Cravings We all have been there! That late night trip to the ice cream store in your pajamas for a giant sundae, right? Not so quick! Sugar cravings can wreak havoc on the greatest of nutrition plans.
Thoughts of chocolates, flowers and romance are in the air as Valentine's Day approaches. February appropriately is also Heart Health Month which should help get us thinking about more long-term gifts for the special "Valentines" in our lives. Adopting a healthier eating pattern helps decrease the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease.

As the new year starts, many people pick improved health as a goal or resolution, whether that is weight loss, getting to the gym, or stopping smoking. Since January hosts Cervical Health Awareness Month, this post - Part 1 – will focus on food and lifestyle for cancer risk reduction.

Risk Reduction

There are no guarantees whether someone gets disease, cancer or otherwise. Still, we can control some of our risk factors, and the American Cancer Society recommends several ways. Notice how many of these overlap with recommendations for general health.

According the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2009 and 2013, local fire departments responded to an average of 8,900 home fires a year, involving grills, hibachis or barbecues. In addition to property damage, these fires also contributed to hundreds of injuries and an average of ten deaths each year.

The best way to prevent grill related injuries is to properly maintain your grill.

Gas Grills

As the new year starts, many people pick improved health as a goal or resolution, whether that is weight loss, getting to the gym, or stopping smoking. Since January hosts Cervical Health Awareness Month, this post - Part 2 – will focus on picking foods during treatment.

During Treatment

Grilling and Summer Food Safety

Summer is officially here! And if you haven't already gotten your grill out, you should consider doing so.

Grilling is a great way to keep the kitchen cool and enjoy the many wonderful foods summer has to offer. Whether you are grilling meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables it is important to keep food safety in the forefront. To help you and your loved ones stay safe during the summer grilling season, remember to follow these basic food safety guidelines.

Thaw Safely

Much controversy exists about whether the foods you eat or do not eat affect symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. No evidence has shown particular foods will stop rheumatoid arthritis from getting worse. However, some studies have shown short term improvement in symptoms with certain foods. These foods may be described as "anti-inflammatory."

The occasional creek and pop of your joints may not hurt. However, not everyone is so fortunate. For Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, let's talk joint health and decode joint supplements.

Nutrients in Joint Health

This holiday season many of us will be sitting down to enjoy our favorite traditional and seasonal dishes. One dish commonly enjoyed is candied sweet potatoes.

This versatile food has become increasingly popular and is a great addition to any meal. And with more and more Americans looking to incorporate healthier options into their diet, sweet potatoes are a great year round food.

Sweet Potatoes Are Healthy?

According to Mintel, a global research firm, sales of baby food significantly dropped between 2007 and 2011, and it's expected to continue to decline. The slump in sales have been attributed to more mothers making their own baby food, allowing moms to know what it's made out of and giving them a more affordable option.

Alright men, listen up! (Or ladies, pass this post along to the men in your life.) June is Men's Health Month and a time to encourage men to take charge of their health.

Food choices are a way to tip the scales – positive or negative – in health. As noted in my writer's brief, I encourage all folks to get into their kitchens. Research suggests foods we prepare in our homes tends to be healthier than foods purchased at take-out or eaten in restaurants. After all, you get all the control over food preparation in your home.

Yesterday we learned that sweet potatoes are considered a superfood. And although there is no true definition of a superfood, we know superfoods are foods that are packed full of key nutrients and phytochemicals.

What are Phytochemicals?

Butter, margarine, and oil are all types of fat used in the kitchen. Whether it's baking, stir-frying, cooking, or using as a spread, fat plays a role in the American diet. The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories. Saturated fat is found in butter, red meat, fish, other animal products, full fat dairy products, and some prepackaged or processed food.

Any woman has probably heard the adage that breast milk is good for the baby, whether you are a mom or not. There are benefits of breastmilk, from immune health to strong connections between mom and baby to reduce health risks for mom. And when August is National Breastfeeding Month, you may hear about those benefits some more.

Ever made a succulent pork roast, had a wonderful meal with family or friends, then sat down for a favorite television show and realized three hours later that the leftover cooked roast is still sitting on the kitchen counter? Food left in temperatures between 40° and 140°F, the danger zone, for more than two hours should be disposed of. Unfortunately, that wonderful pork roast had the opportunity to grow harmful bacteria that could leave a person sick for days, weeks, or even months if consumed.

Coming off the "Family Mealtime Challenge" in my unit last week (Dewitt, Macon, and Piatt counties), I am pumped to keep it going into October. October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month, and another time to encourage families to eat together.

I think anymore I rarely have to convince families that eating together is important. They understand the families who eat together have kids who are less likely to do drugs or alcohol, get better grades in school, and feel more connected to family.

You know what they say… "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"…meaning a woman can make a man love her by cooking him good meals. Whether this is true or not, I believe that cooking a meal for someone is an act of love but what if you can't even boil a pot of water?!

Although this can certainly gain you points, ~90% of people surveyed say kitchen-know-how is not a deal breaker when it comes to lasting relationships so don't feel bad if your skills in the kitchen aren't up to par. Whatever the case is, don't let mealtime become a source of conflict.

As the weather gets colder (well, in Illinois, it might go up and down even in fall and winter), the air is drier and our skin tends to feel it. This November for American Diabetes Month, let us befriend the challenges that come with living with diabetes, including skin care.

Leading up to Dryness

In those with diabetes who may have nerve damage, nerves may not appropriately signal the body to sweat or produce as much moisture as needed. Over time this can lead to dry skin.

At one time, it was believed that people with arthritis should rest their joints but we now know that this is not the case. In fact, regular physical activity can actually help improve function, mobility and provide pain relief. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus can all benefit from more activity. In addition, exercise can also help manage other chronic conditions such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

It has been a fairly mild autumn season and winter is starting to arrive with the cold weather. And cold and flu season. Who has been sick so far?

The flu and many colds are caused by viruses. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics, since those kill bacterial infections. However, as miserable as many of us feel from a cold or the flu, preventing a cold and getting rid of the symptoms may be high priority.

I believe that too much of anything- good or otherwise- can be harmful on our health but we really need to take a look at the types of oils we're consuming if we want to reduce our risk for chronic disease, obesity and other inflammatory conditions.

Fat Watch

One of the most challenging things about eating out is the added salt (and thus added sodium). It sure makes our foods taste good, but eating less sodium has benefits to our health.

As a refresher, table salt also goes by the name sodium chlori

**Follow these healthy skin tips to keep your skin soft and healthy all winter long**

1. Eat a healthy diet for radiant skin inside and out

  • Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are beneficial
  • Limit processed foods, refined grains (white flour, breads, pasta, etc.) and saturated fats
  • Stay hydrated

2. Moisturize, moisturize and moisturize some more

One of the most challenging things about eating out is the added salt (and thus added sodium). It sure makes our foods taste good, but eating less sodium has benefits to our health.

As a refresher, table salt also goes by the name sodium chloride. So

Mindful Eating: A conscious approach to health is a past blog post I've written that delves into the 'who, what, when, where, why and how' of our food choices.

To keep it s

In a double whammy, March plays host to National Nutrition Month as well as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. (Although what month doesn't have several health celebrations attached to it!)

There are a variety of health conditions that affect the digestive system, including the lower intestines, such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, diverticulitis, cancer, etc. Food choices can provide benefit in prevention and treatment of these conditions. Keep reading for ideas on keeping your colon healthy.

5 Tips for Lifestyle

April is IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Awareness Month. If you don't know what IBS is or what it's like, then consider yourself lucky. Between 25 and 45 million people in the United States (10 to 15% of the population) are affected.

Our University of Illinois Extension Family and Consumer Sciences team has written about mindful eating before: Mindful Eating: A Conscious Approach to Health and

May is American Stroke Awareness Month. Stroke is the fifth main cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. Would you recognize the symptoms of a stroke? Sudden difficulty moving your arms or legs, confusion, dizziness, headache, difficulty speaking, or trouble seeing in one or both eyes are all signs of a possible stroke. Hopefully, none of us will ever be in that position, but remembering the acronym FAST can be a lifesaver.

F Face – When asked to smile does one side of the face droop?

If you are fortunate to be reading this blog, your eyes may be working well. For Healthy Vision Month, let's talk eye health and decode eye supplements.

Nutrients in Eye Health

Much time and money is spent each year on the latest weight loss or fitness craze in pursuit of a path to the fountain of youth. Unfortunately, for most this ends in frustration and a lighter wallet. Rather than chasing an elusive perfect diet, nutritional supplement or fitness routine that sounds too good to be true why not get back to the basics of eating healthy and increasing physical activity.

What does it mean to be physical active?

Being physically active simply means that your body is moving and using energy. Of course, the degree of intensity and the duration of activity will play a role in the determination of the overall health benefits received from the activity – but if you're moving, there will be a benefit!

Health Benefits of Physical Activity

Research shows physical has been shown to:

One in eleven Americans has diabetes today. Men and women of all races, ages, shapes and sizes are battling this mostly invisible disease. Every twenty-three seconds someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes. It is important to bring awareness to this chronic disease and dispel stereotypes, myths and misinformation around diabetes. Each year in November the American Diabetes Association celebrates diabetes month and this year's theme is This is Diabetes.


The November 28, 2016 Nutrition and Wellness team's Motivation Monday is being shared as a blog post.


Are you making your holiday gift list and checking it twice? Why not give a gift of health? We have all been the recipient of or given gifts that sit in the closet never to be used.  A holiday gift basket of treats is gone in a few days, except for the extra calories that follow you into the New Year. So, instead of wrapping another wallet, socks, or sweater why not give a gift that keeps giving all year long?

In yesterday's blog post we learned that May is National Osteoporosis Month, today we will talk about how making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis.

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent or delay the onset of osteoporosis.