A Message from Your Hometown Health Manager
Just a friendly reminder, there are only TWO months left to earn your visa gift card reward! The last day to complete your wellness activities for this program year is September 30, 2018. Log into your Hometown Health Portal to view how close you are to earning your reward! You may be closer than you think!

Also, completion of your online health assessment and a health screening is needed in order to earn your visa gift card. If you have not participated in an onsite health screening, you may have your doctor complete a physician qualification from that may be found in your wellness portal. You may also email us at hometownhealth@flcities.com to request a copy of the form to be emailed to you.

Check out this month’s newsletter below!

All the Best,

Gwen Mahabir
Immunization Protects All of Us: Don’t Wait. Vaccinate!
In the United States, vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once routinely killed or harmed many infants, children, and adults. However, the viruses and bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable disease still exist and can be passed on to people who are not protected by vaccines. Every year, thousands of Americans still suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, and even die from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. Protect your health and the health of your family. Make sure you and your loved ones are up-to-date on recommended vaccines.

Here’s why you shouldn’t wait:
Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in the U.S.

  • Those that are not common here are still found in other parts of the world, and can still be a threat.
  • Some of these diseases are very contagious.
  • Any of these diseases could be serious – even for healthy people.
  • Certain people may be at higher risk for getting some diseases or having more serious illness if they were to get sick, like young children, older adults, and those with health conditions.

Cold Versus Flu 
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
The flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses. Because these two types of illnesses have similar symptoms, it can be difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more common and intense. Colds are usually milder than the flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Flu can have very serious associated complications. 

How can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu?
Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Special tests that usually must be done within the first few days of illness can tell if a person has the flu.

Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics deserve a special mention for helping to prevent illness. Both are essential to gut health. And gut health is essential to immunity.

Prebiotics (a.k.a. food for bacteria) help nourish our good microbial friends. Usually this is some form of semi-digestible fiber that our bacteria can chow down on, and/or that helps move food through the GI tract.

And probiotics (the bacteria themselves) have been shown to help us recover faster, once we get sick.

That’s why all of us should ensure that our systems are well colonized by these friendly critters.

The best whole food sources of prebiotics are:
  • Vegetables: asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions
  • Carbs: barley, beans, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat, potatoes, and yams
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, berries, citrus, kiwi
  • Fats: flax seeds and chia seeds

And the best whole food sources of probiotics are:
  • Dairy: yogurt, cheese, and kefir with live and active cultures
  • Fermented vegetables: pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi
  • Fermented soy: miso, tempeh
  • Miscellaneous: soy sauce, wine

Healthy Recipe: Crockpot Minestrone Soup 

  • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained, rinsed (cannellini or navy)
  • 32 oz container reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarians)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 medium 8 oz zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups chopped fresh (or frozen defrosted) spinach
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta, al dente (or GF pasta)
  • extra parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


Puree beans with 1 cup of the broth in a blender. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

Transfer to the crock pot along with the remaining broth, tomatoes, pureed beans, parmesan cheese rind, salt and pepper. Add the rosemary, basil and parsley, cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, parmesan rind and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle 1-1/4 cups soup into 8 bowls with 1/4 cup pasta in each and top with extra parmesan cheese if desired.

Source: SkinnyTaste.com 

Florida League of Cities | www.floridaleagueofcities.com | 850.222.9684