Season’s Eatings…oops, Greetings!

Hot cocoa with whipped cream and warm apple filling

Simmering recipes and foods meant for grilling

Warm cookie packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things

Tis the season for some of the most delicious foods and flavors of the year. And for some of us, these foods also bring with it stress and anxiety; the stress and anxiety of the “all or nothing” thoughts that can sabotage our efforts of healthier eating during the holiday season. It is much healthier to separate ourselves from this way of thinking and aim to have more realistic goals and expectations during this time. Having a collection of tips and tricks to manage our holiday eating habits, can also help to lower the level of stress and anxiety we may experience. Read on to find some tips that may work for you.

  • Be sure to continue efforts of eating regularly. It is best not to skip regularly planned meals and snacks in an attempt to enjoy your favorite meals or treats. Enjoy your regularly planned meals and snacks AND your favorite treat or meal too. Depriving yourself of food leading up to the meal or snack will often result in slow metabolism, difficulty controlling blood sugars, unpredictable moodiness, increased fatigue, and possible overeating. Also be sure to keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day.
  • Try to avoid overeating. Listen closely to your body’s cues and practice mindful eating. Keep in tune to how your stomach is physically feeling throughout the meal and aim to stop eating when you begin to feel satiated or satisfied. Another part that is helpful in avoiding overeating is being mindful as to what you fill your plate with and making smart choices.
  • Make smart choices. Before beginning to fill your plate at the meal, take a moment to consider all the food choices. You may decide to completely forgo your least favorite foods and opt to take smaller portions of your favorites. You might also think about filling half your plate with fruit and/or vegetables first. When also considering your meal choices, think about what you might like to have after your meal too. Dessert is often a wonderful treat that all should take the pleasure in enjoying this time of the year, should they want to. To practice mindfully, do you take a smaller slice of pie? Go without whipped topping? Create a healthier concoction all your own? Or perhaps dessert is the “crème de la crème” for you and you made smarter meal choices so that you can enjoy dessert to the fullest…then you should do just that.
  • Enjoy your meal, your company, and your blessings. After an interesting 2020, take the time to enjoy the meal and time with your loved ones or whomever you may be spending your time or meal with. Slow down and “drink it all it”, put your fork down between each bite, partake in the conversations with others, and if able, wait about 15 minutes before deciding if you want to return for second helpings of food. Let your digestion begin its work. 
  • If possible, include exercise as part of your holiday fun/plans. Not a requirement but a gentle suggestion. Finding a way to move often makes anyone feel a little cheerier, due to the release of endorphins (the “happy” hormone). During this holiday season, consider taking a walk, seeking out the nearest sledding hill, trying ice skating, building a snowman, trying yoga/Pilates/qigong at home, or playing some basketball.
  • Enjoy the holidays! At the end of day, if concerns about healthy eating during the holidays is too overwhelming for you, then let it be. Always remember that one of the most important parts about this season is enjoying the memories you make with loved ones (even when the memories of this year look quite different from others). 

By Keri Smith, RD

CHAS Health Homeless Memorial 2020

Each year on December 21st, CHAS Health hosts a Homeless Memorial to remember those who have died during the year while experiencing homelessness.    The memorial is held on the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.  This event serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles of those who are experiencing housing insecurity and is also a call to action to help end homelessness.  Traditionally, over 150 communities across the nation hold similar events. 

Studies across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia have confirmed a relationship between a lack of housing and increased mortality rates. Homeless persons are 3-4 times more likely to die than the general population. On average, people with housing in the U.S. can expect to live to age 78. Our long-term homeless neighbors can expect to live to about the age of 50. This day focuses attention to collectively recommit efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths among our homeless neighbors.

In a typical year, this memorial would gather community leaders, clients, and CHAS Health staff to honor these lost lives.  This year, we are sadly unable to hold an in-person event with our community due to the current healthcare crisis.  In lieu of an in-person remembrance, we are taking this this ceremony online.  The CHAS Health Homeless Memorial includes a visual representation of those members of our homeless community who have died this year with individual names placed on a tree outside the downtown CHAS Health Denny Murphy Clinic located at 1001 W. 2nd Ave.

We ask that those who would like to join us in remembrance take a moment to reflect on this day of the lives lost in the past year and consider the challenges that our homeless population faces. 

CHAS Health is proud to have a homeless outreach team that spends their time working with this community.  This team works to stay connected with this vulnerable population and spends their time checking on the wellness of others, providing much needed support, and handing out supplies. CHAS Health employees recently donated more than $7,000 to purchase warm winter gear including gloves, socks and sleeping bags to support members of our homeless community this year.   The outreach team will be passing out lunches and winter survival items to the homeless around its Denny Murphy Clinic throughout the day.

If you have any questions regarding our memorial or outreach efforts, please contact us at

Thank you for your support of this very important cause. Please help us spread the word by sharing this video or blog.    

CHAS Health Opens Centralized Testing at Spokane Arena

CHAS Health remains committed to serving our community by providing robust COVID testing access in our area.  Due to increased volumes and fixed capacity, CHAS Health is streamlining its testing in the city of Spokane by establishing a centralized drive-through testing location at Spokane Arena.  The centralized drive-through testing location at Spokane Arena will open on Sunday, December 6, 2020.

At this time, CHAS Health is offering COVID testing to community members who meet the following criteria:

  • Have COVID symptoms; or
  • Do not have COVID symptoms but have had  direct COVID exposure; or
  • Are nursing home employees.

Those exposed and without symptoms may be tested 5-7 days after exposure, but not earlier.

As testing demands grow due to increasing COVID rates in the area, patients should be prepared for longer than usual wait times at testing locations.  Staff will be working as quickly as possible, but wait times could be as long as 2-3 hours depending on the day or time. COVID testing at all CHAS Health locations is on a first-come-first-serve basis, but for those who plan to visit the Spokane Arena Centralized Testing Location, they can notify CHAS Health what time they plan to arrive and begin their registration paperwork online before they leave home.  This will help registration when they arrive at the Arena to go more quickly.  For Arena arrival times, current testing locations, times, and the latest updates on testing protocol, visit  Current turnaround time for testing results is 1-3 days.

CHAS Health COVID Testing Locations & Hours Beginning Sunday, December 6, 2020:

Spokane Arena

720 W. Mallon Ave., Spokane, WA 99201

Monday – Sunday: 9am – 3pm

North County Clinic

401 S Main St, Deer Park, WA 99006

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm

Lewis & Clark Health Center

1203 Idaho St, Lewiston, ID 83501

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm

Latah Community Health

803 S Main St, Suite 120, Moscow, ID 83843

Monday – Friday: 9am – 3pm