Healthy Lifestyles – March 2022

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March 2022

March is National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is Celebrate a World of Flavors! Throughout March, embrace the foods and flavors of your heritage and other global cultures.

Enjoying different flavors of the world is a chance to learn more about your own food culture as well as those that may be new to you. Familiar ingredients can be presented in new ways and new foods may remind you of things you already know and love. You may also come across ingredients and flavors you’ve never experienced before.

Trying foods and recipes from various cultures is one way to include different flavors into your healthy eating routine. Many cuisines offer dishes which include foods from each food group, so it’s possible to plan meals that are nutritious, well-balanced, and bursting with flavor. Trying new flavors and foods from around the world can also help you increase the variety in the foods you eat. Choosing a variety of nutritious foods from all of the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods) and in the recommended amounts will help you get the nutrients that are needed for good health. Incorporate your favorite cultural foods and traditions as you “Celebrate a World of Flavors” during National Nutrition Month® and throughout the year.

These are a few ways to embrace global cultures and cuisines when planning your meals and snacks:

  • Vary your breakfast (or first meal of the day) to include favorites from around the world.
    • A smoothie with low-fat yogurt or buttermilk and tropical fruits, like papaya or mango.
    • Za’atar mixed with a little olive oil and spread on whole wheat pita bread, then topped with tomato slices, olives, cucumber, and fresh mint.
    • Scottish oatmeal or bulgur with low-fat or fat-free milk or fortified soymilk with a topping of fruit and nuts or nut butter.
    • Congee, a Chinese rice porridge, that can be served plain or with vegetables and a protein food, such as cooked chicken, meat or fish.
    • Vegetable upma, an Asian Indian dish, that can be made with semolina or rice, spiced with ginger and other seasonings.
    • A Spanish omelet with potatoes and other veggies, topped with a sprinkle of cheese.
    • Or, an omelet filled with fried rice, known as omurice in Japan.
  • Choose healthier snacks that include foods from different food groups, such as:
    • Fruit chutney eaten with bread or cheese.
    • Raw veggies with hummus or tzatziki, which is a creamy yogurt-based dressing made with cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
    • Baba ganouj, a mixture made of roasted eggplant and tahini, which is a sesame seed paste, served with whole wheat pita bread.
    • Or, for a crunchier snack whole grain tortilla chips with guacamole or a salsa made with veggies or fruit.

Healthful eating options span the globe. Plus, many recipes can be modified based on personal food preferences or to accommodate different budgets. Celebrating flavors from cultures around the world is a tasty way to nourish ourselves and appreciate our diversity. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes!

To learn more about #NationalNutritionMonth, visit:

We Are What We Eat

It may be the most cliché argument for good nutrition and diet, but it is an important one. The way in which we receive nutrients and energy is from the food sources we consume, so a big, greasy burger may very well make us feeling sluggish, while a lean, green salad can make us feel more energetic. Eating nutrient-dense foods each day can reduce inflammation in our bodies, give us more energy, and can improve our overall health and subjective quality of life!

Many articles you come across on this topic may tell you the same few things: eat more fresh, minimally processed foods and to cut back on processed foods which are often high in sugar and salt. These are all extremely helpful practices that are great to be conscious about, but why is eating a well-balanced, healthy diet so dang hard?

Dr. Gearhardt, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, and her team studied the addictive qualities of highly processed “comfort foods” in our diet and found that many highly processed foods  tend to emphasize certain nutrients – sugar, fats, salt, simple carbs – by enhancing their ability to light up regions of the brain that regulate reward, emotion, and motivation. She then compares this strategy of manipulating foods to draw you in for more to how tobacco companies make cigarettes with added menthol to help mask the bitter taste of nicotine. These specific fats, sugars, and salts can trigger our reward systems due to their relative scarcity in nature and provide us with a lot of energy, so it was evolutionarily beneficial to learn to overeat and seek out these ingredients. Gearhardt and team hypothesize that this activation of the reward system leads some of us to seek out highly processed foods impulsively. And with so many highly processed foods all around us today, it can become difficult to diverge from them.

There are also other things that can enhance this response to consume comfort foods. Lack of sleep can trigger certain hormones that lead to increased cravings and hunger. Increased stress can also have the same impact on our hunger and cravings, so stressing about having to eat healthier today might ironically make the transition harder for us. We can start with baby steps. If you plant a seed in the back of your mind, it will slowly grow and creep up to the front until it becomes the new way of thinking and acting. In terms of how long that will take, it’s hard to say. It may take a month; it may take six. The consensus seems to be about 66 days, but that will differ for everyone. You can seek the help of a professional dietitian nutritionist or read peer-reviewed medical journals on the effects of different foods and diets. Keep working for today and watch eating healthy turn from difficult to habitual!


Check out these online resources and smartphone apps!

Tracking what you eat can be tedious, but also great to know for your journey to a healthier you! My Fitness PalLifesum and Calorie Counter by Lose It! are a few great choices to start tracking all your progress! Although tracking may work for some individuals, keep an eye out for stress associated with tracking. If this is the case, a more intuitive eating approach may be well suited for you!

For more info on healthy meal patterns and the health effects of certain foods, visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC).

Mental Health

Ukraine Crisis – Free Counseling & Resources

Crisis Support Line now open
LifeWorks has also opened a Crisis Support Line for anyone in the community in need of emotional support in relation to these events. The Crisis Support Line is open 24/7 and can be reached in the United States at 1-877-757-7587, Canada at 1-844-751-2133, the United Kingdom at 0800 088 5339 and Ireland at 1800 817 227. By calling, individuals will receive professional emotional support and/or referral to community resources. This resource is available to anyone and everyone, LifeWorks member or not.

Carrier News & Views

Resource Spotlights



Try yoga, cardio, and bootcamp — without leaving home.

We’re making it easier to exercise from anywhere. Regular workouts can help improve your mood, sharpen your mind, and help you feel healthier and happier overall. That’s why we teamed up with fitness industry leader ClassPass to make it easy for you
to exercise from the comfort of home.

With this special rate for ClassPass, Kaiser Permanente members can get:

  • On-demand video workouts at no cost
  • 4,000+ online fitness classes — including cardio, dance, meditation, bootcamp, and more — for
  • Reduced rates on in-person fitness classes
  • Free trial plus 20% off a monthly package to reserve in-person fitness classes at some of the top gyms and fitness studios in your area andaround the world.

Why ClassPass?

  • 4,000 on-demand classes to access anytime
  • 40,000 studios and gyms to choose from worldwide
  • 22 types of fitness classes to choose from

For more information click here

CALM Spotlight
Full access free for Kaiser Members click here

“ Sleep is the best meditation” – The Dalai Lama

Getting Better Sleep

Sleep is one of the main contributors to good health. So why is it so hard to get a good night’s sleep? There’s no such thing as being a “bad sleeper,” but many of us are regularly getting a bad night’s sleep (1 in 3, according to the CDC). Sleeping poorly isn’t just an issue of feeling groggy or cranky around our loved ones or colleagues — how well we rest can play into our long-term health, our physical safety, and our overall happiness. Wherever you are in your journey toward getting good rest — whether that’s figuring out how to go to bed earlier or wondering what keeps waking you up in the middle of the night — you have resources for better sleep with Calm, our partner for mental wellbeing.

Tips and resources for getting better sleep

Calm has a library of sleep resources for you to cozy up and fall asleep faster for a better night’s sleep.


Focus on Healthy Sleep

Improve your sleep habits for better health

When you sleep, your mind and body are hard at work on your overall health. For example, certain stages of sleep allow us to learn and remember. Sleep also helps us fight infection and prevent heart problems and diabetes. If you’re dealing with a conflict or change, sleep can help you control your emotions. Having enough sleep helps lower stress, improve your mood, and keep your weight healthy. Over time, lack of sleep can hurt your health and relationships and cause accidents behind the wheel or on the job. The good news is you can learn new habits to improve your sleep. How much sleep do you need? Individual sleep needs vary, so observe how you feel during the day. If you find it hard to do simple activities or stay alert, you may need more sleep. Here are basic guidelines for different age groups:

  • Infants and children: Newborns sleep up to 18 hours a day. As they grow older, they need less sleep.
  • Adults: By age 20, sleep needs range from 7 to 9 hours each night.
  • Older adults: People 65 and older need about 7 to 8 hours each night

Healthy habits for better sleep

Sleep loss is often a result of bad sleep habits, illness, or sleep disturbances. It’s also possible your bedroom might be too bright, too warm, or too noisy, making it hard for you to sleep. Try to set aside enough time to sleep each night. Here are tips to help you sleep better:

  • Be consistent with your sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and rise at the same time every morning, including weekends. Don’t nap after 3 p.m. or longer than an hour.
  • Exercise early. Give your body at least two hours to relax before bedtime.
  • Skip or limit the following: — Caffeine and nicotine: They stimulate the body and can take up to eight hours to wear off. — Alcohol: A drink may make you feel sleepy, but it prevents deep sleep. — Large meals and drinks at night: Too much food can cause indigestion and prevent sleep. More drinks also mean more trips to the restroom.
  • Talk to your doctor about certain medicines. Certain heart, blood pressure, asthma, and cold medicines can delay or disrupt sleep, so ask your doctor about your options. £ Relax before bedtime. Try listening to music, reading, or taking a bath.
  • Go outside during the day. At least 30 minutes of natural sunlight a day can help you sleep better at night. £ Do something if you can’t fall asleep. After 20 minutes, do something relaxing, like reading a book, until you feel tired. Stay away from smartphones and tablets, which emit blue light and can keep you awake.

Click the link for more tips on Tech Free Sleep

Consult your doctor Even with good sleep habits, it may still be a struggle to have enough quality rest. Your doctor can recommend solutions, or arrange for a sleep study to find out if you have a sleep disorder. Something as simple as sleep can really make a huge difference in your health.

To learn more about what your health insurance carrier offers, create an account using the information below


  1. Log on to
  2. Click Health & Wellness


  1. Log on to
  2. Click Health & Wellness

Financial Wellbeing

Welcome to Principal, Covenant Care’s new financial wellbeing and 401K partner 

Free Webinar Series – Webinars are held the third Wednesday of every month.
Financial education in under 30 minutes

Your financial goals are unique and so is your path to get there. Our award-winning* webinar series is here to help along the way. In less than 30 minutes, you can learn more about a financial topic that matters to you.

Register for an upcoming webinar or catch up on your time with a library of replays.

March 16, 2022 – Women and wealth: Investing for each life stage

One way to help build your savings to feel more secure in retirement is to invest. Whether you’d like help getting started, you’re already investing but want to see if you’re on track to meet your goals, or you’re nearing retirement and want to make a smooth transition, join the March webinar and learn how investing may help you reach your financial goals.

Register for this webinar

Winner of the 2020 IMEA Star Awards, Participant Webinars, Experiential Education category, large asset level.

Topics and dates are subject to change.

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided through Principal Life Insurance Company, a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, Iowa 50392.

PT436A-09 | © 2020 Principal Financial Services, Inc. | 12/2020 | 1435367-122020

Recipe of the Month

Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers


  • 6 medium bell peppers, tops cut off and core removed
  • 1 package of Morningstar Farms Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles, cooked according to package instructions (or 1 can of black beans drained and rinsed)
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups freshly-shredded cheese
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Optional toppings: cilantro, avocado, sour cream, extra cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the peppers on a 9×13 baking sheet so that the peppers are facing top side up.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked black beans and cooked quinoa, 1.5 cups of shredded cheese, and salsa until combined. Evenly spoon the mixture into each of the six peppers. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.
  3. Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked and soft and the cheese is all melted. Serve immediately, add optional toppings if desired.


Quick Links

All Employees

  • Calm Meditation App
    Free section for all,
    to access, click here
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)- from UNUM & Health Advocate. We are here for you 24/7 – 1-800-854-1446; – The EAP can help provide COVID-19 support, grief counseling, stress/anxiety relief, and more, and is available to all employees
  • Medical Bill Saver Advantage via your EAP –  1-800-854-1446; and is available to all employees
  • For the latest on COVID 19– CDC website at
  • Financial Education Webinars from your 401K provider. View what’s coming up or watch a replay anytime at LearnNowOnDemand

Kaiser Members

  • is a valuable resource for information and member communications, as well as a link to any telehealth services. If you have already done so, please register on    
  • Calm Meditation App
    Full access free for Kaiser Members click here
  • MyStrength
    Free to Kaiser Permanente members
    to help support their emotional well-being.
    Members can simply go to and click ‘Get Started’ to register and use myStrength on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.
  • Class Pass –  Learn More
  • Kaiser Coronavirus Hotline (available 24/7) – (877) 813-7297. After speaking with a Kaiser Permanente representative, you will be directed to the appropriate care options.
  • Kaiser Members- Getting Care:  It’s important to contact KP before coming in. Members should call the Appointment and Advice Call Center if they are feeling sick. They will be guided through a specific screening protocol over the phone. Depending on the answers provided, the member will be directed to the most appropriate care, while protecting other members, patients and employees.
  • Kaiser Virtual Care – Manage your care with
    No matter what life throws your way, you can connect to care where and when you want it. E-visits, telephone, and video appointments are simple and secure ways to get care and save yourself an office visit. They even be tracked in your electronic health record. All you need is a computer, smartphone, or mobile device. Click here to get access to care.
  • Kaiser Members- access to E-visits- Log in at or go to Get Care on the KP mobile app

Anthem Members

  • Prevent Diabetes Virtual health coaching through Sydney Health – click here
  • Anthem/Aunt Bertha social support services
    Our partnership with Aunt Bertha provides you with a solution to help connect you and your family to social services in your communities if you need it. You can find services such as help with food, housing, job training, and transportation by visiting Aunt Bertha and entering your ZIP code.
  • Anthem Skill – Ask Alexa for your health plan info.
    Get quick, hands-free help with the Anthem Skill. Whether you need a new ID card or get curious if you’re about to reach your deductible, just say the words, “Alexa, ask Anthem…” to get quick answers about your health plan. The Anthem Skill works through Alexa-ready devices, like an Amazon Echo or on your mobile device using the Amazon Alexa app.

Enable the Anthem Skill today!

Live your best life!

Karen Martin
Senior Director, Human Resources and Benefits
Covenant Care California, LLC