Healthy Tips – July/August 2020

Topics This Issue:

New protocols. Same promise.

Our new normal still puts your health and safety first

While living through a pandemic is new to us all, we remain wholly committed to your care and safety. We’ve put the following steps in place to protect your health, and ours.

eCheck-in from anywhere. Confirm your appointment up to four days in advance on MyChart to reduce time at the front desk.

Screening. We’ll take your temperature at the door and check for symptoms.

COVID-19 Testing. Patients with symptoms are diverted away from waiting areas to be tested, or are seen at Northgate or Renton drive-thrus.

Visitors. We limit the number of people inside and ask nonessential guests to wait outside.

Masking. Everyone must wear a mask at all times. Bring one from home, or we have one for you.

Distancing. Marks on the floor remind you to keep a safe distance from others.

Sanitizing. We’re rigorously wiping down high-touch areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout.

Specialties. Close-contact departments are taking extra precautions, like physical therapy and ear/nose/throat.

Virtual Visits. Routine online appointments add more breathing room in our clinics. Learn more and ask us how to get care from the comfort of home:

Thank you for working with us as we create a new normal that’s safe for everyone.

Call us with questions at 1.888.472.2633 or schedule at

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Back to Basics: Visiting Your Doctor

With PacMed, you can see your doctor in person or get care without leaving the comfort of your home. PacMed offers phone visits, video visits and an online portal where patients can manage their care. These are all great ways to get the care you need while helping to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“We are using telehealth much more,” adds Dr. Katumu, “such as telephone consultations, the MyChart patient portal, and Zoom meetings in MyChart.” As always, patients can use MyChart to look for test results, request prescription refills, request appointments and send a message to their care team.

The benefits of virtual visits are clear. “They help reduce exposure in the COVID-19 pandemic and are also convenient,” says Dr. Simon Katumu, a primary care provider at the PacMed Puyallup clinic. “We’ve seen great benefits for our patients.”

Technology can be particularly useful for vulnerable populations. Dr. Katumu initially worried that older patients might not warm up to technology, but that hasn’t been the case. “They can do it, or they get assistance from someone in their family who is tech savvy. It hasn't been much of a problem,” he adds.

Virtual visits do have limitations. “We can’t draw blood virtually. We can’t complete physical examinations like listen to hearts and lungs,” acknowledges Dr. Katumu. “So, it’s not a replacement for face-to-face care, but it is a great addition to our toolkit.”

Check with your insurance provider or Medicare about coverage for telehealth/virtual care. Many have waived many rules and limitations to accessing these services during the current health crisis.

Telehealth or virtual care refers to medical care (like office visits, psychotherapy, consultations and other services) that is provided by a health provider who isn't at your location. Instead, you and the provider use an interactive, two-way telecommunications system (like real-time audio and video)

Let us stand against racism

PacMed wants to state, loud and clear, that racism needs to end, in all forms and everywhere. The recent murders of George Floyd and others have been haunting reminders of deep-seated injustice that continues to plague our country. At PacMed, our diverse caregivers are committed to providing high-quality, compassionate care to the communities we serve and to patients from all walks of life. To reclaim a space for justice, love and belonging, we stand with you against acts and systems of injustice wherever we see them. We are listening, thinking deeply and taking steps with you toward an equitable, empowered community.

You can read our full executive letter to the community and follow our actions against racism on our Facebook feed.


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Mason Jar Salads

I enjoy recipes that are flexible with ingredients you already have in your kitchen—and most of these ready-to-go mason jar salads are no exception.

Tips: Use a wide-mouth, 16-ounce mason jar (or other tall glass or plastic container with tight lid).

  • Put the dressing in first, to avoid a soggy salad.
  • Pile in individual ingredients, in the order listed—hardy vegetables or proteins on the bottom, delicate leaves and seeds on top.
  • You can store the salad for 1-2 days.
  • When ready to eat, shake and tumble jar until contents are mixed, and enjoy! Eat it straight from the jar (great for a picnic!) or pour into a bowl.

Each salad serves 1. Prep time 20 minutes

Rainbow salad

To achieve a rainbow, layer the vegetables in color order, going from yellow (the pepper) to green (broccoli and cucumbers) to blue and red (blueberries, tomatoes) and so on.


  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic dressing (store bought or mix 1 T of balsamic vinegar, 2 T olive oil and ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard)
  • ¼ cup chickpeas
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped broccoli
  • 2 Tablespoons cucumber, diced
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons orange pepper, diced
  • 1 cup salad greens of your choice
  • 1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon parmesan cheese, optional


In a 16-ounce mason jar, layer ingredients in the following order: dressing, chickpeas, pepper, broccoli, cucumber, blueberries, tomatoes, orange pepper, greens and toppings. Screw on lid and refrigerate.

When ready to eat, shake jar until contents are mixed and enjoy.

Sesame Chicken Mason Jar Salad


  • 2 Tablespoons sesame-ginger dressing
  • ½ cup chopped red cabbage
  • ½ cup chopped cooked chicken (or canned chicken/tuna)
  • 2 tablespoon edamame (if using frozen, thaw first)
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa


In a 16-ounce mason jar, layer ingredients in the following order: dressing, cabbage, chicken, edamame, carrots, and quinoa. Screw on lid and refrigerate.

When ready to eat, shake jar until contents are mixed and enjoy.

Taco Tuesday—Mason Jar Style


  • 2 Tablespoons ranch dressing (I like Annie’s Cowboy Ranch)
  • ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup corn kernels, thawed from frozen
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper or 1 chopped tomato
  • ¼ avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed greens or chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese


In 16-ounce mason jar, layer ingredients in the following order: dressing, black beans, corn, pepper, avocado, lettuce, and cheese. Screw on lid and refrigerate.

When ready to eat, shake jar until contents are mixed and enjoy.

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NUTRITION CORNER: Taking a Look at Meal Subscriptions

By Christy Goff, MS, RDN, CD

Many of us have been doing a lot more cooking recently. And while this can be great for expanding our recipe repertoire and learning new techniques … sometimes it nice to have some shortcuts. Here, we explore one such option: meal subscription boxes or kits.

In general, meal subscriptions are pricier options for meal planning. But they save you time by taking planning, shopping and meal prep decisions out of the equation.

Some meal kits have lengthy steps, while others keep things simple; some give more choices for proteins, while others offer savings through coupon and first-timer deals. Meal subscriptions generally help alleviate food waste, and many programs say their kits come with less packaging than the supermarket.

Let’s review some of the pros and cons of several popular services. Please note that PacMed is not affiliated with any of these companies, and this review is done on an individual basis.

Blue Apron

Blue Apron delivers food boxes, and you cook the meals yourself. The company tends to have less selection of meals, plus limited flexibility if you don’t opt into a continuous delivery subscription. Some reviewers have said that while Blue Apron provides tasty meals, they often require a lot of steps.

Variety of food: Familiar ingredients used in a new way. Several protein selections as well as vegetarian and Mediterranean options. Wine pairings are available with specific dishes.
Cost: Subscriptions run $7.49–$9.99 per serving or start at $47.99 per week, depending on the plan and shipping costs.

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh delivers ingredients to your door, and you prepare the meals following the easy directions. You pick the dishes from the company’s chef-curated list and schedule convenient delivery times. You have some flexibility with the number of boxes you choose to purchase. Many people are pleased with this service when interviewed.

Variety of food: Mostly crowd-pleasing classics that are time efficient. Hello Fresh caters to vegetarian diets, as well as low-calorie and family-friendly packages. It’s easy to add additional protein/veggies to these meals.
Cost: $9.99 per serving, plus shipping in some plans. (It often promotes coupons for additional meals.)


Freshly delivers cooked meals. You choose your meals from a rotating menu and a variety of cuisine preferences. Reheat meals lightly and enjoy! This is the easiest of kits if you are looking to save time.

Variety of food: Good variety of options, including diets such as vegetarian, gluten-free, peanut-free and dairy-free. No prep time; just heat and eat.
Cost: Choose from 4-12 meals per week, ranging from $50/week for 4 meals to $108/week for 12 meals. Free shipping.

Green Chef

Green chef prides itself on using only sustainable and organic ingredients, making this kit a bit more expensive. It delivers ingredients and meal instructions, which you follow to put together the meal.

Variety of food: Twists on classic meals as well as globally inspired ideas. Green Chef caters to vegetarian, vegan, ketogenic and paleo. Its gluten-free menu is certified gluten-free, meaning diners following this strict diet can have confidence in this service.
Cost: $11.49–$12.99 per meal. Occasional shipping costs, but coupons often available.

Purple Carrot

With this vegan meal kit, you make meals using pre-packaged ingredients and recipe cards. Although many kits are vegan/vegetarian friendly, this is also a great option for those moving toward a vegetarian or vegan diet to gain more variety and skills in vegan cooking.

Variety of food: Variety of food: Offers worldly cuisine options and easy-to-follow cooking instructions for plant-based meals, such as tofu and tempeh. Purple Carrot rotates its menu items often.
Cost: Around $12 per serving plus shipping.

The number of businesses offering meal kits grows each month—check out Gobble, Home Chef and Sun Basket! These popular kits can lead to healthier eating if you stay with the provided portion sizes. Before signing up, look for coupons, know your budget and check to see if contracts will auto-renew. To save money in the future, consider keeping recipes from your meal kits and using them in your own meal planning and grocery shopping endeavors.

Happy cooking and eating!

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Fight Fear with Radical Acceptance

BOOK REVIEW: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach

Tara Brach’s book Radical Acceptance offers helpful tips on staying balanced in the moment, adjusting to new realities and moving on. This feels particularly timely as we live with COVID-19 in our midst. The mental health of many people has been affected by fear, social isolation and constant change.

“The emotion of fear often works overtime,” writes Brach. She continues:

Even when there is no immediate threat, our body may remain tight and on guard, our mind narrowed to focus on what might go wrong. When this happens, fear is no longer functioning to secure our survival. We are caught in the trance of fear and our moment-to-moment experience becomes bound in reactivity. We spend our time and energy defending our life rather than living it fully.

Brach is suggesting that fear can quietly go too far. We do need to assess threats and decide how to protect ourselves. Beyond that, endlessly obsessing can do more harm than good. Multiple studies show that prolonged stress, worry and fear can impair the immune system—our main defense against illnesses, including COVID-19.

Endlessly obsessing over news or imagining the worst can be a way of pushing away the present reality. “Fear is the anticipation of future pain,” Brach writes. Fear can make us forget what we have to be grateful for—like moments we are safe, healthy and have enough food, supplies and friends. “By running from what we fear, we feed the inner darkness,” says Brach; it’s a way of “manipulating my inner experience rather than being with what [is] actually happening.”

Of course, we all are living with loss these days, such when we experience shortages of supplies or money, canceled events, limited social connection, a health crisis or even the loss of a loved one. Facing the reality inside ourselves with radical acceptance at those times is equally powerful: “The instant we agree to feel fear or vulnerability, greed or agitation, we are holding our life with an unconditionally friendly heart.”

Brach’s advice of facing each moment with radical acceptance can help us balance our physical and mental health, protecting us from both real external threats and the damage our minds can do worrying too much about them.


Let us know if these tips helped you at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Read more about PacMed’s response to COVID-19.

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LWA Spotlight

The Living Well Alliance (LWA) has transformed into a fully virtual service these last few months as we cope with COVID-19. With webinars and yoga classes, LWA continues to create new content and offer price deals for these online services.

When taking LWA learning online, keep these reminders in mind:

  1. Allow time to download the appropriate e-learning software before the class (15 minutes for a new program is recommended).
  2. Engage with the instructor and others in the class in ways that feel comfortable to you—whether that is video participation or using the chat function. This can help keep the class engaging and allows you to give the speaker input on what information you want to learn about. The LWA staff love questions!
  3. Be open to something new and different. Some topics may not be your first choice but being open to new topics and activities like yoga can expand your knowledge base and lead you to other courses on a similar topic. Always leave a seminar naming one new thing that you learned regardless of your initial opinion on that topic!
  4. At the end of each class, it’s advantageous to make a goal related to the topic to take what you learn to the next level—putting lifestyles changes into action.
  5. If you have trouble focusing during an online presentation, take the presentation on the go. It’s fun to download the appropriate programs on your phone and get in your daily walk while listening to the live or recorded content.

Happy e-learning!

For more from LWA, check out these recent, fun activities:

Save the date for 2020 LWA Food & Mood Symposium! The Living Well Alliance team is gearing up for our 2020 workplace wellness symposium! Mark your calendars for our event on August 20 at Pacific Tower on Seattle’s Beacon Hill. We will focus on mental health in the workplace this year. You can learn more at the LWA Wellness Symposium page.

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The Living Well Alliance is run by Pacific Medical Centers. Call us today at 206.621.4419 for more information or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

PacMed and Living Well Alliance are trademarks of Pacific Medical Centers.