Monday, January 28, 2013

30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge

We're kicking off a 30 Day Mediterranean Lifestyle Challenge. This is no fad diet, it's a healthy way you can eat and live for the rest of your life. We hope you will try it on for 30 days with us and see how it fits.

The Mediterranean Diet consistently ranks among the top when evaluated like in this US News Best Diets Ranking and by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It emphasizes wholesome, flavorful foods and encourages the enjoyment of meals. Essentially you'll eat lots of vegetables and enjoy small amounts of meat. (It's easy to take this challenge vegetarian if you'd like.) People are encouraged to eat breakfast and enjoy seafood a couple of times a week. Emphasis is placed on good fats -- extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, etc... Greek yogurt and some cheeses allow you to get your dairy fix. Dessert is generally fruit saving other sweets for special occasions. And, I know some of you will love this part, a moderate consumption of wine is fine. (That's generally one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women to be consumed with your evening meal.)

We've kicked off past years with a weight loss challenge. People have had varying degrees of success over those 12 week programs, but very few folks have been able to keep the weight they lost off. So, this year we decided to focus on making a sustainable, healthy, lifestyle change. If weight loss is among your goals, you can easily build a calorie deficit into your Mediterranean Diet eating plan. The Mediterranean Diet also has many cardiovascular benefits and is said to help prevent or control diabetes.

Cyndi Fales, our partner at Lifework Strategies, recommended The New Sonoma Diet book by Dr. Connie Guttersen as a guide. We also like the resources at Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization. Cyndi will be helping us plan our challenge. Obviously, our focus will be on the ASHA staff, but you are welcome to participate from home. We'll be posting all kinds of resources and tips here as well as on our Facebook page. I'm especially hoping our #ASHAFit members will join us. Stay tuned for more information!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Image from
A group of ASHA members has started a campaign to get fit by our next convention which will be held November 14-16 in Chicago. I think it's remarkable that they used the ASHA name and set a goal related to our convention and I want to support their efforts. (I love the lego imagery they're using too.) 

You can learn about their campaign in this blog post and follow along on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Day In the Life of #ASHAstaff -- An Instagram Photo Contest

On Friday, we announced our first Instagram photo contest. We're asking staff to submit pictures of other staff members working on behalf of our members and vote for their favorites. We're thinking about trying a contest with members one of these days and decided learning on the fly with 260 staff made a lot more sense than with 150,000 ASHA members. 

All the details are in this announcement that we posted to our Intranet. Follow #ashastaff using Instagram or Webstagram to vote. It's been great fun working with Gary, Bridget and Kellie on this (we miss you Maggie.) Now, I can't wait to see what people post.
ASHA Staff Instagram / Photo Contest
Theme: A Day In the Life of ASHA
Who can enter: ASHA staff members 
Contest dates: Jan. 18, 2013-Feb. 1, 2013
What we’re looking for: What you do is important and we know it. Now, make it look good, too! We’re looking for work-related photos taken of (and by) ASHA staff members doing what they do best – serving members and supporting the professions. Photos should reflect the work and mission of ASHA as well as display some creativity. Photos do not necessarily have to take place within ASHA’s headquarters building but must be related to work done on behalf of ASHA.
What to do:
1.      Using the Instagram app on your phone, take photos of your day as an ASHA employee. Think of photo shots that convey the real heart of what you do.
2.      If you’re not a member of the Instagram family, register first at, then download the app onto your phone. It’s easy!
3.     Upload as many photos as you wish to Instagram and include the hashtag #ashastaff in the caption. 
4.      Before close of business on February 1, view and vote on everyone’s photos on Webstagram (www.web.stagram). Vote as many times as you like. How do you find the staff photos? Once you’re on Webstagram, you can find everyone’s Day in the Life of ASHA photos by searching with the hashtag #ashastaff. If a photo strikes you as pretty darn good, then vote for it by “liking” it. The 20 photos with the most likes will win.
If you are not familiar with Instagram, here is a tutorial ( 
Now, if you’re not a fan of Instagram or just don’t want to bother with it, no worries: email no more than two photos to Kellie Racette ( and we’ll load them up for you!
What’s in it for you: Glory and reverence throughout the building (and some delightful, fun prizes).
What will become of these photos: The winning photos will become part of a mini-book that will be used by HR to promote the association.
Questions? Just ask Janet McNichol or Gary Dunham.
So start clicking, sharing, and liking! Feb. 1 is right around the corner!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three New Products to Revitalize Your Workouts

I learned about a few new products I'm excited about. First, Biju Thomas and Allen Lim have a new cookbook coming out on April 1. It looks like it will focus on my favorite part of The Feed Zone -- portable snacks to nourish athletic performance. 

I read that Fitbit will be introducing a new model, the Flex, this spring. It looks a lot like the Jawbone UP. I've blogged about the Fitbit before and I'm a fan. I also have a Jawbone UP, but honestly I could never get it to work for long and eventually gave up. Jawbone has great customer service, so I really should contact them. I bet they'd make it right. I'm already tempted to order the new Fitbit Flex though. It is listed for $100 on their site as a pre-order. 

Fitbit Flex 
And, there is one more thing I'm really tempted to try right now -- PV.Body. You subscribe for $50 a month -- $40 if you have a coupon code -- and they send you a new workout outfit each month. It looks like they send great stuff that is selected based on a profile you create on their site. Sounds like an easy and fun way to build your workout wardrobe to me. I contacted PV.Body and requested a coupon code to share with all of you. I'll post it here if that works out.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Entry on Your W-2 for 2012

When you receive your W-2 statement this year, you will notice a new entry in box 12B with the code DD that shows the value of the health, dental and EAP coverage your employer provides. This is a new requirement of health care reform. The amount reported is the full premium, not the portion you contributed. These benefits are not taxable at this time. You can read more about this​ on the IRS site if you're interested and in a post I wrote earlier this year.

To Open Eyes, W-2s List Cost of Providing a Health Plan from the NY Times, January 29, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tips on Staying Healthy Through Flu Season

David Foreman, aka the Herbal Pharmacist, recently did a nice piece for CBS Los Angeles on staying healthy through flu season. Dave recommends drinking three cups of green tea each day and taking AHCC and probiotics.

Flu season is hitting earlier and harder this year according to federal health officials. According to this article, "Doctors say they are battling three strains of the flu this year and even some who have received the flu shot are getting sick." Complimenting the flu shot with Dave's recommendations may be just the thing we need to ward off the flu. 

If you still haven't received a flu shot, it's not too late. Learn more here.

It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

Flu season is upon us and expected to be especially bad this year into the spring. If you haven't gotten a flu shot, it's not too late!

If you're covered under the ASHA plan, UHC will cover the cost of the shot if you get it at CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid or Target. To locate other covered providers, visit or call the member phone number listed on your health plan ID card.  

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