The Joys of Holiday Giving

Newspring pharmacy benefits givingGiving gifts is a holiday tradition that elicits mixed reactions. Kids look forward to the gifts, some adults enjoy the shopping, while others simply don’t have the time and wouldn’t do it if they didn’t feel they had no choice. Excessive advertising can make us feel like the holidays are all about buying and more buying. But giving is a good thing. A thoughtful gift can brighten someone’s day; and it can also have great benefits for the giver. Of course giving is not just about buying gifts. You can give your time by volunteering or by visiting people who need your company, or you can give donations to a charity.

You may have heard the adage ‘It is in giving that we receive.’ The exciting news for you this holiday season is that you don’t just reap benefits from giving, you really get more than you give. And there are studies to prove it. Read on…

You’re glowing dear!
When you give, your brain secretes feel-good chemicals, creating what is known as a ‘helper’s high’. In one British study, people who practiced an act of kindness a day experienced a boost in their happiness. A study by researchers at Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia found that participants generally felt happier when they remembered a time they had bought something for someone else than when they remembered buying something for themselves. Those who felt happy when they remembered their past giving were more likely to spend on gifts for others in future than on themselves.

Chain reaction
A study showed that an individual’s generosity inspires those who receive it to be generous to someone else. This can have a chain reaction that benefits a whole community. Who would have thought that your little act of kindness could actually be an act of kindness to your community or even beyond! If you haven’t watched it yet, the movie Pay it Forward illustrates this concept and is a good one to watch with the kids.

Live long and prosper
Research has linked giving, whether in gifts or in volunteer time, to increased lifespan. A review of the health effects of volunteering found that regular volunteering can reduce early mortality rates by 22%, compared to the mortality rates of people who don’t participate in volunteer activities. The study also found reduced depression rates and increased sense of satisfaction among habitual volunteers. And according to Arthur Grant, author of Give and Take, successful people start off by giving, even before they achieve success.

However you choose to give this holiday season, remember these famous words that a wise lady once said: “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

Remarkable Gift Ideas

Newspring pharmacy gifts foster baby elephant An Elephant? For Me? Thank you!
A foster elephant for Christmas must be the most unique gift on the planet. In an elephant nursery ran by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya, orphaned baby elephants are cared for until they’re old enough to rejoin their herd. With the help of foster parents, the Trust has saved many baby elephants that would have died otherwise. Foster parents receive a certificate with a profile and photograph of their orphan and monthly updates, among other goodies. You get to pick the orphan you want to foster.

Pages of Health
It’s official – reading books can add years to your life. A Yale University study found that people who read books for 30 minutes or more daily lived on average 2 years longer. Those who read at least 3 hours a week regularly had a 23% lower risk of dying in the next 12 years compared with those who didn’t read or who read only newspapers. Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Off to the bookstore then, to pick out a great book for everyone and get it gift wrapped. Not sure what to buy? You can’t go wrong with classics like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald or War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. For the kids, how about The Wind in the Willows?

Healing Music
Music lifts our spirit, and has health benefits besides. Music can ease pain. It can motivate people to exercise and improve their endurance. Listening to music can reduce stress. Classical music was found in a study to help college students with insomnia sleep better. Another study found that positive emotions from listening to music had a healthy effect on blood vessel function. That said, a turntable and records will make a great gift; one that the whole family can enjoy. Don’t be surprised if you all end up clearing the floor and putting on your dancing shoes.

Holiday blues got you?

Newspring pharmacy holiday blues tipsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer…

We hear the lyrics, but the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ doesn’t seem so wonderful to everyone. And if you’re one who suffers with the holiday blues, the last thing you want is people telling you to ‘be of good cheer.’ Don’t hide away until it’s all over though. Here are a few tips…

Get active: The cold weather and reduced outdoor activity can make us feel a bit blue. Exercise is an excellent antidote to the blues. Schedule it in first thing in the morning, before everything else takes over. If you can’t get out, put on some amazing music, kick off your shoes, and DANCE! Never mind what everyone will think; this is ‘you time.’

Salad days: Holiday sweets, treats and drinks abound. These can impact our mood more than we realize. Veggies may take a back seat to sweets and yo-yoing sugar levels can cause irritability. Too much alcohol can also affect your sleep quality and dehydrate you. The antidote, besides moderation, is a large salad. Make a large veggie salad every day during the holidays, and include ingredients you love; perhaps raisins or bell peppers, or pineapple. Dip into it during meals and in-between. Your body will thank you.

Simple gifts: Shopping for holiday gifts can be stressful for some people. The financial cost and the energy it requires may leave some feeling depressed. It’s absolutely okay to simplify gift-giving. Shop online and get everything delivered, or give gifts that don’t require shopping, such as an outing for the kids. This may actually be the memory that stands out more than any gifts you might buy them.

Holiday Safety Tips

Newspring pharmacy holiday safety tipsGive safe toys

Parents generally have toy safety down, but aunts, uncles and other family members may not be so sure. If in doubt, run it by the parents what you are thinking of getting their kids and ask them if that’s okay. Read and follow instructions on packages on age appropriateness and other warnings. Watch out for the seemingly harmless, such as balloons – a favorite with kids of all ages. Uninflated balloons and pieces of broken balloons can suffocate young children. Sharp edges, small parts, strings and cords can all pose a danger for young kids. Look out for wrappings as well, such as plastic bags and film and remove them. This safety guide is a great source of information on toy safety.

Traveling with meds

So, you’re traveling over the holidays and you have several prescriptions… It’s tempting to pack a bunch of pills mixed together in one dispenser so you have just enough for your week away. But mixing meds in a container can cause a chemical reaction and spoil them. A better idea is to request your pharmacist to prepare small travel containers with your name and the meds names and instructions on them. That way, if you run out and need a refill, or you need to visit a doctor, you have all the information with you. If you’re flying, carry your prescription meds with you in your carry-on luggage.

Storing food

Holiday leftovers can be a blessing or a pain – literally! Food left out or kept in the fridge too long can result in bacterial growth and upset stomachs. Stick to the two-hour-rule. Refrigerate all food within two hours of cooking and all salads within two hours of preparation. If it’s too hot for the fridge, divide it into smaller containers or chill it in an ice bath. You can find a guide on safe fridge and freezer storage times for various foods here.

Gingerbread Man Holiday Story and Recipe

Snap and the Christmas Gingerbread Man

Newspring pharmacy Christmas story and recipeOnce upon a time, a little boy, his mom, and their dog Snap lived in a little house in Avondale. They decided to bake a gingerbread man for Christmas.

Mom looked at the recipe, made some gingerbread dough, rolled it and cut out the shape of a big, fat gingerbread man. She put the gingerbread man in the oven to bake. Mom and the little boy knew the gingerbread man was done because he was brown and smelled DELICIOUS!

Mom put him on the counter to cool and left the little boy to put some frosting on him. The boy gave the gingerbread man two big white eyes, a mouth and some buttons. But before he could put him on a plate, the gingerbread man jumped off the counter, out of the house and into the garden shouting, “Don’t eat me!”

The little boy ran after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.”

The mom ran after the gingerbread man.

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man.”

In the garden, Snap the dog saw the gingerbread man and ran after him.

“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the…”

Before the gingerbread man could finish his sentence, Snap swallowed him up in one gulp, yawned, and went to lie down in the shade.

 

Gingerbread Men
Newspring pharmacy Christmas story and recipeIngredients
2 ¾ cups flour
2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 egg
Frosting
Gingerbread man cookie cutter
Method
In one bowl mix the first five ingredients (the dry ingredients)
In another bowl cream butter, sugar and molasses together and add egg
Add the dry ingredients to make a dough
Preheat oven to 350°F
Roll dough on lightly floured surface and cut with gingerbread man cookie cutter
Place on greased baking trays and bake for 8 to 10 minutes
Allow to cool and decorate with frosting. Give them eyes, mouth, buttons; be as creative as you like.
If you don’t have gingerbread man cutters use whatever cutters you have: stars, round, Christmas trees, etc. Your cookies will still smell and taste absolutely delicious. Enjoy!

 

NewSpring Foundation Launched

Newspring pharmacy Newspring Foundation launchedAbout three years ago, NewSpring Pharmacy learned of some kids in a little school in an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya that needed some help. Many of the children did not get any breakfast before coming to school. Kids from as young as 3 years old, to about 15 years old attend this school, which is equivalent to pre-school, elementary school and middle school.

The most immediate need was a breakfast program for the school. So it was that on a sunny February morning in 2015, the kids lined up, mugs in hand and smiles on their faces, to receive their first school breakfast – a cup of porridge, or uji as it’s called in Kenya. It may not seem like a big deal to most outsiders, but it makes a huge difference to a hungry child. We were touched when we were told the story of one three-year-old who had always seemed tired and disinterested.

His teacher recalls the first day the little boy had his uji breakfast in school. “That morning, he had fallen asleep in class. But after he had his uji, something exciting happened. He washed his mug, set it down, and begun to dance!”
NewSpring Pharmacy has also had the honor of helping kids from the school transition into high school by helping with fees or shopping. What a blessing to watch hope grow in the kids.

So this year we started NewSpring Foundation, to plant more hope where it’s needed so much. The foundation will keep the breakfast program running and help more kids get into high school in January, which is the beginning of the school year.
You can read more about NewSpring Foundation here.

If you’d like to join us to support the kids by giving a donation to NewSpring Foundation, call 623-552-6848

Pharmacogenomics: Glipizide

NewSpring Pharmacy PharmacogenomicsGlipizide is the most commonly prescribed diabetes medication. Last year, about 24 million Glipizide prescriptions were filled by pharmacies in the U.S. Unfortunately, this very helpful medication causes a number of side effects for some people, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose concentration), flatulence, indigestion, and rash.

Pharmacogenomic testing identifies variations within genes which may affect how a person’s body metabolizes various drugs, including Glipizide. These test results can help the doctor choose the safest and most effective drug and dose for your diabetes management. In some cases, when gastrointestinal side effects are unbearable, the physician can prescribe transdermal Metformin as an alternative and NewSpring Pharmacy can make the Metformin topical cream for you. This helps manage diabetes while avoiding GI side effects (see article above).

Recently, one of our patients who had struggled for a while with gastrointestinal side effects from Glipizide called the pharmacy after reading about topical Metformin on our website. We consulted with his doctor and made the topical Metformin cream for the patient, which solved the long-standing stomach side-effects, to his great relief.

YOU First: What a diabetes support program can do for you

NewSpring diabetes support program

Dealing with diabetes on your own can be overwhelming. Besides taking your meds, there are major lifestyle changes to be made, as well as concerns about complications to deal with. Doing it all on your own can be so daunting, which is why NewSpring Pharmacy has launched YOU First, a support program for people with type 2 diabetes.  The program will empower participants by giving them tools and encouragement to control diabetes and prevent or delay complications.  Here are some examples:

Nutrition: Coming up with a really good meal plan that works for you and sticking with it can be easier with some support.

Exercise: Getting about 30 minutes of exercise daily is an enormous help for diabetes management. Figuring out what kind of exercise to do, and how much, is the first step. You want to pick an activity that you enjoy and that fits well with your daily schedule and fitness level. We will help customize the type and level of activity that will get you moving.

Taking your meds: You may have questions about how to get the best possible outcome from your medications. Who better than your pharmacy to advise you on this. We are here, ready to support you.

Taking charge:  Do you feel confident about checking your own sugar levels and blood pressure? Do you know which complications to watch out for, and how? The YOU First program will equip you with the knowledge and encouragement you need to confidently take charge.

The YOU First program is now open for enrollment. If you would like to join or need more information, please call 623-932-9800.

HEAD TO TOE: Four diabetes complications and tips to manage them…

November is an important month. It’s National Diabetes Month; a time to learn more about how to avoid diabetes if you are at risk, how to live well if you have been diagnosed, and how to support our loved ones through it all. Did you know that one in 11 Americans has diabetes. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control by taking your meds, eating right, and exercising makes a huge difference. Over time, diabetes can cause us many health problems, from head to toe! But the good news is, you can prevent, delay, or manage these complications. Read on for some of the complications to look out for and some tips on how to deal with them…

Brain
Our brains are our most complex organs, and the command center of our lives. Our slightest movement, the simplest thought, the deepest emotion, depends on our brains. And the health of your brain depends on the health of the blood vessels that feed it. High blood sugar levels can, over time, damage both large and small blood vessels and interfere with blood flow to the brain, which affects the white matter. The white matter is the area where nerves from different parts of the brain connect. When this connectivity is disrupted, our mental function is disturbed. When this happens, over time, one may have trouble with performing regular daily activities. It can also cause memory loss, and even dementia. Research has also found that people who have diabetes by middle age have an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

Tip: A combination of physical and mental exercise helps brain health. Mental exercise can be in the form of social engagement such as socializing and working with other people, or reading and learning new skills, for instance.

NewSpring Pharmacy diabetes complications Eyes
If you have diabetes you’re at risk of getting certain eye conditions that can affect your vision, or even cause blindness Diabetic retinopathy, the most common eye condition among people with diabetes, causes blood vessels in your eyes to bleed or leak fluid. This fluid can also cause Diabetic macular edema (DME), which is swelling in the part of your eyes called the macula.

Diabetes can cause too much glucose in the lens, leading to Cataract, a condition where your eye’s lens becomes cloudy. The cloudiness prevents light from being reflected to the retina, and so affects your vision. Another condition to look out for is Glaucoma, which happens when pressure builds up in your eye. For people with diabetes, this may happen because the fluid that should be moving around in your eye gets blocked.

Tip: Early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent. If you have diabetes, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year, or more often if recommended by your eye doctor.

Kidneys
Our kidneys are our blood filters. They retain the useful nutrients and remove waste from our body. But too much sugar in the blood damages the kidneys’ filters by clogging and damaging their tiny blood vessels. Besides, people with high blood sugar are more likely to develop high blood pressure, which also damages the delicate nerves of the kidney. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure.

Additionally, excess blood sugar can damage the nerves that communicate between the brain and the bladder to let us know when the bladder is full. A bladder that is always full can be damaged by the pressure over time. When urine which has a lot of sugar due to diabetes remains in the bladder for a long time, the risk of bacterial infection is high. The infection starts in the bladder but can eventually spread to the kidneys and damage them.

Tip: In the early stages of kidney disease, often there are no warning symptoms. If you have diabetes, get annual blood and urine tests to monitor your kidney health. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent kidney failure.

NewSpring Pharmacy diabetes complicationsFeet
If you have diabetes, monitoring the health of your feet and caring for them is extra important. Experts advise people with diabetes to have annual foot exams to check for peripheral neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy causes pain or loss of feeling in the toes, feet, legs, hands, and arms; and for most people with diabetes, it is their feet that take the brunt of this condition. Doctors estimate that nearly half of the amputations caused by neuropathy and poor circulation could have been prevented by careful foot care.

The tell-tale signs of peripheral neuropathy are pain, tingling, numbness and loss of feeling in the arms, hands, legs or feet. Some people have nerve damage with no symptoms at all, while others suffer excruciating pain. Prescription pain creams such as those customized at NewSpring Pharmacy can help manage pain caused by nerve damage.

The danger of lost sensation lies in not noticing sores or injuries in the feet. Unnoticed, these injuries may become ulcerated or infected.

Tip: Wash your feet in warm water (not hot), dry them well. Inspect your feet and toenails for any injuries, wounds or infections. The Center for Disease Control recommends you see your doctor if such wounds do not heal after one day. Apply lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between the toes.

A Very Diabetes-friendly Thanksgiving to You!

NewSpring Pharmacy diabetes Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving without the stuffed turkey, the cranberry sauce, and the pie! If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re wondering whether to cancel Thanksgiving dinner altogether, you need not worry. You and your family can enjoy a delicious meal without having to suffer a blood sugar spike. You can tweak a few things, create some new traditions, and have lots of fun with it. Here are some tips.

Breakfast matters
What’s the most important meal of the day? Yes, it’s breakfast, even on Thanksgiving. Some people will skip breakfast to ‘make room’ for a hearty Thanksgiving dinner. A better strategy for managing diabetes is to spread your eating through the day. Have a light breakfast, then snack on veggies and delicious healthy dips between breakfast and your main meal. If you’re not starving, you’ll have more control when it’s time for the main meal.

Carb choices
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is high in carbs, but you can make a few creative changes. Here are some tips:
Make your own stuffing without bread crumbs. Can this be done? Yes, there are many delicious recipes for stuffing with ingredients such as brown or wild rice, quinoa, sausage, mushroom, or cauliflower.

Get creative with your pie. How about a crust-less pumpkin pudding topped with a bit of whipped cream or dark chocolate?
Replace one traditional carb dish with a veggie dish – just be sure it’s a delicious one. Think colorful. How about a beautiful dish of roasted veggies: cauliflower, colorful bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, eggplant…the possibilities are endless.

Old traditions, new traditions
What traditions make Thanksgiving special in your family? What are your family’s must-have foods? Is it the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the cranberry sauce? You can make changes that keep your important traditions going with a few tweaks so that those who are insulin-challenged can also enjoy them. For instance, for you mashed potatoes, instead of milk and butter, mash with chicken or vegetable stock and olive or avocado oil. By using healthier ingredients and keeping your portions of high-calorie foods small, you can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be just about the food. It’s only one meal in a 24 hour day! How about creating some new Thanksgiving family traditions, such as a 5K walk or bike ride, a volleyball game, or simply putting on some irresistible music and inviting everyone to dance.

Thanks but no thanks
Someone trying to pile your plate for you? “It’s only one day,” they say with a determined smile and a heaped serving spoon hovering over your plate. Decide ahead of the day that there are some things you just won’t have, no matter what; like soda, sugary drinks, fruit juice, pies baked with white flour, and deep fried foods. Take charge of the dinner conversation (recruit an understanding family member if need be) so that the focus is not so much on the food as on lively conversation. Think of a couple of intriguing topics ahead of time. Someone might be so taken in with the conversation they may just forget about heaping your plate with food.

Beet Dip Recipe
NewSpring Pharmacy healthy Thanksgiving1 cup beetroot, cubed and steamed

Plain non-fat Greek yogurt

Crushed garlic, to taste

1 tbs Olive oil. Salt and spice to taste
Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor and enjoy!