There are benefits of Dry January to your health. Dry January is a term used for ditching alcohol in the first month of the new year. Many people celebrate as an annual tradition and mini-detox from the overindulgence during the holidays. Whatever reason you’re taking part in “Dry January” the benefits are great for your health. There's absolutely nothing wrong with abstaining from or limiting your alcohol intake. Excessive drinking and binge drinking can lead to several negative health effects, including weight gain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and can put you at risk for other health risks. Taking one month off from drinking may not turn back the clock, but it will help you learn where your body is in relation to alcohol and can help your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re starting your Dry January alcohol hiatus, consider taking a look at how much you actually consume when not abstaining and how it can positively affect your health. If you're having several drinks a week, one of the main benefits of dry January could be a decrease in your overall calories, since a standard drink typically has around 150 calories. If you're trying to lose weight, cutting alcohol is one way to do it without compromising any of the fuel and nutrients your body needs. Alcohol contributes calories but doesn't make us feel more satisfied—it often amps up hunger. Also, since alcohol has a dehydrating effect, it can also contribute to bloating, judgement impairment,and could lead you to make poor food choices contributing to weight gain. If you’re feeling the need to clear your mind, focus and improve your sleep and digestion, avoiding alcohol can help you feel more energetic and stay motivated. It can help you get your workouts in and stick to overall healthy eating habits. And the fact that you're not going to the bar can lead to sleeping more, getting up at a decent hour and skipping fewer workouts. Your immune system can also improve with the absence of alcohol. When it comes to your immune system, positive health habits may be more influential than just abstaining from alcohol. Too much alcohol can acutely suppress immune function making you more vulnerable to pathogens, while chronic drinking can lead to inflammatory reactions throughout the body. Additionally, while there isn't data to suggest that ditching booze can protect you from the flu, it's reasonable to assume that drinking less, sleeping more and exercising more can all have a positive influence on your immune system. Dry January will give your liver a break, decreasing the metabolic stress that alcohol puts on the liver. Approximately half of all liver disease deaths are from alcoholic liver disease. As long as you don't use Dry January as an excuse to drink however much you want the other 11 months of the year, it will have positive impacts on most parts of your life and can help improve your health for months to come. Check in with yourself before your first February toast and see if you can keep the momentum for the remainder of 2019.
Youth Suicide Prevention Week In order to bring awareness to mental health in your youth, we’d like to tell you about “Youth Suicide Prevention Week”, and awareness week happening September 9-15. Although this is just a week, this is an issue that needs to be discussed year long. As healthcare providers, we are partaking in youth mental health screenings to ensure issues are brought to light before anything serious happens. The following is a list of warning signs your youth may be in trouble and at risk for suicidal behaviors:
- Talking about or making plans for suicide
- Expressing hopelessness about the future
- Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
- Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant:
- Withdrawal from or changing in social connections/situations
- Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
- Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
- Recent increased agitation or irritability
Five Healthy Snacking Ideas If you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight, we have a few ideas for you on the snack front. Snacking is normal, it’s hard not to snack a little bit throughout the day, but make sure you’re choosing healthy snacks instead of items that are bad for you. Snacks should generally be a combination of a protein, healthy fat and fiber. Though, they should not be a substitute for a meal. The key is to make sure you’re snacking smartly. Snacks should be a combination of a protein, healthy fat and fiber. You don't need to be a calorie counter, but it’s important to note — so your snacks don’t become meals — that they should be kept to approximately 150-200 calories. Seven Healthy snack ideas include: 1. Roasted Artichoke Hearts Artichoke hearts are ridiculously easy to make (see simple recipe here), They satisfy that crunchy craving while providing fiber and beneficial nutrients such as anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that are great for your overall health. The fiber will help you feel fuller longer and feed those beneficial bacteria in your gut. 2. Beetroot Dip A combo of greek yogurt and beets is the base for this dip (see beetroot dip recipe here). It is loaded with protein, which helps keep your hunger at bay by providing satiety and boosts your metabolism too. Plus, the beets offer beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and magnesium. Feel free to load up on the raw veggies, but keep the dipping to a few tablespoons. If beets aren’t your thing, you can simply grab your favorite Greek yogurt and top it with berries, sliced almonds or coconut flakes instead. 3. Rosemary Spiced Nuts Rosemary spiced nuts (see the spiced nut recipe here) are nutrient powerhouses packed with protein, fat and fiber, all which help to curb cravings so you don’t overeat at your next meal. They are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants such as vitamin E. Grab a small handful next time you’re hungry or give these rosemary spiced nuts a try. Adding herbs such as rosemary will make your snacks feel extra satisfying. 4, Apple Fries and Dip These may not be the real fries you are used to, but they are just as tasty (see Apple fries recipe here). The apple slices are high in disease-fighting antioxidants and flavonoids, while the peanut butter and Greek yogurt dip packs in healthy fats and protein. For an extra flavorful and nutritious boost, sprinkle cinnamon to help control blood-sugar levels and keep your metabolism in check. Use a medium-size apple and 1-2 tablespoons for each dipping session. 5. Veggie Chips Baking your favorite veggies make for great snacks. Make veggie chips (such as these kale chips or roasted beet chip recipes) to create the perfect salty, crunchy snack without all the processing and additives that come with packaged chips. Munch on these nutritious, tasty chips (approximately 1 cup) for a simple way to sneak in some extra veggies and keep you fueled all day long. These are a start, but make sure to ask your doctor for additional help with your weight loss or diet goals.
Teens and Mental Health: The New American Academy of Pediatrics Report Did you know, as many as one in every five teens experience depression at some point during adolescence? Unfortunately, these teens often go undiagnosed and untreated, sometimes because of a lack of access to mental health specialists. Pediatricians and other primary care providers (doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, etc.) are often in the best position to identify and help struggling teens. Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published updated medical guidelines on adolescent depression. This is a two part guideline was published last month. This is the first update to the guidelines in 10 years, serving as a tool for physicians and offering recommendations for the patient and family members’ participation. This important document can be found at the following links:
- Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care:(GLAD-PC): Part I. Practice Preparation, Identification, Assessment, andInitial Management
- Guidelines for Adolescent Depression in Primary Care:(GLAD-PC): Part II. Treatment and Ongoing Management
- Providing a treatment team that includes the patient, family and access to mental health expertise
- Offering education and screening tools to identify, assess and diagnose patients
- Counseling on depression and options for management of the disorder
- Developing a treatment plan with specific goals in functioning in the home, peer and school settings.
- Developing a safety plan, as needed, which includes restricting lethal means, such as firearms in the home, and providing emergency communication methods.