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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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A Healthier Way to Get Grillin'!

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

Who doesn’t love a summer cookout? If you're a meat eater it's burgers, hot dogs, maybe some ribs or chicken? For the non-meat eaters it's veggie burgers, meatless hot dogs, and an array of grilled vegetables. But is there a place where these two can meet? A delicious, savory and healthy burger that doesn’t offend the vegetarian or vegan among us! Why yes! Enter the Portobello Burger.

Tested by meat eaters and given high scores on several recipe websites, below is a basic recipe for a Portobello Burger that your whole family can enjoy!


What you’ll need for four burgers:

4 Portobello mushroom caps
2 teaspoons grill seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (Includes anchovies, try the recipe below to make your own vegan Worcestershire if need be.)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup grated Cheddar (Remove for vegan recipe.)
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Substitute Nayonaise, a vegan form of mayonnaise for those that don’t eats eggs.)
4 hamburger buns, toasted (Visit your local baker for a real treat!)
A bit of your favorite lettuce or summer greens
1 tomato, sliced (This sandwich is a great excuse to try heirloom varieties.)



  1. Rub the mushroom caps with a damp cloth to clean. Remove stems if attached.
  2. In a small bowl combine the grill seasoning, oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.
  3. Brush over the mushrooms making sure to coat completely. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade for the aioli.
  4. Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill on medium heat. Put the mushrooms, gill side down, onto the grill and grill about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. After you flip the mushrooms, top each with 2 tablespoons of cheddar (if you are using cheese).
  5. While the mushrooms are grilling, make the aioli sauce by combining the remaining 2 tablespoons of the marinade with the mayonnaise in a small bowl.
  6. Spread each hamburger bun with aioli sauce.
    Remove mushrooms from the grill and serve on the toasted buns with lettuce and tomato slices.

Vegan Worcestershire

Combine the following ingredients in a bowl or washed salad dressing bottle.

2 cups apple-cider vinegar 1/2 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup light-brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard seed or dry mustard 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Tags:  August 2014  Cooking  Intellectual  Nutrition  Physical  Recipes  Social 

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Want More Antioxidants? New Research says “Go Organic!”

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

What does the new research say?

The new research, published July 2014 in the British Journal of Nutrition, finds, through an analysis of current research (343 peer reviewed articles), that there appears to be a statistically significant nutritional difference between organic and non-organic foods. Specifically, organic foods had much higher levels of antioxidants. Moreover, pesticide residues were found to be up to four times greater on non-organic produce. Non-organic produce also had higher levels of the toxic metal cadmium.

Why should I care about antioxidants anyway?

Many antioxidant compounds are linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers. The cells that make up your body (as well as all living organisms) oxidize. Essentially, they break down and die. Fish spoils, fruit turns brown, your cells change and die (and are often replaced by new cells such as skin regenerating). While oxidation and dying cells is normal, sometimes damage cells try to repair themselves by taking things from other healthy cells. Antioxidants help to keep these “stealing cells,” also known as free radicals, in check. Many human behaviors, such as smoking, exposure to pollutants externally and nutritionally (pesticides, alcohol, etc.) cause more free radicals. Too many free radicals and the body becomes weaker.

Sure. Easy enough to say, but what about the cost?

If you like statistics, http://www.statcrunch.com/5.0/viewreport.php?reportid=26512, is a great resource that compares the relative cost of organic to non-organic food. The site found that essentially, organic produce, overall, is about $0.17 more expensive per item. If that is significant to you, read below for some cost saving ideas to eat more organic produce.

What are some creative options?

  1. Plant a garden and can or freeze produce for non-growing months. If you don’t have a space for a full garden, consider container planting. Every little bit helps. Not only are gardens great because you know what your food comes in contact with, but they are a great learning tool, a way to get exercise, and can bring communities and families together. Physical, emotional, social, and intellectual wellness in one little plot of dirt. Here is a helpful link about gardening for beginners: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/beginners-guide-organic-gardening. For tips on container gardens, check out http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1647.html.
  2. Invest in a Farm Share or Community Supported Agriculture. If the shares are too big for your family unit, consider splitting a share with some friends or co-workers. Here is a helpful link for finding out more about CSAs: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
  3.  Concentrate on buying the organic option for produce that would typically have the most exposure to chemicals. For instance, buy organic lettuce instead of organic bananas because you can remove the skin of the bananas and some of the harmful toxins.
  4. Visit your local farmers market. The prices are not always better, but there may be some deals, especially at the end of the day.
  5. If you must buy non-organic, make sure to invest in a produce cleaning brush and always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them.


Baranski, M. et al. (July 2014). Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition. doi:10.1017/S0007114514001366

Tags:  Antioxidants  August 2014  Nutrition  Organic  Physical 

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Wellness Still Simple: Exercise proves to be a good prescription…again!

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

We all know that exercise is good for us, but when was the last time your doctor prescribed it?

According to a recent Queensland University of Technology study, women could benefit from actually being prescribed “exercise.” Specifically, high-intensity exercise is both good for women’s overall physical and mental health.

While health professionals often encourage exercise, they could go a step further and actually prescribe tailored exercise programs, according to the authors of the study. The study looked at the health of women over 50 for a period of five years and found that 30-45 minutes of somewhat strenuous exercise per day is most beneficial (this recommendation is more than the previously recommended 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day). The researchers found that these older women were capable of undertaking a range of activities beyond simply walking such as jogging, running, hiking, swimming, and bike riding.

The researchers' final recommendation: Doctors should be developing and prescribing exercise programs that are home-based and easy to incorporate as part of everyday activities.

Debra Anderson, Charlotte Seib, Laura Rasmussen. Can physical activity prevent physical and cognitive decline in postmenopausal women? Maturitas, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.06.010

Tags:  August 2014  Exercise  Physical  Women 

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August Inspiration: Spiritual Wellness

Posted By NWI, Friday, August 1, 2014
Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014

This month’s wellness inspiration is inspired by Spiritual Wellness, being connected to something greater than ourselves. During the summer months (adjust appropriately for your hemisphere), we get to enjoy warmer weather, may stay outside more, and get to connect to our surroundings and environment. Our connection to the great outdoors is so important to our overall wellness there is even a term for doctors prescribing time in the great outdoors, "Park Rx."

Below are a few sentiments to inspire you to fulfill your Park Rx while the weather is nice, stars are shooting in the skies, and the nearest body of water beckons.


There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more. -Lord Byron

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. -Charles A. Lindbergh

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. -John Burroughs

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves, I skip down the street and run against the wind. -Leo Buscaglia

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous. -Aristotle 

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. -Helen Keller

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.  -Hal Borland

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. -Langston Hughes 

Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.  -Dag Hammarskjold 

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.  - William Hazlitt 

Nature always tends to act in the simplest way.  -Bernoulli

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.  -Greek Proverb

When preparing to climb a mountain – pack a light heart. -Dan May

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. -Edward Abbey

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. -Henry David Thoreau

Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth. -Walt Whitman

Nature has a funny way of breaking what does not bend.  –Alice Walker

If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. -Raymond Inmon

Tags:  August 2014  Environment  Inspiration  Nature  Social  Spiritual 

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Wellness in 10+: What happy people do differently!

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

HappinessAfter writing about the detrimental impact of feeling lonely in another article for this month’s Wellness News You Can Use, we have decided to dedicate Wellness in 10 to the things that happy people do differently. If you are on Facebook, or get forwarded e-mails, you may have seen the Top 10 lists of what "happy people do differently." There are many of these lists in circulation. For this Top 10, we gathered our wellness favorites from around the web. You’ll notice there are more than 10. There is always room for more happiness! J

Happy people…

·         Seek balance

·         Don’t sweat the small stuff

·         Take responsibility for their actions

·         Surround themselves with other happy people

·         Are honest with themselves and others

·         Smile often and show other signs of happiness (p.s. you can fake it until you make it…it helps!)

·         Are passionate

·         See challenges as opportunities

·         Live in the present

·         Engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle 

·         Practice gratitude

·         Practice optimism

·         Focus on inner happiness and not material wealth

·         Develop coping strategies

·         Take time out for themselves and their health

·         Cultivate spiritual emotions

·         Don’t care if they are liked

·         Love their friends and family, but don’t rely on them

·         When you ask them what they do, they don’t give you a job title

·         When you ask them where they live, they say, “at the moment…”

·         Embrace their impermanence

·         Don’t try to change people, but work to accept them

·         Believe age is just a number

·         Never stop learning

·         Don’t gossip

·         Never expect anything in return

·         Avoid complaining

·         Work on forgiveness

·         Savor the small things

·         Commit to goals

·         Take the time to listen

·         Get enough sleep

·         Eat well

·         Exercise

·         Treat everyone with kindness

·         Obey their conscience

·         Take time to relax

·         Know the difference between "need" and "want"

·         Help others thrive

·        (Comment below to add your thoughts to the list!)

How to use this list: Pick one or two items to practice each day. Wake up and say, “Today I will learn something new, show kindness to each individual I encounter, etc…”

Tags:  Emotional  Happiness  Intellectual  July 2014  Occupational  Physical  Social  Spiritual  Wellness In 10 

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Feelings of Loneliness, not Social Isolation, Determinant of Dementia

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Lonely manRecently published research (2014) in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry  found that feelings of loneliness, not actual social isolation, are correlated with increased risks of dementia.

While there are many known risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia, this research looked specifically at the feelings of loneliness as a predictor as compared to actual social isolation. In fact, social isolation alone was not associated with increased risks of dementia according to the research.

Why is this important? The study authors assert that the feelings of loneliness deserve clinical attention and should be addressed rather than ignored. And the feelings can increase other risk factors. For your overall wellness, take feelings of loneliness seriously, even if you are surrounded by loved ones.

Holwerda, T.A., Deeg, D., Beekman, A.T.F., Van Tilburg, T.G., Stek, M.L., Jonker, C., Schoevers, R.A. (2014). Feelings of loneliness, but not social isolation, predict dementia onset: results from the Amsterdam Study of the Elderly. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2014;85:135-142 doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-302755

Tags:  Dementia  Emotional  Intellectual  July 2014  Loneliness  Memory  Social 

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Does this Neighborhood Make me Look Fat?

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
WalkableResearch released in June from the American Diabetes Association showed that individuals who live in neighborhoods that are conducive to walking (think walking trails or city neighborhoods with resources like grocery stores within walking distance) experience a lower rate of obesity and diabetes.

The more we rely on (or have to rely on) our cars, the more unhealthy we are.

The study done over a 10-year period by a team of Canadian scientists pointed out that an individual’s environment could be secretly working against their overall health. Specifically, the studies found that people living in neighborhoods with greater walkability saw on average a 13 percent lower development of diabetes incidence over 10 years than those that were less walkable. Overweight and obesity, as well, was lowest in the most walkable neighborhoods and fell by 9 percent over 10 years, whereas it rose 13 percent in neighborhoods with the least walkability during that time, according to the research.

What can you do about it? Short of moving, look for every opportunity to get up and walk (park farther away, walk your dog, find a nearby nature trail, etc.). If you are moving, you might consider the neighborhood as well as its walkable resources. Instead of letting your environment determine your physical activity, be determined to move as much as you can.

For more information visit the American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2014/do-walkable-neighborhoods-reduce-obesity-and-diabetes.html#sthash.VY2LQdjb.dpuf

Tags:  Diabetes  Environment  July 2014  Physical  Social  Weight 

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Inspiration: 2014 Graduation Wisdom

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Graduation WisdomThe season of graduations slightly behind us, this month’s inspiration will focus on the pearls of wisdom intended for recent graduates that can inspire us all.

Even if graduation seems like a long time ago, it is never too late to be inspired, strive for excellence, and truly believe you can change the world.

“It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead but how we will lead, not just to secure our peace and prosperity but also extend peace and prosperity around the globe.” - President Obama at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, May 28

“There is no easy time to say hard things. Graduates, throughout your lives, do not be afraid to of saying what you believe is right, no matter how unpopular it might be, especially when it comes to defending the rights of others. Stand up for the rights of others. And in some ways, it’s even more important than standing up for your own rights. Because when people seek to repress freedom for some and you may remain silent, you are complicit in that repression, and you may well become its victim. Do not be complicit, do not follow the crowd, speak up and fight back.” - Michael Bloomberg at Harvard University, May 29

“Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth says that what really matters is a quality she calls ‘grit:’ An abiding commitment to work hard toward long range goals and to persevere through the setbacks that come along the way. One aspect of grit I think is particularly important is the willingness to take a stand when circumstances demand it. Such circumstances may not be all that frequent, but in every life there will be crucial moments when having the courage to stand up for what you believe will be immensely important.” - Janet Yellen at New York University, May 21

“Talent alone isn’t enough, you need something more. One thing that distinguishes those who really make a difference in life those who really contribute is passion and hard work. Remember: Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Don’t be content to work around the edges of your profession. Don’t wait to be invited to important meetings or asked to work on crucial assignments. Instead, do what it takes to ensure that you’re in the middle of your business. Speak up, volunteer, show your enthusiasm, knock on doors. Address challenges head on. Remember: hope is not a strategy. Problems don’t go away when you ignore them, they tend to get bigger.” - Mary Barra at University of Michigan, May 3

“Here is what I’ve learned: We may live in an age of instant messaging, instant gratification, and Instagram, but there is no way to short circuit the path to success. It takes hard work, tenacity and patience. There are many things you can do overnight. You can write a decent paper. You can put the finishing touches on a runway show. I hear you can even have a pretty good time at Roger’s Pub. But there is no such thing as an overnight success.” Tory Burch at Babson College, May 17

“I’ve seen so many people hold themselves back. I’ve seen them sit on the side of the room rather than at the table. I’ve seen them sit in the back rather than in the front. I’ve seen them lower their hands rather than keep them up and I’ve seen them lower their voices when they should speak up. I’ve seen over and over again how much self-belief drives outcomes, and that’s why I force myself to sit at the table even when I’m not sure I belong there–and that still happens to me. And when I’m not sure anyone wants my opinion, I speak up anyway.” Sheryl Sandberg at City Colleges of Chicago, May 3

“I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejections from grad school. You know the sting of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.” - Jill Abramson at Wake Forest University, May 19

"If this day means anything, it means that you are now in the contingent of the responsible. You must be kind, yes, but you must also look beyond your own house. We're depending on you for your efforts and your vision. We are depending on your eye and your imagination to identify what wrongs exist and persist, and on your hands, your backs, your efforts to right them." - David Remnick at Syracuse University, May 11

"A few things do seem clear to me. We will have to think our way, not bludgeon our way, into the future. There will be more options, but also more ambiguity in dealing with the challenges we face. You will need to find, fix and remain true to your moral compass, or you'll find yourself paralyzed." - Martin Dempsey, at Duke University, May 11

"People often say: find your passion. But there’s more to it than that. Not all passions are enough. Just existing for your desires feels empty and insufficient, because our desires are fleeting and insatiable. You need a loyalty. The only way life is not meaningless is to see yourself as part of something greater: a family, a community, a society." - Atul Gawande at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 11

"If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. ... And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better." - Naval Admiral William H. McRaven at the University of Texas-Austin, May 17

“If I learned one thing, it is that self-doubt is one of the most destructive forces. It makes you defensive instead of open, reactive instead of active. Self-doubt is consuming and cruel. And my hope today is that we can all collectively agree to ban it. Think to the moments of your life when you forgot to doubt yourself. When you were so inspired that you were just living and creating and working. Pay attention to those moments because they're trying to reach you through those lenses of doubt and trying to show you your potential." - Jennifer Lee at the University of New Hampshire, May 17

"I think the lesson is this: Had I worked at Fidelity I am sure they would have fired me eventually. I can barely do long division. But I didn't want to fail at Fidelity. And I did not want to fail in Boston. If I was going to run the risk of failure I wanted it to be in the place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do. And let me tell you something, I did fail. Over and over again. I was too short for this or too weird for that. I had one casting agent say this man will never work in comedy. But I was in the fight. I was taking my punches, but I was in the fight." - Charlie Day at Merrimack College, May 18

Tags:  Emotional  Inspiration  Intellectual  July 2014  Occupational  Social  Spiritual 

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Sun Safety Tips

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Sun SafetySkin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Every year there are more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are the main cause of skin cancer and ultraviolet radiation (from tanning beds) is a proven human carcinogen.
The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented. July is National UV Safety Month, here are a few ways that you can be sure that you are protecting yourself from the sun’s rays and skin cancer.

1. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 of higher.
2. Limit your time in the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is strongest.
3. Prevent burning by limiting exposure, wearing sun protection, and dressing to cover your skin (including your head, the top of your ears, your eyes, your nose, and your feet). Burning even a single time increases your chance of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer; burn five or more times and you double your lifetime risk.
4. Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths. Tanning is never safe whether acquired on the beach or in a salon. A tan occurs when your skin creates a wall of darker pigment to protect itself from further damage that occurs when unprotected skin is overexposed to UV radiation.
5. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating. And remember, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside to allow it to soak into your skin.
6. Examine your body from head to toe every month. Look for changes in your skin such a spot that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, or bleed; a mole, beauty mark, or brown spot that changes color, texture, or size; or any new marks or spots on the skin that have any of the above features.

For more information visit http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines/preventing-skin-cancer or for more on UV Safety Month visit http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/JulyToolkit.aspx

Tags:  July 2014  Physical  Sun  Sunburn 

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Coconut Oil: Should you believe the hype?

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Coconut oilThere’s been a lot of hype lately about coconut oil. It wasn’t too long ago that many experts recommended avoiding coconut oil because it is high in saturated fats. In addition, coconut oil got a bad rap because much of the coconut oil produced a few decades ago was highly processed and full of additional additives. The “healthy” coconut oil that is lauded today is a much purer form of the oil.

Still…should you believe the hype? The truth is, most of the research is inconclusive regarding additional benefits associated with coconut oil (such as weight loss). The saturated fat in coconut oil is still higher than that of olive oil and olive oil has proven heart benefits, whereas coconut oil does not.

Bottom line…if you enjoy the taste of coconut oil, use it sparingly. For everyday cooking, opt for olive oil.

Melnick, M. (April 4, 2014). Is coconut oil really all it’s really cracked up to be? The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/coconut-oil-healthy_n_5167057.html.

The Beating Edge Team (October 30, 2013). Olive oil vs. coconut oil: Which is heart-healthier? The Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from http://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/10/olive-oil-vs-coconut-oil-which-is-heart-healthier/

Willett, W. (May 2011). Ask the doctor: Coconut oil. Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2011/May/coconut-oil

Tags:  Coconut Oil  Diet  July 2014  Nutrition  Physical 

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