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The Trouble With TV… You Are What You Watch!

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When it comes to eating, you are what you watch.

We’ve all been guilty of mindless munching when sitting in front of the TV, but research from Yale University suggests that what you watch may impact how much you eat.

In the study, children and adults were shown a half hour of television with different sets of advertising in each.  Children aged 7 to 11 years who watched commercials for food ate 45 percent more snack food than the children who were shown the same programming but with commercials that didn’t feature food.  The children in the study didn’t go looking for the food that was advertised, but were interested in any snack food.

Among adults, those who saw advertisements for unhealthy snack food ate significantly more than those who saw spots for healthy food or good nutrition.  The really bad news?  Those habits continued even after the television was off.

Consumer and health groups that are concerned with America’s obesity epidemic—particularly among children—endorse government regulation of food advertising during children’s programming.  But many food marketers already self-regulate.  Frito-Lay, manufacturer of Doritos, Lay’s, Ruffles, Cheetos and Fritos, does not advertise at all during children’s programming, and General Mills, which makes Trix, Lucky Charms and other cereals, only advertises products with fewer than 175 calories and 12 grams of sugar per serving.

Both companies have joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a voluntary group of companies that have pledged to shift the mix of advertising to children to include messages about healthy eating.  Other members include McDonald’s, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Hershey.

Take note of what is being advertised when your kids watch TV.  If there’s too much food advertising, consider turning the TV off or tuning in another program.  Be ready to counter triggered snacking with healthy options like yogurt and vegetables.

And watch your own compulsive eating, too.  Be aware of hunger triggers that have nothing to do with hunger like boredom, restlessness, and food smells. And you can now add food advertising to that list.

When reaching for the chips, ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”  If the answer is no, skip the snack, but also try to identify the trigger so that you’re aware of it the next time it tries to sabotage your success.  Knowing why you want to eat helps you get control of your snacking triggers.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with nutritional planning, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. Mountains Community Hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.


Reducing Cholesterol Doesn’t Mean Living a Life of Deprivation

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The doctor glances at your test results, “Hmmm,” he says with a note of concern. “Your cholesterol levels trouble me.” It’s at that point that thoughts of celery sticks, grapefruit and other equally uninspiring foods taunt your butter-loving palate.

The good news is there is no need to adopt a diet of “rabbit food.” You can still choose delicious foods you want to eat while reducing your cholesterol.

The Good News

Here are just a few substitutions that you can make that won’t rock your world:

Go nuts. Instead of crackers or chips, get your crunch fix from almonds and walnuts. Almonds and walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fat, the “good fat” that can lower your LDL (bad cholesterol), while boosting HDL (good cholesterol.” Plus, clinical studies show that almonds are a great weight loss aid, filling you up quickly, so you feel satisfied and eat less.

Give turkey a try. Ground turkey contains half the saturated fat of 85 percent lean ground beef and is an easy substitution i most recipes. When you add your favorite seasonings, you won’t be able to tell that the marinara, meatloaf or chili is made with turkey.

There’s something fishy going on! While turkey and children are good low-cholesterol substitutions for beef, your best bet is fish. Not only is seafood low in fat, it contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends you eat fish at least twice a week.

Get creative with Condiments. One of the biggest culprits is a high-cholesterol diet is condiments. Salad dressings, mayonnaise and dips can have more cholesterol and fat in two tablespoons than the entire rest of your meal. When making dip or dressing, use plain yogurt instead of sour cream. make sandwich spreads from avocado or tofu. Try vinegar and lemon juice on salads, or add in flavorful fruits and vegetable and a nice piece of grilled salmon and forgo dressing altogether.

Minimize your Loss with Applesauce. Applesauce can be substituted for oil in almost any baking recipe, not only eliminating the fat and cholesterol in the oil but also adding the fiber and nutrients of the applesauce to your cookies, cakes and muffins. Substitute the amount of oil called for in the recipe with the same measured amount of applesauce. Don’t like applesauce? Try mashed bananas or zucchini.

Making these substitutions does not give you a pass to eat all the cheese, ice cream and eggs you want. To get a handle on high cholesterol, you still have to eat a diet low in fat, watch your weight and get more exercise. But with just a little effort, you can learn to eat foods that will better help you to control your health without sacrificing taste.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with cholesterol testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

Untimely Allergy Season Underscores the Benefits of Testing

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Are you a victim of allergies?

Are you far from being your usually healthy and chipper self?  Are your sinuses clogged and sore?  Are your eyes watering so it looks like you’ve been crying for days? How about your nose; it is running like the Danube river? Are you sneezing all the time but don’t have a cold? If so, that may not be a cold you’re contending with.  An unusually damp late summer and early fall, combined with an unusually mild winter thus far has resulted in a significant amount of pollen in the air that typically doesn’t arrive until spring.  The result is a lot of misery for a lot of people who have been caught off guard

With one out of every five Americans suffering from some type of allergy, if they find out what’s causing it the allergy is almost always treatable. While it may take awhile to pinpoint the source of the irritant, it is almost always possible to get relief by either staying away from it or taking some type of medication to prevent the symptoms.

Many allergies are genetic and are passed down from generation to generation and can include everything from mold and mildew to flowers, animals, the weather, food, smog, medication and latex gloves to name only a few. Did you know if one of your parents had allergies that increases the chance 30 percent that you will have them too at some point in your life? If both parents suffer or suffered from allergies the chance that their children will have them jumps to a whopping 60 percent.

Historically, when people have an airborne allergy it almost always affects their head and what otherwise might be a cold, isn’t. Allergic reactions can be classified as those that occur when the immune system encounters and overreacts to substances that are not genuinely harmful. According to the Nasonex website people who are susceptible to nasal allergies have immune systems that react to an airborne allergy by creating an antibody called immunoglobulin. This antibody fights the airborne substance but it also creates inflammation which ends up as that stuffy feeling in your head.

Asthma may be tied to allergies. According to researchers at the National Institute of Health, more than half of all current asthma cases can be attributed to allergies.

Unfortunately, during certain times of the year many different types of pine trees emit allergens that affect many people living in or visiting the mountains. Naturally the Santa Ana winds, which usually appear in southern California in October and November, can wreak havoc on people who suffer from plant or tree airborne allergens.  Surprisingly, we have already experienced Santa Ana conditions in recent weeks.

Fortunately many people can cope with and/or be relieved of their allergic reactions by having allergy testing performed through their physician. Knowing what you’re allergic to goes a long, long way in being able to manage outbreaks and making life, on the whole, a lot more pleasant. Being tested for allergies is easy and it gives you the choice to stay away from the substance(s) causing the sneezing, stuffiness, rash or other symptoms or, particularly in the case of food allergies, giving into temptation and accepting the risks involved with having a reaction. Testing is well worth the investment of time and money.

For information and to find a physician in the mountains who can help with allergy testing, contact Mountains Community Hospital at (909) 336-3651. The hospital is located at 29191 Hospital Road in Lake Arrowhead.

The Vaccine Controversy

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Are vaccines safe?

Childhood vaccinations have been under intense scrutiny by the public over the past 2 decades.  Vaccines have been blamed for the rise in autism, neurological problems, cancer and even unexplained death.

By the age of 2, American children can receive up to 29 vaccinations.  According to an article in the Salem News, American children receive far more vaccines by the age of 5 and still have a higher death rate than other developed countries (US -36, Norway – 13, Denmark – 12, Japan, Sweden and Iceland – 11).   More parents are deciding not to vaccinate their children, thinking that is a safer option.

The fact is that many serious, infectious diseases have been decreased or eradicated by vaccinations.  For example, smallpox is a virus that has a 30 -50% death rate.  Because of world wide vaccinations, naturally ocurring smallpox has been eliminated and vaccines for the disease are no longer needed.  The incidence of Polio has been reduced by 99%. Vaccinations are a community health issue, not just a personal issue. You might be the fortunate one that does not get overwhelmed by the bug, but the person in the market or the student sitting next to you in class may not be so lucky. Our world is shrinking because of ease of travel.  An infectious disease that was once contained in a small area is quickly spread worldwide with one plane trip.

The most publicized controversy is the possible link between autism and vaccinations.  Thimerosal, a mercury containing preservative, has been the main suspect in the rise of autism and neurological problems.  Although the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) attest to it’s safety, Thimerosal has been removed from “all routinely recommended vaccines for U.S. infants”.  There are studies that both prove and disprove the autism-mercury link.

There is still a question about aluminum in vaccinations and it’s effects on infants and children.  There have been studies showing a link between aluminum in medications and neurological damage, but few studies on the effects of aluminum in vaccines.

Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV, a common cause of cervical cancer, has been the topic of concern recently.  According to the CDC, 40 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed and they have received reports of 20,996 adverse reactions.  The reactions range from fever, dizziness and nausea to blood clots, severe neurological problems and death.

Vaccines, like any other medication, can have side effects and cause mild to severe reactions.   The best strategy is to get informed; ask your doctor, seek information from reputable sources.   Important information to gather would be:

  • Is your child or anyone in the family sick at time of vaccination?
  • Know the disease risks and the vaccine risks
  • Do you have a family or personal history of vaccine reactions, neurological disorders, or immune system problems?

Many physicians are vaccinating their patients on an alternative schedule, stretching out the traditional schedule.  Once you have gathered and digested the information, you can make an educated decision for you, your family and the community.

Why Shoveling Snow Could Have Dire Consequences

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Don't risk your health. Hire a strapping youth to shovel your driveway.

An amazing thing happens in the winter when it snows. People who haven’t budged from their chair all year suddenly leap out of it, grab their shovels and head outdoors to shovel the snow off their steps and driveways and/or to tackle a huge icy berm.

Unfortunately, sometimes their actions precipitate a visit to the doctor or emergency room due to a variety of issues including everything from back pain to heart attacks. Most of the time these issues don’t  have to happen because there are ways to shovel snow that make a visit to the local emergency room far less likely due to serious health concerns.

There are people who justifiably should not touch a snow shovel or should use common sense when they go out to shovel the cold white flakes off the stairs and driveway. Anyone who has had a heart attack, people with a history of any type of heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels and/or people who are permanent “couch potatoes” should consider paying someone to do the shoveling because shoveling snow results in a strenuous workout.

If you’re stuck with the job, however, here are some tips to help safeguard your health and avoid back injuries.
First off, keep yourself hydrated; warm up by walking a few minutes or stretching before digging your shovel into the snow. This pre-shoveling procedure is important for the work ahead.

Shoveling snow isn’t a walk in the park. Begin slowly and find a shovel that’s meant for moving snow, not planting flowers. The older, heavier metal shovels may work better in some snow conditions but they aren’t the best for your back. A smaller blade is better not only on your back but on your heart. Remember that to be safe means going slower, not faster. Shoveling faster and faster to get the work done takes a huge toll on the heart, which is the most vital muscle in your body.

Because shoveling heavy snow takes its toll experts suggest people balance their body weight and then bend their knees to actually dig the shovel into the snow.  If people tighten their stomach muscles at the same time they bend their knees this is far more effective. Don’t attempt to throw too much snow at the same time because this results in many back injuries.

Remember, it’s your back and heart that take the toll of shoveling incorrectly or trying to shovel it too fast. Slow down, stay hydrated and shovel the snow in smaller scoops. Your body will appreciate it!
Remember, Mountains Community Hospital is here to help. For our help call (909) 336-3651. “We Care!”

Turns Out, Laughter Really Can Be The Best Medicine!

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This holiday season, give laughter a try.

Give Laughter a Try this Holiday Season

The old saying that “Laughter is the Best Medicine” may be very true and during the holidays it’s an important saying to remember. Laughter and a sense of humor truly can be considered lifesavers when stress sets in and seems overwhelming.

Between all the racing around, the cooking, wrapping gifts, long lines at every store it’s easy to lose patience at the grocery store, the shopping center, the mall or trying to find a decent parking spot. However, keeping a sense of humor can help and researchers have evidence that laughter and perspective can help relieve stress.

Unfortunately, the holidays are built-in stress producers and one of the biggest reasons is that many people have unrealistic expectations. The issue is that people want their holiday(s) to be perfect with the perfect gift, the perfect food, the perfect decorations and the perfect people to sit around the perfect table. has the “perfect” suggestion. Don’t count on perfection because you’re setting yourself up for stress and oftentimes, disappointment, which can lead to a whole variety of problems including resentment, anger and depression.

If the roast or turkey is overcooked, will your family or friends be mad? Will they abandon you as a hopeless host or hostess? Not likely! If you feel too pressured, take a few moments, sit down and relax and catch your breath. This may be difficult to do, but let other people help. If Aunt Sally doesn’t mash the potatoes like you do, that’s okay. It’s not worth the stress you’ll create for yourself by having to have everything “perfect.” Think of the funny stories you can tell your friends about incidents or small accidents or misunderstandings that occur around the holiday table or tree. Some of the funniest family stories that are told and retold annually revolve around holiday “events.” Look for them…..they’re always there and laughing at them is a great stress reliever. Try not to take yourself too seriously!

Laughter not only helps relieve stress for you, it can relieve it for others as well. Laughter is a shared reaction to incidents and it’s best when it’s shared with other people because laughing really is contagious. Laughter can diffuse a difficult situation, an argument or disagreement and don’t forget to laugh at yourself occasionally. During this holiday season try to watch a funny holiday movie, one that will make you laugh and isn’t too sentimental.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and depressed during the holidays be sure to discuss the issue with your Mountains Community Hospital physician. He or she can help guide you to a better healthier life.

Things You Can Do to Avoid the Holiday Flu!

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Have you caught your annual holiday cold or flu yet? If not, here are a few suggestions on how to help yourself when you’re feeling awful.

The “flu” and “cold” season can mean big profits for the drug industry but research is showing more people are turning to a more natural way to either prevent or at least help eliminate the most severe symptoms by purchasing and using “over the counter” supplements. These supplements should never be purchased for children!

Always remember whenever taking a drug or any kind that a cold and the flu are very different organisms and they will respond differently to medications: natural or man-made. Just a warning: the flu kills over 30,000 people a year according to

There are some things that people can do to help their symptoms. Although the “case is still out” on Vitamin C, for most people who take a one gram dose each day, it does help prevent colds. Some studies show that it can even help diminish the length of a cold so don’t be afraid to try taking it.

Although millions of people swear by taking Zinc during a cold the “jury is out” on its effectiveness. If you’re going to take it start as soon as your symptoms show up. Take them every two or three hours and take lozenges with nine to 24 milligrams each. Take zinc for as short a period of time as possible.

Garlic is another interesting supplement that people swear by and it is proven to stimulate the immune system. It’s best when it’s taken raw, crushed or minced but people who are taking blood thinners should be very cautious about using it.

Of course, the single best line of defense against seasonal flu’s is a flu shot. A flu shot is fast, easy, very safe, (though there are exceptions – consult with your doctor), and available at a number of locations. Call MCH at (909) 336-3651 for more information. Hopefully, you’ve already gotten your flu shot, or perhaps you are one of those people who believe that getting one will give you the flu? Rest assured, that won’t happen so go ahead, get your flu shot. It will go a long way toward making sure you (a) don’t get the flu or (b) if you do you won’t feel nearly as bad as you would if you hadn’t gotten one.

Did you know that each year about 50 million Americans get various forms of the flu? However difficult the flu can be it is overshadowed by colds. About one billion Americans will get a cold this year and many of those, of course, are children who pass it along to playmates, school-mates or their families.

Remember, seek advice from your MCH physician about the use of supplements, and getting a flu shot if you have any concerns or reservations. or any serious medical “issues.” For information call (909) 336-3651.