AlaskaCare Wellness News | June 2013

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AlaskaCare Wellness News

Issue # 10

June 2013

AlaskaCare Employee News from the Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits

In This Issue

Quick Links

AlaskaCare Wellness

Contact our Wellness Team

Are you an AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan Member?

State Employee Fitness Discounts

June is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

Softball League

This month get active! Exercise is a great way to lift your mood and improve emotional health. When you are physically active, your brain releases endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals work together to make you feel good. After a solid workout, you may feel a sense of accomplishment. This month, make a commitment to participating in a team sport or increasing your physical activity.

If incorporating regular exercise and fitness in your life is a real challenge, consider contacting your AlaskaCare wellness coach, Mike DiFilippo, and set up a time for your own personalized coaching session. You can also use the self-help tools for “Exercise & Active Living” in the Healthyroads™ section available through the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) online at

June Health Hero: Michele Michaud

Michele Michaud

I am a definitely a morning person, and since this condition is not genetic and my kids like to sleep in, it was a natural fit for me to utilize this time to exercise. I started by walking outside when weather permitted, and when it didn't, it was inside to the treadmill. Did I mention I live in Juneau?

One Christmas, my husband got me a year-long gym membership. To my surprise, he actually paid attention when I told him what I wanted. My gym offers group exercise classes from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. I could now join other morning people, have fun, stay motivated and have some measure of accountability because us early birds notice when someone doesn't show up. Now over two years later, I still regularly go to the gym in the morning three to four times a week, as well as walking and sometimes swimming on off days. In addition to giving my husband a ready Christmas gift he can purchase on Christmas Eve, my morning routine helps me stay energized, alert and motivated throughout the day. And now that I have more energy, I often incorporate exercise in the evening too!

I have also altered my diet. I eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, Greek yogurt has become a regular mid-morning protein boost, and I drink water from my big 24 oz. cup all day. I pack my lunch and snacks so I don’t have to rely on less healthy cafeteria or restaurant alternatives.

I made changes to my fitness and diet routines gradually, and plan to continue to add one more healthy habit to my tool belt at a time. I may never be able to keep up with my teenage son on a mountain bike or my daughter hiking on steep mountain trails, but I will be out there embarrassing them by trying!  

Complete a Health Hero nomination form to recognize someone in your office.

Wellness Challenge: To Salt or Not to Salt?

Herbs and Salt

Americans consume an average of 3,400 mg of sodium each day, an amount well above the recommended 2,300 mg per day. Evidence shows reducing sodium intake reduces blood pressure and the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke. Typically sodium is consumed through table salt, processed, and restaurant foods.

Your body needs some sodium to function properly because it:

  • Helps maintain the right balance of fluids in your body
  • Helps transmit nerve impulses
  • Influences the contraction and relaxation of muscles

However, excess sodium amounts in the diet can:

  • Increase blood pressure in some people.
  • Cause a serious build-up of fluid in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, or kidney disease.

Just one teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 mg of sodium, however, more than 75% of the sodium Americans consume comes from processed and restaurant foods — not the salt shaker.

This month we challenge you to monitor the amount of sodium you consume while also measuring your blood pressure levels. Will reducing your sodium intake lower your blood pressure? Let's find out!

Just print the challenge log [PDF]. At the end of the month send the complete form to Mike DiFilippo, the Wellness Coordinator for HealthSmart.

Upcoming Wellness Trainings

Smart Starts for Healthy Heart, More details

  • Tuesday, June 11, 12 p.m. 
  • Thursday, June 13, 1 p.m.

Cultural Competence

Visit for dates and times.

Healthy Recipe: S'mores Bars


For additional healthy recipe ideas and inspiration, visit the HealthSmart Wellness Portal.

One bite and you're back at the campfire roasting marshmallows. 


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (from 18 crackers)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/3 cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
  • tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • cup skim milk or low-fat soymilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup safflower or other vegetable oil
  • large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Prepare

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together cracker crumbs, sugar, flours, baking powder and cream of tartar.

In a food processor or blender, combine milk, applesauce, oil and egg whites. Process to blend. Pour over dry ingredients and stir just to mix.

Spread batter in pan. Bake until set and browned, about 18 minutes.

Sprinkle marshmallows over top and return pan to oven for 2 to 3 minutes to soften marshmallows. Swirl melted marshmallows evenly over the bars. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave. Drizzle melted chocolate over marshmallow topping. Let cool and cut into 18 bars.

Recipe makes 18 bars, 1 bar per serving, 30 to 60 minutes to prepare.

Make ahead: Bars may be baked 2 to 3 days in advance. Wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature or freeze.

Estimated Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • 118 Calories
  • 4.5g Fat
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • 2g Protein
  • 19g Carbohydrate
  • 0.6g Fiber
  • 85mg Sodium
AlaskaCare Wellness  •
Phone: (907) 465-4460  •  Fax: (907) 465-3086  •  TDD: (907) 465-2805

This electronic newsletter and services described within applies only to State of Alaska AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members and their dependents.