A Nutty Way to Snack Healthy

Do you enjoy snacking on a handful of nuts every now and then? If you look at the nutrition label, you might feel a twinge of guilt over your choice of snack food. Well, relax and enjoy! Nuts DO have a lot of fat in them, but most of the fat is the healthy kind—monounsaturated fat. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and peanuts are all good sources of monounsaturated fats.

This healthy kind of fat can help lower your cholesterol as well as reduce your risk of high blood pressure and some cancers.

Some research has also shown people who eat nuts tend to eat less food and control their weight better than people who don’t, possibly because nuts are more satisfying than other snack options.

The only caution is to watch your serving size. Nuts also have lots of calories, so limit yourself to one quarter-cup serving a day.


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Posted by on March 29, 2015 in Wellness


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Butter vs. Margarine

Guidance from the Athens Regional Health Education Team 

Which is healthier for your heart? Answering that question will depend on which margarine you choose and you’ll have to do a little detective work.

What’s In It?

Butter is made from animal fats, which are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol level.

Margarine is made from vegetable oils and so it has less saturated fat than butter.

However, margarine can be made with hydrogenated oils, better known as trans-fat, to help keep it solid at room temperature. Trans-fat makes your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down—a double whammy!

Check the Label

Check the label of the margarine you are eating. Look for zero grams of trans-fat. Since a product can have less than half a gram of trans-fat and still list zero grams per serving, read the ingredient list for “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.

One bonus for margarine—if you choose a brand fortified with plant sterols, it can actually help lower your cholesterol!

Spread Sparingly

Whatever spread you choose to use, use it sparingly. Fat and calories from butter or margarine add up fast and mean extra pounds on you.


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Posted by on March 25, 2015 in Wellness


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What’s in Your Glass?

Is your drink keeping you from losing weight? Beverages can have lots of calories and they don’t satisfy your hunger any more than plain water. Here are some sample calorie counts of what you might be drinking:

Coffee Shop Mochas, Lattes, Cappuccinos, Hot Chocolate

Expect to drink from 200 to 350 calories for a 12-ounce cup—more for the bigger cups!  Coffee and tea have NO calories, unless you add cream (20-40 calories per teaspoon) or sugar (16 calories per teaspoon).


These have 400 to 1000+ calories, depending on where you buy it and how big it is. There may or may not be any real milk in it.

Fruit Smoothies

These can range from 300 to 550 calories for a 20 ounce cup, mostly from added sugar.


For an 8-ounce serving, orange juice has around 110 calories. Grape juice has 160 calories. Vegetable juice has 50 calories. That’s with no added sugar, so check the label!


There are about 90 calories in a cup of skim (non-fat) milk and 150 in a cup of whole (full-fat) milk.


All non-diet colas have around 100 calories per eight ounces. That’s 250 calories for a 20-ounce bottle.

Soda vs. Water

Know What’s in Your Glass

Some of these beverages have more nutrition than others. Milk provides calcium and real fruit/vegetable juices contain vitamins. Small servings of these are ok. However, if you are routinely drinking high-calorie beverages with meals or to quench your thirst, you may be adding extra calories and unwanted pounds!

Drink Water

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Posted by on March 6, 2015 in Wellness


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Kick the Habit in 2015

Courage to QuitBy: Katie Calkin | Master Certified Health Education Specialist

We want to help you be a quitter in 2015. Here’s why:

People can gain 10 or more years of life by quitting tobacco. Quitting is the single best thing tobacco users can do for their length and quality of life.

As a health educator, it’s a privilege to be a part of people’s quit journey when they attend the Courage to Quit classes at Athens Regional. I love hearing people say how much better they feel after they quit. All the participants in the September class left the last session tobacco-free. I was thrilled to get the email below from one of them:

“When I have ‘quit’ in the past it felt good. But it was more like I was counting the days that I had been without smoking and almost subconsciously realizing that I would be back on the cigs. Today’s epiphany that I had feels so much more like LIBERATION than anything else. I feel like I’ve shaken the burden of cigarettes and the last two days have just felt amazing mentally and physically. Clear, sharp thinking and I can already tell that I’m breathing better after stopping cold turkey this past Sunday around 8 p.m. Thanks once again for your time, support and sweet spirit.”

Courage to Quit classes are 4 one-hour sessions. They’re designed for people who are ready to quit during the sessions. We talk about tools for quitting and for managing stress without tobacco.

Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. Courage to Quit has a positive focus giving people structure and support to turn their desire to be tobacco-free into a concrete quit plan.

Register for Courage to Quit

Are you ready to quit? Our next Courage to Quit session is Tuesday evenings in February. The first class is Feb. 3. Call 706-475-1029 to register.

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Uncategorized


De-Stress Your Holidays

By Casey Bryant, BSW Intern | Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support

Stress LessWith all the gift giving, social gatherings and delicious food, most would think it nearly impossible to not enjoy the holiday season. Though it is filled with obvious delightful happenings, the holiday season contains masked stressors that can make this season not so jolly. While preparing our invitation lists for our gatherings and parties, we must do our best to ensure that these “uninvited guests” don’t show up.

Holiday stressors, combined with managing a serious illness or caring for someone with a serious illness, can cause great difficulties in the holiday season but the added pressures that are presented do not have to stop us from having a happy holiday.

Plan Ahead

To prevent stress and encourage self-care, it is imperative we plan ahead for the holiday season. Whether it be gift planning, party planning, or menu planning, this step can greatly prevent the amount of stress experienced during the holidays and leave more time for self-care and patient care.

Know Boundaries and Limits

During the planning period and throughout the holiday season, it is important that we be aware of our boundaries and limits. Knowing and adhering to these are a great way to keep the level of stress manageable.

Ask for Help

We all want to see the ones we love happy and we want to see ourselves happy and in good health. Even though we do our best to prevent, sometimes things still happen. In the event that we find ourselves overwhelmed or having difficulty managing, help is always a phone call away. Never hesitate to reach out to a family member or friend for help and certainly never hesitate to reach out to us here at the Loran Smith Center.

More to Help You

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.

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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Loran Smith Center, Wellness


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Coping with Grief During the Holidays

By Caroline Sharkey, MSW Intern | Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support

HolidayFor people experiencing grief, the holidays can be an especially difficult time. While temporary, the surge of grief and memories can feel like a tailspin. We are reminded of all that has been lost and how different these times of year are as a result. The first step to coping with grief during the holidays is recognizing that the resurgence of grief is a normal part of the healing process and that being prepared can help to lessen the intensity.

Loss changes everything, but with support, being patient with yourself, and a few strategies, the holidays can be a time of expression and growth.

Be kind to yourself

Grief can feel like a roller coaster and emotional set-backs are normal. By realizing that you can only do what you are able to realistically and comfortably manage allows for the expression of feelings.

Express yourself

Having an outlet for your feelings such as journaling, increased exercise, time alone, or time with friends and family can help to process the pangs of grief.

Ask for help

Ask for what you need. While it may feel necessary to carry on a favorite tradition in memory of the deceased, if doing so feels too hard it’s okay to do something different. Too often those around us want to celebrate the holidays as usual and hearing how best they can help and how hard this time of year is for you provides them with insight as to how they can be supportive. Ask for help, delegate and create the boundaries that help you to get through.

Consider traditions

For some, carrying on with beloved traditions is a great source of comfort, while it can be unbearable for others. Consider creating new traditions, even those that may be temporary. This might be a good year to spend the holidays “paying it forward” and assisting at an area agency helping those in need or surrounding yourself with family and friends.

Whatever you decide, do what you can to create the support for yourself that helps you to get through. There is no one way to celebrate the holidays any more than there is one way to grieve. No matter what, remember that this is all a part of the process of moving forward.

More to Help You

Our Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support provides information, education and emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients and their families in north Georgia. It serves as a resource for patients before, during and after cancer treatment through support groups, individual and family counseling and an educational resource library.

To speak to someone at the center, call 706-475-4900.

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Loran Smith Center


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Raising Award-Winning Dough

It pays to be creative — and quite a baker — when raising dough for the In Their Shoes Athens Cancer Walk.

To help meet her fundraising goal, April Myers bakes cakes for donations. Not only have her desserts raised enough for her to participate in three walks, they’ve earned her awards.

Her strawberry cake won the top cake award at the spring 2014 Jaemor Farms Strawberry Festival. Then, she traveled back to Jaemor Farms for their Peach Festival in August and her fresh peach cake earned overall winner in the cake category while her Fresh Peach Delight was the Overall Grand Prize Desserts winner.

Congratulations, April, and thank you for your continued support of the free programs offered at the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support for local cancer patients and their families.

April Myers Wins Baking Awards


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