Healthy Choices

Stay Active During Northwest Winters

It's important to keep up with your walking program even on rainy, windy, snowy, cold winter days. Invest in a water-resistant windbreaker or vest. Avoid wearing a rubberized or vinyl rain slicker, which tends to trap perspiration inside. If you exercise in them, you'll be as wet from sweat as you would be with no jacket at all! Dress in layers using fabric that keeps you warm even if wet, with a reflective or brightly colored jacket for the outside layer. Avoid cotton—it dries slowly and gives no warmth if wet. If you have trouble keeping your feet warm, wear two layers of socks—with moisture-wicking socks next to your skin. And be sure to wear warm gloves, a cap or hat, and a scarf around your neck.

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Easy Ways to Decrease Stress

Stress can be debilitating and cause chronic headaches, insomnia, ulcers and heart attacks. Here are some ways to relax:

Take a mental vacation. Picture yourself at your favorite place or doing your favorite activity.

Have a change of pace. If you've been resting, do something active. If you've been working hard physically, do something restful.

Do neck exercises by turning your head left and right, forward and backward, and side to side—holding each for six to seven seconds. Do not do neck rolls.

Breathe deeply. Take 10 breaths of fresh outdoor air.

Relax your jaw. A lot of stressed people clench their teeth. So open your jaw wide.

Meditate on scripture.

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What to Do About Food Intolerance

Most Americans who believe they have food allergies actually suffer from food intolerance. While it can be uncomfortable, it's not life-threatening. If you suspect you are intolerant to a particular food, eat the food two to three times in a row. Keep a food journal of what you eat and your reaction, if any. If it's a small problem, eat the food in smaller amounts or less frequently. If it's a larger problem, try the food in a different form. For example, many lactase-intolerant people can eat yogurt. It is almost impossible to be allergic to an entire food group. If you find you're sensitive to walnuts, try almonds and Brazil nuts. If you have bloating and gas from eating red beans, try white beans.

Ask the Wellness Doctor

Q: How can I keep from gaining weight over the holidays (and don't tell me to not eat pie, because I know I will)?

A: Check out: to learn how to enjoy the holidays without putting on unwanted pounds.

December 01, 2008 / Health