Burning off that holiday meal, one calorie at a time

By Lindsey Woodkey, CPT

holiday scale


No, you cannot make up for poor eating habits with extra gym time. You can however negate some of those calories. To put it in perspective and possibly prompt you to make the wiser food choices on Thanksgiving, I’m going to show you just how long you have to work out to burn those extra calories:


  • Turkey with skin (3 oz): 156 cals—44 minutes of walking
  • Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup): 119 calories—34 minutes walking
  • Gravy (3 tbsp): 54 calories—15 minutes walking
  • Stuffing (1/2 cup): 214 calories—61 minutes walking
  • Green Bean Casserole (1/2 cup): 96 calories—27 minutes walking
  • Candied Yams (1/2 cup): 165 calories—47 minutes walking
  • Cranberry Sauce (1/4 cup): 110 calories—31 minutes walking
  • Wine (6 oz): 150 calories—43 minutes walking
  • Beer (12 oz): 153 calories—43 minutes walking
  • Apple Cider (8oz): 136 calories—39 minutes walking

The benefits of animal therapy

The benefits of animal therapy

tootie august


Animal-assisted therapy is often used to provide comfort to patients or as part of a treatment or rehabilitation program. For example, if you are recovering from a stroke, a physical therapist may use a dog to help you stand up and walk. You may be asked to stand while petting or brushing a dog that is sitting on a table. Or the therapist may ask you to walk with the dog.

Animals can also be used to:

  • Provide mental stimulation to residents of long-term care facilities
  • Serve as a comfort during physical exams or other medical procedures
  • Help people feel more comfortable during counseling sessions
  • Help children improve reading skills by reading to a therapy animal

Animal therapy in action at North Star Lodge

Tootie, a shiba inu, is a certified therapy dog and has been working at North Star Lodge Cancer Center with her owner, Michelle Hacker, for close to a year.

Patients say that when Tootie walks into the room, the atmosphere changes. People’s faces light up, and you can hear the joy in their voices as they say, “Yea, Tootie is here!”

Sometimes people are too anxious, scared or in too much pain to communicate well with other people. When Tootie is there, the patients smile and pet her. She helps them relax. Tootie mends hearts so the doctors at North Star Lodge can mend patients.

Sources: American Humane Association; American Veterinary Medical Association; Pet Partners

Philanthropy in Yakima: 2013

Anne Caffery, president of The Memorial Foundation, appeared on KIT 1280 Nov. 25, 2013 to express gratitude for Yakima’s philanthropic efforts in the past year.

Donors increased their giving from $2.9 million in 2011/2012 to $3.4 million in 2012/2013. At The Memorial Foundation, we say thank-you for the philanthropic accomplishments and highlights in 2013:

  • Cottage in the Meadow hospice opened and served over 250 families this year. Offers holistic care, chaplaincy, social services, bereavement programs, tender care.
  • Launched the Transitions Program with a Jesuit Volunteer, designed for people with life limiting conditions who just need some help to keep their lives going; helps people stay in their homes longer.
  • Served our 30,000th child at Children’s Village and grown the number of clinics and children served.
  • Added new digital mammography equipment at ‘Ohana with increased intensity, readability and précising outcomes for women:
    • Safeway employees raised much of the money to buy the equipment.
    • And ‘Ohana Mammography Center has since been designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology – the only such breast imaging center in Central Washington – recognizing it for its high quality of care.
    • Increased survivorship programs at North Star Lodge.
    • Launching an enhanced Diabetes Initiative, education at Nob Hill Education site, thanks to a grant.
    • Bought new equipment at the NICU,  bassinettes, funded Oxford study.

SO MANY people do SO MUCH

Folks launch philanthropic events for various causes – exemplified by the young East Valley student, named Reagan, who is making bracelets and selling them to benefit hospice, or a man named Dean Shirey, who drove his motorcycle across the country to honor his brother and raised $10,000 for North Star Lodge. Or Dr. and Mrs. Hart, octogenarians, who make quilts for each and every patient at Cottage in the Meadow.

So THIS year we focus on:

Four Initiatives for a total goal of $5 million dollars (taking guidance from our recently completed Community Health Assessment and past patterns for requests and needs demonstrated from within these four key areas of patient need):

  • Improve Children’s Health ($1.5 million) – Children’s Village $680,000, Neurodevelopmental Services $100,000; Pediatrics $100,000, NICU $500,000
  • Create a Healthy Yakima ($1 million) – diabetes, healthy heart, sports ready bodies, access to care
  • Cancer Care Initiative ($300,000) – Increase survivorship, preventive education, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship.
  • End of Life ($1 million) – Ensure that all people have access to information and the tools to make end of life decisions, Bereavement Services.

Frequently asked questions:

What is The Memorial Foundation?

The Memorial Foundation is the nonprofit foundation for Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. For more than two decades, the Foundation has partnered with the community to develop comprehensive, innovative solutions and new models of care to address the primary health needs of our neighbors. To fulfill that mission, the Foundation seeks charitable contributions from the community and other foundations and directs those funds to health care education and services to benefit the whole community.

What kinds of things does the Foundation support?

The Foundation raises funds to support multiple programs throughout Memorial’s Family of Services. Through your charitable donations, the Foundation is able to take action to ensure that the latest technologies, therapies and treatments are pursued to advance cancer care, impact children’s health and support end of life programs, in an effort to build and maintain a healthy Yakima.

How does the Foundation decide which programs to fund?

As steward of the funds raised, The Memorial Foundation’s Board of Trustees (a volunteer board of community members) approves program allocations in September of each year, for funding in the next fiscal year (Nov 1 – Oct 31).

Avoiding the holiday weight gain – Part 2

holiday-weightAvoiding the holiday weight gain – Part 2

By Lindsey Woodkey, CPT

  1. Make Your “Cheats” Wholesome: This often means choosing a homemade dish over one that’s prepackaged or processed, or choosing the item that will give you more nutrients. Skip the store bought cookies and go for the Grandma’s homemade Pumpkin Pie, forgo the packaged, processed rolls and have mashed potatoes instead. So even if you are a little over your calorie budget, you will be getting in the nutrients your body craves (i.e., beta-carotene in the pumpkin, potassium from the potatoes, good fats from the nuts, etc.)


  1. Fill up on meats and veggies: When you look at your Thanksgiving plate, it should contain about ½ veggies, ¼ carbohydrates and ¼ lean proteins. Use the new “My Plate” as a guide. Start your meal with a salad or vegetable dish. These lower calorie items will fill you up without filling you out and leave only minimal room for the heavier, more calorie dense items (No—green bean casserole and candied yams do not count as vegetables). Then move on to your lean proteins, and end with the heavy, carbohydrate loaded items.


  1. Use Tablespoons, Not Ladles: This is like built-in portion control! You will naturally serve yourself less when you use smaller utensils.


  1. Do you really NEED it or do you WANT it?: When it comes to going back for seconds, ask yourself if you really need more (as in you are truly still hungry) or if your brain is just telling your body it wants more. If the second is true, try drinking more water or clearing your dish so you cannot add more to your plate.


  1. Don’t be afraid to say no: Mom pushing her jello dessert salad on you? Maybe its Aunt Martha’s creamed corn. Either way, don’t think that you have to accept any food that is offered to you. Politely decline saying you’re trying to stick with your healthy diet changes, or don’t give a reason at all. Often times we assume we will offend someone when they could care less.


  1. Have a small slice of your favorite pie: You don’t have to restrict yourself of all your favorites; it’s not worth having the body of your dreams if you cannot live in it. However, if you opt to try each of the desserts available you will not only consume more calories, but your body will be left crying for more (studies show the more choices we have the more we want). So, choose a small slice of your favorite and enjoy every bite.


  1. Forget the “Don’t let it go to waste” mindset: When choosing which leftovers to take, stick to the healthy items and don’t let one day of indulgence become two or three. If you are the host, send items home with your guests or freeze them for future holiday gatherings.


  1. Focus on Family and Friends, not food: Holidays should be more about enjoying the company of those we love than the food and drinks that accompany them. Instead of heading straight for the appetizer table, strike up a conversation with a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Help prepare the meal and clean up instead of continuing to munch. Remember the reason for the season; it’s not to expand your waistlineJ.


  1. When You’re Done, Be Done: Too often we sit and mingle at the table, plate still in front of us, reaching for more even when we know we’ve had enough. Once your body tells you you’re full, listen to it. Clear your plate, leave the table, or offer to do dishes. You still have desert coming anyway J.


  1. Get in a full body weights workout the morning before: This will prime your body to use those good carbs and proteins you’ll be consuming (ok good may be an overstatementJ) for muscle building purposes and not store them as fat. (There are gym and home exercise routines contained in this packet). Do not however think that because you worked out that day you have free reign to eat as you please.


  1. Play some football or go for a light walk after the meal: This will help your body use all the glucose you just put into your blood stream. Too cold to be outside? Dishes can be quite a workout (especially that roaster with the dried drippings, scrub scrub scrub!)


  1. Multiple Parties? Be a Grazer: We’ve all been there, forced to “party hop” from event to event in order to fulfill our social or family obligations. If we were to eat a full blown meal at each we would be on a road to disaster. Instead, pick which party you will enjoy the appetizers at, which will be your meal, and which you will only consume dessert. When the host offers you items not on your plan, politely decline telling them you’re saving room for what you came for. (“I’m going to pass, I really want to have some of your Pumpkin Mousse, it looks delicious!”)


  1. Decide What Treats You Will Enjoy and When: They seem to be everywhere this time of the year! Cookies at work, candy at the salon, brownies your neighbor brings over. Choose before the week begins how many “treats” you’ll allow yourself and stick to that number (the number will depend on your goals, activity level, etc.) Say you choose 3. Once you’ve had your fill (a piece of pie in the staff room, handful of chocolate covered almonds at Grandma’s and an Egg Nog Latte), hold strong and say no to other temptations that arise. Just make sure you don’t waste your treat allowance on items you don’t LOVE.


Most pregnancy-related deaths caused by heart disease, study finds

heart pregnancyHeart disease is the top cause of pregnancy-related deaths in California, one-third of which could be prevented.

And in all likelihood, those numbers reflect what’s happening throughout the United States, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2013.

“Women who give birth are usually young and in good health,” said Afshan B. Hameed, MD, of the University of California, Irvine, the study’s lead researcher. “So heart disease shouldn’t be the leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, but it is.”

About the study

The study, which was funded by the California Department of Public Health, focused on statistics from 2002 to 2005. During that time, there were 2.1 million babies born in the state, and a total of 732 women died during pregnancy or within one year of giving birth.

Researchers found that 209 of those deaths were related to the women’s pregnancy.

An analysis of the women’s medical records found that:

  • 52, or about 1 of every 4 women, died from some form of cardiovascular disease.
  • 33, or two-thirds, of the cardiovascular deaths were caused by cardiomyopathy. (Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart becomes enlarged or thick and gets weak, according to the AHA.)
  • Only 6 percent of the women had been diagnosed with a heart condition before becoming pregnant.
  • Nearly 1 of every 4 women who died of cardiac problems was diagnosed with high blood pressure during pregnancy.

Also of note: Compared to women who died of other causes, those whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease were most likely to be African American or obese or to have documented substance abuse during pregnancy, the researchers found.

One-third of the women who died either didn’t seek medical help at all or delayed getting help until it was too late, researchers noted.

In many other cases, heart symptoms such as fatigue or shortness of breath were assumed to be from the stress of pregnancy or of having a newborn at home, said Dr. Hameed.

“These symptoms should be taken seriously,” Dr. Hameed said.

The take-home message
The findings emphasize the importance of seeking help for symptoms like fatigue; difficulty breathing (especially with exertion); chest pain; dizziness; or swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or neck veins.

Kim Vernon, MD, an AHA spokesperson and member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said the study also pointed out the importance of getting prenatal care. “You need to try to start the pregnancy as healthy as possible,” she said.

Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should be careful to keep a healthy weight, get appropriate screening tests, review their risk for heart disease with their doctor, and avoid using drugs or alcohol.

North Star Lodge outreach clinics—We are where our patients need us to be

North Star Lodge Cancer Center cares for patients who are spread out over a wide geographical area. Our outreach clinics help to meet the needs of our patients and keep them close to home for treatment whenever possible.
Q: Where and when are services available?

A: Services are available in Ellensburg (Tuesdays) and Sunnyside (every other Thursday).

Q: What services are available?

A: The outreach clinics offer hematology and oncology services. North Star Lodge nurses and doctors travel to the outreach clinics to provide consults, office visits and treatments (infusions and injections). We work together with both Kittitas and Sunnyside hospitals to provide ancillary services such as labs and diagnostic procedures.

Q: How do patients get scheduled to go to an outreach clinic instead of North Star Lodge?

A: All patients are scheduled centrally through North Star Lodge. If they have a treatment or appointment that is eligible for an outreach clinic location, they are offered that option. Not all appointments are eligible due to complexity or timing.

Healthy holidays—healthy you!

By Lena Gill, RD, CSO
The holiday season is here, and many of us look forward to celebrating traditions with our family and friends. Most of these celebrations include food and the temptation to overindulge. This can lead to the well-known, seemingly inevitable 5- to 10-pound weight gain many of us experience every year.

A typical holiday menu, including turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner roll with butter, cranberry sauce, wine, pumpkin pie with whipped topping, and coffee with liquor can total 5,000 calories and 192 grams of fat! And that’s without any Christmas cookies or candy.

So, what can we do to avoid adding pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?

Try these holiday survival tips:

  • Set realistic goals—do not skip meals
  • Take care of yourself—slow down to decrease stress levels
  • Exercise regularly—this helps to decrease your stress levels and appetite (Remember that for many of us, STRESSED = DESSERTS!)

Plan ahead

When cooking at home:

  • Chew gum
  • Freeze goodies in small containers
  • Let someone else do the taste testing

Holiday parties—moderation, not deprivation

  • Snack before you go—hungry stomachs can sabotage discipline
  • For a gift, bring a low-fat dessert or a fruit or veggie tray with low-fat dip
  • Rush to greet people, not the food—avoid hanging out at the food table
  • Look over the buffet line and decide what you really want—you don’t need to have everything, just your favorites
  • Leave food on your plate
  • Instead of second helpings, ask the host or hostess for recipes of dishes you’re having a hard time resisting
  • Be assertive with a well-intentioned host or hostess, and just say no
  • Most of all, enjoy!

Holiday workout schedule

By Lindsey Woodkey, CPT

The day before Thanksgiving is the time to get in an aerobic workout. This “steady state” cardio (as I call it) should last around 45 minutes and be performed at a moderate intensity (7 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “I’m lying in bed” and 10 being “I’m being chased through the forest by a man with a knife”). You should be able to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with a few breaths. Any mode of cardio will do (elliptical, treadmill, cycle, hiking).

Curious about where your heart rate should be? Calculate your target heart rate here.

I get asked all the time, what is the best workout to do before a “cheat” meal. My answer? A full body weights circuit. Trying not to get too scientific—weight training depletes your muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrates) more so than cardio. When our muscles are “empty” they are more likely to grab onto and use the carbohydrates we give it. This means that by doing a full body workout the morning before your holiday meal, you will ensure that all those carbs you are about to consume go into your muscles, not your fat stores. Weight training also elevates your metabolism long after you put down the dumbbells. For this circuit shoot for at least 2 sets of 15-20 reps per muscle group, working almost to failure. Do not rest between exercises. Complete one time through your full body circuit, rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat 2-3 times (if time allows). Use bands, dumbbells, machines, body weight,  or anything that adds resistance (see sample workout below). Your heart rate should remain elevated for the entire workout and you should leave a sweat pile on the gym floor.

The day AFTER Thanksgiving, you will want to do some cardio, but not just any cardio. Since your muscles are primed and ready to go after your feast the day before, we want to work them intensely. This is why I recommend you perform interval cardio the next day. These intervals consist of a work and a rest phase with the work phase lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute and the rest phase anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 minutes.  These can be performed on any cardio machine or outdoors but are easiest on the treadmill. Your intervals should last between 20 and 40 minutes depending on your intensity. Remember not to lift weights that next day as your body is still recovering from your Thanksgiving Day beat down!







Toe Rises


Lat Pull downs


Chest Press


Russian Deadlifts




Shoulder Presses


Biceps Curls


Triceps Press downs


Decline Crunches


Low Back Extensions


Russian Twists



Perform the entire circuit one time through, rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat 2-3 times. You should be able to get between 15-20 reps with good form, but no more (work almost to muscular failure).