What's the Deal with Winter Squash?

by Kendal Schmitz, Viterbo University Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student


The United States imports more squash than any other country in the world! On top of that, within the U.S., about 400 million pounds of squash are produced each year. Winter squash originated in Central and South America, and people have been consuming it for over 10,000 years. China and India are now the top producers of this vegetable.


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Fun Facts:

  • One cup of winter Squash contains only 80 calories.

  • The rich colors of winter squash come from its carotenoid content, which may help improve eyesight.

  • Squash seeds deliver great nutrients such as protein, zinc, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.

  • Winter squash is botanically classified as a fruit because it contains seeds.

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Cheddar Stuffed Acorn Squash

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  • 1 acorn squash, halved/ seeded

  • 3/4 cup chopped ripe tomato

  • 2 scallions or green onions—thinly sliced

  • 1/4 tsp dried sage

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese—cut into cubes

Instructions: Serves 4

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

  • Place the squash halves in a roasting pan, cut side up

  • Add about an inch of water to the bottom of the pan

  • Combine tomatoes and scallions or onions

  • Season with sage, salt and pepper to taste

  • Mix well and divide the mixture evenly among the squash halves

  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of water over each and cover loosely with aluminum foil

  • Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until squash is tender when pierced by a fork

  • Divide cheese cubes evenly on top of squash halves, cook 5 more minutes and serve.

Taste the featured Harvest of the Month Recipe at Black River Memorial Hospital (Cafe) on Tues. Nov. 20 from 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Kendal Schmitz is a Senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She is from Minnesota and is studying the connection between diet and cancer.

An Apple a Day

By Allison Stoeffler, Jackson In Action Contributor

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Humans have been consuming apples since 6500 B.C., and for over 1,500 years, apples have been utilized for their health benefits. 

  • During the 1860s, “eat an apple before bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread” started circulating. Fast forward to today, and everyone knows that “an apple a day will keep the doctor away.” However, this light-hearted saying does have some truth to it.

  • Apples are a nutrient-dense food that offers many health benefits.


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What’s In an Apple?

 One medium apple provides 18% of the daily value for fiber and 14% of the daily value for Vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One medium apple provides 18% of the daily value for fiber and 14% of the daily value for Vitamin C based on a 2,000 calorie diet

  • Phytochemicals

    Phytochemials are non-nutrient compounds found in plants. The consumption of the phytochemicals found in apples has been associated with inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, colon, breast, and liver. They can also boost the body’s immune functions, reduce the risk or effects of asthma, and clean your teeth!

  • Fiber

    Fiber is an indigestible form of carbohydrate that is abundant in apples, especially in their peels. Fiber is effective in approving gut health, which helps to prevent diarrhea or constipation and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. In addition to that, the fiber found in apples helps to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day by releasing glucose more slowly. Lastly, soluble fiber is associated with heart health because of its ability to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and raise HDL (“good cholesterol”).

  • Antioxidants

    Apples are an antioxidant-rich food, which means they help to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Because of this, frequent consumption of apples has been associated with a reduced risk of developing inflammatory diseases, such as arthritis or gout. These antioxidants also relieve oxidative stress in the brain, helping to prevent neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C, an important antioxidant found in apples, has consistently been shown to strengthen the immune system.

What’s Not In Them?

Apples can keep you full on minimal calories, which reduces the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and other weight-related issues. They are also free of sodium and fat, so swapping a salty, high fat snack, like potato chips, for an apple can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Experiment with Different Ways to Eat Apples This Month!

Apple Bake Recipe

Ingredients:

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2 large apples, cut into small pieces

¼ cup apple juice

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash of ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine juice, water and spices. Put apples in a loaf pan; pour liquid over apples. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes or microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes. If microwaving, stir every 3 minutes. Serves 2

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Harvest of the Month

Taste the featured recipe on Oct. 17 at Black River Memorial Hospital, More info here

 Allison Stoeffler is from the “Apple Capitol” of Minnesota and a senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI

Allison Stoeffler is from the “Apple Capitol” of Minnesota and a senior Nutrition & Dietetics Student at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI

FIVE NUTRITION MYTHS & TIPS

By Noah O’Brien, Jackson In Action Contributor

1. You should avoid all fats if you’re trying to lose weight

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Myth:

Approx. 25-30 percent of our intake should be from fats, which function to help the body metabolize foods, produce hormones, maintain healthy hair and skin. Fats also provide satiety or fullness. Healthier fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, nut butter and lean meat.

2. Dairy products such as milk should be avoided in healthy eating patterns

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Myth:

Milk has benefits such as providing a reliable source of high quality protein. It is also a nutrient-packed food with essential nutrients in every glass of milk including Vitamin A, D, calcium, protein, iodine, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins B2 and B12. Recommendations are 2-3 servings of dairy foods per day (More info. here)

3. The more protein you consume the more muscle you will gain.

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Myth:

Consuming more than 30 percent of calories from protein could hurt your body. To build more muscle one should start by increasing caloric intake and exercise. The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics and the Amer. College of Sports Medicine recommends 1.2 – 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily for athletes. For example, a 150-pound athlete should aim for a protein intake of 75 to 150 grams of protein daily to increase muscle mass.   More about protein needs here.

4. The Keto Diet is the best to lose weight and keep it off

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Myth:

The keto diet promotes rapid weight loss because of the drop in calories and extreme reduction in carbohydrate intake. Unfortunately a significant amount of the weight lost (if more than two pounds per week) may be from muscle mass and water weight with a small amount from actual fat weight. The diet is also very low in fiber which is a necessary component for bowel health. Keeping the weight off can also be difficult as many people return to their previous eating habits. A healthy balanced eating pattern such as the “MyPlate” approach shown in the link below is a healthier long-term approach for weight loss.  More about MyPlate here.

 5. Bread products should be eliminated due to empty calories and high carbs. 

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Myth:

Whole grain breads provide healthy components such as fiber and important nutrients. If you eliminate breads or other fiber containing foods like rice and cereals digestive health may be impaired. Focusing on healthier carbs such as whole grain breads and crackers, fruits/vegetables and dried beans and legumes provides the kind of fuel the body needs to function well.


Is deer hunting hazardous to your health?

Hunting is a time for family and friends to gather and enjoy their time together.  Each fall hunters enter the Wisconsin woods and instead of finding their prey, they find themselves in a predicament regarding their health – namely heart attacks.

Research has shown that there is a connection between hunting and heart attacks.  Keep in mind this risk is far greater for the person who does not exercise, is overweight and smokes.  I will address those later in this article. Also, it is important to note that hunting does not “cause” the heart attack, underlying heart disease is the culprit.  Our poor health is the gun and in this case, deer hunting is merely the trigger, just like snow shoveling could be the trigger.  However, it is important to recognize that deer hunting is physically demanding and if you are in poor physical condition, it is even more demanding. 

The connection between hunting and heart attacks has been called “Buck Fever” by researchers from William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan.  In a two year study, researchers found hunting’s effects on the heart can exceed those of stress testing in a cardiac laboratory.   The hunter can experience an adrenaline rush that causes the pulse to quicken (meaning more work for the heart), the breathing to increase and the body to become jittery.  If the hunt is successful, the real work remains, gutting and dragging a prize which can weigh on average 100 to 200 pounds. 

In their study, researchers recruited 25 hunters and strapped portable heart monitors with electrodes on their chests to record heart rate and activity while they stalked a deer.  They asked the hunters to keep logs so they could correlate the monitor readings to specific actions – such as walking, sighting a deer, shooting, dragging and other activities.  They found that the demands on the heart in hunting matched or exceeded those of the subjects’ treadmill tests.  The most strenuous hunting activities researchers found were dragging deer and walking through the woods.  But was so interesting is that just sighting the deer could double the heart rate in a matter of moments. 

According to Dr. Melvyn Rubenfire, professor of internal medicine and director of preventative cardiology at the University of Michigan, adrenalin is the fight or flight hormone secreted by the body in times of alarm.  It causes the blood to clot more readily and constricts the arteries, increasing blood pressure and the heart rate.  The cold weather compounds this problem too.  The sudden stress can lead to the rupture of plaque in artery walls which can result in a clot blocking blood flow – a heart attack.

So who is at highest risk for a heart attack?  It is your basic weekend warrior.  The person who does no exercise throughout the year and then suddenly picks up an 8 to 10 lb gun, wears heavy clothes and boots and tromps through the woods for 3 or 4 miles – a lot of stress for an out of shape body.  The study results suggest that hunters who have been sedentary for most of the year or who have heart disease risk factors should be cautious and not overdo it.  Risk factors for heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity and sedentary lifestyle.  Regular exercise impacts each of these risk factors in a positive way, helping to lower them or prevent them in the first place.

A good way to lower your risk of having problems during hunting (or any other strenuous activity) is to get in better shape now, before hunting season.  First, check with your MD before beginning an exercise program.  Once approved, exercise guidelines suggest getting 3 to 5 days of aerobic activity in.  This includes activities such as walking, biking, swimming or jogging.  This helps your heart to get in better shape and lowers your risk of a heart attack.  Regular exercise can lower your resting heart rate by 10 to 15 beats per minute and can lower your sub-maximal heart rate.  What this means is that by being in shape, your heart rate will be lower when you are walking out in the woods – less work for the heart.  Strength training should be done 2 to 3 times a week.  This helps make you stronger which can make dragging that deer easier.  Exercise and eating better can help you lower your weight which also lowers your risk.   If you started a regular exercise program now, you could be in much better shape in as little as 4 to 6 weeks – it does not take much time for the body to adapt.  You can also do yourself a favor by not smoking – it puts you at a much greater risk of having a heart attack.

There are some other things to look for while hunting or before you begin.  If you and your friends are out hunting and anyone experiences chest pain, pressure in the chest, pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms, chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath, stop and get help immediately.  These are the signs of a heart attack.  Do not try to “work through” the discomfort or deny your symptoms – that can be a deadly mistake.  If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms you are advised to seek medical attention immediately. 

Finally, there are some other tips to make your hunting experience safer:

  • Take the time and get in shape
  • Don’t smoke the day of hunting and don’t eat a heavy meal just before hunting – this puts more load on the heart.
  • Remember to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Dress in layers so that you can remove clothing when you warm up – don’t let yourself get too cold.
  • Take along water so you do not get dehydrated.
  • Rest if you need to, work at a comfortable pace
  • Get help to drag your deer to your vehicle and never drag a deer if you have coronary artery disease.
  • If you have diabetes, be sure to carry a fast  acting carbohydrate with you at all times (glucose tablets. 

Hunting can be a safe and enjoyable experience.  Get in shape now and lower your risk. 

Submitted by:  Kathleen Clemons, Exercise Physiologist, Ho-Chunk Nation.

Culinary Herb Garden Display at Black River Memorial Hospital

Black River Memorial Hospital is highlighting their culinary herb garden located right near the cafeteria. The new signs identify a variety of fresh garden herbs including parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, chives, oregano and mint.  B-WELLthy is the healthy living brand at BRMH and daily menu items are featured that are lower in calories and emphasize fruits and vegetables. View the BRMH cafe menu here.

The hospital also participates in Jackson In Action's Harvest of the Month program and produces monthly featured recipes and videos.

July Harvest of the Month Features Eggplant at BRMH and on WEAU-TV, Eau Claire

 

 June 18, 2018, Black River Falls, Wis. For immediate release

Eggplant season is here and it’s time to include this purple healthy eating sensation on the menu.  The name eggplant simply describes its shape—not it’s nutrition value, which is very low in calories and carbohydrates.  Harvest of the Month is a Jackson County initiative that highlights a different produce item every month. July features eggplant cooking demos on WEAU-TV 13, Eau Claire, Wisconsin and a taste-testing event at Black River Memorial Hospital. A video of each Harvest of the Month recipes is also available at www.brmh.net/recipes.


Fresh eggplant baked with herbs, marinara sauce and cheese is the featured recipe during these dates and locations: 

  •    WEAU-TV-13 Wed. July 12, 4 p.m. Newscast. “Eggplant” live cooking demo with Black River Memorial Hospital Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RDN,CD.
  • BRMH Hospital - Harvest of the Month Eggplant Event –Thurs. July 26, 11:30am – 12:30 pm. Black River Memorial Hospital Café, Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
 Photo: Katie Schmidt

Photo: Katie Schmidt

“Eggplant is best baked, sautéed or stir-fried,” explained Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Black River Memorial Hospital. “It has a mild flavor and will absorb the seasoning that is utilized. Our “Eggplant Parmesan Bake” recipe this month has a traditional Italian flavors with oregano,garlic, marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan. Eggplants  are cut in half into edible “boats” that hold sautéed eggplant, sauce and topped with melted cheese.  It’s super easy and is fun to prepare.”

Eggplant nutrition:  A half cup of cooked eggplant has only 20 Calories and provides a wide variety of nutrients as well as fiber.  

Featured Harvest of Month July Recipe:

 Photo: Katie Schmidt 

Photo: Katie Schmidt 

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES TOTAL TIME: 70 MINUTES

Makes 8 Servings (2/3 c. each)

Ingredients:  

  • 1 1/2 c. marinara sauce, divided
  • 2 medium eggplants, halved
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp. fresh)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 c. Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. basil or parsley, minced

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread about 1 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a medium baking dish.

Using a paring knife and spoon, hollow out the eggplants leaving about a 1/2” thick border around skin to create a boat. Roughly chop scooped out eggplant.

Drizzle 1 c. marina sauce in baking dish and place eggplant boats on sauce.

In a large skillet over medium temp., heat olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped eggplant and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a bowl.

To the bowl with the eggplant mixture, add chopped tomatoes, egg, 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella, and ½ cup marinara. Mix until just combined. Scoop mixture into eggplant boats. Top with remaining mozzarella, Parmesan and bread crumbs. Finish with dollops of the remaining marinara sauce.

Bake until the eggplants are tender and the cheese has melted, about 50 minutes (test with a fork).

Garnish with basil and serve warm.

Makes 8 Servings.  Nutrition info. per serving (2/3 c.): Approx. 240 Calories, 12 g Fat, 20g Carb., 4g Fiber, 15g Protein.

 

Harvest of the Month is a partnership between Jackson County Department of Health and Human Services, Black River Memorial Hospital, Together for Jackson County Kids, Ho-Chunk Nation, UW Extension-Jackson County, Lunda Community Center, Boys and Girls Club, Hansen’s IGA, local school districts, The Library and the community.  www.JacksonInAction.org

To view a video of the recipe and printable recipe, go to www.JacksonInAction.org/recipes

Video is also available at www.brmh.net/recipes