Useful Information for Better Health from the Western Maryland Health System

Friday, April 29, 2016

It's Gardening Time!

April showers bring May flowers and fruits and vegetables, such as asparagus, onions and lettuce. Just around the corner, May is National Physical Fitness Month.   Did you know that gardening is a great form of exercise with healthy dividends?

Gardening provides aerobic, muscle-strengthening and stretching physical activity. Digging, raking, lifting, and squatting all burn calories and depending on the distance covered, gardening can add significant steps to your day. Although the number of calories burned varies depending on your age, gender, weight, metabolism, and intensity, an hour in the garden can burn between 200-400 calories.
Building on last year's success of the Williams Street Community Garden, WMHS will help support additional community gardens this year.

To help you with your home garden, University of Maryland Extension is teaching gardening classes at WMHS during May and June, including:

Strawberries for the Home Garden on May 17 from 6 – 7 pm in WMHS auditorium rooms 5 and 6
Know your Garden Friends and Foes on May 31 from 6-7 pm in WMHS auditorium rooms 5 and 6
Raspberries for the Home Garden on June 14 from 6-7 pm in WMHS auditorium rooms 1 and 2.

To register, contact the University of MD Extension at 301-724-3320.

Even if you don’t plant your own garden, you can still enjoy the fresh flavors of local produce. WMHS will again host a farmers market on the ground level of the parking garage every Wednesday beginning on July 6th. And beginning at the end of May or beginning of June, farmers markets will be held in downtown Cumberland on Thursdays, at the Canal Place/Train Station in Cumberland on Saturdays, at the mall in LaVale on Tuesdays and at City Place in Frostburg on Fridays.

For more information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Monday, March 14, 2016

National Nutrition Month

March is National Nutrition Month and this year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”

Too often, people mindlessly eat and don’t really taste the flavors of their food. Slowing down and appreciating all the flavors of food and beverages helps prevent overeating and increases the pleasure of eating.

Today, less time is spent purchasing, preparing, eating and enjoying food. How is all this fast-paced eating affecting us? Unfortunately, research shows that people who eat quickly are more likely to be overweight than those who eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to get the signal of what has been eaten. Eating slowly allows one to feel full while eating fewer calories. If you’re feeling stuffed after a meal, you’ve eaten more than your body actually needs, which may lead to weight gain.

Eating slowly helps you fully enjoy each bite, sensing flavors and textures and increasing satisfaction.  When you eat, focus on eating instead of multi-tasking. Chew foods thoroughly and put utensils down in-between bites. Savor the flavor of healthy eating and enjoy your meals more for better health.

Visit the WMHS cafeteria during March for free nutrition information, tastings and giveaways from WMHS registered dietitian nutritionists. Buy fruits and veggies in the cafeteria during March and enter to win healthy gift baskets at the cash registers.

Join WMHS Dietitians on March 31 for a fun-filled food demo that will feature basic recipes with less than 10 ingredients that you can duplicate at home. The demo will be held in WMHS auditoriums 5 & 6 showcase a simple and healthy breakfast and dinner. There will be taste samples for all who attend. Seating is limited, so registration is required. Two sessions are available to choose from: 11:45-12:15 OR 12:30-1:00 pm. For more information or to register, call Jen Thomas in Wellness at 240-964-8417 or email  See brochure here:

For more nutrition information, visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ two websites, or, which include practical articles, recipes, videos and educational resources that promote good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle. For interactive National Nutrition Month games, visit

Friday, February 12, 2016

Go Meatless, For Your Heart

“One day a week, cut out meat” is the motto of the non-profit organization called Meatless Monday. February is American Heart Month and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is an important part of heart-healthy eating. If you aren’t already eating meatless on Mondays, here are a few reasons why you should start:

To reduce heart disease
To meet your daily fruit and vegetable goal
To reduce water, energy, and CO2 consumption
To try new recipes and foods

Avocados, Brussels sprouts, onions, kale, carrots, bananas, citrus fruits, pears and beets are all in season, so keep these in mind when planning your Meatless Monday meals!

Every month, WMHS offers free Heart Healthy Nutrition classes. The next one will be on February 16 at 1:00 pm.  For more information, contact Joni Brode, RDN, LDN at 240-964-8677 or to register, contact WMHS Food and Nutrition at 240-964-2303.

Try out this veggie-filled recipe from this month:
Peppered White Bean, Kale, and Egg Stack
Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1/3 cup bean mixture, 2/3 cup kale, 3 tablespoons salsa, and 1 egg)
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3/8 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 ounce vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
1. Combine beans and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes; remove from heat. Stir in rind, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and cheese; coarsely mash.
2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add kale and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook 3 minutes or until kale wilts, stirring frequently. Remove kale from pan; keep warm.
3. Wipe Dutch oven clean with a paper towel; return pan to medium-high heat. Add water to pan, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer. Add vinegar. Break each egg into a custard cup. Gently pour eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Carefully remove eggs using a slotted spoon; place on a paper towel-lined plate.
4. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, onion, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Divide bean mixture evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with kale, eggs, and tomato mixture.
Nutritional Information: Amount per serving- Calories 264, Fat 10.5 g, Protein 16 g, Carbohydrate 28 g, Fiber 9 g, Sodium 493 mg 
For additional information about American Heart Month, visit For additional nutrition information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, FAND, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Article contributed by Ruth Chisholm, WMHS Dietetic Intern.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Free Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbooks

Registered dietitian nutritionists Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex, otherwise known as the Meal Makeover Moms, have created a first-of-its-kind coloring cookbook and they are giving it away as a free download online at this link:

The Smoothie Bowl Coloring Cookbook provides recipes for nutrient-rich smoothie bowls and calming mandala (meaning circle) designs that integrate playful food images. Smoothie bowls are thicker than a drinkable smoothie and are meant to be eaten with a spoon with a variety of toppings, such as fruit, nuts, whole grain cereal and more. They make a great breakfast or snack.

Winners of the 2015 Media Excellence Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Liz and Janice offer nutrition information, healthy recipes, cooking videos, podcasts and their popular cookbooks at their award-winning website I highly recommend you spend some time there and visit frequently for inspiration and practical nutrition advice on bringing good nutrition to your table.

For more nutrition information or to find out about local nutrition programs, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS outpatient community dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Give Thanks – Stress Less

Thanksgiving Day reminds us to give thanks. Have you heard the quote, “It’s not the happy people who are thankful, it is the thankful people who are happy?” That’s powerful to ponder.

In her book, Attitudes of Gratitude, M.J. Ryan shares how gratitude can improve our lives. She shares research that indicates people who practice gratitude on a daily basis are happier, healthier, and more effective in the world. Benefits include reduced stress, reduced depression, improved optimism and immune function, improved sleep, and improved heart rhythms.

This year, why not make gratitude a daily practice for better health? Start a gratitude journal and include a few items at the beginning and end of each day. There are many beautiful journals available and they make great Christmas presents.

As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2013, 60-80% of primary care doctor visits are related to stress, yet only 3% of patients receive stress management help. During this holiday season, many turn to food to manage stress. With the availability of extra sweets and rich food, this leads to undesired weight gain.

Join us on December 1st at the WMHS auditorium from 5:30-7:00 pm, for a program entitled “Say Good-bye to Stress Eating.” Presented by therapist, Sara Evans, LPC, NCC, NCGC1 and Outpatient Community Dietitian, Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, this practical session will identify trigger points of stress, identify the relationship between nutrition and stress, and help participants gain a perspective on stress eating to see the bigger picture and exchange negative habits for positive ones. For more information, call Theresa Stahl at 240-964-8416 or email at

Hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and hope to see you on Tuesday, December 1st.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why Not Make Every Day Apple Crunch Day?

In celebration of Food Day last week, we promoted a community Apple Crunch Day. It was awesome to see so many people and agencies participate. At WMHS we gave away apples in our cafeteria. Pictured here are some in our Change to Win nutrition classes celebrating Apple Crunch Day.

Since we’re still in apple season, now’s a great time to make every day Apple Crunch Day. After all, it turns out that an apple a day may truly keep the doctor away. Mounting research reveals many health benefits of eating apples.

Research links eating apples with reduction of complications or prevention of various diseases, including Alzheimer’s, asthma, cancer, heart disease and type II diabetes. The fiber in apples helps to control blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol levels. Apples are low in calories and high in fiber.  One medium apple contains only about 80 calories and 5 grams of fiber.  

This season, try making your own apple chips. Preheat oven to 200-225 degrees F. Slice apples very thinly (mandolin works well, but not mandatory) and place in a single layer on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour, flip over and bake for another hour. Turn off oven and let cool in oven. Cooking times may vary depending on oven, so watch carefully towards the end.

For more nutrition information, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian at or 240-964-8416.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Eating Disorder Update

Eating disorders are serious, life threatening illnesses that impact millions of people every year in the United States. Did you know that anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder? In the U.S., 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).

Despite the prevalence of eating disorders, many health care providers don’t feel comfortable discussing eating disorders with their patients. And many people with eating disorders don’t reach out for help.

Allegany College of Maryland, the Dietetic Caucus of the Western Maryland Area Health Education Center and the Allegany/Garrett Dental Society are partnering to present an Eating Disorder Update to be held on Friday, October 30 from 10 AM -3 PM at the ACM Robert Zimmer Theatre. This update is designed for counselors, dental professionals, primary care providers, dietitians, nurses, social workers and interested members of the general public.

For more information and to register, click on this link:

A great resource for eating disorders is the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) website (  Here are some of the possible health consequences of eating disorders outlined on their website:

Anorexia Nervosa
In anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation, the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. Thus, the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, resulting in:
Abnormally slow heart rate and low blood pressure, which mean that the heart muscle is changing. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower.
Reduction of bone density (osteoporosis), which results in dry, brittle bones.
Muscle loss and weakness.
Severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.
Fainting, fatigue, and overall weakness.
Dry hair and skin; hair loss is common.
Growth of a downy layer of hair—called lanugo—all over the body, including the face, in an effort to keep the body warm.

The recurrent binge-and-purge cycles of bulimia can affect the entire digestive system and can lead to electrolyte and chemical imbalances in the body that affect the heart and other major organ functions. Health consequences include:
Electrolyte imbalances that can lead to irregular heartbeats and possibly heart failure and death.
Electrolyte imbalance is caused by dehydration and loss of potassium, sodium and chloride from the body as a result of purging behaviors.
Potential for gastric rupture during periods of binging.
Inflammation and possible rupture of the esophagus from frequent vomiting.
Tooth decay and staining from stomach acids released during frequent vomiting.
Chronic irregular bowel movements and constipation as a result of laxative abuse.
Peptic ulcers and pancreatitis.

Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder often results in many of the same health risks associated with clinical obesity, including:
High blood pressure.
High cholesterol levels.
Heart disease as a result of elevated triglyceride levels.
Type II diabetes mellitus.
Gallbladder disease.

During the upcoming Eating Disorder Update, presenters include Dana Magee, registered and licensed dietitian nutritionist with Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, Sarah Evans, LPC, NCC, NCGC1, professional counselor, and dentist Dr. Bobbi Moose, DDS, MPH.  They will define the most common eating disorders, explain current best practices in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders, list the physical, psychosocial and oral health impacts of disordered eating, explain the roles of the dentist, dietitian and therapist in treating eating disorders and discuss resources for obtaining additional information and referrals.

For more information about the Eating Disorder Update or to register, click on the above link. If you have questions, contact Theresa Stahl, RDN, LDN, WMHS Outpatient Community Dietitian and Chair of the AHEC Dietetic Caucus at 240-964-8416.