Healthy Twist on Super Bowl Snacks

Football-shaped brownies with white chocolate details.


This Super Bowl Sunday, it’s easier than you think to incorporate some healthy recipes and vegetables into your game-day menu.

Regional Executive Chef Bryan Nader from Trinity Health shares his favorite, and healthy, recipes.




Edamame Guacamole


1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed

1 small ripe avocado

1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1/3 bunch fresh cilantro

1/4 white onion, roughly chopped

Juice of 2 limes

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Put edamame, avocado, chipotle, cilantro, onion and lime juice in a food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Add enough water (about 2 tablespoons) to make a creamy consistency and pulse again. Transfer guacamole to a bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve


Buffalo Cauliflower


1 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. milk

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp.

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 c. hot sauce (such as Franks)

4 tbsp. melted butter

Ranch dressing, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 450° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk flour, milk, and garlic powder until combined. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  2. Dredge cauliflower in batter until evenly coated. Shake off excess batter and transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cauliflower is crispy and golden around edges, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile make buffalo sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together hot sauce and melted butter. Toss baked cauliflower “wings” in sauce before serving.
  4. Serve with ranch dressing and celery sticks, if desired.


Carrot Hummus


2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 cans (2.5 cups) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of one lemon

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce (or more or less, depending on spicy preference)

Salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 tablespoons water


  1. In a food processor or blender, add the carrots and garlic and blend until finely minced.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients except for water, and blend until smooth.
  3. Gradually add a tablespoon of water at a time until hummus reaches desired consistency (keep in mind that when refrigerated, the hummus will thicken a bit more).


Turkey Chili


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds ground turkey, white and dark combined

2 cups coarsely chopped onions

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 large sweet red pepper, cored, de-veined and coarsely chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 jalapeno pepper, cored, de-veined and finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tablespoon, dried

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 cups canned diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth, fresh or canned

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 15-ounce cans of red kidney beans, drained

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup sour cream (optional)

Sliced lime for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat the oil over high heat in a large heavy pot and add the turkey meat. Cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes, chopping down and stirring with the side of a heavy kitchen spoon to break up any lumps.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, sweet pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin. Stir to blend well. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the drained beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes longer. Serve in bowls with cheddar cheese, and sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.




1/2 c. semisweet chocolate, melted

2 ea. eggs

1 ea. Avocado from Mexico, mashed

1 t. vanilla extract

3/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. sugar

3 T. crushed almonds

1 t. baking powder

1/2 t. instant coffee powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. To melt the chocolate, carefully microwave in intervals of 15-20 seconds, stirring between each trip to the microwave.
  3. When the chocolate is melted, add eggs, avocado, and vanilla, whisking constantly so that the egg does not cook.
  4. Add cocoa powder, sugar, crushed almonds, baking powder, and instant coffee powder. Continue to beat until everything is well combined.
  5. Pour into greased pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Learn more about Mercy Health at

Live Healthier and Lower Your Risk for Heart Disease

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD), according to the CDC. The great news is that you can greatly reduce your risk for CAD through lifestyle changes and preventive care, including embracing a healthier spirit.

To keep your heart healthy, the American Heart Association recommends the following:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke
  • Control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Get regular exercise and eat healthier
  • Ask your doctor about taking aspirin every day (if you are a man over the age of 45, or a woman past menopause)
  • Manage stress

While controlling physical risk factors is obviously a great way to help prevent any condition, so is maintaining a healthier spirit. For example:

  • Remain optimistic. Research shows that happiness and a positive attitude are associated with lower rates of disease.
  • Control stress. Stress relievers like deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises, as well as keeping a journal, can be helpful in controlling the impact stress has on your body.
  • Do everything in moderation. Don’t try to do too much at one time – make sure to have time for proper nutrition, sleep, work and play.
  • Create a network. Maintaining a close circle of family and friends can provide you with emotional support when you need it.

Lastly, getting annual physicals and tests from your doctor is key in sustaining your health and preventing heart disease. Having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.

If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

If you have any changes in your health and you’ve got questions, call the nurse line offered by your medical plan.

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

Find a Mercy Health provider

Exposure Prevention and Heart Health during Cold Weather

During extreme cold temperatures, it is important to limit your time outside. If venturing outside or traveling is essential, we recommend the following tips to help you prepare:

  • Pack an emergency kit and keep it in your car in case of a breakdown, or bring it along if you are planning to spend time outdoors, so you are prepared for cold, wet or windy weather conditions that might arise.
  • Head for shelter that will protect you from wind and rain if you get wet or cold.
  • Avoid doing too much activity and sweating. Sweating increases heat loss through evaporation so you will feel cold.
  • Eat plenty of food to help maintain your body heat. Carry high-calorie foods, such as candy bars and trail mix, when going out in cold weather.
  • Drink plenty of water. Carry extra water with you and drink it hourly.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages. Alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to regulate body temperature. It can cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate, which increases heat loss.
  • Keep your hands and feet dry. Wear mittens instead of gloves. Wear socks that retain warmth and keep moisture away from your skin.
  • Wear loose fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer clothing made of tightly woven, water-repellent material is best for wind protection. Wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers hold more body heat than cotton does.

During cold-weather months, keep a full tank of gas and put emergency supplies in your car in case you get stranded. Supplies may include several blankets, matches, candles and some food items, such as granola bars or crackers. A cell phone with a full battery and a charger are essential. If your car is stuck in a snow bank, be careful about leaving the engine running, because infiltration of carbon monoxide inside the car may pose a silent danger.

Cold weather can affect your heart’s health

Cold weather is hard on the heart. Blood vessels constrict, which can raise blood pressure and blood can also clot more readily. Frigid temperatures can increase the strain on the heart, and too much physical exertion can trigger a heart attack.

  • Pile on the layers. Dress warmly and try to avoid exposure to very cold temperatures.
  • Use good judgement when you’re outside in the elements. Push snow, don’t life it. Don’t throw snow over your shoulder or to the side. If you have to lift snow, use the stronger leg muscles for support, not your back. Wear boots and the proper equipment.
  • Avoid overexertion and consumption of excess salt and alcohol.
  • If you feel chest pain or other symptoms, call 911 for emergency help. The quicker you seek treatment, the better chance of your survival.

For more information on Heart and Vascular Services at Mercy Health, visit


Beyond Compare — A Hospitalist’s Perspective of Mercy Health

Lajide Richard Lawoyin, MD Specialist in Hospital Medicine

Since 2010, I have worked at both the Hackley and Mercy Campuses in Muskegon, and I am well aware of the many important metrics we use in medicine to measure our level and quality of care.

Without a doubt, the new medical center will incorporate new technologies into a state-of-the-art building, all for the benefit of patients. But this new facility will offer something more.

Studies have shown that the environment where patients are being cared for does matter. Nicer, newer care environments have been shown to positively affect the healing process, and I believe the new tower will do this for our patients.

As a hospitalist, I look forward to the completion of the consolidation. It will be wonderful for the community, for providers and for patients. I believe the opening of the new medical center will translate into measurable improvements in patient care and safety, such as:

  • Reduced lengths of stay, for a variety of reasons, including a better healing environment
  • More cohesive care delivery, because providers will be located under one roof
  • An elimination of patient transfers between campuses, which will also lead to less family stress
  • More timely emergency care, thanks to fewer time lags
  • Increased number of patients that providers will be able to see in a day, which will improve patient access
  • Increased referrals from outside hospitals
  • Increased specialized care
  • Improved overall patient satisfaction metrics

The new tower already has had, and I believe will continue to have, a ripple effect on the economic life of our community. Many people have jobs constructing the tower. Yet once it has been built, other businesses will also benefit from this consolidation — from transportation services, to restaurants, to gas stations, to hotels and much more. In so many ways, the new medical center is good for Muskegon and residents along the lakeshore.

I am originally from Nigeria, so I have a personal perspective about cultural diversity. Because I work on both Mercy Health campuses, I am aware that Hackley and Mercy have different cultures. But I believe that the blending of these two cultures will lead to a better experience for everyone — medical staff and our patients.

Personally, I love living in Muskegon. My wife and I could have moved our family away from the lakeshore after 2013, when I was eligible for permanent residency, but this is home to us. For me, it’s a no-brainer to financially contribute to the construction of the new medical center and to our community at large through Mercy Health. This is where we are raising our family.

Mercy Health Muskegon is an amazing organization. As a Christian, this is the best place for me to work because of the organization’s vision and mission. Unlike some other health care organizations, we accept patients who have no insurance, and we offer them the same quality of care to them as with any other patient. The compassion of Mercy Health and its staff is beyond compare.

Learn more about the consolidation at

Kristen Brown, MD, Named President of Mercy Health Physician Partners

Kristen Brown, MD

“Dr. Brown’s strategic vision is the perfect fit for leading Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP),” said Mary Boyd, chief integration officer, Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “Her focus on patient experience and quality health care are assets to this organization, and we are thrilled to have her serve in this role.”

Dr. Brown earned her medical degree at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and her Masters of Medical Management at Heinz College Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She began her career with Mercy Health in 2001 as a resident in Family Medicine at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. She went on to become a practicing physician of Family Medicine at MHPP Westshore Family Medicine in Muskegon for 13 years. Dr. Brown moved into a leadership role for Affinia Health Network in 2013 as associate medical director of Quality; and at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in 2014 as associate medical director of Healthcare Value, National Solutions. She returned to MHPP in 2015 where she has served as vice president, Medical Group and Physician Services.

Originally from Muskegon, Dr. Brown is a vital member of the West Michigan community, serving in professional affiliations, including Muskegon County Medical Society, Michigan State Medical Society, American Association for Physician Leadership, American Medical Association and Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Society. She currently serves as a board member for Muskegon Community Health Project and Affinia Health Network.



Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Receives Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification

Herman Sullivan, MD

“With stroke care, you must not only have the best clinicians with access to appropriate resources but also a well-rehearsed ability to act with the greatest efficiency because of the time-critical nature of stroke,” says Herman Sullivan, MD, medical director of Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences. “This certification from DNV GL validates all the effort put forth by a multitude of personnel to ensure the health and safety of our patients.”

The DNV GL Healthcare Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification is based on standards set forth by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association, and affirms that the medical center addresses the full range of stroke care — diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and education — and establishes clear metrics to evaluate outcomes.



Muhammed Farooq, MD

“Our exceptional interdisciplinary team — including stroke-certified nurses, rehab staff and providers across the hospital — have led to the best possible outcomes for our patients,” says Muhammad Farooq, MD, general neurology physician at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s is on the forefront of stroke medicine by offering clot busting drugs and clot-removal procedures, such as thrombectomies. Each stroke team creates an individualized plan to address the cause of each patient’s stroke, working with the patient to prevent another stroke from occurring. These advances and personalized care offer patients a better recovery, with greater functioning in daily living.

Achieving certification shows Mercy Health’s commitment to excellence, and it helps demonstrate to our patients that we perform at the highest level.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Stroke Team


Learn more about Mercy Health Saint Mary’s stroke services at

Get Fit for Life

An Update on Tammy Griswold, a patient who took back control of her health through Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic

 Tammy Griswold, then age 60, made it her mission to get healthy following a visit to her primary care physician (PCP) in 2017. Her PCP, Nicholas VandenBosch, DO, shared crucial lab results with Griswold, who had struggled with weight her entire life. A family history of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure made her decision to get healthy even more important.

When she began her journey toward fitness, Griswold was a size 14, had high blood pressure, and was both pre-diabetic and morbidly obese.

“My biggest goal was not to become diabetic,” she declared. “Because of my high body mass index, Dr. VandenBosch invited me to be a charter member of the Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic in downtown Muskegon, which has made all the difference for me,” said Griswold.

Mercy Health Lifestyle Clinic provides regular check-ups with a physician as well as a variety of exercise classes that are local and convenient. The clinic team includes a registered dietician who can create a customized nutrition plan when patients are ready to take additional steps toward a healthy lifestyle.

Now a year later, through a combination of medication, nutrition and exercise, Griswold has traveled far toward her destination of better health. Her determination has paid off dramatically. In the past 12 months, Griswold:

  • Has lost 36 pounds
  • Has stopped taking four of her medications
  • Is managing her blood pressure
  • Is no longer pre-diabetic
  • Is no longer morbidly obese

Down to size 12 clothing, Griswold boasts that she also has more energy. “In our classes, patients hold each other accountable and form a natural community of support.” She continues to exercise through the Lifestyle Clinic three times a week.

There came a time when Griswold was feeling like she was in a slump and needed help to stay motivated.

That’s when Dr. VandenBosch met her during one of her exercise classes and said to the class, “Okay, Tammy needs a push,” which helped her stay on target with her regimen. Griswold also heard a story about a person who met her a year ago and then saw her just before the holidays. “The person didn’t recognize me, I was told, except by my tattoos,” she said with pride. That’s how much her body has changed!

When it came to modifying her diet, Dr. VandenBosch made a simple suggestion. “We started with me watching carbs, and now we’re looking at fiber too,” she said. Griswold hasn’t stopped eating carbohydrates — she just watches how many grams she eats per day. Paying attention to how much cereal she eats, for example, is just one of the basic changes to her diet that have improved her health.

For 2019, Griswold has identified two goals: “I want to get the word ‘obese’ off my medical records, which requires me to lose 11 more pounds. And I want to buy a new bathing suit!”

She also hasn’t forgotten about her long-term goal: being healthy enough to donate a kidney anonymously to a patient with kidney disease. Raising awareness of kidney disease is passion for Griswold.

Her advice for others is simple: “If you think you can’t do it, you can. If you think you won’t like it, you will. Give yourself a chance.”

Thanks, Tammy, for sharing an update about your inspiring weight-loss journey!

Feeling Overwhelmed? Strategies for Managing a Busy Life

Increasing numbers of women are finding it more and more difficult to achieve a healthier life balance. Juggling a family and a career, while still finding time for social activities and personal time, often means all but the most important things get pushed aside. Hectic schedules can lead to minor inconveniences, such as missed meals, or more serious issues, such as stress and fatigue.

All of these things can have a negative impact on women’s health. Women, or the women in your life, may feel that managing it all is a daunting task. Additionally, health screenings, such as mammograms and pap smears, often become less of a priority when a person’s to-do list becomes unmanageable.

Research shows more women feel they are too busy with work or family commitments to see their doctor, even when they are not feeling well. It’s important to take care of yourself first, if you are to be the best person possible for the people in your life.

To avoid feeling stressed, broken and not in control of your life, take charge and make some changes. Here are few tips that can go a long way in helping you regain that treasured sense of balance:

  • Strive to live a healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition, engaging in regular exercise and getting enough sleep. This will give you the extra energy you need to tackle life’s daily challenges.
  • Renew yourself by scheduling downtime. Your mind and body need an opportunity to re-energize. The practice of mindfulness — staying in the moment and not worrying about the past or future — is helpful for many.
  • Avoid blurring the boundaries between work and home. In our always-connected world, this can be difficult. However, women who achieve this separation tend to do better in both areas.
  • Make a plan for the upcoming day or week. This will give you a sense of structure and direction. If necessary, write down, or use a planning tool, to enter your tasks and goals.
  • Be realistic about the things you can and can’t do. There are only so many hours in a day and many women overschedule.
  • Learn to say “no” to those demands that don’t align with your goals.

Even though you may have a lot going on in your life, it’s still important to remember that having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Also, your health plan has a team of care managers ready to assist you. As part of the team’s services, you may receive an outreach call from a nurse. Please remember to return the call if you miss it.

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.

Find a Mercy Health provider

‘Year of Epic’ Kicks Off with Leadership Conference

CEO Rob Casalou addresses a crowd of more than 1,000 leaders at the Epic Kickoff Retreat on Jan. 9, 2019

More than a thousand leaders from Mercy Health and Saint Joe’s gathered in Lansing January 9 to officially start the yearlong implementation of Epic electronic medical records and revenue systems — with the goal of launching statewide at all sites in January 2020.

“We will be spending all of 2019 getting ready to launch Epic as a single-instance go-live in our Michigan hospitals, outpatient centers, emergency departments, urgent cares and employed physician offices,” President and CEO Rob Casalou said in his opening remarks of the Epic Kickoff Retreat at the Lansing Center.

A “single instance go-live” means every inpatient and outpatient office will launch Epic together for Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, IHA, Mercy Health West Michigan, Mercy Health Physician Partners and all employed physician groups.

“Those who really need to hear this are the people who will be leading it, touching it and using it,” Casalou said.

“We are the first Regional Health Ministry (RHM) in all of Trinity Health to implement Epic, and we will be the largest health system yet to adopt Epic’s EMR and revenue excellence systems,” said statewide Chief Clinical Officer Rosalie Tocco-Bradley, PhD, MD.


Why Epic

Conference attendees learned patients are the center of Trinity Health’s decision to transition away from Cerner, Athena Health and NextGen EMRs in favor of Epic’s platform.

“With Epic we will be able to transform our organization to be more people centered and enable us to deliver care that is more seamless and integrated,” Trinity Health Chief Clinical Officer Dan Roth, MD, said. “I’m a primary care physician by background and the ability to facilitate the flow of patient information as they see a specialist or go to the emergency room or stay at the hospital — and have that information come back to (their physician) — makes a huge difference in the quality and satisfaction of care.”


Patients will feel the difference in the care they receive from any Trinity Health facility, said Cindy Clemence, Trinity Health Operations CFO.

“I am very excited that we’re doing this in Michigan first. It’s important that we have one record for our patients to access information from one portal, make appointments online and pay bills on time, in an integrated way across the region.”



Be Able to Enjoy Life Again

Today, Jeff Boorsma, 55, can ride tandem with his 3-year-old grandson Gavin across the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids thanks to two, single hip replacements at Mercy Health. He’s already cycled across the United States, so the Blue Bridge is an easy ride.

Before his left hip began to bother him, Jeff was a runner and completed triathlons with his children. He had to stop running due to debilitating hip pain, and that’s when Jeff gained weight — he was up to 290 pounds.

In 2015 — after three years in pain — Jeff consulted orthopedic surgeon Bryan J. Pack, MD, at River Valley Orthopedics and had his first surgery at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. His hip pain was caused by bone on bone, and following surgery the pain “was instantly gone,” says Jeff.

“The care I got at Mercy Health was wonderful. From check-in to check-out, they were very good with me. I was strong with my rehab and worked hard to get healthy because I needed a way to keep moving,” explains Jeff.

Jeff was able to lose some weight after his first surgery, but in 2016, Jeff returned to Dr. Pack before the pain in his other hip became too severe.

“One day I was sitting in my lounge chair rehabbing after my second hip surgery and feeling sorry for myself. I saw TV documentary about the 2014 inaugural TransAmerica bike race that inspired me to take up biking,” explains Jeff. “I bought a bike and began to train, and in 2017, I soloed the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail.”

After his 4,300 mile bike “tour,” Jeff got down to 240 pounds and has been able to maintain that weight ever since.

“I’m grateful for this second chance to be healthy and active with my grandkids. My hips feel great.” Jeff encourages patients to avoid being sedentary after surgery. “Rehab can be painful, but it’s worth it because you’ll be able to enjoy life again.”

Learn about orthopedic care at Mercy Health.