For A Better Us

January 23, 2017

“I Feel Like I’m at a Party with 50 of My Closest Friends”

Letter submitted by Marsha Brown, Brooks Family YMCA member

Dear Mr. [Carl] Simcox:

For almost a year, it has been my family’s good fortune to be an active member of the Brooks Family YMCA. Glenn and I had relocated to Jacksonville and were researching various places to work out when we were referred to the Brooks Family YMCA by an employee at The Mayo Clinic. We immediately joined on the spot, as a result of the friendly and professional greeting and tour from the front desk staff. Additionally, the numerous group exercise schedule offered every day and the vast selection of times sealed the deal.

All of my life, I have been a person who loves exercise classes, and have taken many of the classes offered at the Brooks Family YMCA. I have been impressed by quite a few of the instructors. However, there is one person who stands out from all the rest. Her name is Helenjoy Ojastro, and she teaches a class called Body Jam on Saturday and Thursday night.

Group Exercise fun at the Brooks Family YMCA

Group exercise fun at the Brooks Family YMCA. Helenjoy is sitting in the front row, second from left.

What makes Helenjoy Ojastro so outstanding are her enthusiasm, work ethic, and patience with everyone, including the disabled.   The energy she brings to every workout is contagious. Even if I come to the class tired, watching Helenjoy give everything she’s got into the workout changes my whole attitude and before I know it, I’m working out harder and most importantly having a wonderful time. Helenjoy makes Body Jam so much fun and that is the key ingredient to people coming back. I feel like I’m at a party with a bunch of my 50 closest friends, because most everyone is laughing out loud, shouting, clapping, and having a joyful time together.

I am very sensitive to the Down Syndrome members of our community. There is a young man who comes to Helenjoy’s Body Jam class and works out directly in front of the stage. Helenjoy always has time for him and is so kind, patient, and understanding. What a gift she is to all of us.

I have observed that Helenjoy embodies the Christian values that the YMCA projects nationwide. After the class is completed, she has time for everyone who wants to speak to her.

Mr. Simcox, I wanted to take the time to make you aware of this exceptional young woman in your organization from a member’s prospective, and what she has so graciously contributed to your team. I would attend any and all classes that she teaches in the future. In my estimation, Helenjoy has a following of members who feel the same way that I do about her. I know this, because they are there all the time as I am. I do hope that you share this letter with her and solicit her input and perspective on what other talents and insights she can offer the Brooks Family YMCA!

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to read my letter. Should you have any questions or would like to speak to me directly; I am available at your convenience.

Lastly, thank you for the secret Santa Christmas tree. My husband and I really enjoyed purchasing a bunch of gifts for the two youngsters that we selected.   This is the true meaning of Christmas.

May you and your family have a healthy New Year full of laughter and goodness.

Best wishes,

Marsha Brown

 

*Carl Simcox is the Executive Director of the Brooks Family YMCA.

Letter submitted by Marsha Brown, Brooks Family YMCA member Dear Mr. [Carl] Simcox: For almost a year, it has been my family’s good fortune to be an active member of the Brooks Family YMCA. Glenn and I had relocated to Jacksonville and were researching various places to work out when we were referred to the Brooks Family YMCA by an employee at The Mayo Clinic. We immediately joined on the spot, as a result of the friendly and professional greeting and tour from the front desk staff. Additionally, the numerous group exercise schedule offered every day and the vast selection of times sealed the deal. All of my life, I have been a person who loves exercise classes, and have taken many of the classes offered at the Brooks Family YMCA. I have been impressed by quite a few of the instructors. However, there is one person who stands out from all the rest. Her…


January 17, 2017

Top 5 Benefits of Having a Workout Partner

Roughly 36% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by week 3. Don’t be one of them! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. Having a workout partner may be just the thing you need to keep you going. Here are the top 5 benefits of exercising with a friend:

 

1. Accountability

Arguably the most worthwhile reason to have a workout partner is accountability. Workout partners hold each other responsible for going to the gym because they keep each other on track and always reaching for their goals. If both go regularly, they will know whether a workout has been missed.

2. Sharing goals and progress

A workout buddy offers companionship, but also creates a competition that can be extremely helpful when someone needs to push through that extra mile or squat. They also give each other someone to celebrate milestones with. Both members can go out to dinner and feel comfortable getting healthy meals without giving in to temptation.

3. Validation

Many people who are trying to lose weight get discouraged because of the rough weeks where weight doesn’t come off. Workout partners can see each other’s progress from the outside and provide motivation, positive feedback and constructive criticism.

2014-06-19_AOF_4533_RGB4. It’s fun!

Workout partners provide a sense of reliability and help transform the gym into something more desirable – an active social gathering. For example, busy mothers would benefit from having someone else who is going through similar life changes. They can provide motivation and support, and it also gives them a chance to socialize away from the family.

5. It Saves You Money

Because we know how beneficial it is to have a workout partner, we reward you when you refer a family or friend to the Y. You can save up to 40% off your membership with our YMCA member referral program. 

Roughly 36% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by week 3. Don’t be one of them! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. Having a workout partner may be just the thing you need to keep you going. Here are the top 5 benefits of exercising with a friend:   1. Accountability Arguably the most worthwhile reason to have a workout partner is accountability. Workout partners hold each other responsible for going to the gym because they keep each other on track and always reaching for their goals. If both go regularly, they will know whether a workout has been missed. 2. Sharing goals and progress A workout buddy offers companionship, but also creates a competition that can be extremely helpful when someone needs to push through that extra mile or squat. They also give each other someone to celebrate milestones with. Both members can go out…


January 4, 2017

Robotics Program Launching at Brooks Family YMCA

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14.

This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed.

Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee.

Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the robotics program.

“We are proud to have Rajiv Gupta lead our engineering and robotics program here at the Brooks Y,” said Brooks Family YMCA Executive Director Carl Simcox. “The Y aims to help all children reach their full potential by supporting their unique youth development journeys and we’re excited to see this new STEM initiative in action.”

Through a grant provided by the University of North Florida, Gupta has volunteered each weekend since 2008 with elementary and middle-age students, teaching the basics and fundamentals of science and engineering through a robotics curriculum. After nearly eight years of volunteering, Gupta will continue to dedicate his time and services as a proud employee of the YMCA.

“I want to inspire kids to become interested in science and technology through robotics,” Gupta said. “My philosophy—make science easy—motivates me to help our youth discover the fun and impact of this subject.”

With 11 years of robotics teaching experience, Gupta earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Jai Narain Vyas University in Rajasthan, India and an MBA from the University of Rajasthan. Gupta currently works for Landstar, a company that specializes in logistics and supply chain solutions.

To enroll your child in the Brooks Family YMCA Robotics program, please visit the Welcome Center or contact Deb Barley at dbarley@firstcoastymca.org. For more information about the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, visit FirstCoastYMCA.org.

In an effort to engage more children in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities, the Brooks Family YMCA officially announced a new engineering program—Robotics. The program is set to debut on Jan. 17 with free classes open to YMCA members and their children ages 6 to 14. This program is part of the Y’s effort to create more experiences for children to explore opportunities through STEM that nurture their curiosity, inspire their creativity, help them develop critical-thinking skills and teach them how to succeed. Two classes included in the program are the Junior First Lego League for children who are 6 to 9 years old and the First Lego League for those who are 10 to 14 years old. Classes will also be available to non-members with a $75 monthly fee. Rajiv Gupta, former software developer with the City of Jacksonville and a First Coast resident since 2000, was recently named instructor of the…


December 22, 2016

SEEDifferently: Grilled Salmon with Herb Crust

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use fresh herbs grown at home to prepare this fresh and flavorful meal!

Serves 4 | Prep: 15 min. | Grill: 6 min

Ingredients

  • 12 oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about ¾ inch thick
  • 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Preparation

  • Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four 3-ounce pieces; set aside.
  • In a food processor bowl combine oregano, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer to a shallow dish.
  • Generously coat both sides of fish with herb mixture.
  • Place fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 6-9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through grilling.

Nutrition
Calories: 126
Fat: 5g (1g saturated fat)
Carbohydrate: 2g
Protein: 17g
Cholesterol: 44 mg
Sodium: 207mg

Photo and recipe courtesy: www.bhg.com

Learn more about growing your own food through the SEEDifferently initiative. Contact Kristy Cook by email at kcook@firstcoastymca.org.

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use fresh herbs grown at home to prepare this fresh and flavorful meal! Serves 4 | Prep: 15 min. | Grill: 6 min Ingredients 12 oz fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets, about ¾ inch thick 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh oregano 1/3 cup coarsely snipped fresh cilantro ¼ cup sliced green onions 1 Tbsp lemon juice 2 tsp olive oil ½ tsp minced garlic (1 clove) ¼ tsp salt 1/8 tsp pepper Preparation Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four 3-ounce pieces; set aside. In a food processor bowl combine oregano, cilantro, green onions, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer to a shallow dish. Generously coat both sides of fish with herb mixture. Place fish on…


December 15, 2016

Reframing New Year’s Resolutions For Success

As you change your calendar from December to January, there’s always a thrill in the promise of a New Year that’s full of potential. The New Year is a chance to start fresh and say goodbye to any of the previous frustrations—a perfect opportunity to make resolutions that will help strengthen your spirit, mind and body.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

Many of us find our resolutions thrown out along with the holiday decorations. It’s no wonder—starting the New Year by making declarations that we’re going on a drastic diet or will hit the gym every day doesn’t exactly set us up for success!

While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that they gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year!

By reframing resolutions in a positive way and breaking them down into smaller, easy-to-sustain goals, you’ll see big benefits in the long run. For example, you may want to limit your screen time in 2017, but that can be more manageable if you replace it with something positive like volunteering or setting special time aside for family.

“Try not to think about what you’re missing, but rather what you’re gaining. This can make a resolution feel more positive, and therefore more achievable,” says Tim Burrows, Member Experience Director at the Winston Family YMCA in Riverside.

It’s important to not let yourself get discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day—or even the week—that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Tim says, “Nobody got their bad habits over the course of a week, so you’re not going to change them in a week either!”

As a community-serving organization here on the First Coast, the Y knows making lifestyle changes and helping others will impact your life and someone else’s life for the better.

Here are 8 simple ways to help your 2017 New Year’s resolutions stick:

  1. Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
  2. Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a New Month’s Resolution. Focus on that one change for the month, and add another small change when the new month rolls around.
  3. Move more. It’s important for adults to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day (60 minutes for children). Incorporate physical activity into your daily routines and spend more time walking to places instead of driving to improve your health and well-being.
  4. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity – like the Y! It’s easy to join. Get started today!
  5. Swap a soda a day. It’s difficult, but cutting soda can do wonders for your body. If you can’t cut it entirely, resolve to swap one soda a day for a large glass of water instead. Once you’ve been able to swap one out, see if you can cut soda entirely. The Y also has Registered Dietitians on staff with a full menu of nutrition services to help you achieve your weight loss and healthy eating goals.
  6. Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2017 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them. Set specific check-ins to help each other out of slumps and to cheer each other during the high points. Learn more about the Y’s member referral program where friends can receive up to 40% off the standard membership rate when they make a commitment to the Y and to each other!
  7. Make family time a priority. With work, school, and activities family time may seem like an impossible ask, but see if your family can have a “screen-free” night with no phones, video games, etc. Instead, use that time to play a board game, play outside or visit with family and friends.
  8. Volunteer. Giving back and supporting neighbors benefits everyone involved. Not only is it a personally rewarding experience to help others in need, but it’s also a way to meet new people or discover a new interest. Find an opportunity in your community, such as reading to children at a YMCA Reads! afterschool site or distributing food at a local food bank.

For additional tips or to learn more about how to stick to your resolutions or get involved with the First Coast YMCA, contact 904.265.1775 or visit your neighborhood YMCA.

As you change your calendar from December to January, there’s always a thrill in the promise of a New Year that’s full of potential. The New Year is a chance to start fresh and say goodbye to any of the previous frustrations—a perfect opportunity to make resolutions that will help strengthen your spirit, mind and body. Setting Yourself Up for Success Many of us find our resolutions thrown out along with the holiday decorations. It’s no wonder—starting the New Year by making declarations that we’re going on a drastic diet or will hit the gym every day doesn’t exactly set us up for success! While choosing a resolution is easy, sticking to it can be impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed that they gave up within the first few months, even…


December 6, 2016

“Adventures” in Painting: Dads & Kids Team Up at Camp Immokalee

With paintbrushes in hand, fathers and children in the Ponte Vedra YMCA Adventure Guides and Princesses programs gave Camp Immokalee a makeover just in time for Winter Camp!

Adventure Guides and Princesses leaders, who are also active members of the Camp Immokalee Alumni Association, organized the work day to repaint the Archery Range facility.

Everyone had fun and MOST of the paint ended up on the Archery Range 🙂

Thank you to the following volunteers:
Ron Pickee
Brad Nestor
Dan Parker
Sean Weldon
ED Houston
Marcus Barcarrio
Jeff McNiel
Riley Hernandez
Ruby Hernandez
Ted Pelot
Kate Pelot
Shawn Riley
Abrielle Riley
Russ Young
Paige Young
Scott Fretz – Calusa
Valerie Fretz
Ron Natherson
Laney Natherson

Adventure Guides and Princesses programs at the Ponte Vedra YMCA gives fathers and their children the unique opportunity to participate in activities that teach character development, build leadership skills and encourage positive behaviors. Whether it’s camping, bowling, horseback riding or volunteering, children build stronger bonds with their fathers and make memories that will last a lifetime.

With paintbrushes in hand, fathers and children in the Ponte Vedra YMCA Adventure Guides and Princesses programs gave Camp Immokalee a makeover just in time for Winter Camp! Adventure Guides and Princesses leaders, who are also active members of the Camp Immokalee Alumni Association, organized the work day to repaint the Archery Range facility. Everyone had fun and MOST of the paint ended up on the Archery Range 🙂 Thank you to the following volunteers: Ron Pickee Brad Nestor Dan Parker Sean Weldon ED Houston Marcus Barcarrio Jeff McNiel Riley Hernandez Ruby Hernandez Ted Pelot Kate Pelot Shawn Riley Abrielle Riley Russ Young Paige Young Scott Fretz – Calusa Valerie Fretz Ron Natherson Laney Natherson Adventure Guides and Princesses programs at the Ponte Vedra YMCA gives fathers and their children the unique opportunity to participate in activities that teach character development, build leadership skills and encourage positive behaviors. Whether it’s camping, bowling, horseback riding or…


November 29, 2016

SEEDifferently: Spinach & Sausage Gnocchi

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use spinach grown at home to prepare this comforting winter meal!

Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 45 min.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces), casings removed
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 12-ounce bag spinach, stemmed
  • 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese

Preparation

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes more.
  • Increase heat to medium and add sausage, garlic and pepper. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add water and cook, stirring up any browned bits, until the water has evaporated, about 1 minute.
  • Add spinach a handful at a time and cook, stirring, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until plumped and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir the gnocchi into the spinach mixture. Top with mozzarella. Broil until the cheese starts to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Nutrition
Serving size: About 1 1/4 cups
Calories: 418
Fat: 15g
Carbohydrate: 52g
Protein: 21g
Cholesterol: 46 mg
Added sugar: 0g
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 792mg

Photo and recipe courtesy: www.eatingwell.com

Learn more about growing your own food through the SEEDifferently initiative. Contact Kristy Cook by email at kcook@firstcoastymca.org.

Through our SEEDifferently™ initiative, we hope to inspire communities to grow their own food and see the untapped potential in all spaces. You can use spinach grown at home to prepare this comforting winter meal! Serves 4 | Prep and cook time: 45 min. Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 large onion, sliced 2 links hot Italian turkey sausage (about 6 1/2 ounces), casings removed 2 large cloves garlic, minced 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 4 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp salt 2 tablespoons water 1 12-ounce bag spinach, stemmed 1 16-ounce package shelf-stable gnocchi 2 ounces thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese Preparation Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and very tender, about 10 minutes more. Increase heat to medium and add sausage, garlic and pepper….


November 10, 2016

What Is OLD Really Like?

At the Y, a supportive community is a big part of wellness. At every age and every level of activity, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a little bit healthier. Many of our most our active participants are 50 years old and older – or as we call them 50 and better! So we decided to embark on a project to change society’s view of aging. We hosted a Gen-All Video Premier Party in September and debuted this video that provides a glimpse of different perspectives on aging from those ages 8 to 82.

Before watching the video, the audience participated in an electronic survey about aging. Among the results:

  • 60% did not consider any age to be “old”
  • 23% were afraid of getting “old”

Following the video, a panel of those age 17 to 99 shared their personal experiences about again. Both the video, the survey and the panel discussion opened the door for dialogue on how our community can grow from the enrichment of all ages.

At the conclusion of the event, we surveyed everyone again and found their views on aging were positively changed. Among the results:

  • 84% did not consider any age to be “old”
  • 6% were afraid of getting “old”

The Gen ALL video continues to air at all First Coast YMCA locations, Tiger Academy Charter School classrooms, social media platforms, community centers and other various partner locations throughout Northeast Florida. It has also been recognized by the YMCA of the USA.

 

At the Y, a supportive community is a big part of wellness. At every age and every level of activity, you’ll find people just like you looking to live a little bit healthier. Many of our most our active participants are 50 years old and older – or as we call them 50 and better! So we decided to embark on a project to change society’s view of aging. We hosted a Gen-All Video Premier Party in September and debuted this video that provides a glimpse of different perspectives on aging from those ages 8 to 82. Before watching the video, the audience participated in an electronic survey about aging. Among the results: 60% did not consider any age to be “old” 23% were afraid of getting “old” Following the video, a panel of those age 17 to 99 shared their personal experiences about again. Both the video, the survey and the panel discussion opened the door…


November 4, 2016

Stick a Fork In It

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions.

By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida

Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m., and supper was a light snack, eaten before bedtime. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with work being farther from home, when lunch became something lighter, carried with you to the workplace.

It’s a problem we tackle at the YMCA when creating healthy-living solutions for our members and the entire community. Many of the professionals we work with feel maintaining healthy eating habits at the office adds another project to their workday. However, by debunking common myths about lunch at work, eating healthy can be quick, easy and make you feel happier in the long run.

MYTH #1 – LUNCH EQUALS A SANDWICH

Growing up, your mom may have made you a sandwich in a brown paper bag, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue the tradition. Lunch could be a handful of your favorite snacks and fruits assembled in a bento box. It could be breakfast or even dinner. There is more than one way to eat a healthy lunch. Keep it interesting and pack a meal with creativity.

Today, collaborative workspaces and teams can also mean a collaborative lunch. At the Y, we select a salad day to enjoy the harvest greens from our vertical tower garden created by the SEEDifferently initiative. The team brings in their favorite salad toppings for a potluck style lunch. Lunch by teamwork means that rather than carrying an entire meal, you team up with your colleagues to complete a lunch with ingredients that you may have never tried before—it’s a good way to add variety to your plate or lunch bag.

MYTH #2 – WORK CANNOT WAIT

According to the American Dietetic Association and ConAgra Foods Foundation, 70 percent of Americans eat at their desks several times a week. In reality, you have to take care of yourself first in order to deliver the best work product.

If taking a full hour seems impossible, at least try to step away from your desk. Ask a co-worker to walk a couple of blocks with you and pick up a veggie burrito or a bowl of pho to break up your work day while getting physical activity. An active lifestyle can lead to healthier eating habits. When you have to stay in for lunch, eat in the break or conference room with others, where you can share conversations, which also encourages us to choose healthier options and eat less.

MYTH #3 – YOU MUST PLAN AHEAD

Planning ahead is a common recommendation for almost any situation, but we know that it simply does not always happen. As working parents or professionals, we often do not have the time to plan and prepare for our own lunches. However, juggling family, friends and work schedules does not mean that we are trapped into eating French fries and a hot dog.

As healthy eating becomes a higher priority in today’s world, many convenience stores now carry more than candies and sodas; fresh fruits, protein bars and healthy options may be only a few steps away from your office. Local delis usually offer specialty items that differ from day to day. Even with your last-minute decisions, healthy choices can be found around the corner.

MYTH #4 – EATING HEALTHY IS BORING

Healthy doesn’t have to mean eliminating your options. In fact, healthy meals feature a variety of food types. Keep a balanced plate in mind. Visualize it—half your plate should be fruits and vegetables, one quarter of the plate should be protein and one quarter should contain starch/grain. Right there you have four opportunities to create an exciting lunch.

Instead of eating a plain chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun, add a slice of pineapple. Try to replace the ketchup and mustard with teriyaki sauce and a crunchy piece of lettuce to add texture. One small change can enhance the flavor, interest and overall experience of your meal.

Now that we’ve debunked some popular myths, it’s time to figure out what works for you. Consider what you need in order to plan ahead, think about when it makes sense to grab lunch with a colleague and determine how you can up your lunch game with healthy yet tasty foods that will not only bring you lasting energy, but also a more productive mind.

RECIPE FOR A HAPPIER WORK LUNCH

End the cycle of boring lunches with these healthy-living solutions. By the YMCA’s Sara Glenn and Kimberly Lewis for Edible Northeast Florida Back in the day, lunch was “dinner” and dinner was “supper” because everyone went to bed at sundown. Most ate their biggest meal of the day between noon and 2 p.m., and supper was a light snack, eaten before bedtime. It wasn’t until the 20th century, with work being farther from home, when lunch became something lighter, carried with you to the workplace. It’s a problem we tackle at the YMCA when creating healthy-living solutions for our members and the entire community. Many of the professionals we work with feel maintaining healthy eating habits at the office adds another project to their workday. However, by debunking common myths about lunch at work, eating healthy can be quick, easy and make you feel happier in the long run. MYTH #1 – LUNCH EQUALS A…


November 1, 2016

Type 2 Diabetes: Reduce Your Risk

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month: Are You One of the 86 Million Americans with Prediabetes?

During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Y wants everyone to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes.

The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is one of more than 200 Ys across the country helping thousands of people reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. This small-group program helps people with prediabetes eat healthier, increase their physical activity, and lose weight, which can delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

When James joined the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program at the First Coast YMCA, he did it for his own health. What James didn’t know was how his participation would affect his family.

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Free Screenings

Complimentary Biometric Screenings are available at any of our Healthy Living Centers on the First Coast.  You have the opportunity to take a Health Risk Assessment and meet with a Health Coach to review your health goals. Each biometric screening includes a glucose screening, a full lipid panel of your cholesterol, blood pressure, & body composition.

Go to baptistjax.com/ymca or call 904.265.1775 to schedule your appointment.

Learn More: Diabetes Prevention at First Coast YMCA

The New York Times: The Quiet Research That Led to a Resounding Success in Diabetes Prevention

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month: Are You One of the 86 Million Americans with Prediabetes? During National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Y wants everyone to learn their risks for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and to take preventive steps to potentially reduce their chances of developing the disease. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than one in three Americans (86 million people) have prediabetes, up from 79 million in 2010. Prediabetes is a condition in which a person’s blood glucose is elevated, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Only 10 percent of those with prediabetes know they have it but with awareness and simple actions, people with prediabetes may prevent the onset of diabetes. The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is one of more than 200 Ys across the country helping thousands of people reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes with YMCA’s Diabetes…


Mission Statement: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.