Misleading Food Labels: It’s a Big Deal

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 11:18

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Reading the list of ingredients is more important than reading the front of the food label.

#DailyDoseofHealthy Read the List of Ingredients Barbara Ficarra Healthin30

Food labels can be confusing and misleading  

The description on the front of a food label may be quite different than the actual ingredients. A food label may look “healthy” because the packaging and the wording are precisely created to capture your attention.

Picture this

You’re walking through the bread aisle and you see wording on a label, that says “heart healthy,” “winner best food award” given by a popular magazine, “100% whole wheat,” “40% fiber in 2 slices,” and “22 grams of whole grains per slice.” You purchase it and why not? It seems healthy, but is it?

Read the list of ingredients

Turn to the back and read the list of ingredients.  The first 2 ingredients are fine, “whole wheat flour” and “water,” but the next ingredient isn’t so healthy; “high fructose corn syrup.” Now, would you buy it?

It’s a big deal

So remember, make sure the next time you’re food shopping, read the list of ingredients, not just the front of the label. You may be surprised at what you find. Healthy nutrition is vital. Remember, prevention, it begins with you.

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Heart Disease in Women: It’s a Big Deal

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 16:17

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Heart disease in women is a big deal. The number one killer of women is heart disease. In the United States, 1 in 4 women dies from heart disease.

This post addresses signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women, important numbers you ought to know, and ways to help reduce stress by focusing on you. #Take15Minutes each day for YOU.

Ladies, love your heart. It’s important to know your numbers, and spend time each day to focus on YOU. #Take15Mintues 


Post Heart Disease in Women...It's a BIG Deal by Barbara Ficarra Healthin30

Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

1. Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away or changes from its usual pattern (for example, occurs more often or while you’re resting)

2. Shortness of breath

3. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach

4. Breaking out in a cold sweat

5. Feeling unusually tired for no reason, sometimes for days (especially if you are a woman)

6. Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting

7. Light-headedness or sudden dizziness

Take Quick Action, It Can Save Your Life: Call 9–1–1 if you have any of these symptoms. If you think you are having a heart attack, don’t ignore it. Call 9-1-1 and the ambulance will take you to the hospital. 

Desire These Numbers

1. Total Cholesterol: Below 200 mg/dL

2. LDL (Lousy or Bad) Cholesterol: Below 100 mg/dL

3. HDL (Good) Cholesterol: Above 60 mg/dL

4. Triglycerides: Below 150 mg/dL

5. Normal Blood Pressure: Less than 120/80  – (Upper #) less than 120 and Diastolic (Lower #) less than 80

6. BMI: Less than 24.9

7. Waist size: Less than 35 inches

If you have a BMI greater than 24.9 and a waist measurement greater than 35 inches, you’re at increased risk for CHD.

#Take15Minutes Each Day for YOU

Every day, schedule 15 minutes for just you. Spend this time alone without any distractions. Use this time to disconnect, clear your mind and enjoy the stillness. Here are  some examples to get you started. 

1. Focus on your breathing -“As you inhale, try saying this phrase to yourself: “Breathing in peace and calm.” And as you exhale, say: “Breathing out tension and anxiety.” When you first start, aim for 10 minutes of deep breathing. Gradually add time until your sessions are 15- to 20-minutes long.” 

2. Go for a walk – Go for a mindful walk. Discover nature, observe the outdoor beauty or walk indoors at your mall. Remember, beauty is right in front of us.

3. Read a book – Find a reading nook and read your favorite novel or how-to book. Goodreads is a great place to discover new books.

4. Listen to music – Listen to your favorite soothing joyful music can help reduce stress and decrease blood pressure and anxiety.

5. Shake it out and dance – Dancing can help reduce stress and build memory.

6. Flip through the pages of your favorite magazine. Find inspiration, and keep flipping.

7. Take a warm bath. Light a candle, put on soothing music. Don’t let your mind wonder thinking about your endless to-list. Instead, focus on the stillness and breathe. (Don’t forget to blow out the candle when you’re done!)

8. Take out your guitar, violin or flute (or any other instrument) you have hiding in your closet and begin to play it.

Your Turn

How do you like to spend your 15 minutes each day? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below and on Facebook.  

Sources and for more information on heart disease in women 

American Heart Association 



National Institutes of Health-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute 



Mayo Clinic



WomensHealth.Gov – Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


American Heart Association – Go Red for Women




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Quote – Life’s Most Persistent and Urgent Question is…

Monday, January 19, 2015 16:01

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

QUOTE Life's most urgent question is- FOR HEALTHIN30 BARBARA FICARRA (1)


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6 Simple Healthy Living Tips for a Happier and Healthier You

Monday, December 22, 2014 17:34

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Healthy Living Healthin30 Blue Abstract (1)

 “A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot and realize how blessed you are for what you have.” — Unknown

Healthy living is about being in charge of your health. It means being proactive and empowered to take action. Healthy living is about doing simple things—which bring you calmness and serenity, and it can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being. 

Here are six simple healthy living tips to help you live happier and healthier: 

1. Be Empowered. When it comes to health information and advice, don’t believe everything you hear or read. Information may be incomplete and flawed. Whether it’ online, in print or on-air:

  • Be cautious
  • Be skeptical 
  • Be smart
  • Dig deep 
  • Ask questions
  • Talk to your doctornurse or other health care professional (registered dietician, pharmacist, physical therapist, etc.) before making any drastic changes or to get more information.

2. Restore calm and inner peace. Just breathe. Everyone feels stress; no one is immune to it, however, not all stress is bad. We have a stress response that can be life saving in certain situations. In the short term, stress can boost the immune system, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, but chronic stress can be harmful. One way to learn to help cope with stress is to take 15 minutes each day to focus on you. For example, focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply and exhale. Harvard Health Publications offers information on proper breathing to reduce stress: “As you inhale, try saying this phrase to yourself: “Breathing in peace and calm.” And as you exhale, say: “Breathing out tension and anxiety.” When you first start, aim for 10 minutes of deep breathing. Gradually add time until your sessions are 15- to 20-minutes long.”

3. Listen to your favorite joyful soothing music. Research shows that listening to joyful music is good for your health. Listening to soothing music can decrease blood pressure and anxiety levels in patients with certain heart conditions. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Center found that listening to joyful music can have a healthy effect on blood vessel function, and most of the participants in the study stated that country music is their favorite type of music that evokes joy. (I love country music!)

4. Enjoy the Outdoors. Surround yourself with beauty of the outdoors. Have calming positive thoughts as you let nature in as you take a peaceful gentle walk. Walking 30 minutes per day can boost your mood and help decrease stress.

5. Write in a bliss journal™. Every day, write down things you are grateful for. Write down things that bring you pleasure. Write down things you love. Focus on the positive things in your life, and write them in your bliss journal.

6. Give yourself a compliment. Boost your self-esteem. Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. Be kind to yourself and leave the negative self-talk behind. Create positive thoughts and share them with yourself.  Focus on you. Acknowledge your accomplishments and tell yourself, “Well done.” Think about everything you do each day, and acknowledge the positive things. You deserve to shine.   

Your turn
What healthy living health tips would you like to share with our readers? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below or on Facebook. As always, thank you for your time.

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Image courtesy of [Serge Bertasius] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Speaking Event: PIAA International Conference, Amsterdam

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 19:35

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

PIAA Amsterdam Speaking Event Barbara Ficarra


I recently had the honor of speaking at the PIAA International Section Conference, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” — How Threats Can Become Opportunities in Medical Liability, in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The conference was designed to allow attendees to share experiences relating to medical liability and the medical indemnity industry internationally, and it was a huge success.

I was delighted to be invited to participate to speak about social media in medicine. The presentation, Social Media: Friend or Foe in 21st Century Medicine? was part of a panel. We each presented separately and subsequently took questions from the audience.

Moderator: Dr. Hartley S. Stern, CEO, CMPA
Speaker: Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA, founder Healthin30.com, award-winning broadcast journalist, writer – The Huffington Post, consultant
Speaker: Jane O’Brien, former Head of Standards & Ethics, General Medical Council (GMC)
Speaker: Chad P. Brouillard, Esq., Foster & Eldridge, LLP

The phenomenon of social media has taken the world by storm. Health care, like every other area of life, has been impacted. This session provided a broad perspective on all of the factors and issues that medical professional liability insurance and indemnification organizations and individual physicians should bear in mind in using social media. These include potential legal, and new, causes of action for medical liability. 

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PIAA Conference


PIAA Speaking Event Barbara Ficarra Amsterdam

PIAA Speaking Event 2 Barbara Ficarra Amsterdam