Western Wisconsin

Health care in the grocery store?

Bill Hopkins, MD, a family physician with Ministry Victory Medical Group’s Stanley clinic takes health care to the grocery store.

In the “Shop with the Doc” program, Dr. Hopkins hosts grocery store “tours” with people interested in making healthy food choices.

“Shop with the Doc” helps people develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

During a pre-op physical exam, Dr. Hopkins found that his diabetes was out of control. He was taking a diabetes pill, but his numbers were still very high. His blood pressure was high despite taking blood pressure medication, his cholesterol was slightly elevated and he could not lose weight. Through years of medical practice, Dr. Hopkins knew high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure would damage his health.

In addition to exercising five times a week, Dr. Hopkins made substantial changes to his diet.

Changing my eating habits required careful attention to my grocery shopping,” said Dr. Hopkins. “I shop twice a week and spend 90 percent of my time in the fresh produce section. I buy lots of different lettuce, spinach, kale and cabbage, and whatever else looks good and fresh ... tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, onions summer and winter squash, fresh herbs and garlic. I try to eat six to eight ounces of green leafy vegetables each day.

“I also shop for dried beans, nuts, seeds, whole-wheat pasta and fruits and vegetables in the frozen foods section. I eat very little or no meat, no dairy (I use soy milk), no chips, canned foods or baked goods.”

The great thing about eating right is that you can eat as much of the right foods as you want. The closer you adhere to eating the right foods, the more your pounds will melt off; you’ll feel better; you’ll have more energy and your system will be detoxified.

Dr Hopkins lost 30 pounds, the equivalent of two large bowling balls, by changing the way he ate.

“Today’s American diet is one of the worst of all time,” said Dr Hopkins. “It is full of fast food and processed food high in salt, sugar and white flour. We have one of the shortest life spans of all the developed countries and yet we spend trillions of health dollars repairing damage done by our diet – heart surgery, hip surgery, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney failure. We may live longer than we did 150 years ago, but we live ‘sicker.’

“By eating the right foods your diet can be good for you, good tasting, and exotic all at the same time,” Dr. Hopkins said.

Dr. Hopkins is a self-professed “foodie”. At home, he enjoys cooking Thai, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and old Wisconsin recipes. He also enjoys baking bread.

Bill Hopkins, MD, invites you to eat for the health of it

By eating the right foods you can fight cancer, heart disease, and arthritis while lowering cholesterol, and blood pressure. You might also be able to lose some weight.

Dr. Hopkins recommends that you eat at least eight servings of vegetables and fruits a day. One serving of vegetables is one cup of raw vegetables. For fruits, one serving equals: one medium apple, orange, or banana; or ½ of a grapefruit, or 10 to 12 grapes.

Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat, and they add flavor and variety to your diet. They also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Combining fruits and vegetables in “smoothies” or in raw salads, is extremely nutritious.

Here are some guidelines for vegetables.

Green vegetables – All types of green vegetables are extremely important for your health, blood vessels and heart. Six to eight ounces a day are recommended. They can be raw, like one of the many varieties of lettuce, spinach, kale, and cabbage, and cooked like green beans, broccoli, or celery. Eat about half each way, raw or cooked. Eat at least six ounces, and more if you like.

Onions – Eat one to two ounces of sliced onions, raw or cooked, daily. That is about one onion a week. More if you like them.

Mushrooms – Eat one or two mushrooms a day, slightly cooked or warmed in the microwave, on salads, or in soups or stews. Try to eat at least 10 mushrooms a week, any variety. More if you like them.

Berries – Eat two cups of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or other berries a week, fresh or frozen. Make sure your berries do not have added sugar or syrup.

Other vegetables – Along with the fruits and vegetables listed above, you should eat other types of vegetables as well. Summer squash or zucchini or yellow squash, winter squash, sweet potatoes, eggplant, carrots, radishes are all good for you. Tomatoes are also a wonderful vegetable for our health and great for use in sauces and soups. You can also eat them raw on salads or fresh from the vine when they’re in season.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta – There’s one rule when you are choosing foods from this group. “If it’s white…say good night!” Please make every effort to avoid white flour and breads, and white rice. All these foods are hard on your body…your blood vessels, joints, and your waistline.

Instead, choose multigrain and whole-wheat breads, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta. These are much healthier choices, but eat them in small amounts. Limit yourself to one or two slices of bread, one cup of brown rice, or one potato daily.

Salt and Sugar – “If it’s white…say good night!”

Use salt substitutes like Mrs. Dash®, which is made from a combination of dried vegetables. It is a healthy alternative and comes in variety of flavors. SPIKE is another salt substitute that has less of a vegetable taste; it is more like salt and pepper and it is made in Wisconsin.

You should also use sugar substitutes, such as honey and agave nectar. They still provide calories and carbohydrates, and should be used sparingly in cooking. Artificial sweeteners have little or no calories, but may serve as stimulators of your sweet tooth, and are not helpful over time. Natural sweeteners such as dried fruits, raisins and dates can also be used in cooking.

Meat, Poultry, Fish and Dry Beans – You may eat up to four servings of meat a week. One serving is or 3 ounces of lean meat, poultry, fish. In addition, the American Heart Association recommends two or more fish meals a week.

Beef, Pork, Veal and Lamb – Baking, broiling and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare meat. Lean cuts can be pan-broiled or stir-fried. Use a nonstick pan or nonstick spray coating. Trim outside fat away before cooking. Trim any inside, separable fat before eating. Use herbs, spices, fresh vegetables, and fat-free marinades to season meat. Avoid high-fat sauces and gravies.

Poultry – Baking, broiling and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare poultry. Skinless poultry can be pan-broiled or stir-fried. Use a nonstick pan or nonstick spray coating. Remove skin and visible fat before cooking. Chicken breasts are a good choice because they are low in fat.

Fish – Poaching, steaming, baking and broiling are the healthiest ways to prepare fish. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in some fatty fish, such as salmon and trout, may help lower the risk of heart disease in some people.

Legumes – Dry beans, peas and lentils offer protein and fiber without the cholesterol and fat that meats have.

If you eat meat in your diet, your goal is to eat 1/4 cup of beans each day or two cups a week.

If you decide not to eat meat, then you will need to eat one cup of cooked beans each day. (One cup of cooked beans equals two ounces of meat). Substitute beans for meat in chili and soups. Sprinkle cooked beans on salads. Buy or make your own bean dips, such as hummus or edamame (soybean) dip.

Nuts and Seeds – Eat one to three teaspoons of ground flax seed each day. You can also eat one handful of nuts (any variety, no salt) daily. Remember to refrigerate or freeze your seeds or nuts as they have oils in them.

Milk, Yogurt and Cheese – You should have one to two servings of dairy a day. One serving is one cup of milk or yogurt. Skim milk or buttermilk is best.

Choose low-fat dairy products. Sometimes our taste buds need to be retrained slowly. For instance, if you normally drink whole milk, try 2% for a few months. After you have adapted to 2% milk, try skim milk. After a few months of skim milk, 2% milk will taste like cream to you.

Soy milk and almond milk are very nutritious substitutes for milk, with little to no fat, no cholesterol, and fewer carbohydrates.

If you absolutely love cheese, use it sparingly and in small amounts. It can be used as a taste addition or seasoning.

Use 1% or fat-free cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt for cooking. Plain fat-free yogurt can replace sour cream in many recipes. To maintain texture, stir 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into each cup of yogurt before cooking.

Good and healthy snacks – Raisins and other dried fruits make a quick snack. You can also snack on strawberries, grapes, pineapple chunks, oranges or grapefruit sections. These are foods that are good for you. Be creative, you can also try bananas cooked lightly in apple juice, or apple slices with natural peanut butter.

Eat carrot sticks, celery sticks with natural peanut butter, raw broccoli and cauliflower florets with a low-fat dip or salsa.

Make bean dips and serve with veggies or whole-wheat crackers or pita bread.

Light or fat-free popcorn makes a healthy snack. Try sprinkling popped corn with a little garlic, onion or chili powder instead of salt.

If the above list of food choices seems like a lot to remember, print out the following Essential Daily Foods To Fight Disease list below.

GREEN VEGETABLES: 6 to 8 ounces, raw or cooked.
ONIONS: 1 to 2 ounces daily, or 1 medium onion a week, raw or cooked
MUSHROOMS: 1 or 2 a day, or about 10 a week, any variety, cooked
BEANS: ¼ cup a day, or up to 2 cups a week, any variety, cooked
BERRIES: ¼ cup a day, or up to 2 cups a week, fresh or frozen, unsweetened
SEEDS: Ground flax seed (not whole) 1 to 3 teaspoons a day
NUTS: 1 handful of nuts (low or no salt) or 1 to 2 tablespoons of raw (old-fashioned) peanut butter daily.

Q & A with Dr. Hopkins

Dr. Hopkins made a successful change in his eating habits, which made a radical change in his health. We sat down with Dr. Hopkins to ask him how he developed his healthy eating strategy. Dr. Hopkins loves to share his knowledge with patients and anyone interested in living a healthier lifestyle.

What made you decide to start changing your lifestyle?

I needed to schedule a routine colonoscopy screening, but it required a pre-op physical exam. My doctor (yes, even doctors have doctors) and I were surprised to see my diabetes was out of control. My HgA1c was 8.1 and my fasted blood glucose was 200. I was on a diabetes pill already, but never had numbers that high. My weight was at 275, a number that refused to budge over the past 3 years, despite exercising 5 days a week; I had even bicycled 10 miles in Cadott’s apple orchard country the day before my physical.

My cholesterol was up slightly, but did not require medication, as it did seem to respond to my bicycle regimen. My blood pressure was 150/100, despite my taking three blood pressure medicines. I knew that something had to be done! I have seen the damage done by high sugar and high blood pressure all too often over my years in practice.

How did you start this process of lifestyle change?

Since exercise had not worked, I had little “wiggle room.” I had to diet, and seriously diet! This was in the fall so I had 2 months before the holidays started. I was determined to start right away, and not to wait for a New Year’s resolution.

I learned of Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s diet through a patient I had seen several months earlier. This retiree and his wife had seen a documentary about a 350-pound Australian tourist in America who suffered a heart attack. He then started the Fuhrman diet and lost nearly 100 pounds over the next several months, with marked medical improvement. The wife, concerned about her husband’s health, put her husband on the diet and he lost close to one-fourth of his body weight! He was now off of all of his blood pressure pills and diabetes pills, and much more active again ... and he ate all he wanted!

I looked up Dr. Fuhrman online by Googling “Eat to Live,” which is the book he wrote in 2003, and updated in 2011. He is a board-certified family doctor who has been involved in nutrition, even before medical school. He is the nutrition expert for Dr. Mehmet Oz, the popular TV doctor.

Dr. Fuhrman sells no pills, no foods, no machines. For $10, his book is available on Amazon.com, and many bookstores carry it. This has to be the cheapest diet around, and medically quite sound. I have no qualms putting seriously ill, over-medicated patients, with heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, osteoarthritis, even severe cases of constipation, on this diet.

Fresh fruits/veggies are central to Dr. Fuhrman’s approach. Was this a difficult change to make in your diet?

I have found that this change in eating habits requires careful attention to my grocery shopping. You have to go twice a week to keep things fresh. I monitor my patient’s diet adherence by asking them how often they have been to the grocery store the last 2 weeks. Any answer less than three means they are not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables.

How did your own grocery shopping change?

I spend 90 percent of my time in the fresh produce section. I buy lots of different lettuces, baby spinach, kale, and cabbage. You want to eat six to eight ounces a day of these green leafy vegetables. That is a big salad. I also incorporate them into a fruit smoothie I eat in the morning. Then I buy whatever looks good and fresh...tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, summer and winter squash, fresh herbs and garlic, etc.

I may then take a brief look at dried beans, nuts, seeds, whole-wheat pasta, and the frozen foods section for fruits and vegetables. That’s it. I eat very little or no meat, no dairy (I use soy milk), no chips, canned foods, or baked goods.

Do you do the cooking at your house? How did you discover new ways to prepare these healthier foods?

My wife and I are “foodies”. We have eaten at many of the famous chef restaurants around the United States and in England. We had Italian pork sandwiches with Mario Batali’s sister in their dad’s small restaurant in Seattle, discussing our travels with the author of The United States of Arugula, a book about the American food movement. We have dined in Melissa Kelly’s Primo in Rockland Maine, and toured her kitchen with this famous chef. We ate at Jaime Oliver’s restaurant in London, manned by street waifs who are in their teenage years whom he takes on for training.

At home, we cook Thai food, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and old Wisconsin recipes. I personally love to bake bread.

I decided to learn vegetarian cuisine. I picked up some recipes online, some in Dr. Fuhrman’s book and website. My kids got me the equivalent of The Joy of Cooking for vegetarians. I ordered one of the Moosewood Café’s cookbooks. They are a famous vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, NY, dating back to the early ‘70s. They have been putting out cookbooks about every other year. I recently ordered Southern Indian Vegetarian Cooking. I ordered Indian groceries online from a store located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Were any foods/types of foods “off limits?”

The first 6 weeks: no meat, no dairy, no animal fats, no sugar. I now eat up to 12 oz of meat a week, including fish. I have lost my taste for butter, gravy and other fatty foods. I love soy and almond milk, and do not care to go back to dairy. I use a little cheese for seasoning certain foods, occasional plain yogurt in cooking, especially the Indian recipes.

Did you incorporate exercise? What type(s)?

As I was already exercising and not losing weight, I decided to cut back to one day a week while I started the diet, just enough to stay in condition, and see if this Fuhrman diet really worked.

The University of Wisconsin Cardiology Department did a large study on diet versus exercise on weight loss. Their results mirrored my own experience.

Exercise alone, at AHA guidelines (30 minutes, five days a week), was no better than the control group, who neither exercised or dieted. No weight loss was effected. It took one hour of exercise seven days a week to effect a weight loss.

The group that did diet alone had significantly more weight loss than the exercise and control groups, and the exercise and diet combined group had the most weight loss.

I am just starting to increase my exercise, and feel great doing it with 30 less pounds (that’s two men’s bowling balls!) to carry around.

Is there a mental/psychological side to implementing these changes, and if so, how do you prepare for that?

It is very hard to change, but as you get 2 to 3 weeks into the diet, you start to feel much better, as your system is detoxified. More energy, less joint pain, is typical by this time, and the weight starts to peel off. There are no portions to weigh and/or measure, you eat as much as you want. The closer you adhere to the right foods, the more you melt off the pounds.

You change your relationship to foods, and how you buy, store and cook them. We make very low-salt vegetable stock fresh every 2 to 3 weeks, and make our soups and stews from this. I cook three or four different kinds of beans one day a month, and freeze them in one and two cup portions. I enjoy showing friends and relatives how easy it is to manage this new way of eating, and how good the food tastes and how good you feel.

How did you involve you spouse / family in helping you with this?

My wife enjoys some of the foods, and has slowly been implementing more and more fresh fruits, veggies, and nuts into her diet. She tries many of my soups, and will cook up some of the recipes if I am overloaded at work.

What were the results?

I lost 30 pounds on the 6-week “boot camp” leading up to Thanksgiving. I ate a full Thanksgiving dinner, with a little turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

I forgot to put gravy on them, but they were so rich and enjoyable without, that I ate them as such. Two weeks later, my wife made a roast pork, with German potato dumplings. I used to slather this meal with gravy, but it truly tasted so good on its own, that I again deferred.

My blood sugar went from 200 to 100, and is rarely over 120 now. My HgA1c went from 8.1 to 6.1, the best it has been in 5 years. My blood pressure dropped, and I am on two pills instead of three for that now. I remain off cholesterol pills, and hope to get off the diabetes pills by June.

We still go to restaurants, but I order big salads, broth-based soups, and steamed vegetables. I find everything I want at the Chinese buffets: lettuce, fresh fruits, whole grain noodles, kimchi cabbage, mushrooms, etc. There is a very good Indian restaurant in Eau Claire, in the Ramada downtown, which serves many vegetarian dishes and the best tomato soup I have ever tasted.

I gained five pounds through Christmas, but am now up and running with my new veggie cookbooks, and was surprised that I lost that five pounds, and now hope to lose 20 more by springtime, when I can bicycle as much as I want.

What advice do you have for others/your patients who want to make some healthy changes?

The American diet today is one of the worst of all times – with fast food restaurants and processed foods high in salt, sugar, and white flour. My rule of thumb is, “if it’s white, you can say ‘good night!’” We have one of the shortest life spans of all the developed countries, and we spend most of our trillions of health dollars on repairing damage done by our diet – heart surgery, hip surgery, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure. We may live longer than 150 years ago, but we live “sicker” as well.

When I look at the typical supermarket, I see 90 percent as a vast caloric wasteland. I see so much good in their simple fruits and vegetables, dried beans, nuts, seeds, whole grain flour, brown rice, barley and so on. Your diet can be good for you, good tasting, and exotic – all at the same time.

What will happen during your “Shop with the Doc” programs?

I will be taking anyone interested through the produce section, explaining what I look for and how I prepare various fruits and vegetables. I will likely visit the dried bean section, and the frozen fruit and vegetable areas as well.

Fluorescence imaging makes surgery more precise

Near-infrared fluorescence imaging helps doctors identify and remove tumors without harming the healthy tissue.

The da Vinci Surgical System has given doctors at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital access to robot-assisted technology for several years. Now, with the incorporation of fluorescent dye, cancer surgery is even more precise.

The da Vinci Surgical System has now incorporated the use of a green-colored fluorescent dye called IndoCyanine Green (ICG) that is activated by near-infrared light. With this new technology, surgeons are able to capture detailed, real-time images of tissue and blood vessels for the identification of the renal vessels.

“Florescence imaging combined with the three dimensional HD camera allows real-time identification of the kidney tumor,” said Gregory Anderson, MD, a Marshfield Clinic urologist on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

“The technology allows us to clamp only the artery feeding the tumor. We are able to perform a meticulous and precise tumor dissection without damaging healthy tissue,” said Dr. Anderson. Using the da Vinci system with florescence allows surgeons to make a distinction between malignant and normal tissue during surgery. Currently, this procedure only has FDA approval for use in kidney surgery, but may have use in prostate and bladder cancer surgery in the future.

Start a walking program this summer

Walking is flexible physical fitness that virtually anyone can follow.

Walking  offers a win-win exercise plan, especially for women. Walking is a path to physical fitness that virtually any woman can follow. According to Vinay Sharma, MD, a family physician with Ministry Victory Medical Group’s Thorp Clinic, “Walking has been proven to lower the risk of a whole range of health problems, and it can help with weight control.”

A fast food chain recently launched a novel promotion: a happy meal equivalent for adults with a twist – inside the box was a healthy meal and a pedometer. When even the fast food chains are nudging you to start walking and undo the damage of all those burgers and fries, you know it’s time to hit the pavement.

Whether you get it in a happy meal or buy one at the drug store, a pedometer offers a great incentive for your walking program. Clip a pedometer on your waistband above the hip, and it will count the steps you take in a day.

Logging the number of steps you walk each day for a week will raise your awareness of just how much or how little exercise you really get. Most of us will probably find out that we get far less exercise than we think.

Dr. Sharma says, “The point is not to become demoralized about our sedentary lives but to use the information to jump start our routine. One suggested target is 10,000 steps per day or about five miles – an activity level that reaps both health benefits and weight loss. This might sound like a lot, especially if your pedometer tells you you’re only covering 2,000 steps per day. The goal is to measure and increase the number of steps you take each day.

Need more incentive? Walking with a friend, sometimes even your doctor can be more enjoyable and keep you both motivated.

The beauty of walking is that you can break your target distance into a number of shorter, more manageable spurts. Perhaps you could walk one mile to and from work, take a 15-minute walk as part of your lunch break and a 30-minute walk with your spouse, your friend or neighbor after dinner.

The tiniest infants are cared for by five neonatologists

Edward C. Denny, MD, completed his neonatal-perinatal fellowship at the Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, DC, and was director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Allentown, Penn. He has practiced General Pediatrics and Neonatology in Marshfield since 1992. He currently works part-time and restricts his practice solely to the babies in the NICU and the newborn nursery. He lives in Marshfield with his wife, and when time allows, enjoys bicycling and playing the piano.




Jody R. Gross, MD, FAAP, completed her fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She joined Marshfield’s neonatology department in 1984 with a particular interest in pulmonary hypertension and cytomegalovirus infections. Dr. Gross is the director of the NICU and Neonatal Transport Service. When not caring for tiny infants, Dr. Gross enjoys beading jewelry, and her Australian Shepherd dogs.




George J. Hoehn, MD, completed his medical school training at Indiana University in 1980. After his pediatric residency at the University of Missouri, he moved on to the University of Connecticut for his neonatology fellowship, which was completed in 1985. He has been a full-time staff neonatologist in Marshfield since that time.


Audra A. Winder, MD, is a native of Sheridan, Wyoming. Dr. Winder is a full-time staff neonatologist in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“Neonatology was always something I enjoyed,” said Dr. Winder. “We can help babies who are born as early as 24 weeks. Some of them are here with us for a month or more, depending on how their lungs are doing.”

After earning her medical degree at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Dr. Winder completed an internship and residency in pediatrics, and a fellowship in neonatology, all at the University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, Iowa.


Babatunde “Baba” T. Sobowale, MD, joined Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital’s team of on-staff Marshfield Clinic neonatologists in July 2011. Dr. Sobowale has a special interest in neonatal nutrition and is board certified in pediatrics. After earning his medical degree from the University of Ibadan College of Medicine, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, Dr. Sobowale went on to complete his residency in pediatrics at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and his fellowship in neonatology at Michigan State University-Sparrow Hospital, Lansing, Michigan.

The neonatologists are Marshfield Clinic physicians on staff at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.

Make your appointment now.

FREE WIAA Sports Physicals

Monday, July 16
1 – 5 p.m.
704 S. Clark Street, Thorp
Call 715.669.7279 for an appointment.

Wednesday, July 18
1 – 5 p.m.

6 Johnson Street, Owen
Call 715.229.2177 for an appointment.

Thursday, July 26
1 – 5 p.m.
1120 Pine Street, Stanley
Call 715.644.5530 for an appointment.

To participate in this FREE service, call the phone numbers listed above to schedule an appointment.

Eligibility requirements:

  • The student must participate in athletic programs in the Owen-Withee, Stanley-Boyd or Thorp school districts (communities where our Ministry Victory Medical Group clinics are located).
  • Students who participate in athletic programs in the Gilman or Cadott school districts are welcome if they have an existing relationship with a Ministry Victory Medical Group provider.

Students should bring to the appointment:

  • Immunization records.
  • WIAA green card (available from the school). The history side of the card should be filled out and signed by the parent or legal guardian prior to the appointment.
  • If students are from Gilman or Cadott, they should bring the name of their Ministry Victory Medical Group clinic provider.  


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