Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Stay warm and stay healthy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by OFA Health Care Team   
Thursday, 08 January 2015 15:15

FACT: Under the Affordable Care Act, you cannot be denied health coverage because you have a pre-existing condition.

So if you need health insurance, nothing's going to hold you back. Check out your options -- and see what affordable health care means for you -- by sliding on over to today.

Your coverage will start next month if you sign up by January 15th.

Don't get left out in the cold -- get started on today:

Happy new year!

The OFA Health Care team

Detoxing for Diabetes: My 10-Day Jumpstart to Better Health PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Tara Bellucci, Everyday Health   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 15:10

If you had told me a year ago that I’d be gluten- and dairy-free, I would have laughed and then served up a huge lasagna. This Italian American practically has pasta running through her veins — which likely contributed to my current health dilemma.

After my type 2 diabetes diagnosis in January, I began to read everything I could get my hands on about reversing the disease through diet and exercise. I watched Forks Over Knives and omitted animal products, saw a nutritionist and counted carb grams, and through it all, I drank a lot of kale.

Then, I picked up Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Blood Sugar Solution. In it, he explains how common allergens like gluten, dairy, alcohol, and caffeine affect our bodies, even if we’re not technically allergic. Certain foods are more likely to cause inflammation, which is a stress response that the body produces when we are fighting off something. A little inflammation helps you heal and then goes away, a ton of it hurts you and becomes constant. Inflammation and insulin resistance go hand in hand, and one of the ways to combat diabetes is to remove the triggering foods.

Dr. Hyman’s research made sense to me, so I thought I’d give his diet a try. With little less than a month until my follow-up doctor’s appointment, I wanted to jumpstart my progress. I read his 10-Day Detox Diet, which cuts out not only the inflammation triggers of gluten, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol, but also all grains, most fruit, legumes, and starchy vegetables, to help maintain balanced blood sugar levels. I welcomed the return of humanely-produced lean protein and an almost laughable amount of healthy fats — nearly 20 g per meal — which was absolutely shocking to someone who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, when fat was the enemy. Could this really produce results? I was about to find out.

Lowdown on Detox: Diabetes Buster or Buzzkill?

While it felt like an undertaking to commit to such a change, I figured that I could do practically anything for 10 days, so why not give it a shot? As I prepared to make everything that passed my lips for the next week and a half, I filled my shopping cart with raw nuts and coconut oil, hemp and flax and chia seeds, a lot of avocados, and a farmers market’s worth of leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. I was ready to detox.

Though it wasn’t all about the food. Stress causes inflammation, so a big part of healing yourself is to actively work on relaxation techniques. Detoxifying baths, journaling, breathing, media fasting, and exercise were all part of the plan, too. It’s also a lot easier to make better food choices after you’ve taken a few deep, calming breaths.

As with most detoxes, it gets worse before it gets better. I had intense gluten withdrawal, which caused headaches, irritability, and the craziest cravings I had ever experienced. I felt like I would die (or someone in my immediate vicinity might) if I didn’t immediately eat a pizza-pasta-bread sandwich. Thankfully, it passed in a couple of days, and the other side saw a lifting of “brain fog” that I didn’t even know I had. So much energy! Such clarity! It felt pretty great.

At the end of 10 days, I had lost 8 pounds, bringing my overall weight loss to 25 pounds. My lab results showed marked improvement, with improved cholesterol and a reduction in my A1c (average blood sugar over three months) from 9.8 to 6.5.

While I have dabbled in gluten and dairy since the detox, I’ve noticed that I have more energy and fewer cravings when I avoid them. Though it doesn’t hurt to hit the reset button every once in a while, diet remains a balance, and making good choices most of the time is the way to get and stay healthy.

Tara Bellucci is a lifestyle writer and marketing consultant focused on helping entrepreneurs boost their small businesses. Her work has appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and A co-founder of the Boston Food Swap, she hosts monthly events where people swap homemade and homegrown food. She writes openly about her health journey at

Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: What You Need to Know PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Everyday Health   
Monday, 05 January 2015 16:47
Exercise is crucial for managing type 2 diabetes but can affect blood sugar levels, so be sure to consult with your doctor before you get started.

There are so many ways to get exercise, from walking and hiking to swimming, biking, tennis, or even ballroom dancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five days a week.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to consult with your doctor before you begin. Exercise is a great way to lose weight and maintain a healthy heart. But it also impacts your blood-glucose levels because it increases your energy demands, so you need to monitor how your body will respond.

Get in the Pool

Your community or club pool can be a great place to start your exercise routine. Swimming is excellent aerobic exercise because it gets both your upper and lower body moving. And if you’re overweight, it can feel great to spend time in a pool, where buoyancy makes it easier to move. Some ideas:
  • Dive in with a group. Try water aerobics, swimming laps with friends, or even a little water volleyball.
  • Use a kickboard for extra lift in the water, especially if you are a less-than-confident lap swimmer.
  • Work on increasing your time spent swimming. Each time you visit the pool, swim a bit more, resting as needed. To steadily improve your aerobic fitness, swim three times a week.

However you decide to fit swimming into your life, be sure to test your blood-glucose levels before and after you exercise and adjust the intensity of your routine if it is getting too high. And never swim alone.

Climb Back on Your Bike

Biking can provide many health benefits, but be sure that your equipment and your course are safe ones. As with any form of exercise, monitor your blood glucose before and after, and be sure to carry a form of quick-acting glucose to eat if you need it during your ride — such as sugar or glucose tablets, fruit juice, or hard candy. Ask your doctor or certified diabetes educator (CDE) for suggestions about the best form of emergency glucose to have on hand. A few considerations:
  • Inspect your bike to make sure it’s in good condition before you set off. Check the brakes and the chain, and be sure the tires are correctly inflated.
  • Always wear a helmet.
  • Be sure to stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water with you on your bike ride, and remember to drink it.
  • Wear a medical-alert bracelet or necklace that will inform others of your health condition should there be an emergency.

(Feeling ambitious? Become a “Red Rider” by signing up for the ADA’s Tour de Cure, an annual fundraiser with some 80 events in 43 states.)

Exercise and Your Blood Sugar

Studies show that the positive effects of exercise on blood sugar drops 72 hours after you’ve finished your activity, so instead of trying to get in your exercise once a week — on a weekend, for example — you should spread out your activities throughout the week. Studies also show that people who want to receive health benefits from aerobic exercise should work out for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. But you don't have to work out in 30-minute blocks; three brisk 10-minute walks spaced out through the day will also do the trick.

So what’s happening when you exercise? Your body uses the glucose in your blood to provide energy to your cells. As a result, your levels can go down as you exercise. You don’t want it to go dangerously low, though, so you may need to pause and have a snack during or immediately after your activity. This is something you’ll learn with experience.

Whether it’s walking, riding a bike, exercising at home, going to a gym, or taking part in a class, physical activity affects your blood glucose: So it’s important — especially in the beginning — to test your level before and after exercising. It’s also a good idea to have a snack handy in case your blood glucose falls too low. For every 35 minutes of exercise you engage in, plan to consume 15 grams of carbohydrates to avoid low blood-glucose episodes.

You can keep track of your workouts (and see your improvement over time) by using the activity tracking tool on Everyday Health's Calorie Counter tool.

Next step: Dining Out Guide

Lose Weight and Help the Community with Fitness Xpress PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Friday, 02 January 2015 10:42
IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – According to a survey from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2.1 billion people – almost 30 percent of Earth’s population – are either overweight or obese. America’s population includes 78 million obese adults, and nearly 30 percent of U.S. children and teens are either overweight or obese.

“Obesity has become a global epidemic,” said Dana VanGilder, General Manager of Fitness Xpress, a locally owned fitness club with locations in Davenport, Moline, and Iowa City. “At Fitness Xpress, we offer the Project 10 Challenge to help people in our communities to develop healthier lifestyles and slim down.”

Visitors can register for the Project 10 Challenge at the Fitness Xpress website, This fitness and weight-loss program features an effective mix of exercise and eating right. Fitness Xpress has partnered with ViSalus Sciences, developers of Project 10, to provide clients with Vi-Shape, a high-protein shake mix which is integral to the program. ViSalus Sciences is a healthy lifestyle company which has developed a platform for achieving weight-loss and fitness results by encouraging participants to concentrate on losing just 10 pounds at a time.

Fitness Xpress will be part of ViSalus’ upcoming World’s Largest Simultaneous Group Workout. “We’re working on setting a Guinness World Record,” VanGilder said. “People in 11 countries will be participating.” The event will be held at 11:45 a.m., Saturday, January 3. Local sites for the event will be the three Fitness Xpress locations:

109 East 50th Street, Davenport, IA 52806, 563-386-2348
4200 24th Ave Moline IL 61265, 309-797-3150
1059 Hwy 6 E., Iowa City, IA 52240, 319-351-1729

For every person who participates in the Jan. 3 event, ViSalus will donate 30 kids’ meals through their Project 10 Kids program. Locally, the meals will go to the Project 10 In the Schools program, designed to help kids fighting childhood obesity, or the Backpacks for Kids program of the River Bend Foodbank.

“If 500 people participate at each location, that translates into 45,000 meals donated for local kids,” VanGilder said. No purchase or membership is required to participate. To find out more or to sign up, visit

Helping the Community
According to VanGilder, the Project 10 Challenge has proven to be especially effective – and, it helps the community.

“With every 10 pounds a client loses, he or she receives a month of free membership, if they continue using the Vi-Shape shake mix,” VanGilder said. “Another perk of the program is that ViSalus awards participants with ten chances to win $1,000 for every ten pounds they lose.”

She noted that ViSalus offers an additional benefit to help others. “ViSalus will send 30 meals to a community charity for every 10 pounds lost by a client through the program. An excellent example of such a charity is the Backpacks for Kids Program of the River Bend Foodbank.” The Backpacks for Kids Program, which is funded by John Deere, strives to make sure that children don’t go hungry over the weekend when there are no school meals available.

“Fitness Xpress plans to sponsor at least 1,000 kids in the Project 10 In The Schools Program, designed to educate local overweight students and their parents in exercise, proper meal planning, and nutrition,” VanGilder  said.  

VanGilder and the Fitness Xpress team invite more community members to take the Project 10 Challenge. “It’s a win-win deal,” she said. “It helps clients to lose weight, and it helps the community. Our goal is for at least 5,000 new people to try the program in the next six months. We want to become the Quad-Cities’ transformation location.”

The Fall Fashion and Gun Show
Later this year, Fitness Xpress will host their first Project 10 Fall Fashion & Gun Show. “In this case, the ‘guns’ are muscular arms!” Van Gilder said. “It will be a fundraising fashion show, and the models will be people who have lost weight through our plan. The models will get free outfits and makeovers. It will be held Sept. 3 at the Clarion Hotel in Davenport and will include dinner, a silent auction, and much more."

VanGilder noted that their plans for the community fit in well with the Fitness Xpress Mission, which reads: “To motivate our community towards a healthy lifestyle; to empower our members with ideas and techniques that produce results; to inspire our fitness family to discover the meaningful parts of life through the happiness of health. We change lives!”

To find out more about Fitness Xpress, visit

Governor Quinn Announces More Than 121,000 People Sign-up for Healthcare in First Month of Open Enrollment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Katie Hickey   
Friday, 02 January 2015 09:00

Eighty Percent of Illinois Enrollees are Eligible for Financial Assistance

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that more than 121,000 people have enrolled or re-enrolled in a healthcare plan in the first month of enrollment for the second year of Get Covered Illinois (GCI). The strong start for year two means that approximately 800,000 people in Illinois have obtained coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) either through the private plans offered through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace or the expanded Medicaid program. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that all people have access to quality healthcare and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Illinois.

“In the past 14 months, we have been able to help 800,000 people enroll in health coverage through Get Covered Illinois," Governor Quinn said. “Expanding health coverage to more families has strengthened Illinois' comeback. For all of those who have taken advantage of this historic opportunity, it means better health and financial stability, which are instrumental to a healthy family and a healthy state.”

According to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 121,243 people in Illinois selected plans through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace leading up to the December 15 deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

About 80 percent of Illinois residents who selected health insurance plans in the first month of open enrollment were determined eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums, compared to 73 percent who selected plans over a similar period last year. Of the 121,243 Illinoisans who selected a plan, 46 percent re-enrolled in a Marketplace plan in 2015 and 54 percent signed up for the first time.

“We’re pleased that in Illinois 121,243 people signed up for Marketplace coverage during the first month of open enrollment. The vast majority were able to lower their costs even further by getting tax credits, making a difference in the bottom lines of so many families,” HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. “Interest in the Marketplace has been strong during the first month of open enrollment. We still have a ways to go and a lot of work to do before February 15, but this is an encouraging start.”

In year one of the Marketplace, 217,000 people enrolled in a private healthcare plan. In addition, to date, more than 536,000 have enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program under the ACA.

Get Covered Illinois has a made an aggressive push to start to the second enrollment season with more than 500 enrollment events and extended enrollment hours across the state.

“Year two of Open Enrollment is off to a successful start. These first month’s results show that Get Covered Illinois’ outreach and education efforts are making an impact,” GCI Executive Director Jennifer Koehler said. “In fact, we enrolled more people in the first 30 days of this round of open enrollment than we did in the first 90 days last year. As pleased as we are with our progress, we know there are still tens of thousands of uninsured residents in Illinois, and our goal is to reach and enroll as many of them as possible in the remaining 47 days of the Open Enrollment Period."

There are more than 400 plans offered through the Marketplace in 2015, all of which are quality, private insurance plans available from the top insurance companies in the state to fit consumer needs. All plans cover essential health benefits including doctor visits, emergency care, preventive services and more.

Residents can seek free, in-person help enrolling in coverage from a trained professional near them. To learn more about GCI and how to find free in-person help:

·         Visit our website at (which includes a Spanish-language version) for more information and to make an appointment for free- in-person help with a trained professional near you.

·         Call the GCI Help Desk at (866) 311-1119. Help desk representatives are available each day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

·         Meet in person with a specially trained Navigator, agent or broker who can help you understand your options and help you enroll. There are hundreds of certified professionals ready to help you that can be located on the GCI website or through the GCI Help Desk.

Twitter: @CoveredIllinois


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