From Mindless Eating to Eating Better: Size Matters!

Spring is here, and that means a renewed attention to fitness, health and – for many – the desire to shed a few extra pounds that might have been put on during our long, cold winter. As a registered dietitian at Ministry, I’m here to help.

Carmen Schroeder, registered dietitian, working with a patient.

Carmen Schroeder, registered dietitian, working with a patient.

Recently, I watched a webinar by Dr. Brian Wansink that really shed some light on how eating habits are just that…habits. Here’s the jist: plate, bowl and glass size influence how much we eat, more than we might care to admit! Comprehensive behavioral research on eating habits broke down some commonly-held myths:

Eating Myth #1

“Surely something as basic as the size of a bowl wouldn’t influence how much an informed, intelligent person eats.”  

The truth is that we eat with our eyes, not our stomach.  Most people miss the fullness cues that prompt us to stop eating. Transforming our environment, by doing something as simple as decreasing bowl, plate and glass sizes, can lead to better success in helping us determine when our meal is done than by counting calories or even listening to our bodies.

Eating Myth #2

“Sure, big bowls and plates hold bigger portions. But at least people know when they are full, and can stop before they overeat.”

Actually, studies show that 92% of the food that is self-served gets eaten, without regard to our fullness level.

External cues that tell us the meal is over include ‘my plate is empty’, ‘the TV show is over’, ‘lunch break is done’. For many, finishing the food on the plate – not feeling full – cues us to stop eating.

Visual illusions are hard-wired.  If plates and bowls are bigger, so are portions.  If glasses are short and wide, we drink more than if they are tall and thin.

Instead of eating from a package, portion food onto a dish.

Instead of eating from a package, portion food onto a dish.

To maintain healthy portion sizes, try these tips:

  • Change the size of your plates and bowls.
  • Use tall, thin glasses instead of wide, short glasses.
  • Avoid serving yourself from multiple serving containers, such as boxes of crackers, chips, or other snack foods.
  • Dish up a single serving of food on a plate or bowl, and then put the original container away.  Serve food from the stove rather than family style.

And remember, it is easier to change our eating environment than to change our minds!


Let’s Go Algoma Continues to Lead Community Wellness

Ministry’s community wellness program, “Let’s Go Algoma!” is kicking off its next phase with three exciting components.

1. A FREE series of 12 workshops will be offered starting April 3. Classes take place on Thursdays at the Algoma Community Center (Knudson Hall) from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Participants must sign up for ALL 12 workshops. For reservations call 920.493.5979.

LGA Schedule2. Ministry will partner with local employers including Algoma Hardwoods and the Algoma Schools to provide on-site fitness classes and health/nutritional counseling to employees.

3. Dr. Nate Hayes will relaunch his popular “Walk with Dr. Nate” program, open to all. Walks will begin in the parking lot of the Ministry North Shore Algoma Clinic (815 Jefferson St. Algoma) at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, April 22…Earth Day!

Phase one of Let’s Go Algoma was a great success, with more than 80 residents participating in free fitness classes during the long winter months. “We are excited to continue our partnerships with the Algoma community to bring more wellness opportunities to the people of this area,” says Matt Luders, Health and Wellness Executive at Ministry.


Let’s Go Algoma! Is a Success

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s new wellness initiative “Let’s Go Algoma!” is enjoying resounding success in the Kewaunee County community. From January-March, Ministry partnered with several local organizations to offer free fitness classes for Algoma residents. More than 80 people, ranging in age from 16-81, participated in the program.

WBAY News covered the program and told the story of Algoma resident and Ministry patient Dan Haas, who, with the help of Dr. Nate Hayes and Let’s Go Algoma, has lost over 70 pounds and become stronger, more flexible and more fit.

Click here to watch the WBAY segment on Let's Go Algoma!

Click here to watch the WBAY segment on Let’s Go Algoma!

Phase two of Let’s Go Algoma will bring wellness programs directly to employers in the Algoma Community, offer a free 12-week workshop for residents and re-launch the popular “Walk with Dr. Nate” program.



The Affordable Care Act at Work: Ministry Helps Patients Help Themselves

Miriam Dorn and Sandy Pierre are both lifetime patients at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “My children were all born here,” says Miriam, “and the care I’ve received throughout the years has been amazing.” Sandy Pierre agrees. “I’ve had nothing but excellent care here, and so have my children and grandchildren.”

When both women found themselves needing surgery last month, they were grateful that Ministry staff had helped them sign up for the health care exchange insurance that covered their care.

“Ministry really helped me,” says Sandy Pierre. “I worked for Emerson for years, but when they closed their doors 11 years ago, it became difficult for me to get insurance I could afford.” Sandy was able to receive care at Ministry through the Community Care program that last year provided four million dollars of donated care to individuals. But when she found out that she could purchase affordable insurance through the new exchanges, or the Affordable Care Act, she did. “This way, Ministry is being paid for the care they provide, and I’m contributing to my own health care. That’s the way it should be.”

Sandy Pierre

Sandy Pierre

In January, Sandy underwent a successful surgery with Dr. Charles Schutt.  Her deductible was still covered by Ministry’s Community Care program, but the rest of her care was paid for by insurance. And she feels great. “Dr. Schutt was so calming and comforting. I made a very quick recovery and I’m back doing what I want to do,” she says.

As a single mom working in Door County’s busy restaurant industry, Miriam Dorn has been able to make a living, but has never had health insurance provided by her employer. She also put a lot of wear and tear on her knees, and by last fall, she was in near-constant pain. “I take good care of myself, I exercise at the Y, but it was getting bad,” she says. Her recent total knee replacement with Dr. Dan Tomaszewski gave her a new lease on life. “I have almost no pain, and it’s only a week after surgery,” she beams. “I would encourage anyone who needs it to have this surgery at Ministry.”

Miriam Dorn

Miriam Dorn

Keith Volkmann, Ministry’s patient financial advisor, walked Miriam through the process of enrolling in the health care exchanges before her surgery. “It was so helpful. If I hadn’t had his help, I think I would have gotten discouraged,” she says.

Miriam also gives high marks to her primary care physician, Dr. Phil Arnold and to Dr. Sarah Keller whom she sees for her arthritis. “The doctors at Ministry really know how to talk to you. They make you feel special.” And she is also glad that she is paying for her own insurance that covers her care. “It’s fair. Everyone should have to pay something.”

Matt Luders, health and wellness executive at Ministry, agrees that the health care exchanges are a win-win for patients and providers. “The Affordable Health Care Act allows us at Ministry to reinvest our dollars into patient care. We’re still donating care to those who need it to cover deductibles, but we encourage everyone to contact us for help in registering for the exchanges.”

To learn more about enrolling in the health care exchanges, contact Keith Volkmann at (920) 746-3707.


Ministry’s Memory Clinic: Helping Patients “Do Something” About Dementia

Door County has the third highest percentage of adults aged 55 and older in the state of Wisconsin, and by 2015 it is to projected to have the highest. And since age is the number one risk factor for dementia, Door County has a need for quality dementia care.

Recognizing this reality, Ministry Door County Medical Center established the Ministry Memory Clinic, a comprehensive memory care department whose mission is to provide excellence in the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Any Door or Kewaunee resident can receive a free screening evaluation, often provided in the home environment, as well as more thorough diagnostics, therapeutic services, and connection to community resources.

Memory Clinic outreach specialist Christy Wisniewski

Memory Clinic outreach specialist Christy Wisniewski

Christy Wisniewski, outreach specialist at the Memory Clinic, has seen first hand how the work of the clinic impacts people’s lives. “Many patients learn that their dementia is caused by a treatable condition. If their dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is not yet a cure, they become empowered with treatment and research options, wellness opportunities and greater future planning,” she says. “And with many active older people who want to stay in their homes, we’re meeting a need to help people do just that.” Since opening in 2011, the Memory Clinic has had approximately 300 referrals and served these patients through screenings, diagnosis and treatment, as well as ongoing monitoring and communication with the patients and their caregivers.

Wisniewski recently worked with a couple in which the husband, in his early 60s, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by his primary care provider, but given little information on how to proceed. The couple was feeling overwhelmed, and found Ministry’s Memory Clinic through an online search. “Their first question was ‘What can I do?’” says Wisniewski. She connected the couple to resources in the community, gave the man exercises and opportunities to improve his brain health, and shared local resources with his wife to help her deal with the stresses of caregiving. “It was very gratifying to see their gradual relief, as they learned that yes, there are many things to be done to improve the health of a patient with dementia.”

Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, director of Rehab services at Ministry, says the quality of the Memory Clinic team brings a high level of care to patients. “Our occupational therapists participate in the evaluation process,” she says, “which helps patients understand how a diagnosis affects their daily lives.” Dr. Paul Board, an internal medicine specialist with expertise in the diagnosis of dementia-related disorders, works with the team to understand the details of each individual patient’s diagnosis, which includes input from families and caregivers. “Our goal is to help patients leave the clinic with a greater understanding of their situation, and a plan and resources to help them move forward,” Whitelaw-Gorski adds.

In addition to the Memory Clinic that diagnoses and treats dementia, Ministry is sponsoring several new community programs that address the needs of patients with dementia and their families. Memory In Development (M.IN.D) is a brain enhancement program for people with early memory loss or early dementia diagnosis and their caregiver.  This 6-week workshop will take place in Algoma June through July, and later in the year in Sturgeon Bay and Northern Door. M.IN.D. offers participants the opportunity “to do something about it” through cognitive exercise and physical exercise, and gives caregivers exposure to local support resources.


The Memory Clinic helps patients and their family members

Starting in May, The Door County Memory Café will be offered once a month at the Senior Resource Center in Sturgeon Bay. A Memory Café is a social opportunity for people with memory related concerns or diagnosis, and their caregiver/friends/family, to gather socially in an environment without the stigma of their cognitive impairment. Each café has a theme, and entertainment or a presentation is included. Additionally, a health professional is available to speak with participants who want more information or resources. Ministry is partnering with the Door County Senior Resource Center, Door County Aging and Disability Resource Center, Door County Caregivers Coalition and Door County Library to offer this opportunity to the community.

Click here for more information about Ministry’s Memory Clinic or to schedule a free screening,  or call Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504.


Heart Healthy Food Can Taste Great Too

February is American Heart Month! I like to keep my heart in great shape by regular exercise at my local YMCA and by eating healthy foods. Take this chance to remind yourself what heart healthy foods you can easily include in your diet.

Judi Sowl, RD

Judi Sowl, RD

  • Fruits and vegetables are top choices. Include 3 servings of fruit and 4 or more servings of vegetables daily.  Include bright colored items such as orange carrots and squash, dark green kale or spinach, pink grapefruit, and red/black/or blue berries.
  • Beans are big. Chickpeas, chili beans, navy beans, black beans, and lentils are powerhouses of lean protein, minerals and fiber. Add them to soups or salads, or try this tasty white bean dip.
  • Go whole grain. Oats, wheat and rye berries, brown and wild rice, quinoa and millet are great choices.  Fiber in whole grains is thought to help lower cholesterol and decrease your risk for heart disease. Try this easy Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad for a change of pace.
  • Easy on the sweets. Limit high calorie foods such as desserts, sweetened drinks, snack foods, and processed meats.  These contain added sugar, saturated and trans fats, and high amounts of sodium that do not contribute to heart health.
  • Calories matter.  Heart health is linked to a healthy weight.  Balance your food intake with activity in order to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Try this delicious recipe for a heart-healthy, palate-pleasing dinner!

Grilled Salmon with Mango Lime Cream

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 2.20.23 PM


Cooking Spray

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper (white preferred)

4 salmon fillets (about 4 oz. each), rinsed and patted dry


1/3 cup chopped mango, 1 Tbsp. juice reserved

¼ cup fat-free sour cream

½ tsp. grated lime zest

1 tsp. fresh lime juice

Cooking instructions

Lightly spray grill rack with cooking spray. Preheat the grill on medium high.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper over one side of the salmon. Using your fingertips, gentle press so they adhere to the fish.

Grill with the seasoned side down for 5 minutes. Turn over. Grill for 2-3 more minutes or to desired doneness.  Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients.  Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until serving time. Spoon over fish and enjoy!

-Judi Sowl, RD


Peter Mulvey Performs in Algoma for Music Heals Winter Series


On Friday, February 28 @ 7:30 P.M national touring artist Peter Mulvey will take the stage at Caffé Tlazo in Algoma at part of the “Music Heals” winter concert series, sponsored by Ministry Door County Medical Center.


Mulvey’s fifteenth record titled The Good Stuff is a collection of standards, which rejects the accepted definition of “standard” in favor of a more vivid, open approach. The music of Tom Waits is right there with Duke Ellington; Willie Nelson next to Thelonious Monk; Jolie Holland juxtaposed with Bill Frisell. Mulvey, along with his band, the Crumbling Beauties, addresses each tune with a true artist’s touch. His mirthful, gravelly baritone is front and center from moment one, and every track is a master class in restraint, phrasing, and commitment.

Twenty-odd years on the road, performing songs from his own catalog and from a vast, varied, and deep well of classic and obscure covers, has prepared Mulvey to deliver this collection. Night after night, the process of divining the heart of a song, being alert to where the moment can lead, has shaped him as an artist. To each rendition, he brings the soul of a singer, a light touch in a heavy world. Recorded in just three days at Signature Sounds Studios in the Connecticut Woods, the performances feature upright bassist Paul Kochanksi, violinist Randy Sabien, guitarist David Goodrich, and drummer Jason Smith. The arrangements run from quintet-in-full-swing down to hushed trio.

Also, please join us 15 minutes before the show to meet Dr. Nathan Hayes from North Shore Medical Clinic. Dr. Hayes will open up the show and give a demonstration of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

A percentage of all ticket sales will go toward the The Healing Project of Door County. The Healing Project is collaboration between Ministry Door County Medical Center and the Community Clinic of Door County.  The Healing Project provides free integrative health care services to men and women of Door County living with cancer. Practitioners offer therapeutic yoga, Healing Touch, counseling, acupuncture and massage therapy. Treatments help relieve stress, boost immunity, alleviate pain and manage side effect of cancer drugs.

To make reservations for the concert or for more information, please call 920-493-5979. Tickets are $15.00 and can also be purchased at the door on the night of the show.

About the Door County Cancer Center

The Door County Cancer Center is located inside the front entrance of the Ministry Door County Medical Center. This satellite clinic is part of the Regional Cancer Collaborative: an unprecedented cooperative effort with St. Vincent’s Hospital, Green Bay Oncology and Radiation Oncology Specialists of Green Bay that brings together top medical specialists, the latest medical technology and highly-integrated treatment options.


Leading the Community to Prevent Unintentional Falls

Unintentional falls have surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the most common cause of injury-related death in Wisconsin. As a nurse and the Director of Inpatient Services at Ministry Door County Medical Center, Ellen Knipfer sees the impact. “Falls are a serious health problem in our community,” she says, “especially for those aged 65 and older.” When Knipfer was charged with creating a community health-based project for the Nurse Practitioner program she is completing, she knew she wanted to do something to alleviate this problem. But she knew she couldn’t do it alone.

Ellen Knipfer, BSN, RN

Ellen Knipfer, BSN, RN

“There are so many factors with falls,” she says. “People’s medication can affect their balance, and strength and agility also play a part.” And it’s not just older residents who need to be aware of the dangers of falls. “We started looking at this problem, and realized we need to educate a wide range of folks, including the children and grandchildren of older adults.”

Knipfer began by working within the hospital at Ministry Door County Medical Center, fine-tuning protocols and adding preventative measures in patients’ daily care routines. “There are many ways we work to prevent falls within the hospital,” she says, “including assists, proper management of medical equipment and constant vigilance.” She reports that the new protocols have resulted in a safer hospital environment.

Then Knipfer started looking outside the hospital to the community. She partnered with others concerned about the problem, including the Public Health Department, local paramedics and the Senior Resource Center. The group named themselves the Fall Prevention Task Force, and suddenly, says Knipfer, “this idea took on a life of its own.”

Falls are costly to the community in a myriad of ways. In addition to pain and suffering, the health care costs associated with falls is staggering – they result in $800 million in hospital charges each year in Wisconsin.  And for folks who are still in the work force, says Knipfer, or caring for a spouse or other loved ones, the cost of lost wages and decreased mobility is high.

One third of people aged 65 and older have had an unintentional fall, and many of those don’t discuss it with their physician. Knipfer and the task force have made awareness a primary goal of their group. “People need to discuss this issue with their primary care provider,” she says,” and if they’re concerned about falling, they need to discuss that too.” Research shows that adults who are worried about falling are more likely to do so. “We don’t know the reason for that correlation,” she says, “but we do know that many falls can be prevented.”

This winter, the Fall Prevention Task Force has reached out to churches, service organizations and other community groups to educate them on fall prevention. The group recommends that older adults obtain a copy of the new Door County Resource Guide for Older Adults, available at the Door County Senior Resource Center, the Department of Human Services and online. Task Force members also encourage older adults take advantage of low-cost strength and agility classes offered through the Senior Resource Center.

Knipfer says her group is starting with a concrete goal of reducing the number of emergency room visits due to falls by five percent. “It’s a small start, but it’s a step in the right direction.”


A Passion for Primary Care: Missie Minerath, APNP

“When you’re a number at your doctor’s office, you know it,” says Missie Minerath, who recently joined Dr. Nate Hayes as primary care nurse practitioner at Ministry North Shore Medical Clinic in Algoma. “What I love about working at Ministry is that I can take the time to really get to know my patients.”

Missie Minerath, APNP

Missie Minerath, APNP

Originally from Oshkosh, Missie grew up vacationing in Door County and is thrilled to have settled in the area. She’s in it for the long haul in Algoma. “I know how upset I get when my hairdresser moves away,” she laughs. “I’m committed to staying in this community.”

Before receiving her nurse practitioner training at University of South Florida, Missie worked in a Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. “My goal for my patients is to empower them to be well, so that they don’t end up in that situation,” she says.

Missie enjoys the variety involved in being a primary care provider. “I love family practice,” she beams. “Pediatrics, women’s health and sports medicine. It’s great working with people of all ages.”

She’s especially passionate about women’s health. “When it comes to health, women tend to put themselves after everyone else in their lives.” Missie encourages women to have a yearly well-woman exam, including breast cancer screenings. “I lost my aunt, who was also a nurse practitioner, to breast cancer when she was in her 40’s. That has inspired me to really focus on breast cancer prevention and screening in my own practice.”

As a woman, Missie knows how she likes to be treated as a patient.  “I want to talk to my doctor – really talk – before my exam,” she says. “To be treated with respect, and to have the time to share my concerns is so important.” Missie takes this to heart when caring for her patients, and the time she takes pays off. “A lot of women don’t realize that preventative care is now covered by most insurance,” she explains. Missie encourages her patients to seek care for quitting smoking, weight loss and elevated blood sugar levels. “That kind of care is what helps people to be as healthy as they can,” she says.

As for Missie, she stays active running and biking and is training for the Door County Half Marathon this summer along with her colleague Dr. Nate Hayes.  And she’s thrilled to be so close to Lake Michigan. “Anytime I’m on the water, I’m happy,” she beams. That includes fishing, boating, kayaking and even scuba diving.

And it also includes caring for her patients in Algoma. “It’s what I love to do, and it’s where I want to be. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”



Ministry Sponsors Women With Spirit Concert at TAP

Ministry Door County Medical Center is proud to sponsor the “Women with Spirit” concert on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 P.M. at Third Avenue Playhouse in Sturgeon Bay. The show, part of Ministry’s “Music Heals” series, features four stellar singer-songwriters: Victoria Vox, Dorothy Scott, Sue Demel and Katie Dahl. Proceeds support The Healing Project, a collaboration between Ministry Door County Medical Center and the Community Clinic of Door County that provides free integrative health care services to Door County women and men with cancer at any stage. Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by calling 920-493-5979. Tickets can also be purchased the night of the show but seating may be limited.

Victoria Vox

Victoria Vox

Victoria Vox has been honing her songwriting and voice for the past ten years, performing around the globe in Australia, Europe, Canada, and across the USA. She began writing songs at age 10, inspired by artists Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. She went on to earn a degree in songwriting from the Berklee College of Music (2001), and then at 24 she was given a ukulele and never looked back. The small four-stringed instrument proved to be an excellent vehicle for her songwriting, while not getting in the way of her endearing vocals and simple but smart lyrics. Originally from Green Bay, WI, Vox now lives in Baltimore, MD.

Dorothy Scott

Dorothy Scott

Dorothy Scott takes a magical stance and melds music and the lyrics into a seamless, living whole. Her work flows effortlessly between genres achieving popularity in pop, folk, blues and alternative. The common bridge is an exquisite vocal style, amazing guitar playing and a gift for discovering the heart of a song. Her live performance is passionate and real, fierce and funny, outspoken and vulnerable. Often compared to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Jeff Buckley, Dorothy’s style and sound remain uniquely her own. Her tours of the U.S, Ireland, Sweden and Canada have left a loyal and growing following in their wake.

Sue Demel

Sue Demel

Sue Demel’s voice was described by the Huffington Post as a “rich, athletic, octave hurtling instrument that purrs and growls, rocks the foundation and raises the roof. Demel is a well-tuned Maserati. She delivers with such a resplendent shimmer, you almost expect her to blink into a column of light.” Whether it’s scatting, chanting, collaborating, or writing, Sue explodes the pre-conceived notions of singing. As a founding and current member of the folk trio Sons of the Never Wrong, Sue tours nationally, performing original acoustic music. Her songs explore the boundaries of love and redemption. A seasoned back-up vocalist featured on over 50 CDs, Sue is currently a recording artist on Waterbug records.

Katie Dahl

Katie Dahl

Wisconsin singer-songwriter Katie Dahl has performed her original songs everywhere from the dusty cliff country of Mali, West Africa, to the winding canals of southern France, to the cedar forests of the American northwoods. The depth and power of Dahl’s alto voice, the literate candor of her original songs, and the easy humor of her live performances have earned her the chance to share stages with some of America’s most respected songwriters, including Julie Gold and Dar Williams. In 2010, she was named Big Top Chautauqua Songwriter of the Year.

During the winter season, Ministry Door County Medical Center sponsors several concerts throughout Door County featuring some of the best Blues, Jazz, Folk, and Alternative music from national touring artists to help raise funds for the Healing Project. Coming up next: Peter Mulvey at Caffe Tlazo in Algoma on Friday, February 28 at 7:30 p.m.

About the Door County Cancer Center
The Door County Cancer Center is located inside the front entrance of the Ministry Door County Medical Center. This satellite clinic is part of the Regional Cancer Collaborative: an unprecedented cooperative effort with St. Vincent’s Hospital, Green Bay Oncology and Radiation Oncology Specialists of Green Bay that brings together top medical specialists, the latest medical technology and highly-integrated treatment options.