Let’s Talk About Eating Disorders

By Maggie Hensley, RD | Registered Dietitian

The last week of February is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. This week helps raise awareness on how common eating disorders actually are. According to the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA), 28.2 million Americans experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week also helps end the stigma of getting help and treatment for them. Have questions about eating disorders, signs, and treatments? You aren’t alone.

What’s an Eating Disorder?

Eating disorders are mental and physical illnesses. People of all ages, genders, and ethnicity can face eating disorders. In general, an eating disorder involves a person becoming focused on food and weight issues to the point where it gets harder to focus on other parts of your life.

Eating disorders include several related conditions each with its own unique symptoms. Some of the more well-known eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – involves weight loss and challenges having a healthy body weight for age and height.
  • Bulimia Nervosa – is when a person goes between cycles of binge eating and getting ride of the excess food they ate, either by vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise.
  • Binge Eating – involves someone losing control over their eating, usually eating large amounts of food even when they aren’t hungry.

The more we learn about eating disorders, the more we realize these illnesses can affect any type of person; people who have larger bodies, men, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and people of minority or marginalized identities can have eating disorders. Many people who don’t fit our perception of what an eating disorder looks like don’t get diagnosed because of current kinds screening tools used.

Signs & Symptoms of Eating Disorders

According to the NEDA, there are emotional and physical signs that someone might be living with an eating disorder. Some signs like weight fluctuations, extreme mood swings, uncomfortable eating with others, dizziness, sleep problems, and others listed here.

The NEDA also has a confidential online screening for those 13 years and older here. The earlier an eating disorder is detected, the sooner treatment can begin, and the better the person’s recovery. And recovery is important, because after opioid-dependency, eating disorders are the second most deadly mental illness.  

Eating Disorder Prevention

The best way to avoid an eating disorder is to have a healthy relationship with food. That usually means ditching diets that call for heavy calorie restriction or eliminating an entire food group. Anything less than 1800 calories per day is usually not advised. When thinking about any diets, remember that all food groups are important, even carbohydrates!

It is also important to practice body positivity or body neutrality. This helps us realize we are so much more than just our bodies. This can help us learn that bodies come in all kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes and to celebrate that amazing diversity!

If you are unhappy with your current eating patterns or want to pursue a healthier relationship with food, talk to NOAH. We have on-site dietitians who are experts in nutrition and can help you with those needs.

Mouth Healthy Eating

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NEWS: NOAH Celebrates Emerging Leader Dora Correal

NOAH is thrilled to share that one of our own dedicated and caring team members, Dora Correal, Director of Community Equity, received the Emerging Leader Award from the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy.

This national award honors young, emerging leaders within community and farmworker health centers who have made a career in the health center family and personify the enduring strength of health centers.

Dora joined NOAH in 2015 as an Eligibility Specialist, where she quickly established herself as a subject matter expert in government assistance programs and customer service. She has led the growth of our Community Resource Department as the first Supervisor, Manager, and now Director of that department. It has been through her leadership that a four-member team providing application assistance has grown to a 30-person team helping our patients and organization with crucial functions for our mission.

Dora inspires and motivates us to keep finding innovative ways to help and serve our patients, NOAH team members, and community,” said Julia Nierad, NOAH CFO. “Leading with compassion and empathy, she is a champion for ensuring our community obtains access to resources in an efficient, dignified, and friendly manner. We are so grateful to have her passion and dedication on our team as we continue to address community need, particularly for those severely impacted by the pandemic.

Dora inspires and motivates us to keep finding innovative ways to help and serve our patients, NOAH team members, and community. 

Compassion, empathy, and strength are how Dora leads her team to deliver for NOAH patients every day. She sees opportunities and finds ways for the Community Resource Department to help bridge gaps for patients, the community, and for NOAH’s own team.

“The Emerging Leaders selected each year represent the future of health centers. The policy and program advocates, clinicians, health educators, and clinic administrators recognized each year truly will become the next generation of senior leaders.” – Feygele Jacobs, President, and CEO of the RCHN Community Health Foundation

Emerging leaders like Dora are celebrated for the work they do to help further the mission of healthcare and better health for medically underserved patients, communities, and special populations.

The future of NOAH and community health centers looks bright with leaders like Dora sharing their talents and passion with organizations serving the medically underserved populations. Congratulations, Dora!

Learn more about the Geiger Gibson Program in Community Health Policy Emerging Leader Award here.

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett

Saving Lives With Modern Day Medicine

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett is a female African-American scientist known for helping to create the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Shutzer Assistant Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

Dr. Corbett developed her interest in science early in life and committed to pursuing a career in science while she was still in high school. She embraced every opportunity to participate in lab research working alongside world famous scientists.  After earning her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Corbett went to work as a trainer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she also studied respiratory illness and vaccine development. 

For the next five years she continued her research on the other side of the world in Sri Lanka before returning to the NIH in 2014 to work on vaccine development.  Dr. Corbett’s efforts led medical advancements that would later be used in the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine.        

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of NIH researchers including Dr. Corbett, began developing a vaccine based on some of the previous research conducted by Dr. Corbett.  To manufacture and test the vaccine, the NIH partnered with Moderna, a biotechnology company. The vaccine rapidly entered animal trials soon followed by clinical trials; eventually to become one of the first approved vaccines for COVID-19.   

When asked about her involvement with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, Corbett said, “To be living in this moment where I have the opportunity to work on something that has imminent global importance…it’s just a surreal moment for me”. Corbett also stated she cried when results showed the Moderna vaccine worked.

NOAH honors Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is to ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been as a society, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

For more life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America, check out these posts:

Recipes and Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

By Brandon Bolton, RDN | Nutrition Educator

February is American Heart Month, so let’s raise awareness and support for heart health in the fight against heart disease!

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that impact your chances of having heart disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risk factors are and what you can do to lower them.

Some risk factors for heart disease include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • smoking
  • lack of physical activity
  • unhealthy eating behaviors

Heart Healthy Eating Habits

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining a heart healthy diet. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

  • Eat a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources
  • Try to have at least half of your grain intake come from whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
  • Aim for 1 to 2 cups of fruit daily
  • Aim for 1 to 3 cups of vegetables daily
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products when having milk, cheese, or yogurt

If your menu needs a pick-me-up or you’re looking for some heart healthy recipes to get you started, try these yummy options which are brand new to NOAH’s recipe collection:

Peaches N’ Cream Overnight Oats

This yummy breakfast tastes great and includes plenty of fruit, dairy and fiber to get your day off to the right start. It’s super easy to whip up before bedtime and ready to enjoy the next morning. Swap out the peaches for seasonal fruit and enjoy a variety of flavors throughout the year.

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

This salad packs a punch when it comes to heart health. Lentils are high in potassium which counters the bad effects of salt and lowers blood pressure. Bonus, just 1/2 cup of lentils contains almost one-third of the recommended daily fiber intake.

Jackfruit “BBQ” Sandwiches

Grab some extra napkins because this sandwich is dripping with classic barbecue flavor. While jackfruit can be used as an alternative source of protein, it only contains about three grams of protein per serving so you may want to add some beans to your plate for a well-rounded meal. Since cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, switching to a plant-based protein meal one night a week is a great way to lower total cholesterol intake.

For even more tasty menu options, check out our full library of nutritious recipes.

Dental Tips for Healthy Smiles

February is Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to remember to check your family’s oral heath habits and, if needed, get back on track. We know it’s not always easy to get kids to practice good dental hygiene. Here are a few tips that will help you encourage your little ones to practice oral health at a young age, setting the foundation for healthy adult teeth.

Change Toothpastes

If you are having a difficult time getting your child to brush, consider changing things up a bit with a new toothpaste. Not all kids like the minty taste of adult toothpastes. Children’s mouths are more sensitive and the tingling sensation associated with a minty toothpaste can often create a burning sensation. Instead, help your child to select a more kid-friendly toothpaste with a fun taste, such as bubblegum. Browse toothpastes containing the American Dental Association seal of approval here.

Buy a New Toothbrush

It is always a good idea to change out toothbrushes at least a couple of times per year and after you have been sick. Let your child pick out a special toothbrush they are sure to use. Cool designs, characters, and interactive components will have your child reminding you when it’s time to brush.

Make it Fun

Make brushing time feel like less of a chore and more like playtime by playing a song when your child is brushing his or her teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing two times a day for two full minutes. This is about the same length as a song. Have your child select a song of their choice and play it during brushing time.

Check out this video for brushing tips from NOAH Dental Hygienist Jane Root

Make Brushing a Group Activity

Whatever your child sees you do, he or she will want to do as well. By brushing your teeth together, you set a good example and can encourage your child to develop good brushing habits.

Encourage Flossing

Flossing can be challenging, even for adults. To make the process easier for your child, consider using small flossers that are made just for them. Try flossers with bright colors and animal shapes.

Implement a Reward System

Kids are often motivated to complete chores when offered fun incentives. Try using NOAH’s free printable daily tracker to keep track of each day that your child brushes and flosses. At the end of each week, let your child choose a healthy reward. Implementing a reward system is a great way to encourage and make dental health fun.

Reduce Dental Visit Anxiety

It is not unusual for some children to be afraid of a visit to the dentist. Help your child feel more comfortable by setting a positive example and avoiding the use of negative words, such as pain or hurt.

Schedule a visit with your NOAH dental provider today!

Profiles in Leadership

Meet NOAH Board Member Abe Alirez

NOAH Board
NOAH Board Member Abe Alirez

Get to know Abe, his inspiration for joining the NOAH board and what he hopes to accomplish as part of the group.

Q: When did you join the NOAH Board of Directors?

A: I was welcomed to the board on June 25 of 2021.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: I have worked in healthcare for most of my career and have always wanted to use my skills to give back to the communities that I live in. Working in IT (information technology) you don’t always get to see the effect the work has on the community, and I wanted to see the impact more directly so I could better understand what the community needs.

Q: What specifically about NOAH motivated you to want to get involved at this level with the organization?

A: The community outreach of such comprehensive services was one item that initially drew me to NOAH. Once I met with NOAH’s CEO Wendy Armendariz and heard about all the wonderful plans that NOAH was working toward, I was sold. Most of my mentors have been women in leadership positions and I was very pleased to know that NOAH has such a high percentage of women in these roles.

Q: What do you like about working with your fellow board members?

A: The knowledge and the ideas that everyone brings to the table. The expertise of my fellow board members is nothing short of astonishing. The open discussions and ideas that are shared has enabled me to be even more willing to explore a wider range of ideas in my own organizations.

Q: What do you hope to collectively accomplish during your term on the board?

A: I hope to be able to bring ideas that will benefit NOAH and the communities we serve. The current migration away from HonorHealth is something that I have been monitoring. I hope to provide some input on this process and support the NOAH team during this transition.

Q: In your own words, what does NOAH’s Board of Directors provide for the organization, staff, patients, and the community?

A: The board oversees the organization and its executives. By providing oversight and establishing bylaws, the board protects the organization, staff, and patients. By combining experience and leadership expertise, the Board of Directors adds value to the organization and its mission.

Q: What part of the community that NOAH serves matters to you the most personally?

A: By location, NOAH Midtown Health Center is closest to my part of town and supports the community that I live in.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

Honoring Black History Month: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams

NOAH honors Black History Month with snapshots of just a few of the important, impactful, and life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America. One of our primary goals at NOAH is to ensure quality healthcare for every member of our community. To do that, we will look at where we have been as a society, what we have accomplished, and how we will collectively achieve this goal.

Dr. Danial Hale Williams
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931)

A Healthcare Pioneer

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams started his own medical practice in Chicago, Illinois after completing medical school in 1883. In an era where hospitals didn’t admit African Americans and denied Black doctors, Dr. Williams was one of only three Black doctors in the state. He went on to advocate for Black rights and founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses in 1891. Provident Hospital was the first medical facility in the nation to have interracial staff. The hospital still operates as Provident Hospital of Cook County in Chicago.

Considered a pioneer in heart surgery, Dr. Williams is best known for being the first surgeon to perform open-heart surgery on a human. The remarkable surgery, performed in 1893, was a success. The African-American patient, James Cornish, was discharged 51 days later.  Cornish went on to live for decades after his groundbreaking surgery.

Dr. Williams moved on to become the Chief Surgeon for Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington DC from 1893-1898 where he continued to pursue equal rights and encourage the employment of interracial staff. He also founded the National Medical Association in 1895 as an alternative to the all-white American Medical Association that did not extend membership to Black doctors. As a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913, he was the first and only African-American member for many years.

Dr. Williams’ work as a pioneering physician and advocate for racial equality marks a significant milestone in Black history that is still celebrated today.

For more life-saving stories of Black history and healthcare in America, check out these posts:

Snack Food Month – Tips for Healthier and More Satisfying Snacks

By Mina Goodman, RD | Nutrition Educator

When thinking about snacking, what often comes to mind is chips, cookies, ice cream and more foods we consider to be “junk foods”. What we may not realize is that snacking can be a healthy way to keep blood sugar and energy levels steady between meals, prevent overeating at mealtimes, and provide more opportunities to get the right nutrients each day. Below are some tips for healthier snacking that are easy, delicious, and dietician approved.

  • Think of snacks as small meals. Use the MyPlate model to plan your snacks. At a minimum, try to include a source of protein and a source of carbohydrate, for example an apple with peanut butter or grapes with cheese. When possible, add vegetables to the snack to add fiber, water, vitamins, and minerals to your diet.
  • Make small changes to your current snacks. For example, if you like snack packs from the supermarket that include a mix of meat, cheese, nuts, crackers, or fruit, try to recreate your own healthier (and less expensive) version at home. Look for low sodium cold cuts, low fat cheese, unsalted nuts, berries, and high fiber or whole grain crackers.
  • Enjoy a variety of healthy snacks. Check out NOAH recipes or speak with a dietitian at NOAH for personalized snack ideas.

Here are some examples to get you started!

  • 2 Tbsp hummus with 1 cup cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes and/or celery sticks
  • 4 dates with 1/4 cup almonds
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter with 2 celery stalks and raisins (ants on a log)
  • 1/4 cup salsa and 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup low sodium cottage cheese with fresh tomato and basil
  • 6 oz Greek yogurt with
    • 1/2 Tbsp honey
    • 1/2 sliced apple or mango
  • 20 grapes dipped in Greek yogurt and frozen
  • Brown rice cake and 2 Tbsp almond, peanut, or sunflower butter
  • Turkey jerky and 1/4 cup mixed nuts
  • 1 hardboiled egg with whole wheat bread or high fiber crackers