Wish you had a dietitian to help you shop? Mercy and Sam’s Club have teamed up to help!

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“Cereals can be a good option in the morning, just look for one with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving.”

“Kids need a high 5 every day — 5 servings of fruits and vegetables — to be at their healthiest.”

These are just a few of the great takeaways Gwen and I learned from dietitians during a tour last week at Sam’s Club in Bentonville, focusing on healthy eating tips.

Sam’s Club and Mercy have teamed up to help Northwest Arkansas club members choose the healthiest options as they grocery shop. Brianna Young and Julie Schwilling, registered dietitians from Mercy Hospital, lead the tours. They’re not only super knowledgeable (dietitians have advanced degrees and are registered), but they’re also very personable — and really work to make the tours relevant to their particular audience.

We laughed a LOT on the tour and had fun learning a few new recipes, how to read labels better (there are new changes coming to labels in 2018!) and dietician tour1whether or not it makes us bad moms if we let our kids eat pizza after school. (Spoiler: We’re not. But it’s better to pair it with a salad or veggies.)

We also met a new friend, Courtney Gorden, pictured above and at right with two of her four kids. Courtney is studying to be a dietitian, so we invited her along on the tour.

These FREE tours will be every Tuesday at Sam’s Club in Bentonville through mid-June and led by Mercy dietitians. If you’re part of a homeschooling or mom’s group, this would be a great outing for you. But it’s perfectly fine if you want to bring a friend or two — or just join a tour on your own.

Keep in mind you do need to be Sam’s Club members, though. There are currently spots available for tomorrow’s tours if you want to email Brianna and Julie to get on the schedule. We promise you’ll love them! ♥

Each tour lasts about 45 minutes and will have up to eight available reservations per tour. Sign up by reaching out to NWA_Dietitian@mercy.net or speak with the pharmacist at the Bentonville Sam’s Club.

There are four types of tours you can choose from:

  1. The Young Families tour. This one will help busy families and new moms choose healthy and quick ways to prepare foods. Moms with children of any age are welcome to attend — or  you don’t have to be a mom at all!
  2. The Mediterranean Diet Tour. This one shares with members how to identify moderate heart healthy fats, such as, avocados, nuts, nut butters, and oils.
  3. The Performance Tour. This tour focuses on whole foods to boost athletic performance.
  4. The Healthy Snacking Tour. Learn how to incorporate on-the-go foods into a healthy diet.
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Shannon listens to info about label changes coming in 2018

We had a few questions for dietitians Julie and Brianna:

What is the reaction so far among moms to the tours?

They have been receptive and appreciative to the advice we have given. A few have enjoyed the recipe modifications discussed, for example ways to include more fruits and vegetables into family favorite recipes.

A few have also expressed a greater sense of confidence in the healthy choices they are already providing to their families.

How does the tours help on a very practical level?

As a profession we encourage small sustainable lifestyle modifications, which these tours focus on. Through our conversations, we provide ideas and guidelines on how to meet current recommendations for specific age groups. For example, a recommendation is 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. During the tour we discuss portion sizes and ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables throughout the day.

What are the top three questions you’ve been asked so far?

1.    What are the best cereal options?

2.    What are good dairy milk alternatives?

3.    What are the appropriate portion sizes for each food group?

Tell us a little about a dietitian’s role:

Our goal is to empower people to make the best food choices for their health, realizing that everyone is different and will have different goals. We try to meet people where they are and work towards attainable goals.

Kudos to Sam’s Club for recognizing that a great way to help people live healthier is to provide education to help them make better food selections while shopping!

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Ask an Allergist: Peanut allergy risk and guidelines

HEDBERG color logo 2017 200Are doctors still advising parents to avoid peanut products for a child’s first few years of life? What if my child is accidentally exposed to a food with peanuts in it? Would this make him more likely to develop an allergy?

Response by Dr. Adesua O. Wejinya – Board Certified Allergist of Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center

Physicians are no longer advising parents to avoid peanut products for the child’s first few years of life. There is no evidence that accidental exposure to peanuts early would increase the likelihood of development of a peanut allergy in a child with no known food allergies. On the contrary, recent scientific research has shown that peanut allergy can be prevented by introducing peanut-containing foods into the diet EARLY in life.

peanut-390081_640 (2)Researchers conducted a clinical trial called Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) with more than 600 infants considered to be at high risk of developing peanut allergy because they had severe eczema, egg allergy, or both. The scientists randomly divided the babies into two groups. One group was given peanut-containing foods to eat regularly, and the other group was told to avoid peanut-containing foods. They did this until they reached 5 years of age. By comparing the two groups, researchers found that regular consumption of peanut-containing foods beginning early in life reduced the risk of developing peanut allergy by 81 percent.

Based on the strength of the LEAP findings, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, worked with 25 professional organizations, federal agencies, and patient advocacy groups to develop clinical practice guidelines to address the prevention of peanut allergy. A panel of experts developed the Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy based on the LEAP findings and other recent scientific research:

Guideline 1 recommends that if your infant has severe eczema, egg allergy, or both (conditions that increase the risk of peanut allergy), he or she should have peanut-containing foods introduced into the diet as early as 4 to 6 months of age. This will reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy.

Guideline 2 suggests that if your infant has mild to moderate eczema, he or she may have peanut-containing foods introduced into the diet around 6 months of age to reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy.

Guideline 3 suggests that if your infant has no eczema or any food allergy, you can freely introduce peanut-containing foods into his or her diet. This be done at home in an age-appropriate manner.*

*(Extracted from the Addendum Guidelines for the Prevention of Peanut Allergy in the United States. NIH. NIAID)

Development of a food allergy is multifactorial and complex. Not all mechanisms leading to development of a food allergy are completely understood but genetics amongst other factors does play a significant role. When in doubt about introduction of peanuts or other foods, please consult your pediatrician and a referral to an allergist may be necessary for further evaluation.

Dr. Adesua WejinyaDr. Adesua O. Wejinya is one of the Board Certified Allergists practicing at Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center, with locations in Rogers and Fayetteville. The clinic diagnoses and treats asthma, allergic rhinitis and other diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, drug and insect hypersensitivity, latex allergy, hives, allergic skin disease, recurrent infections and congenital immunologic deficiencies. Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center was ranked No. 1 in the category of “Best Allergy Clinic” in the most recent Mom-Approved Awards, as voted by mothers in Northwest Arkansas. Click here to visit the clinic’s website or call 479-464-8887 (Rogers) or 479-301-8887 (Fayetteville) for more info.

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3 Tips from The Organizer Chicks

organizerchicksWe love it when we have a chance to interview the ladies from The Organizer Chicks because those ladies KNOW things. They have seen tons of households in action, so they’ve developed the ability to quickly zero in on ways to make a person’s home and daily routine run more efficiently and effectively.

Here are three tips shared recently by Amber Taggard, owner and founder of The Organizer Chicks:

Tip No. 1

flat iron2We recently had a client say that, hours after she used it and is no longer home, she has the hardest time remembering whether she has unplugged/turned off her hair straightener or not. Does that happen to you?

Here’s the solution: Say, “The straightener is unplugged” and say it out loud. When you say it aloud, it will stand out in your memory better. If simply saying the words starts to lose potency, sing it in a silly voice. Doing so will take the task from mundane (and therefore easily forgettable) and move it into the category of something that stands out. It sounds crazy, but it works!

Tip No. 2

stopwatchSometimes the simplest organizing tips are really just the best. Here is a small motto with big potential impact: “If it takes less than two minutes to do, do it now.”

Letting multiple small tasks pile up to wait for you at the end of the night makes you feel tired and overwhelmed when it’s finally time to handle them, but remembering the “two minute” rule will make sure that you deal with minor jobs as they come up and your late-night pile of things to be done will be all but gone.

Tip No. 3

big_sale_tagIf you get caught up in making purchases because you “…can’t pass up a good deal,” consider this: It’s not a good deal if you don’t actually need it or if you let it go to waste.

If, a year from now, the item(s) you stock up on now taking up space and covered in dust, it’s not a good deal.

 A truly good deal means getting a fair price on something you were going to use anyway. It does not mean purchasing items you don’t need and may not use simply because they were on sale.

If you missed our Q&A interview with Amber Taggard, click here to read it now. For more tips and hands-on organizing help from The Organizer Chicks, click HERE to visit the website or call 479-270-2760 to talk to Amber.

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Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas: First National Bank of NWA

Above and Beyond, Cox

Last month we launched a new category for the website called “Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas.” This category features stories about local companies doing extraordinary things for our corner of the state.

As mothers, we know loyalty counts, so we pay attention to companies who are loyal and give back to the communities in which they do business.

FNB Logo-StackedThis month we’re highlighting the charitable work of First National Bank of NWA. When we attend charity events in the area, we notice that someone from First National Bank of NWA is usually there, too. The bank has a reputation for supporting local non-profits, both large and small.

Here are a few bank co-workers at one of the Bowl for Kids’ Sake events.

Bowl for Kids SakeAnd here’s another shot of First National Bank of NWA in action selling food and drinks at a school concession stand in Fayetteville.

Fyt Concession640Here’s a list of some of the organizations First National Bank of NWA is currently supporting through charitable donations and/or involvement:

  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Boys & Girls Club of Benton County
  • Children’s Safety CenterChilireah
  • Kendrick Fincher
  • Bentonville Bright Futures
  • Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Bentonville Noon Rotary
  • The Sunshine School
  • Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Northwest Arkansas
  • Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas
  • Bentonville Parks & Rec
  • Fayetteville Parks & Rec
  • Downtown Bentonville Inc.
  • Rogers Noon Rotary
  • The First Tee of NWA
  • Economics Arkansas
  • Fayetteville Youth Baseball
  • Rogers High School – Great 8 Tournament
  • Rogers/ Lowell Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce

First National Bank of NWA also has employees who know the value of giving back to their own communities. They offer everyone on staff the option to set up an auto-draft from their paycheck to be donated to local charities.

Each Friday, they also collect money for “jeans day” and that money goes into an account used during the holidays to adopt a family and purchase gifts and groceries for them. (In past years, they’ve collected enough money throughout the year to adopt several families for the holiday.) This month, bank colleagues are drawing up March Madness Brackets to raise money for this year’s adoption of a family during the holidays.

If you’re looking for a bank that is truly plugged into your community, we think this one passes the test. Our thanks to First National Bank of NWA for setting such a great example of what it means to go above and beyond for our community.

Do you know of or work for a company in Northwest Arkansas that is going “above and beyond” to help give back to our community? If so, click HERE to send us an email about it. We may feature that company in an upcoming post for “Above & Beyond in NWA.”

Cox is the sponsor of “Above & Beyond in NWA,” a series of articles highlighting a wide range of local companies doing great things for those in need in our communities. The company believes that the assistance it offers to local charities is vital to the success of the company and the enrichment of the communities it serves in Arkansas.

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Ask an Allergist: Can I have seasonal allergies in the winter?

HEDBERG color logo 2017 200I’m used to dealing with allergy symptoms in the spring and fall, but why am I still having trouble with them in the winter? Isn’t all the pollen gone? Do rapid temperature fluctuations (like unseasonably warm days in winter) cause allergy symptoms to come back?   

Response by Dr. Matt C Bell, MD – Board Certified Allergist of Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center

The easiest answer to this question, and the most likely, is that what you’re dealing with is not allergy-related at all. While there are some allergens that persist through the winter (dog, cat, dust mite, and cockroach, for example), winter should be a time when we have a bit of a respite from outdoor allergies.

tissue boxWe will occasionally see some outdoor allergens: outdoor mold levels spike during unseasonably warm, windy days and pollen from cedar trees peaks in the wintertime. Outside of those things, however, winter is typically a time of relief for those suffering from classic spring/fall pollen allergies.

The most likely culprit for the nasal congestion and cough that present this time of year is a viral upper respiratory infection. While viruses can (and do) spread any time of the year, they spread more readily in winter. Two key factors influence this: 1) Cold air causes constriction of blood vessels in the nose leading to slower response from immune cells to the site of initial infection;  2) Drier air in the winter time causes viruses suspended in water vapor (from a cough or sneeze) to stay airborne longer, potentially infecting more people.

The absence of sneezing and itchy eyes can help differentiate a viral respiratory infection, or cold, from symptoms caused by allergies. While there are no great treatments for viral respiratory infections, it may be worthwhile to see your primary care doctor if symptoms persist longer than 10-14 days. If your symptoms do include classic allergy signs like sneezing or itchy nose/eyes, it may be worthwhile to see an allergist as there are effective treatments for allergy-induced nasal symptoms.

Dr. BellDr. Matt C. Bell is one of the Board Certified Allergists practicing at Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center, with locations in Rogers and Fayetteville. The clinic diagnoses and treats asthma, allergic rhinitis and other diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, drug and insect hypersensitivity, latex allergy, hives, allergic skin disease, recurrent infections and congenital immunologic deficiencies. Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center was ranked No. 1 in the category of “Best Allergy Clinic” in the most recent Mom-Approved Awards, as voted by mothers in Northwest Arkansas. Click here to visit the clinic’s website or call 479-464-8887 (Rogers) or 479-301-8887 (Fayetteville) for more info.