Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tips For Lowering Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a problem facing many Americans. This waxy, fat-like substance is found naturally in your body and many foods. Though your body needs cholesterol to function, too much can build up in your arteries and put you at increased risk for a heart attack or stroke.

Adults over 20 and those individuals at high risk should be screened regularly for high cholesterol. If you’re one of the many Americans that are suffering from high cholesterol, your doctor will recommend changes in diet, exercise and possibly medication. It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations, but here are a few tips that can help improve your numbers.
  • Get moving! Moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, can raise good cholesterol by 10 percent. Aim for about 10,000 steps per day.
  • Avoid saturated fat. Substitute canola or olive oil for vegetable oil, butter, shortening or lard. Additionally, cut back on meat and eat more fish, which have the health benefits of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It’s also beneficial to increase the fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber can act like a sponge and suck up bad cholesterol. Good sources of soluble fiber include beans, oats and barley.
  • Eating nuts has been shown to make a moderate reduction in cholesterol, so add some almonds as your daily snack.
By following these tips and the instructions of your doctor, you can take control of your cholesterol numbers and help get them in a more healthy range. To find a primary care physician at GBMC, visit

Getting Kids Active for a Healthier Life

Adults are constantly being reminded of the importance of exercise and maintaining an active lifestyle. It no doubt has bountiful health benefits. This same sentiment is true for kids. In fact, kids who stay active are less likely to be overweight, therefore less likely to develop other chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control reviewed 50 studies that were conducted over a span of 23 years and concluded that children who are physically fit and active often do better in school than those who aren’t. On top of all that, staying active helps kids get a better night’s sleep, gain motivation and stay more alert throughout the day.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind when considering activities to get kids moving:

Make it a family affair. Plan activities that involve the whole family. Go for walks or hikes or even plan bike rides together.

Make it age appropriate. Planning activities based on your child’s age group will keep him or her from getting bored if the activity is too easy or frustrated if it’s too difficult. If the child is still in preschool, maybe consider doing a water balloon toss rather than going on an extreme hike.

Make it fun. Take your child to the toy store to pick up a small prize for good behavior. Steer him or her in the direction of toys that encourage activity, like Frisbees, hula hoops and jump ropes. Or, turn simple chores such as cleaning up toys a fun activity by encouraging dancing and singing while they work.

Limit the amount of time spent in front of TV, video games, computers and the like.  With all the new technology and gadgets available now, it’s tempting for kids to play video games or play games online rather than go outside and be active. If you limit the time they have access to these distractions, it will free up some time to get them moving.

Encourage kids to get their friends involved. Set up a baseball or soccer game for the kids in the community. Not only will it help improve children’s wellness, but it helps develop their social skills and build self esteem.

Keep their brains active too. Keeping kids physically active is important, but be sure to also focus on their minds. Do puzzles with them, help them with homework and plan arts and crafts that will encourage creativity. Not only will their bodies be in tip-top shape, but so will their brains!

Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs

On Saturday, September 29, the GBMC Foundation and Shawan Downs will host the 12th annual Legacy Chase to benefit GBMC’s pediatric and adult emergency services. The steeplechase event will have something for the whole family, adults and kids alike. In addition to enjoying the horse races, adults can participate in the traditional tailgating contest and wine tasting event. Between races you and your gathering of friends and family can enjoy the panoramic views of the countryside, or make your way to the Paddock area to check out the horses; or listen to the great band, GAZZE. Click here to purchase your ticket online now to experience a beautiful day in horse country.

Additionally, the event will feature a special children’s activity area, complete with an obstacle course, rock climbing, pony walk, story time, scavenger hunt and more. The area is open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and costs $10 for children. The always popular G. Leslie Grimes Stick Pony Race for three different age groups is also being held again this year. Click here to register children eight years old or younger for the Stick Pony Race.

The event schedule for the day is as follows:
  • Gates Open – 10:00 a.m.
  • Opening Ceremonies – noon
  • Wine Tasting Event – 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • First Race – 1:00 p.m.
  • Stick Pony Race – 1:30 p.m.
  • Live Band – 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
  • Gates Close – 6:00 p.m.
Parking passes for general admission are $35.00.

For more details on the event, call 443-849-2002 or visit

Lasagna Soup


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (bulk or with casings removed)
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 8 ounces ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

  • Instructions

    1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and sauté, breaking it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until the sausage is no longer pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain any excess fat from the pot. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and sauté until the paste turns a rusty brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broth, and the bay leaves and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
    2. Add the pasta, then increase the heat to medium-high and boil the soup until the pasta is tender to the bite, following the time recommendations on the pasta package. Discard the bay leaves, then stir in the basil. If desired, season with salt and black pepper to taste.
    3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, the Parmesan, the 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pinch of pepper. To serve, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture in each bowl, sprinkle with some of the mozzarella, and ladle the soup on top. Makes about 13 cups.

    Nutritional Information:

    Per serving (1 cup):
    Calories 264
    Total Fat 11 g (17% DV)
    Saturated Fat 5g (26% DV)
    Cholesterol 38 mg (13% DV)
    Sodium 1162 mg (48% DV)
    Total Carbohydrate 22 g (7% DV)
    Fiber 1g (6% DV)
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 19 g (39% DV)
    Vitamin C 14 mg (23% DV)
    Calcium 259 mg (26% DV)

    Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

    A Young Family's Gratitude for the Gift of Life

    When asked what they are most grateful for, Carmine and Susanna Mistichelli don’t hesitate with their answer, “Our two sons, Dr. Victor Khouzami and GBMC.” Susanna’s first pregnancy, with 4-year-old Vittorio, was fairly routine, so she expected the same when she became pregnant a second time.

    Unfortunately, nothing could have prepared her for the challenges ahead. About 17 weeks into her second pregnancy, with 6-month-old Ezio, Dr. Khouzami noticed an abnormality during a routine exam and diagnosed Susanna with “cervical incompetency.” He performed an emergency cervical cerclage to prevent her from going into preterm labor. “I was so thankful that Dr. Khouzami caught it before it was too late,” says Susanna. “I couldn’t help but think of all the ‘what ifs’ and wonder if another physician would’ve been able to identify it so quickly.”

    She was restricted to bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. When she went into labor on September 28, 2011, she was thrilled at the prospect of meeting the family’s newest addition. “Our delivery was going perfectly. But, about an hour after my healthy baby boy was born, it turned into a nightmare,” she remembers. “Susanna began to hemorrhage,” explains Carmine. “It was so difficult to get under control. I was truly worried that I may lose the love of my life.” Susanna was hospitalized for six days while Dr. Khouzami and his team worked to stop the bleeding. Shortly after the Mistichellis came home, Susanna hemorrhaged again and was re-admitted for two more days. But thanks to the diligence of Dr. Khouzami, his colleague Dr. Kimberly Kesler, and the rest of the care team, the bleeding eventually stopped for good. Susanna is now fully healthy and busy raising her growing family.

    “Even throughout that terrifying complication, my experiences at GBMC have been nothing but positive,” Susanna says. “The doctors, nurses and midwives left such a strong impression on my husband and me. Because we were treated so well, we often felt like we must have been the only patients in the hospital.”

    The Mistichellis were so pleased with their care and so thankful to Dr. Khouzami and GBMC staff for keeping their family healthy that they wanted to give back. By making a generous pledge to the Maternal Newborn Health Department in honor of Dr. Khouzami, they ensure that other families will continue to have wonderful labor and delivery experiences at GBMC. Additionally, Susanna now volunteers her time as a member of the Parents Advisory Council (PAC), a 25-plus member council for community members who have had direct experience with GBMC’s maternal, newborn or pediatric services. “Being an active member of the council is the least I can do to thank GBMC for ensuring the health of my family and for saving my life,” says Susanna.

    For more information about Maternal Newborn Health at GBMC, visit or call 443-849-GBMC (4262). To learn more about donating to the GBMC Foundation, visit or call 443-849-2773.