Issue #8

April 2013
AlaskaCare Employee News from the Alaska Division of Retirement and Benefits

In this issue

April is Stress Awareness Month!

April Health Hero

12-Week Wellness Program

Wellness Challenge

Healthy Recipe

April is Stress Awareness Month!

reduce stress sign

During the month of April, challenge yourself to identify and alleviate stress in your life.

One way to reduce stress and elevate your mood is through increased exercise. This month, we encourage you to take steps to increase cardiovascular activities in your life - take a walk and enjoy the spring weather, enroll in a fitness class, start a running program, or join a sports team in a local recreation league. There are lots of simple ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life and access to discounted gym and fitness opportunities is a great way to kick off a healthy summer.


Quick Links

AlaskaCare Wellness

Contact our Wellness Team

Are you an AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan Member?

State Employee Fitness Discounts

You can also find information regarding how to develop better stress management skills through your Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). Counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide confidential assistance at no cost to you. Call (800) 478-2812 or use the self-help tools and other resources online.


April Health Hero: Natalya Stoddard

Natalya Stoddard

Natalya Stoddard is an inspiration to those around her, creating excitement about exercise and fitness among her co-workers. As one of her colleagues writes, “Natalya is always enthusiastic about her personal workouts. When asked if you can join her, she is very agreeable and holds you accountable if you don't attend workout classes with her. It's a good influence to have someone so motivating around you.”

Natalya knows how important it is to have the support of friends and peers to transform daily exercise from a chore into a habit. In 2010, she got together with a group of friends and decided to sign up for a gym membership. She remembers how challenging it was at first to stay motivated to exercise every day, but her group of friends made a deal that each time one of them missed a day, they would have to pay five dollars. The deal paid off and soon an hour a day at the gym became part of her routine, an important source of stress relief and an energy booster in her life. Now, three years later, Natalya is still going to the gym every night for an hour after work. As she says, “It's only one hour out of 24 and by 6 p.m. I am out of the gym, energized, and ready to spend time with my family and friends.”

Complete a Health Hero nomination form to recognize someone in your office.


12-Week Wellness Education Program Registration Now Open

Starting April 29: Managing High Blood Pressure

In this 12-week program you will learn about:

blood pressure
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Heart healthy exercise
  • Eating right to lower blood pressure

You will receive instructions and assignments each week via email to help you make positive changes to improve your health.

Register online today to start taking steps to a healthier lifestyle!


Wellness Challenge: Maximizing Cardiovascular Health
Through Exercise


April is here and the HealthSmart Wellness Team wants to get your spring started right. This month’s healthy habit encourages you to maximize your cardiovascular health through exercise. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help you live longer and healthier.

Longer, less frequent sessions of cardiovascular exercise don’t appear to have an advantage over shorter, more frequent sessions of exercise. So, breaking exercising into 20 minute sessions or “doses” spread throughout the day offer cardiovascular benefits similar to participating in continuous exercise for 1 hour straight.

To participate, simply print the challenge log [PDF]. At the end of the month send the complete form to Mike DiFilippo, the Wellness Coordinator for HealthSmart.

Upcoming Wellness Trainings

  • Webinar: Maximizing Cardiovascular Health Through Exercise
    April 9, at 12 p.m. or April 11 at 1 p.m. More details

Healthy Recipe: Tuscan Turkey Meatballs with Torn Basil

For additional healthy recipe ideas and inspiration, visit the HealthSmart Wellness Portal.



  • 1/2 cup plain whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated red onion
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiana–Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, half finely chopped, half hand torn (divided use)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey breast meat
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Stir the bread crumbs and onion together in a medium bowl and let sit at least 5 minutes.
  3. One at a time, stir in each additional ingredient except the torn basil, careful to evenly combine ingredients and not over-mixing the turkey.
  4. Form the mixture into 18 balls (about 2 Tbsp mixture per ball).
  5. Place on large nonstick baking pan and bake 18 minutes or until well done.
  6. Serve topped with the torn basil.

This recipe makes 6 servings, 3 meatballs per serving.

Source: Alaska Regional Hospital

Estimated Nutritional Information Per Serving:

  • 160 Calories
  • 37 Calories from Fat
  • 4g Fat
  • 1g Saturated Fat
  • 70mg Cholesterol
  • 460mg Sodium
  • 3.5g Carbohydrate
  • 1g Dietary Fiber
  • 1g Sugar
  • 2g Protein
AlaskaCare Wellness  •
Phone: (907) 465-4460  •  Fax: (907) 465-3086  •  TDD: (907) 465-2805
This electronic newsletter and services described within applies only to State of Alaska AlaskaCare Employee Health Plan members and their dependents.