What You Need to Know About Alcohol Abuse

alcoholAn estimated 1 in every 12 adults are living with alcohol abuse or dependence. 

Alcohol Abuse is an often and seemingly socially acceptable behavior that affects millions of people in the United States. In fact, according to the CDC, 88000 deaths per year are linked to excessive alcohol use.

WHAT is alcohol abuse?

Alcohol Abuse or alcoholism is a chronic disease recognized by the following 4 symptoms:

• Cravings (the urge to drink)

Loss of Control (Not being able to stop once drinking has begun)

• Tolerance (The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol for the desired psychological effect.)

• Physical Dependence (Withdrawal symptoms after stopping drinking: nausea, sweating, shakiness, anxiety).

But everyone drinks alcohol! Why should I be worried?

Other than the emotional and financial impact alcohol abuse can have on your life, it also ravages your body; excessive alcohol use affects ALL of you organ systems!

The most commonly known outcomes of alcohol abuse are:

• Liver diseases - hepatitis, cirrhosis

• Gastrointestinal complaints – gastritis, pancreatitis

• Neurological impairment – dementia, neuropathy

• Cardiovascular problems – hypertension, heart attacks

• Unintentional Injuries – motor vehicle accidents, drowning, falls

• Alcohol abuse can even lead to the development of diabetes!

What can I do?

Although there is treatment for alcohol abuse, there currently is no ultimate cure. Preventing the development of this condition is the best course of action for anyone. In order to play it safe, the U.S. Department of Health recommends that women do not imbibe more than one drink per day.

If you feel that you may have a problem with alcohol or are uncertain, discussion is the first step. Schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor as soon as you are able. Your physician can help determine whether your habits need correction and, if necessary can help you find an optimal treatment program which can include counseling and/or medications.

If you are not ready to talk to a doctor, please explore the following resources: - National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Connecting people and their families with the information and resources to help them recover from substance abuse and behavioral disorders.

Don’t allow your life and health to be washed away – talk to your Primary Care Provider today!

Spring Clean Your Workout


Spring has finally arrived and it is the perfect time to spring clean your workout routine. After the long winter months, this time of year is great to reevaluate and revitalize your workout! Here are some of the best and easiest ways to make sure you are getting the most out of your routine.

1.     Footwear: First and foremost, make sure you are wearing the proper footwear for your workout. Depending on your goals, there are many sneakers to choose from nowadays. The best choices are lightweight and flexible. Make sure you are not wearing a shoe that is too heavy as  it will tire you out and slow you down a lot sooner than a lightweight shoe selection. You should also purchase your workout sneakers at least ½ size larger than your regular shoe size as this will allow you to have more flexibility and decrease any strain on your toes.

2.     Plan your workouts: One of the main reasons people give up on working out is due to lack of planning. Each week you should draw up what your workout for the entire week will look like. Be sure to plan at least 3-4 days of cardio lasting for 30-45 minutes during each session. Incorporating weights is key. Strength training helps to build lean muscle and boosts your resting metabolic rate so that you will burn calories for hours after your workout!

3.     Incorporate Interval Training: If you don’t already, you should incorporate interval training into your routine. By alternating your speed every few minutes helps to build cardiovascular endurance, improves speed and burns tons of calories. Before trying interval training, be sure to speak to your physician about the benefits and risks of this workout regimen.

4.     Stop Spot Training: Exercising a specific area of the body with the expectation to eliminate fat in that particular location is almost impossible. Every person is an individual and has different genetics. To attack problem areas, many factors need to be considered including hormonal imbalances as well as diet. In order to properly tackle those problem areas, you must use a total body approach. You need to assess your exercise routine as well as nutritional intake and genetics. The more you know about these 3 things, the more you will see a change in those problem areas.

5.     Cool Down: After a long workout the last thing most people want to do is a cool down. Cooling down your body is very important. It helps to bring your heart rate down and relax your muscles. It also helps to alleviate feeling sick afterwards. Be sure to stretch! Stretching also relaxes muscles but also helps to speed circulation to your joints.  

How to Fuel Your Body for the Broad Street Run

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With the Broad Street Run coming up, it’s important to properly fuel your body. Everything you eat and drink leading up to the run has a direct impact on performance. In order to help you better prepare,  our dietitian, Theresa Shank, RD LDN has outlined the best advice to strengthen your body for this year’s race.

Because of the high level of exercise your body is about to endure, hydration is key to regulating body temperature throughout the race. Not only is body temperature a concern, but also without proper hydration your body may experience muscle cramping, which can make for a very unpleasant Broad Street Run.

: Drink at least 16 ounces of water or sports drink an hour or two before the race.

During: Drink 5-12 ounces of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes during your run.

*Don’t drink TOO much. If you start to hear “sloshing” in your stomach or nauseous then wait at least 15 minutes before drinking more.

Post exercise: Drink 16-30 ounces of water or sports drink.

*Because you are running 10 miles, a sports drink with 5-8% of carbohydrate (Look at Daily Value Percentage) is appropriate for achieving proper hydration and replenishing of glycogen stores.

Pre-Exercise Nutritional Goals: 
It is important to prepare your body with adequate nutrition in the hours leading up to your 10 mile run. Two-three hours before the race, eat a full meal with at least 50 grams of carbohydrate.

Example: A bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter

Pre-Exercise Fuel (30 minutes – one hour before): 30 grams of Carbohydrate

You want to eat a snack in at least an hour before the race that contains carbohydrates, protein, and a little bit of fat to power through your run.


·          6 ounces of Greek yogurt w/10 almonds and ½ cup fresh/frozen berries

·          2 slices of whole wheat bread with 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter and 2 tsp. of fruit preserves

·          1 hard-boiled egg, a slice of whole wheat toast and a small piece of fruit

·          1 English muffin with ½ banana and 1 Tbsp. of almond butter

·          8-ounce smoothie with 1-cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ banana, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, ½ cup orange juice or low-fat milk, and ½ Cup ice. (blend together)

Post Exercise Fuel:

After the race, your body is continuing to burn calories. You must ensure proper nutrition after the event to replenish your body with the energy it lost. Focus on eating a small snack with a 4:1 carbs to protein ration within the first 15 minutes after your run. Choose a snack low in fat and fiber to insure proper digestion. Later, within two hours after your run eat a balanced meal.

Post Workout Snack Examples:

·          1 Cup of oatmeal with ½ cup frozen berries or ½ banana

·          8 ounces Greek yogurt with 1 piece of fruit

·          1 slice of whole wheat bread with 2 slices of turkey and 1 slice of low-fat cheese

·          Sweet potato with lean protein

·          8 ounces low-fat/non-fat chocolate milk

How to Manage Springtime Allergies

Springtime allergies

Spring is on its way! Along with budding trees and flowers comes pollen — a common trigger for allergies. Limiting the frequency and duration of your exposure to pollen can prevent or decrease symptoms and reduce your need for medications. For those who suffer from spring allergies here are a few tips to make the season more enjoyable.

  • Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are the highest, between 5am and 10am.
  • Pay attention to pollen reports, available with the daily weather report and online, and stay indoors when counts are high. Dry, windy days are more likely to have large amounts of pollen in the air than damp, rainy days when most pollen is washed to the ground.
  • Keep windows and doors closed to keep pollen from drifting into your house. Likewise, keep your car windows rolled up and sunroof closed when you drive and adjust your ventilation system to re-circulate inter-compartment air instead of drawing air from outside.
  • Pollen can accumulate on your clothes and hair while you are outdoors. Remove your shoes at the door and change out of clothes you’ve worn outside. Shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair. Your pet’s fur presents a similar problem. Though it is certainly not practical to bathe your dog every night, try to keep pets off of the furniture and out of your bed so that you will limit your exposure.
  • Wash bedding often and always machine dry. Pollen may collect on laundry if it is hung outside.
  • Rinse out your nasal passages once you are inside for the day or before you go to bed. If you can’t get the hang of a neti pot, pick up a reusable nasal irrigation kit available at most pharmacies.

Ensure Safe Travels

By: Maria Mazzotti, D.O.

As spring comes along, some of us are starting to think about our summer vacation plans.  If you are one of those people who is considering traveling to an area that requires updating your vaccines or getting vaccines that are not required growing up in the United States, it is never too early to get started with your Travel Visit. 

There are a few things to keep in mind before traveling:

·          Schedule your travel appointment as soon as possible. We recommend 4-6 weeks in advance.

·          Have a  list of your medical problems, medications, allergies and your doctors name and phone numbers.

·          If you have artificial devices in your body.

·          Insurance companies may or may not pay for the travel visit, vaccines and medications.

·          Some vaccines require more than one shot.

·          We do not carry the Yellow Fever Vaccine.  You are able to do a travel visit with one of our doctors and then they will give you a Rx to get the vaccine injected at a local pharmacy. 

·          Check with your insurance company if you require more medication for extended vacations.

How to prepare for your travel visit:

·          Have your travel itinerary with you at the time of your visit.

·          Have a copy of your previous vaccines.

Scheduling a travel visit will help to ensure that you make the best out of your trip!

What’s in a Registered Dietitians Kitchen?

By Theresa Shank, Registered Dietitian

With Memorial Day right around the corner, we asked Theresa Shank, our registered dietitian what she recommends clients to have in their kitchens to help them lose unwanted winter pounds. Here is what she had to say:

There are many items that are important to have in a healthy kitchen while trying to lose weight, but I won’t bore you with that and just keep it simple by recommending my “must haves.”

Fresh Fruit: Don’t over fruit. Even though fruit is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, its natural sugar content can be troubling for weight loss. I recommend limiting fruit intake to 1- two servings per day. My favorite picks are apples, grapefruit, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and pears.

Fresh seasonal vegetables or frozen vegetables: the more vegetables you eat the leaner you will be, so aim for at least 5 servings a day. * One vegetable serving counts as a ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw.

Chia or Hemp Seeds: These seeds are good sources of Omega 3’s and fiber. Try adding to salads, oatmeal or smoothies.  * Omega 3 fatty acids aid in decreasing cholesterol, depression, joint pain, diabetes and improve the health of your skin and hair.

Greek Yogurt: Fage and Siggi’s are my favorite brands. I always recommend Greek yogurt because it is higher in protein, making it more satiating than other yogurts. Siggi’s is the only flavored yogurt that I recommend because of its low sugar content in comparison to other flavored yogurts. For example, Siggi’s vanilla flavored yogurt contains just 9 grams of sugar, that’s only 2 more grams of sugar than Fage’s plain Greek yogurt. Can’t beat that!

Grains:  Incorporate grains into your meals to help keep you feeling full longer. Grains provide nutrients such as B vitamins, folic acid, fiber and protein. I recommend limiting grains to 1-2 servings (think the size of your fist) per day. My go to grains are quinoa, black or wild rice and oats (make sure they are hand rolled, never instant)

Sprouted Bread:  Sprouted grain bread vs. store bought whole wheat bread has higher nutrients such as niacin, B6, folate and protein.  Some sprouted grain breads are also noted to contain less carbohydrate than the average slice of whole wheat bread because some of the carbohydrate content is lost in the sprouting process; making it an all-around better choice.

Lean Proteins: Organic poultry, eggs, and wild caught fish are a must in my kitchen. If you are a vegetarian, I caution you to leave the overly processed “meat substitutes” alone! Instead, try tofu, seitan or tempeh, which lend themselves well to various vegetarian dishes such as homemade burgers, stir-fry’s or veggie chili. The possibilities are endless! * I encourage clients to consume fish at least 3-4 times per week during weight loss efforts. 

Olive oil and nut butters: Don’t let the myth that nut butters and oils make you fat, stop you from incorporating these essentials into your diet. Instead, limit you intake of added fat to 1 tbsp. per meal to insure your body the healthy fat it needs while preventing the excess intake that causes weight gain. If you are feeling adventurous try substituting coconut oil, cashew oil or grape seed oil the next time your dish calls for olive oil.

Get Moving...In the Workplace!

In today’s day and age most of us hold a position within a company where we are mostly sedentary the entire day and sit in front of a computer screen. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American typically works more than 40 hours per week. Let’s think about that: most of us are sitting for 8-9 hours per day without much movement! In order to break this vicious cycle of the sedentary work life, here are some daily exercises that can be done in the office to get moving!

1.     Morning Commute: Each morning we usually take public transportation or drive into the office. In order to burn some early morning calories, park a few blocks away from the office so that you can get in a quick walk. Bike to work if you are in biking distance and if you take public transportation, get off at an earlier stop than usual and walk the remainder of the commute.

2.     Glute Seat Squeeze: While sitting at your desk, you are able to get in a silent glute workout in without anyone even noticing! To start, simply squeeze the buttock, hold for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 3-4 times. This one is a lot harder than expected!

3.     Triple “T”: Tone Those Thighs: If you are looking to tone your inner thighs, grab an extra ream of paper lying around the office, place between the inner thighs and squeeze in for 30-60 seconds and release. This office exercise will have those inner thighs in shape in no time!

4.     The Rolling Stone: During those winter months, it is very hard to get outside and walk around during your lunch break. Until then, take a break every 2 hours or so and walk around the office. Catch up with a team member in person rather than sending that long email you had written or walk over to a  new employee and welcome them to the office.

5.     Lunch time Crunch Time: Right as your lunch break starts, you have plenty of time to work on some desk crunches. Yes, I said it: desk crunches. It’s possible, believe me. Place both elbows on your thighs and curl your chest in towards your legs but be sure to resist with the arms. Hold for at least 10-15 seconds, release and repeat 8-10 times.

Staying Motivated Through The Winter Months

By: Audrey Hasse, Registered Dietitian

The days are cold, the skies are gray, and the motivation to eat healthy and exercise is harder and harder to find.  Staying on track during the winter months is always a challenge, but one that you can conquer if you create a healthy plan and stick to it.  Here are some tips for healthy eating and exercise to help you stay on track during the seemingly endless winter season.

Healthy Eating

·          Think Ahead:  Before starting another hectic week, take a few minutes to plan ahead for the meals and snacks you are going to eat that week.  Create a shopping list, and hit the grocery store to stock up on everything you will need. 

·          Cook Ahead:  Now that you have all of the healthy ingredients, make as much food as you can while you have some extra time to ease the stress of weeknight cooking. 

·          Get Creative:  Find new recipes, try new dishes, and turn the same old veggies and protein into something new and exiting.

·          Find a Friend:  If you feel your motivation waning, recruit a friend to join in the challenge of staying healthy.  Motivate one another and find the fun of healthy living once again.

·          Purge Your Kitchen:  Before we know it, unhealthy food has crept back into our pantries.  Take a few minutes to purge your kitchen of all the junk, and start again with a clean slate of only healthy options.

Here’s a hearty and healthy chili recipe to help inspire some creative cooking.

Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado

Modified from Cookie and Kate


  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 small butternut squash (1½ pounds or less), peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½+ Tbsp chopped chipotle pepper in adobo* (start with ½ tablespoon and add more to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid**
  • 4 cups cooked black beans or 2 cans, rinsed and drained
  • 14-ounce can (about 2 cups) vegetable broth
  • 2 Avocados 


·          In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sauté the chopped vegetables (onion, bell pepper, butternut squash, garlic) in one to two tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat. You’ll need to stir the ingredients every few minutes so they can cook evenly.

·          Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Cover for about one hour, stirring occasionally. Taste test for spice level and add more chipotle if desired.

·          By the time your chili is done, the butternut squash should be nice and tender and the liquid should have reduced a bit, producing the hearty chili consistency.

·          Serve the chili in individual bowls with plenty of diced avocado. You can add a little sprinkle of red pepper flakes and cilantro to garnish (optional).


·          Try Something New:  Find a new class to try, jump on a new machine at the gym, or maybe hop in the pool to help spice up your workouts.  Just when you are getting bored with your current routine, find something new to get you motivated once again

·          Ditch The Excuses:  Don’t let the never-ending list of excuses get in your way.  Ignore that little voice in your head that is always making up reasons not to workout.

·          Make Workout Appointments:  Set aside specific time every day in your schedule, literally block it out on your calendar, for exercise, making it a priority each and every day.

·          Find a Friend:  When you know your friend is waiting for you at the gym, you are more likely to get there.  Find a friend to hold you accountable and try new workouts together.

·          Set An Event Goal: Sign up for a race a few months away, (The Broad Street Run, for example) and use that as motivation to get training.  When you have a goal in the future and a reason to workout every day, you are more likely to stay on track.

Here’s a workout you can do right in your living room.  You don’t even have to leave your house!

Warm up

  • 25 jumping jacks
  • Go up and down your stairs
Repeat 4 times

Workout: 10 reps of each exercise as many times as you can in 30 minutes

  • Squats
  • Pushups
  • Lunges
  • Tricep dips on your coffee table or couch
  • Sit ups
  • Lateral lunges

Theresa's Healthy Kitchen 'Must Have' 2015

By: Theresa Shank, Registered Dietitian

Start this New Year off right by purchasing kitchen tools that support healthy cooking and eating. Our registered dietitian, Theresa Shank, has shared her favorite kitchen must have for 2015 to keep your motivation for healthy eating strong and your belly full of wholesome nutrition!

The Spiralizer

This simple kitchen tool is the latest gadget taking healthy kitchens by storm! The spiralizer can turn vegetables such as zucchini, carrots, sweet potatoes, or squash into spaghetti “noodles”.

Whether you are a vegetable lover, a low carb monitor, paleo fanatic, or have gluten intolerance, you’ll want to purchase this tool for your healthy kitchen!

The spiralizer can be found at most kitchenware stores such as William and Sonoma or on websites such as Amazon.

Try one of my favorite recipes using a spiralizer from

Exercise, Immunity and You!

The cold and flu season is in full swing and you’re doing everything in your power to ward off pesky viruses but you still don't feel 100%. You have been getting plenty of sleep, eating healthier, and received your annual flu shot. However, have you been exercising regularly? Recent studies have shown that moderate exercise can help boost your immune system. 

Exercise: An Immune Booster

Your immune system is the body’s natural defense against infection. It helps fight viruses and diseases that you are exposed to regularly.  Exercising for 30 to 45 minutes a day can improve your chances of warding off viruses such as colds and may lower your risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercising regularly can help to flush bacteria from the lungs.

For example, during moderate exercise, the body increases the amount of macrophages, which are the cells that attack bacteria, temporarily. During exercise, the body also circulates immune cells throughout your system more efficiently. After exercise, the immune system returns to normal, but habitual exercise may be able to make these changes long lasting.

Everything in Moderation

Working out at an intense level (such as marathon running or intense gym training) is okay from time to time, but is not recommended for daily practice.  Intense training may cause a decrease in the amount of white blood cells circulating in the body which in turn will make you more vulnerable to contracting a cold or virus. Remember, the body needs a period of time to recover from workout routines.

Exercising when you are sick is okay if your symptoms are mild, but pushing too much can be dangerous especially if your symptoms are more severe.  Be sure to always consult with your primary care provider to learn what level of activity is safe.

Let’s Get Moving

To improve you’re immune system and decrease your chances of getting sick it’s important to incorporate the right amount of exercise into your daily routine. Light to moderate exercise a few times a week can be useful, while intense workouts can be detrimental. Talk to your doctor about what level of physical activity is right for you, especially if you are feeling under the weather.

Now, let’s get moving!

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