5 Habits of Highly Effective Nurses

It's Altru - Published on July 29, 2016

You probably won’t find “healthy role model” in any nursing job description, but patients—consciously or subconsciously—do look up to their nurses as role models of healthy behavior.

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career, and it’s also physically, emotionally and mentally demanding. To provide the best care for their patients, nurses must also attend to their own health and well-being; walk the walk, as the saying goes. One of the best ways to lead a healthy life is to simply make a habit of it. Here are five healthy habits all nurses should add to their daily routine.

1. Never skip breakfast.
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why do so many people still skip it? Well, life has a way of getting busy, and the nursing profession can put added stress on your schedule. Even if you think those extra 20 minutes of sleep are worth it, make a habit of never skipping out on a healthy breakfast.

Nurse Sitting

2. Make exercise a priority.
Exercise may be the last thing you want to add into your already busy day. However, research shows that regular exercise—even 30 minutes of walking a day during your lunch break—can improve everything from sleep quality to mental outlook. Combined with a healthy diet, it’s the best way to keep your immune system in top shape (an important benefit for healthcare workers).

3. Avoid junk food.
Speaking of a healthy diet, make a habit out of packing healthy snacks to bring to work. Bringing your own healthy meals and snacks shows your dedication to a healthy lifestyle, and it also fuels your body with the proper nutrition to make it through the day at your best.

4. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor.
Nurses, like any professional, must avoid the trap of overconfidence. If you truly want to be a role model for your patients, stick to your own advice and schedule regular exams with your healthcare provider.

Nurses Talking

5. Find a workplace confidant.
It is important to find someone with whom you work that you trust. Some days will be more challenging than others. Having a friend at work can help you de-stress right in the moment and help you adjust your focus back to all the positive benefits of the job. You can also incorporate practices like meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine.

The rewards of nursing can be so great that it’s sometimes easy to overlook your own needs. When that happens, stress can build up and weigh you down, but it can be largely avoided with a few lifestyle changes. Try adding these five easy habits to your daily routine. They’ll help you stay healthy, and they’ll turn you into a shining example for all of your patients.

Do you have a passion for caring for people? Do what you love. Make a difference. Join our team of over 4,000 health professionals and support staff committed to caring for the region for more than 100 years.

Meet the Mako™ | Behind the Scenes with Altru Advanced Orthopedics’ Newest Addition

It's Altru - Published on July 22, 2016

Orthopedic surgeons Dr. Darin Leetun and Dr. Jeremy Gardner spend hundreds of hours each month in the operating room at Altru Specialty Center. They fix knees, hips, shoulders and elbows, making sure each joint is either brand new or good as new when their patients go home. It’s precise work, and every detail matters. That’s why we’ve added a new member to the team – the Mako™ Robotic Arm. The Mako will assist Dr. Gardner with total hip replacement surgeries and Dr. Leetun with partial knee replacements. It will serve as their “right hand man,” helping to ensure that each procedure is completed with incredible accuracy and patients leave with a new joint that feels like a pain-free version of their original joint.


The Mako has a big role to fill in the operating room, and Drs. Leetun and Gardner are confident it’s up to the task. We sat down with the Mako to get to know it a little better.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a state-of-the-art robotic arm that’s committed to helping Altru’s orthopedic surgeons fix hips and knees. I am not the captain of the OR; I’m the assistant captain, the skipper, if you will. The surgeons I work with lead the surgery, I assist them in the pre-planning and keep a watchful eye during the procedure to make sure they are sticking to our game plan.

Q.  If you are the skipper, do you wear a hat?
No, I don’t have a head. Just an arm.

MakoQ: How exactly do you help in the pre-planning for a procedure?
Each patient is unique, and their joints are too. Anatomical differences can be hard to maneuver in traditional manual replacements. I create a 3-D model of the patient’s anatomy, enabling surgeons to develop a pre-surgical plan that customizes implant size, positioning and alignment specific to each patient’s needs. This better prepares the surgeon, setting them up for a shorter yet more accurate procedure.

Q: What’s your role during the procedure?
I provide real-time data, 3-D visualization and audible, tactical feedback, ensuring that the surgeon can operate precisely according to the patient-specific plan. In turn, the replacements are more accurately placed, with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue and bone.

Q: How do patients benefit from these procedures?
The level of accuracy provided offers many benefits for patients. For partial knee replacements, the patients leave with a very small incision and minimal damage to healthy tissue and bone. Those with hip replacements are less likely to have dislocations or leg length imbalances after surgery compared to a manual replacement. Both procedures offer less pain, quicker recovery and a more natural feeling joint.

Dr Leetun Prepping

Q: So, it sounds like you must be the star of the show at Altru Advanced Orthopedics?
Hardly! Our surgeons are highly trained specialists with years of experience under their drawstrings. And, our team works together seamlessly to provide the highest level of care from your first appointment through recovery. Not to mention, we also offer many other advanced procedures: cartilage restoration, hand surgery, signature system shoulder replacement and anterior approach hip replacement, to name a few. The team at Altru Advanced Orthopedics is continually upgrading procedures and technology to offer the best care available, and I am proud to be one of the tools in their tool belt.

If you are living with achy knees or sore hips, replacement with the Mako™ Robotic Arm might be right for you. Learn more at altru.org/jrc.

Give It a Spin | How Biking Benefits Altru’s Renal Dialysis Patients

It's Altru - Published on July 5, 2016

Biking during DialysisOne in three American adults is at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), and approximately 26 million Americans are unaware they have this condition. Research shows obese individuals (or nearly 35 percent of American adults) are at a 23 percent increased risk of developing CKD, and four out of five do not meet the national guidelines for physical activity and exercise.

Altru’s Renal Dialysis and Medical Fitness Center have recently partnered to create Biking during Dialysis. The new program, which launched in early 2016, allows patients to bike on an indoor pedal device while receiving dialysis treatment. Patients who exercise while receiving dialysis can achieve favorable outcomes in the management of dialysis treatment, as well as improve strength, endurance, mood and well-being.

Julie Nelson, Renal Dialysis manager, explains, “The program allows select patients to get some exercise during the time they spend in the treatment chair, which typically will run three to four hours. We hope to see patients gain strength and endurance, which will ultimately have a positive impact on their quality of life.”

Douglas Berntson, a renal dialysis patient, has noticed positive changes since starting the program. “Ever since I began dialysis, I have been getting out of shape. With the bike program, I can get back into shape. I don’t get as tired during the day and can walk a bit longer without having to take as many breaks.”

Shawn Reich, medical fitness specialist, sets up individualized exercise programs for new patients. During dialysis, nurses record data for each patient. At three months, Shawn analyzes progress and makes adjustments as needed.

“Since rolling out the program, participants have collectively pedaled 93 miles, which is equal to traveling from Grand Forks to Devils Lake,” shares Shawn. “Recently, the program expanded to Altru Clinic in Roseau, with more growth in the near future.”

With the high rate of obesity today and its influence on the development of other health issues, such as CKD, Biking during Dialysis  is another way Altru is improving health and enriching life within our community.

The Most Common Running Injuries Our Sports Medicine Doctor Sees

Enrich - Published on July 1, 2016

As training heats up for the Grand Forks Wild Hog Marathon, it’s important for runners, both new and seasoned, to understand the potential injuries associated with this sport and how best to prevent and treat them. Unlike contact sports, running involves you, your shoes and the ground. Unfortunately, that lack of equipment and control can lead to injuries and pain from over-use, improper form or footwear and the surfaces you run on. Some of the most common injuries seen by Dr. Billy Haug at Altru Advanced Orthopedics include the following.

Knee Injury Running

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Commonly caused by over-use of the legs in runners, iliotibial band syndrome affects the band of fibrous tissue along the side of the thigh that provides stability to the knee and hip. When the condition occurs, you may experience that the band rubs against the hip or knee bone each time either are used. This can cause pain on the outside of the knee or hip that is especially noticeable as you begin activity. Pain tends to decrease as your body warms up, or when you are at rest.

Prevention & Treatment
Follow a proper training program that includes rest days and cross training. Take part in cross-training activities that focus on upper body or movements that are side to side, like jumping jacks, to give the band a rest. If your pain becomes more severe, seek care at Altru Advanced Orthopedics. We may recommend physical therapy, medications or injections.

Knee Pain

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Another condition often associated with over-use is patellofemoral pain syndrome. Most commonly seen in young adults, it is associated with pain around the kneecap. It’s often referred to as “runner’s knee” as it’s common in the sport, but, it can be associated with other activities, and even in those who are not active. Beyond overuse, kneecap alignment issues can also cause patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Prevention & Treatment
This condition is very common, even in non-athletes, and can be managed fairly conservatively. Self-care might include rest, reduction in activity level or strengthening exercises. For those training for a marathon or longer race, I recommend quadricep strengthening exercises, cross training such as cycling if it doesn’t bother the knee, or reduced mileage or a modified running routine with more cross training built in. prevent the pain associated with this condition, ensure you have the proper running shoes for your needs, try running on softer surfaces (i.e. a track or a road, where safe), and consider custom orthotics.

Ankle Injury Running

Stress Fractures
Stress fractures in the tibia, the largest of the two bones in the lower leg, are very common in distance runners. Stress fractures are caused when the muscle surrounding the bone contracts for a long period of time, causing stress on the bone as the body relies on it more. A change in training surface can make you more susceptible to a stress fracture, as your body gets fatigued more quickly as it adapts to the change. Symptoms of a stress fracture including pain in the lower leg, which might be accompanied by swelling or tenderness.

Prevention & Treatment
The best way to prevent stress fractures is to utilize proper form & footwear. Take advantage of a gait analysis at the Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics, where a physical therapist will analyze your running mechanics and provide recommendations. They will also guide you to the best style of shoe for your unique needs. Strengthening your calf muscles can also help in prevention.

If you think you might have a stress fracture, schedule a visit with me. Though X-rays cannot always initially detect stress fractures, together we can assess your injury and develop a plan to get you back to training. Unfortunately, you’ll typically have to avoid running and similar activities for around eight weeks. This is a good time to build core muscles and focus on cross training activities, such as swimming, that don’t cause pain or further injury.

Overall, running injuries are best avoided by ensuring you are fully prepared for each run, that you are training properly and not over-exerting yourself. Take advantage of free training plans, include cross training in your routine, and mind your distance. Though it might be tempting to push through the extra mile on a long run, an injury that sidelines you from the race you are training for is not worth it.

When determining whether or not to seek medical care for your pain or injury, consider its severity. Soreness is normal when pushing yourself in sport, but if your pain is distracting or interfering with your activity, or if it’s accompanied by swelling, it’s time to pay us a visit.

Dr. William Haug Jr.William Haug Jr., MD, enjoys getting to know his patients and finding out what is important in their life. If a patient would like to get back to work, or get back to an activity like biking or gardening, Dr. Haug strives to make that happen. He is an active supporter of Special Olympics, ARC Upper Valley and the BUDS (better understanding of Down Syndrome) program. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, being in the outdoors and staying active with winter bike racing, endurance races and kayaking.

Blood Clots | Who’s At Risk & How Can You Prevent Them

Enrich - Published on July 1, 2016

Impacting roughly 900,000 people in the United States every year, blood clots are not uncommon and can be deadly. Preventive measures may help reduce the risk for this life-threatening occurrence.

Blocking the vital flow of blood between the brain, heart, lungs and other organs of the body, blood clots can cause a variety of symptoms, including chest pain, difficulty breathing, paralysis in the limbs and sometimes death. These clots may develop in the arteries or the veins. The symptoms vary depending on the location of the clot, which may cause complications such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke. The good news is that the risk of blood clots may be significantly reduced through lifestyle changes and proper medical attention. “Because several risk factors are largely treatable if detected early, recognizing them as well as the warning signs associated with blood clots is critical,” says Keith Swanson, MD, vascular medicine physician with Altru Health System. “Prevention is the mainstay.”

Are you at risk?
While blood clots are more common in adults over the age of 60, they can impact anyone. Specifically, the risk factors for a venous blood clot include:

  • Being overweight

  • Chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus and multiple sclerosis

  • Family history

  • Pregnancy

  • Sitting for long periods of time

  • Smoking

  • Some forms of cancer

  • Use of oral contraceptives


Arterial blood clots are just as dangerous as those that develop in the veins. The factors listed below may increase the risk for this type of clot:

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol

  • Lack of exercise

  • Obesity

  • Smoking


Additionally, Dr. Swanson notes that people receiving chemotherapy and those who have undergone trauma surgery also have a high risk of developing dangerous clots. 

The Travel Component
When it comes to blood clots, lack of exercise over several hours is just as harmful as not getting physical activity for months or years. In fact, sitting for between six and eight hours without moving, for example during long car rides or air travel, can greatly increase the risk of developing a deadly clot. Dr. Swanson recommends getting out of the car or walking the aisles of a plane every hour to reduce the likelihood of dangerous clotting. Also, be sure to stay hydrated, choose loose-fitting clothing and wear graduated compression stockings.

Healthful Habits
According to the American Society of Hematology, controlling diet and exercise habits and incorporating the use of anticoagulants when appropriate may significantly reduce the risk of blood clots. Flexing and pointing the toes and doing ankle circle exercises may also be beneficial.


Critical Screenings
Featuring a full vascular lab, including an anticoagulation clinic, Altru Health System is well equipped to diagnose and treat blood clots. Vascular specialists may conduct a full vascular screening, which includes the three tests listed below, to detect conditions that increase the likelihood of blood clots:

  • Abdominal Aortic Ultrasound—This noninvasive test captures images of the abdominal aorta by utilizing high-frequency sound waves. The abdomen is one of the most common places where blood clots may form.

  • Ankle Brachial Index—Otherwise known as an ABI, this test compares blood pressure in the ankle with blood pressure in the arm to identify arteries that are blocked or have narrowed as a result of cardiovascular conditions.

  • Carotid Ultrasound—Utilizing sound waves to take pictures of the carotid arteries in the neck, this noninvasive test helps doctors identify carotid artery disease, which may increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. These three screenings, when performed together, give physicians a picture of arterial complications.

PADnet testing may also provide physicians with important clues about a patient’s vascular health. This type of testing employs the use of segmented blood pressure and volume recordings to evaluate blood flow in the feet and legs. 

If you are at risk for vascular disease, screening and diagnosis are key. Learn more at about vascular screening at Altru.

See also:

A Peek into Dr. Casey Ryan’s Daily Routine | Secrets to Success

Enrich - Published on July 1, 2016

Dr. RyanAfter serving as president of Altru Health System for over 17 years, today Dr. Casey Ryan still enjoys a successful career in medicine, loves spending time with his large family, and finds balance in the buzz of daily life by staying active and involved in his community. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look into Dr. Ryan’s secrets to success.

Give us a quick run-down of a day in your life. What does your typical Tuesday look like?

  • 5 a.m. – Wake up, light breakfast, read Grand Forks Herald print, Wall Street Journal on iPad

  • 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. – See patients in clinic and hospital setting. Nurse Mary makes my day easy!

  • 5:30-6:30 p.m. – Exercise, which could be spin class, running, EXOS or weights, 4-5 days per week

  • 7 p.m. – Dinner and walk after with Bev (wife)

  • 9:30-10:30 p.m. – Evening news, to bed 

How do you spend your downtime?
Relaxing and reading. Watching UND hockey in the winter and being outside in the summer.

If you had a free hour alone, what would you do?
Exercise, read or work in the garden.

What do you keep in your car just in case you have extra time?
Medicine journal articles.

What personal development goals are you working toward right now?
Run a 5K sub 21 minutes.
(Note: Dr. Ryan ran Run for Your Buns in 20:54.6!)

Fill in the blank:

  • I’m going to (  eat  ) less (  carbs  ).

  • I’m going to (  exercise  ) more (  and clean my office  ).

  • To get motivated, I (  exercise and plan  ).

What’s the best choice you made last year?
Recruit my replacement.

What’s your mantra?
Just do it!

What’s your worst habit?

Best habits for a healthy life?
Exercise, diet, maintain weight.

Favorite thing about our community?
The people. We have so many kind and caring individuals.

What’s your best life advice?
Do today what you shouldn’t put off until tomorrow.

Name five things we could find in your fridge right now.
Yogurt, eggs, raspberries, milk, grapefruit.

Favorite go-to recipe?
Fried eggs with yolks removed.

How do you stay active?
Exercise 4-5 times per week and walking.

How do you find balance in your daily life?
Pace myself.

What message do you have for those who are struggling with their health and body image?
You can do it!

Stay tuned for more Secrets to Success featuring local community leaders coming up in future months.

Yes, You Can Complete a 5K!

Enrich - Published on July 1, 2016

Finish LineIf you have recently made a healthy lifestyle change, you’re likely excited about the progress you’ve been making. You are likely eating more vegetables and drinking more water. You may be following a consistent walking program, and even adding strength training exercises. You have overcome challenges to meet these goals and now, it’s time to keep going. If you want to progress your exercise program to the next level but are unsure of what to do, I suggest trying a 5K. Before you stop reading – yes, you CAN complete a 5k.

Here are some reasons why you should (and will) conquer a 5K.

They don’t discriminate.
The beauty of the 5K is that people of all ages and abilities can take part—kids, grandparents, dads pushing strollers, recreational athletes returning to activity after surgery, first time exercisers and beyond. Don’t let the fear of coming in last deter you—it’s still better than all the people who never try.

It allows you to go at your own pace.
Even though you usually hear “5K run,” this does not mean you have to run the entire distance, or even at all. You can walk, jog, run or do a combination of all three. Remember, you have to walk before you can run.

It’s easy to stay on track.
Whether you want to train solo or with a group, there are many ways to get the job done. You can follow a basic 5K training plan or download a training app, such as Couch to 5K. Need extra motivation? Join a program or running group to gain accountability from others. Red River Runners in Grand Forks offers group runs, including one for beginners.

It will improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Registering for a 5K will motivate you to follow a consistent training plan, which in turn will improve your cardiovascular fitness.

Run Mindset

It will boost your self esteem.
Registering for a 5K. Training for a 5K. Completing a 5K. All of these are huge accomplishments that will build off one another and increase confidence. Sense of accomplishment is key to keeping you motivated.

It will reward you with fun swag.
Picking up your “swag bag,” often filled with a t-shirt and other running-related giveaways, is one of the most exciting steps of a 5K. And, think of how cool you will look sporting your new swag around town.

It will challenge you.
Remember these sayings: “magic happens outside your comfort zone” and “you are capable of more than you realize.” We need to stay challenged to meet our goals and training to complete a 5K may give you the extra push you need.

It’s motivating.
When you register for a 5K or similar event, you’ll instantly see a soar in motivation as you now have a clear reason to keep working hard. Let others know your goal of completing a 5K, and surround yourself with others that will motivate you and encourage you to stay on track.

It will allow you to be social and active.
Recruit friends, family members or co-workers to join you and schedule training sessions together. Challenge each other. Motivate each other. And when you cross that finish line together….CELEBRATE!

It will be fun.
Find a 5K event that will get you excited. Choose a race that supports a cause that is meaningful to you. The Wild Hog race events, for instance, support local youth sports. Or, maybe an event that is crazy and fun, like the upcoming Color Dash in East Grand Forks. Choose a race that is the right fit for YOU!

Color Run

Are you still unsure if you should sign up for your first 5K? Need another reason? How about…Because YOU CAN! The next thing you know, you will be the person at the gym rockin’ a 5K shirt. And who knows, you may inspire others to register for their first 5K.

Rachel Aure, Health and Wellness CoachAure, Rachel_2015_4C, performs health risk assessments and fitness assessments, develops exercise prescriptions, provides medically supervised exercise sessions and applies behavioral and motivational strategies to support clients in adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. She is a Certified Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist and a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She has over 15 years of experience in medical fitness and the health and wellness field. Outside of work, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Be Patriotic & Healthy with These Red, White & Blue Foods

Enrich - Published on June 30, 2016

Patriotic foodsDid you know the colors of a nation’s flag most often represent the values of that country? Take the American flag for example: red stands for hardiness and valor, white signifies purity and innocence, while blue denotes vigilance, perseverance and justice. You see, colors are more than just colors. Similarly, when it comes to nutrition, different colored foods play different roles in the body. Each color offers a unique health benefit, which is why you may have heard that it’s recommended by dietitians to “eat a rainbow” often. The reason for this recommendation is that plant-based foods are packed with phytochemicals, or naturally occurring chemical substances known to have disease-preventing properties. These phytochemicals are team players, working in conjunction with vitamins and minerals to improve health and reduce risk of disease. So, the more colors in your diet, the more disease-fighting phytochemicals you are consuming!

The American Way
Many Americans are attracted to quick, low-cost foods, resulting in a high salt, high fat, sugar-filled “beige diet” that is seriously lacking critical nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals. It may not surprise you that 87 percent of Americans do not meet recommendations for fruit consumption (1.5-2 cups per day), and 91 percent do not meet recommendations for vegetable consumption (2-3 cups per day). Though certain beige foods are considered healthy and nutrient dense (nuts, seeds, poultry, whole grains, etc.), the American diet includes an unnecessary large amount of highly processed convenience foods such as crackers, bars, cookies, cereal, pastries, fried foods, frozen meals, fast food, etc. So, in the spirit of Independence Day, I challenge you to try out some of these red, white and blue fruits and vegetables that can help brighten up your diet, and show your American pride.

Go Red for Heart Health
It is only appropriate that red foods support heart and circulatory health. They also help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Foods such as cherries, cranberries, red bell peppers, beets and tomatoes are packed with several phytochemicals, with lycopene being the major pigment in red fruits and veggies. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant mainly found in (cooked) tomatoes, and has shown to help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Not a tomato fan? No problem! Additional lycopene-containing foods include guavas, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, red bell peppers and red cabbage. Other nutritious red foods include:

  • Strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Pomegranate

  • Red kidney beans

  • Red apples

  • Red grapes

  • Red pears

  • Radishes

  • Radicchio

  • Red onions

  • Red potatoes

  • Rhubarb

Don’t stop when you see red, GO for it!

Fight with White
Though white may not be considered an actual color, you definitely don’t want to exclude white plant foods from your diet. This is because the largest group of phytochemicals, flavonoids, are generally colorless! Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that help the body fight back. They enhance the immune system, lymph systems, and assist in cellular repair from free radical damage. Garlic has strong anti-microbial properties and has been linked to heart health and decreased cancer risk. Similarly, onions are also packed with anti-microbial agents. Onions have also been shown to help decrease blood glucose and improve heart health by reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. But, if you’re an onion hater, we’ve still got you covered. Other delicious white foods include:

  • White pears

  • Cauliflower

  • Bananas

  • Mushrooms

  • Potatoes

  • Ginger

  • White corn

  • Turnips

  • Shallots

  • Parsnips

  • Kohlrabi

  • Apples

Remember, when it comes to plant foods, white is a bright choice!

The Bluer the Better
Blue (and purple) plant foods get their distinct color from anthocyanins, important members of the flavonoid group of phytochemicals, with a darker blue pigment meaning a larger phytochemical concentration. You could say that anthocyanins are VIP members of the flavonoid club, having extraordinary free-radical hunting capabilities and antioxidant capacities. Blue and purple foods also have anti-aging properties, help promote bone health, improve memory, enhance night and overall vision and have been shown to reduce the spread of cancer cells and inhibit tumor formation. The key benefit of blue and purple foods is greater circulation and microcirculation of blood throughout the body, which is especially important for those at risk for stroke and heart disease. Blueberries are usually the go-to when we think of antioxidant rich foods, but let’s not forget about the other players on the blue team. Blackberries, plums and eggplant are also packed with health-promoting fiber, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Or, try one of these tasty blue/purple foods:

  • Purple cabbage

  • Purple grapes

  • Prunes

  • Purple carrots

  • Black currants

  • Raisins

  • Dried plums

  • Elderberries

  • Purple figs

  • Purple asparagus

  • Black salsify

  • Purple-fleshed potatoes

  • Purple Belgian endive

Putting It All Together
If all of this seems overwhelming, just remember the number three. Three is the minimum amount of colors you should target on each plate. Since most protein sources and whole grains are beige, your rainbow should come from a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.

Feeling adventurous but not sure how to utilize a certain fruit or vegetable? Visit allrecipes.com and type the ingredient in the search box. Or, try these red, white and blue recipes for your Fourth of July celebration:

Danielle Rancourt700x700_Rancourt is a performance dietitian with Sports Advantage powered by EXOS. She enjoys cooking, baking, working out and spending time outdoors to keep busy.





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Kids, Cars and Summer Heat

Modern Mom - Published on June 30, 2016

CarseatAs the thermometer reaches temperatures that make us swelter in the sun, we need to be extra vigilant about kids and the toll that heat takes on their bodies.

Heatstroke is the medical term used to describe when the body’s temperature becomes excessively hot. Simply put, hyperthermia occurs when a body produces or absorbs more heat than it gives off.

Young children are particularly at risk for heatstroke, as their bodies heat up three to five times faster than an adult’s. When a child’s internal temperature reaches 104 degrees, major organs begin to shut down. When their temperature reaches 107 degrees, the child can die.

Kids in Cars
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of 14. Since 1998, more than 660 children across the United States have died in cars from heatstroke.

How does it happen?

  • More than half of these deaths occur when a driver forgets that the child is in the car. Experts will tell you this can happen to anybody. Our busy lifestyles create enough stress to trigger “mental lapses” that cause your brain to go on autopilot. The lapses can affect something as simple as misplacing your keys or something as crucial as forgetting a baby. Read about one mother's real story.

  • Almost 30 percent of the time, children get into a car on their own. They find a way into the car, but sometimes, they can’t find a way out.

  • The third scenario is when someone intentionally leaves a child alone in a car. A parent might be running an errand and think, “The baby just fell asleep. I’ll just be gone for a second.” But seconds turn into minutes, and before you know it, the temperature inside of the car has reached lethal levels.

The temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes and upwards of 40-50 degrees in the span of an hour or two. It can be a relatively mild day outside and yet, there can be life threatening temperatures inside a vehicle. “Cracking the window” makes very little difference on the internal temperature in the vehicle. What can you do?

Remember to ACT.

  • Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. Make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own. Keep keys out of children’s reach.

  • Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child, such as a briefcase, your purse or your left shoe that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine. For a free vinyl cling window reminder, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks.

  • Take action. If you see a child alone in a car, call 911 immediately if the parent or caregiver cannot be located. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

We want to hear from you! Safe Kids Grand Forks has more information on heat stroke, including window clings to remind you to look inside and outside your car. You can visit us at www.safekidsgf.com and like us on Facebook. 

Carma HansonCarma Hanson has been a nurse at Altru Health System for over 25 years and now serves as the Coordinator of Safe Kids Grand Forks. Carma enjoys traveling to warm places with her husband and kids and spending time at their lake place. Taking pictures and engaging in community organizations also holds a special place in her heart. 

Safe Kids Grand Forks is an injury prevention coalition who has as their mission to prevent unintentional injuries and death to children under age 19. Safe Kids Grand Forks has Altru Health System as their lead agency, and they serve upper northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. To contact Carma or Safe Kids Grand Forks, send an email to safekids@altru.org

Life after Cardiomyopathy | David’s Altru Moment

Altru Moments - Published on June 23, 2016

David KaulDavid Kaul worked in maintenance management and as a plant engineer for years before starting his own construction and remodeling business. For a few decades, David suffered from pain in his neck and exhaustion, never knowing why, and continued to work through the pain to make a living. In 2013, David retired and began a new life, dedicating time and energy to serving others, volunteering and spending time with his grandchildren whenever possible.

One evening in March 2016, David was preparing the Lenten evening meal at the church he attends in Hallock. He was walking down the hallway in the church and collapsed without warning. The local ambulance transported him to Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in Hallock, and from there he was taken to Altru Health System. Upon arrival, he was unconscious, recalling nothing happening to him. His heart ejection factor was in the 20s, and his blood pressure was initially low and then sky-rocketed to dangerous levels. David spent five days in the care of Altru’s Heart and Vascular team.

A Big Heart
After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Aboufakher reached a diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition where the heart muscle is abnormal and the heart is enlarged. Dr. Aboufakher, a cardiologist at Altru Health System, worked diligently to find the correct medications to stabilize David’s blood pressure, and to get his heart back to normal size.

“The nursing staff that included Sadie, Megan, Crystal, Laura, Tika, Cindi, Estelle and others helped me understand, ‘I’m worth it,’ and assisted with every struggle I had along the way to recovery,” explains David. “They were all friendly and courteous—every visit, every time.”

Since David’s extended stay at Altru to fix what he calls his “body’s flat tire,” he has been seeing Dr. Janet Lee, neurosurgery, to further understand the existing pain in his neck. The pain is a result of cervical stenosis, and solutions for relief are in process. David is thankful for Dr. Lee and her caring demeanor, ability to explain everything thoroughly, and the options for treatment for a condition he has lived with for decades.

“Altru is a special place,” says David. “It has taken me being sick to realize that. I guess it’s been the blessing of being sick.”

Every Day is a Gift
David’s experience with cardiomyopathy is a reminder to be aware of your heart health and get regular cardiac care if conditions exist and persist. “Life isn’t about me,” says David, “It’s about being a servant, volunteering and giving back.”

As David continues to recover from his extended stay he is getting back to planting flowers, mowing lawns, helping with the GIVE (God Is Victorious in Everything) program that serves a free meal each month in seven different locations in Kittson County, assisting at his church and attending his grandchildren’s events. And, living each day as if it is a gift.

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