion. My bike purchase was only a few months earlier and had only logged greenway miles because of my fear of the road. I knew how to swim from childhood lessons, but somehow felt that meant nothing competitively. So I decided to spend the most of my time in the pool and on the bike.

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Kristie and her fellow Rex Tri trainees

Right around the time I began my membership, I started receiving the weekly newsletters from the wellness center. In one particular newsletter, I read that you could submit your name to potentially win triathlon training from a well-known triathlete!   My initial thought was I NEVER win anything, but I signed up anyway because I knew if I didn’t sign up I CERTAINLY wouldn’t win. Let me just say, when I got the email that I was one of the ones chosen, I just about exploded with excitement because now I KNEW that my goal could be achieved now. The best part was knowing who would be training me- the infamous Rodney Jenkins!

We met initially and he asked me if I had support at home because training for a tri would take commitment. With 3 kids at home and working full time at night, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I discussed this with my husband Jason and my parents, and they supported me fully. Rodney ran through all the things I needed, and I went out and got everything required for the tri.

I looked the part, now I had to train for the part. I soon met Theresa, last year’s Rodney-triathlon-protege and Angie, Rodney’s wife, and these two would help me a lot along my journey with their encouragement. We were all able to get some road miles in on the bike and I continued the swim journey on my own. I was introduced to Shannon Thomsen and he helped me tremendously on shifting gears and hill work. I was able to learn from him how to use the terrain to my advantage with the hills. His patience and confidence in me boosted my confidence level and I thank him for that.

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Swim portion of the Mock tri

The mock triathlon occurred one week before the Garner Triathlon and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. We all went out and I got to experience how it might be on race day, and it taught me several things. First, I now knew it was possible because I completed it! Secondly, it taught me what it feels like to be in the pool with others that have varying skill levels. I got to feel what it was like to pass someone and have someone pass me. Lastly, I learned what a great supportive family there was in our own Rex family of triathletes. Everyone had wonderful things to say. While I felt slower than them, they all said I did a great job. No one ever made me feel like I was wasting their time. It was a great feeling.

On race day, the adrenaline was definitely pumping! I arrived at 5:45 and Shannon and Theresa helped me set up. Body marking was next. Afterwards, it became a waiting game. As I got in the water, it really sank in, and all I could say was here goes nothing!

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Kristie crosses the finish line faster than her goal time!

At this point I had to trust my training. I estimated that I could swim in 7 minutes and I did just that. The bike transition happened faster than I had anticipated, and because I had ridden the course a few times, I knew what to expect. The run transition was fast and the brick training helped me get on the road without feeling too tired. I actually ran my 2 miles faster than I had anticipated. I finished the whole thing in 1 hour and 12 minutes. I was shooting for 1 hour 15 minutes so I was very excited.

To anyone who wants to do this, you can do it! It is possible. After all, I am a mom of three young kids and a full time nurse who works nights. It is possible. You just have to believe in yourself and run your own race! I am signed up for the second and third part of the Rex Triathlon Series and hope to do an Olympic Distance Triathlon next year. It is my ultimate goal to do a 70.3 Half Ironman. Then maybe, just maybe take it even further. We will see! Thank you Rex Wellness Family for the opportunity and the support!

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Prevent Foodborne Illness

072514_foodborne4Picnics, grilling, camping — summer was made for dining outdoors. But outdoor cooking experiences can also present unique challenges for food safety. Don’t let foodborne illness ruin your summer fun. Follow these safety tips to ensure your summer cookouts go off without a hitch.

Wash your hands and all cooking surfaces and utensils. If you are going to be camping somewhere without safe water, bring your own water and soap. Do not assume fresh water from lakes or streams is safe just because it looks clear — always disinfect water first by bringing to a rolling boil for one minute (longer if camping at high altitudes). You can also use disposable wipes for washing hands and quick cleanup.

072514_foodborne2Keep perishable food cold. Pack meats and other frozen products directly into a cooler without thawing first to keep them cold longer for picnics and camping trips. Try to pack food that will be cooked later toward the bottom of the cooler. Use a separate cooler for beverages that will be opened more often. Pack coolers as full as possible to help keep items cold, and fill extra space with large blocks of ice or frozen gel packs. Keep coolers out of the sun and covered with a blanket or tarp if possible.

Marinate the right way. To ensure your food is safe, marinate only in a refrigerated environment. Poultry and cubed meat can be marinated for up to two days. Beef, pork, steaks and lamb can be marinated for up to five days. If you plan on using the marinade in cooked food, keep a portion separate from the raw meat to use later. If you do serve marinade you’ve used to marinate the raw meat, it should be boiled first to destroy bacteria.

If you do suspect food poisoning, don’t hesitate to to go to your nearest Rex Express Care for treatment.

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Make a Splash with Water-Based Exercise

072514_swimming1If you find that activities like running or biking put too much strain on your body, or if you’re ready for a change in routine, water-based exercise may be the answer you’re looking for. From water aerobics to hydrotherapy, aquatic activities have many positive health benefits for individuals of all ages and abilities.

As a low-impact physical activity, water-based exercise allows you to reap the aerobic benefits of high-impact physical exercise without the wear and tear on your body that traditional aerobic exercises may cause. Water-based physical therapy (hydrotherapy) can help individuals with chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, improve the use of affected joints without aggravating symptoms.

072514_swimming3Individuals dealing with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, may find that exercising in water relieves their anxiety about being active and may even relieve pain by increasing blood flow to the muscles. If you don’t suffer from chronic disease, but still cope with joint or muscle pain, you may also see health improvements when changing from a land-based to a water-based exercise program.

Water aerobics and other water activities can also be beneficial to your mental health. Swimming can improve your mood by reducing stress and aiding relaxation. Exercising in warm water may also help relieve symptoms of depression in people with fibromyalgia.

Make it a family affair

072514_swimming2Besides being beneficial to your physical and mental health, recreational water activities are fun for the entire family and can help you forge stronger family connections. From going to the beach to playing on the water slide at your community pool, there are a variety of ways to enjoy the water with your family. Just be sure to follow safety rules and keep a sharp eye on small children and non-swimmers.

Take the plunge

Whether you’re looking for a low-impact exercise, an easy way to relax or a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the entire family, jumping in the water may be just what you need.

Float the idea by your doctor

Talk to your doctor to determine if aquatic exercises or hydrotherapy may benefit you. All five of our Wellness Centers have indoor swimming pools available for members, and all wellness centers offer a variety of aqua group exercises classes. Check them out today!

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Keep Bugs at Bay

If the warm temperatures and sunshine beckon you outdoors this summer, don’t let biting bugs drive you back inside. Wearing insect repellent is one way to help protect you and your loved ones from the bite of pesky — and sometimes dangerous — bugs.

Why repellent?

062414_bugtbite1Some mosquitoes and ticks transmit viruses or bacteria that may cause diseases like Lyme disease, West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis when they bite you. In addition to wearing long sleeves and long pants and avoiding bug-friendly habitats like tall grass and standing water, applying insect repellent to skin can keep bugs from landing on you. To choose the best repellent for you, consider the insects you’ll be exposed to, the length of protection you need and the active ingredient. The higher the concentration of the active ingredient, the longer the protection.

Active ingredients

The most common and effective active ingredient is DEET. An EPA data review in 1998 confirmed that when users follow product label instructions, DEET poses no health concerns to humans. Many products promise protection of about two and a half hours, depending on concentration. Experts suggest that a concentration higher than 30 percent offers no additional protection.

062414_bugtbite3Other EPA-approved active ingredients include picaridin and several plant-based oils. Picaridin may be as effective as DEET according to recent studies, but there is no data showing long-term safety results. Further research is needed to understand how well the active ingredient repels ticks, as well. Plant-based insect repellents are made from the essential oils of citronella, cedar, eucalyptus and soybeans, with oil of lemon eucalyptus being the most effective. These products may offer protection for up to two hours. There are also citronella-scented candles that you can put outside of your home to make sitting outdoors more enjoyable.

062414_bugtbite2Application safety

  • Always read the product label and follow the directions.
  • Use just enough to cover exposed skin. Do not apply under clothing.
  • Avoid applying on or near eyes, mouth, ears and open sores.
  • Do not spray directly to face or in an enclosed area.
  • Wash skin and clothing with soap and water once you return indoors.

If you do get a bug bite that needs to be treated, Rex Express Care Centers are the perfect place to go. Check out our list of locations to find the nearest Rex Express Care to your home.

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Recipe: Fruit Pizza

Are you a pizza lover? Add more fresh fruit to your day with this fruit-inspired dessert pizza.

Number of servings: 12

062414_fruitpizzaIngredients

  • ½ cup margarine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, nonfat or light
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced (or kiwi, bananas, pears, peaches or blueberries)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. To make the crust: Cream margarine, sugar, vanilla and egg until light and fluffy.
  3. Add flour and baking powder, mixing well.
  4. Spread mixture about 1/8-inch thick on a pizza pan, baking sheet, or 9-inch by 13-inch pan.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
  6. Mix together cream cheese and sugar. Spread on cooled cookie crust.
  7. Arrange fruit on top of pizza. Refrigerate until serving time.

Serves 12. Per serving: 240 calories, 8 g fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 36 g total carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 19 g sugar, 6 g protein, 8 percent vitamin A, 15 percent vitamin C, 10 percent calcium, 6 percent iron.

recipefinder.nal.usda.gov

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Get Fired Up about Safe Grilling

052814_grill2When summer winds come blowing in, you can bet the aroma of grilling will be in the air. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, three out of four households own grills. Ensure your backyard barbecues are safe for your family and friends by sparking your knowledge about food and grill safety.

Make sure frozen meat, poultry or seafood is thawed before grilling so that it cooks evenly. The refrigerator works best for slow, safe defrosting. You may also place sealed packages of frozen meat in cold water to thaw. Never defrost meat at room temperature, as this can promote bacteria growth and foodborne illness.

052814_grill4Marinades can boost the flavor of meat and help keep it moist. You can marinate meat for several hours or a day or two in the refrigerator. As with defrosting, the kitchen counter is no place to marinate meat. If you plan to use a portion of the marinade for cooked food, make sure to boil the marinade for at least three minutes to kill any bacteria.

Marinade bonus: Not only can marinades enhance flavor, they may provide health benefits. Marinating meats before grilling may reduce cancer-causing substances that occur when meat is charred over high heat. In addition, some marinades contain antioxidants and vitamins that may offer protection against heart disease and cell and tissue damage.

052814_grill3Scrub the grilling surface with a wire grill brush to remove any charred food. Have plenty of clean grilling utensils and platters on hand, and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria by using different platters and utensils for raw meat and cooked meat. Thoroughly wash your hands with warm, soapy water after handling raw meat.

Instruct children to stay away from the grill, and keep pets away from the grilling area. Set up your barbecuing station in a well-ventilated area and only use approved fire starters with a charcoal grill. Let the starter fluid burn off before putting food on the grill, and keep a squirt bottle of water nearby to douse any flare-ups. When heating up the grill and flipping food, wear flameproof mitts and use cooking utensils with long handles.

Heat meat to a safe internal temperature to kill bacteria. Use a food thermometer and place it in the deepest part of the meat to determine if it’s done (see chart). Turn meat at least once during the cooking process, and make sure it is no longer pink inside.

052814_grill1When food has reached a safe temperature, remove the meat with clean tongs and place it on a clean platter. Serve food as soon as possible after cooking. In hot weather, food should never sit out for more than one hour. Immediately refrigerate any leftovers in shallow containers.

Now you’re ready to make grilling season a breeze! By following these health and safety tips, you’ll know your grill has the sweet smell of success.

Ready to Serve?

Food                                                                                        Cook to at Least…

Whole poultry and thighs                                                           180°F

Poultry breasts                                                                          170°F

Ground poultry                                                                         165°F

Pork (all cuts), ground beef hamburgers                                     160°F

Beef, veal, lamb steaks, roasts and chops, fish and seafood       145°F

 

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The Sun’s Out: Seek Protection and Be Sun Smart!


052714_meridethprofilePost by Meredith Brown, Rex Wellness Centers intern for the Summer of 2014. Meredith is a senior at East Carolina University majoring in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health.

The summer is just around the corner and for most of us that means weekend trips to the beach, hanging by the pool, evening walks, and grilling out with family and friends. While the summer brings fun in the sun it can also bring some not so fun times – SUNBURN.

052714_sunscreen1As a child, my mom would apply the sunscreen every hour. I was taken care of and had no need to worry. As I reached my teenage years, sitting by the pool or beach getting bronzed became fun and something I loved about summer months. In high school, I went on a beach trip with friends.  At this age, I rarely bothered with using sunscreen because I only wanted darker skin and I thought sunscreen was blocking the sun from me altogether-I was very wrong! Needless to say, I got burned. Severely burned! Sitting out in the sun for 7 hours with no protection in my cute bikini was not the best idea.

I still love being in the sun as it gives me time to relax and read – two things I rarely have time for these days!  Although now, I have learned from many severe sunburns that not using sunscreen all can be very damaging to my skin and my future.

Here are some helpful tips for beach trips, pool days, and days out in the sun during the summertime:

  • 052714_sunscreen2The experts say that using the ridiculously high SPF sunscreens are useless. Instead, go for a SPF between 15 and 60.
  • Remember to reapply every 2-3 hours. Many sunscreens rub off and fade away after periods of time so continue to reapply throughout the day, especially when jumping in and out of water.
  • Pay attention to the ingredients in your sunscreen products.
  • Always protect your face.  Apply sunscreen and pack a hat or umbrella to seek coverage when you need an escape from the sun.
  • Each sunburn can double your chance of skin cancers, especially sunburns in your youth.

Always remember to be responsible when enjoying the sun this summer. Use sunscreen and have fun!

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