Wellness News

Changes to MITW Employee Health Plan Effective 1-1-18. IMPORTANT PLEASE READ!!

At the MTL meeting of 8-17-2017, the Legislature concurred with the recommendation of the Budget & Finance Committee to implement the following cost saving measures as of January 1, 2018 for current members of the MITW Employee Health Insurance Plan and October 1, 2017 for all new enrollees.

Current Deductibles
MITW Clinic $100 Individual/$200 Family
In Network Providers $250 Individual/$500 Family
Out of Network Providers $500 Individual/$1000 Family
Deductibles effective 1-1-2018
MITW Clinic $100 Individual/$200 Family (No Change)
In Network Providers $1000 Individual/$2000 Family
Out of Network Providers $2000 Individual/$4000 Family

Employees who have spouses that work outside the Tribe and the spouse is offered employee health insurance through their employer will not be provided health benefits through MITW Employee Health Plan. Other dependents will continued to be offered coverage under the employee’s plan.

If you have any questions or if your department would like to host an informational meeting, please let me know.

Rosemary Simon Kazik
MITW Insurance Director
16 Survival Foods you should Always keep in your House
Just like Boy Scouts, adults always need to be prepared.

But when it comes to thinking and planning ahead, there’s one thing that many people don’t think about: emergency preparation.

Although we all know that we should be prepared for emergencies, we often don’t think about the logistics until we really need to.

When we find out there’s a winter storm coming, people everywhere rush to the grocery store to stock up on fresh water, canned goods, and nonperishable items.

The problem with this method is that sometimes you get to the store and realize that all the cans of soup and gallons of water have already been purchased.

Instead of waiting for the next storm warning to rush to the grocery store, head out now and pick up the survival food items you need.

According to Ready.gov, “Following a disaster, there may be power outages that could last for several days. Stock canned foods, dry mixes and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water or special preparation. Be sure to include a manual can opener and eating utensils.”

Read on to find out the 16 most important survival foods you should always keep on hand!

Survival Food #1: Dried Fruit

According to Real Simple, dried fruits are a great replacement for fresh fruit if that’s not an option.

Dried fruit provides necessary fiber and potassium, plus they’re a great sweet snack that can provide you with a good amount of calories and nutrients.

Survival Food #2: Canned Fruits And Vegetables

Canned fruits and vegetables can be eaten straight out of the can, and they provide essential nutrients that you would normally get from fresh fruits and veggies.

Survival Food #3: Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is necessary for your survival kit — it provides a great source of energy and has lots of healthy fats and protein.

Normally, you can keep peanut butter unrefrigerated, which makes it great for emergency snacks and meals.

Survival Food #4: Crackers

Crackers, while a great snack normally, are also really good for survival kits. They can replace bread for sandwiches, and they’re also good to munch on.

You should aim to get whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers, as they have more fiber than plain crackers.

You should consider vacuum sealing your crackers to prolong their shelf life.

Survival Food #5: Canned Juice

Canned juice, like the kind you drank in elementary school, is great for a survival kit.

It can provide the necessary fruit you need when you don’t have access to fresh fruit.

Survival Food #6: Whole Grain Cereal

Like crackers, whole grain cereals have enough fiber to be filling, but are also a great snack to munch on.

Try to find cereal that has individually-packaged servings, that way it won’t get stale after you open it.

Survival Food #7: Vitamins

You never know how long you may be out of power or how long it might be before you have access to fresh food, so it’s important to put multivitamins in your emergency kit.

Multivitamin supplements can help replace nutrients you’re missing.

Survival Food #8: Baby Food And Formula

If you have an infant, it’s very important to keep baby food and/or formula on hand.

Ready.gov explains, “Use ready-to-feed formula, if possible, for formula-fed infants. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water. Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding.”

No babies in the house? Adults can eat babyfood for a quick boost too!

The average baby food jar contains 20 to 90 calories, so while it can’t provide a grown adult with tons of energy, it’ll provide enough sustenance to tie you over.

Survival Food #9: Pasteurized/Powdered Milk

Non-perishable pasteurized milk and powdered milk are good sources of calcium and vitamin D when you don’t have access to fresh milk.

These types of milk don’t require refrigeration, so they’re essential for a food survival kit.

Survival Food #10: Water

Arguably the most important item of all to keep in your emergency kit is bottled water.

Real Simple explains that each person will need one gallon of water per day, and you should try to always have at least a three-day supply.

Survival Food #11: Granola/Power Bars

Granola bars and power bars, which are often used by athletes as sources of quick energy, are snacks that stay fresh for a long time.

They’re a good source of carbohydrates and protein, and they’re a great kid-friendly snack.

Survival Food #12: Nuts/Trail Mix

Nuts and trail mix are great sources of energy that are both healthy and convenient.

Nuts that are individually sealed into servings are great, otherwise look for vacuum-sealed packages that can keep the nuts fresh for longer.

Survival Food #13: Canned Fish/Meat

Canned meats and fish usually last over two years, which makes them perfect for emergency survival kits.

These canned goods provide essential protein.

Survival Food #14: Sports Drinks

Like water, sports drinks can help keep people hydrated.

In addition to that, sports drinks have electrolytes and carbohydrates, which provide energy in addition to helping you rehydrate.

Survival Food #15: Canned Soup/Chili

Canned soups and chilis are one of the first things people think to stock up on — and for good reason.

Canned soups and chilis can be eaten straight out of the can and can serve as entire meals.

They are filling and relatively healthy, as long as you choose low-sodium options.

Survival Food #16: Sugar, Salt, & Pepper
On the off chance you have access to a charcoal grill or propane stove, you may be able to do some cooking, even without refrigerated foods.

Spices like salt, pepper, and sugar will greatly improve the flavor of your food, which will give you a small sense of comfort.

In order to properly store your food, keep it in covered containers. Discard food that could possibly be contaminated, and if any food has an unusual color, texture, or odor, discard it as well.
50 Things your Doctor wishes you knew about Losing Weight
Even nutritious foods can make you gain weight

We asked doctors, dietitians, therapists, and other weight loss experts the key facts their clients most often miss. Make sure to master these oft misunderstood facts if you're looking to shed a few pounds.
'Many people think if it's healthy you can eat as much as you want, but it's important to limit 'recreational' eating, no matter how healthy the snack.'

When you eat is just as important as what you eat

'When you eat is important for weight loss. Starving all day and eating a big meal at the end of the day is counterproductive. No matter how nutritious a meal is, if eaten too late in the day, one does not have the time to burn it off and use it for fuel for the day. It ends up being stored in a body gas tank (the fat cells) you can't readily access.' —Dr. Sowemimo

Check your medications

'Some common medications prescribed for chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and depression are weight positive—as in, they make you gain weight or make it difficult for you to lose the excess weight you already have. (And those aren't the only medications that can make you gain weight.) If one needs to be on chronic medications, it's best to be on weight neutral or weight negative alternatives. Talk to your doctor about your medications.' —Dr. Sowemimo

Reaching your goal weight isn't the end

'It takes fewer calories and more energy expenditure to maintain weight loss than it takes to initiate weight loss. So if you let up once you start losing weight, you will gain it all back and then some! The good news is that when you start losing weight, it becomes easier to do more things like spending extra time on the treadmill or doing more resistance training reps. The idea is to continuously challenge yourself.'

You need to get your thyroid checked, the right way

'If you're having a hard time losing weight, get a proper thyroid assessment. Most people need a test that goes above the standard medical thyroid profile. A standard thyroid test reads as 'normal' in 80 percent of overweight individuals, which is incorrect. A proper thyroid assessment includes checking eight different parameters of thyroid function and comparing them to optimal, not normal, values. Evaluated this way, over 80 percent of overweight individuals will actually be properly identified as being hypothyroid. This is a key contributor to overweight.'

Alcohol literally prevents weight loss

'Alcohol is not only empty calories but also has a huge effect on the weight loss process. It can interrupt and inhibit fat metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Alcoholic drinks also contain a lot of added calories and carbs that will make it harder to lose weight even when you're reducing your caloric intake. At the very least, order something you sip slowly, such as wine, rather than something you may drink larger amounts of such as beer.'

Not all calories are created equal

'Calories are not just calories. There are foods that will nourish the body, preserve and protect lean muscle mass, and foster a healthy metabolism—such as lean proteins, fresh produce, and whole grains. And there are foods that will contribute calories but very little else nutritionally—such as refined grains, processed foods, and added sugars. Having a calorie limit is a good idea, but it's critical to meet that goal with as many healthy choices as possible.' —Caroline Apovian, MD, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, and vice-president of The Obesity Society

You have to exercise too

'Exercise is important for so many reasons, with metabolic health and weight loss being only one. While it is true that focusing on diet makes more a difference in terms of weight loss, the two disciplines work together to maintain a healthy body and metabolism, especially as you age. I advise my patients to strength train twice per week and work in cardio most days of the week.'

Sleep is the missing link in weight loss

'I refer to sleep as the third pillar of weight loss. Getting less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin. Lack of sleep also interferes with impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day. Getting less sleep than needed also heightens cortisol, which prompts the body to overeat to refuel after fighting off a stressor.' —Dr. Apovian

Muscle may weigh more, but it works in your favor

'The amount of lean muscle mass we have is the primary determinant of metabolic rate. In other words, the more muscle mass we have, the more calories we will burn. Our muscle mass naturally begins to decline around age 30, and that process, called sarcopenia, accelerates around age 40. Lift weights and eat a protein-rich diet to preserve your muscle strength as you age.' —Dr. Apovian

It's about progress, not perfection

'Attitude is everything. When shedding weight, progress is more important than perfection. Small steps lead to big changes. And, if you fall off the wagon, jump back on. Each day is a new day to eat and be well.' —Jared Koch, certified health coach and nutritional consultant, founder of CleanPlates.com

It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle

'I wish clients understood that losing weight is about more than the number on the scale. Following fad diets may promote quick weight loss but typically results are fleeting and may lead to even greater weight gain once you resume your usual eating patterns. To lose weight for good, you need to adopt an all-around lifestyle change that includes what you eat, how you prepare food, and how often you move your body.'

There is no perfect diet

'There is no one-size-fits-all weight loss diet for everyone. Ketogenic, Paleo, low fat, vegan—the options are numerous. But you must take into account the individual's overall health concerns in the context of their weight loss strategy. What works for one person may make someone else ill or may simply not be effective.' —Dr. Wiegand

Diet is more important than exercise

'You cannot outrun a bad diet. So many clients think because they sweat it out in the gym they can eat whatever they want. While fitness is essential for heart health and functionality, it is important to note that 80 percent of weight loss is diet.' —Suzanne Fisher, MS, RD, LDN Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist

Stressing about losing weight makes it harder to lose weight

'Watch your stress level. Stress elevates the hormone cortisol, and when elevated, cortisol can interfere with memory, promote weight gain, and lower immune function. Cortisol can also induce overeating and cravings, usually for high-fat, high-sugar foods. In addition, ghrehlin, the hunger or appetite hormone, has been found to increase during times of extreme stress. Make sure you're taking time to de-stress every day.'

Snacks can cut cravings

'Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, will increase during periods of hunger, so a mid-afternoon snack may prevent late-day overeating. Pack a snack or have some emergency rations stored in your desk to avoid temptations. I recommend nuts, seeds, fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks, air popped popcorn, and low sugar granola bars. Consuming a snack that contains protein will promote satiety and help to reduce cravings.' —Fisher

Get your hormone levels checked

'If you're trying everything and still not losing weight, I always recommend digging deeper into hormones. Imbalances in cortisol, thyroid and other stress hormones may be blocking success. Diet and exercise are often not enough.' —Wiegand

Your microbiome is one key to weight loss

'Tweaking the gut microbiome—the balance of good bacteria in your digestive system—can help your body shed pounds. Certain healthy bacteria in the gut predispose you to a faster metabolism. You can actually sequence the gut microbiome and look for imbalances and then working on rebalancing.'

Weight loss is not a straight line

'Losing weight is not linear. Your body weight will fluctuate as you go through different phases, especially for women at certain times of the month. From a psychological point of view, if your body weight goes up for a few days in a row, do not panic. Look at the overall trends instead.' —Rob Jackson, Personal Trainer, founder of Minimal FiT

Don't beat yourself up for eating a treat

'One treat will not ruin a pattern of successful clean eating. If you've been training hard in the gym, it might even be beneficial. Don't beat yourself up over it, as this mindset can really knock you back. Instead, draw a line under the experience and continue with the clean eating that you were doing before the treat.'

Weight loss is about the journey, not the destination

'I wish people understood that weight loss and weight maintenance behaviors are two sides of the same coin. Too many people seem to want to shed pounds as quickly as possible without really trying to change their eating and lifestyle behaviors for the long term; they figure they'll deal with the weight maintenance later on. When people say they are 'going on' a diet, it implies that—at some point—they'll be 'going off' their diet. I always tell people that when you are changing your habits in order to lose weight, you're just practicing for weight maintenance. I want them to focus on the behavior changes much more than their goal weight.' —Susan Bowerman, registered dietitian and director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife

You absolutely must keep a food journal

'I wish people understood the value of keeping really accurate food diaries. I encourage my patients to not only keep a diary, but to also write down ahead of time what they plan to eat and when they plan to exercise. This encourages them to stick to the plan. I also encourage people to use the diary as a tool to record their hunger level before and after eating, as well as their mood. The feedback from a well-kept food diary is invaluable. People learn if they are eating for emotional reasons rather than hunger, and they can also see how often they eat until they are more than comfortably full.' —Bowerman

Fix underlying emotional issues without food

'When you manage your emotions rather than stuffing them down and following them with a food chaser, you save a whole bunch of calories. Figure out what's really eating you, so to speak, and deal with that rather than depending on a sugar bomb to soothe your soul. When you face your issues, you no longer need to stuff your face. This gives you back the control you desire.'

Lack of sleep will make you eat more—a lot more

'Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that people consume more net calories the day after they don't get enough sleep—about 385 more calories. With roughly 3,500 calories in a pound, an individual could theoretically gain a pound in 10 days of they're not getting enough sleep.'

Lack of sleep will also make you crave junk food

'As if eating nearly 400 more calories a day wasn't enough, research published in Sleep shows that sleep restriction amplifies and extends the blood levels of a chemical signal that 'enhance the joy of eating, particularly the guilty pleasures gained from sweet or salty, high-fat snacks.' This made people crave and eat more of these unhealthy snacks. Over time that can cause significant weight gain.' —Dr. Ojile.

Cravings do affect some people more than others

'Thanks to new research, we now know when people are most vulnerable to cravings (early evening) and which age groups crave more (young females crave more than older males, and younger female dieters crave more than older male dieters). Knowing your personal 'risk factors' can help you manage your cravings.' —Frank Greenway, MD, chief medical officer at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA

Liposuction isn't a weight loss shortcut

'One of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss some of my patients have is the belief that cosmetic plastic surgery, especially liposuction, is a way to lose weight. Liposuction may remove up to a few pounds from the midsection during surgery, but it is a sculpturing tool, not a weight loss tool. If a patient is overweight, I actually ask them to lose weight by other means first before I will perform liposuction.'

You're not fat just because you love food

'Shedding pounds shouldn't be your focus. Your main focus should be figuring out what caused the weight gain in the first place. Without knowing that, you'll likely see the weight creep back on because the underlying issue hasn't been solved. The issue(s) could be anything from hormone imbalances to cravings, but in most cases, it is solvable.' —Leah de Souza-Thomas, MPH, epidemiologist and founder of The Thrive Practice

You're not a slave to your cravings

'The average food craving lasts for about 15 minutes, so if you're craving something that isn't the best fit for you that day, distract yourself for 15 minutes. Chances are good that the craving will pass, and even if it doesn't, you will likely have more insight into why you're having that particular craving.' —Kelly Morrow Baez, PhD, licensed professional counselor and private weight loss coach

Eating fat will not make you fat

'Many clients come to me and are terrified of eating avocados, nuts, hummus, and other healthy fats as they claim that the foods are 'too fattening and caloric.' I explain that fat is digested slower than carbs and protein and will also help promote satiety. Full-fat dairy products, nuts, and plant-based fats promote weight loss, not inhibit it.' —Eliza Savage, MS, certified dietitian nutritionist at Middleberg Nutrition in NYC

Allergy meds can cause weight gain

'Some common over-the-counter medications can hurt weight loss. I advise people trying to lose weight to use antihistamines sparingly. Try spot-treating the symptoms instead. If you have nasal symptoms, consider only nasal sprays rather than a pill.'

Fast weight loss isn't fat loss

'Fast weight loss, such as 10 pounds in two weeks, that results from extreme food restriction, juice cleanses, or cutting out carbohydrates completely is mostly due to loss of water weight and muscle mass, and can be very unhealthy. This weight loss is not sustainable and is usually regained back fast and results in a cycle of yo-yo dieting, which messes up your metabolism. The actual pounds you want to lose and keep off—pounds of fat—require a meal plan that includes all food groups and is not overly restrictive so that you can fuel your body to burn fat efficiently.' —Rachel Goodman, RD, CDN owner of Rachel Good Nutrition.

Your tech is making you overeat

'People have become completely disconnected from what satiety is and what it should feel like. We eat in the car, while working, while on our phones, or while watching television—we have become mechanical eaters. Mindful eating is a fundamental part of losing weight and keeping it off. You should eat when your body is asking you for fuel and stop eating when you your full. Keeping away from distractions can help learn this behavior.'

Skipping meals doesn't help

'I wish people would know that skipping meals, especially skipping breakfast, is not the answer. Many people think if they just cut calories by not eating certain meals they will lose weight, but it actually does not help them lose weight and instead sets them up to overeat later and/or to make unhealthy choices later.' —Rachel Goldman, PhD, clinical psychologist in NYC specializing in health and wellness and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine

You eat too fast

'People need to slow down when they eat! Most people eat too fast and when we eat too fast, we overeat. By simply slowing down the meal—try putting your utensil down between bites, or eating with your non-dominant hand—your stomach and brain will have time to connect. When you slow down your eating, you will be able to eat less food and feel full faster.'

Starving yourself doesn't work

'You need to eat to lose weight. What I mean here is that you can't skimp too much on calories to lose weight. Don't think eating just a 200-calorie microwave dinner is a good thing. You'll have better weight-loss results if you're eating enough. If you eat too little, you could end up slowing your metabolism, which is not going to be helpful to weight loss.' —Amy Gorin, registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ.

Fiber is a dieter's best friend

'Having a diet high in fiber is an incredible way to lose weight. Fiber helps keeps you fuller longer, which can help control weight. It also keeps your digestive system regular, preventing constipation. The average woman requires 25 grams, and the average man requires 38 grams of fiber per day—but most Americans do not get even half that. (Psst: Here are 30 ways to get more fiber in your diet without even trying.) When adding fiber to your diet, it is very important to drink water throughout the day to prevent bloating. It is also encouraged to eat protein with fiber, which promotes satiety.' —Brooke Zigler, registered dietitian

Start reading nutrition labels

'Pay attention to nutrition labels. Focus on the ingredients, not the numbers. Make sure you're eating good, clean food. Even better, choose foods that don't need a label, like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. Look for organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, and humane meats.' —Tanuja Paruchuri, Certified Holistic Health Coach in New York

Sugar is the worst

'The main ingredient you need to watch out for is sugar. Remember that sugar wears lots of disguises—there are more than 61 names for sugar on food packaging these days. Some common monikers include evaporated cane juice, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, and more. Sugar, particularly hidden sugar, is responsible for weight gain and health issues in most people.' —Paruchuri

You can't do this alone

'It is nearly impossible to shed weight all on your own. Most people need a supportive community, coach, therapist, accountability partner, and/or group to stay on track.'

Fail to plan, plan to fail

'Structure is so important to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. For instance, I recommend using a template food plan, scheduling time for movement, preparing food in advance, and seeing a therapist to help with the emotional side, particularly body image issues.' —Nebel

Weigh every day

'Weigh yourself every day and keep a food tracking journal. These will help you be more accountable. If you know you're going to have to write it all down and weigh yourself, you may be less apt to eat that extra helping or have that chocolate cake after dinner.' (Bonus: Science has revealed the best time of day to weigh yourself.) —Nicole Palacios, certified personal trainer, weight loss specialist, and registered kinesiologist

The more you talk, the more you lose

'Tell everyone you know about your weight loss goals. The more public it is, the more you're likely to stick with it, because people are going to ask you how it's going and what you're doing. Tell your coworkers, your spouse, your friends—they can also help you be more accountable and maybe won't offer you all the treats at the next party if they know you're trying to lose weight.' —Nicole Palacios

It's easier not to eat something than it is to burn it off later

'I wish my clients truly understood how quickly you can consume calories and how slowly your body burns them off with exercise. That can of soda you just had with lunch? It took you a few minutes to drink it, but it'll take you an hour on the treadmill at moderate to high intensity to burn it off. That little snack-size chocolate bar? Another hour on the treadmill. That old saying, 'a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips', couldn't be truer.' —Eamonn Leaver, PhD, organizational psychologist, sport and exercise scientist

Portion control is everything

'Many of my clients are eating foods that are absolutely fine for them. The reason they're either gaining weight or not losing weight is simply because they're eating too much of it. I recommend swapping your regular sized dinner plate for a smaller plate.

Weight loss is about the future, not the past

'I recommend that clients visualize how they are going to feel when their goals are achieved. Imagine the day, where you are, how your body feels, how good you feel to be healthier, what the air smells like, etc. Spending a few minutes each day putting yourself in your own shoes and connecting to that sense of accomplishment can be very motivating, and a great mental strategy to use during the tougher times when you are tempted to break your lifestyle change commitments.'

Deprivation leads to bingeing

'A very important thing that can sometimes really mess up someone adopting a new diet-related lifestyle is a sense of deprivation. Deprivation can be physical and psychological. If you have a physical craving and are also feeling psychologically deprived, you're much more likely to cheat. The more deprived you feel, the more likely a food binge will result. Allowing yourself a 'cheat day' or to eat desserts or some other kind of treat a few times a week, in sensible moderation, can keep massive slip-ups from happening.' —Boksman

Your chair is your worst enemy

'People simply need to stand more during the day. We often have time when we are idle or resting and spend that time sitting while watching TV, playing on our phones, or even working. But simply standing to do these things burns twice the calories.' —Jeremy Kring, MS, exercise scientist

Eat more plants. Seriously.

'One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to lose weight for the long term is to build your meals around plants, aiming for eight or more servings per day. Plant fibers will keep you satiated and also build a healthy gut by creating more diversity in your microbiome, which can play a huge role in weight loss. You can select any plant, from raw Brussels sprouts served with Pecorino Romano cheese and olive oil, to sautéed mushrooms and zucchini. The goal is to have plant foods—in excess—raw, steamed, or lightly cooked.'

No one ever hated themselves thin

'You can't hate your way through weight loss. It's easy to get fixated on a number on the scale and rest your happiness on that number, hating your body during the entire journey. Positive thinking and self love have a big part in improving your health, so love the body that you're changing and be gentle on yourself. (Need help loving yourself? Just one workout boosts your body image.) The process of losing weight will teach you a lot about yourself. Don't miss out on that lesson by focusing on only one goal.' —Maya Rams Murthy, MPH, RD, Founder and CEO of Eat with Maya
30 Worst Foods for your Heart
By Dana Leigh Smith

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.? Scary, we know! Kick out these ticker-harming foods from your diet to improve your health for years to come.

The heart: It's our most vital organ, but if you ask someone how to best care for yours, they'll likely tell you to find a nice guy who won't break it into a million pieces. (Thanks, mom!) Even M.D.s aren't the best source of heart advice: The average primary care office visit lasts just 10 minutes. So, even if your ticker is in danger, most docs will just tell you to watch what you eat and send you on our way, no other details provided.

That's not the very prescription to put into practice, and that's why we're here to help. Read on to discover 30 foods that sabotage your heart health and that need to be booted out of your diet ASAP.


Many people know that eating too much salt can raise their blood pressure. But not everyone realizes that uncontrolled high BP can cause their arteries to harden and narrow, increasing the risk of heart disease. That's not all: New research has also linked obesity to high sodium intake while another study found that overweight men with the highest salt intakes were 61 percent more likely to die of heart disease than those who consume less of the mineral.

You already know foods like chips and pretzels pack a lot of salt, but here we reveal 10 less-obvious sources of sodium that are making your blood pressure soar. Commit them to memory and keep them far away from your mouth!

1. Canned Vegetables

Veggies may be a cornerstone of a blood-pressure-friendly diet, but not the ones that come out of a can. The preservatives and sauces that keep the vitamin-filled veggies company inside the container are packed with sodium. Look for "no salt added" or "low sodium" options and be sure to rinse your veggies thoroughly before digging in. Can't find an unsalted option? Consider switching to frozen vegetables; there are plenty of unsalted selections

2. Restaurant Soup

Get this: P.F. Chang's Hot&Sour Soup Bowl, packs an artery-shivering 9,590 milligrams of sodium. That's more than four days' worth or the equivalent of about 55—yes, 55—individual bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Not all restaurant's bowls of broth are quite that salt-filled, but even chains like Ruby Tuesday and Applebee's don't ladle out anything with less than half a day's sodium per bowl.

3. Cold Cuts

According to a recent survey, 48 percent of Americans are looking to cut back on sodium, however, according to a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study, nearly half of Americans consume a sandwich every day—one of the top source of salt in the American diet. Coincidental? We think not. The bread and condiments certainly don't help the salt situation, but cold cuts and cheese are the primary culprits, contributing about 250 milligrams of sodium per slice. And let's be real: we all use at least three or four slices of the stuff, which equates to 1,000 milligrams of salt in a single sitting. Looking for delicious flat-belly lunches to eat instead of your tired turkey and mayo

4. Tomato Sauce

Want some pasta with that salt!? A half cup of Hunter's Tomato sauce packs a whopping 830 milligrams of sodium—which is more than you'd find in 97 Cheez-It crackers! To keep your blood pressure from spiking, look for jars of tomato sauce with fewer than 350 milligrams per half-cup serving. Both Amy's Light in Sodium Organic Family Marinara and Ragu Light No Sugar Added Tomato&Basil fit the bill.

5. Frozen Meals

Frozen dinners may be quick and easy options when you're time strapped, but they're also loaded with sodium. Yes, even the healthy-sounding options. Two prime examples: Lean Cuisine's Roasted Chicken and Garden Vegetables packs 620 milligrams of sodium and Special K's Sausage, Egg&Cheese Flatbread Breakfast Sandwich carries 700 milligrams—or just under half a day's worth. When you're in the freezer aisle, look for meals with less than 500 milligrams per serving

6. Vegetable Juice

Prefer to sip your greens rather than chew 'em? Stick with the freshly made varieties from a local juice shop (or your kitchen). The bottled versions are filled to the brim with salt. For example, just 8-ounces of V8 Vegetable Juice Essential Antioxidants has 480 milligrams of sodium. If you have to sip the bottled variety go for V8's low-sodium blend. It will save you 340 milligrams of sodium, which over the course of a month can really make a difference in your blood pressure levels.

7&8. Capers & Ketchup

When it comes to your blood pressure and heart health, condiments matter. Those capers you top your Chicken Piccata with? They carry over 200 milligrams of salt per tablespoon. And the ketchup you dip your fries into has 167 milligrams in the same serving size. Scale back on the condiments to maintain your flat belly and keep your ticker in tip-top condition.

9. Cottage Cheese

Even though this breakfast staple doesn't taste salty, a one-cup serving can carry almost 700 milligrams of the mineral—more than a third of what you're supposed to have in an entire day. If you're going to keep the stuff in your breakfast lineup, swap to a no-salt-added variety. Or, better yet, eat a container of Greek yogurt instead. It's a low-salt, high-protein cottage cheese substitute we're big fans of.

10. Beef Jerky

Jerky is super trendy right now, thanks in part to the ever-growing Paleo trend. Sure, it's free of refined grains and packed with protein, but it's also notoriously high in salt—not good news if you have high blood pressure or want to keep your heart healthy. A small, 1-ounce serving can have an upwards of 700 milligrams of salt, which is more than four times what you'd find in the same serving of chips.

When you have more cholesterol in your blood than what's considered to be healthy, it can clog your arteries with plaques that increase the risk heart disease. What causes the backup? A diet high in certain types of cholesterol, saturated and trans fats. Read on to meet the most dangerous fat- and cholesterol-laden eats on the planet.

11. Coffee Creamer

Traditional coffee creamers are prime sources of trans-fats, often hiding under the guise of its lesser-known name: hydrogenated oil. Trans fats have been shown to raise cholesterol levels and diminish memory in adults under 45 years old—scary stuff! Our advice: Switch to milk or use one of Coffee Mate's Natural Bliss creamers—they come in great flavors and are totally free of scary ingredients and heart-harming fats. Alternatively, try tea! One Dutch study found that people who drank three daily cups of antioxidant-filled tea had half the risk of heart attack of those who didn't sip the brew at all.

12. Frozen Pies

We know that baking a pie isn't easy—but tread carefully in the land of frozen lattices and crumble tops. Frozen desserts one of the most potent sources of trans-fat in the supermarket. In fact, Marie Callender's Lattice Apple Pie packs 3 grams of the stuff per slice—that's more than you should eat in an entire day. One 14 year study of 80,000 women found a positive correlation between heart disease and the consumption of foods containing trans fatty acids so stay away at all costs—your ticker and waistline will thank you!

13. Ice Cream

A healthy adult should consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. A cup of certain Ben and Jerry's flavors contain more than a third of the day's intake (130 grams!)—and so do plenty of other creamy, cool treats. To indulge in something icy without freezing out your heart, make a batch of banana ice cream. Here's how: Slice two bananas and place them in a bag and freeze overnight. The next day, blend them up on high with some milk and almond butter until the mixture reaches a consistency that resembles ice cream. Shavings of dark chocolate make for a tasty topping, as do raspberries—a potent heart-healthy food. High fiber foods like raspberries have been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

14. Fried Chicken

Grilled chicken breast is one of the best 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss, but when you keep the skin on and dunk it into a deep fryer, the nutritional reality of your meal changes—and fast. In fact, one 4-ounce serving of fried chicken with the skin on it has as much cholesterol as 11 strips of sizzling bacon! Do your heart a favor and opt for a more heart-healthy piece of poultry.

15. Margarine

Butter alternatives like margarine are often made with partially-hydrogenated oils, one of the most common sources of trans-fats. You may have heard that this type of fat is linked to heart disease, but what most people don't know is that it may also accelerate the skin's aging process by making the skin more vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. Eek! Hello, wrinkles! Skip this high-cholesterol food and stick with heart-healthy olive oil or small amounts of grass-fed butter instead, suggests registered dietitian Isabel Smith.

16. Biscuits

Bad news, Southern food lovers: Packaged biscuits—the fluffy pillows of goodness that make weekend brunch and fried chicken dinners extra delicious—are chock full of trans fats that can hurt your heart. In fact, each of Mary B's Buttermilk Biscuits carries three grams a pop, which is more than a day's worth. And though the nutrition label on Pillsbury Grands! Buttermilk Biscuits reads "0 grams" in the trans fat column; it's made with hydrogenated soybean oil—a dead giveaway that there are traces of the dangerous fat in the biscuits. Opt for a whole grain English muffin at breakfast or a whole grain roll at dinner (we like Alexia's Whole Grain Hearty Rolls) to keep your arteries clean and clear.

It's a little-known fact that impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes increases your risk for heart disease. That said, a major part of keeping your heart healthy involves keeping your blood sugar levels in check. And according to the Mayo Clinic, if you already have diabetes, tight blood sugar control can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sure, candy and soda can wreak havoc on your system but there a number of other things you may not realize can mess with your sugar levels, too. Read on to get in the know.

17. White Rice

While whole grains can reduce your risk of dying of heart disease by nearly 20 percent but nutrient-stripped refined grains have the opposite effect on your health. In fact, in one study of more than 350,00 people, those who ate the most white rice were at greatest risk for type 2 diabetes—can't say we're too shocked. Bottom line: Stick with whole grains to ward off the disease.

18. Blended Coffees

Warning: Blended coffees laced with syrup, sugar, whipped cream, and other toppings can have as many calories and fat grams as a milkshake. Not only can the sugar overload send blood glucose soaring, but the caffeine can also increase your blood pressure levels—a combination that's less than ideal if you're trying to ward off diabetes and heart disease. To stay healthy, stick with plain java with milk and cinnamon, a spice that's been shown to decrease the risk of heart damage as a result of high blood sugar.

19. Chinese Take-Out

Thanks to their sugary sauces and deep-fried breading, Chinese restaurant favorites like sesame chicken and sweet and sour pork are packed with calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. Experts say this combination of dietary demons can spike blood sugar dramatically and keep it elevated for a substantial chunk of time—not what you want! To keep your glucose levels in check without giving up the flavors you love order steamed veggies and your protein of choice and ask for your favorite sauce on the side. If you only spoon on a tablespoon or two, you'll improve the healthfulness of your dish ten-fold. Oh, and, ask your server to hold the rice or see if they have the brown kind.

20. Cinnamon Rolls

All pastries are sugar and carb landmines, but cinnamon rolls may be the very worst of the lot. Consider this: A Classic Roll from Cinnabon has 880 calories, 127 grams of carbs and 58 grams of sugar—which is about what you'd find in 10 Chips Ahoy! Chewy cookies.

21&22. Bacon & Sausage

The bacon and sausage you enjoy for breakfast, and the deli meats you use to make your lunch may be putting your life at risk. How? Many of these meats contain nitrates, a preservative that interferes with the body's natural ability to process sugar, which increases the risk for diabetes. If that wasn't bad enough, most processed meats are also loaded with sodium, a known contributor to hypertension that can make you bloat and set you up to develop heart disease.

Obesity and belly fat has long been linked to cardiovascular disease. That's because the more fat that's stored in your midsection, the higher your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels are bound to be. Discover some of the top belly-wideners below.

23. Bouillon Cubes

When made with a homemade stock or low-sodium broth, soup is a healthy, soothing meal. Make the stuff with a bouillon cube, however, and you've got yourself an entirely different bowl of nutrition—one that's overflowing with monosodium glutamate. MSG is a flavoring agent that increases appetite and tells the body to pump out insulin, the fat-storage hormone. Needless to say, regularly eating the stuff can cause those extra pounds to creep onto your frame.

24. Potato Chips

According to Harvard researchers, chips are one of the worst foods for your belly. Not only are they saturated with saturated fat, which causes your gut to expand and puts your heart in the danger zone, they're also crusted with salt—yet another nutrient linked to cardiovascular disease when eaten in excess. In the Harvard study, daily chip consumption alone was responsible for adding nearly two pounds of flab to study participants' frame every four years.

25. Diet Soda

Did you hear? Recent studies have found an association between sipping diet soda and a wider waist circumference. It may seem counterintuitive since your go-to Diet Cherry Pepsi has zero calories, but researchers think diet soda drinkers may overestimate how many calories they're "saving," and then overeat. Here's our advice: If you're sipping diet cola on the reg, trade in your daily can for water flavored with some fresh citrus fruit (it's more flavorful than the plain stuff). Why water? According to Sponge Loma Linda University researchers, drinking five or more cups of H20 daily can slash heart disease risk by up to 60 percent! Sounds like a great reason to ditch the bubbly to us.

26. Cheese

Fun fact: Cheese is the single biggest contributor of saturated fat to the American diet. And unlike other fats, the saturated variety is the most likely to be stored in the stomach and wreak havoc on your cardiovascular well-being. Scale back of the mozzarella and cheddar to zap away belly fat and keep your ticker pumping problem-free.

27. Pizza

A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips? How about this: A night at the Hut, a lifetime in the gut. In fact, pizza is the second biggest contributor of saturated fat to the American diet, and most slices serve up half a day's worth of the artery clogger. To keep your health and waistline in check, stick to one slice and pair it with a house salad. This is far better than going back for rounds two and three of the doughy stuff.

28. French Fries

Consider Fresh fries a triple threat to your heart health. Not only are they filled with simple sources of carbs that can spike your blood sugar, but they're also filled with fat and salt, too. In fact, one 20-year Harvard study found that people who regularly ate fries gained more than three pounds of body weight every four years. And over the course of the study, the French fry eaters gained 15 pounds of belly flab from fries alone!

29. Steak

Studies show that eating the right cuts of beef can help whittle your middle, but pick the wrong cut and your dinner could have the opposite effect on your figure. Ribeye, T-bone, and New York Strip are three fattiest cuts known to man or cow and can lead to abdominal obesity and larger waist circumference if eaten on the reg. Stick to grass-fed top sirloin or London broil to maintain your flat abs and keep your heart in top condition.

30. Fruit Juice

It's natural! It's packed with Vitamin C! It comes from Florida! What could be wrong? Well, while 100 percent fruit juice is a better pick than sugary drinks like Sunny D, even the all-natural stuff still packs up to 36 grams of sugar per cup—or about what you'd get from popping 4 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts into a blender and hitting frappe. What's more, most of the sweetness in juice comes from fructose, a type of sugar associated with the development of belly fat. Trick your belly into shrinking itself by filling your glass with some refreshing detox water. Just add fresh berries to plain ol' H20 and chill. Why berries? Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are both potent sources of salicylic acid—the same heart-disease fighter found in aspirin—making them some of our favorite water additions for heart health.
Things to have on hand for a Natural Disaster
Natural disasters can bring out both the best and the worst in people, but you can reduce the panic and anxiety of adverse weather conditions by being prepared with tools and resources that can secure your safety. Balancing safety with being human is key, says Scot Conway, leadership trainer at Guardian Quest Martial Arts in Spring Valley, Calif. “Disaster preparedness includes getting back to your life and work as quickly as possible after the disaster,” he says. Protect and prepare your home and your family by having the essentials on hand.

Emergency Contact Information

When a natural disaster occurs, keep your family together as best you can, recommends Conway. “Put contact information and medical information on every member of your family,” he says. “In case you get separated, make sure a note with each person identifies any information a first responder might need to know.” It’s also crucial to have a list of emergency numbers for local family members, neighbors and close friends. Teach your children how to use 911 and create a plan for emergencies that includes specific procedures and tasks for each family member.

Bandages and Medical Supplies

A first-aid kit is a must-have for your home. You need bandages, disinfectant and triple antibiotic ointments for treating minor cuts, scrapes and wounds, says Brandon Maye, founder of Practical Applications, an independent security consulting firm in Jacksonville, Ala. “Small cuts and wounds can become debilitating if infected and must be treated properly if in a survival situation,” says Maye. Pack up a variety of bandage sizes, travel-size disinfectant wipes and ointments in a waterproof bag to have handy.


If a blackout occurs, a flashlight is essential, says Maye. “There is nothing worse than being caught in the dark without a flashlight except being caught in the dark with a flashlight that doesn’t work,” he says. Stock up on batteries and keep them near the flashlights in your home. If your house is multistory, keep a working flashlight on each level to avoid falling up or down stairs in the dark. Rechargeable flashlights are a handy tool, but always keep a battery-operated as a backup when the power is out.

Socks, Gloves and Hats

Regardless of the time of year, a warm, dry pair of socks can increase your comfort level during a natural disaster, says Maye. Pack a pair for each member of the family in case rain, snow or soot dampens their socks. In cooler weather, a poncho, hat and pair of gloves are also essential to keep the elements off your skin and avoid the risk of frostbite when temps are freezing. If you have room in your disaster-preparedness bag, toss in a pair of rain boots as an extra precaution from flooding areas


Ensure that you have the energy needed to survive a natural disaster. Lorraine Holmes Milton, Houston-based author of “Disaster Master Plan,” suggests gathering enough nonperishable food to feed your family for 72 hours. Holmes Milton recommends ready-to-eat meals, protein bars, fruit cups, peanut butter and jelly with crackers and canned meat. Juice boxes and bottled water are also essential to pack. “These nonperishable foods can be very beneficial during any emergency situation,” she says. Check your food stash monthly to ensure it has not expired and to swap out with fresh nonperishables.

Water and Purifying Tablets

Since you can’t predict the amount of time your family may be under distress during a natural disaster, be prepared with at least 1 gallon of water for each person for seven days, recommends Holmes Milton. Store additional water for bathing during a disaster. Just in case you don’t have enough bottled water packed, purchase water-purifying tablets to disinfect polluted or suspended water so it is safe for drinking.

Emergency Radio

When power is lost and cell phones are out of range, an emergency radio can provide you with life-saving instructions. An emergency radio tuned to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is what the American Red Cross recommends, says Holmes Milton. This radio receiver runs on minimal or no power and is designed to function even when you are isolated or affected by a power outage. The receiver broadcasts emergency information for your area. “Adhere to the disaster information on the emergency radio, especially the mandatory evacuations,” says Holmes Milton. “If the authority tells you to evacuate -- evacuate.”

Power Inverters

Whether your area is affected by a tornado, hurricane, flood or blackout, having a backup power source during a disaster can help you communicate with others and power up medical machines and devices necessary to keep your family safe. Holmes Milton points out that power inverters can be used to charge your cell phones, laptops, oxygen machine or even a nebulizer for asthma patients. A power inverter converts DC power to AC, so you can use batteries or a car charger to restore power to appliances, electronics and medical machines during an emergency.

Fire-Starting Materials

In cold temperatures, you will need an alternative source of heat to stay warm and cook meals until the disaster abates. Fire-starting materials are essential tools you need in case of a natural disaster. Have dry wood stored near your home and a few newspapers, matches or lighters. In extreme cases, you may even have to get creative, says Maye. “Whether you use a steel wool and a 9-volt battery or a magnesium stick, the ability to start a fire in a survival situation can mean the difference in life and death,” he says.

Mobile Technology

A charged cell phone or electronic device with wireless access can help you communicate with family, friends and first responders; get critical instructions and information from emergency personnel and government officials; and "warn other individuals that there may be danger approaching," says engineering professor Pamela McCauley Bush, leader of University of Central Florida’s Human Factors in Disaster Management Research Team. “Mobile technology has been critical in supporting ‘information seeking’ in crisis events, facilitating public action, and serving as a source of functional and emotional support.”


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HealthSmart: Providing Comprehensive and Innovative Healthcare Solutions

ZEBIT, the online financial wellness program was introduced at the Employees Benefits Fair. All employees are eligible for the Financial Wellness sections of ZEBIT where you can learn about budgeting, watch short videos about various financial issues and learn how to create financial goals.

Log onto: Zebit. You will need to know your employee ID and date of hire. Your employee ID is your employee number preceded by your place of employment (MITW0001/CMN0001/MCR0001). If you are not sure of your date of hire, contact the Insurance Department.

ZEBIT Marketplace (OPTIONAL SIGN UP) is available to employees that 1) are at least 18 years of age 2) have been employed with MITW/CMN/MCR for at least one year 3) have an annual salary of at least $16,000 and 4) have direct deposit of paycheck.

ZEBIT Marketplace offers an interest free line of credit to employees meeting the criteria above to purchase items on ZEBIT Marketplace. Employees are billed for purchases, interest free. over the course of six months. Payments for purchase on ZEBIT Marketplace ARE NOT deducted from your paycheck. Payments must be made directly to ZEBIT Marketplace.

myStrength was introduced at the Employee Benefits Fair. It is a wellness website that can help with issues such as stress and anxiety. It's easy to sign up!!!! Go to www.mystrength.com and click on the sign up button. When asked for an access code, enter one of the following codes (CMNEMP/MCREMP/MITWEMP/Menominee) depending upon where you are employed. Complete the sign up process with a brief Wellness Assessment and personal profile.

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Vision & Mission Statement

Promoting healthy choices among our employees, families, and community by providing activities, education, support, and resources to encourage healthy lifestyles.

To embark on the journey towards your goals and dreams requires bravery...
To remain on that path requires courage...
The bridge that merges the two is commitment.
~ Dr. Steve Marboli

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Join the Wellness Facebook page to stay in the loop on all news, events, photos and other updates!

HRA (Health Risk Assessment) FAQs

Click here to learn more about Health Risk Assessments  

MITW Employee Wellness Program

Journey....   is a voluntary wellness program available to employees of MITW, CMN and MCR. Employees and spouses currently covered by MITW Employee Health Plan may participate in a Health Risk Assessment and Health Screening and earn $100.00
All employees can earn additional incentives up to $150 a year earning points by participating in various activites  
(list of activities will be provided prior to January 1, 2017).     In addition, anyone earning points in a month will be entered in monthly drawing for gas gift cards.
Employee meetings will be held before January 1, 2017 to provide additional information on

Examples of Activities to Earn Points on Your Journey
  • Participate in CPR/Safety/OSHA Trainings
  • Complete courses with Star 12 (Online)
  • Eliminate Tobacco Products
  • Rec Center Membership & Regular Visits
  • Cultural Related Events (Beadwork/Dance/Language Classes)
  • Zebit Financial Wellness (Online)
  • MyStrength-Health Club for the Mind (Online)
  • Physical Fitness Group Activities (Yoga/Exercise classes)
  • Get a "Wellness Buddy"
  • Nutrition/Diet Support Group (ex. Weight Watchers)
  • Participate in Health Challenges
  • Participate in Wellness Workshops/Educational Seminars
This is NOT an all-inclusive list. Additional information will be presented at Wellness meetings prior to January 1, 2017.