Avocado Caprese Skewers

As we look to celebrate the many accomplishments of our friends and loved ones, we often celebrate with meals shared. If you are looking for a healthy recipe that is delicious and COVID-19 friendly, look no further. Our Avocado Caprese Skewers are a quick and easy recipe that everyone will love. When attending a group event, please remember to socially distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands.

Makes 12-15 Skewers

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 pint carton of red cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar glaze
  • 12-15 toothpicks

Directions

  1. Wash and lay out all ingredients.
  2. Slice avocado in half and remove the pit. Place face down and peel off the outside layer. Cut into one inch cubes.
  3. Layer the cherry tomato, basil leaf, and avocado onto the toothpick. Place 2-3 in a small serving dish such as a ramekin or plastic cup.
  4. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and top with fresh ground pepper.
  5. Keep chilled until serving.

Chef’s tip: If you’re waiting to serve, toss the avocado in lemon juice to prevent browning.

Nutrition tip: Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats that help protect our heart health.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Lemon Coconut Date Power Balls

Makes 24 power balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup coconut
  • Zest/juice from one lemon

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Scoop the mixture into balls. Recipe should yield about 16-20 power balls.
  3. Allow to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy! The power balls should keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Chef’s tip: Make in bulk and freeze in a container or bag for easy snacking.

Nutrition Tip: Dates are naturally sweet! ½ a cup of chopped dates contain 6 grams of fiber making them an excellent sugar replacement when blended and added into baked goods.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Cherry Chocolate Oat Powers Balls

Makes 24 power balls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup honey or pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup chia seeds or ground flax seed
  • ½ cup walnuts

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Scoop the mixture into balls. Recipe should yield about 16-20 power balls.
  3. Allow to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy! The power balls should keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Chef’s tip: Make in bulk and freeze in a container or bag for easy snacking.

Nutrition Tip: Cherries contain a nutrient called quercetin that helps your body fight inflammation.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

Sparkling Mint Mocktail

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • Sparkling water
  • 4 cucumber slices
  • 3 mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. Fill a glass with cucumber slices, mint leaves and honey.
  2. Press the mixture against the bottom of the glass with a spoon. This process is called ‘muddling’.
  3. Add ice to the glass and top with sparkling water.

Chef’s tip: In a rush? Make the muddled mixture ahead of time and place into ice-cube trays. Top with water and freeze for an easy drink on the go.

Nutrition Tip: Cucumbers are hydrating and full of electrolytes which is great for warmer summer days.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update (4/21/21)

The state of Michigan has now reached 6 million vaccines administered, with 44% of Michiganders having received their first dose and 29.6% of residents receiving both doses to date.

We continue to receive both Pfizer and Moderna, with a total of another 29,591 vaccine doses arriving this week across our St. Joe’s, Mercy Health and IHA clinics.

Sign up or log into MyChart to complete our questionnaire to register your interest in receiving vaccine. While it does not guarantee an appointment, you may be notified as appointments open up at our St. Joseph Mercy Oakland or St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospital locations.

Here is an overview of doses each of our sites received this week and that location’s outreach:

Guidance for Those Who are Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. As more of us become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, CDC guidance advises fully vaccinated people can start to do some things they had stopped doing. People are considered fully vaccinated:  

Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine  

Here’s what you can start doing if you’re fully vaccinated:  

You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. (However, if you live in a group setting and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.)  

5 Tips to Keep Kids Safe when Returning to Sports

1. Ease kids back into physical activity gradually before the sport season starts

Kids have been spending a lot more time at home and sitting at computers for school than in regular years. Relative inactivity leads to decreased cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength and endurance and loss of sport-specific skills. Parents should know, that increasing the load and demand on their child’s body without adequate time for conditioning and recovery, raises the risk of injury.

Before they start sports, all kids should have a pre-participation physical exam. At this pre-participation physical exam, ask the medical provider to discuss with you and your child a schedule to guide a gradual increase in activity. Children should return to sports at 25 to 50% of the volume and intensity at which they participated previously. Each week, volume should be increased by 10% so that, by 4-6 weeks, the student athlete is back in performance shape.

“I’ve been seeing a lot of sports injuries due to the rapid escalation of sports intensity. We can prevent these injuries.” said, Dr. Corey Dean, Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Specialist at St. Joe’s and IHA.

  1. Be COVID-19 safe during practice and games

In March, 2021, the spread of COVID-19 has risen 105% among persons aged 10 to 19 in Michigan. Additionally, there are 135 identified outbreaks among minors participating in school and club sports in Michigan.

To prevent COVID-19 during sports participation, athletes should maintain physical distance as much as possible. Wear cloth face coverings at all times during group training and competition, especially on the sideline, in dugouts, and during team chats. Due to possible safety concerns, masks can be removed while participating in some sports, such as water sports, gymnastics and wrestling. However, a mask should still be worn when the athlete is not actively engaged in competition or is on the sidelines.

All kids with a history of a positive COVID-19 test, regardless of whether they had symptoms, should be screened for chest pain, shortness of breath, syncope (fainting), and palpitations during a physical exam by there primary care physician. Children who have had moderate or severe symptoms of COVID-19, like fever greater than three days, hypoxia needing oxygen in the hospital, etc. should be referred to a cardiologist per the American Academy of pediatricians.

Avoid behaviors like huddles, high-fives, fist bumps, handshakes, sharing food or drink with teammates, cheering, chanting, or spitting. Store personal equipment 6 to 8 feet away from other teammates equipment. Make sure to bring your own water bottle and your own towel to be used only by you. Sanitize hands before and after using shared equipment like balls, bats etc. Do not got to practice or a game if you are not feeling well. Make sure to tell the coach if you’re not feeling well and leave practice or the game as soon as safely possible.

Avoid large group gathering after sporting events or practices. If you do gather after a sporting event or practice, remember to wear your mask, socially distance and don’t share food or drink with others.

3. Clean up after practice and games.

Sanitize with 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer or wash hands for 20 seconds. Be Sure to wash practice clothes and towel thoroughly and replace facemasks. Clean sports equipment and water bottle.

4. Get tested for COVID-19 regularly.

All middle school and high school athletes aged 13 to 19 must be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis as required by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Testing is recommended before any inter-team competition, especially before players come in to close contact with players from outside the local community. Regular testing allows for better understanding of the risk to student athletes and supports contact tracing of COVID-19 cases in sports.

5. Where are the facemasks?

Athletes, coaches and other team personnel must wear a face mask at all times unless participating in a sport in which masks may pose a safety concern (wrestling, water sports, gymnastics, etc.). Face masks must be worn by all individuals while not engaged in active participation. Facemasks must cover the nose and the mouth at all times to be fully protective. Any cloth face covering that becomes saturated with sweat or water should be changed immediately. Having a back up cloth mask is helpful. You are your child’s best advocate. If you see other athletes or coaches not wearing masks or wearing masks improperly speak up and kindly remind them to wear a mask or make sure their mask is properly covering their mouth and nose. Parents and spectators should always wear a facemask while at sporting events. Wearing masks minimizes the spread of COVID-19 and is critical for safe participation in sports.

Need a Primary Care Doctor?

Trust your family’s health to a St. Joe’s doctor. Find a doctor near you at St.JoesHealth.org.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update (4/15/21)

Johnson & Johnson

St. Joe’s will pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at our facilities out of an abundance of caution as recommended by the CDC and US Food and Drug Administration. We are confident in the safety of the mRNA vaccines approved for emergency use authorization and will continue to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Vaccination remains our best hope for ending this pandemic.

Vaccination Distribution

This week, another 21,340 vaccine doses of Pfizer and Moderna arrived at our Mercy Health, St. Joe’s and IHA clinics, adding to the 251,527 total doses administered to date. Despite the fact that over 35 percent of Michigan’s population are now vaccinated, we are in the midst of a spring surge that is once again straining hospital and emergency department resources.

Sign up or log into MyChart to complete our questionnaire to register your interest in receiving vaccine. While it does not guarantee an appointment, you may be notified as appointments open up at any of our locations.

Here is an update on the number of doses each of our sites received this week and that location’s outreach: 

Simple Chicken Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 4   boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), cut into bite-size pieces, all visible fat discarded
  • 2   teaspoons canola, corn, or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½   medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4   medium carrots, shredded
  • 2   tablespoons soy sauce (lowest sodium available)
  • 1   tablespoon low-sodium peanut butter
  • ½   teaspoon fresh gingerroot, grated (optional)
  • 2   cups cooked brown rice
  • 2   tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped

Directions

  1. Lightly spray a large skillet or wok with cooking spray. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center, stirring occasionally. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the cabbage and carrots for 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring frequently. Stir in the reserved chicken.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, peanut butter, and gingerroot. Stir into the chicken mixture. Cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through.
  4. Spoon the rice onto plates. Top with the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with the peanuts.

Chef’s tip:  Substitute chickpeas and mushrooms to make this a vegetarian meal.

Nutrition Tip: Mushrooms and chickpeas are rich in fiber and phytonutrients that help keep your blood sugar stable for weight loss, diabetes control or cardiovascular disease prevention.

Ready to take the next step?

Our Lifestyle Medicine team is here to support you on your journey to better health. Connect with one of our Board-Certified Lifestyle Medicine Specialists today.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update (4/6/21)

Eligibility in the state for the COVID-19 vaccine is now open to all those age 16 and older. Please be aware that only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for those age 16 to 18 years old so be sure to check which vaccine brand is being given when making an appointment for someone in that age group. 

A rise in COVID-19 cases this spring underscores the importance of vaccinating as many adults as possible to curb the impact of the pandemic in our communities. We invite anyone interested in scheduling a vaccine to sign up or login to MyChart and complete our questionnaire. While the questionnaire does not guarantee an appointment, it does let us know of your interest in receiving it. If appointments open at any of our locations, you may be notified to schedule your vaccination. 

As we closely monitor the current COVID-19 situation, it’s important to note that all three vaccines appear to be effective against multiple strains of COVID-19, including the newer B.1.1.7 variant. The vaccine not only helps protect from infection, but vaccinated people who do become infected are far less likely to be seriously ill and require hospitalization. 

The latest statistics also highlight the importance of continuing to follow all CDC COVID-19 precautions including appropriate masking, maintaining physical distancing (at least 6 feet apart) and practicing excellent hand hygiene – all steps that can help prevent another surge as we head into the spring and summer. 

Here is an update on the number of doses each of our sites received this week and that location’s outreach: