No Brainer: Back To School Immunizations
Parents, grandparents, guardians and babysitters, we’ve made it: the start of the school year is officially just around the corner!  Pardon my jubilation but as my daughters recently paraded around the house in new back-to-school clothes, I couldn’t help but click my heels in anticipation (of course I waited until they left the room like any good parent).
Back to School Immunizations at Brookshire Brothers
 
Look, we are at the approximate point in summer when the nuance of the season has long faded.  It’s hot, the kids are restless, parents are exhausted and most importantly, parents are exhausted.  Our kids need to go back to school—whether they’ll admit it or not—and it’s our job as parents to get them ready.
 
So yes, get the new clothes, shoes and haircuts.  Download the school supply list and stock their backpacks.  But sending our young pupils into the world of academe amply supplied with loose leaf paper is only part of our job as parents.  Making sure our children are up to date on all required and recommended vaccines is a far greater responsibility to ensure the health of our kids and our communities.
Little boy in math class overwhelmed by the math formula.
Another no brainer—healthy lunches! Read Angela Larson (RD)'s 9 Suggestions for School Lunches
 
Depending on the state and even the school district, different vaccines are required for children prior to entering Kindergarten.  By this age (4 to 6 years-old), kids should receive booster doses for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella according to the Centers Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
At age 11, the CDC recommends vaccines for meningitis, human papillomavirus and again for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.  Additional vaccines against another type of meningitis (group B) are recommended in certain adolescents and teens who may be at higher risk of infection.
 
Many of these required immunizations are not one-time vaccines but require several vaccines in a series to achieve full immunity.  This can equate to multiple trips to the pediatrician’s office or local health clinic which can be hard to schedule for busy or working parents.
 
Why not let your local Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help?  As an adult, you may have visited your pharmacists for vaccines against a myriad of ailments including influenza, pneumococcal disease, shingles, tetanus, pertussis and hepatitis just to name a few.  Did you also know that your pharmacist can immunize your child against many of the required or recommended vaccines he or she needs?
Pharmacist applying bandaid after giving a shot
In sickness and in health—we're your pharmacy! View our complete list of immunizations here
 
In Texas, pharmacists can administer vaccines to teens over 14 years of age without a prescription (over 7 years old without a prescription for the annual flu shot) and adolescents age 7 to 13 with a prescription.  Simply have your child’s physician issue a prescription (to be given to you or sent directly to the pharmacy electronically) for any needed vaccines.
Your pharmacist will report what vaccines were given and when to your child’s doctor and your state immunization registry.  Many insurance plans pay for vaccines given at the pharmacy, but a quick phone call to your plan can clear up any questions you may have about coverage.
 
Letting your Brookshire Brothers pharmacist help in keeping your child or teen up to date on immunizations is a win for both your child and you!  Talk to your pharmacist today about how we can be a part of getting your kiddo ready for school and keeping them healthy all year long.
 
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
Spring Flowers Bring Spring..... Allergies
Spring is a gloriously idyllic season with chirping birds, beautiful blooms, cool mornings and warm afternoons.  Its geniality distracts us from the barrage of allergens released by flowers, grasses and trees that seek to wreak havoc on perfectly content individuals like you and me.
 
Young girl holding a sunflower
 
Seasonal allergies affect millions across the U.S. resulting in lower productivity or even missed time at work or school, increased healthcare costs and just sheer misery for those affected.  Symptoms include sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, itchy nose and/or throat and nasal congestion.  Fortunately, seasonal allergy symptoms are fairly easy to self-diagnose and control—most of the time.
 
If you’re looking to avoid the throng of red-nosed, watery-eyed victims sneezing their way through spring, follow these simple tips for a truly enjoyable (and allergy-free) season.
 
1. Allergies or a Cold?  If you have fever, sore throat, a productive cough and/or body aches or chills you may be dealing with a cold, flu or other infection rather than allergies.  Consult your pharmacist on when to seek medical attention for symptoms of a cold. If cold or flu like symptoms are present, you can get a Physician 360 Rapid Flu Test at your Brookshire Brothers pharmacy.
 
Physicians 360 Flu Test
 
2. Antihistamines are Key.  If there is a medicinal silver bullet for preventing allergy symptoms, antihistamines are it.  Cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra) are first-line over the counter treatments for many allergy symptoms.  They work by blocking histamine, the chemical that makes your body sneeze and itch in response to an allergen.  They are each taken once-daily, work rapidly and are labeled as non-drowsy.  Diphenhydramine or Benadryl, a first-generation antihistamine, works well for allergy sufferers but is not appropriate for everyone and causes a fair amount of drowsiness.
 
3. Use Nasal Steroids if Needed.  Once only available by prescription, steroid nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasacort are now available for purchase over the counter.  These products work by blocking a number of cells involved in the inflammatory process and can prevent or limit allergy symptoms quite effectively.  You can use them alone or in combination with the antihistamines listed above.
 
A graphic feature of TopCare allergy relief products on a background with a woman sitting on a park bench on a bright spring day.
 
4. Stock Up Before You’re Stuck.  We’ve all been there; runny nose and nary a tissue in site.  Before seasonal allergies attack, get ready!  Stock up on tissues, Aquaphor ointment (great for irritated skin on your nose and lips), cough drops for an irritated throat, hand sanitizer, and artificial tears for dry eyes.
 
Don’t let seasonal allergies ruin your spring.  Get outside and enjoy nature—birds, flowers and all!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
               
 
 
2019 Resolution: Keep Your Home Healthy

Preparing for the New Year: Physician 360 Rapid Test Kits (Strep, Flu, UTI)

 
2019 is here and with a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start! No matter if you’re an annual ‘resolutor’ or not, if you desire to make a change for the better in 2019 then I applaud that! Yes, reading more books, cooking more meals at home and giving more to charity are noble aspirations—do those things—but getting healthy and staying healthy should be a priority for everyone in 2019.
 
This is precisely why Brookshire Brothers has partnered with Physician 360 to offer convenient, easy-to-use, rapid test kits for strep throat, flu, and urinary tract infections. These quick, simple tests yield results in minutes and match the accuracy of longer lab tests performed at doctor’s offices.
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid Flu Test kits sitting on a counter.
 
Better yet, included in the purchase of the test kit is an online, face-to-face consultation with a physician who will evaluate your test results and issue a prescription if necessary. These tests are approved for ages 5 and older and they’re available for purchase at the pharmacy counter.
 
The doctors at Physician 360 are thoughtful, caring and compassionate. Their top priority is to provide fast and appropriate care when sickness strikes. Prescriptions, when necessary, are issued in minutes and can be filled by your friendly Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy while you wait. Even if your test results are negative, your Physician 360 doctor can issue a prescription for symptoms like urinary burning, nasal congestion, cough, etc.
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid Strep Test kits sitting on a counter.
 
Using a Physician 360 test kit is about as close to a doctor’s house call as you’re going to get in 2019. And while little black doctor bags are long extinct, video-chatting on your smartphone with a qualified physician who’s ready to treat what ails you is a major perk of being alive during this technological age. 
 
Brookshire Brothers and Physician 360 understand that there is never a convenient time to be sick. We hope you will let us save you time and money this year by offering these little test kits that will keep you well when illness strikes. Here’s to your healthiest year yet! 
 
Several Physician 360 Rapid UTI Test kits sitting on a counter.
Talk with your local pharmacist to find out prices and more. Visit a Brookshire Brothers pharmacy near you today!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
Together, we HOPE

While October is oft-celebrated with candy and creepy crawlies, don't forget to take time and reflect on this month's message of hope. Find out more below with Pharmacist Matt Baker's discussion of Breast Cancer Awareness.

Together we HOPE. Employee owners, Breast cancer survivors. Shop With Someone You Know
 
October has always been that charming time of year where your otherwise normal neighbors erect an 18-foot blow-up witch and fake tombstones across their yard. Large spiders adorn the hedges while the fake webs from whence they crept waft eerily in the breeze. Whatever in the world possesses such people to flaunt all their haunts, I will never know.
 
PS - Don't miss these Wicked Good Snacks from Catering Coordinator Kate Rudasill (perfect for Halloween!)
 
Thankfully, October means more than just a month of ghosts and ghouls these days. Halloween no longer defines October (blow-up scary things notwithstanding); instead, the month boasts something far more altruistic—Breast Cancer Awareness.
 
October also includes Hispanic Heritage Month! Celebrate with these two Cooking with Kate recipes: Bolivian-Style Empanadas and Spanish Chorizo-Filled Dates Wrapped in Bacon.
 
The rampant colors of candy corn now compete with pink ribbons pinned everywhere as a reminder to celebrate those who have survived the awful disease and to remember those who did not. Pink also serves as a signpost of the seriousness of this diagnosis and the benefits of screening and early detection.
 
 
As it stands, 1 in 8 women across the U.S. will be diagnosed with some type of invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s 12.4% of our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters.  And while mortality rates have been declining since 1989, almost 41,000 women are expected to die in 2018—a figure more frightening than any front-yard Frankenstein.
 
Read more: Find out Pharmacist Kelly Kinney's four suggestions on how to "Fight Like A Girl" when it comes to breast cancer awareness
 
There’s good news though: women under age 50 have experienced an even larger decline in death rates due to advances in treatment and October’s message of awareness. While society is moving in the right direction, this small step is no reason to rest on our laurels; breast cancer is still dangerous and awareness remains a key weapon in the battle against this disease.
 
Group of smiling ladies with pink ribbons cheering and holding hands
 
As such, it is important to remember a few important points about breast cancer in order to fight it more effectively:
 
  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) who has/had the disease; however, 85% of breast cancers develop in women with no family history.
  • Mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes result in a significantly higher lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
  • In women under age 45, African-American women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Among women of all ages, African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer.
  • All women should begin having mammograms at age 45 and can decrease to every other year at age 55.  Women who wish to start screening early can do so beginning at age 40.
  • An astounding 2,550 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in men in 2018. A man has about a 1 in 1,000 chance of developing breast cancer over his life.
Next time you see pink ribbons or pink socks (or even pink gloves on an NFL wide receiver), be hopeful.  As awareness increases among the population, we can hope for more frequent screenings, more early detection, and more survivors of this dreadful disease.
 
Talk with your local pharmacist to find out more. Visit a Brookshire Brothers pharmacy near you today!
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
 
 
 
Healthy Living: Sunscreen and Sun Safety
Fact: Summer in Texas is hot.
 
Some folks would blame the humidity, to which my wife’s hair will attest, but most know it’s the summer sun that reigns as King of the Heat. Yes, our state star emits an exhausting, relentless warmth that we Texans, never short on pride, will pit against Death Valley any day of the week. However, the sun also emits dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays that, while less famous than the heat, can do real damage to skin, ranging from wrinkling to sunburns to melanoma. Protection from the sun is something to take seriously, especially in the South.
 
Sunscreen and Sun Safety
Apart from avoiding the sun altogether, our best protection against UV rays is to use sunscreen. Even though it seems like a simple concept, sunscreen and sun safety are often associated with countless myths and misperceptions. Allow me to illuminate some of the more common misunderstandings, untruths, and legends.
 
Myth #1: It’s cloudy outside today, so I don’t need sunscreen.
Wrong. Play it safe and apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. Clouds will only block about 20% of the sun’s UV rays. Likewise, water is only minimally effective at blocking UV rays. That is, jumping in a pool isn’t going to protect you either. Plus, the water’s surface can actually reflect UV rays, thus leading to even greater exposure.
 
Read more: Prioritize your health before you hit the road this summer. Check out these 4 tips for making sure you're all set with your medications while on holiday.
 
Myth #2: I like tanning but am careful not to get burned. I should be safe from sun damage.
Ultraviolet light exposure (from any source) increases your risk for skin cancer, much like cigarette smoke increases your risk for lung cancer. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is more often linked to tanning than lung cancer is linked to smoking. Sunburns are also dangerous; just five or more sunburns in a lifetime will double a person’s risk for melanoma.
 
Myth #3:The higher the SPF in my sunscreen the better.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), SPF or Sun Protection Factor peaks at around 30. At this level, about 97% of the sun’s rays are blocked. Since no sunscreen can block all of the sun’s rays, formulations with a SPF greater than 30 provide only incrementally higher protection. Whatever you use, choose a broad spectrum that blocks both types of UV rays (A and B) with an SPF of at minimum 15.
 
Sunscreen and Sun Safety
 
Myth #4: I covered my face, shoulders and arms with sunscreen. I’m good to go.
Don’t forget the other areas of your body that suffer from UV damage: ears, neck, eyes and surrounding skin and lips. Wearing hats, sunglasses and lip balm with a SPF of at least 30 is ideal. Even clothing can allow penetration of UV rays, so be generous with your application. It’s best to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating. The AAD recommends using about 1 ounce of sunscreen (about the volume needed to fill a shot glass) to cover the exposed area of skin for an individual of average size.
 
P.S. - All sunscreen products are 15% OFF with this week's Member Monday offer (07/23). Not a member? Sign up TODAY
 
Myth #5: I am dark-skinned and should be protected against burning and sun damage.
While it is true that darker skinned individuals do not burn as easily as light or fair skinned people, everyone is subject to the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Dark skinned individuals should still be diligent in limiting time in the sun and applying sunscreen using the same guidelines as lighter skinned people. Keep in mind that medications and medical conditions can also impact your sensitivity to the sun. Ask your pharmacist if you are at risk based on what medications you are taking.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
Summer is here! Oh, how the smell of sunscreen and chlorine brings back memories of childhood and that uplifting, amazing feeling of freedom as the last bell rang for the school year. Man, did I love summer. It was the time for playing with friends, sleeping in, staying up late and—most importantly—vacations!
 
Our family retreats were not extravagant or expensive by any means, yet they were meaningful, fun-filled times I will always remember.  Mom and Dad would load up the car and stop for donuts on the way out of town as we kids longed for just a glimpse of our intended destination.
 
Now that I have children of my own, I can appreciate all that my parents were surely feeling.  As my lovely wife and I pack up the car each summer in anticipation of a lengthy road trip, we knowingly look at each other and say—“Can you remind me why we’re doing this?”
 
The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
 
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but traveling with them is hard.  Rules that you didn’t even know your family had start to come into play: how many times you can poke your sister before she’s allowed to tattle, how many centimeters of a cheese stick must be allocated for sharing, how the rear-AC in the car can be adjusted so long as there is a two-thirds majority amongst siblings.  A vacation that is meant to be simple and relaxing can quickly get complicated to the point of ruining the fun.
 
Adding to these complications, traveling with medications (for a person of any age) can be really challenging. There’s a lot to think about regarding medication supply, storage, timing of doses while en route, etc.  Even the simple process of ingesting a pill each morning can easily be disrupted by vacation agendas.
 
The bottom line is this: whether you are young or old, we all have medication needs that cannot be ignored while on holiday.  Here are a few tips to make sure you are all set with your medications before you hit the road this summer.
 The Right Prescription for Summer Traveling with Meds
 
Tip #1 – If you don’t have it, you can’t take it. Make sure you have enough medication on hand (plus one or two days in case of a travel delay) for your entire trip. If you happen to be going on an extended vacation and your insurance company won’t quite cover a refill of your medication just yet, ask your pharmacist to call the insurance company to request a vacation supply.  Most insurance companies will accommodate this request and you’ll be on the road in no time.
 
Tip #2 –“Honey did you pack the…”Ever been on vacation and experienced heartburn or a headache but your medicine cabinet was 500 miles away?  Planning for all your over-the-counter medication needs can be easily overlooked.  At minimum, be sure to pack Tylenol for headache or fever, Zantac or Pepcid for acid indigestion, a first aid kit for minor cuts and scrapes, and an OTC sleep aid for any hotel room insomnia.
 
Tip #3 – What about my insulin?  Insulin is kept under refrigeration prior to use which presents a problem when traveling.  However, did you know that vials and pens of insulin, once in use, can be kept at room temperature for up to 28 days, some up to 42 days?  Some eye drops, suppositories and even oral medications are also stored in the fridge so consult your pharmacist about options for traveling with those.
 
Tip #4 – Keeping regular.  Traveling can disrupt day-to-day bathroom activities adding an uncomfortable wrinkle in vacation plans.  Taking fiber supplements or a stool softener (Colace) once daily while traveling can certainly help persuade a stubborn digestive system while on the road.  Be sure to stay hydrated and eat lots of fruits and vegetables too in order to ease things along.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
Spring Cleaning: How to Dispose of Your Medicines
Last summer I decided that instead of paying someone a reasonable amount of money and waiting ten minutes in the air conditioning for the oil in my truck to be changed, I would do it myself.  Frugality—hmmmpf!
 
So I purchased the necessary supplies, realized I bought the wrong filter wrench and not enough oil and headed back to the auto store.  Finally half a day later and after spending $20 more than what I planned, I was all set—except for a gigantic basin full of used motor oil that can’t just be thrown in the trash (according to Google).
 
Apparently there are very specific ways to dispose of used oil making my DIY attempt even more annoying. So I called the auto store this time and asked a question similar to one that I hear from folks at the pharmacy all the time.
 
“How do I get rid of all the unused and expired drugs in my medicine cabinet?”
 
Like motor oil, there are certain procedures that should be followed when discarding old medications to ensure safe disposal.
 Brookshire Brothers Pharmacist Filling a Prescription
 
FDA’S GENERAL RECOMMENDATION
The general recommendation from the FDA for disposing of old or unused medications at home is to mix the tablets or capsules with coffee grounds, cat litter or something otherwise undesirable in a sealable bag and discard in the trash. This process makes the pills unattractive to naïve children or pets and unrecognizable to someone rummaging through the garbage in search of medications.
 
CAN I FLUSH IT?
While it is mostly true that you should never flush medications down the toilet or sink, there are some drugs that require this method due to their inherent danger. Fentanyl is a drug that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl patches, used in opioid-tolerant chronic pain, are worn for 3 days at a time, but even after 72 hours there is still some drug left in the patch.  If a child or pet were to retrieve a fentanyl patch from the garbage, the results could be fatal. While fentanyl is one of the more common medications that should be disposed of via flushing—in addition to hydromorphone, oxycodone, and morphine-containing products—a full list is available on the FDA website.
 
CAN I GIVE IT AWAY?
Never give unused medication to a family member or friend.  Just because your prescription was safe for you when prescribed does not mean it will be safe for someone else.
 
WHAT ABOUT “TAKE BACK” DAYS?
Another great option for disposal is the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  These events are held twice a year in April and October at local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, etc.  For questions about the next take back day and a nearby collection site, visit www.dea.gov or call 800-822-9539.
 
WHAT ABOUT THE LABEL?
Don’t forget to conceal personal information on empty pill bottle labels before throwing them away. Protect your health information by removing the label entirely and shredding it, or by scratching out your name and prescription number.
 
If you are still in doubt about how to get rid of old medications, ask your Brookshire Brothers pharmacist!  We will help you figure out a solution that won’t leave you with seven quarts of used oil in your garage—so to speak.
 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.
 
 
Lent: A Time for Mindfulness
The forty days of Lent are a time of reflection, fasting, and prayer in preparation for the celebration of Easter. Many who participate in Lent choose to fast from certain things, typically personal vices. Here are a few ideas on what you can give up (or take on) so that your time is purposeful, meditative, and constructive.
 
Lent: A Time for Mindfulness
 
TECHNOLOGY
Taking a rest from social media is a great way to improve mindfulness and well-being—particularly while eating.  When you avoid screen time and other distractions, you can fully engage and enjoy the company of who you’re with, whether it’s friends, family, or others. If eating alone, you might find yourself appreciating the subtlest of sensory inputs from what you’re eating—taste, smell, texture, appearance, even the sounds made while chewing—without the distraction of technology.
 
SWEETS
Sweets are another popular choice to give up during Lent. Whether you sacrifice soda, added sugars, or sweets in general, just the exercise of giving up sweets can show you how often you are tempted to indulge. For the best chance at success, have a plan in place when cravings strike. One classic strategy is to drink a glass of water, which comes from the fact that dehydration triggers snack cravings. Keeping fresh fruit handy is another great alternative.
 
SNACKING
Snacking mindlessly can be a problem if it leads to excess calorie intake, plus many snack foods can be full of empty calories without any intrinsic nutritional benefit. Consider limiting your snacks to one purposefully planned snack each day. Pick a time for your snack—such as mid-morning or mid-afternoon—as well as a choice with nutritional quality, such as nuts, seeds, fruit, cheese, popcorn, or dried veggie products.
 
Read more: Here’s 20+ ideas for mixing up a healthy snack with cottage cheese
 
SLEEP
Making wise choices to improve sleep habits is another excellent way to spend the Lenten season.  An earlier bedtime can lead to better sleep, in addition to more time for meditation and morning walks.
 
Did you know poor sleep can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and more? Find out more about healthy habits and why they're so important
 
NATURE
Make a commitment to spend some time outdoors every day. Whether it’s a walk, a picnic, a trip to the park, or work in the garden, being outdoors is a great time for reflection while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of fresh air, increased movement, and even vitamin D production from the sunshine on your skin.
 
Lent Suggestion #5: Enjoy nature
 
 
FISH ON FRIDAY
If you’re taking the more traditional "fish on Friday" path for Lent—in other words, a meatless forty days except for seafood on Fridays—plan wisely to make sure your diet is rich in the nutrients you might be missing out on.  Choose nutritious starches with plenty of protein such as beans, peas, Lentils, and quinoa. Eggs and dairy are also nutrient dense foods helpful with balancing the diet and providing protein. With your Friday seafood, be sure to choose a variety of selections to meet all your nutritional needs and alleviate boredom.  Your neighborhood Brookshire Brothers has a great selection of fresh, frozen, and packaged seafood options.

 


 
Angela Larson
Angela Larson is a registered dietitian (RD) who works with Brookshire Brothers promoting real fresh, real delicious foods and nutrition education to the community. She is also a clinical dietitian representing Woodland Heights Medical Center in Lufkin where she does outreach education on food and nutrition. Food is her passion, so Angela loves trying new recipes and exploring the more holistic side of nutrition. Angela loves to cook, garden, and spend time outdoors. In addition to the Brookshire Brothers blog, look for Angela's monthly articles in Charm East Texas. 
Recommended Winter Remedies

Top 10 Items for Your Medicine Cabinet this Cold & Flu Season

When the common cold and the associated runny nose, congestion, and cough attacks, the best medicine is usually rest, hot chicken noodle soup, and a favorite movie. The last thing anyone wants to do while under the weather is slog up and down aisles of medicines looking for relief.
 
Take the opportunity now to stock your medicine cabinet with some valuable over-the-counter products that will ease your suffering from typical cold and flu symptoms. It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor or pharmacist before treating yourself just to rule out a more serious bacterial infection that may require antibiotics. Most cases of sore throat, cough, and congestion are viral though and can be treated safely over the counter. Here are my Top 10 items for beating the cold this season:
 
Top 10 Items for Your Medicine Cabinet this Cold & Flu Season
 
  1. Antihistamine plus Pseudoephedrine.  There are a multitude of brands—Zyrtec-D, Claritin-D, Allegra-D, and their respective generics—that can help reduce nasal congestion, runny nose, and drainage. If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking these.  They are kept behind the counter at a pharmacy so be prepared to show a driver’s license or state identification before you purchase.
  2. Nasal steroid spray. When Nasacort and Flonase (both formerly presciption-only) moved to being offered over the counter, the options for people seeking relief from nasal allergies and congestion expanded greatly. Use two sprays in each nostril once per day for at least two weeks. These sprays are a great option for individuals who cannot tolerate or take decongestants due to other health conditions.
  3. Cepacol Sore Throat Lozenges. These cough drops are no ordinary cough drops! They contain benzocaine which actually numbs the throat providing relief from irritation and soreness.
  4. Mucinex. The active ingredient in Mucinex is guaifenesin, an expectorant that helps the body clear mucus trapped in the lungs. Take guaifenesin to help make your cough more productive and rid yourself of stubborn phlegm. 
  5. Children’s Dimetapp. With several different formulations, make sure you at least have the Cold & Allergy product containing an antihistamine and a decongestant. It’s approved for use in kids older than six years and may cause a little drowsiness.
  6. Breathe Right Nasal Strips. For a non-medication option to ease nasal congestion, these nasal strips fit over the bridge of the nose and increase airflow into the nasal passages. They are a great option for folks with chronic nasal congestion, but also work well for congestion related to the cold or flu.
  7. Afrin Nasal Spray. Oxymetazoline, the active ingredient in Afrin, is a powerful nasal decongestant that relieves even the toughest sinus congestion. Its effects are noticeable in a matter of minutes and last for up to 12 hours. The problem with Afrin is that its use is limited to no more than 3 days due to rebound congestion that can occur. Use Afrin sparingly and for severe congestion only.
  8. Saline Nasal Spray. Use to help moisten nasal passages when they become dried out due to decongestant use. Saline spray is non-medicated and can be used as much as needed.
  9. Nyquil Severe Cold & Flu. Use at bedtime when your cold symptoms are preventing you from sleeping well. This product contains a decongestant, a sedating antihistamine, a cough suppressant, and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to cover all the bases for a good night’s sleep.
  10. Plenty of Tissues. You will likely still be blowing and wiping your nose long after the worst of your symptoms are gone. Stock up on tissues now both at home and at work. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a couple of travel tissue packs in your car for yourself or a sniffling friend.

 Find a nearby Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy today to stock up your medicine cabinet and talk to a pharmacist about any other needs.

 

Matt Baker, Pharm.D., RPh

Matt Baker is a pharmacist with Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy in Lufkin.  He received his undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in 2005 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Houston in 2010.  He writes a monthly pharmacy and wellness article for the Lufkin Daily News and is active in the community.  Matt's passion is serving his patients while ensuring that they are equipped to understand and take their medications properly. 

View more of Matt's articles on the Brookshire Brothers blog.

 

Pistachios: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that hearing the crack of a pistachio shell is considered good luck in some countries? What about this nut’s distant cousins—mangos and poison ivy? Then there’s the whole weird green color (thanks to chlorophyll), and we’ve heard talk of Turkey wanting to fuel a town entirely on pistachio shells.
 
Needless to say, there’s a lot to about this strange nut and its strange history. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most-asked questions about pistachios—our September produce feature—as well two fun recipes. Read on to see why this nut is everything it’s cracked up to be.
 

What is the pistachio and where did it originate?

(Answer courtesy of Planters, one of our valued vendor partners)
The pistachio nut, a native of Iran, Syria and Greece, has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. It is considered by some to be one of the oldest edible nuts on earth and is referred to in the Old Testament—Genesis 43:11—along with almonds. The pistachio belongs to the same family as the cashew. The fruit of the pistachio differs from all other nuts because of its green color and the semi-opening of the shell. In Iran, it is called the "smiling pistachio" and in China it is called the "happy nut." Because of this physical characteristic, it is the only nut that does not need to be shelled for roasting and salting. It used to be common to dye pistachios red to cover any blemishes on the shell but most consumers now prefer the natural color.
 
It was not until the 1930s, when vending machines became popular, that pistachios imported from Italy became a popular snack food in the United States. After WWII, the evergreen trees that bear pistachios were imported to California. The name pistachio is the Italian version of the Persian word pistah, which means “nut”.
 

When and where do they grow now?

While it’s easy to purchase pistachios at any time during the year, these nuts are at their best tasting and greatest value during the harvest, which—according to the American Pistachio Growers organization—can take place anywhere from late August to early October. In America, most pistachios are harvested in western states, such as California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
 

How are they picked?

Growing in clusters similar to grapes, pistachios tend to naturally fall off the tree when they ripen, where they are gathered by hand, net, or some other means. According to several sources, most harvesters will also shake the branches with machines to help the nuts fall off. Good pistachio nuts will split while on the tree, although some will not. Typically, the only pistachios sold in stores are the ones that have naturally opened.
 
 

Are pistachios good for you?

Yes! In fact, you can break down the research surrounding this nutritional nut into at least six major health benefits, according to Organic Facts:
 
Healthy Heart
According to evidence, a daily intake of pistachios appears to help with lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the body, thanks in large part to this nut’s rich source of antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols.
 
Weight Management
In comparison to dried fruits and other nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, etc), pistachios are low calorie, protein rich, and low fat—making this nut the go-to snack for weight management. In other words, this nut makes that feeling of fullness last longer without the extra calories/fat.
 
Prevents Macular Disease
Researchers have also found pistachios to be high in lutein—a nutrient that’s found in most dark green leafy vegetables. This antioxidant is particularly important in healthy vision, as it helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
 
Dietary Fiber
As with most nuts, pistachios are great for intestinal health due to their dietary fiber. One ounce (30g) of pistachios can contain about 3 grams of fiber, which is more than enough to boost daily digestion.
 
Aphrodisiac Properties
A 2011 study (Aldemir et al) suggests that pistachios can improve reproductive vitality among men by at least 50% after three weeks of 100g (roughly 3.5oz) taken daily.
 
Antioxidant Properties
Pistachios are such a rich source of antioxidants that even their shells contain large amounts of this nutrient, according to researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University. Antioxidants are important as they can help reduce the risk of cancer.
 
 

How much should you eat per day?

Most sources recommend 1-2 handfuls a day (roughly 1.5-3oz or 200-400 calories), although you should be careful about how the pistachios are served. Eating raw or roasted pistachios is the most nutritional option, but sweetened or salted pistachios can be a nice treat so long as you keep an eye on the intake.
 

Raw vs. Roasted Pistachios: Which one is better?

Usually the heat of cooking results in a loss of nutrients, yet pistachios are a different story. According to Healthline and other sources, these nuts largely do not change in terms of health benefits, whether they’re roasted or raw. Both varieties contain similar amounts of calories, protein, carbs, and fiber.
 

What to do with pistachio nuts?

The great thing about nuts in general is that there are many easy ways to incorporate their nutritional goodness into your daily diet. Pistachios alone can make for a great snack at work, after school, or while watching Monday night football with friends. Beyond that, pistachios have been included in many different recipes—savory and sweet alike, as seen by these two highly rated recipes from Betty Crocker:
 

Apricot-Pistachio Rolled Pork

4+ stars rating
Prep: 30 min | Total: 5 hour 35 min
Servings: 12
 
“Get dinner rolling with pork loin that’s wrapped around a sweet, crunchy apricot-pistachio filling and roasted to perfection.”
 
Ingredients
1 single uncut boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup apricot brandy or apricot nectar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
¼ cup coarsely crushed cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ cup apricot preserves
 
Directions
  1. To cut pork roast into a large rectangle that can be filled and rolled, cut lengthwise about 1/2 inch from top of pork to within 1/2 inch of opposite edge; open flat. Repeat with other side of pork, cutting from the inside edge to the outer edge; open flat to form rectangle.
  2. Sprinkle apricots, 1/2 cup nuts, the garlic, salt and pepper over pork to within 1 inch of edge. Tightly roll up pork, beginning with short side. Secure with toothpicks, or tie with string. Pierce pork all over with metal skewer. Brush brandy over entire surface. Let stand 15 minutes. Brush again with remaining brandy. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 325°F. Place pork, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons nuts and garlic salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Cool slightly.
  5. Brush preserves over pork. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Roast uncovered 30 to 60 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 160°F. Cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving for easier carving.
 
Read more: You might also try your hand at this Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast recipe, courtesy of Angry Orchard
 
Expert Tips
Add color to the fruit and nut filling by replacing half of the dried apricots with dried sweetened cranberries.
 
Piercing the pork and allowing it to stand after brushing with apricot brandy helps to heighten the apricot flavor of the roast.
 
 

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

4 star rating
Prep: 60 min | Total: 60 min
Servings: 48
 
“Prize-Winning Recipe 2010! Pistachios, pudding mix and cranberries stir up with sugar cookie mix for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie.”
 
Ingredients
Parchment Paper
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry-roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
 
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds Parchment Paper; set aside. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well.
  2. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
 
Read more: In a rush? Our bakery can help.
 
Expert Tips
Place food directly on Parchment Paper and bake as directed. Treats will bake evenly and release from paper with ease. Plus, because you're baking right on the paper, clean-up is a breeze.
 
For even baking, make sure cookies are of the same shape and size.
 
You can find shelled pistachios in the nuts-for-snacking section of your local Brookshire Brothers.
 
 

DON’T FORGET:

Pistachios can last for many months before going bad if you store them in airtight containers in cool and dry places.
 
Read more: Your groceries in the fridge can also last longer with more effective storage strategies.  
 

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