News + Views

5 Steps to Creating a Healthful Community


To Your Health








(Family Features) Obesity, with corresponding ailments such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes, is a well-chronicled public health issue and has many communities looking for ways to positively impact their residents.

What can prove to have an enduring impact on improving community health is a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to create a culture of wellness. For example, the City of West Chicago, with its Healthy West Chicago initiative, is a case study in how to galvanize a community toward collective better health. With these modifiable tips from Mayor Ruben Pineda, other communities can work to improve the health and quality of life for residents.

Have a champion

Every major civic initiative needs someone to drive it, someone to assemble and activate the right roster of influencers, experts and activists. Progressive leaders concerned about community sustainability and resident health, such as city council members or those in influential positions within the community, make good candidates to spearhead the plan.

Enlist partners

To improve nutrition and increase physical activity in the City of West Chicago, Mayor Pineda reached out to community leaders in local government, education, health care, social services, faith-based entities, businesses and non-profits to initiate partnerships and secure funding to create the Healthy West Chicago Action Plan, a multi-year guide for promoting better health in the community.

Engage other community members

It is important to build awareness of your initiative and get buy-in from residents through consistent communication. One of the most important demographic segments to engage is children. Kids are open to change and are developing lifelong habits. They are also extremely influential with their parents, siblings and friends.

“The key to a sustainable, healthy future is to change the way the next generation thinks about nutrition and exercise,” Mayor Pineda said. “This makes the public school system critical to driving the behavioral changes that contribute to positive outcomes.”

Measure and adjust

Once your community’s health initiative is in action, assess it annually against the overarching plan and add, eliminate or improve components to continue the momentum toward a healthy community for generations to come.

Keep it fresh

A successful community-wide health initiative needs to continuously build on its momentum by adding new programs and participants. For example, Healthy West Chicago conducts sponsored activities such as free healthy cooking classes for students, a “Rethink Your Drink” campaign to educate community members about the harmful effects of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, weekly community walks with the mayor and a community garden initiative, which promotes organic suburban agriculture and benefits both the environment and local families. In addition, providing ongoing updates about programs and offering online tools, such as activity trackers and interactive walking route maps, are ways to build interest and retain participants.

For more information about how to implement a health and wellness program in your city, contact Mayor Pineda’s office at (630) 293-2200 extension 135, or visit


Photo of Mayor Pineda walking with students courtesy of Healthy West Chicago

Photo of woman gardening courtesy of The GardenWorks Project


May 9, 2018 |

Simple, Healthy Snacks and Sandwiches


In Good Taste









(Family Features) Quick and easy meals can be hard to come by, especially ones that don’t sacrifice flavor. You don’t have to eat bland foods to provide your family a healthy and hearty, nutrient-filled diet. During National Nutrition Month, it’s the perfect time to refresh your routine with some creative and convenient options that can serve as the starting point for an on-the-go snack or a full-blown meal.

Sandwiches, like this recipe for a BALCMT Sandwich, can be one of the easiest ways to incorporate grains, which deliver shortfall nutrients like dietary fiber, iron and folate into your diet. Research from the Grain Foods Foundation shows about 95 percent of Americans do not meet dietary fiber intake recommendations. Whole grain foods, like bread, buns, rolls, pita and tortillas, can help supply your dietary fiber needs and aid in maintaining a healthy weight and lower cholesterol.

Additionally, enriched grains can play a key role in metabolism by helping the body release energy from protein, fat and carbohydrates, and are also essential for a healthy nervous system, productivity and cognitive development. The vitamins and minerals in enriched grains like folic acid are also critical for reducing the incidence of some birth defects while also promoting cell function and tissue growth.

Some healthier ways to build a snack include using leaner meats and lower sodium cheeses for a sandwich or adding more vegetables to your overall snacking habits. Another nutritious option, Baked Pita Crisps accompanied by Southwest Bean Dip, can help you curb hunger without blowing past your daily calorie count.

Find more recipes and tips for quick and flavorful meals at

BALCMT Sandwich

Recipe courtesy of Franz Bakery on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 1

Chipotle-Mayonnaise Sauce:

1/4          cup mayonnaise

1/4          tablespoon adobo sauce

1              teaspoon lime juice

salt, to taste

fresh ground pepper, to taste

2             slices bread, toasted

1-2          leaves lettuce

4             slices tomato

1/2         avocado, thickly sliced

4            slices maple bacon, fried

To make Chipotle-Mayonnaise Sauce: In small bowl, mix mayonnaise, adobo sauce and lime juice. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Add layer of sauce to slice of bread and top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon and second slice of bread.

Baked Pita Crisps

Recipe courtesy of the Grain Foods Foundation

Prep time: 30 minutes

Yields: 24 crisps


1/4             cup olive oil

1 1/2           teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2           teaspoons paprika

3                  pita breads (6 inches each) with pockets

kosher salt, to taste

Southwest Bean Dip:

2             tablespoons vegetable oil

2             cloves garlic, minced

1/2          large red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/2          medium onion, finely chopped

1 1/2        teaspoons ground cumin

1/8-1/4   teaspoon cayenne pepper

2              cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2-3          tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4          cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, washed and spun dry

1/2          teaspoon salt

2              tablespoons water, plus additional (optional)

To make Crisps: Heat oven to 400 F. In small bowl, mix olive oil with cumin and paprika. Split each pita bread horizontally into two rounds and brush rough sides with equal amounts of oil mixture. Cut rounds into small triangles and arrange in flat layer on large baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt just out of oven.

To make Southwest Bean Dip: In large skillet over high heat, heat vegetable oil until hot. Add garlic, bell pepper and onion; turn heat to low and cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and cayenne; cook, stirring, 1 minute.

In food processor, blend beans, lime juice, coriander, salt and water until smooth, adding more water, if necessary, to achieve desired consistency. Add vegetable mixture and pulse until just combined. Serve with Baked Pita Crisps.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

May 9, 2018 |

Just Two Things


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich



Intuition may be more vital to business enterprise than the data that gathers around it. A bold statement, but one supported by both experience and science. Many have found the way through obscure markets by the light of intuition. When the darkness seems most impenetrable, when we can’t seem to form the logic that clears the way, we are forced to rely on it. Lee Iacocca saw a hidden market for a car that carried families and made women feel safer behind the wheel. Only Toyota’s Sienna had the early look of it, but most did not see the minivan coming.

Intuition may be a social chit, but the science in it is called the adaptive unconscious, an innate sense that something different about what everyone sees is there, uniquely viewed by a few. Lee Iacocca had it; Bill Gates too, who dispelled the myth that few would want a computer of their own. Steve Jobs had it when he pronounced the Apple “the computer for the rest of us,” then demonstrated that computer users would go wild over innovative design when other manufacturers were focused on standards and low-price PCs. The “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffet may be glimpsing the same as he bets heavily on rail transportation when others see little opportunity in it. Clearly, Americans are still attached to their cars, and trucks deliver most products to market.

In fact, we all have it on some level. It’s what makes us creative and quirky individuals, those who put aside the conventional wisdom and the mythmakers in favor of an unusual and often unique view of things. Seeing through things, around corners, under the cover of the obvious — these are the characteristics of the entrepreneur, who relies on intuition and data interpretation to set organizations for the future. As former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall offered, “Intuition in the absence of analysis is another word for stupidity, but good intuition and good data analysis is a recipe for success.” His record of achievement qualifies the view. Crandall is credited with launching the first frequent flyer program, the industry’s first yield-management system, and deep-discount airline tickets, all of which are still with us today.

For those of you who are still with us after a period of economic malaise and have managed to steel yourselves by force of will and intuition for the economic recovery that has formed, take heart. You have done what is required to soar in the bull market by the investment you made in the future when the future was a dim view to most.

The Gut

The feeling that reveals essential elements that most don’t see is often called a “gut feeling.” It is the stuff that legends are made of. Perhaps most notable is Babe Ruth’s reputed pointing to center field in the 3rd game of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs. After two strikes, Ruth raised the level of banter between him and the taunting Cubs dugout by showing two fingers, then pointed in the direction of center field. He hit the next pitch a towering 440 feet right there. Few would argue that the “Sultan of Swat” was not capable of such planned performance, though an objective view still harbors questions.

Richard Nixon may have seen the commercial giant in China that few before him would allow. Frank Borman saw the earth from a unique perch as an astronaut and later as CEO of Eastern Airlines, which created the business shuttle industry segment between corridor cities. Closer to home, John Chase combined experience in the advertising industry, a Depression stint in the U.S. Post Office, and a gambler’s confidence from his days on the bridge circuit to found the PennySaver, now Chase Media Group. The list of similar accomplishments contains the same unique view of things that others glanced at but only a few saw real opportunity in.

The Brain

When we pause to consider what’s happening to us, to our customers, to people in general, we add data to the analysis of what to do and how to do it. The information, uniquely interpreted, couples well with the gut to further inform the winning combination that is “intuition” and “analysis.” The logic that creates sequential order is an unmistakable jewel in the decision-making process. What we know about the circumstances that form markets and societies, what we see, and how we interpret it, in Crandall’s words, is what turns stupid into smart.

May 4, 2018 |

Rebalance Your Diet


In Good Taste








(Family Features) Striking a balance between work and home life, friends and family, and hobbies and errands can contribute to a healthy lifestyle. As you look to rebalance certain aspects of your life during an opportunity like National Nutrition Month, don’t forget to take your diet into consideration as well.

Including grain-based foods as part of a balanced diet – along with proper exercise – can be an essential part of living a healthier lifestyle and can provide numerous health benefits. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a 50-50 balance between whole and enriched grains per day for optimal health. Furthermore, research from the Grain Foods Foundation suggests whole and enriched grains supply a variety of key vitamins and minerals, like thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and important shortfall nutrients like dietary fiber, iron and folate.

Incorporating grains into meals throughout the day, including these under-500 calorie recipes for Grilled Cinnamon French Toast with Granola Crunch and Roast Beef and Arugula Sandwiches featuring whole and enriched grains, can aid in maintaining a healthy weight. Additional benefits of consuming grains include lowering cholesterol and supporting digestion, while also providing anti-inflammatory nutrients and fiber, which helps fight belly fat.

Find more nutritionist-developed, balanced and budget-friendly recipes for every meal at

Grilled Cinnamon French Toast with Granola Crunch

Recipe courtesy of Oroweat on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation

Prep time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2


1/2         cup orange juice

1/4         cup light brown sugar

2            tablespoons butter

1            teaspoon vanilla

1            cup strawberries, sliced

1            banana, thinly sliced

3/4         cup milk

1            egg

1            teaspoon cinnamon

4            slices whole-grain nut bread

1/4         cup granola, for garnish


To make sauce: In saucepan, stir together orange juice, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, strawberries and banana. Simmer over medium heat 5-6 minutes, or until flavors have combined, stirring occasionally.

To make French toast: In shallow bowl, whisk together milk, egg and cinnamon. Dip slices of bread into milk mixture and cook 2 minutes on each side over medium heat on flat griddle or grill, or until golden brown.

Serve French toast with strawberry-banana sauce and top with granola.

Roast Beef and Arugula Sandwiches

Recipe courtesy of Roman Meal on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation

Prep time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2

1             tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise

2             teaspoons horseradish

4             slices whole- or multi-grain bread, toasted

4             slices tomato

4             ounces lean roast beef, thinly sliced

1             cup arugula or wild greens

Spread mayonnaise and horseradish evenly over two bread slices.

Layer tomato, roast beef and arugula on top of mayonnaise and horseradish. Top with remaining slices of bread.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

May 2, 2018 |

How to Safely Dispose of Needles and Medical Sharps


To Your Health









(Family Features) If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from a chronic illness that requires using needles or sharps outside of the doctor’s office, you may question how to dispose of them safely. There is plenty of information available, but the proper disposal method may be different depending on where you live, work or travel.

To help ensure people who use needles and sharps at home or on-the-go know how to dispose of them easily and safely, NeedyMeds, a national non-profit organization that provides health care information to consumers, developed tools at

“Most people want to do the right thing, but they need specific, succinct information on safe sharps disposal,” said Richard J. Sagall, MD, president of NeedyMeds. “For local guidance presented in a way that is easy to follow, our website is a one-stop-shop.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, sharps that are not disposed of properly may cause injury. In order to increase awareness and minimize risk, people who use sharps are encouraged to learn more about local regulations and disposal options.

In many states and communities, people who use sharps may dispose of them by following these three simple steps:

  1. Place used sharps in a strong, plastic container like a laundry detergent or bleach bottle.
  2. Seal the container with duct tape and label “do not recycle.”
  3. Place the sealed container in the trash, never the recycling.

“Some locations have different disposal regulations, which may require people in those areas to take used sharps to special collection points,” Sagall said. “ helps people learn how to get rid of used sharps safely, wherever they happen to be.”

To learn more about disposing used needles and sharps safely, visit

May 2, 2018 |
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