Insurance Update
February 2015
Issue No. 54          
In this issue

Fun facts about kale  

In honor of February once being known as kale month, why not try this healthy kale recipe:



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Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and ad&d, dependent life and ad&d, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, and Medicare supplement coverage for eligible ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps. Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage is also available for eligible retirees of congregations, districts, and camps.


Medical and ancillary plans are available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.


Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.  
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It's February -- that time of year when we think of Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, American Heart Month, and Valentine's Day. But does February ever make you think of kale? When the Romans made February an official month in 450 B.C., they called it Februarius, but was also known in Old English as Kalemonath -- cabbage month. It's difficult to imagine why, since February is not a particularly green month. In Finland, February was helmikuu, meaning "month of the pearl," because typically the snow would melt and refreeze several times, causing the droplets on the end of tree branches to form into tiny frozen "pearls."


If you enjoy learning these fun facts about February, maybe you'll also appreciate reading about some other topics we've come to associate with February in the 21st century. For example, did you know that Feb. 6 is known as National Wear Red Day? This is observed to make women aware of one of their top health concerns -- heart disease. It's also the month we focus on another health problem that is prevalent with women: eating disorders. More than 90 percent of sufferers are girls and women. The more we know about recognizing this disorder, the better the chance of helping those who suffer.


No matter what you topic you associate with February each year, it's always a good idea to stay educated on important health matters, so read on to learn more fun facts with a February theme!

Nevin, Tammy, and Connie
 RedDayNational Wear Red Day  
National Wear Red Day is an initiative for women, but being heart-healthy is important for everyone, and it starts with knowing your fats.



Not all fats are created equal.  

Fats and oils are part of a healthy diet and play many important roles in the body. Fat provides energy and is a carrier of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E, K, and carotenoids. But fat can impact the health of your heart and arteries in a positive or negative way, depending on the types of fat you eat.


Be wise about the fat in your diet. Your first choice should be fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. These foods can contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats -- they should replace the saturated and trans fat sources you choose to cut back on.


Trans fat is mostly found in food products made with shortening -- liquid oil that is processed to become hard. Most of the trans fat Americans eat comes from cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, fried foods, household shortening, and hard margarine. Limit consumption of these processed foods in order to reduce trans fat in your diet.


Eating too much saturated fat, the type of fat that is solid at room temperature, may increase risk of heart disease. Similarly, eating too much cholesterol, a fatty substance found only in animal-based products, may clog arteries.


To keep your diet rich in healthy fats, stock up on avocados, olives, and various types of nuts, including almonds and peanuts. Fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna are excellent options and also are high in Omega-3 fatty acids -- known to help with inflammation. For cooking, use the good oils -- everything from olive oil and canola oil to peanut oil and sesame oil. This will assure your meals have a healthy helping of good fats.


But wait -- even good fat is still fat

The only problem with good fats is that it is easy to consume too many calories. Healthy fats can be eaten every day, but if you're watching your weight, be sure to keep a calorie count, and aim for healthy fats to not exceed 35 percent of your total daily calories. Keep in mind that a handful of nuts or olives would be the right portion for a snack.


Look for food choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free when selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk products. Also, trim excess fat from meat and poultry and remove the skin from poultry to reduce saturated fat. Additionally, watch for foods processed or made with palm oil, palm fruit oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil, etc., as this increases the amount of saturated fat in the food.


Use the Nutrition Facts label to help you choose fats wisely. Look at the serving size and determine how many servings you are actually eating. If you eat two servings, you will be consuming double the calories and nutrients, such as fat. Additionally, the labels on some food packages have claims that describe a specific level of fat (including total fat, saturated, or trans fat) in a food. Some examples of claims to look for are: "fat free," "low saturated fat," "no fat," or "light." The bottom line is, know your fats!


Adapted from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Facts and Good Fat Tips by Katie Morell  

EatingDisordersEating Disorders Awareness

On the flip side of eating for heart health is a condition that affects a person's emotional and physical health -- eating disorders. Eating disorders are serious and potentially life-threatening. People do not just "catch" them for a period of time, and they are not a fad or a phase. They are real, complex, and devastating, and can have serious consequences for health, productivity, and relationships. Eating disorders require professional advice and care, and the earlier a person seeks treatment, the greater the likelihood of physical and emotional recovery.


A more common disorder is anorexia nervosa. This is a cycle of self-starvation, during which the body is denied the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. When the body is forced to slow down all of its processes to conserve energy, the result is serious medical consequences, including an abnormally low heart rate, low blood pressure, reduction of bone density, muscle loss and weakness, fainting, fatigue, overall weakness, and severe dehydration, which can result in kidney failure.


Another eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, is characterized by a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the calories taken in during binge eating. Consequences of the disorder are electrolyte imbalances, irregular heartbeat, inflammation of the esophagus from frequent vomiting, tooth decay, chronic bowel problems, ulcers, and pancreatitis.


Often those struggling with these disorders are aware that their behavior is unusual and perhaps even dangerous, and it is not uncommon for them to also have symptoms of depression.


There is hope, and even recovery for many people who suffer with eating disorders. The National Eating Disorders Association has a website with a wealth of information on the disease -- how to recognize it, how to prevent it, how to talk about it, and how to reach out for help. If you think you or someone you know is suffering from one of these disorders, visit the website at or call their confidential Helpline 1-800-931-2237. The sooner an eating disorder is recognized and treated, the sooner that person can find hope and seek a full recovery.


Adapted from the National Eating Disorders Association website
 LTCILong-Term Care Insurance


With Valentine's Day upon us, it's that time of year to contemplate how best to show our loved ones how much we care. But chocolate and flowers can only go so far. It might say a lot more about your devotion if you sit down for a romantic dinner to discuss that time far in the future, when you'll need to be well cared for. Nothing says "I Love You" like planning for you and your loved one to be comfortable long into your golden years. And Brethren Insurance Services is here to help you. We offer Long-Term Care Insurance for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.


If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information.