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National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, so what a perfect time to review the best way to care for your child’s teeth!  Make sure you bring your little one in by 12 months of age, if you also want to bring them in when the first tooth erupts, that is great too.  This early first visit is important for several reasons.  First, any dental problems that may be developing can be detected early, and this may reduce the need for costly, extensive care in the future.  In addition, the first dental visit is a great time to talk about behaviors that can affect the dental health of your child.

As your child grows, it is important that they come to the clinic every six months to repeat this process. Small procedures such as a toothbrush cleaning, and later a rubber cup cleaning, as well as dental radiographs will be added at the subsequent appointments.  The developing dentition will be monitored and your child will be assessed for orthodontic care.   Sealants are placed on first and second molars around the age of six and 12 to prevent dental decay.  Some tips for lasting dental health:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • The ADA recommends that for children younger than three years, begin brushing with a “smear” of fluoridated tooth paste no bigger than a grain rice
  • For children between the ages of 3 and 6, use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste
  • Parents or caregivers should be actively involved in this process, remember that until your child can tie their own shoes, they do not have the manual dexterity to brush their own teeth.
  • Any teeth that touch should be flossed
  • A diet that is good for your body will be good for your teeth
  • Avoid sugary drinks and chewy, sticky foods.
  • In the teenage years it is important to help your child maintain a healthy diet also as during the school years candy, soda are more readily available outside the home.
  • Do not let your child get an intraoral piercing as this can be responsible for chipped teeth, soft tissue trauma and occasional tooth loss

 

Try to have patience and keep at it, some children have an easier time than others but patience and persistence will pay off.

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Peanut Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 5 mins

Total Time: 5 mins

Yield: 1 ⅔ cup

You can serve this healthy peanut sauce recipe as a dip or drizzle over Asian dishes! You can toss this savory peanut sauce with noodles, too. It’s good every which way! Recipe yields about 1 ⅔ cup sauce.

Ingredients

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup rice vinegar

¼ cup water

⅓ cup reduced sodium tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced, to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for sprinkling

Optional garnishes: sprinkling of chopped roasted peanuts and additional red pepper flakes

Instructions

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients until well blended. If your peanut butter is particularly thick, you may need to add a bit more water to thin out the mixture (adding water will mellow out the flavor as well).

Feel free to adjust to taste here—for example, sometimes I want my sauce more savory and add another clove of garlic, or a little sweeter, so I add extra honey.

If you’re serving the sauce as a party dip, transfer it to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and red pepper flakes for some visual interest!

Watch how to make this sauce on our Facebook Page!

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Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

prep time: 15 mins

cook time: 15 mins

total time: 30 minutes

yield: makes about 5 cups

 

Ingredients

8 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons butter

5-6 cups cauliflower florets

6-7 cups vegetable broth or water

1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

1/2 teaspoon pepper (more to taste)

1/2 cup milk (more to taste)

Instructions

Garlic: Sauté the minced garlic with the butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Cook for several minutes or until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not browned (browned or burnt garlic will taste bitter). Remove from heat and set aside.

Cauliflower: Bring the water or vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the cauliflower and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Do not drain.

Puree: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower pieces to the blender. Add 1 cup vegetable broth or cooking liquid, sautéed garlic/butter, salt, pepper, and milk. Blend or puree for several minutes until the sauce is very smooth, adding more broth or milk depending on how thick you want the sauce. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender. Serve hot! If the sauce starts to look dry, add a few drops of water, milk, or olive oil.

Watch how to make this sauce on our Facebook Page!

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Creamy Avocado Sauce

Creamy Avocado Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: ~2 ½ cups of avocado sauce

 

Ingredients

2 ripe avocados

The juice of 2-4 small limes, adjust to taste

1 medium sized bunch of cilantro, chopped

2-3 jalapeños or Serrano peppers, seeded and deveined (use green bell pepper for a non-spicy version)

3-4 garlic cloves, crushed – adjust to taste

1/4 cup olive oil – or avocado oil for a neutral flavor

1 teaspoon ground cumin – optional, adjust to taste

Salt to taste

 

Instructions

Combine all the ingredients in a blender; it helps the blending process if the avocados are in small chunks and the cilantro is lightly chopped. I also recommend crushing the garlic before putting it in the blender to ensure no one gets a surprise large piece of garlic.

Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Watch how to make this sauce on our Facebook Page!

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Classic Marinara Sauce

Classic Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 ½ cups

Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified D.O.P. if possible

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered

Small dried whole chile, or pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large fresh basil sprig, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

Directions

Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.

In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.

As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chile or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.

Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chile (if using).

Watch how to make this sauce on our Facebook Page!

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Healthy Pesto

Yield: 2 cups

Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)

2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts

2 large cloves garlic

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

 

Directions

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.

With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.

Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Watch how to make this sauce on our Facebook Page!

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Post Holiday Blues

Presents have been unwrapped, cookies cooked and consumed, and memories of joy on faces remain in your phone. Now that the festivities are over and it’s time to start taking down the lights, are you feeling down? It’s no surprise that the decrease in celebration and excitement can certainly affect moods, causing disappointment or even sadness. “It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, so if you are feeling that way, you are not alone,” says Martha Nelson, CHAS Health Behavioral Health Provider.

Causes:

  • Busyness – It’s a really hectic time of year. You just finished finding the perfect present for so many people, prepared the perfect meals, and attended too many functions. It’s such a wonderful time, but also, exhausting. Coming down from the busyness and hype is tough.
  • Memories – Holidays can bring up past memories, and often a sense of nostalgia for good times that have passed and loved ones that may be gone.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is a common contributing factor for holiday depression. It can be a packed time of year, with normal routines and exercise out the window. Additionally, it’s cold outside (and so warm under the blankets). No wonder you can feel fatigued. It’s the time of year I personally put off a lot of things in exchange for sleeping in or going to sleep early.
  • Sugar and food – So many good treats! So many good foods! During this time of year, there is so much to eat, drink, and be merry with. It’s easy to go overboard, throw your routine out the window, and over eat (or under eat if you swap eating something good in order to splurge on a dessert). The amounts of blood sugar spikes can leave you feeling crabby, hungry and a little bit sad.

Ideas to help cope with post-holiday depression:

  • Take what you enjoyed during the holidays and continue it throughout the year. If you enjoyed spending time with friends and family, invite them over soon for a meal, to play some games, or watch a movie.
  • Have fun! Go to a movie, see a play, visit the Museum of Arts and Culture, ski or do some sledding.
  • Start or continue your exercise routine. Sometimes exercise goes out the window during the holidays (sometimes it goes out the window well before the holidays too). But, now is a perfect time to re-start or get into a new routine. Include a buddy so you have company and someone you look forward to hanging out with, plus it’s a great way to hold each other accountable.
  • If you’ve gained weight, don’t worry about it. There were a lot of good treats around. No regrets. It doesn’t mean you are weak, , it just means there were some awesome cookies around… and you’ve got to live a little. Right? However, it’s never too late to get back on track with a healthy eating plan.
  • Plan something each week to look forward to.
  • Take care of yourself, including eating well (don’t confuse this with not eating), exercising and getting enough sleep. Have a good attitude as well; it’s easily to slip into negative notions.
  • If the post-holiday blues hang on for too long, consider reaching out to a Behavioral Health specialist. Seasonal affective disorder is a real issue that many people deal with. As we roll into 2018, remember to make the resolution to highlight health and happiness.

 

By Matt Grebe and Martha Nelson, LICSW

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Holidays Got You Down?

Many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season. People who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness during this time.  Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues. Some can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss.  A lot of seasonal factors can trigger the holiday blues such as, less sunlight, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization or the inability to be with friends or family. These are all factors that can seriously affect your mood.

Via nami.org

 

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Healthy Recipes: Antipasto Skewers

Antipasto Skewers

Prep: 20 min

Yield: 24 skewers

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 8oz marinated mozzarella balls
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
  • 1 12 -ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large
  • 1 14 -ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Directions

Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and a mozzarella ball. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.

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Healthy Recipes: Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes

Total: 30 min

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 20 min

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce, from the pepper can

Directions

Put the sweet potatoes in a steamer basket and put the steamer in a large pot of simmering water that is 1 inch from the bottom of the basket. Cover and steam over medium-high heat for 20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender.

Remove the steamer basket, pour the water out of the pot and dump the sweet potatoes into the pot. Add the butter and salt and mash with a potato masher. Add the chile and sauce and continue mashing to combine. Serve immediately.