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'Tis the Season to be
Healthy and Happy!
In This Issue
Healthy Habits
Spice Spotlight: Cloves
Hormone Highlight: Serotonin
Cold Weather Fitness Tips
Resolution #12: Goal Setting
New cholesterol study!
Recipe Round Up: Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables
Volunteers Needed for Vaccine Studies
In the News
New study for post-menopausal women

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Healthy Habits from Fellow Patients
In November, we asked our loyal Advancing Health readers "What are ways that you show gratitude?"  Here's what our readers had to share:
  • Bill: "A few times a year, but especially around the holidays, I like to 'pay it forward'. I will do a random act of kindness and leave a little note asking the person to do something nice for a stranger. Even though I don't see their reaction, it's a great feeling to be able to something nice for someone else."
  • Maureen: "Years ago, my husband and I stopped giving each other Christmas presents. Instead, we each make a donation to one another's favorite charity."
Spice Spotlight:

warm, sweet, aromatic

Foods commonly used in:  gingerbread, pumpkin dishes, baked beans, chili, ham, mulled cider and wine.  Cloves are often used in toothpaste, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and cigarettes.


Possible health benefits: cloves  may help improve
 gastrointestinal issues (upset stomach, nausea, gas, vomiting, diarrhea); tooth aches, pain during dental procedures. 

Cloves are a good source of: manganese

How to use and store: 
  • Ground cloves can last up to 6 months and whole cloves up to 1 year.  Store in airtight containers,  away from light and heat.
  • Use a mortar and pestle to grind whole cloves at home.   


Fun Facts:

  • Cloves are the dried flower buds of the evergreen tree and are native to Indonesia.  
  •  Eugenol makes up about 70-90% of the essential oil found cloves.
  • Cloves also work as an ant repellant.
  • Cloves are commonly used in Eastern holistic medicine practices
Hormone Highlight:

AKA:  the mood hormone

Locations: Serotonin is produced in the brain. However, 90% of serotonin is found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as in platelets and the Central Nervous System (CNS). Serotonin is formed from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, cheese, bananas and peanuts.

  • decreases appetite
  • improves sleep 
  • improves memory and cognitive function
  • suppresses insulin release from the beta cells (found in the pancreas) 
  • stimulates cell growth
Staying Active in Cold Weather 

When winter weather hits, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise. Here are some great tips to help you keep exercising and staying warm while outdoors.

Go inside: If you're used to getting your exercise in the great outdoors, consider bringing it inside if the cold weather bothers you. Try walking at a mall (before the stores open), join a gym or sign up for a group exercise class at your local community center. Look for online yoga and fitness classes, or purchase DVDs of exercise programs.

Grab a friend: Finding a workout buddy is great anytime of the year, but you may find you need another person to help you stay motivated during the winter. Find an activity that you both enjoy and commit to it a few times a week. You're less likely to bail on your fitness plans if you have someone else that's relying on it. So grab your best friend, your significant other or your children and get moving.

Increase those ADLs: Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include tasks such as house cleaning, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow and other household chores. While not the same as exercise, ADLs will definitely help to burn calories.

Layer up: A big puffy down coat won't really work while jogging. Practice layering your workout gear for those days when you're exercising outdoors. Your base layer (the first one) should be thin, lightweight and draw moisture away from your skin. The second layer (mid-layer) should keep you nice and warm. Your top layer should be waterproof to keep you dry and breathable to help keep air circulating. Keep legs warm with compression tights designed for cold weather. It's best to avoid cotton as it gets heavy when filled with sweat. If you exercise outdoors at night, look for brightly colored gear with reflective taping so that drivers can easily spot you.

Protect Extremities: Make sure you're protecting your head, hands and feet. Look for a hat that covers your ears, or opt for a thick headband. Use mittens or thermal running gloves to prevent frost bite but not . Look for cold weather socks and consider adding Yak Tracks on your workout shoes so that you don't slip on ice or snow.

Take care of your skin: The sun reflects off snow, so make sure you're still wearing sunscreen. Keep lip balm on hand to help ward off chapped lips.

Have fun! Don't forget--there are lots of fun winter activities that count as exercise. Snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, or just playing in the snow and having a snowball fight are great ways to stay active while creating memories with family and loved ones.
Advancing Health Newsletter
December 2013

Seasons Greetings!


As 2013 ends and we look forward to 2014, we want to express our gratitude to all of our patients who attended a free health lecture, an open house, came in for a free HbA1c, DXA scan or other service, and who volunteered to participate in a study this year.  It is because of your time and commitment to clinical research at our facility that we are able to find better treatments, learn about new medications, enhance day to day living and, ideally, save lives.


We trust that each time you come to our clinic, you receive as much time and attention as you need to understand your medical condition and the study that you are participating in.  Our medical staff always strives to ensure that your experience in a study is one that enhances your medical knowledge and helps you to take better control of your health.  Please let us know if we can do anything to make your time in our clinic more enjoyable or beneficial in 2014.


We also pride ourselves on offering free/low cost classes with our registered dietitian (see this and previous newsletters or visit us on  Facebook for more information) and free/low cost testing for: blood glucose, Hemoglobin A1c, cholesterol, blood pressure, heel scans/full bone density (DXA) testing for bone health.  Please call for yourself to take advantage of any of these services or "Share the Health" with a friend or loved one whose health may benefit from our services.


2013 has brought many new types of studies to our clinic and patients.  We are pleased to be working on several different healthy volunteer studies involving vaccines.  If you are interested in participating in a healthy volunteer/vaccine study please call us at 925-930-7267 and ask for Recruiting.


We hope to see more of you in 2014, but most of all, we hope that this coming year is healthy and prosperous for each of you.


To good health and good cheer,


The staff at Diablo Clinical Research

  • We're continuing our support of American Diabetes Month!  Through the end of 2013, we will be offering free fasting blood glucose checks to people who think they may be at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes. If you have a friend or family member who is unsure if they have diabetes, please let them know of this great offer! They can call 925-930-7267 and ask for the Recruiting Department to schedule their free test.
  • We're always looking for people for our studies! If you have a friend, co-worker or family member who you think could benefit from medical research, let us know! They can click on the "Volunteer Today" button on the homepage of our website or they can call (925) 930-7267 and ask for Recruiting at extension 201

Free Glucose Testing!  

Concerned that you might have diabetes?
Has your doctor ever told your that you're pre-diabetic?

We're offering free blood glucose checks for those who think they may be at risk for diabetes.

Call (925) 930-7267 and ask for the Recruiting Department to schedule your free test today! You're welcome to recommend this free service to any friends or family members.
Resolution #12: Set goals for
the new year and beyond

At the start of every year, millions of people make New Year's resolutions, yet a majority of these resolutions have fizzled out by February. Engaging in goal setting (such as S.M.A.R.T. goals) or making your goals known to friends and family are just two of many sure-fire ways to help those resolutions stick. And Diablo Clinical Research is here to help! Each month we'll be highlighting a resolution or goal and ways to help you achieve it. Read on for this month's resolution...  
December:  Dream it and achieve it in 2014

Why?  Setting goals allows us to help make our dreams a reality. By having a clear, structured path, we create deeper, more meaningful goals that we're more likely to achieve.

  • Dream big...then go bigger: Embrace the idea of possibility. We often set ourselves up for failure because we have created our own limitations.  "I can't" never translates into an accomplishment.  While it's important to set realistic goals, it's also important to set big goals that are difficult to achieve. If you succeed in accomplishing a huge, challenging goal, it empowers you to push for more. If you don't achieve your goal, it still shows your ability to commit and persevere through difficult situations. In either circumstance,  you'll learn more about yourself along the way. 
  • Focus on the big picture: Once we have that big picture, we can create specific goals to help us get there. Your vision should be longer term (at least 5 years away), detailed and involve your passions. It should incorporate several aspects of your life: career, family/social, health/wellness and personal. It's also important to make sure your vision is yours--not your parents, partners, friends or siblings.    
  • Write it down: We're more likely to accomplish our goals if we write them down. Use a journal, blog posts, even a piece of paper.  
  • Make S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals: Keep your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant,  time-bound and continue to evaluate and reevaluate them. 
    • Specific: Goals need to be clear and unambiguous in order for us to accomplish them. Think 'why', ''when', 'who', 'what' and 'where' as you are formulating your goals.
    • Measurable: you should be able to quantify your goal (i.e. I want to be able to run 1 mile in 10 minutes.) 
    •  Attainable: Making your goal attainable doesn't mean that it won't be difficult to achieve it.  Your goal shouldn't be insanely out of your reach, nor too easy or simple to complete. Remember: it's okay to be challenged and go outside your comfort zone. Focus on how you'll achieve your goal.
    • Relevant:  Choose goals that matter and will impact your overall vision. Making relevant goals is similar to a trip to the store. If you go in with a list of everything you need and stick to it, you're save time, avoid impulse purchases, and buy all the items you intended. But if you go into the store without making a list, you're likely to forget something you really need, become frustrated and get side tracked. 
    • Evaluate: Are your current actions meeting your goals? Have your goals changed? Which ones have been accomplished and which ones still need work?  Are you enjoying yourself and still on the path towards your vision?  
    • Reward: Pat yourself on the back for all your hard work.  While the journey can be a reward in and of itself, sometimes we need an extrinsic reward to help motivate us. Choose a reward that is meaningful to you or that is related to your goal.  
What are some of your tips for goal setting?

Send an email with your suggestions to our
Registered Dietitian and your ideas will be posted in our January newsletter.
Do you take medication for
your high cholesterol? 
Need more from your high cholesterol meds?

If you're taking High Cholesterol medication, you may qualify for a research study.
  • No-cost investigational medication.
  • Reimbursement for travel. 
For additional information or to see if you may qualify for this study, please call our Recruiting department at (925) 930-7267
or send an email to apaulazzo@diabloclinical.com.

Recipe Roundup:    

Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables  

Image via  Simply Recipes 

A classic comfort food made easier by using just one dish: a cast iron skillet
. Serve it for your favorite holiday fest or any night of the week.

Makes 4 servings.
Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes and Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook.
  • One 4 to 4 1/2 pound chicken
  • 1/4 tsp each of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (smash with the side of a chef's knife, makes it easier to peel)
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 medium-sized rutabagas (also called "swedes"), ends cut and discarded, rutabagas peeled, and any outer tough layer discarded, then rutabagas cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 2 medium-sized turnips, prepared the same way as the rutabagas
  • 4 medium-sized carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch segments
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled, roots cut off but core kept intact, other end cut off and discarded, the onion then cut into quarters
  • 4 small red-skinned new potatoes
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil or grapeseed oil 
  • 4 Tbsp butter, room temperature (spreadable)
  • A large (11-inch) cast-iron frying pan
  • Kitchen string


  • Preheat oven to 475F.
  • Use a paring knife to cut away the wishbone from the neck/breast area of the chicken. You will probably have to use your fingers to feel around for it. This is a little bit tricky, but if you can remove the wishbone first, it will make the chicken easier to carve after it is cooked. (This ease of future carving is the only reason to take the bone out, so you can leave it in if you want.)
  • Generously season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add three of the garlic cloves and 5 sprigs of the thyme to the cavity, using your hands to rub the thyme and garlic all around the cavity. 
  • Truss the chicken with kitchen string. To do so, start by cutting a 3-foot section of cotton kitchen string. Place the chicken so that it is breast up, and the legs pointing toward you. Tuck the wing tips under the chicken. Wrap the string under the neck end of the bird, pulling the string ends up over the breast, toward you, plumping up the breast. Then cross the string under the breast (above the cavity and between the legs). Wrap each end around the closest leg end, and tie tightly so that the legs come together.
  • Place the vegetables, onions, garlic, and remaining thyme sprig into a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil (or grapeseed or canola oil) and toss with your hands until well coated. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Slather the chicken with oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Create a bed of the root vegetables in a large cast iron pan (or use a regular roasting pan if you don't have a cast iron pan.) My father likes to leave out the potatoes at this stage and arrange them around the chicken. Place the chicken on the bed of vegetables. Slather the top of the chicken breasts with butter. (Note that we added some extra sprigs of thyme to the top, probably because my dad forgot to add them to the vegetables! But it still worked.)
  • Place the pan in the oven and roast the chicken for 25 minutes at 475F. Then reduce the heat to 400F and roast for an additional 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the thigh registers 160F on a meat thermometer and the juices run clear.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving to serve. You can keep the vegetables warm by keeping them in the now-turned-off oven while the chicken is resting. Stir to coat the vegetables with the cooking juices before serving. Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Place vegetables on a serving platter with the chicken pieces arranged on top. 

  •  Notes:  The chicken must be at room temperature before it goes in the oven, or the chicken will not cook evenly. Keller recommends leaving the chicken in the refrigerator, uncovered (on a plate and not touching anything else in the fridge), for 1-2 days after buying it, so that the skin gets a bit dried out. It will roast up crispier this way. Then 1 1/2 to 2 hours before it goes in the oven, put it on a plate on the kitchen counter to come to room temp (about 70 degrees). Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken before you set it out to come to room temp. If you would like, save the neck and giblets for chicken stock.  
Nutrition Facts serving (4 oz of cooked chicken, skin & bones removed; vegetables divided):  690 calories, 34g total fat (11g saturated*, 18g monounsaturated,  4g polyunsaturated), 130mg cholesterol, 55g carbohydrates (10g fiber, 16g sugar), 42g protein, 515mg phosphorus, 450mg sodium, 2000 mg potassium, vitamin A 212%, vitamin C 136%, calcium 17%, iron 22%

*partially made up of stearic acid (found in meat, dark chocolate and butter), which does not impact LDL cholesterol levels. 
Curious about your bone density?

A bone density scan (DXA) can determine your bone density and help assess if you're at risk for certain bone diseases, such as osteoporosis or osteopenia.


Diablo Clinical Research offers a full body DXA scan for only $75--no health insurance required.    


For more information, please call (925) 930-7267 and ask for Jimmy.


In the News...


Do you suffer from hot flashes?

Contact Ava Paulazzo at (925) 930-7267
or send an email to apaulazzo@diabloclinical.com

Love healthy cooking? More recipes are available on our website at http://www.diabloclinical.com/category/recipes/