Tags Articles tagged with "health"



By Joan Koczor

Older adults need to be extra careful of overheating and heat stroke. As we age, our bodies cannot adjust to high temperatures as well.

Our sense of thirst decreases, which can cause seniors to not realize they are thirsty and face the dangers of dehydration. Common medications, such as those for blood pressure, flush water from the body. Diuretics or low-salt diets could also affect the way your body regulates temperature. Side effects from some medications can cause excessive sweating and diarrhea.

A daily intake of about six 8-ounce glasses of water is about average. Medications you are taking are also a consideration, so talk to your doctor about how much water you should be drinking each day.

A few simple steps can make a difference in how you handle these excessive temperatures.

Schedule a checkup for your home or car air conditioner – make sure both are running properly.

Keep the shades/blinds closed during the hottest part of the day. Eat light, cold meals like salads and chicken.

Drink plenty of cool water throughout the day. A body that is hydrated feels cooler and can regulate temperatures better. Lessen your caffeine intake. Take a cool shower. Put a cold cloth on the back of your neck. Wear loose-fitting clothing. Fans help circulate the air and can make an air-conditioned house feel cooler. Freeze plastic bottles of water, take one with you when you go outside. As the ice melts, you will have a supply of cold water.

Visit a shopping mall, library or coffee shop. Go see a movie.

Drinking enough water every day is one of the smartest, simplest ways to keep the body functioning properly. Be aware of the signs of dehydration – dry mouth/skin, lightheadedness, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat – and use these tips to keep cool throughout the summer. And don’t forget to take that water bottle wherever you go.

Remember, pets also need to be protected from dehydration and many heat-related illnesses.

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee.

This column appears in the September issue of InMaricopa.

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By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

Create systems that make health and fitness faster and easier, such as:

  • Keep fresh, whole foods in plain sight.
  • Reduce or eliminate “treat” foods.
  • Establish a morning or weekend routine to chop veggies and prepare protein+complex carbs in bulk.
  • Sign up for a CSA box or healthy meal delivery.
  • Keep berries and greens in freezer (for quick Super Shakes).
  • Join a gym or personal training studio close to home or work.
  • Keep a packed gym bag in your car or by the front door.
  • Leave weights and resistance bands lying around for quick, convenient workout.
  • Hold gatherings and meetings at parks and gyms.

Put meal prep and movement in your calendar. If we waited until we “felt like it,” a lot of important things would get neglected. Schedule it in, and stick to it.

Review at the end of each week: Did I use my time to support my health and fitness?

Explore what worked and keep doing that.
Celebrate! You deserve it.
Add 15 more minutes of health food prep and movement next week.

What do you do instead?
If it was low-priority stuff, combine those activities with fitness+nutrition. For example: Watch TV while prepping food.
If it was high-priority stuff, does it happen often? That’s OK! Life happens. Return to your goals and keep practicing. Set small weekly health+fitness goals and keep improving your systems. Get coaching to develop better systems and realistic goals.

As you can see, “being healthy and fit” is like an iceberg. Eating well and workout out is only the tip of the iceberg and it’s supported by all the thinking, prioritizing, strategizing and planning underneath.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics and can be reached at 520-261-4661 and Aaron@LongevityAthletics.com.

Only three Maricopa eateries were inspected by the health department of Pinal County June 16-July 15. All three earned excellent ratings.

Excellent [No violations found]
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Firehouse Subs

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

This item appears in the August issue of InMaricopa.

By Joan Koczor 

Initially, your primary care provider will be the first step in diagnosing many health issues. He will recommend screening, help you manage chronic conditions and, if needed, refer you to other types of providers or specialists.

A short list of specialists may include cardiologists, oncologists, allergists, psychologists, podiatrists and orthopedists.

Through all this, your life has changed – you’ve become a patient.

Your days are no longer ordinary. There are examinations, medications, diagnosis and treatment options, doctor appointments, hospital stays, decisions to make, endless paperwork, phone calls to health insurers. Who can you turn to in time of an emergency?

Dealing with any illness can be a very stressful time for patients and their families.

Add to that the health care system has become so confusing – think walking through a maze – that some patients may need someone to help them navigate.

A new trend is enlisting a patient advocate.

An advocate may be a member of your family or a close friend. An effective advocate is someone you trust and will act on your behalf as well as work with other members of your health care team.

Another type of advocate is a professional advocate. Hospitals usually have professionals who play this role called patient representatives or patient advocates. Social workers or nurses may also fill this role.

In choosing a patient advocate, it is important to decide what you want help with and what you can handle without assistance.

Do you need a better understanding of options for hospitals, doctors, diagnostic tests? Assurance your wishes are carried out if there comes a time you might not be able to do that yourself? Would you like your advocate to accompany you to tests, appointments, treatments and procedures? Assist you in wading through the never-ending medical bills? Become your representative to health care providers?

It is important to let your physician and those caring for you know who your advocate is and how much involvement they have in your care. Make sure your doctors and nurses have your advocate’s contact information. And the same for your advocate – provide them with numbers for your health care provider, hospital and pharmacy and anyone you wish contacted in case of an emergency.

Not all advocates charge a fee. Not all who do will charge for their services in exactly the same way. The cost may depend on:

  • your location, or your location in relation to where they are located.
  • the advocate’s experience and education.
  • the amount of time you work together.

Additional factors like necessary travel, acquisition of medical records, or others may cause the price to fluctuate.

PatientAdvocate.org, AdvoConnection.com/advocatelocations/arizona

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee.

This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa Magazine.

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Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

When life’s already busy, here’s how you can make time to eat better and move more often.

Ask yourself why

Understand exactly why you want to eat better and exercise more gives you the motivation to prioritize it over other things.


Q: Why do I want to eat healthier and exercise more?
A: Because I want to fit in smaller pants.

Q: But why do I want to fit in smaller pants?
A: Because when I’m wearing smaller pants, I look better.

Q: But why do I want to look better?
A: Because when I look good, I feel good about myself.

Q: But why do I want to feel good about myself?
A: Because when I feel good about myself, I’m more assertive and confident.

Q: But why do I want to be more assertive and confident?
A: Because when I’m more assertive and confident, I’m in control, my fears won’t stop me, and I can finally go for my dreams.

Identify your top priorities

Think of your time as a jar, which you can fill with a finite number of rocks, pebbles and sand.

Your big rocks represent the stuff that’s most necessary to feel fulfilled in life. They often relate to family, health, and livelihood. Your pebbles add extra fun and satisfaction to life, but aren’t totally necessary. You sand is purely “bonus” activity. It can be enjoyable, but it’s not crucial to your survival or fulfillment

Everyone’s rocks, pebbles and sand will look different. But regardless, if you fill you jar with too much sand first, the rocks and pebbles won’t fit.

Keep a time diary

Your schedule reflects how you’re prioritizing the activities in your life. Track your time in 15-minute increments for a couple weeks to find out if it’s consistent with your goals and values. For example:

7:00-7:15 – Woke up, brushed teeth
7:15-7:30 – Checked Instagram
7:30-7:45 – Still on Instagram

Then analyze it:

Work 35%
Sleep 20%
Exercise 2%
Time with loved ones 10%
Watching TV 10%
Surfing the Internet 25%
Healthy meal prep 3%

Work 35%
Sleep 30%
Exercise 5%
Time with loved ones 20%
Watching TV/Internet 2.5%
Time in nature 2.5%
Healthy meal prep 5%

To start to align your schedule with what you want to accomplish, replace low-value activities with high-value ones, little by little.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics and can be reached at 520-261-4661 and Aaron@LongevityAthletics.com.

This column appears in the July issue of InMaricopa Magazine.

Take precautions against excessive heat and what could be record temperatures.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning from 10 a.m. Thursday to 9 p.m.

Temperatures are expected to reach 113 Thursday and 114 on Friday.

Impacts include an increased potential for heat related illness. Those working or participating in outdoor activities during the afternoon hours or those without access to adequate air conditioning will be most at risk.

Never leave kids or pets unattended in cars. Drink more water than usual and avoid alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. When outdoors, wear light colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head and body cooler. Take frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned environments.

Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat illness. Early symptoms include things such as headache, thirst, and muscle cramps. Serious symptoms include weakness, skin that is cool to the touch, fast but weak pulse, nausea, and fainting. Severe symptoms include hot and red dry skin, fast and strong Pulse, sweating that has stopped, and unconsciousness. Untreated heat illness can lead to fatal heat stroke.

Photo by Michelle Chance


All 11 food establishments in Maricopa inspected by Pinal County’s health department from May 16 to June 15 received excellent scores.

Excellent [No violations found] Bashas’
Bashas’ – Deli
Circle K at 21212 N. John Wayne Parkway
Dollar Tree
Gyro Grill
Helen’s at Copper Sky
Helen’s at Pacana Park
McDonalds at 20700 N. John Wayne Parkway
QuikTrip – kitchen

Satisfactory [ Violations corrected during inspection] None

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection] None

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service] None

Joan Koczor

By Joan Koczor

Mesothelioma (me-zoe-thee-lee-O-muh) is a rare type of cancer of the mesothelium caused by exposure to asbestos. The mesothelium is a thin membrane that protects and lubricates different body cavities, such as the chest and abdominal cavities.

Men 60 years and older are often diagnosed several years after exposure. Women have contracted this disease from washing their husbands’ clothes, although the husband – exposed to asbestos – does not contract this disease.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that resembles a rock in its natural form. The rock will split into fibers, which are resistant to heat, fire and chemicals. Considered a natural product, it was widely used in the United States until the late 1970s. Over 3,000 products containing asbestos were in general use until the late 1980s.

Asbestos materials have been used in every branch of the military until the late 1970s. As a result, 30 percent of veterans have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

It takes 20 to 50 years to develop and occurs in the lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen and heart.

There are three types of mesothelioma:

  • Pleural: Cancer of the lungs which is the most common because most asbestos fibers are inhaled. Symptoms may include shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Peritoneal: Cancer of the abdomen. It is caused by ingesting asbestos fibers. Symptoms may include weight loss and nausea.
  • Pericardial: Cancer surrounding the heart. This is the rarest form and is rarely diagnosed while the patient is still alive.

Mesothelioma is often mistaken for less serious conditions. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing symptoms attributed to this disease, consult your family doctor. They will perform the basic tests and X-rays. Based on the results, your doctor will refer you to a radiologist who will do extensive testing – X-ray, CAT scan, PET scan and CT scan. These tests are used in the diagnosis of this disease.

A surgical biopsy is done and sent to a pathologist for review. A pathologist will review fluid or tissue biopsy samples to determine cell type. If the results of these tests determine further treatment is required, a qualified specialist will be suggested. One who has a wide range of extensive experience with mesothelioma cases.

A pulmonologist specializes in lung disease and evaluates lung function. A gastroenterologist specializes in disease of the digestive system and tissues which occur in the abdominal region. A cardiologist specializes in heart defects and other heart disorders.

Only 20 U.S. doctors specialize in the treatment of this disease.

The Mesothelioma Organization offers a doctor-match program, saving time and expense to those seeking treatment. Patient advocates are also available to answer questions and provide information.




Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee. The Mesothelioma Guide provided information for this article.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

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Sheriolyn Curry


By Rev. Sheriolyn Curry, CSA

There is a renewed interest over the use of comfort care as a planned, managed care option for persons afflicted with chronic illness, are terminally ill or are frail.

Here, the term terminal refers to a progressive disease that is incurable and irreversible; that is, it no longer responds to treatment and death is usually the expected result within a short period of time.

Choosing to receive “comfort care” does not mean you are giving up, you have decided to die or you will receive no medical care. Comfort care might not be as aggressive as other life-prolonging measures, but it is medical care.

With the advances in modern technology, there are very aggressive measures available that can be used to treat many illnesses. However, when faced with a terminal illness, people are choosing quality of life over quantity of days.

Comfort care really is about choices. When one is faced with a decision about long-term care for a chronic illness, the focus often turns to comfort measures for symptom control – managing pain, eliminating nausea or anxiety, etc. It can also include choices as to where and how often one wants to receive care. Many are opting for the comforts of home. Other choose the loving environment of a hospice facility.

Barbara Bush recently brought to light the discussion over comfort care when she publicly announced that as her treatment of choice before her passing in April. When people get to choose how they want to manage their care, they are more empowered in the process. Research suggests that on some level, they ultimately feel better about making the decision. They become partners in their own life’s journey.

There are opinions that associate choosing comfort care with giving up, and it is not, not at all. Comfort care still looks forward, it just no longer seeks a cure or a reversal of the condition. Done well, comfort care is a planned care option in which the patient, family members and care team discuss and agree on the course of action. It can be spiritually honoring for the care recipient, and provide peace of mind for the family. And there is no right or wrong way to feel about considering comfort care as your choice.

I pray this column brings peace to your soul. If you need us, call us at 480-659-9201. We are Comfort Keepers.

Sheriolyn Curry, CSA, is the owner of Comfort Keepers of Maricopa.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

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Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

When we work out intensely, we damage tissues at the microlevel, and we use fuel.

This is what ultimately makes us stronger, leaner, fitter and more muscular, but in the short term it requires repair.

Repair and rebuilding occurs through the breakdown of old, damaged proteins (aka protein breakdown) and the construction of new ones (aka protein synthesis) — a process known collectively as protein turnover.

Muscle protein synthesis is increased slightly (or unchanged) after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. We’re doing a lot more breaking-down than building-up.

The relationship between these two parameters (rate of muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown) represents the metabolic basis for muscle growth.

What to eat

Post-workout nutrition requires two things:

  1. Protein to aid in protein synthesis
  2. Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen (and to enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells)

You could certainly eat a whole food meal that meets these requirements after exercise. However, whole food meals aren’t always practical.

Some people aren’t hungry immediately after exercise. Whole food digests slowly, and we want nutrients to be available quickly. A whole-food meal that requires refrigeration might be less practical.

On the other hand, consuming a liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates (e.g. maltodextrin, dextrose, glucose) and proteins (e.g. protein hydrolysates or isolates)

  • might accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells;
  • can result in rapid digestion and absorption; and
  • is often better tolerated during and after workouts.

Data indicate that it may only take about 20 grams of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

Once your workout is complete, have a whole food meal within an hour or two.

If priority No. 1 is to lose body fat, use only BCAAs as a workout drink, and five to 15 grams per hour of training. (If you weigh 200-plus pounds consume closer to 15 grams; less than 200 pounds, closer to five grams). If you’re leaner but still want to lose fat, choose a smaller dose (like 1/2 dose) of the protein plus carb combination, or opt for BCAAs.


Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.


Two of 16 restaurants inspected by the Pinal County Health Department between April 16 and May 15 were cited for cold-holding infractions.

The inspector observed at Aliberto’s Mexican Food a walk-in refrigerator holding food between 43 and 46 degrees F. Safety requires food in refrigerators to be held at 41 degrees F or lower. Repairs were made to the refrigerator during inspection.

Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina also had a faulty refrigerator. The inspector recorded an ambient temperature of 54 degrees F. Some items were moved temporarily to an ice bath while the restaurant awaited a replacement refrigerator.

EXCELLENT [No violations found]

Barro’s Pizza
Brooklyn Boy’s Italian Restaurant & Pizza
CVS Pharmacy
The Duke at Rancho El Dorado
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Li’s Garden
Panda Express
Raceway Bar & Grill
Rob’s Convenience
True Grit Tavern
Walmart – Deli

SATISFACTORY [Violations corrected during inspection]

Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]


UNACCEPTABLE [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]


This item appears in the June issue of InMaricopa.

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By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

Pretty much everybody has heard their body is over 60 percent water. Thus, if you weigh 150 pounds then 90 pounds of you is liquid. A lot of that body water is in your cells or attached to molecules like proteins and carbohydrates.

Water does six main things in our bodies – transporting, dissolving, cleaning, reacting, padding and regulating temperature.

Research question: Water is important stuff, but can it help us lose weight?

North American Association for the Study of Obesity detailed its findings in “Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults.”*

In this study, researchers recruited men and women ages 55 to 75 who were overweight or obese, with exclusions for certain health ailments. Before the study started, everybody had to come into the lab twice – once to eat as much food as they wanted, and once to drink 500 milliliters of water and then eat as much as they wanted.

Researchers wanted to see whether people would eat less if they drank water before a meal. Twelve weeks later, at the end of the study, the participants did the water-drinking test again.

Everybody was on the same diet, but half the participants had the secret pre-meal supplement – 500 milliliters water. Before each of their three meals, the water group drank 500 milliliters of water before eating. There was no other difference between groups for the 12 weeks of the study.

Over the three months, the water group dropped 4.4 percent body fat and 5.4 kg total fat while the non-water group only dropped 1.1 percent body fat and 3.3 kg of total fat.

Bottom line – Drinking two cups of water before a meal will keep you hydrated, fuller and may even boost your metabolism for an hour. Before you go off to your favorite vitamin shop to try the latest weight-loss supplement, try drinking two cups (500 mL) before you sit down for a meal.

Oh, and make sure you’re near a toilet.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.



*[Dennis EA, Dengo AL, Comber DL, Flack KD, Savla J, Davy KP, Davy BM. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18(2):300-7.

This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.


By Andrew H. Jones

Is it a cold or allergies? This is a question that plagues many people this time of year. On one hand you’ve been sneezing and sniffling, swallowing over-the-counter meds every few hours. On the other hand, it’s been going on for two and a half weeks now and it seems there is no end in sight. Let’s take a closer look at some of the similarities and differences to better understand what may be ailing you.

Similarities of Allergies & Colds:
 Sneezing
 Runny nose
 Congestion and stuffy nose
 Coughing
 Sore throat

Differences of Allergies & Colds:
 Itchy eyes is a less common symptom of a cold
 Severe colds can cause fevers and body aches and are not usually signs of allergies
 Sore throat in allergies is most often caused by postnasal drip
 Allergies can cause rashes

“People with allergies are sometimes more prone to catching colds. Recovery from a cold is usually quick – in fact, the average duration of a cold is 7 to 10 days. If symptoms last more than a week or two, the cold may have progressed into a secondary bacterial infection such as bronchitis or sinusitis. Allergies are more difficult to predict and can be a little tricky, they can be seasonal, or come and go daily and reoccur often” (Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director, Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017).
As the season begins to warm, the plants begin to pollinate, spreading the ‘joy’ in the air to all of us who are susceptible to seasonal allergies. However, we are still in the middle of cold and flu season. So the sniffles may very well be one last ride on the Rhinovirus bandwagon.

Allergies range from mild to seasonal allergies with more severe symptoms; which can cause life-threatening reactions. People can have an array of symptoms and allergic reactions to any number of things, including various airborne pollens, foods, medications, and allergy shots. Whether you have a mild or severe allergy, you should know the proper response to a reaction, address accordingly, and minimize your discomfort.

Keeping track of the local daily pollen percentages in your area can be very helpful and might make you Ah-Ah-Ah-choose to stay inside, wear a preventative mask, or limit your outdoor activities. Here is a helpful website that can help keep you informed of your local air pollen content. https://www.pollen.com

Scheduling an appointment with your Sun Life Family Health Center provider is the first step to treating your cold or allergies. He or she will be able to diagnose your symptoms and refer you to a local (specialist) allergist. The allergist can then test you to find out what triggered your allergic reaction and can prescribe medication or give you allergy shots to help manage your symptoms.

Tip of the Month – Cut down on dust in your home.
Concentrate on cleaning your bedroom where you sleep. Wash all of your bedding regularly. Wipe dust off dressers, night-stands, appliances, ceiling fans, and wear a dust mask while doing so. Clean your house regularly with a vacuum.

Dr. Ted Crawford, DO, Medical Director – Sun Life Family Health Center

Good Donuts

One Maricopa eatery among those inspected by Pinal County’s health department from March 15 to April 15 did not receive an excellent score.

Good Donuts was requested to fix or replace a refrigerator that was not keeping items at the required 41 degrees F or lower. Several items, such as milk, eggs and cheese, were measured at 49F. The inspector also noted washed but not sanitized blender containers and a bucket for wiping cloths on a work table. The establishment was given an “N” rating, a step below satisfactory. Its previous two inspections had earned satisfactory and excellent marks.

Excellent [No violations found] 99 Cents Only Store
Butterfield Elementary
Central Arizona College – Culinary
Circle K, 18141 N. John Wayne Parkway
Desert Wind Middle School
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
Domino’s Pizza
Francisco’s Mexican Food
Gyro Grill
Helen’s Kitchen
Jack in the Box
Jersey Mike’s Subs
Maricopa Head Start
Maricopa High School
Maricopa Wells Middle School
Papa John’s Pizza
Pima Butte Elementary
Pizza Hut
Plaza Bonita
Province Community Association Clubhouse
Santa Cruz Elementary
Santa Rosa Elementary
Sonic Drive-In
Sunrise Cafe
Taco Bell
Water and Ice

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]
Good Donuts

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

This item appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.


The impending walk-out of local educators is expected to close all of Maricopa Unified School District’s nine schools Thursday and could also affect area charter schools.

Known agencies providing walk-out childcare:

Children’s Learning Adventure, 20600 N. John Wayne Parkway


Registration fee will be waived, and all new families will receive their first day free.

Copper Sky, 44345 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.


Free childcare provided by Maricopa Springs Family Church and other local churches at Copper Sky from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. There are 500 spots available; seeking 70 childcare volunteers. Morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack provided.

Click here to register.

Rockstar Cheer, 12501 N. Murphy Road



Located at Rockstar Cheer gym from 7 a.m.–5 p.m. $25 per day, per child. Includes pizza lunch. Snacks and drinks for sale or bring your own. Ages: Kindergarten through eighth grade. 50 spots available.

Food Disbursement:

With help from Our Children Matter and Maricopa Pantry, food boxes will be dispersed at a #RedForEd teacher-led event at Copper Sky Wednesday at 5 p.m. to parents of affected students.

MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

Training the core is where most people run into trouble, because they try to train the core like a beast — with heavy weights, or a full range of motion. However, the key to core training for a healthy back is muscle endurance (not strength) and stability (not mobility).

In most day-to-day activities and the sports we play the core’s job is to stop movement.

For example: You open a door — your core stops your spine from twisting as you pull the door open with your arm. You kick a football — your core stops you from keeling forward.

Pause for a moment and think about what that means.

You want your core to be stable and resist movement. So why are we stretching, over-bending, and turning ourselves into pretzels?

Try these four exercises for a healthy and resilient back – modified curl-up, stir the pot, side bridge and bird dog.

The modified curl-up is different from a regular curl-up because one leg is bent while the other is straight; the hands are under the lower back and only lift the head and neck.

Stir the pot is a plank-type exercise done on a stability ball with the added challenge of stirring the pot (moving your arms as if you’re trying to stir a large pot). If that is too hard, you can just do a plank on the ball or even on the floor.

Side bridge is a side plank from the elbows.

Bird dog starts on all fours, like a dog. You lift the opposite arm and leg, focusing on stiffening the core. To make this harder instead of just lifting your arm and leg straight up and down, make squares at the top of the movement.

Keys to the exercises are to keep the tightening part of the exercise to 10 seconds and add reps to progress in the exercises, and to maintain form – once you can’t keep your spine tight, stop.

Stretching for a healthy back? While lower-back stretching is a no-no, certain stretches to keep the hips mobile are important.

Hamstrings: The key to hamstring stretching is to bend only at the hip and not the back. A good hamstring stretch that supports the lower back is to lie on your back and lift one leg up, keep the knee slightly bent and use a belt around your foot to pull the your lower leg toward your chest. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be Gumby. If you can get your leg perpendicular to the floor, you’re doing well.

Hip flexors (front of hip): Lunging with your hands over your head stretches the hip flexors (muscles in front of the hip), but remember to keep your back straight and torso upright, the front shin perpendicular to the floor, the rear knee pointed down and focus on stretching the front of your hip (squeezing the glute of the rear leg will help).

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.



This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.


By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator
Sun Life Family Health Center

A community comes alive when the residents share their love for their neighbors and friends enough to help improve it. Helping your community helps to build stronger bonds within which can make life better for your family, friends, co—workers and neighbors whom you share your life with. The more love you pour in, the better it will become.

Implementing positive small lifestyle changes are one of the most effective ways to improve your overall health and well—being. Even the smallest positive changes can help form healthy habits. We, the employees at Sun Life Family Health Center, want to offer a few suggested small tips and changes to help you on your journey toward a healthier you. We call them #OneSmallChange. Creating a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be some extravagantly outrageous New Year’s resolution that makes or breaks you. Adding in just #OneSmallChange incrementally will add up and make a Big difference.

DANIELLE JENNINGS, WHNP-BC — Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Touch it Once
After reading an article about the habits of tidy people I have adopted the “ touch it once” strategy. Rather than putting stuff on a chair or leaving things where they might have to be moved again. I put things where they belong the first time I pick it up. Dishes don’t go in the sink, they go straight into the dishwasher. Shoes are taken off where they belong. Trying to get my kids to adopt this has been more of a struggle.


Work Hard — Play Hard
Make sure to reward yourself for your hard work, drink lots of water and get enough rest!


BERONICA M. — Medical Assistant
One Prayer
One prayer a day will make a huge difference.


SONIA O. — Front Desk
Registration Clerk
#OneSmallChange: Do a Small Act of Kindness for Others
Pick a few small acts of kindness and do one a day for a stranger, or pick something small to make a loved one feel loved. It will have a big impact on others and get you out of the narrow self—centered perspective that most of us get stuck in.


MAISEY B. — Front Desk Registration Clerk
Less focus
on electronics
Limit time usage of all electronics including tablets, gaming systems, cell phones and television for everyone in the household. There is so much focus on social media and gaming in todays world that we tend to forget about that good quality family time.


ELIZABETH A. — Site Manager
Be The
Change You Wish To See
Eye contact and a smile goes a long way for many having a bad day.


DANA RODRIGUEZ, CPNP, PhD — Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Cut Down
on Sugar Intake
Look at the sugar in the food and drinks you consume. Start by reading food labels. Pay special attention to the sugar and carbohydrates. Start by eliminating sugary beverages like juice and soda.


BERNADETTE F. — Licensed Practical Nurse
Encourage Positivity
Encourage physical activity for all of the family, there is a website called MGR: MesaGilbertRocks. Basically it is like geocaching but instead you look for painted rocks which you can take home for your garden, house or wherever you wish to decorate or you can re-hide them for someone else to find. Libraries, Parks, trails are great places to look/hide. Get creative! Let your children paint the rocks.
Encourage hydration especially among the homeless, place 1—2 bottles of water and a protein bar in a Ziploc bag and hand out to those in need. You can include a happy thought!


BRITTANY K. — Registered Medical Assistant
Enjoy Life
Build a healthier and more enjoyable life by taking a walk to relax and enjoying what’s around you. Bring your kids or pets with you to make it more fun.


LUCY V. — Clinical Laboratory Assistant I
Good Mood
To Start Your Day
Make your alarm clock tone your favorite song, so it can help you to get up easier in the morning while bettering your mood to start your day. The best way to start a conversation with a person you don’t know is to start with giving them a complement. Not only will that break the ice but it also makes them more confident and you even more like-able.


SHAYLA S. — Medical Assistant
Time With Family Well Spent
Turn off all media 3 hours before bed and spend 1on1 time with family.


NICHELLE T. — Front Desk Registration Clerk
Live—Love Well
Treat people the way you want to be treated. Live every day like it could be your last.

by -
Joan Koczor

By Joan Koczor

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is estimated to affect 25.8 million Americans. In the United States, about one in four people over age 60 has diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. It is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.

Diabetes doesn’t allow your body to make enough insulin or isn’t able to use its own insulin as well as it should, resulting in a buildup of sugar in your blood. Serious health complications can include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and lower-extremity amputations.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1, which requires insulin as medication, may start as early as childhood; Type 2 is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes. The most common Type 2 may be hereditary. It is more common in people who are overweight.

The ABC method is used for managing diabetes and any complications: A for the A1C test, B for blood pressure and C for cholesterol. Controlling blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol can aid in reducing the risk of long-term complications.

A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2-3 months. Normal A1C levels are less than 5.7 percent. Levels for diabetes is 6.5 percent or higher. Prediabetes levels are 5.7 to 6.4 percent.

Pain or numbness in the hands and feet, extreme fatigue and blurry vision are just a few of the warning signs you might be at risk for diabetes. Check with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Early detection and treatment can decrease the risk of complications.

Living with a chronic condition, such as diabetes, can leave you feeling tired or depressed. Some days will be harder to get through than others.

Take care of your emotional health. Diet, exercise and taking time to relax are very important and contribute to your overall health. Have regular checkups. Do simple things that you enjoy. Go to a movie. Take a mini road trip. Read a book.

And more importantly, keep informed. Make a list of questions and take them with you to your next doctor appointment.

Diabetes.org, for American Diabetes Association 2018 Standards of Care

ChooseMyPlate.gov, for USDA information on the five food groups and how to adjust portions to insure healthy eating

ndep.nih.gov, National Diabetes Education Program to improve treatment and outcome

Ref: American Diabetes Association

Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee.

This column appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Longevity Athletics clients: Folks who want to get (or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to “fall off the wagon” for the entire year and battle with getting back into it to achieve resolutions. That’s why we came up with this short, simple and effective workout you can do anywhere.

1. Move through each exercise in sequence. 2. Do 10 reps of each exercise. 3. Minimal to no rest between exercises. 4. Rest 1-2 minutes at the end of the circuit. 5. Repeat for a total of 2-4 circuits.


Starting on all fours, push down with toes to bring knees off floor. Keeping pelvis centered, “crawl” with right arm and left leg moving forward together, and vice versa. 10 seconds = 1 rep


Start in “plank” position, hands directly under shoulders and fingers forward. Maintaining a straight line from head to heel, keep elbows in as you bend them to lower your body as far as you can without shoulders popping forward. Squeeze shoulder blades together and down toward glutes as you lower, then allow them to spread fully apart at the top. Keep abs tight, tailbone tucked under and shoulders down away from ears.


Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms extended in front of you or behind your head. With abs engaged, ribs pulled down and tailbone tucked under, push hips back and lower as far as you can, keeping feet straight and knees aligned with little toe. Drive weight into heels and midfoot to return to start.


Keeping ribs down, abs tight, tailbone tucked, and weight through forward heel, pull dumbbell up toward lower ribs while locking your shoulder blade inward and down.


Can’t do one or more of the exercises in the circuit? Skip them. If possible, focus on the lower body, which requires greater muscle engagement and energy burn.

No dumbbell? Use whatever you can find to add weight to the moves.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, owns Longevity Athletics.

This column appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.

No Excuses Workout

Aaron Gilbert of Longevity Athletics explains the No Excuses Workout to help keep your healthy-living resolutions. Learn more in the March issue of InMaricopa.

Posted by InMaricopa on Thursday, March 1, 2018


By Andrew H. Jones
Community Relations Coordinator
Sun Life Family Health Center

As parents we never hesitate to schedule regular routine checkups for our children, but as adults we often times put aside our own health needs, and too often, we only see a doctor when we are sick.

People are changing their ways and are becoming more conscious about their health with improvements in diet, exercise and regular health check-ups. A routine and regular health check-up is a detailed test of your body, which should be done annually to monitor your health, reduce your risk of getting sick and detect any potentially life-threatening health conditions and/or hidden disease in your body and lower its effect with early treatment, or best-case scenario prevent it. Routine health checkups have many advantages as it will increase your lifespan by getting the right health services, screening and treatments your body requires.

Importance of Routine Health Check-Ups

Many serious health problems do not have any symptoms but can be found during a routine health check-up. Therefore important to have health checkups often. Any serious illness found in its early stage is much easier to cure. Early detection also enhances chances of survival.

Without routine health check-ups, you cannot regulate some health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc. Having a regular health check-up can improve your quality of life and help you avoid a serious problem such as cancer, osteoporosis, heart diseases, etc.

Routine check-ups for women such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cervical screenings and a breast exam will help to detect the signs of diseases at most treatable stages.

A regular scheduled check-up is also a good time to get up-to-date information on new medical technologies that are available.

A routine health exam helps to maintain and keep one’s medical history up to date. A clear and complete medical report can help to detect hereditary and early health problems.

Regular checkups help to strengthen the awareness of medical problems and encourage you to act on signs and symptoms to avoid potential health problems.

According to research, people with a poor diet, who use tobacco, that misuse/overuse alcohol, and/or have a lack of physical activity are more prone to death. Some of these deaths could be preventable with regular routine medical check-ups.

Other than these benefits, a regular health check-up gives an opportunity to talk with your doctor about healthy lifestyle choices. You can also review any immunizations that may be due, or learn about new optional vaccines that may not even be on your radar. During this time, you may also discuss emotional problems like depression and stress. These health checkups help the patient to reduce risks of major illness slipping through the cracks and enable you to worry less about any potential risks.

Sun Life Family Health Center welcomes you to learn more about the healthcare services we offer. Sun Life offers continuous and comprehensive healthcare to individuals and the entire family. In addition to providing care when you are ill, we will also help you achieve a healthy lifestyle and work with you to help prevent future illness.


To help fill up your future medical calendar, these are the recommended ages for adult screenings and vaccines. It is important to become familiar with these lifelong milestones and coordinate a routine yearly schedule to maintain your overall health and wellness.

20 – The age when the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends beginning annual skin cancer screenings.

21–29 – The age when women should begin getting a cervical screening every three years, according to the ACS.

30–65 – The age when women should begin getting a cervical screening combined with an HPV test every five years, according to the ACS.

50 – The age when men should begin getting prostate screenings, according to the ACS. Also the age when men and women should schedule their first colonoscopy.

60 – The age when men and women should get the shingles vaccine, according to the CDC, which recommends getting the vaccine regardless of whether you recall having had chickenpox.

65 – The age when men and women should receive the pneumococcal vaccine, according to the CDC. In addition, the age when women should get a bone density scan.

70 – The age when men should get a bone-density scan.



Create a Medical Routine for yourself and your family. Monitor your health, reduce your risk of getting sick and detect any potentially life-threatening health conditions with routine check-ups.


Silver Sneakers exercise classes are geared toward older adults. Photo by Michelle Chance


Doctors generally suggest regular activity is good for the body and mind, but as bodies age, keeping an exercise routine may prove difficult.

Only 28 to 34 percent of adults ages 65 to 74 are physically active, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Silver Sneakers is a program that offers free access to athletic classes and is often covered by Medicare and other types of insurance.

Copper Sky Recreation Center and Anytime Fitness provide Silver Sneakers classes in Maricopa.

“It’s primarily designed for adults age 65 years and older, but it’s just a low-intensity exercise program that is really appropriate for a lot of different populations,” said Stephanie Murphy, Silver Sneakers instructor at Copper Sky.

Murphy said the program is also beneficial for people with physical limitations and disabilities, regardless of age.

Copper Sky morning classes meet upstairs in a large dance studio at 9:30, Monday through Thursdays.

Led by Murphy’s direction and motivated by an upbeat, music playlist, participants transition from standing to seated exercises.

“There are a lot of options and a lot of variety in terms of exercise that are available and different modifications that people can do,” Murphy said.

It’s not just classes but a general health program. When 88-year-old Bryan Mitchell moved to Maricopa a couple years ago, he checked out Copper Sky’s resources.

“They said, ‘Are you Silver Sneakers?’ And I said, ‘What the hell is that?’ They said, ‘If you’re on Medicare, you may qualify.’ So, I checked, and sure enough, I do qualify, so I play out here for nothing. You can’t beat that.”

Murphy has taught Silver Sneakers classes for a year and a half and said she frequently sees improvements in balance and flexibility. Copper Sky offers four Silver Sneakers classes (classic, cardio, circuit and splash).

“I love being able to make the joy of exercise accessible to people of all ages and abilities and fitness levels,” Murphy said.

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


Only one of 17 Maricopa food establishments did not score excellent after being inspected by Pinal County’s health department Dec. 16-Jan. 15.

F.O.R. Maricopa’s food bank continued to have trouble with hot water at its distribution location in Santa Cruz Elementary School. Hand-washing sinks are required to provide water at 100 degrees within seconds. During inspection, after 10 minutes, hot water was at only 70 degrees. F.O.R. Maricopa was requested to correct the problem as soon as possible.

Excellent [No violations found]
Cilantro’s Mexican Cocina
Culver’s of Maricopa
Francisco’s Mexican Food
Fry’s Marketplace
Fry’s Marketplace – Deli
Fry’s Marketplace – Starbucks
Fry’s Marketplace – Sushi
Gyro Grill
Jack in the Box
Maricopa Head Start
Native Grill & Wings
The New HQ
Panda Express
Say Sushi
Tacos ‘N’ More

Satisfactory [Violations corrected during inspection]
F.O.R. Maricopa

Needs Improvement [Critical items noted during inspection cannot be corrected immediately requiring follow-up inspection]

Unacceptable [Gross, unsanitary conditions necessitating the discontinuation of service]

This item appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

By Aaron Gilbert

Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange


Hack 1: Eat slowly and to “satisfied” instead of “stuffed”

The most effective tool for healthy eating and weight loss resolutions may also be the simplest one: Eat slowly. And stop at “satisfied” instead of “stuffed.”

This strategy helps you avoid overeating for two main reasons:

Physiological: It takes 15-20 minutes for your digestive system to let your brain know you’re satisfied. Slowing down a meal allows that to happen before you overeat.

Psychological: When you slow down and savor your food, you feel content with much less. This means you’ll eat less and enjoy what you’ve eaten more.

Hack 2: Eat well on the go

When your busy schedule has you on the go, pack some smart snacks, such as:

Nuts and seeds
Cut fresh fruit
Grilled chicken breast
Quality protein bar (higher protein, lower sugar)
Plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
A few scoops or protein powder and PB2 – add water as needed
Quality meat jerky (lower in sodium and sugar)
Raw veggies and hummus
Celery with nut butter
Hard-boiled eggs
Tuna in a pouch

Hack 3: The “No Excuses” Workout

It’s one of the most common patterns we see among incoming Longevity Athletics clients: Folks who want to get (or stay) fit will exercise diligently for months, only to “fall off the wagon” for the entire year and battle with getting back into it to achieve resolutions. That’s why we came up with this short, simple and effective workout you can do anywhere.

Get the details on these exercises in the March issue of InMaricopa.



Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.


This column appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.

Bryan Mitchell, 88, plays pickleball twice a week at Copper Sky. Photo by Victor Moreno


Bryan Mitchell will be 89 years old in April. A retired executive, he takes physical fitness seriously. On his own or with new friends, he has a fitness regimen for every week day.

“I watch my diet so that I get the right foods, but I don’t necessarily cut back on the sweets, so I gotta keep working at it,” he said.

A resident of the Redwood neighborhood of Glennwilde, Mitchell came to Maricopa after his 2015 retirement. It was actually his second retirement.

A native of Chicago, he worked his first career there with what was then the A.C. Neilsen Company (now The Neilsen Corporation). As a controller in the mid-‘80s, he was among staff transferred to New York. After two years, the struggling company reorganized and laid off those employees.

Opting not to return to Chicago, Mitchell took early retirement and became a real estate broker. It was his occupation for 28 years in New York, even after his wife died in 2012. He finally called it quits at the age of 86.

His daughter, Susan Bellfield, had moved to Maricopa to be near friends around 2005. She thought the community would be a good fit for her father. So, when she stayed with him after his retirement, she talked him into moving to Arizona.

“I like the weather here,” he said. “And it’s less expensive to live here.”

Attributing Mitchell’s long, independent life at least in part to physical activity is an easy assumption. He used to play tennis and racquetball. Once he moved to Maricopa, he was ready to try something new both for activity and society.

He heard talk at his church about one of the congregants playing pickleball in Province, and he set out to find out what it was and where it might be available to non-Province residents.

That led him to Copper Sky, where he fell in with a motley crew.

“I enjoyed it right from the beginning,” Mitchell said. “It took me a little while to learn it, but it’s really a lot of fun. I look forward to it. They’re a great bunch of people here, too. They’re a lot of fun to play with.”

Now he plays pickleball with a growing group of players at Copper Sky on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he hits the treadmill at home, where he lives with “a little dog that’s about as old as I am in dog years.”

Mitchell promotes the benefits of pickleball to others looking for light recreation to stay active.

“It’s a great sport for almost any age and any condition,” he said. “You have people who are overweight, people who are underweight, old people, younger people. It’s good for everybody. And you get good exercise from it because they run you around.”

This story appears in the February issue of InMaricopa.


In the past five months, Pinal County has experienced an over-twofold elevation in the number of gonorrhea infections, compared to the prior five-year average.

Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise across the country, according to new data published by Pinal County Health Services. The city of Maricopa and its surrounding communities are no exception.

In a Dec.13 presentation to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, Director of Pinal County Public Health Services District Dr. Shauna McIsaac said, despite certain sexually transmitted diseases reaching their lowest historical rate in the late 20th century, certain STIs have been on the rise in recent years.

“Although 20 years ago, gonorrhea rates were at historic lows, and syphilis was close to elimination, rates of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. have now increased three years in a row,” McIsaac said.

Pinal County Public Health Services District


In 2017 alone, from January through September, Pinal County has seen an average of more than three new cases of syphilis per month, whereas the previous five years saw an average of less than one new case of syphilis per month.

Likewise, on average, 20-30 Pinal County patients tested positive for gonorrhea in the previous five years. In 2017 that average has jumped to nearly 40 patients testing positive per month.

The cause of this influx is difficult to precisely determine, Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Section Manager Graham Briggs said. However, he added, what is clear is the demographic where these spikes are being seen – young people and men who have sex with other men, also known as MSM.

People in those demographics tend to be those individuals engaged in riskier sexual behavior, Briggs said. This has little or nothing to do with their sexuality, he said, and instead had more to do with their reported behavior, such as repeated unprotected sex with multiple partners.

“In Pinal County, while we’re seeing an increase, we don’t know if it’s just because of an increase in MSM. We’re looking at the heterosexual couple being exposed,” Briggs said.

Pinal County has also seen a recent case of syphilis in a pregnant female, Briggs said, which can pose a danger to the child, as the STI can be passed congenitally.

At any rate, according to the Center for Disease Control, Americans ages 15-24, while only accounting for 27 percent of the sexually active population, account for 50 percent of known sexually transmitted infections.

Aside from unprotected sex with multiple partners, the CDC says this increased rate in that demographic is likely caused by any combination of factors, including biology, confidentiality concerns, insufficient screenings and lack of access to healthcare.

Biologically speaking, the CDC says young women are simply more susceptible to certain health issues, including most STIs. Additionally, young people don’t often receive CDC recommended screenings for STIs like chlamydia, nor do they disclose “risk behaviors” to their physicians.

The CDC also expresses concern that most young people either lack insurance or the transportation to access preventive services provided by local health departments and Planned Parenthood.

Factors such as these increase the degree of danger associated with the less-forgiving STIs such as syphilis, which, Briggs said, can cause irreversible harm if not treated during the initial stages of infection.

“We are really good at killing syphilis bacteria,” Briggs said. “What we’re not so good at is identifying infections early in people that don’t seek medical care.”

One telltale sign of syphilis infection sometimes over looked, Briggs said, is palmar-plantar rash – reddish, swollen spots that occur in the palms and bottoms of the feet.

When caught early, syphilis and gonorrhea are easily treated with penicillin and antibiotics, respectively.

The appearance of a new antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhea, however, also has Briggs and other officials concerned.

The CDC says there are nearly 820,000 new gonorrhea infections a year in the United States, making the prospect of a drug-resistant form of the STI all the more disheartening.

To combat STIs, the CDC suggests, multiple courses of action.

First, officials suggest abstaining from sexual activity. Second, those who engage in sexual activity, are encouraged to use protection, especially condoms, and keep their number of sexual partners to a minimum. Third, the CDC recommends biannual medical exams, which include STI screenings, and communication with sexual partners to encourage them to also receive regular screenings.

Maricopa residents can obtain low- or no-cost screening and prevention at the Maricopa office of Pinal County Health Services, 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, Suite 15, near the Maricopa Public Library.

For a full list of Pinal County Health Department location, visit their website.


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Submitted photo

Chef Gabriel Gardner, culinary arts instructor at Central Arizona College-Maricopa, shares holiday recipes. The healthy option is a recipe of his own making for roasted winter vegetables. The other is his grandmother’s peach custard pie, which will likely take a little longer to work off after the holidays.



2 medium yams

1 head cauliflower

6 red potatoes

4 parsnips

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Seasonings: thyme, cumin, chili oil, garam masala, rosemary (use your imagination)


Cauliflower: Trim, wash and dry. Cut out core and break into small florets, cut large ones in half. Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with white pepper and thyme or cumin. Toss to distribute spices and oil.

Yams: Peel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Sprinkle with cinnamon or cardamom, or fold in 2 tablespoons diced candied ginger.

Parsnips: Peel. Cut 2 inches long and quarter to make rough batonnet cuts. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Red potatoes: Cut into small wedges. Toss with olive oil, season with pepper, chopped fresh rosemary and a small amount of salt.


Preheat oven to 425. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange vegetables on pans in single layer. Place pans in oven, and roast 20-30 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Turn the vegetables a few times during the roasting. Conventional oven works best.

Notes: Vegetables may be roasted in the same pan, but should be a single layer. Enjoy hot or cold, or even as a roasted vegetable salad.



Submitted photo


1 egg, beaten

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons flour

1 stick melted butter

6 sliced peaches

1 pre-baked pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line shell with peaches.
  3. Mix together flour and sugar, add egg and butter.
  4. Pour custard over peaches.
  5. Bake pie 15 minutes at 375, then 45 minutes at 350.
  6. Cool completely before slicing.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Gardner

This column appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

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WIC is making it easier for clients to pay for groceries

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offices around the county introduced a new form of payment for their clients recently.

On Oct. 17, the WIC nutrition program rolled out its “eWIC” cards, which replaced the checks recipients formerly used to pay for groceries at the register.

“Instead of having to go use the checks – and use the entire check – now they are able to get one gallon of milk, or one loaf of bread, or whatever they need rather than having to spend an entire check at once,” said WIC Supervisor Brandon Boatman.

With the new payment system, recipients can also download an app on their phones listing food items available for purchase throughout the month.

The Maricopa WIC office, located inside the Pinal County Public Health Department Clinic at 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, helps pregnant and post-partum women, as well as children up to age 5.

Applicants must meet income-based criteria to participate.

“If you qualify for WIC, you also have the ability to see one of our WIC nutritionists and in Maricopa they actually have a registered dietician who sees high-risk clients,” Boatman said.

To learn if you qualify and for more information, call 1-866-960-0633. The local office is open for appointments 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

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Aaron Gilbert. Photo by William Lange

By Aaron Gilbert

Are you waiting for the “perfect time” to start eating better, exercising or finally getting in shape? Are you putting off that dream trip, new project or that skill you’ve been meaning to learn?

Human beings are always “waiting for the perfect time.” But why?

For many, it’s a great distraction and justification. It helps us avoid the real – and risky – work of doing. For others, perfectionism and avoidance serve as strong armor against potential embarrassment, criticism and failure.

“I could ___ but ___” keeps us safe from pain.

Unfortunately, it’s also what keeps us from growing, thriving and being who we know we have the potential to be. That’s why all-or-nothing thinking – If I don’t do this perfectly then it’s worthless – rarely gets us “all.” It usually gets us “nothing.”

What to do next:

1. Revise your expectations. Recognize there is no perfect time and there never will be. There is only now.

  1. Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect. Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it. Give yourself permission to make yourself – and your fitness and health goals – a priority. Find the time you need in your schedule.

Don’t have time for an hour-long workout? No problem. How much time do you have? Twenty minutes? Ten minutes? Work with what you’ve got.

Don’t expect things to go perfectly smoothly. Instead, anticipate and strategize. Instead of waiting for things to slow down, start making something happen right now, in the middle of the mess.

  1. Just start. If you feel stuck, just do something. Anything. Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next five minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!

At my personal training studio, we concentrate on finding “five-minute actions.” Instead of coming up with the biggest, grandest scheme, think about what you could do in just five minutes to help move yourself – even just a tiny bit – in the direction of your goals. Then, go do it.

  1. Expect resistance. It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started.

You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.

  1. Get support. Let go of the concept of the lone hero. Instead, start building your support systems. Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.

Aaron Gilbert, CSCS, is owner of Longevity Athletics.


This column appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

Paula Powers (left) and Terri Robinson said it is important to find support at work and other outlets besides family during the fight against cancer. Photo by Mason Callejas

Twelve percent of American women will suffer from breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s one in eight.

Though modern treatment has improved the survival rate of most patients to better than 70 percent in the worst cases and near 100 percent in the best cases, the affliction still takes its toll on those diagnosed, and their loved ones.

Now, as the country celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month this month, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino once again rolled out its support for those affected by cancer by hosting events such as their annual Battle of the Bras, and by raising money for cancer research.

However, Harrah’s does more than just support the greater cause, cancer survivor and casino employee Paula “Princess” Powers said.

With nearly 30 percent of the casino’s employees having been diagnosed with cancer at one point or the other, she said, there is a unique network to tap into. Often times, relying on close family and friends as your sole support system can be trying.

“Family is not your [main] support system,” Powers said. “They are, but it’s probably harder on them than it is on you.”

That’s why she and so many others offer support at work, she said.

Powers has been a Harrah’s employee for roughly 10 years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2012, one week before Thanksgiving. Only six months later, in April 2013, she was declared to be in remission, but that wasn’t the end of it for her, she said.

Now she helps wherever she can.

Paula “Princess” Powers. Phot o by Mason Callejas

Not only does the casino itself provide help to the employees through their collective support, but it also sometimes helps minimize the financial fallout that comes with a cancer diagnosis.

Per their website, the Harrah’s Employee Assistance Relief Trust, or HEART fund, “is designed to provide financial assistance to team members who face an unforeseen crisis, which results in financial hardship.”

One of the recipients of the HEART fund, casino employee Terri Robinson, said the program quickly provided financial assistance that helped her afford the costly drugs used to treat cancer.

“I was told to apply, and it was like that day, or the next morning that I had [their] help,” Robinson said. “In my case, it helped with medical bills and helped start my chemo treatment again.”

Robinson has been a Harrah’s employee for just over three years. Less than a year after coming on board in 2015, she said, she was diagnosed. In February of this year she was finally declared to be in remission.

Having access to a great support network among her co-workers, and surprisingly even some of the guests, has helped tremendously, she said.

“One day, out of the blue, [a guest] asked if I was a survivor, and this was partially covered,” Robinson said as she pointed at the pink ribbon and butterfly tattoo she has on her forearm. “It’s just amazing, the support.”

Terri Robinson. Photo by Mason Callejas

As of the publication of this article, Robinson was awaiting the result of another test which could unfortunately show her cancer has returned. Regardless of the results, she said, she will press on.

“It’s hard to be positive sometimes,” Robinson said. “Princess always asks how I’m doing, or says, ‘Hang in there,’ so when you have somebody else fighting the fight, it helps.”

Both Robinson and Powers said it’s important to not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. But, they said, the No. 1 thing that has helped them was staying positive.

“You have to stay positive,” Powers said. “The slightest amount of negativity and you could fall off.”

Terri Robinson’s cancer-survivor tattoo. Photo by Mason Callejas

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Know your Pharmacist

Get to know your Pharmacist on a first name basis to be engaged and better understand your health and well-being. Never be afraid to ask your Pharmacist a question. No appointment needed. #OneSmallChange

dedicated and passionate, and strives to make the community a healthier place. Recruiting and retaining great employees is of the utmost importance to the success of an organization embedded in rural healthcare. We at Sun Life hired Kenny Leutz onto our pharmacy team in November of 2015. Kenny was one of our first true “homegrown” Pharmacy Managers. We trained Kenny from Intern through Pharmacist and now we are preparing him for his role as Pharmacy Manager at our site in Florence. As is the case with many pharmacists graduating from pharmacy schools around the nation, there is the desire to spread the message that pharmacists, in general, are more than meets the eye. The career is no longer just about filling and looking at prescriptions and medications. The career is focused on patient safety, and making certain that patients leave our hands with the best possible outcomes.

Kenny Leutz answered the following questions regarding pharmacists and patient care.

How can a pharmacist improve patient care?

“Pharmacists can play an important role in providing comprehensive health care to every patient that they have. Pharmacists verify that appropriate medications are prescribed to patients, free from dosing errors, serious drug-drug interactions and drug-disease interactions. Additionally, patients need to be counseled on how to take medications correctly. Having the right medication prescribed means nothing if the patient is not educated on when medications should be taken, how they should be taken, and signs that the medication can be harmful instead of helpful.

Kenny verifies prescriptions during his training as a
staff pharmacist at the Casa Grande location

What do community health centers mean to rural healthcare?

“Community health centers are extremely important to residents of rural communities mainly because access to health care is so limited. Many residents of rural Arizona lack health care coverage, have lower than average income, lack physical access to health care facilities, and have no supplemental support that is needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Community health centers are essential to help bridge this gap in care to underserved communities by providing primary and preventive care, health education, mental health, pediatric, dental, and pharmacy services among others.”

What do you see in your future?

“I see myself continuing to work in rural communities providing quality, comprehensive health care. I feel that I can play a larger role in rural communities due to the limited number of providers and resources that are available”. Pharmacy, in general, is so much more than meets the eye. It is the assistance with over-the-counter medications, education of the patient at the time of prescription pickup and the friendliness of the familiar face when patients visit regularly that is expected of pharmacists. What is rarely seen is the work behind the scenes, the constant communication with providers, ensuring proper medication dosages, and the careful preparation of prescriptions that often pharmacists do not get recognized for. We, as pharmacists, take pride in the quality of care that we offer patients.

For questions regarding Sun Life’s pharmacy services or any of our 13 locations please call Sun Life Family Health Center at 520- 836-3446 or visit our website at www. sunlifefamilyhealth.org.