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Healthier Vacation Eating

By Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, CDE at LMC

Its summer, time to live care free and enjoy life! Wait, eat healthy on vacation? It’s summer, I’m traveling and eating out, not cooking!

sunscreenWe have all experienced the challenges eating out while on vacation and for some trying not to gain weight can be a greater challenge. It seems we are surrounded by high calorie, high fat and high sugary foods when we travel. As we drive down the road, every mile brings a dozen fast food options all trying to temp us to stop. As you walk through an airport not only are many of the food choices high in calories, they are also expensive! Although it is sometimes difficult to find a “healthy” choice or to decide what to make while on vacation there are a few options try.

Healthy Snacks to the Rescue! In many cases, eating a snack replaces a meal especially if you are driving longer distances, flying, or spending a day on the beach or in the mountains. Snacks are going to be necessary to keep you going. Below are some ideas to help you eat healthier and save your waistline:

veggie tray•1 oz (1/4 c) servings of raw or dry roasted nuts. Any nut is good
•½ c- 1 cup individual servings of a lower sugar, higher fiber cereal
•Personalized trail mix: combo of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Approx ¼-1/2 c serving
•1 oz individual cheese sticks or rounds
•1 -2 Tbsp Natural peanut butter or almond butter with 1 oz serving of whole wheat crackers, graham cracker or gluten free crackers
•½ – 1 oz sliced cheese with crackers or fruit slices
•PB & J sandwich on sandwich thins
water pouring•Raw veggies of your choice: cut carrots or baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, celery, yellow squash, zucchini or cherry tomatoes (all better dipped in hummus or a little of your favorite salad dressing)
•Fruit: banana, apple, pear, peach, berries, orange, melon
•Low sodium lunch meat and cheese roll ups with or without tortilla

Remember to drink water. Traveling, especially in airplanes is very dehydrating. Drinking water will help to keep you alert when driving and keep you from over heating if you are at the beach or hiking in the mountains. Water is the most important nutrient for our bodies and especially important when we are traveling and not in our regular routine.

The Most Experienced TAVR Facility in the Midlands

Reaching a significant milestone in comprehensive cardiovascular care for the people of our community, Lexington Medical Center has become the most experienced hospital in the Midlands for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, known as TAVR. The procedure allows doctors to replace the heart’s aortic valve with a catheter instead of open heart surgery.

Lexington Medical Center is celebrating the one-year anniversary of beginning its TAVR program. So far, the hospital has performed more than 60 TAVR procedures, more than any other hospital in the Midlands. TAVR is considered the greatest advance in cardiology since coronary angioplasty.

Currently, TAVR is for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are high-risk candidates for open heart surgery because of their age, history of heart disease, or other health issues.

Lexington Medical Center's TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

Lexington Medical Center’s TAVR Team. L to R: Jeffrey Travis, MD; Robert Malanuk, MD, FACC; Kristen Davis, MSN, RN, CCRN; Robert Leonardi, MD, FACC; Dee Prastein, MD

“We feel so lucky to be able to help these people, many of whom are debilitated by heart failure and did not have any good options in the past,” said Dr. Robert Leonardi of Lexington Cardiology at Lexington Medical Center, who works with a team of clinicians on the hospital’s TAVR team.

Patients with severe aortic stenosis have a narrowed aortic valve that does not allow blood to flow efficiently. As the heart works harder to pump enough blood through the smaller opening in the valve, the heart eventually becomes weak. Over time, that can lead to life-threatening heart problems.

To replace the diseased aortic valve with TAVR, the new aortic valve is compressed into a catheter. Doctors thread the catheter through the body to the inside of the diseased aortic valve.

Then, they deploy the new valve inside the diseased aortic valve, which becomes the anchor for the new valve. The new valve is functional immediately and normal blood flow is restored.

Lexington Medical Center performed the first fully percutaneous TAVR procedure in South Carolina. With this minimally invasive technique, doctors deployed the new aortic valve through just a small puncture in the femoral artery in the leg. The hospital also performed the first TAVR procedure in South Carolina where the patient was awake, and it remains the only South Carolina hospital routinely doing the procedures fully percutaneously, without putting patients to sleep, and without the need for a transesophageal echocardiogram. This “minimalist” approach has been shown to make recovery from valve replacement easier.

Lexington Medical Center hosted a reception on the hospital campus in May with patients who underwent TAVR, clinicians and hospital employees.

To learn more about cardiovascular care at Lexington Medical Center, visit

Think F.A.S.T. for Stroke

Lexington Medical Center physician Dr. Francisco Albert was interviewed about stroke on WIS-TV by news anchor Mary King for a special series this month. In the segment below, he talks about how to recognize stroke symptoms and explains why timely treatment is so important.

Lexington Medical Center is a Primary Stroke Center and has received a “Gold Plus” stroke award from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for excellent care of stroke patients. Learn more at