By: Lisa Warren, MS, RD

Keep that New Year’s Resolution and DASH into Good Health!

For many Americans, their 2015 resolutions to lose weight and eat healthier have been forgotten.  But it doesn’t have to be like that – in fact, good health can be just a DASH away!  Every year, US news and World Report ranks diets for ease in following, safety, efficacy, and sound nutrition. The Dash Diet has been ranked number 1 for the past 4 years!  Originally developed to help control blood pressure (hence the name Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), it was found that this diet can also help lower blood lipids and result in weight loss.  So, why not try it—what do you have to lose besides a little weight?

Here are some key points to get started:

  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruits ( 4 – 5 servings of each)
  • Include fat free or low fat dairy products (2-3 servings)
  • Make whole grains part of your daily intake (6-8 servings)
  • Pump up muscles with protein foods like legumes, fish, poultry, nuts and seeds (6 ounces or less of meats and legumes, nuts, seeds 4 – 5 times/week)
  • Limit sodium to 1500 mg , but no more than 2300 mg daily

It’s Easy!

  • Increase fruits and vegetables in your daily diet by adding an extra serving at lunch or dinner or for a snack in between meals. Remember, ½ cup of cooked vegetable or 1 cup raw, 1 medium size piece of fruit (size of a tennis ball), or ¼ cup dried fruits all equal a single serving. The fiber will help fill you up and is naturally low in sodium.
  • Make a meatless dinner twice a week – use dried beans or legumes as your protein source.
  • Watch those labels for sodium content. Fresh is best whenever possible! Boost the flavor in your food with spices or herbs that don’t contain sodium or learn to enjoy the natural flavor of foods.

Don’t give up!

Whatever you do, don’t give up!  If you go off track, don’t abandon the whole plan.  Take it one step at a time and incorporate one new thing a week.  Need a little help?  Take a look on line at DASH.org or National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website or ask a registered Dietitian. Check out this delicious recipe:


Quinoa Spinach Patties

1 cup cooked quinoa

4 eggs, whisked

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

3 large scallions, sliced thin

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup steamed, chopped spinach (frozen can be used)

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

Rinse quinoa with water and then place in a medium saucepan with 2 cups water.  Bring water to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until quinoa is tender and has absorbed liquid – about 20 minutes.  Cool.

Combine cooked quinoa, eggs, parmesan, scallions, garlic, steamed spinach and breadcrumbs.  Let liquid absorb before shaping into patties using ¼ cup of mixture for each patty.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat.  Cook patties covered for 8 – 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Makes 14 patties

Serving size 2 patties:  200 calories, 6 g total fat, 26 g carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 4 g fiber, 140 mg sodium, 245 mg potassium


Try a plant-based diet

Diets rich in delicious whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes can help prevent or actually reverse heart disease. That’s huge!

Over 83 million American’s have some form of heart disease that can be directly related to unhealthy eating.   Our typical Western diet is to blame, laden with animal meats, fat, and sugars.  Several authors have touted plant-based eating over the years such as Ornish and Esselstyn as a way to reverse damage in the blood vessels and prevent recurrences.  Even though it will require a commitment to a specific way of eating, the rewards can be tremendous!

Other benefits to plant based eating include prevention of:

  • diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cancer


Get Started!  Too Strict?   Don’t Depair!

  • Take a look on the internet at sites such as 21 vegan kickstart (pcrm.org/kickstartHome/ ) or in books by Esselstyn, Pritikin, or Ornish to get started. There are many recipes online and in published books on the topic that can make this way of life enjoyable and delicious.

If you feel like the plant based diet is too strict for you, maybe you can consider becoming a Flexitarian.  That’s a flexible vegetarian diet with an occasional animal protein.  It is often called the 3-4-5 way of eating – that is 300 calories at breakfast, 400 calories at lunch, and 500 calories at dinner with 150 calorie snacks depending on the calorie level you need.  Any way you look at it, eating more vegetables can be a great way to much healthier you!  Need a little help?  Ask a registered Dietitian.


Come sample delicious oat/cherry energy bars at the Farmer’s Market today between 11-1 courtesy of Chef Carly. This is such an easy recipe to make and requires no baking. These energy bars are a favorite snack of the Detroit Red Wings because the preparation time is under five minutes. Check out the recipe below and try a batch at home. The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to individualize the ingredients to whatever you like. These are a great recovery snack after a long run or bike.


2 cup organic oats

1/3 dried tart cherries

½ cup all-natural peanut butter or almond butter

3 Tablespoons honey (I like Manuka honey best)

1 tsp vanilla optional add ins: chia seeds, hemp seeds, dark chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, coconut, ground flax, etc.


  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Either roll into balls or fill small containers and freeze for 30 minutes.


By: Elizabeth Dreyer, Lisa Junk, and Elizabeth Lorenz (Dietetic Technicians at SJMH)

Are you trying to eat a healthy diet on a tight budget?  Are you looking for ways to save money at the grocery store?  Eating well while watching your budget can be challenging, but it is possible!  Below, you will find tips and suggestions to help stretch your dollars and buy quality, healthy foods for you and your family.

  • Check your pantry, plan your meals, and make a list before you head to the store
  • Use coupons from the newspaper, your mailbox, or the internet, and check store ads for sales
  • Join store loyalty programs for added savings (i.e. Kroger, Meijer)
  • Have a snack before you shop so you are not hungry and tempted to buy junk food
  • Leave the kids at home and shop at off times so you are less distracted and can stick to your list
  • Shop at discount stores (i.e. Aldi, Randazzo) when able, but not at convenience stores (i.e. 7-11)
  • Seek out farmers markets for fresh, local produce, prices may be marked down close to closing time
  • Many grocery stores have organic foods that are less expensive than specialty stores
  • In general, the most expensive items are at eye level, so look at the higher and lower shelves
  • Generic or store brands are usually less expensive than major brands
  • Stock up when the foods you use often are on sale and you can use or freeze them before they spoil
  • Use cash, you will spend less than if you use a credit, debit card, or check
  • Drink water instead of pop and other sugary beverages
  • Prepared foods cost more (i.e. chicken pieces, shredded cheese, cut up veggies)
  • Buy fresh produce in season, it is usually less expensive
  • Look for canned veggies with no salt added and canned fruit in water or juice (not syrup)
  • Buy plain rice, oatmeal, pasta, and grains to avoid expense, salt, and sugar
  • High fiber healthy cereals are a low cost snack or quick meal
  • Cook larger quantities of nutrient rich lentil, bean or veggie soups and casseroles and freeze the leftovers for a convenient meal later
  • Plan some vegetarian meals like spaghetti with marinara sauce, baked potatoes filled with veggies, or a tofu stir fry, and have “breakfast” for dinner with eggs to keep costs down
  • Try inexpensive protein choices like beans (i.e. pinto, black, navy, kidney, garbanzo) , eggs, and nut butters
  • Be careful with condiments—the cost adds up and so does the added salt and sugar (try vinegar & oil instead of salad dressing)

We know exercise is the best medicine. Sometimes the day can go by with very few steps taken. In an effort to challenge yourself to take more steps, we are offering everyone an opportunity to meet us at the sumit.

On Wednesday, March 18th (from 11 AM – 1 PM) climb to the top of the stairs in the patient tower to enter your name to win a water bottle from the Farm at St. Joes.


  • Studies have found that people who spend more time each day watching television, sitting, or riding in cars  have a greater chance of dying early than people who spend less time sitting.
  • Researchers speculate that sitting for hours on end may change peoples’ metabolism in ways that promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. It is also possible that sitting is a marker for a broader sedentary lifestyle.
  • In sum, a morning jog or brisk lunchtime walk brings many health benefits—but these may not entirely make up for a day spent in front of the computer or an evening in front of the television set. So as you plan your daily activity routine, remember that cutting down on “sit time” may be just as important as increasing “fit time.”


The hospitals and health centers of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are joining together for a day of fun and fitness. The fifth annual SJMHS Regional Wellness Run will be held Saturday, April 25 at 9:30 a.m. on the campus of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and MercyElite will lead participants in a warm-up at 9:15 a.m. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.

Register here

Following the event, enjoy tours of hoop houses at The Farm in celebrations of their 5 year anniversary. Fresh produce will also be for sale.

We are on a journey to better health for our staff, patients, visitors and the communities we serve. Southeast Michigan – join me. Everyone is welcome to attend. Your journey to health starts with one step.

For questions about the event or registration, please contact 734-712-5164.


By: Abigail McCleery, MPH, RD

There is a growing body of evidence linking antibiotic resistance to the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture, presenting a serious risk to human health.  It is estimated that antibiotic resistant infections cost the U.S. health care system of over $20 billion each year, and close to 19,000 deaths occur annually from methicillin-resistant Staphyloccocus aureus (MRSA).  To combat this antibiotic resistance crisis, forward-thinking hospitals are expanding their roles as stewards of antibiotics by using their purchasing power and moral authority to change both markets and policies to support suppliers who don’t misuse these medicines.  Here at St Joes, we are proud to serve Harvestland chicken raised without the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics in The Market Cafe as well as in patient meals.  We also use Boar’s Head all-natural beef, turkey and ham in the sandwiches and salads for our patients.  We will soon propose the phase out of all procurement of meat produced with the use of sub-therapeutic antibiotics.  We encourage you to vote with your wallet, and reduce or eliminate your purchases of meat raised with sub-therapeutic antibiotics!   If you would like to learn more about this subject, please explore the following links:   https://noharm-uscanada.org/issues/us-canada/antibiotics   http://www.cdc.gov/narms/faq.html   To find sustainable food in your area, search the Eat Well Guide: http://www.eatwellguide.org/i.php?pd=Home

Enjoy the delicious samples at the Farmer’s Market throughout the month of March and visit with a registerd dietitian to learn about healthy eating tips each week at the market.


March 4th – Come enjoy a taste of fruit-infused waters and learn strategies for eliminating  soda in your diet. Sugar-sweetened beverages are filled with empty calories and have been linked with obesity, type two diabetes, and dental decay. These empty calories from sugar quickly add up and are the largest contributor to the problem of pediatric and adult obesity. Our dietetic interns calculated how many flights of stairs you need to climb and steps you need to walk to negate the empty sugar calories from soda. We will also be selling our reusable water bottles at the Market. They are Nalgene brand, BPA-free, 1-Liter bottles in various colors. While you are visiting the market, pick up our handouts on healthy beverages and take home recipes for delicious fruit, veggie, and herb-infused waters.

March 11th – Enjoy samples of antibiotic-free meats. Be sure to check the blog next week for information regarding what St. Joe’s is doing to eliminate food that has been raised with non-therapeutic antibiotics. We are proud to serve poultry that has been raised without antibiotics.

March 18th – Come learn about all the great opportunities around campus for physical activity. Take the summit climb, walk the outdoor path, and even consider signing up for the Ann Arbor 5k run which will be held at the Farm on April 25th.

March 25th – Stop by the market to sample a healthy sweet treat. We are busy trying out new recipes for a healthy dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth. We will share our recipes which have delicious ingredients like oats, dried cherries, dark chocolate and honey. Simple, no-bake desserts that are low in calories but high in flavor. Our own St. Joe version of an energy bar cannot be missed.


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