What Do You Know About Hernias?

Ronald Vallario

By Dr. Ron Vallario, Grace Cottage Family Health

June is National Hernia Awareness Month, and also Men’s Health Month. How much do you know about hernias? Are they dangerous? Do they happen to women as well as men? For answers to these questions, read on.

Hernia is a general term describing a bulge of an organ or tissue through an abnormal opening in a body wall that normally contains it.

Although hernias can occur at various places in the body, this column will discuss abdominal wall hernias, named based on their location.


Healthy Fast Food — Smoothies

Cheryl Shaw

By Cheryl Shaw, Grace Cottage Hospital Health Coach

Who doesn’t love a smoothie? They’re easy to make, so they can give a new, healthy meaning to the words “fast food” – if you choose good ingredients.

You probably already know how to make a smoothie: just chop up the larger ingredients, throw everything into a blender, and turn it on. Super easy.

Here is a list of my top favorite smoothie ingredients to inspire you. Organic options are always best, but do what you can. Mix them up and have fun creating!

Start with a Base: Here are some healthy ideas: Nut or seed milk (almond, hemp, cashew), unsweetened coconut water, unsweetened plain yogurt or kefir (if you tolerate dairy; good for probiotics/cultures!), a little coconut milk mixed with water, cooled green tea, or pure water and ice.


Running is a Gift for Life

By Amby Burfoot

Question: Why run?

Answer: Walking and running are inherent human abilities–I call them “gifts.” Every physically unchallenged baby is born with the ability to flex the knees forward and back. That is, to walk and then to run. When we move in this way, we stay lean, fit, and healthy. When we sit too much, we grow round and unhealthy. Fifty years ago, science focused on the heart-health benefits of running, which have since been proven in thousands of medical studies. For the last decade, the most exciting research has investigated the mind benefits–low depression rates, and low Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. Healthy body, healthy mind: It’s a good combination.

Q: If running is so healthy, why are runners always getting injured?


Easy Ways to Eat Your Vegetables!

Liz Harrison

By Elizabeth Harrison, Grace Cottage Health Coach

Eat your veggies! Where have you heard that before? Vegetables are a goldmine for adding vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet, and they can go a long way toward ensuring you a healthy life, important for preventing or lessening the impact of many chronic diseases.

The nutrition experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have created the perfect visual to help you get enough of these nutrient-rich foods. Picture a round dinner plate, and divide it into fourths. Ideally, one-half of that plate will be covered with equal amounts of fruits and vegetables. On the other half, you will have a mix of grains and protein, with grains taking up more space than the protein.

This illustration is a great starting point. Some nutritionists even suggest that half your plate be covered with vegetables.


Teaching Kids to Care for Their Teeth

By Dr. Elizabeth Linder, Grace Cottage Hospital Pediatrician

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and this is a good opportunity to share a few tips to help children take good care of their teeth.

The condition of our teeth can affect general health, self-esteem, and even our ability to eat healthy food. That’s why it’s so important that we give our teeth the attention they deserve.

Dental hygiene should begin at birth. Parents can begin by cleaning a baby’s gums with a soft cloth or soft brush at least once a day.


Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation

By Cindy Kenyon, Grace Cottage PT, and Melinda Roy, Grace Cottage OT

Grace Cottage Hospital offers several specialized inpatient therapies that help patients recover from a neurological issue such as a stroke or other brain injury, spinal injuries, surgical procedures, Parkinsonism, multiple sclerosis, or post-polio syndrome. Would this help someone you know? We’d like to explain some of these therapies to help you decide.

The first therapy we would like to tell you about is called “Neurodevelopmental Treatment,” or NDT for short. Using NDT, Grace Cottage’s physical, occupational, and speech therapists help patients recover their ability to move their bodies when neurological functions have been compromised.


Have a Healthy Holiday Table

By Elizabeth Harrison and Cheryl Shaw, Health Coaches, Grace Cottage Community Health Team

Healthy, holiday, and delicious – can these words go together? Most definitely!

Enjoying a holiday meal doesn’t have to wreck your diet – if you start with wholesome ingredients and cook them in a health-conscious way. We are the Health Coaches at Grace Cottage Family Health in Townshend, and we love to take classic holiday recipes and give them a healthy spin. Here are a few of our holiday favorites. These side dishes and desserts can be served with your favorite entrée for a delicious, nutritious, and pretty meal.


When it Comes to Hospice Care, It’s All About How You Live

By Dr. Anne Brewer, Grace Cottage Family Health & Hospital        

I have been privileged to work with hospice and palliative care teams for the past 25 years. Despite growing public awareness, there are still many questions about exactly what hospice is, and how it differs from palliative care.

Patients and families will ask: Why choose hospice? When is it appropriate? How is it different from palliative care? When is palliative care an option? And, where can someone receive hospice or palliative care for themselves or a loved one? Does choosing hospice mean giving up?

Palliative care may be used for anyone with a severe chronic disease, regardless of their prognosis.


Community Health Teams and Their Maturing Impact on Chronic Illness

By Bill Monahan, RN, Grace Cottage Outreach Coordinator

Blueprint for Health? Community Health Team (CHT)?

What are these, and how can they help you for free?

The Vermont Blueprint for Health was conceived in 2003 during Governor Douglas’s administration and implemented in 2010. The goal of Blueprint is better coordination of patient care for individuals, better health for the whole community, and reduced health care costs.

This nationally recognized, multi-faceted program includes a system of Community Health Teams (CHTs). There are fourteen CHTs in the state of Vermont, all subsidized by private insurers, Medicare, and grants, so that their services are offered to the community free of charge. Each team adapts its services to the needs of its particular service area.

When a primary care provider identifies that a patients needs additional support, beyond what can be provided during an office visit, that provider can refer the patient to the CHT, thus connecting patients to additional resources.


Staying Fit Beyond the Summer

By Cheryl Shaw, Grace Cottage Hospital Health Coach

Summer is a natural time for outdoor sports, exercise, and activities. Now, as autumn arrives, you may find yourself challenged to keep up the workout routine you established during warmer, “longer-day” months.

For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of both. Of course, in order to determine the best level for you, have a consultation with your provider first.

Once you know what type of activity is best for you, how will you keep your routine going when days are shorter, the weather is darker and cooler, and the pull toward seasonal comfort foods kicks in?

The best solution is to prepare and think ahead.  Here are some tips. Maybe one or more of these will work for you: