Delivering caring, personalized, quality healthcare to women in an environment that is supportive, education-focused and compassionate.

Sit. Stay. Bad human! 9 tips for the office worker

As an office worker you may be bound to a desk and a computer. For most of us this means that we may sit most of the day. You might think staying seated is one of the safest things you could do, but too much sitting can hurt your body in a number of ways:

How sitting too much can hurt your body:

  • Increases your risk of heart disease
  • Increases your risk of diabetes
  • Causes poor circulation in your legs, which could lead to varicose veins or blood clots
  • May lead to fatigue and food cravings
  • Less activity leads to weight gain
  • Weakens your abdominal and gluteal (butt) muscles
  • Contributes to other structural problems in the spine and hips

We checked in with Laurie Ledford RD, our very own Nutritionista, for her tips to help us escape the chains of our desks.

What is a desk-bound office worker to do?

Here are a few tips to get you out of your chair.

  1. Don’t rely on an hour or less of exercise to make up for a whole day of sitting. You need to get up and move more often than that to offset the bad effects of sitting.
  2. If you have a sit-to-stand desk, alternate positions throughout the day.
  3. If you don’t have a special desk, stand up whenever you don’t need to be touching your keyboard or your desk – e.g., when answering the phone, while reading, while talking with a coworker.
  4. Sit on an exercise ball or a stool with no back, so that your core muscles will have to do some work. Always sit with your feet flat on the floor.
  5. Hold walking meetings.
  6. Drink lots of water (or other unsweetened beverage) throughout the day, so that you will have to get up to relieve yourself of this fluid frequently.
  7. Get away from your desk every 30-45 minutes to give your eyes a break and do something active – e.g., pushups against your desk, wall sitting (back against the wall with legs bent at 90 degrees), squats, calf raises, brisk walking, stretches or yoga poses.
  8. Keep a resistance band in your office. Use it to perform squats, lunges and upper body exercises during your breaks.
  9. Park far away, in a shady spot. This gives you a nice little walk to and from work, plus a cooler car in the afternoon.

For more information on how just a little more standing for office or around the home can make all the difference check out this post on how to burn more calories without adding a workout. 

The Nutritionista (aka Laurie Ledford)  is a Registered Dietitian at Tucson Medical Center who uses her knowledge and experience every day to support patients making healthy nutrition choices and prevent or combat the major killers of our time. Have a question about something you’ve heard or seen about nutrition or diet? Send your question to the Nutritionista at tmcforwomen at gmail dot com. Check back on TMC for Women for Nutritionista’s blog posts.

Holistic Heart – Your Health Coach Molly Griffis

If only you could have your own health coach! Someone who could cheer you on and support  you in achieving your healthy best…but that’s only for celebs and the fabulously rich, not mere mortals like you and me, right?

Not so! Tucson Medical Center’s satellite wellness center, The Core at La Encantada, offers individual health coaching with Molly Griffis RN.

As a holistic health coach trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a University of Arizona Nursing School graduate, Molly is a health care advocate and consummate cheerleader. She’s your wellness ally working with you to become the best, most healthy and happy versions of yourself.

Molly’s experience includes acute-care nursing and stroke program coordinator at Tucson Medical Center. Inspired by the amazing potential of disease prevention and health maintenance through lifestyle choices, Molly made the switch more than a year ago from hospital and sick care to wellness and preventive care.

Make an appointment with Molly – Call 520-324-2673

Why meet with a health coach?

“There are simple changes people can make toward health, but often these simple things are extraordinarily difficult to do on your own, without adequate information and consistent support. This is precisely where health coaches like myself come in! ”

Molly’s Healthy Dozen – to prevent stress, excess, inflammation and illness:

Recently Molly spoke with Gina Murphy-Darling of Mrs. Green’s World and shared her top 12 healthy living tips:

1. Let food be thy medicine!

Eat a RAINBOW of real whole foods including green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, fruits especially berries, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. On the other hand, reduce your consumption of conventionally raised animal meat and dairy products, commercial baked goods, fried foods, highly salted foods and white sugar.

2. Drink more water

Drink more water and less sugar-laden beverages, soda, caffeine and alcohol.

3. Just keep moving!

Participate in regular physical activity that you enjoy.

4. Get in those zzzzzz’s

Get consistent quality and quantity of sleep.

5. Plan and prioritize

At the beginning of the day create a list of things you need to do, set reasonable priorities, ask for help when necessary and, if possible, say “NO” to tasks that will overwhelm you.

6. Take time to slow down

Find your personal peace and calm. Lessen your stress by turning off large and small gadgets (TVs, computers, phones, etc..).

7. Just breathe!

Focus on your breath, and find your personal calm & relaxation through meditation, prayer, music, art, journaling, cooking, gardening, reading a good book, yoga or tai chi.

8. Nature

Go outside, enjoy a healthy dose of sunshine, savor the fresh air and touch the earth.

9. Dogs, cats and children

Dogs, cats and children are three of the BEST stress reducers. Connect with them as often as possible.

10. Channel your inner child

Smile, laugh, sing, dance & play more

11. LOVE!

Love yourself and others. Take time to connect with positive relationships on a daily basis. Share your achievements as well as your disappointments with your good family/friend. Minimize time spent with negative individuals.

12. Aromatherapy

Try stress reducing essential oils: lavender, ylang ylang, frankincense, clary sage, bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, tangerine, peppermint, rose, aroma life, patchouli, sandalwood, Roman chamomile, valor, spruce, palo santo, cedarwood and geranium.

Soothing complementary therapies made possible through TMC Mega Raffle

Meaningful and compassionate hospice care is more than meeting complex medical needs. 

Thanks to the support from the TMC Mega Raffle, Tucson Medical Center offers soothing therapies that provide comfort, joy and peace for hospice patients – from the calming melodies of a harp, to the therapeutic knead of massage, the ease of a paintbrush stroke, and  the warm friendliness of a pet. 

Music, massage, art and pet therapies are only a few of the meaningful complimentary services offered at Peppi’s House, TMC’s inpatient hospice program.  

“It made a noticeable difference,” said Krista Durocher, the volunteer services coordinator at Peppi’s House. Massage therapy made a significant difference for Durocher’s grandmother, a hospice patient who struggled with pain and discomfort. “She was so relaxed after her massage. It was so wonderful to see her more comfortable and calm.”

The complimentary services at Peppi’s are carefully and thoughtfully chosen, from reflexology and aromatherapy to reiki and craniosacral therapy. 

“Each service has supportive data and is evidence- based,” said Director of Hospice and Palliative Care Alicia Ferguson. “We care very deeply for the patients and we provide the most effective complimentary services, assured to make a positive difference in a patient’s comfort and quality of life.”

Peppi’s House is a special place for many reasons, and one of them is the pediatric inpatient program. The complimentary therapies have an even stronger impact on children and their families. 

“It is simply wonderful to see a child’s face light-up when a pony walks in; the child and their family are all smiles – forgetting the seriousness surrounding them,” said Ferguson. Plans are in the works to grow children’s hospice services, and the Mega Raffle will be an important part of making the expanded services a reality.

Each TMC Mega Raffle ticket sold is helping hospice patients when they need it most.



This is the last in our six-part series of blogs to show the meaningful impact the TMC Mega Raffle funding has for patients and the community.

Outpatient lactation services receiving support from TMC Mega Raffle

Little Kailey Nowak decided to enter the world five weeks ahead of her due date. Her mom, Kelly, experienced difficulties with breastfeeding almost immediately. “She wouldn’t latch on, or if she did, it would only be for a few seconds,” she said. “It was awful. I cried every single day for six weeks as I pumped and fed my baby through a bottle. My plan was to breastfeed, and when I couldn’t, it truly felt like I was failing as a mother. People were

The family lives in Sierra Vista and with few lactation support services available there, Nowak’s pediatrician suggested she seek expert advice from the lactation specialists at TMC, where she had previously rented her hospital-grade breast pump. “I didn’t know what to expect, but the lactation specialists solved my problems and had Kailey successfully breastfeeding just two minutes into my session. It was the most magical moment of being a mom. I finally felt like I was doing a good job for her, and I wish I would have pursued this help sooner.”

The Mega Raffle provides funding for new moms to visit the outpatient breastfeeding clinic even if the service is not covered by their insurance or if they cannot otherwise afford it.




This is the fifth of our six-part series of blogs that show how the TMC Mega Raffle is making a difference for patients and the community.


TMC receives $25,000 grant from Avon Breast Health Outreach Program

Avon Breast Health Outreach Program in Tucson

The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program has again awarded a $25,000 one-year grant to Tucson Medical Center to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States and early detection still provides the best opportunity for successful treatment .

Tucson Medical Center created the TMC Breast Health and Education Program to educate Tucson-area women and refer them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. The vital program provides services to women who would not otherwise seek a screening mammogram.

Avon Breast Health Outreach Program

Denise Navarrete, TMC breast health and education program coordinator


The fund’s national advisory board selected The TMC Breast Health and Education Program as one of 56 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2017 cycle of Avon Breast Health Outreach Program grants. Programs were selected based on their ability to effectively reach underserved women in the communities they serve.

It is the nineteenth year that TMC has received funding from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support its work on this important health issue, and in recognition of the program’s excellence.

Since May of 1998, the TMC Breast Health and Education Program has reached more than 50,000 women with information about the importance of early detection and has referred almost 7,000 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams.

The TMC Breast Health and Education Program helps ensure that all women have access to early detection information and options.

“We are proud that the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade shares our mission and has chosen to support our program. With these funds we will be able to reach women with breast cancer information and resources to Early detection saves lives at TMC Breast Center Avon Breast Cancer Crusade help overcome factors that keep them from practicing good breast health,” said Denise Navarrete, TMC breast health and education program coordinator.

For more information on the TMC Breast Health and Education Program at Tucson Medical Center please call (520) 324-1286. To learn more about the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, visit

Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Today we share Mushroom, Chile and Salsa Fresca Tacos.
Recipe Card – Tacos with Mushroom, Roasted Chile, Salsa Fresca (1)

Mushroom, Chile, Salsa Fresca Vegan Tacos

Yield: 8 Tacos


1 Yellow onion, sliced into medium strips
¾ lb Portobello mushrooms, gills removed and sliced
2 Tsp Garlic finely chopped
2 Anaheim chiles, roasted seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4” wide strips 1 Tbsp Canola oil to coat bottom of sauté pan
1 Cup Salsa fresca
1 Cup Shredded cabbage
3 Radishes, sliced into small strips
1 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
8 Corn tortillas

Salsa Fresca

1 ½ Cup Garden tomatoes, medium diced
½ Red onion, small diced
4 Scallions, small diced
1 Fresh Anaheim chile, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced small
1 Fresh Poblano chile, roasted, peeled and diced small
2 Tbsp Cilantro, washed and large stems removed, roughly chopped
2 Tsp Finely chopped fresh garlic
2 Tsp Balsamic vinegar
2 Tsp Red wine vinegar
3 Tsp Olive oil
Freshly ground Pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat with the canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook about 7 minutes stirring occasionally until the onions are quite soft but haven’t browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms and a little more oil if needed and sauté with the onions another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the garlic and the Anaheim chiles, stirring occasionally for another 3-4 minutes
  4. Refrigerate for use later or hold warm

Prepare Salsa Fresca

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate and serve within 8 hours.

 To Assemble the Tacos:

  1. Warm the corn tortillas over a grill, in a pan, or in the microwave.
  2. Toss the cabbage and radishes in the lime juice.
  3. Divide the onion, chile mushroom mixture among the warm tortillas.
  4. Spoon 2 teaspoons of salsa fresca over the vegetable mixture.
  5. Top each taco with the cabbage radish slaw.

More healthy living tips and recipes.

Health Warrior Mary

Hello Readers,

For the past two years I’ve shared my journey on the TMC for Women blog, specifically topics that I felt helped me with my weight loss journey.

My weight loss journey hasn’t always been easy or straight forward. For many of us it’s difficult to lose weight and even harder when life becomes stressful.

This past year was a particularly trying year for me. I lost my younger brother.  There were days when I just had a hard time going to see him in the end because he was very sick, but I did and never missed his request.  There were times where I would hit a plateau and the scale would not budge.  Eventually, I worked through each and every plateau.  2016 was my year of colds, viruses, and even a short two night hospital stay.  I kept going and never quit, gave up or complained. In fact, I believe everything I went through made me stronger and more determined to reach goal weight.

Although I didn’t achieve my goal weight this year I’m certain I will next year. There is no hurry with your health journey, it’s more important to keep going and never give up.

I learned the healthy way of losing weight through the TMC Wellness programs which I attended and the best dietitians, Mary and Laurie.

This journey started with a promise that I made to my beloved mom on her death bed. I promised to take care of myself, to lose the extra weight and regain my health that I had neglected during the 12 years I was caring for her.

Many people have ask me today if I would take care of my mom for those 12 years if I could do it all over again knowing the impact that it would have on my health and career.  The answer will always remain the same YES! Why ? I gained a lifetime of extra special memories of a wonderful lady, my mom. The job I left wasn’t as important as the job I had caring for my mom. The money wasn’t as valuable as my time with my mom and the Steeler games were just as good on TV. In fact, I had the best seat at the game.  Most importantly the promise I made to my mom helped me lose alot of weight and regain my health back.

I put myself out there with my personal journey on this blog. Often I’d talk about topics which my family and friends couldn’t believe because I am a private quiet person. I did this in the hope I could help others struggling with being overweight and the associated health issues.  I want everyone to know if I can lose weight you can too with no excuses. I  want to thank the following who I believe helped me succeed, Laurie Ledford, Mary Atkinson, TMC Wellness and Mike Urquhart. I also want to thank Rachel Miller for allowing me to write for two years and endlessly editing my posts and giving me the best feedback.

Also, last, but not least all of you, my fabulous readers, who followed and allowed me to give one last gift to my beloved mom. My tribute of reaching one million views on Mary’s Promise.

May God bless, keep you healthy and wishing everyone the best New Year.

Good bye.


Health Warrior

Mary Kmak has lost over 130 pounds using what she learned in TMC Wellness classes. She has shared her journey on TMC for Women in Mary’s Promise.  We commend Mary for all her hard work and for sharing her commitment and passion on her health journey. Well done Mary, you’re an inspiration.

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results? Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

New Year Resolutions – Making them Stick

by Mary Atkinson, RD. Director of Wellness at Tucson Medical Center

We pick something to change that we think is wrong with ourselves, and we expect that this is going to be something we want to do….really?! “I’m going to lose 20 pounds.” “I’m going to start exercising.” “I’m going to get organized.” Did you know that for 75 percent of us, we only stick with our resolutions for a week? One week!

So how do we break this pattern and actually come up with resolutions that are relevant, realistic and rewarding? First, think about what the word resolution means. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resolution is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. Maybe rather than coming up with a resolution, perhaps we should first determine what problem needs to be solved and what we are willing to do to fix it.

1. Are you making a resolution for the right reason.

Maybe we shouldn’t be wanting to lose weight in order to fit into those skinny jeans, but because it will better for our health and quality of life.

2. Be the tortoise rather than the hare – small steps

Small changes in our daily habits is the best way to make lasting change.

3. Be kind and forgiving to yourself

It is important that we are kind to ourselves and forgive ourselves, if we misstep, tomorrow is a new day.

4. Be honest

Be honest with yourself and set resolutions that are meaningful and realistic. Don’t make a resolution just because it’s what you think you should do; resolutions should be things we value.

5. Put it on Paper

Write down your SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goal on paper and make a list of reasons why you want to accomplish your goal and place it in an area where you will see it every day.

6. Create a plan

Schedule certain days (or every day) at certain times where you will dedicate your energy to help achieve your goal.

7. Join forces with friends

You are not alone in achieving your goals! Invite friends or family members to join and help you achieve your goals. Make new friends who share the same goal or interests as you. Friends can keep you accountable for achieving your goal while making it fun.

8. Make it fun

You are more likely to maintain these life-enhancing modifications if you are laughing, smiling and having fun while doing it.

9. Switch it up

Keep your activities towards achieving your goal fresh, interesting and stimulating. Read current articles pertaining to your goals and become an advocate or expert on your new goal.

 This earlier post has some practical tools to use in successful goal setting.

Eating out with Mary – Mexican Food

Hello Readers,

The best 23 miles of Mexican food in the United States is the claim, and we have to agree. We are fortunate living in Tucson to be surrounded by incredible Mexican restaurants, but that tempting menu can be a bit daunting for a customer looking to make healthy choices. It isn’t impossible though.

Making a lifestyle change doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods.  In fact, by being selective with good choices and portion control you can enjoy a healthy meal at any restaurant of your choice.

How to make healthy choices when eating out.

  1. Special Order

    I know, I know, if you’ve ever been in food service this might make you raise an eyebrow, but make it easy for the restaurant staff. Check the menu in advance, identify some possible menu items and call to ask if they can adapt.

  2. Check for baked  or steamed rather than fried

    I ask for the server for my tortilla chips to be baked, rather than deep fried, fresh corn tortillas cut in 6 pieces. My party enjoy these over the deep fried chips which are normally served.

  3. Load up on the salsa, moderate the cheese and the guacamole

    Our Tucson restaurants often pride themselves on flavorful salsas. Fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions – you can’t beat it. It’s the piling high of cheese, guacamole, creamy sauces and deep fried tacos and tortillas that will sabotage your attempts at healthy choices.

  4.  Come up with your own variations of a classic

    I enjoy a chicken tacos, so I request a corn rather than flour tortilla, heated not fried. I add shredded chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, a slice of fresh avocado and some salsa and voila a tasty and healthy option.  If I’m hungry for a salad I will order “Mary’s ” taco salad that includes a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, fresh green chilies and a serving of approx 2 oz of shredded chicken followed by a slice of avocado slice. I skip the deep fried taco bowl. Often I order one side of fresh pinto beans that aren’t refried to top the salad and add a few thinly sliced green onions.

  5. Can’t do without the guacamole? Be careful about portion size!

    If it just isn’t eating out at a Mexican restaurant without sampling the guacamole or some other favorite dish, make sure modify the portion size. What is presented in the restaurants as a portion is often several. Savor the taste, don’t over do the amount.

I have always found our local Mexican restaurants to be very accommodating. You can enjoy a healthy  meal with portion control and by special ordering your choices. You don’t have to feel limited, and you may find, like I did, that your options actually taste better than the menu higher calories choices.

Mary H Kmak

Health Warrior

Mary Kmak has turned her life around, losing over one hundred and thirty-one pounds, and found a path to health through the Tucson Medical Center Wellness program. In Mary’s Promise she shares tips, recipes, challenges that she has learned along the way. Today, she shares how she manages to fully enjoy eating at the fabulous Mexican restaurants here in Tucson 

Want to make the kind of changes that Mary has and see similar results? Make an appointment to see one of TMC’s Registered Dietitians for a one on one and gain a whole world of scientifically based, tried and true techniques to improve your health and fits your individual lifestyle.

Eat Well – Janos Wilder’s Lentil Rice Salad

Why is it that the food tastes so much better when you eat at a restaurant? What is the special magic that chefs use to get the food to taste so wonderful? And can it really be healthy AND tasty?

Chef Janos Wilder, Tucson’s James Beard award-winning chef, reveals the secrets to one of his tasty and healthy dishes in this demonstration video. Chef Wilder and our Tucson Medical Center Wellness team have collaborated to create a program that helps even the most reluctant cook to create meals that are delightfully sumptuous and healthy to boot. From demonstration lunch and learn sessions with Chef Janos at The Carriage House, Chef Janos-inspired dishes on TMC patient and public menus, to easy to follow recipes and videos with Chef Janos we’ve got you covered. Check out this tasty and easy to prepare Lentil Rice Salad.  Click here to download the Lentil Rice Salad Recipe Card

Lentil Rice Salad

Yield: 4 cups


¾ Cup Toasted blanched slivered almonds
1 Cup Green lentils, cooked, available at Trader Joe’s
½ Cup Uncle Ben’s long grain rice
1 Cup Chicken broth or substitute water if needed
1 Cup Grated, peeled carrots
¼ Cup Finely diced red onion
¼ Cup Finely chopped parsley
¼ Cup Crumbled feta cheese

Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette


½ Cup Olive oil
5 Tbs Lemon juice
2 Tbs Whole-grain mustard
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook rice in chicken stock or water 20 minutes until rice tender and all liquid absorbed.
  2. While rice is cooking whisk Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette ingredients together.
  3. When rice is done cool it on a sheet pan.
  4. Toss cooled rice and lentils with toasted almonds, carrots, onions, parsley and enough dressing to liberally coat the ingredients. Reserve remaining dressing for a simple green salad or other use.
  5. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

For more recipes, videos and information about The Carriage House partnership check out the Tucson Medical Center website.