Replenishing Your Skin’s Natural Moisture

February 9, 2020 Leave a comment

When cold outdoor air mixes with warm indoor air, it can take a toll on your skin. According to Cooper Clinic Preventive and Cosmetic Dermatologist Kejal R. Shah, MD, FAAD, our skin is a very dynamic structure. Winter weather can cause dryness, itching and even painful cracking.

Give Dr. Shah’s winter skin care tips a try to retain your skin’s moisture this winter season!

Replenish Your Home’s Moisture

Keeping your thermostat set to a low to moderate setting and placing a humidifier in a room where you spend most of your time can help replenish the moisture in your top layer of skin. As cozy as it can be, don’t sit too close to your fireplace or directly under heating vents as this can dry out your skin even more.

Moisturize Head-to-Toe

  • Face: With so many moisturizing products on the market today, it can be overwhelming knowing which one will give you the most bang for your buck. Dr. Shah recommends using a thick, cream-based moisturizer twice a day—once in the morning and once at night. Look for key ingredients such as ceramics, hyaluronic acid or glycerin to lock in moisture and give you a beautiful glow.
  • Lips: Invest in a lip balm that has aloe vera and vitamin E and avoid products that contain rubbing alcohol.
  • Hands: Commit to using a hand cream with urea each time you after wash your hands to protect your skin during the harsh winter months.
  • Feet: Cream-based products with urea in them are particularly effective for areas that can get especially dry such as the feet and even hands and elbows.

The Gentler, the Better

Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. During the winter, avoid scrubs or exfoliants as they strip away your skin’s natural oils, further reducing its moisture content.

Rub-a-Dub, but Don’t Scrub

As tempting as it is to treat yourself to a long, hot bath or shower on a cold winter night, it’s important to keep your bathing routine short and sweet to retain your skin’s moisture. Dr. Shah suggests taking warm showers lasting about 5-10 minutes. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel and apply a thick body moisturizer right away to help your skin trap and hold onto the moisture throughout the night.

Make Sunscreen a Year-Round Routine

Don’t be fooled by the lack of sunshine in the winter. Our skin is constantly under attack by free radicals and UV radiation year-round. This is why it is best to wear sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF and that contains zinc or titanium to protect your skin from all types of UV rays, even on cold and cloudy days.

As our skin’s needs change with the seasons, so should your skin care routine! By taking care of your skin and keeping it moisturized throughout the winter, you’ll be sure to reap the benefits of healthy, hydrated and happy skin just in time for spring.

For more information or to schedule a comprehensive skin exam at Cooper Clinic Dermatology, visit cooperclinicdermatology.com or call 972.367.6000.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Transforming Company Culture

January 13, 2020 Leave a comment

Cooper Wellness Strategies’ client Kristen Wall of Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Corporation (LWCC) shares her testimonial with us. As president and CEO of LWCC, she says that being a client has impacted her life in a personal way and inspired her to transform her company’s culture.

My wellness journey started over a decade ago when I first began going to Cooper Clinic for my executive physical. During my time there, I learned so much about the importance of focusing on personal wellness. Although I was only there for one day each year, I learned that it is what you do every day after that really impacts your life. My personal experience with Cooper Clinic changed the way I viewed dedicating time to my wellness and I decided to make some real changes—and empower others to do the same.

I knew I had to share the great work of Cooper Clinic so I brought my fellow LWCC executives to Cooper for a retreat to learn about the importance of being “Fit to Lead.” During this retreat, we began to realize you can’t lead others or an organization without first taking care of yourself.

Building on this new knowledge, I then discovered Gerald Drefahl, a local wellness expert who focused on kinesiology, and his companies, FITT and Kinesics, which are centered on the importance of functional movement. Being in the workers’ comp business, we know how critical mobility, range of motion and overall fitness are to injury prevention. Through a pilot program with FITT, we experienced the benefits of the FITT-Kinesics methodology. Participants from our company saw improved range of motion, decreased pain and improved productivity. After this, we knew we had to bring this type of program to our entire organization.  

We then worked to bring a best-in-class experience to LWCC. We knew Cooper Wellness Strategies was the expert we wanted to operate our facility due to its great success in developing corporate wellness programs focusing on all facets of wellness, from nutrition to cardio health. Combining the Cooper and FITT models offers our employees the best of both worlds. Together, both teams developed exercise programs built around a functional movement model utilizing cable-based equipment, which has been featured in our newly remodeled fitness center.

The objective of our new wellness program is to challenge our colleagues to adopt a healthy living mindset so they and their families can live healthier and longer lives. We want to create a program that removes barriers to exercise and movement by meeting each employee where they are. We want to encourage our team members to envision where they could be by starting with one decision at a time and taking small steps to get there.

Since the launch of our new wellness program and the redesign of our fitness center in July 2018, we have seen exponential growth in engagement and participation along with unmatched success. In just the first year of opening the new fitness center we saw a 23 percent increase in our fitness center membership—more importantly, our employees are using the center! On average, we see over 900 check-ins per month, with employees actively participating in small group classes and individualized exercise programs. Additionally, roughly 25 percent of our members are “active” by checking in to the fitness center more than five times a month.

The Cooper Wellness Strategies team has been integral to the success of our new approach and program for LWCC. Through this partnership, we have begun to make a positive impact in the lives of our colleagues. We are fortunate to work with the Cooper Wellness Strategies team on this and many other initiatives and are pleased to spread their knowledge and positive messages to our organization and employees.

Kristin W. Wall
LWCC President & Chief Executive Officer

Categories: Cooper Updates

Slenderize Your Surroundings

December 5, 2019 Leave a comment

Let’s be honest, sometimes the easy choices aren’t always the healthiest ones – especially when it comes to your eating habits. Instead of relying on willpower to achieve your goals and making certain foods off limits, follow these practical tips to make choosing healthier food more convenient and appealing.

Put the most healthful food in plain sight
Place pre-cut fruit and veggies on eye-level shelves in your refrigerator. You will be more likely to grab these items if they are clearly in front of you.

Keep tempting foods invisible and inconvenient
Out of sight, out of mind!

Buy single-serve foods
To aid in portion control, try buying single-serving bags of popcorn, individual containers of yogurt or 100-calorie pack of nuts. Or portion larger bags into single servings right when you get home from the store.

Set parameters around where you can eat
Location is important when it comes to meals!For example,only eat when sitting at the dining table rather than in front of the TV or in bed.

Turn off the TV and all other screens during mealtime. This is a sacred time to enjoy the company and the food around you.

You don’t have to sacrifice convenience for healthy, nor do you have to forgo tasty for healthy! Stock up your pantry with these nutritional essentials that will make healthy eating a breeze.

Conveniently Healthy Foods
Dry goods
Aim for no-salt-added canned goods such as:
Tomato sauce
Unsalted chicken or vegetable broth
Nuts

Try buying legume-based pastas, parboiled brown rice and quinoa to have on hand for healthy side dishes.

“Hunger-busters”
Consider these your safeguard in preventing unhealthy or mindless snacking:

Non-fat Greek yogurt
Eggs
Skim milk
String cheese
Low-sodium and nitrate-free turkey slices
Pre-cut veggies and fruit
Hummus
Mini guacamole cups

Flavor enhancers
Kick it up a notch and add flavor to simple meals by topping them with:

Vinegars
Mustard
Your favorite spices and dried herbs
Low-sodium salsa

Be sure to have healthy cooking oils on hand, too. Go for extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil or flaxseed oil.

Pantry staples
Hungry for a healthy sandwich? Keep these ingredients on hand:

Canned tuna or salmon
Peanut butter
100% whole grain bread 
For an easy snack to satisfy your munchies try:
Whole grain crackers
High-fiber, low-sugar cereals

When in doubt, throw it out!
Make the healthy choices the easy choices by organizing your surroundings and your food storage space to meet your goals.

Rid your fridge and clean out your pantry as needed before grocery shopping. A clean fridge is a healthy fridge. Follow this “Healthy Refrigerator” infographic to help you clean out and organize your refrigerator to set you up for success.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article written by Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD, Cooper Weight Loss Team Lead

Categories: Cooper Updates

Plan Your Perfect Parfait

November 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Packed with protein, nutrients and powerful antioxidants yogurt parfaits can be an ideal choice for breakfast on the go. Start/begin with a base of protein-filled Greek yogurt and add the benefits of berries and top with whole grains to get your fill of fiber.

Dazzle with Dairy:  Greek Yogurt
Calcium is needed to build strong bones and teeth and helps prevent bone density loss. Breakfast is a convenient window during the day to include a serving of high calcium sources such as milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese or fortified soy milk. For example, 8 ounces of Greek yogurt provides approximately 230 milligrams of calcium and 8 ounces of skim milk provides 300 milligrams of calcium, which is about one quarter to two thirds of one’s daily recommended calcium intake.

Protein found in dairy is another nutritious benefit. Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt with one serving of Greek yogurt averaging about 14 grams of protein, which is the equivalent to 2 ounces of lean meat.

Berry Beneficial
Antioxidant powerhouse: The antioxidant properties found in berries may reduce your risk of disease by decreasing inflammation in your body.

Fiber: The soluble fiber in berries can slow down movement of food through our digestive track leading to reduced hunger and increasing the feeling of fullness.

Mental health: Berries have antioxidants that have been associated with keeping memory sharp as you age.

Chia Seeds:  Tiny but Mighty
Just 1 Tbsp. of these little seeds provides 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 80 milligrams of calcium.

Wholesome Whole Grains
Sources include 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries, whole grain pasta and whole grain cereals. Not all granola cereals are created equal—look for the word whole as the first word on the ingredient list. Some have the addition of coconut and coconut oil, both high in saturated fat, the type of fat that can potentially raise the bad cholesterol in blood.

Whole grains play an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as contribute to body weight management and gastrointestinal health.

Try this tasty parfait recipe at home!

Blog and recipe provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Rise and Brine this Thanksgiving

November 8, 2019 Leave a comment

There’s nothing worse than having a dry bird as the main course on Thanksgiving. You may be surprised by how you can elevate this Thanksgiving staple from mundane to magnificent. The answer is giving the bird a bath—more specifically, a brine bath!

Lean meats like turkey, chicken, pork chops, pork loin or tenderloin can benefit from brining. Brining helps meats retain moisture while they cook by soaking them in salt water, which enhances the tenderness, juices and flavor with various herbs and spices. While brines do require salt, which some may be avoiding, the meat absorbs less than one percent of the sodium in the brine itself.

The following brine recipe is sufficient for the following portions of meat:

  • Per 1 pound of turkey
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 pork tenderloins

If you are brining larger portions you can double or triple the recipe.

Making the Brine:

  • 4 cups cold water
  • 4 Tbsp. table salt or kosher salt
  • Optional herbs and spices:
    • Peppercorns
    • Juniper berries
    • Rosemary
    • Thyme
    • Sage sprigs
    • Bay leaves
    • Allspice berries
    • Whole cloves
    • Star anise

The Brining Process:

  1. Add salt, herbs and spices to the water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add meat to the pot of boiling salt water. Turn off the heat.
  3. Let the meat soak for the following times depending on the type of meat.
  4. After the allotted time, remove the meat and follow your personal recipe for cooking instructions.

Time to Brine:

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

Article provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates

Honey: Health and Hype

October 10, 2019 Leave a comment

Possibly the oldest recognized source of sugar, the use of honey dates back to around 2100 B.C.—beating good old table sugar by an estimated 2,450 years! Many people prefer natural sources of sugar, with honey often making the top of the list. This historic confectionery sweetens many pantry shelves and recipes. Read on as we dive into hype surrounding honey.

Honey in jar and bunch of dry lavender

Is Honey an Allergy Remedy?
There is conflicting research on honey serving as a remedy for allergies, which demands more research be conducted before solid claims can be made. In a preliminary study, allergy sufferers were given a tablespoon of local unfiltered honey, pasteurized honey or honey-flavored corn syrup daily for 30 weeks. No significant benefits were noted between groups. However in another four-week study, significant benefits were seen in allergy sufferers who were given antihistamine medication along with honey, as compared to the groups receiving the antihistamine and honey-flavored corn syrup.

Is Honey a Sugar Alternative?
Some argue honey is a healthier alternative due to minimal processing as opposed to other types of sugar. However, the body metabolizes honey no differently than it does standard table sugar. When it comes to any sweetener—including sugar, honey, syrup or agave nectar—the body will break it down and absorb it equally, not knowing the difference between types. Bottom line, enjoy honey in moderation!

Does Honey Have Prebiotic Properties?
It has been said honey can also be used as a remedy for diarrhea or gastroenteritis; however there is limited data to support this. Honey contains carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides, which may serve as potentially good gut bacteria. It should be noted that this prebiotic benefit is likely small and not as significant as other rich sources of prebiotic carbohydrates such as onion, garlic, asparagus and bananas.

Does Honey Have an Expiration Date?
There have been archeological findings of 3,000-year-old pots of edible honey in the Egyptian pyramids! It was initially thought this was due to the high sugar content, low pH and antibacterial nature of honey. However, nothing is immune to the effects of aging as honey will lose flavor and harden in consistency. The FDA advises honey be tossed out two years from the date of purchase if it is not refrigerated after opening.

Cooking Purposes

  • Besides carbohydrate content, there is little difference between honey and standard table sugar.
    • Honey = 17 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • Standard table sugar = 12 grams of sugar/tablespoon
    • A 20-calorie difference between the two
  • When baking with honey:
    • 1 cup of sugar can be substituted for ¾ cup honey
    • Reduce all liquids by ¼ and add 1 teaspoon of baking soda for every 1 cup honey called for in the recipe. Due to honey being very dense and viscous, the addition of baking soda aids in leavening, helping the final product rise and be lighter and airy.
    • Lower the temperature by 25° F to prevent over-browning

Blog post provided by Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Categories: Cooper Updates, Nutrition

Bringing Hope and Healing Worldwide

Fifteen years ago, President and Chief Executive Officer and preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, Camron E. Nelson, MD, received a phone call while on vacation from the president of ServingHIM ministries, Kevin Seidler, DDS. “Dr. Kenneth Cooper was supposed to go with the team that year to Romania to help out with the health fair that they put on but had to cancel due to a speaking engagement, so he suggested Dr. Seidler give me a call,” Nelson explained. “I asked him who was in charge of the health fair and he answered, ‘Well you are and you better hurry because the team is leaving for Romania in six weeks!’”

After meeting with Dr. Seidler the following week, Nelson was sold and agreed to coordinate the health fair that year. Almost two decades later, he now serves as the Medical Director for ServingHIM ministries, providing oversight of the medical and dentistry teams that come alongside the churches in each of the countries to serve as a beacon to the community, with Brăila, Romania, being the longest operational ministry site.

The first year Nelson volunteered he was overwhelmed by the immense medical needs of the Romanian community and the lack of proper equipment needed for the team. Volunteers conducted dental work in lawn chairs and had to get a bit creative, hooking up a Shop-Vac to dental suction tools. He saw numerous patients with hypertension for which he was only able to prescribe a 30-60 day medication regimen with no way of providing long-term treatment. “I was discouraged beyond belief thinking, what am I even doing here to make a difference if these people can’t afford to have this prescription refilled,” recalled Nelson. “Then I realized that God wasn’t asking me to just go and practice medicine but to go share the hope of the gospel with these people and that is where true healing is found.”
Romania2
The ministry team put together adequate donations in the following years to purchase state-of-the-art equipment in order to provide state-of-the-art care to community members in need. Today, you walk into the dental clinic and see the same set-up as you would see in Dallas. “God has been so good to provide exactly what the team needed each step of the way to care for the community”.

June of this year, after a full 24 hours of travel, the team settled in for a 10-day endeavor with volunteers ranging from 15 to 82 years old. The week began with a two-day pastors’ conference with one pastor from Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and another from Houston in tow to help equip and encourage the local Romanian pastors in the area. The health fair followed, helping educate the community on proper dental and medical care we often take for granted such as the importance of brushing your teeth and flossing.

The 35-person team included three dentists, three dental hygienists, Cooper Clinic’s own dermatologist Rick Wilson, MD, FASDS, FABVLM, a gynecologist, breast radiologist and internal medical physician. Nelson went right to work opening the clinic’s doors with the team seeing 110 patients per day Monday through Friday. Through the course of the trip, two cases of breast cancer and a severe case of melanoma skin cancer were detected and the patients were directed to receive proper care and treatment at the local medical school.

The dental team performed many teeth filling and extraction procedures, which Nelson helped support by monitoring patients with high blood pressures or abnormal blood sugar levels before the procedure. The doctors spent roughly an hour and a half with each patient due to the extent of the dental work required, with some patients having gone without ever brushing their teeth before. “We don’t come to bring American ideology, just American expertise,” said Nelson.

Outside the clinic, the team helped the Romanian church pastors identify people in poverty in the villages by providing food baskets and even goats to be used for breeding along with milk and cheese. Vacation Bible Schools were hosted in four villages located 15-30 miles outside of town. From ministering to the poor in health to the poor in society, all these avenues of ministry had one common goal—to meet the community’s physical needs in order to build relationships and open the door to discuss their spiritual needs.
Romania6
Nelson recalls a special encounter he had with a 13-year-old boy who came in for tooth extractions. “He had the most beautiful smile and as our dental team worked on his teeth, we shared the message of the gospel with him—that Jesus loved him and came to die on the cross for him to offer the free gift of eternal salvation and forgiveness through believing that Christ’s payment for his sins was sufficient. He could be free from paying the debt off himself in eternity separated from God.” The boy excitedly replied “Da! Da!” (“Yes! Yes!” in Romanian) and prayed to accept Christ into his heart as his savior. With lots of tears and hugs, the boy ran out into the waiting room, grabbing his mother and sister and dragging them back in the room begging the team to tell them the good news of the gospel too! That day, an entire family received Jesus and started their lifelong relationship with God.

“Romania is steeped in a works-based mentality from Eastern Orthodox teaching,” explained Nelson. “If you were to ask them if they were to die tonight, would they go to heaven? They’d answer no, they need more time to work harder and do more good things to earn God’s favor and entrance into heaven.” For this community, the powerful and freeing truth of the gospel is a breath of fresh air.

The most challenging part of the week for Nelson along with the rest of his team was the physical exhaustion. “I learned that I may have limitations but God has bigger plans,” said Nelson. “The most rewarding thing is knowing that we have been used by the Lord in both the physical and spiritual realm.”

God has proved His faithfulness yet another year, providing exactly what the team needed each step along the way and graciously opening people’s hearts to see Him for who He truly is – a loving Father who knows and meets our physical needs and ultimately wants to meet our greatest spiritual need with a relationship with Himself.

Categories: Cooper Updates