Stressed at Work? Take a Break!

Has it ever been 11am and you’re realizing that you’re not even halfway through the workday yet? It always amazes me to hear that many people can’t even break away from their computers during lunchtime. It’s important to start prioritizing your break time! Especially for those who are finding it difficult to exercise before or after work. To overcome feeling sluggish in the afternoon you should try to take a walk during the lunch hour! Studies have found even gentle strolls will enhance people’s moods and ability to handle stress during their work day. Why walk? Because most people are pressed for time and it is the easiest way to get some activity without having to change or drive to a gym. You’ll begin to notice an improvement in your energy for those remaining hours. It’s good for your physical and mental health!

Once the weather warms up put it on your calendar and make it happen! There’s nothing like fresh air and increased blood flow to help clear your head. Once this becomes a habit, you’ll start to look forward to it! I suggested this to my older brother and he really notices an improvement in his mood and concentration for the second half of his day.

  • Start with short, realistic goals!
    • “Starting April 1st I will start walking on my lunch break for 30 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
      • Don’t have 30 minutes? Start with 10 minute bouts!
    • Once this becomes a habit, keep adding more days.
  • If your shoes aren’t comfortable, bring a pair to change into.
  • Ask a coworker to go with you. You will start to hold each other accountable!
  • Don’t forget, 10,000 steps per day is the goal!

Once your boss or employees realize how productive and positive you are after your breaks, maybe they’ll start encouraging you to go more often!

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Common Exercises That May Be Causing Your Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain affects over 20% of our population.  If you are experiencing shoulder pain it is important to be assessed by a health professional to find the root cause of your pain. If a shoulder injury is left untreated it can affect your quality of life down the road.

It’s very important to make sure you have the proper range of motion before you start using resistance for shoulder exercises. Below are common exercises that may be causing shoulder pain if you are not using the proper form. Read the tips below to make sure you are following these basic rules to keep your shoulders safe!


  • Be sure your elbow does not pass your shoulder.
  • Retract your shoulder blade into your spine.
  • Your arm should be parallel to your body to keep the elbow in line with your shoulder.

Chest Press

  • Make sure your feet are flat against the floor in a wide stance and engage your legs.
  • Have your back flat against the bench and have your shoulder blades act like they’re “hugging” the bench.
  • If you have experienced shoulder pain with this exercise before, you may need to make your grip more narrow (shoulder width). The wider your grip, the more vulnerable your shoulders will be to an injury.


  • Avoid dips if you do not have good mobility to start off.
  • If you do have good mobility, do not go lower than your functional range of motion.
  • Be sure you keep your shoulder blades down, don’t shrug!


  • Focus on using your lower trapezius and latissimus dorsi.
  • Aim to do pull-ups towards the beginning of your workout to avoid being tired and using your upper trapezius. This can cause upper back tension and neck pain.


  • Let your elbows bend naturally. Avoid driving your elbows out, which can cause impingement.
  • Don’t feel the need to bring your chest too low to the ground because if you don’t have the strength yet, you will cause a lot of anterior pressure/injury to the shoulder.
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Pasta with Butternut Squash Red Pepper sauce

This nutrient-packed dish can be made easily on a weekday. It is great for people with dietary restrictions, as it is dairy free, vegan, and can be made with gluten free pasta to be Celiac safe! Pair it with a fresh garden salad to make a balanced meal.

Prep Time: 22 minutes                 Cook Time 18 minutes             Total Time: 40 minutes

Serves 6-8


  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta, such as penne or ziti
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 3 cups (1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: Chopped parsley and parmesan cheese, for topping (omit for dairy free)



  1. Boil a large pot of water on your stove top. Peel and dice a small butternut squash. Place the pieces of squash in the pot, and boil until the squash is tender, about 15 to 18 minutes.
  2. While that boils, remove the stems and seeds from the pepper. Coarsely chip it, and add it t the boiling water about 3 to 4 minutes before the squash is done.
  3. In another pot, cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. Place the tender squash, peppers, olive oil, minced garlic, salt pepper, and almond milk in a blender. Blend until a thick sauce forms. Add more milk if you would like a thinner sauce.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 283, Calories from Fat 63, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g, Sodium 30mg, Potassium 253mg, Total Carbohydrate 45g, Fiber 11g, Protein 10g, Vitamin C 31%

Recipe courtesy of:
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Restaurant Portion Distortion

Did you know approximately 92% of restaurants in America, both chain and independently owned, serve oversized portions, providing too many calories than any individual may need in one sitting? To make matters worse, studies have found that most people will overeat when they are served more food than they need, even if the calorie information is provided on the menu!

Does this mean we avoid eating out all together? No! Eating out should be in moderation in a balanced, healthy diet, but it is a large part of our social lives. There’s so much to enjoy about eating out, such as convenience, trying new foods that you normally wouldn’t make at home, and spending quality time with family.

To enjoy a meal away from home, but avoid overeating, try some of these tips and tricks for managing portion sizes:

  • Order vegetable-based appetizers to fill up on, such as grilled vegetable plates, a salad, non-cream based soup, or skip the appetizer all together.
  • Order an appetizer as your main entrée.
  • Order a double portion of vegetables as a side to your entrée to add volume without adding a lot of calories.
  • Ask for a to-go container to come out with your food. Put half the portion in the to-go box before you start eating. With this trick, you’ll also have a meal for the next day!
  • Sharing is caring! Split an entrée with whomever you’re dining with.
  • Ask to cut the entrée size in half, or for a lunch-sized portion.
  • Try a tapas-style restaurant! Tapas are small portioned plates that one typically orders multiple of to make a full meal. They are easy to share, and allow you to try multiple items on the menu. Limit yourself to ordering 2-3 plates.
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New Year’s 10-Minute Treadmill Workout

As we enter the New Year, our goals are set high but our schedules remain as busy as ever. Don’t let your travel schedule get in the way of you fulfilling your New Year’s resolution or hinder you’re ability to maintain or improve your health and fitness. If you’re on the road or in a time crunch, give this 10-minute HIIT treadmill workout a try:

Start with a 3-5 minute warm up walk/jog

  • Set 1: 10 sec. run / 10 sec. rest
  • Set 2: 15 sec. run / 15 sec. rest
  • Set 3: 20 sec. run / 20 sec. rest
  • Set 4: 30 sec. run / 30 sec. rest
  • Set 5: 30 sec. run / 3-5 minute cool down at walk/jog pace


  • The workout protocol above features a 1:1 work to rest ratio. That ratio can be modified if needed to accommodate your current fitness level. For example, if using a 1:2 work to rest ratio, Set 1 would be 10 sec. on / 20 sec. off. Set 2 would be 15 sec. on / 30 sec. off, etc.
  • The speed and incline can be adjusted throughout the workout based on perceived exertion. The workout should be challenging, yet reasonable.
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PLC Recipe: Chicken & Rice Soup with Turmeric (low FODMAP)

Makes 4 servings


1 ½ pounds skinless chicken breast

8 cups water

8 thyme sprigs

½ to 1 1/2 tablespoons turmeric (adjust to your taste)

2 large celery stalks chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots

1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice


  1. Add chicken, water, 6 sprigs thyme, turmeric, celery, salt and pepper to medium stock pot over high heat.
  2. Bring mixture to boil for about 20 minutes (after 20 minutes, check chicken with meat thermometer…165 degrees F is adequate). Shut off heat, cover pot, and let sit for one hour.
  3. Remove chicken breast and shred
  4. Add carrots to broth, put heat back on high and boil for 5 minutes or until carrots are fork tender.
  5. Add in shredded chicken and cooked rice and reduce heat to simmer.
  6. Skim out sprigs of thyme.
  7. Enjoy!
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Happy New Year!

As we welcome 2018, here are 3 nutrition trends the PLC Dietitians feel are worth keeping your eye on throughout the year!

Probiotics: Most of us are familiar with probiotics found in yogurt and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. But, with a demand for other probiotic options, food companies have responded with probiotic-enriched foods like granola and chips. Purely Elizabeth Probiotic Granola and Farmhouse Culture Kraut Krisps are a few products that we’ve sampled recently. We feel that more research is needed to determine newer probiotic products can provide the same gut-health & immune boosting benefits as their more familiar counterparts and hopefully we’ll know more in the coming months.

A Low FODMAP diet: If you suffer from IBS or other digestive issues, eating a low FODMAP diet may be a way to get some relief. FODMAP is an acronym for various types of sugars: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. FODMAPs are small in size and will therefore draw fluid in the gut that results in increased delivery of water through the bowel. FODMAPs are also poorly absorbed in the small intestine so they continue along the digestive tract to the large intestine where they are fermented by bacteria in the large intestine, which produces gas leading to bloating, discomfort and abdominal pain. With a Low FODMAP diet, you reduce foods that contain any of the FODMAPs (a small sampling: apples, garlic, watermelon, honey, milk, lentils, sugar alcohols, etc.) for 2-6 weeks. Once symptoms improve, you can gradually re-introduce foods. Your PLC Dietitian can help to determine if a Low FODMAP diet is appropriate for you and can provide guidance on a low FODMAP diet if needed.

Spices: Adding spices to food and beverages has always been a great way to add flavor without calories. But, now, the focus is on the potential health benefits of spices like turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, etc. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory potential, cinnamon may help with blood sugar control and has anti-fungal properties, and black pepper aids digestion. We have already been recommending some patients incorporate particular spices into their regimen to help with their various issues and we are excited to see what new research brings to the world of spices this year; we’ll share what is discovered along the way!

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