Strive 2 Survive | Brown Clinic » Strive2Survive: a Watertown Wellness Program

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One of the most challenging aisles in the grocery store is the cereal and granola bar aisle as there are so many choices and it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not! For those regular followers of our blog, you probably know by now that you should choose a whole grain cereal, but from there…how do you decipher which choice is better than another?! Well, let’s start with the basics…you want to avoid any of the real high sugar cereals such as Lucky Charms, Cocoa Pebbles, etc due to their high levels of white, refined sugars.

Here are some tips to help you make a healthy choices:
• 8 grams (g) of sugar or less/serving, if the cereal contains 3 g or less of fiber/serving
• 16 g or less of sugar/serving, if the cereal contains 5 g or more of fiber/serving
Note: raisin bran contains 20 g of sugar/serving and is the exception to the rule—still a great choice due to its higher fiber content)
• Instant hot cereals should contain no more than 100-150 milligrams (mg) of sodium/serving. A better choice is cooking oatmeal the old fashioned way on the stove from the canister as the instant packets have a lot of sodium.

In addition, be sure to fully read the nutrition facts label and not rely on the manufacturers marketing claims as they can often be misleading!

A way to make breakfast a more balanced meal is to add a source of protein and a serving of fruit to your meal. With the balance of protein, fiber found in your cereal, and some natural sugars, you are set to start your day off in a great way!


Well, we all have things that we were planning on doing, and changes in our schedule, or daily routine happens…or you get sick. That was me this week. I have a marathon coming up in January that I am trying to do some long runs yet, and this weekend was going to be one of my 20 mile runs. The weather was going to be great, and we still have no snow. But, I ended up starting to get sick on Monday, and as the week went on, it only got worse. The coughing was non stop, and by Friday, I had to stay home as every time I started talking, I was coughing. I went in to get myself checked, to make sure I did not have anything more than something viral. One of my nurses asked me, “What is going to happen to your exercise streak?”. Well, to be honest, at 8 AM, this was the last thing I was worried about. I ended up going back home, and slept until 4PM. Just what I needed. By then, I was so achy from laying all day, then I went for a walk on the treadmill. I did not have to worry about the weather, the wind, and I could control how fast I went. I managed 3 miles, slow pace, but actually felt better. Exercise streak intact! But, there was no way I was going to be doing a 20 mile run the next day. That is ok…I want to be healthy first! The weekend is now going to be in the past, and I will just plan, or change my plans, going forward. It is no different than anything else in life. Things don’t always go as we would like. You can either accept it, or dwell on it…or make excuses. Bottom line, you still have to deal with it. Adapt, and overcome. Tomorrow is another day…we hope! It helped running with the run club this AM as well. It always provides more motivation. I did not know how far I was going to go when I started, but told myself I would do what I felt comfortable doing. No excuses. Just keep moving. I am feeling much better, and hopefully I hit the peak of this a few days ago. As physicians, Sarah and I are always taking care of somebody else, but, we get sick too. You just make the best of things, and move on. It is always great having my own doctor at home all of the time too! Thanks Sarah for helping to take care of me…and hanging with me running this AM.

You keep pushing me, motiving me…loving me, even when I am sick, and crabby! Thanks for hanging with me. This is how we strive to survive. Be there for somebody, at some time, because sooner than later, you will have the favor returned to you!

Love ya Sarah! Thanks for everything you do for me! Keep moving everybody! Don’t make excuses, just do it!

Dr. Dan

Consecutive Exercise Day #: 3721 (Still intact!)








The gluten free diet has become a very popular fad diet and the low carb craze is coming back in full force. There are some important things to know and understand about gluten…check them out below:

1. What gluten is: gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Therefore, many pastas, breads, and cereals have gluten in them. It can also be found in many salad dressings, sauces, and beers. Gluten helps food to maintain their shape, acting as a sort of glue.

2. Who needs to avoid gluten: people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, cannot have gluten. Their body’s immune response to gluten damages their intestinal wall, causing abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.

3. Gluten and weight loss: people who choose not to eat gluten tend to avoid foods like bread, pastas, and cereals. These foods are also full of carbohydrates, which get broken down into sugars so that the body can use them for energy. Too many carbohydrates can cause your body to store the excess energy in fat, causing weight gain. If a person is avoiding eating these carbohydrate-rich foods, they will have to get their energy elsewhere, such as from fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean meats. This healthy change in diet doesn’t have to mean cutting out gluten, just making healthier choices and practicing portion control. It is  important to note that many gluten free packaged foods can be highly processed and a lot of times higher in fats or sodium so not always the healthier choice! A gluten free diet is only recommended for those who truly are gluten intolerant and should not be used as a fad diet!











“Want to have a healthier holiday season this year? Take this quiz to test your knowledge of calories and fat in traditional holiday foods.

  1. Which appetizer contains the least amount of fat?
    1. 1 ounce (oz) of brie cheese
    2. 1 oz of mixed nuts
    3. 1 tablespoon of hummus
  2. Which cookie has the most calories?
    1. 2″ lemon square
    2. One medium chocolate chip cookie
    3. Five commercial gingerbread cookies
  3. Which cocktail has the least calories?
    1. A rum and Coke®
    2. A martini
    3. A whiskey sour
  4. Which candy has the least fat?
    1. 2″ square cube of chocolate fudge
    2. One medium piece of peanut brittle
    3. One medium piece of homemade toffee
  5. Which meat has the most fat?
    1. 3 oz of boneless ham (lean and fat eaten)
    2. 3 oz of boneless duck (skin eaten)
    3. 3 oz of boneless cooked chicken leg (skin eaten)
  6. Which food has the most sodium?
    1. ½ cup (C) of homemade bread stuffing
    2. ½ C of homemade mashed potatoes
    3. One dinner roll
  7. Which warm beverage has the fewest calories?
    1. 1 C of hot chocolate made with whole milk
    2. 1 C of apple cider
    3. 1 C of eggnog  made with whole milk
  8. Which of the following contains the most sugar?
    1. 2″ square brownie
    2. One piece of fruit cake
    3. 10 chocolate-covered peanuts



  1. c.  1 tablespoon of hummus
    The hummus contains 1.3 grams (g) of fat, the brie contains 8 g, and the nuts contain 15 g.
  2. c.  Five commercial gingerbread cookies
    The gingerbread cookies contain 147 calories, the lemon square contains 140 calories, and the chocolate chip cookie contains 50 calories.
  3. b.  A martini
    The martini contains 135 calories, the whiskey sour contains 158 calories, and the rum and Coke contains 211 calories.
  4. c.  One medium piece of homemade toffee
    The toffee contains 4 g of fat, the peanut brittle contains 5 g, and the fudge contains 6 g.
  5. b.  3 oz of boneless duck (skin eaten)
    The duck contains 9 g of fat, the ham contains 3 g, and the chicken leg contains 8 g.
  6. a.½ C of homemade bread stuffing
    The stuffing contains 479 milligrams (mg) of sodium, the mashed potatoes 119 mg, and the dinner roll 117 mg.
  7. b. 1 C of apple cider
    The apple cider has 104 calories, the hot chocolate 192 calories, and the eggnog contains 244 calories.
  8. a.  2″ square brownie
    The brownie contains 21 g of sugar, the chocolate-covered peanuts 15 g, and the fruit cake 13″










Holiday parties are starting up now and will go for the next month or so, which poses a challenge to your efforts of healthy eating. You can always bring your own dish to share and use substitutions to lighten your recipes, but if you can’t bring your own dish to share, you may consider using these behavior strategies to help you enjoy the parties in a healthy way!

  • “If you plan on treating yourself later, start your day with a small meal that includes whole grains, fruit, low-fat or fat-free dairy and protein, such as eggs, ham or peanut butter.
  • Don’t starve yourself beforehand. Rather, eat a small, lower-calorie meal or snack including fruit or a bagel so you aren’t tempted to overdo your calorie intake for the day.
  • Choose carefully between foods you definitely will eat, those you will sample and those you will skip.
  • Don’t rush to eat. Socialize and settle into the festivities before you eat.
  • Move your socializing away from the buffet or appetizer trays. This will minimize the unconscious nibbling.”

The holidays are a great time for celebrating with friends and family and food is always involved. Allow yourself to enjoy, but in moderation. You can keep the extra holiday pounds off, while still enjoying the holidays and festivities in a healthy way with these tips!


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