Thursday, December 17, 2009
What foods you should watch out for during the holiday season

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

When New Year's Day rolls around, people make resolutions. Often those resolutions are aimed at dieting. Frequently the dieting is to make up for all the calories eaten at holiday parties. A better resolution is to focus on eating less at holiday parties in the first place. There are many opportunities to do this. Many parties have appetizers as part of the menu. The variety of appetizers allows you to limit the calories you take before the main course. For that reason, you should focus on the vegetable tray. Some vegetable are fine without the extra calories from the ranch dressing that comes with the vegetable tray. Carrots and celery do not need the dressing. Along the same lines, you should limit the high fat things like cheeses and nuts that are part of the appetizer table. It is important to remember that each gram of protein or carbohydrate that you eat has 4 calories per gram. Each gram of fat that you eat has 9 calories per gram. It is best to avoid those calories in the first place. The actual meal is often a buffet. Again the goal is fill your plate with vegetables, salad and rice. Be careful of too much salad dressing. Be cautious about gravy or butter on things like potatoes. That just adds calories to the vegetables. High calorie foods like meats should be done in moderation. One helpful hint is to move away from the food table with your plate. You will likely get involved in talking to someone. That means that you will start feeling less hungry as you digest the first portion of the meal. Be careful about drinking too many calories. Non-diet soda and punch have empty calories. Egg nog tastes good. However, it has more calories per ounce than anything else you can drink. All alcoholic beverages pack calories just from the alcohol. Eating dessert is often what Christmas is all about. I used to have my hospital cafeteria make figgy pudding every year when I was in the Air Force. The principal ingredient is lard. When we approach the dessert selection, there is one approach that will help. Try taking a half portion of whatever you choose. It will taste just as good. You will only get half the calories. It is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to Christmas calories. Keep your eye on the scale before Christmas rather than after New Year.

Marketto named manager Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Cathy Marketto to the position of Patient Experience manager. In this position, Marketto will be working with leadership and staff to help provide the best patient experience possible and will maximize every opportunity to be involved in quality, safety, service and risk management efforts bringing the patient into focus at all times. This position, previously known as the patient advocate, will be integral as the hospital continues to grow and develop patient, physician and employee satisfaction initiatives. Marketto has a degree from Frostburg State University and over 20 years of healthcare experience in patient advocacy, customer service education and patient satisfaction. She can be reached in the Patient Experience office at 629-6611, ext. 3533.

Keating earns SAE certification Nanticoke Memorial Hospital nurse, Kathy Keating BSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, recently earned her Pediatric Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Certification through the Forensic Nursing Certification Board (FNCB). Keating has been Adult/Adolescent certified since 2002. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Certification recognizes the highest standards of forensic nursing for sexual assault nurse examiners. The certification provides nurses with the information and skills to properly care for victims of assault (both physical and sexual) by recognizing, collecting and preserving evidence, interviewing the patient, and linking them to vital community resources for follow-up.

Hospice offers 'Living Well' course "Living Well" with chronic conditions is a free self-management course that can help you get the most out of life. Anyone living with heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other chronic diseases will benefit from this six-week course, offered by Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center. Participants are welcome to invite a friend, caregiver or relative. Classes begin Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010, 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and will be held every Thursday through Feb. 11, 2010, in the Community Conference Room of the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford. All six classes are recommended. Barbara Tucker, Community Education coordinator for Delaware Hospice, will conduct the course, which will help participants learn how to deal with topics such as fatigue, depression, medications, problem solving, nutrition, and physical activity. Learn how to make action plans, how to talk to your healthcare provider and how to better communicate with your own family members. Pre-registration is required by Tuesday, Jan. 5. To register, contact Tucker at 302-463-1054 or

Hospice presents sibling lecture "Tears for a Sibling" will be the topic of January's Lunch Bunch Lecture by the Family Support Center at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, on Friday, Jan. 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. Open to the community, Dr. Judy Pierson, licensed clinical psychologist, will discuss the unique circumstances surrounding the death of a sibling. Such a loss creates a void due to the influence of this person in our past and present. However, society doesn't always allow the grief support for siblings as it does for other family members. A donation of $3 per person for the cost of lunch is suggested. To register, call Vicki Costa at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or email

Develop a healthier lifestyle They are the same resolutions that you make every year: stop smoking, start exercising, lose 20 pounds and live a healthier lifestyle.

But why do you find yourself lounging on the sofa, weighing more and still smoking by mid-January? "The biggest mistake people make for their New Year's resolution is setting too lofty a goal. For example, they want to lose five pounds a week and 20 pounds a month," said Bayhealth Registered Dietitian Lisa Harkins, RD, LDN. Slow, steady incremental weight loss and permanent lifestyle changes are the formula for success. Healthy lifestyle changes are synergistic so that exercising four times a week and cutting alcohol consumption will also lead to better eating habits which, in turn, translate to sustained weight loss. Harkins says the key to developing the resolve for weight loss is identifying your triggers for eating, and then finding a strategy for overcoming that trigger. The same principle applies to quitting smoking in the New Year. Experts say tobacco cravings are often a proxy for something else, usually stress. A seven week tobacco cessation class is available at no charge to the public. The class provides group support, advice, and helpful information on diet, exercise, stress reduction, nicotine replacement and other strategies for kicking the tobacco habit. The next tobacco cessation class at Milford Memorial Hospital begins on Jan. 7 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. and meets every Thursday for seven weeks. To register for the tobacco cessation class, call 744-7135. To sign up nutritional and dietary consultations, call 744-6842.

Screening in Laurel Dec. 21 Residents living in and around the Laurel community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture. The American Legion Post 19 will host Life Line Screening on Dec. 21. The site is located at 12168 Laurel Road in Laurel. Appointments will begin at 9 a.m. Four key points every person needs to know: 1. Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of permanent disability. 2. 80 percent of stroke victims had no apparent warning signs prior to their stroke. 3. Preventive ultrasound screenings can help you avoid a stroke. 4. Screenings are fast, noninvasive, painless, affordable and convenient. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $139. All five screenings take 60-90 minutes to complete. For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit our website at Pre-registration is required. Life Line Screening was established in 1993, and has since become the nation's leading provider of preventive screenings.

Man to Man support group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital offers a Man to Man support group meeting on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Man to Man helps men cope with prostate cancer by receiving information and peer support. Man to Man is a forum for men and their support network to learn about diagnosis and treatment options through presentations, written materials and videos. Specialists share information such as side effects and how to cope with prostate cancer and its treatment. News and information about nutrition, general health, research and treatment, as well as messages from men living with prostate cancer and other Man to Man activities, are offered to assist in the recovery process. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact Larry Skala (337-3678) or Grafton Adams (628-8311).

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Together, they answer questions, help calm fears, and share information about resources that are available at Nanticoke, through DBCC, and other organizations within the local community. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Monthly support group Compassionate Care Hospice, The Wellness Community-DE and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will collaborate to present a monthly bereavement group, The Next Step. The group focuses on issues of loss that continue beyond the early stages of grief. Mary Van House, bereavement coordinator, will facilitate the group at 10 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, at the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center, second floor conference room. To register, call Lisa at 629-6611, ext. 2378.

Depression Support Group There is a free bimonthly Depression Support Group meeting in Laurel on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Any person who has signs and symptoms of depression and is under the care of a professional counselor/MD is welcome to attend. To register, call Life Matters Counseling and Consulting at 302-465-6612.