Wounded Soldiers Share Journey to Inspire Boston Victims

By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 26, 2013 – When I saw the Boston bombing events unfold, my heart broke for the victims of this senseless act of violence.

I thought about how their lives would be forever altered. How the victims who lost one or more limbs were robbed, at least temporarily, of the ability to walk or run.

These are the types of injuries I see each day when I walk into work at Brooke Army Medical Center — single, double and even triple amputees striving to overcome immense challenges. They, perhaps more than any others, can relate to the devastating aftermath of an explosion and the emotional and physical pain of lost limbs. And they know firsthand the courage and strength required to heal.

Still, they have a message of hope to deliver.

  Continue reading Wounded Soldiers Share Journey to Inspire Boston Victims

Will Run for Food

By 1st Lt. Brittney Piche
Dietetic Intern, Department of Nutritional Medicine
Brooke Army Medical Center

What if I told you that you would have to run for two hours to burn off the calories in a piece of red velvet cheesecake? Would you still eat it?

Many restaurants have made the nutrition information of their menu items readily available for display in the restaurant, on the menu, or on their website. With all of this information available, why does the number of overweight and obese Americans continue to rise?

Recent research from Texas Christian University suggests that instead of displaying the nutrition facts of foods, people are more likely to make lower-calorie choices if they know the amount of exercise needed to burn the calories consumed. Maybe it’s time we attack the calorie issue from another angle. If people knew how much physical activity it would take to compensate for their food choices, we may see them reaching for the fruit cup instead of the curly fries.  Based on my experience with patients at BAMC, some of the most commonly consumed fast-food items and their physical activity demands are listed below:




Exercise Needed*

Crispy Chicken Sandwich


1 hour aerobics class
Bacon &Cheese Burger


3 hours of bicycling (<10mph)
Chicken BLT Salad


2 hours of light rowing
6” Roast Beef Sandwich


1 hour of golf
Fruit Cup


10 minutes of kickboxing
Medium Curly Fries


1 hour of roller skating
Mayonnaise Packet


30 minutes of walking (3mph)
Medium Oreo Shake


2 hours swimming laps
Medium Cola


1hour of light weight lifting

*Exercise calories based on 155-person

 Surprised at these numbers? It may be time to make some changes to your fast-food choices, or time to buy some new gym clothes!  If you need special assistance with weight loss, call the BAMC Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at 916-7261.

An Introduction to Yoga

By Beverly Benson
BAMC RN/Health Promotion Educator
Army Department of Preventive Medicine


Beverly Benson teaches a lunchtime Yoga class in the Pediatric conference room at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert T.  Shields
Beverly Benson teaches a lunchtime yoga class at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert T. Shields

I’ve heard it said many times, “Yoga? Tai Chi? Isn’t that a bunch of hocus pocus, weird meditation mumbo-jumbo?”  The answer is a resounding NO!

While yoga originated hundreds of years ago as a Hindu discipline that teaches “the suppression of all activity of body, mind and will …” it is now, in general, considered “a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.” It has been “Westernized” and can include any, or no, form of spirituality.

In general, it is a focusing of the mind inward and clearing it, and the body, of negativity and stress. There are multiple varieties of yoga from a meditation and breathing only version (Yoga Nidra) to more intense Bikram or Hot yoga. All forms of yoga focus on clearing the mind and proper breathing.

Similiarly, T’ai chi is a Chinese system of exercise, developed over 2,000 years ago, incorporating slow, smooth body movements in order to achieve a state of relaxation in mind and body. Although it was originally a self-defense martial art that has over 100 separate movements, it has been reduced in the more popular versions to 18-37 moves. Like yoga, there are also several “sub-sets” of T’ai chi, but all focus on body position, clearing of the mind, or meditation, and breathing.

Both of these practices have been shown through research to improve the body’s response to stress and cause a reduction in inflammation and pain. Since there is a focus on clearing the mind of negative thought focus and deep breathing, practicing yoga or T’ai chi on a regular basis may also help build resilience to life stressors.

There are several offerings of yoga on Fort Sam Houston and Brooke Army Medical Center. You may consider trying one of the classes, or try a class in your area or at one of the Fitness in the Park sessions (www.fitcitySA.com) around town. NAMASTE!

New Grab ‘n Gos Offer Healthy Options

By Maj. Nicole Charbonneau
Registered Dietitian, Dept of Nutritional Medicine
April 16, 2013

 Are you feeling hungry?  The Department of Nutritional Medicine wants to make sure you keep those hunger pains away with a variety of nutritious options.  Two new Grab ‘n Go kiosks — the Salad Stop and the Renovation Station — opened earlier this month.

The Salad Stop is located on the first level across from Women’s Health, and the Renovation Station is located on the first level across from the Neurology Clinic.  In early May, the Market on the Green will open in the white structure located outside of the Garden Entrance. 

We are excited to offer you new menus that comply with Department of Defense Menu Standards and the Army Surgeon General’s Performance Triad. Some of the changes will be transparent to our customers, such as offering only lower sodium soups and soy sauce, skim milk instead of whole milk for food preparation, and lean ground turkey instead of beef in our spaghetti sauce, stuffed peppers and other dishes.  Sandwiches will now be served on delicious whole grain bread, ciabatta and naan.  And fresh fruit will be offered at all locations as a sweet treat to end a tasty meal. 

We hope our patrons enjoy our adventurous, but delicious new menu choices to include quinoa salad on a bed of lettuce, lentil tacos, chipotle crusted tilapia and citrus balsamic salmon.  Not everything will change — our famous tortilla soup will still be served every Tuesday at the Market on the Green! 

We have had to say a fond farewell to the BAMC fryers, Menudo, and buffet line in the center of the servery.  When we open up in July 2014, the DNM will have a spacious dining area and all new destination dining stations including a new soup and salad area, a deli with panini presses, pizza oven, international cooking area, pasta and a special area devoted to vegetarian entrees.  

Stress Awareness Month: 3 Mobile Apps Help You Relax

By Corina Notyce
DCoE Public Affairs

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebekka Heite
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Rebekka Heite

Is your temper short? Are you anxious? Find it hard to concentrate? What about your sleep habits — sleeping too much or too little? How about your mood — family and friends say you’re pleasant to be around? Your answers to these questions may reveal a level of stress that needs attention.  

Everyone experiences stress at times. The demands of life can be overwhelming, and the unique challenges common to military life adds even more pressure. In addition to external factors that can lead to stress (job demands, relationship difficulties, increased family responsibilities, financial issues), it’s important to know that stress can be self-generated (negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, always needing to be in control, seeking perfection). Whatever might be causing you stress there are steps you can take now to help reduce its harmful effects on your emotional and psychological health.

Continue reading Stress Awareness Month: 3 Mobile Apps Help You Relax

Eating in Season: Check out Texas’ Local Flavor

By 2nd Lt. Miriam Craft
Dietetic Intern, Department of Nutritional Medicine 

Farmers markets are a great source for fresh produce and preparation tips. Courtesy photo

Spring has sprung! And here in the heart of Texas there’s no better time to begin eating what’s in season. Eating seasonally usually goes hand-in-hand with eating food that is grown locally. This not only benefits nearby farmers, but can also benefit you by saving you money at the register.

Produce that’s picked closer to peak ripeness provides more nutrient-rich flavor to you and your family for every dollar you spend, and purchasing what’s in season will ensure you are serving up the best tasting fruits and vegetables available. Have you ever tried dewberries, rainbow chard, or blood oranges? When at their seasonal best, these and other curious crops may cause even the pickiest of eaters to appreciate their novelty.

Continue reading Eating in Season: Check out Texas’ Local Flavor

Top 10 Reasons I Admire Military Kids

By Elaine Sanchez
April 1, 2013

In honor of April’s Month of the Military Child, I created a Top 10 list of the qualities I most appreciate about children from military families. Their amazing service and sacrifice deserve a much longer list, but I figured this would at least be a start.

The top 10 reasons I admire military children:

10. Their sense of humor. Military kids do all they can to keep their spirits up. Some carry life-sized cardboard posters of parents called “Flat Daddies” and “Flat Mommies” to keep deployed loved ones close at hand. They carry them to pizza parties and movies, sporting events and concerts. During a past deployment, military wife Vivian Greentree’s sons took it a step further. They pasted pictures of their deployed dad on a stick, dubbed it a “dad on a stick” and took it everywhere with them. They even asked their “dad” to help them make macaroni and cheese.

9. They selflessly serve their community. Military children possess a strong sense of service — perhaps modeled after their military parents who serve and sacrifice daily. A shining example is last year’s Army Military Child of the Year, Amelia McConnell. Soon after her father returned from Iraq in 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia. After treatment, he redeployed to Iraq in 2007. In 2009, her only brother, Sgt. Andrew McConnell, was killed in Afghanistan. Still, Amelia excelled in school and in sports, and volunteered hundreds of hours a year for a number of organizations. When asked why she does so much, she said, “I always think there are a lot of people in worse situations than I am.”

8. They stand by their military parent through thick and thin. I met a high school senior several years ago who told me his father would miss his graduation and his departure to college. But this teen wasn’t upset in the least. “He loves to be a soldier, and if it makes him happy, it makes me happy,” he said. “How can I possibly complain that he’s not watching me graduate when he’s out there sacrificing for our nation.”

Continue reading Top 10 Reasons I Admire Military Kids

National Doctors Day: Take Time to Thank Your Doctor

March 30 marks National Doctors Day, an opportunity to honor and salute the professionals who make such a profound impact in our lives.


Capt. (Dr.) Jennifer Slim examines Army Spc. Nicholas Pena during an appointment at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields
Capt. (Dr.) Jennifer Slim examines Army Spc. Nicholas Pena during an appointment at San Antonio Military Medical Center. U.S. Army photo by Robert Shields

Doctors are there at every stage — delivering our children, caring for our loved ones and nursing us back to health.

Here at Brooke Army Medical Center and throughout the Army, they selflessly serve Wounded Warriors, active duty service members, retirees and their families. Each day they are delivering lifesaving care, researching new methods and teaching the next generation of healthcare professionals. Their contributions have made a difference in countless lives.

Take a few minutes to thank your doctor or a doctor you admire in the comment section below. We’ll be sure to share your words of gratitude with your provider.


BAMC Dietitians Can Guide You to Better Health

By Lt. Col. Marybeth Salgueiro
Registered Dietitian, BAMC Department of Nutritional Medicine

Ads_NNM13_v1Did you know Brooke Army Medical Center has dietary experts on hand who can help you make positive lifestyle changes for good health?

Here at BAMC, we have a staff of 18 military and civilian registered dietitians assigned to the Department of Nutritional Medicine. All are food and nutrition experts who translate the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. 

RDs work in hospitals, schools, clinics, food service management, education and research.  Most of our staff has advanced degrees and many hold special certifications in areas such as nutrition support, diabetes education, pediatrics, weight management and sports nutrition. 

Whether you are interested in losing weight, improving physical performance, or have a special dietary need, we are standing by ready to help you make positive lifestyle changes for good health. 

Continue reading BAMC Dietitians Can Guide You to Better Health

Stay positive: Don’t feed the monster!

By Beverly Benson
BAMC RN/Health Promotion Educator
Army Public Health Nursing

Last time I told you to watch out for “Shoulder Guy” who keeps you from doing the things you know you should, like eating healthy or exercising (read blog here). He is also very good at being negative. I refer to the really negative “shoulder guy” as “the Monster.”

The Monster will hand you a sweater of guilt, remind you of something hurtful someone said in your past, tell you that you have no worth or value, that you should quit, or not even try. Shoulder guy’s job is to keep you down emotionally, physically and mentally. He is very good at his job!

Remember: Fred Astaire was told he couldn’t act or sing and he could only dance “a little.” Lucille Ball was told she was only “mediocre” and shouldn’t pursue acting. The Beatles were told “No” by their first record company and that their sound was “way out.”  Walt Disney was told he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas.” Really?!

Continue reading Stay positive: Don’t feed the monster!