Each October, many charities, research organizations, medical institutions, and individuals participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to spread the word about the need for early detection and proper treatment for those diagnosed with breast cancer. Understandably, most people prefer not to dwell on their cancer risk or entertain thoughts of what might happen if they were diagnosed, but the reality is that breast cancer will affect roughly 1 in 8 women born today.
What do you picture when you hear the words “holiday heart?” The phrase might evoke images of warm family gatherings, wintry outings with friends that end with hot cider, or even chocolates. As lovely as these nostalgic scenes might be, “holiday heart syndrome” actually refers to an increase in emergency room visits and hospital admissions from an irregular heart rhythm that many people experience around the holidays. It can happen to anyone, even otherwise healthy people.
Summer is in full swing! Most people plan vacations for the middle of the summer when the beach is most appealing and the roads to the mountains are clear and easy to drive. No matter where you and your family are planning to go this year, make health a priority during your fun in the sun. Stay conscious of your body's limits, and encourage your family and friends to practice healthy habits that will help keep you safe this season.
Up until a few weeks ago, it seemed warm weather would never arrive for the northern part of the United States. Thankfully, it seems spring (and in some places, summer) temperatures have finally arrived and even better, it looks like they are here to stay! However, along with longer, warmer days, comes a need to consider sun safety and the risk of skin cancer.
Chances are, you or a loved one has been personally touched by a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that impacts the body's ability to handle glucose, a type of sugar, in the blood. Most people who suffer from the condition have type 2 diabetes, which results from the body not using insulin as well as it should, a condition called "insulin resistance." This type of diabetes used to be known colloquially as "adult-onset," but due to an epidemic of obesity among children, more and more children and teens are now diagnosed in the United States each year.
Within the Liberty HealthShare community, we prioritize health and financial stewardship as far as they depend on us as members, but we also understand that life can hold accidents, diagnoses, or health outcomes we didn't see coming. Trusting God with the fact that life is unpredictable while doing everything we can to remain healthy is just part of the journey. Bearing burdens for our fellow members when they are faced with an unexpected diagnosis or injury is why Liberty exists.
Depending on where you live, the weather may be showing little signs that spring isn't too far off. That's a hopeful signal, especially for those living in the areas that have been hardest hit by severe winter storms. Unfortunately, no matter what the weather does, we're still in the middle of what's commonly known as "flu season."
The enrollment process with Liberty HealthShare includes a review of applicant health for two main reasons: first, because we are a community united by our shared belief in God, we agree together to honor him by stewarding our bodies as the gifts they are. Second, as we share medical costs as a community, that stewardship of our bodies results in the reduction of avoidable medical expenses. One of the lifestyle expectations we have for our members is that they will not engage in any kind of tobacco use.
Are you ready for some football? If your kids are athletes, odds are they started practice for their fall sports several weeks ago. If your children have been involved in sports for a while, you are no doubt familiar with the risks of injury inherent in any sport. You have probably heard the warnings about overuse injuries, concussions, and various other issues common to youth athletics. If, however, your child or children are new to sports, you may not be as familiar with the risks.
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician One of our main values here at Liberty HealthShare is the promotion and pursuit of health. While we are here for one another through the unexpected health issues that may arise, we have also agreed to steward our bodies, first because they are gifts from God and second, because we recognize that the money that pays for our eligible medical costs comes out of our pockets and the pockets of our fellow members. Obesity is a national epidemic, affecting more than one-third of U.S. adults. It’s not surprising that children aren’t statistically far behind in this area. Obesity contributes to a myriad of other health conditions, from heart disease to cancer, so it follows that a large part of our nation’s healthcare costs could be mitigated by focusing on the reduction of obesity alone.
In the Health & Wellness Department, we are asked, “What is considered a pre-existing condition?” several times a day by both members and providers. The review and management of pre-existing conditions make up a large part of our work, so one of my goals is ensuring that our members have a good understanding of how we address these particular circumstances.
It's August, and parents of school-aged kids know what that means: back to school. It's an exciting season of transition that holds new beginnings, returning to certain routines and the start of others, auditions, tryouts, and...exposure to new germs, courtesy of the rest of your kids' classmates. Goodness knows you don't have time for illness in the midst of everything that needs to be done over the next several months. If you or your children do find yourself battling an illness during this demanding time of year, we want you to be able to access a doctor with as little hassle (and as little cost) as is possible.
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician Here at Liberty HealthShare, we strive to create an environment in which our members are empowered to make informed decisions about the care they pursue for themselves and their families. For example, Liberty is proud to share in eligible expenses within the realm of certain naturopathic and alternative treatments. Dr. Kendra Pearsall, NMD, is a member of our Physician Advisory Board and she shares her expertise here as part of our physician post series. The following are a few medical questions our members pose with answers from Dr. Pearsall, based in a naturopathic approach to health.
Those of us who are pet owners know that having a dog or cat - or bird, reptile, amphibian, or rodent, depending on your interests - makes life a little bit better. Each breed and individual animal has its quirks, but generally, there is a bond between owner and pet. In the case of dogs and (some) cats, they're waiting when you come home, ready to play, in some cases looking like they're actually smiling because they've been reunited with you after a WHOLE day apart. Have you ever noticed that being around a pet has a calming effect on your mental and emotional state? Certainly, there are some pets that bring rambunctious energy everywhere they go, but there are others that seem to simply enjoy being nearby. The calming effect of pets is no illusion.
In last month's post, I shared my main motivation for pursuing health: love for my grandchildren. What keeps me on track and making healthy choices is the desire to be in their lives for a long time. Not only do I want to be around, but I also want to be able to keep up with them and actively participate in all the important events that will define their lives over the years to come. In the motivation post, I detailed a long list of excuses which, from time to time, we are all guilty of making where our health and fitness are concerned. Life is stressful, busy, and tiring. Work, friends, family, and our other commitments play tug-of-war with our time and energy. Sometimes the only thing that helps us achieve success is an incentive...some sort of carrot we can chase on our way to better health (better carrots than cake!). So I asked our members, "What motivates you?" Or said a different way, "What is your driving force?"
The dictionary defines “motivation” this way: The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way; the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. Motivation has become quite the popular topic in the past several decades. Everywhere you look, books by influential motivational speakers top the bestseller list. Courses and conferences sell out. Clearly, people are looking for reasons and ways to achieve more; to become the best version of themselves. How many times have we eagerly started a weight loss program or joined a gym, karate, or Zumba class with every intention of attending the classes regularly? For the first month or two, we are faithful. Then our motivation begins to fizzle and the next thing you know, once again, we stop going altogether and we make every excuse to justify not exercising or eating healthily.
Most people know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but chocolate hearts aren’t the only ones occupying the spotlight this time of year. February also marks American Heart Month, which is a great time to commit (or recommit!) yourself to making choices that will positively impact your cardiovascular health.
Welcome! After the holidays and year-end commitments, we're back with the last portion of our cold-weather series on maintaining and increasing health. We started with ideas for staying fit both outdoors and indoors, then shared recipes for winter squash, cruciferous vegetables, baked goods, soups and stews, and roasted foods. Today we continue this series with ideas to protect and improve your mental and emotional health despite the cold and limited daylight. Stay tuned for more. Well, you made it through the busyness of the holidays. Now a good portion of the country faces the long stretch of winter, featuring dull, gray days, long nights, and very little in the way of holidays or time away from work to look forward to. If you fall into this category, the uphill climb to springtime and sunshine can be a rough one, but it doesn't have to be unbearable.
Happy New Year! It’s hard to believe the holidays are already in the rearview mirror, isn’t it? I hope you were able to spend some of that time making memories with your loved ones and getting some rest. I hope you were also able to prioritize your health in the midst of all the parties, food, and social engagements. If not, don’t give up. There’s no time like the present to hit the “reset button”, from diet to fitness, from rest to stress management. You might not realize that there is a widely available product that can positively impact multiple facets of your health. It’s not a fad or a gimmick. As a matter of fact, it’s ancient and usually quite affordable. It’s tea. January is hot tea month, so let’s learn a little more about this common beverage.
Hi there! Thanks for joining us. We’ve spent the last few weeks exploring ways you can pursue and increase your health as temperatures drop, and we’re continuing that blog series today. So far, we have touched on ways you can stay active outdoors and indoors. We have also shared recipes for winter squash, cruciferous vegetables, grains and baked goods, and soups and stews. We’re wrapping up the seasonal eating portion of this series today, but stay tuned as we’ll move on to discuss maintaining mental and emotional health as temperatures drop and days get shorter. We love summer for so many reasons, not least of which is the fact that cooking operations can be moved outside. You can’t beat that grilled flavor, plus it’s always nice to be able to avoid heating up the kitchen by using a range or oven. But it’s fall now, and apart from some brave souls, most people move meal prep back indoors. Fortunately, oven-roasting achieves similar results, yielding foods that are low in calories and big on flavor.
Hi there! If you are just joining us, we are midway through a blog series on health during colder weather. We’ve already talked about pursuing fitness through outdoor and indoor activities, and we’ve also covered ideas for eating seasonally with winter squash, cruciferous vegetables, and baked goods. Keep checking back here for more recipes and tips for protecting and increasing your mental and emotional health as the days grow shorter and colder. Healthy eating influencers often tout the benefits of eating seasonally. By thi,s they mean eating those things that are in season in your part of the world; those fruits and vegetables that can reasonably be considered fresh. But if you live in a part of the country where temperatures are on a downward trend right now, the list of things that are “in season” is shrinking by the day.
Thanks for joining us! We’re about halfway through a blog series on ways to prioritize your health during the fall and winter. So far we’ve detailed some ideas for both indoor and outdoor exercise as well as seasonal eating tips using winter squash and cruciferous vegetables. Keep checking back for more recipes and additional tips on keeping yourself mentally and emotionally healthy throughout the autumn months. During the autumn, bread and pastries infused with cinnamon, caramel, and pumpkin (just to name a few flavors) are on display at every bakery, coffee shop, and café. At home, Thanksgiving tables groan under bread and pies, and we start baking cookies because after all, this is the time of year for it. There’s no denying these baked goods are a delicious way to celebrate the season, but indulging has its consequences.
Welcome! If you’re just joining us, you have arrived in the middle of a blog series on improving and maintaining your health during the fall and winter. We’ve already covered some ideas for staying active in colder weather, both indoors and outdoors, as well as recipes for winter squash. Stay tuned for more delicious seasonal recipes and ways to protect your mental and emotional health as the days get shorter. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and everywhere you look, comfort foods will start to threaten your best intentions. Before you give up on being able to have the things you love, we’d like to suggest redefining comfort food to mean flavorful and satisfying, rather than fattening.
Over the next several months, we're covering a variety of ways to maintain your health during the colder months. We've already looked at some fun ways you and your family can keep moving both outdoors and indoors. Looking ahead, keep an eye out for seasonal recipes and tips for supporting your emotional and mental health as temperatures drop. You’re trying to get or stay on-track during the fall. Does that mean the delicious flavors of the season are off-limits? Not at all! A surefire way to keep sugar and fat consumption under control is to simply plan ahead.
Welcome! We’re in the middle of a series on fall and winter wellness. Check back here for ideas for managing your diet, staying active, and reducing stress as the holidays approach. In our last post, we covered some ways we can prioritize fitness by fighting the urge to hibernate and instead enjoying autumn’s many opportunities for physical activity. Now that the days are getting shorter and temperatures continue to drop, it’s even more important that we find ways to keep moving indoors as well.
If you love someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, you might already know that November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. Raising awareness about this devastating disease is a mission I personally care deeply about because it is what took my grandfather’s life. Throughout the course of his illness, I watched as this once-loving man slowly became withdrawn and angry, ultimately unable to care for himself. The effects of his disease threatened to tear my family apart.
This is the first post in a series on getting and staying healthy this fall and winter. Check back for ways to stay active, enticing seasonal recipes, and tips for managing stress as we approach the holidays. Fall is a great time to recommit to your fitness goals by getting outside. The views at your local parks are great, you can get health benefits from a variety of fun activities that feel nothing like a workout, and it's cool enough that you won't find yourself dripping with sweat during activity. Here are a few ways you and your family can stay active even when the temperatures drop:
I was at a conference in Washington, D.C. when I received a reminder email concerning my October newsletter article. Friends and colleagues suggested I could write about autumn and highlight fall spices that can help address certain health conditions. Although it was a good and timely suggestion, as I did some sightseeing in our nation’s capital, I found inspiration in an unlikely place.I noticed there was a fast food establishment on just about every corner, and it got me thinking about a national epidemic that likely affects all Liberty HealthShare members, either personally or by association. That epidemic is obesity.
Drip. Perk. French press. Pour over. Cold brew. Espresso. Nitro-infused. What's your favorite way to drink coffee? Today is National Coffee Day, according to...well, whoever it is that assigns celebratory days for beloved foods and beverages. Thankfully, unlike some of the more decadent foods deemed special enough to get their own day - think bacon, pie, and ice cream - coffee doesn't have to derail your health and wellness goals. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic website, the health benefits of consuming coffee likely outweigh the risks for most people.
A sedentary lifestyle is now more the rule than the exception in our country. Not only are a huge portion of American jobs now accomplished from a seated position, but the reality is also that our downtime is dominated by a nearly unlimited number of indoor entertainment options that are constantly within arm's reach. This isn't just true for adults, either. Kids suffer from their own versions of these pitfalls and temptations, and they are a lot less likely to choose physical activity if they don't see it modeled by their parents.
It’s that time of the year again. Backpacks that have spent the summer filled with overnight clothes, sunscreen, and swimsuits will again be filled with school books and supplies. Summer is coming to an end and, ready or not, school is about to begin. While this can be an exciting time, it can also cause anxiety and frustration. Many of us - kids and grown-ups alike - get butterflies as summer fades. However, preparation leads to confidence, which in turn leads to a positive back-to-school experience.
Our Health and Wellness Department is here to serve members when they become ill or suffer an injury. They also counsel potential members when a pre-existing and/or lifestyle-related condition is a concern. Finally, they work with our HealthTrac members, following progress and confirming graduation.
Vacations are supposed to be a time when we take a break from work and other aspects of our daily life. But do they make us happier? Researchers from the Netherlands conducted a study and their conclusion was the following: yes, vacations do make you happier but, unfortunately, only for a short period of time. Unsurprisingly, one of the main reasons for this is that vacationers tend to either worry about work or about the amount of work waiting for them upon their return to work. How many people reading this article have done the same thing while on vacation? Is it possible to remain stress-free while away from home? Not entirely. But a few tips can eliminate some of that stress from the time you leave to when you return.
Viewpoints From A Naturopathic Physician by Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. Medicine is and always has been more art than science. The information provided here is not to be treated as individual medical advice but rather a starting point from which to assess your own health practices. What is best for you is what restores and or maintains good health. Read with an open mind and consult with your personal physician on any changes you may want to make. I offer this article as a reminder to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism where it comes to conventional thinking (the kind usually passed down from academics and bureaucrats) that attempts to treat us all the same way.
May’s Memorial Day preserves the memory of veterans who have given their lives for our country’s freedom – a freedom that, among other things, gave us the Great American Backyard. In preparing our backyards for warm weather activities, we wage war on winter damage, insect infestations, and Pinterest fantasies. Before launching your offensive, read our Intelligence Briefing. It could keep you from being wounded in the Battle of the Backyard!
Viewpoints from a Naturopathic Physician by Kendra Pearsall, N.M.D. People tell us their number one reason for joining Liberty HealthShare is the cost savings. Members report they are saving thousands over previous years' total healthcare expenses. Cost savings is one of the many reasons I LOVE being a member, and for that reason and more, I tell everyone I know about this wonderful program. I asked Liberty HealthShare's Executive Director, Dale Bellis, how Liberty is able to keep membership fees low.
How many times have we said, ”There are not enough hours in a day!" Today a family sitting down at the dinner table to enjoy a meal together is an almost obsolete occurrence. If you have children who are involved in extracurricular activities, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who have children a typical day may look like this…
I was sitting at my desk thinking of a subject for my next newsletter article when my 11-year-old niece, Bayleigh, came to visit me. She said,” Aunt Susie, what are you doing?” “I’m thinking about what I should write for the next newsletter," I replied. With excitement in her voice and her eyes shining like Christmas lights, she said, “I know what you can write about. Write about your skin!” I pondered her idea and because she was so excited about her suggestion, I asked if she wanted to help. She sat down and began writing.
In today's world of ever-changing technology – computers, iPads, smart phones, etc. – our culture has become increasingly plugged in even as we lose touch with nature. Publicly available data show healthcare costs are the highest they have ever been, and they continue to increase. 33% of U.S. adults are obese, incurring $148 billion in medical costs annually and contributing to 18% of adult deaths. Our population spends more than 90% of their time indoors, leading a sedentary, disconnected, unhealthy, and unnatural lifestyle. These figures are sobering, but there is good news, and it's right outside your door.
Is there a magic formula to setting and then sticking to a New Year's Resolution? Do you have to have super human willpower? Is there any hope for us mere mortals? The short answers are no, no, and yes! The new year can be a great time to make changes and set out to improve whatever aspects of your life YOU believe need improvement. Plus, there are ways to increase your odds of success.
With the cold weather and less sunlight that characterize the winter months, many of us find it difficult to continue with our warm weather exercise routines. Most of us will find we spend a lot more time sitting, whether it's at work or doing other indoor activities. However, we all know continued activity is best no matter what the weather. One of the ways you can combat sluggishness is through stretching. With just a little ffort, you can do these stretches at your desk and enjoy their energizing benefits.
Now that November has arrived, we are well into pumpkin season. If you want, you can find pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, even pumpkin pasta! Pumpkin is everywhere, and especially on the dessert table. If you're watching what you eat (and I hope you are!), there are plenty of ways to make a pumpkin dessert that will scratch your dessert itch without sabotaging your healthy efforts. Here is a quick and easy recipe that will satisfy your sweet tooth!
Stress can start with money worries or a health scare. It can be instigated by a traffic jam, a disagreement with a partner, or unreasonable demands at work or at school. Recently, several people have asked me about stress and how it affects us physically. How can a six-letter word wreak so much havoc and bring so much turmoil to our lives and health? Or does it?
LHS Health Coaches help member make positive changes in his life. When Crestline, Ohio residents John and Lora Troiano heard about Liberty HealthShare, they were happy to learn that the program met the religious exemption under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As self-employed business owners of JLS Surplus, an industrial machinery company, they were responsible for satisfying the requirements of the ACA. After researching their options, they decided on enrollment with Liberty HealthShare.
Supplements are quite the topic of conversation lately. Many people wonder, "Should I take supplements?" "Are supplements safe?" Ideally, we should be getting our vitamins and minerals through foods in their whole, natural, and organic form. However, health professionals may prescribe supplements for a variety of reasons, such as poor eating habits, nutrient depletion from the medications we take, food processing and cooking that can deplete nutrients, stress, and disease processes.
Summer has finally arrived! Of course, we are all excited that vacation planning has begun. While some families are planning beach activities, others are planning barbecues, reunions, outdoor parties, and hikes in the mountains. All of these activities are fun, but summertime can also mean dehydration, sunburn, exposure to the elements, and heatstroke if you are not careful. So, before you take out those swimsuits and hiking boots, here are some tips to help you stay safe.
Oh, how wonderful it is to see green grass and blooming flowers, and to feel the warmth of the sun on our skin again. Summer does not officially begin until June 21st, but all the signs of summer are here. Unfortunately, some of the signs of summer can bring big problems, such as those summer-loving, honey-producing bees (and their stinging relatives), which are already on the move.
Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue) is an autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, which attacks the villi (small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine). When the villi are damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly.
Thank you all for the many suggestions I received for upcoming articles of interest. For March, I chose to address heart disease and cold weather. It is very important to know how cold weather affects your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease. People with heart conditions should avoid outdoor exertion, like shoveling snow and walking through heavy wet snow.
The Liberty HealthShare relay team embarks on a new health challenge. The Liberty HealthShare "Run for Your Health" Team: Brandi Heim, Brandon Fabris, Peter Backer, Executive Director Dale Bellis, and Robyn Hughes. In keeping with our commitment to good health, Liberty HealthShare staff, members, and supporters formed a five-person relay team to run in the Akron Marathon on September 27, 2014.
...with goals, a time frame, and a push from Sue! Bill Downey, Provisional Member (L); Sue Rohr, Liberty HealthShare Health Coach (R) One of the options Liberty HealthShare offers to potential members is the Provisional Membership. Particularly when pre-existing conditions are responsive to lifestyle changes, prospective members have the option to enroll as a provisional member. The Provisional Member submits an additional $80 share amount per month, is assigned a health coach, and follows a personalized treatment plan agreed upon by the member to change and improve their condition. Many Provisional Members have experienced significant life changes and successes.