Archive for December, 2011

Recipe Modifications by Jennifer Smith, Coordinator of Health Promotion Services at St. Mary’s

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Recently, a friend asked what I was snacking on. When I told her it was a healthy dark chocolate muffin, she commented, “Isn’t that an oxymoron?” I was pleased to inform her that the muffin was rich in flavanols, an antioxidant from the dark cocoa, healthy monounsaturated fats from the canola oil, whole grains from the whole white wheat flour, and sweetened with apple sauce, making for a respectable nutrient punch. She then asked how I find such good tasting, healthy recipes. This is a common question I receive when health coaching so I thought I’d share …

While there are a massive number of recipes available online, often I simply use one of my tried and true recipes while making a few alterations. How you modify a recipe ultimately will depend on your goal. For instance, when baking if you’re looking to cut calories, I’d recommend substituting half of the oil for unsweetened applesauce or plain yogurt. For example, if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup of oil, I’d use 1/4 cup of canola oil and 1/4 cup of applesauce. I find this makes for a moister baked good, cuts fat, and I’m generally able to decrease the sugar a bit as the applesauce provides sweetness as well. Because fat is more calorie dense, 9 calories/gram versus 4 calories/gram for the applesauce, this substitution would decrease the total calorie count.

One of my main goals when altering a recipe is increasing the nutrient density. Knowing that every nutrient, vitamin, and mineral has a different and purposeful use in our bodies makes me want to ensure that I’m eating a variety of foods. I also realize in order to maintain my weight; I can consume a certain number of calories per day. Therefore, I want to get the most nourishment for the least amount of calories. This is where nutrient density comes into play – even when I’m making a treat. For instance, when I’m baking cookies, I’ll switch out the all purpose flour for 100 percent whole white wheat. I’ll also replace the butter or shortening with an equal amount of canola oil and I’ll decrease the amount of sugar, even if it’s only from a cup to ¾ cup.

In the same way, if I’m baking a breakfast or snack item such as banana or zucchini bread, I’ll experiment with adding extra fruit or vegetables. I may try half whole wheat flour, half whole white wheat flour or I may add a handful of raisins or berries to increase the fiber content. One trick I’ve found is to beat the oil and sugar together first. Then, I add the eggs and continue to mix well. This seems to make for fluffier muffins or bread which is important seeing whole wheat flour is heavier and tends to produce a denser product than traditionally used flours. I also make sure to always add the flour last avoiding any potential of over mixing which makes for a tough item.

In the end, there are a multitude of ways to make your food choices healthier. Taste is so subjective that it simply comes down to personal preference. Please see the attached pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe for one of my family’s favorites. If you have any “healthified” recipes you’d like to share for future e-newsletters, please email me at

Until next time, remember taking care of yourself is one of the best gifts you can give you and your family this year!

Jennifer Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine with a concentration in nutrition and a minor in education, a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion, and is a nationally certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and speed coach.

Download a printable version of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins here

Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: “What’s for Dinner? Hungry Kids in America”

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

At least 1 in 7 American families lack consistent access to food.  Click here to see some faces and stories of hunger in our own country and in our own neighborhood.  Meet Cameron from Lewiston, a member of Lots to Gardens, a program located at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center of Maine.

St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion Earns Quality Award

Monday, December 19th, 2011



St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion in Lewiston recently received the 2011 Celebrating Excellence in Quality Award during a recognition ceremony held at the Augusta Civic Center. First Lady Ann LePage joined the Maine Health Care Association (MHCA) to present the awards. In congratulatory remarks, she noted, “You have not only met baseline standards of compliance, you have challenged yourselves and your organizations to excel in quality improvement. Always with the best interests of your residents, you have shown what commitment to quality is all about on both a state and national level.”

Sponsored by MHCA, the Celebrating Excellence in Quality Award is given annually to long term care providers that are making significant strides towards achieving and maintaining quality. This award is designed to showcase facilities that have shown quality improvement gains through specific quality improvement processes designed to enhance quality care to residents. St. Mary’s d’Youville Pavilion was recognized for its efforts to reduce rehospitalization rates. “The team at d’Youville Pavilion implemented best practice standards to preventing rehospitalizations and is pleased with the positive impact on quality of care,” said Phil Jean, Vice President of Elder Care Services. “To be recognized by others for our efforts validates all of our hard work and dedication.”


To be considered, nominees must meet certain criteria, including demonstration of success in clinical outcomes for residents through nursing, therapy or other disciplines; pursuit of professional development and commitment to leadership, staff development and/or commitment to measuring and improving resident/staff/family satisfaction. Nominations for the award were submitted by long term care facilities statewide and winners were selected by an independent panel of judges with long term care expertise.


According to MHCA President and CEO Richard Erb, “Maine’s long term care facilities provide compassionate quality care on a daily basis. Providers are genuinely committed to quality improvement efforts to better serve their residents. This luncheon and awards program are a tribute to their dedication and our way of saying thank you – we appreciate your work.” MHCA is a nonprofit trade association representing 250 long term care providers statewide including nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Lewiston/Auburn Community Invited to Vigil

Friday, December 16th, 2011

 Imagine spending the longest night of the year on the streets with no place to call home… 























The Lewiston/Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless (LAASH) invites the L-A community to join their annual candlelight vigil to remember homeless people during the holiday season from 4:30 to 5:30 pm on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 in downtown Lewiston. For ten years, LAASH has held this event as part of a national movement of cities marking National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or near the winter solstice – the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

Please meet at 4:30 pm in the courtyard of the Trinity Jubilee Center (at Trinity Episcopal Church – courtyard entrance is on Spruce Street near the corner with Bates Street). After a few words and lighting of candles, vigil participants will walk several blocks up Bates Street, past the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, to Main Street. The procession will turn right on Main and then right on Sabattus Street and conclude in front of the Calvary United Methodist Church (located in the triangle bordered by Sabattus, College, and Bartlett Streets).

Vigil participants are invited to bring non-perishable and canned food to the event, which will be collected at both Trinity and Calvary. Participants may join the vigil at any point along the route. An indoor space will be available to gather at Calvary to warm up and enjoy hot chocolate and refreshments donated by Hurricane’s Soup & Chowder and The Bread Shack. Staff from New Beginnings will provide van service back to Jubilee or the Park Street garage.

Based on a 2009 community needs assessment, LAASH and the United Way of Androscoggin County estimated that on any given night, 100 people in greater L-A are homeless – that number has likely increased with the continued recession. The route of this year’s vigil highlights a few of the local services for low-income and homeless people downtown:

  • Trinity Jubilee Center (247 Bates Street) provides daily meals and food, a warming center, refugee assistance, and resources to those in need. (207)782-5700
  •  The Nutrition Center (208 Bates Street) includes St. Mary’s food pantry, youth and gardening programs, and cooking and nutrition education programs. (207)513-3848
  • The City Mission group at Calvary Church (59 Sabattus Street) serves a hot supper downstairs from 4:30-5:30 p.m. every Wednesday and breakfast Sunday mornings from 7:30-8:30 a.m. for the community.
  • New Beginnings operates support services and housing for youth, including a drop-in center (245 Lisbon) and 24-hour emergency shelter (491 Main Street). (207)795-4077

Each year since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has co-sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness. In an effort to maximize the impact of the day, organizers have encouraged statewide and local groups such as LAASH to hold events of their own. Last year, more than 152 cities across the nation sponsored events to recommit to the task of ending homelessness.

LAASH is a collaborative of organizations that serve local low-income and homeless people. Along with the United Way of Androscoggin County and other local supporters, LAASH has launched a 10 year plan to end homelessness in Lewiston/Auburn.

For more information, contact Bob Rowe at 207-795-4077 or go to

Quality Counts!

Friday, December 16th, 2011


L to R - Joseph Blinick, Ph.D, Donna Knightly, MSRTR, Umesh Sarma, MD

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center’s Imaging Department earned a 3-year CT (Computed Tomography) accreditation status from the American College of Radiology.

Our site was also identified as an “Image Gently” facility for performing diagnostic tests using the lowest radiation dose possible without compromising image quality. Yet another reason to choose St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center for your imaging needs!




St. Mary’s ER Wait Time App for Smart Phones

Friday, December 16th, 2011

The ER wait time clock that is on our website homepage is now available as an App for Android smart phones (other phones soon to follow!).  Just scan the QR code below with your phone to download.   It’s that simple!

St. Mary’s Welcome Plastic Surgeon

Friday, December 16th, 2011


St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center is happy to announce the return of plastic surgeon John Cederna, MD. Dr. Cederna worked at St. Mary’s for 11 years as the first plastic surgeon between Bangor and Portland. He later moved to a private practice in Peoria, Illinois and Portland, Maine.

His part-time work at St. Mary’s will focus on reconstructive breast surgery following mastectomies and for congenital anomalies, among other things.

Dr. Cederna has 22 years of plastic surgery experience. He is a board certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Pandey, Hematologist and Oncology at St. Mary’s, Shares New Exciting Developments in Cancer Treatment

Friday, December 16th, 2011

I am Dr. Mahesh Pandey. I am a Hematologist and Oncologist at St. Mary’s. I shall be writing about the new exciting developments in cancer treatment. While cancer care remains a big challenge, new developments in diagnosis and treatment have changed the course of some diseases. Better understanding of disease mechanisms and developments of targets to treat changes that are responsible for development of a cancer has led to some breakthrough developments.

One such treatment is the medication Gleevec or Imatinib. Chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) is a cancer of the white cells in which the cells in different stages of development pack up the bone marrow and cause a high white blood cell count, enlarge the spleen, give the sensation of being full after eating small amounts of food, and weight loss. This starts as a gradual disease but untreated, goes into a rapidly progressive phase and eventually transforms into an acute leukemia.

Traditionally the only treatment known for this disease was a bone marrow transplantation, which even in healthy young adults has a death rate of 15%.  Additionally, there are longstanding complications even after a successful transplantation.  The chemotherapy that was used to treat this disease had a lot of side effects.  It was toxic and only palliated this disease for a while and eventually the disease took its course. Another treatment called hydroxyurea only controlled the white cells for a while but did not change the course of the disease at all.

In 1960, a genetic abnormality called Philadelphia chromosome was discovered by Peter Novell in the city of Philadelphia (thus the name of this chromosome) in this disease. The Philadelphia chromosome occurs when a broken piece chromosome number 9 joins with a broken piece of chromosome number 22 and causes uncontrolled proliferation of white cells.

Initially treatment of cancers was focused on treatment of the different stages of the cell cycle. As new chemotherapy agents known to target different stages of cell cycle, attempts were then made to combine chemotherapies that targeted growth of cancer cells at different stages of the cell cycle. Some rapidly growing cancers such as ALL in children, testicular cancer and some aggressive lymphomas can be treated with curative intent with a multi-agent chemotherapy regimen, and the idea was that the different chemotherapy agents each attack the cancer cells at a different stage of cell growth and were able to kill the cancer cells completely in these different diseases and we the cancer could be cured. This approach does not work in majority of cancers since in most cancers only some cells are in the actively dividing phase and most of the cancer cells are in the dormant phase, so chemotherapy is not completely effective. In lymphomas or testicular cancer vast majority of the cells are rapidly dividing so chemotherapy is highly effective.

Now, we are in a new era of targeted therapy. Even though we have known about the Philadelphia chromosome since the 60s, a drug to target the changes caused by Philadelphia chromosome wasn’t discovered until the 1990s. That drug, called Gleevec won FDA approval in 2001.  Now, patients with CML that have the Philadelphia chromosome, can be successfully treated.  Studies have shown the Gleevec not only normalizes blood count and spleen size, but the changes caused by the Philadelphia chromosome can be removed from the bone marrow (so called molecular response or cytogenetic response). With just the use of Gleevec, patients with CML are now living normal lives. At this point we do not know how long people should stay on the drug but the current standard of care is to maintain patients on Gleevec indefinitely. In terms of side effects, they include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, swelling, and skin rash.  In general, Gleevec is very well tolerated and the side effects are manageable.  The only caveat is that 5% of patients with CML do not have the Philadelphia chromosome and, therefore, cannot be treated with Gleevec. 

With development of one target Gleevec, better targets against the Philadelphia chromosome have been developed such as new sister drugs Dasatanib and Nilotinib.  Now we have more targeted treatment in our arsenal against what was previously thought to be the fatal disease chronic myeloid leukemia.

Gleevec can also act against certain targets on a rare cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumor or GIST.  GIST is known to be a fatal disease if untreated. In its localized form surgery is curative, but in high risks cases, Gleevec adds to the curative intent when used for a year after surgery.  In patients where GIST has spread, Gleevec is known to shrink the disease considerably and often completely.  Although not curative, it has provided patients with some longevity and quality of life.

Stay tuned for more exciting developments in treatment of cancer.

Give the Gift of Life

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

The American Red Cross is holding a Blood Drive on Friday, December 16, 2011 from 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the Lepage Conference Center at 99 Campus Avenue.

All donors will receive a coupon for a FREE regular six-inch sub at any participating SUBWAY® Restaurant in Maine in the month of December.

Please call the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment. You can also email (Jenny Cowie) or call the Volunteer office 777-8368.

What’s Hot at St.Mary’s Gift Shop?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Byers’ Choice carolers are available exclusively at the St. Mary’s Gift Shop.   “No two Byers’ Choice Carolers are ever the same. Our artisans create a unique character and personality in each figure by using a variety of techniques and materials. Each crafter leaves a little bit of herself in every figure she touches. As many as ten people will work on one Byer’s Choice Caroler. Consequently it is impossible to find two carolers that are exactly alike.” Joyce Byers

To view items over our webcam please  go to and call Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm  by calling the Gift Shop at 207-777-8372 or Toll Free 1-800-601-8177.