November/December 2023

Attune Nutrition at the Buttonwood Business Center

Nutrition News to Help You Be Well and Live Well

It’s holiday season again!  I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how quickly time is going!  As we approach Thanksgiving in just under a week, it’s a great time to remember what this uniquely American holiday is all about–counting our blessings, giving thanks to God for His goodness and provision, and coming together to celebrate that gratitude with each other.  And did you know that thankfulness is good for your health?  Read more below about the health benefits of expressing gratitude.  Be sure not to miss the seasonal recipe (one of my personal favorites) and additional resources listed at the end of this newsletter.  Happy Thanksgiving!

In good health,

Sally Stegemann MS, RD, LD

An Attitude of Gratitude

By Sally Stegemann, MS, RD, LD

        The idea that having gratitude can improve your mental well-being is well supported by research.  It has been observed that being thankful changes your brain chemistry by boosting levels of dopamine and serotonin.  This in turn decreases stress, depression, anxiety, and improves mood and sleep.  Expressing gratitude also releases oxytocin (“the love hormone”), which helps you feel more connected to others, and creates feelings of happiness and relaxation.  

        Gratitude is not only beneficial for mental health, but physical health as well.  According to the American Heart Association, gratitude is “good medicine.”  Grateful people tend to be less likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, and have better dietary and exercise habits.  They have improved blood pressure, heart health, and immune system function.  Practicing gratitude also can decrease inflammation and slow the effect of age-related neurodegeneration.  

Ways to Practice Gratitude:

  1. Express self-appreciation daily:  list several things about yourself you are thankful for
  2. Express appreciation to others:  verbally tell someone that you appreciate them, or write them a quick note of thanks whether over email, text or handwritten
  3. Keep a gratitude journal:  find a few minutes each day to jot down who/what you are thankful for on that particular day
  4. Give thanks around the dinner table:  say a prayer, or take turns each telling one thing you are thankful for that day.  On your own?  Try a gratitude prayer or meditation.  

“Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  Ephesians 5: 19-20

Seasonal Recipe

Scalloped green beans


3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups milk

1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar

2 pounds green or wax beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (7-8 cups)

1 onion, halved and sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup dried bread crumbs, or ½ cup fresh


  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9- by 13- inch baking dish with butter.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and make a smooth paste.  Stir in the milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and stir in the cheese.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.
  3. Layer the beans and onion in the baking dish, generously sprinkling with the salt and pepper as you layer.  Cover with the cheese sauce.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  
  4. Bake for about 60 minutes, until the beans are tender.  Serve hot.

Recipe from:  “Serving up the Harvest; Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables” by Andrea Chesman

For more tips on practicing gratitude when it comes to food, mindful eating, and dealing with food around the holidays, please visit one of my favorite resources, by Dr. Michelle May 

Attune Nutrition

Buttonwood Business Center

3610 Buttonwood Dr.

Columbia, MO 65202