Category Archives: Uncategorized

Battle of the Leafy Greens: Spinach vs. Kale

Leafy greens are perhaps the superstars of the vegetable family: they contain myriad health benefits, they’re tasty, and they’re versatile. Those of us who grew up watching Popeye are familiar with the merits of spinach, but in the last few years a new leafy green has taken over the limelight: kale. The two look similar, taste similar, and are often used in similar ways. So, just how similar are they?

Calories: While the number of calories should never be a concern while munching veggies, a cup of kale has double the calories that a cup of spinach does.

Magnesium: Magnesium contributes to strong bones, and spinach contains a quarter of your daily magnesium. This might be why Popeye was such a tough guy!

Vitamin C: Kale takes the lead here. Kale has four times the amount of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, than spinach.

Calcium: While it’s a close call, kale edges out spinach in its amount of calcium.

Protein: Kale has 15 percent more protein than spinach. (Maybe Popeye should have switched!)

The bottom line is that, with either kale or spinach, you can’t go wrong! In terms of benefits, spinach may be the better option for pregnant women because of its rich amounts of the nutrients folate and iron, whereas vegans may choose kale in order to get a calcium and protein fix. Happy munching!

Puerto Rico Needs Our Help

By now, you have seen the heartbreaking images from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. This event touches particularly close to home for the more than 2,000 MMM and MSO of Puerto Rico employees who help us meet the healthcare needs of the island. Over 80 employees lost their homes and possessions and many are still living without basic essentials like food, electricity and water. Hundreds more had family members impacted by the category 5 storm. Despite these hardships, more than 90 percent of MMM and MSO employees are reporting to work to help our beneficiaries get the care they need.

In partnership with our sister company, Care-One, we are undertaking an ambitious fundraising effort to show our commitment to these employees, their communities and the more than 450,000 Puerto Rican beneficiaries who turn to us to keep them well. We’re calling it “Caminamos Juntos” which means “We Walk Together.”

As part of this effort, we are hosting a fundraiser in New York City on Thursday, October 19. We hope you can attend. Detailed information, including ticket purchase and sponsorship information, can be found at www.innovacarehealth.com/puertorico. Please click this link to learn more about how you can help make a difference.

To maximize the speed and impact of your donation, the proceeds will be directed by the Gwendolyn and Joseph Straus Charitable Fund to the recovery and rebuilding of Puerto Rico. This will ensure 100 percent of the proceeds are distributed effectively and without delay.

For those who are unable to attend but would still like to contribute, please click on the tickets/donation button here. Please “walk together” with us now by showing the generosity that Puerto Rico so badly needs.

Breathing Easy: Tips for Autumn Allergy Relief

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 40 million Americans suffer from autumn allergies, making it one of the worst times of the year for those of us who deal with seasonal allergies. The biggest villain is ragweed, a plant that covers the southeast part of the country. Another is pollen, which is sent into the air as the weather cools and foliage changes. These allergens can cause itchy eyes, runny noses, excessive sneezing, wheezing, headaches, nausea, hives, and dry skin. Symptoms that really affect your quality of life!

However, there are a few tricks to manage even the most severe of allergies. Try these out and enjoy autumn instead of sneezing your way through it.

  1. Find out exactly what you’re allergic to. An allergist can run a quick skin-prick text to figure this out. Once you identify the culprit, customize your treatment to what will work best to fight your specific allergy.
  2. Buy a dehumidifier. Not only can this help with breathing, but it can also help if you are sensitive to mold or dust, allergens that flourish in humid environments.
  3. Check pollen levels. If pollen is really aggravating you, you can check pollen levels in your area at Pollen.com. If you’re in a high pollen zone, try to avoid spending a lot of time outdoors.
  4. Take an antihistamine. This is one of the easiest steps you can take, and most over-the-counter allergy drugs now are non-drowsy!
  5. Shower. Washing your body and clothes right after spending time outside will prevent pollen from following you around inside and transferring to your furniture.

If these don’t help a bit and your allergies seem to be getting worse, don’t hesitate to visit a doctor to make sure something else isn’t amiss in your immune system! No one wants to spend their autumn sneezing.

Save the Date: Brooklyn Tech’s 95th Anniversary

Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation will celebrate the “Titans of Tech” Award and the 95th Anniversary of Brooklyn Tech High School on November 28th in New York City.  As a proud graduate of “Tech” and member of the Alumni Foundation’s Dinner Committee, I urge your support of this outstanding school by attending the reception, placing an advertisement in the Event Journal or contributing any amount you can to the school.

Brooklyn Tech is the country’s premier STEM School (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The school’s alumni include inventors, top scientists, CEOs, high-ranking diplomats, scholars in academia, literary figures, Olympians, National Medal recipients and Nobel Laureates.

Tech is committed to preparing students for tomorrow’s cutting edge professions and careers.  The cost to maintain Tech’s level of educational excellence is enormous and involves building and equipping modern science and technology labs for 5,800+ students.  As the rate of change in technology accelerates, so does the cost of delivering such excellence.  New York City provides substantial support, but it is not enough. One of the Alumni Foundation’s goals is to close this monetary gap by relying on contributions raised from this annual dinner.

As a graduate of Brooklyn Tech, I cannot begin to describe the impact the school has had on my education, career trajectory and personal growth. Brooklyn Tech afforded me an outstanding education and laid a solid foundation for me for years to come. I attribute a good part of my success to Brooklyn Tech.  Supporting Brooklyn Tech is a commitment I have made in order to give back and provide an opportunity for others to benefit as well.

I am reaching out to you to help me fulfill this commitment and support this school in all it does to provide opportunities for other young people.

All the “Titans of Tech” Committee members are proud graduates of the school and happen to be connected through the worlds of architecture, human resources, health care, law, actuarial science and finance.   We are united in the mission to preserve Tech’s excellence–  it will surely be a positive factor in educating tomorrow’s leaders.

Please support. Many thanks.

Penelope Kokkinides ‘87
Brooklyn Tech Alumni Board Member
Journal Co-Chair

Interested in Pinterest?

Mason jars full of salad. Cupcakes that look like the Muppets. Arts and crafts galore. But how can you use Pinterest to make your life easier or more fun? If you haven’t tried this addicting site yet but want to, the layout can be a little overwhelming. Follow these simple tips to get the most out of it:

  1. Organize your pins into different boards. If you are looking to use Pinterest for recipes, make a food board. Planning a wedding? Make a wedding board. This will make things easier to find when you go back looking for that one thing you saved 3 months ago.
  2. Use the search feature. Starting a new project? You can pretty much search DIY anything on Pinterest. Learn how to build your own porch swing or paint a piece of furniture. The great thing about Pinterest is it will show you pictures and instructions for almost any project you can think of.
  3. Don’t pin everything you see. As with anything else in life, it pays to be selective. When you are looking through thousands of old pins trying to figure out what to make for dinner, it can be tedious. Only pin things you think you will use and delete ones you no longer want.

Happy pinning!

Cooking Healthier Meals

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of tricks to making tasty, easy, and healthy meals for you and your family or friends. The first step is to cut out certain ingredients and substitute healthier options into your recipes.

Here are some simple substitutions I found from Go Red for Women that you can use to create healthier meals:

·         Whole wheat flour can replace white flour to add more fiber into your recipes. Fiber keeps you full longer and supports a healthy digestive system.

·         Unsweetened applesauce and canola oil can take the place of butter! This combination reduces the amount of saturated fat in your food.

·         Instead of using sour cream, you can use Greek yogurt and lemon to add protein and probiotics.

·         Avocado can be substituted for mayonnaise or cheese. While still high in fat, it contains healthy fat to keep your heart healthy.

·         Using ground turkey instead of red meats can help reduce your risk of heart diseases.

When it comes to cooking healthy, it’s all about balance and nutrients. Cut out as much sugar and saturated fat as you can – but don’t be afraid to enjoy your favorites every now and then.

Top Spots to Visit in 2017

Don’t look now, but it’s time to start planning your summer vacation! Whether you have a month to explore or just a few days off, planning any vacation takes time. Here are a few suggestions for places that make great vacation destinations in 2017.

Banff, Canada
From hot springs to gondola rides, Banff has something for everyone. Spend a few days outside admiring the beauty and spend a few more just relaxing at a spa.

Atacama Desert, Chile
Dunes, starry nights, and salty lakes are just the right combination to take in some of the best Chile has to offer. If you like being outside and have an adventurous spirit, this is the perfect place for you.

Agra, India
Bustling streets, bright colors, and busy markets are full of culture in Agra. Aside from the Taj Mahal, this city has many museums to explore. It is also easily accessible today, thanks to a new expressway train.

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Historic buildings in this coastal town make you feel like you’re in another time. Croatia is a hidden gem that boasts of private beaches, boats, and local restaurants. 

Ketchum, Idaho
This hidden ski town is a great spot to get cozy, if you want more cold weather and need to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

While the list could go on and on, traveling is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn about new cultures. Vacations don’t just have to be a time of relaxation – they can also be a time of learning and experiencing new things!

How to Avoid a Cold

Ask the cold makes its yearly rounds, it’s important to take all precautions to avoid getting hit hard with the virus. You don’t want to have to miss out on work, travel or a fun event because of catching a cold.

Here are some ways you can be careful and avoid catching a cold:

Wash your hands — and keep them away from your face.

Your hands are a hub for germs. Make sure you wash them throughout the day, especially after shopping, going to the gym, or being in a public area.

Use disposable items if someone in your house is sick.

Use disposable cups that can be thrown away after each use and use paper towels to dry hands after washing them to prevent the spread of germs from person to person.

Maintain a healthy dose of sleep and exercise.

To keep your immune system at its best, take care of yourself and give your body what it needs. It is also important to control stress levels to maintain a healthy immune system.

Clean all household surfaces.

Phones, door knobs, keyboards, remotes, and sinks are all covered in germs. Make sure to clean them regularly to avoid germs.

It’s hard to completely avoid contact with sick people, so taking all of these precautions can lower your chance of getting infected with the most common sickness.

Productivity: One Step At A Time

We live in a busy world, where productivity can be hard to come by. Simply walk into any coffee shop, and you’ll notice the hustle and bustle from the person catching up with a friend while also checking email from the person finishing up a proposal during another phone call. The art of multitasking seems to be prevailing now more than ever. But did you know that only two percent of us are actually capable of successful multitasking?

The real question lays in how we are supposed to be productive when multiple projects come our way. Here are some simple ways that can help you can focus on one item at a time while still being productive:

  1. Put down the iPhone, tablet, laptop, etc. I know it can be difficult, but simply turning off these electronics can eliminate distractions and allow for more productivity.
  2. Set a routine. How many times do you set aside time to do something and find yourself on social media or another website instead? Creating a schedule for your to-do list will set an expectation for the day and will lessen the temptation of other distractions. (Pro Tip: Outline goals for the day, too, and you’ll have a roadmap for even greater success.)
  3. Eat a well-rounded breakfast. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so this should be no surprise. Study after study says that productivity increases when you eat a healthy, protein-filled breakfast.
  4. Meditate, meditate, meditate. Meditation for 20 minutes every day is proven to help relieve stress. When multitasking seems to be too overwhelming, set aside time to relax and breathe.
  5. Organize your life. From file folders to planners to a tidy desk, organization is key to avoiding distractions and maximizing productivity.

Still having trouble multitasking? Read here for more ways on staying focused and for a calmer lifestyle.

-Penny Kokkinides

Improving email etiquette in the workplace

If you’re like me, there is never a dull moment in your work email inbox.  From notifying your colleague who sits just down the hall about lunch plans or connecting with other professionals across the globe, email seems to be the main source of communication in the workplace – and one of the main time sucks.

With the loss of the spoken word and the increase in technology, it has come to my attention that we may need a quick refresher on email etiquette. Below are some helpful tips to increase your email’s readability and overall communication professionalism:

  1. Put yourself in the mindset of the recipient. Before you press the send button, be sure to re-read the email for relevant context and any errors. If you are ever uncertain about your message, ask for another set of eyes for review before pressing send.
  2. Take caution of the reply-all. We’ve all been in an email chain that is not relevant to us.  Take note of who is receiving the email and also be aware of who is “CC’ed” on the email as well.
  3. Summarize forwarded messages. Reading a forwarded message can often feel like you are in unknown territory and can be difficult to put the pieces together. By summarizing the forwarded email, your recipient will be able to gather more information and better understand the matter at hand.
  4. Be courteous.The content in emails can sometimes get lost in translation and the tone of a message can sound different when reading it. Manners still go a long way.

Still want more steps to freshen up your email etiquette? Read here on how to “wow” your colleagues and get the attention of your peers.

  • Penny Kokkinides