How Texas Tech health built an app for alternative payment models


Working in healthcare and technology for over a decade and a half, one thing I’ve noticed is that innovation is slowed and often nixed because we look at how an incremental achievement fits into the current mega-sized health I.T. environment.

I’ve experienced numerous times where operations, clinical or administrative personnel bring up problems that they are encountering that could easily be solved by technology, and when those problems are assessed by the IT department, most often they are acknowledged and solutions are even considered.

But it’s during the consideration process where the solutioning breaks down. This is due to the uber static situation health IT is in. For example, I recently was given the opportunity to manage a very large alternative payment initiative facilitated by CMS and the State of Texas. For years, this initiative was project oriented, and payments were made for design work and infrastructure development. Now, however, the initiative’s remuneration model has changed to outcomes-based care for patients with chronic diseases. Having people trained to conduct A1C tests or 3-part foot exams for diabetic patients wasn’t enough anymore, we actually needed to improve performance on these measures.

The obvious operational solution was to identify our patients who have chronic diseases, and ensure that when they come in for appointments, we do the necessary tests and exams to achieve the measure. We’d also need to identify our patients with diabetes, and if they do not have an appointment scheduled, we would need to try and get them to come in for a check-up, and conduct the important tests.

With all this, and with limited staff, we knew we needed a system to help us proactively manage these requirements. My team has been responsible for reporting for many years, and we knew there was a way to identify our patients through a series of queries in our EMR; theoretically we knew it was possible. So I proceeded to spend some time with our EMR leadership and ask them how we could tap into the system and build workflows to allow our practices the ability to be made aware of required activities.

The answer: Good News! We are working with our EMR vendor, and we are looking into a new product that they will be providing to help us case manage our patients, and flag when certain tests, exams, or services are required based on patients’ with chronic diseases. Needless to say I was stoked, until I got the answer to my final question: “When will this be available?”

The answer to my last question was, “2020?”

Well, in my experience, that’s not bad for a big 3 EMR — but my issue was that I was responsible for a lot of money in 2018 and 2019 in this alternative payment model.

Innovation foundation already in place

Before I go any further, I do want to acknowledge that I was in a very fortunate situation, in the sense that my employer and predecessor had set us up well by being forward-looking strategic thinkers. We have a great team of developers and project managers that have enabled us to create the systems I am about to talk about.

Considering the value of the initiative I am managing, waiting 2-years for a system, and hoping that organically through communications, education, and auditing we’d meet our objectives was not gonna cut it. And, buying a bolt-on case management system, and getting set up was both out-of-budget and would take too long. So, we had to come up with a solution.

After several meetings with the developers, project managers, and subject matter experts, we decided to build our own application, that would allow case managers to see patients who are on the schedule, and who are diagnosed with a chronic disease, and who need one or more of the tests, exams, or services required by CMS/Texas.

Here is how it worked:
First, we needed access to the data. Since our department has been a reporting area for years, we already had SQL-level access to EMR data, through a ‘Clinical Data Warehouse’ So, that was good! Over the years of the initiative, the team and their EMR partners had developed queries for reporting on patients who had chronic disease diagnoses, and they had developed ad hoc capabilities for reporting the HEDIS requirements we were looking for. All we needed to do then was turn those queries on earlier, to be proactive.


Next, we needed a delivery medium. Believe it or not, even in 2018 in healthcare, Microsoft Excel is still often thought of as an acceptable delivery vehicle for a ‘work queue’. No, we wanted to create a real application, with performance measurement, auditability, and reporting capabilities, and we wanted something easy to access and maintain.

Design and Development

Once we identified our toolset — an open source UX/UI template, we needed to address our design and development process. In my many experiences over the years, I have learned to be cautious of two things:

  1. Competing with the EMR, and
  2. Creating a tool that is too purpose-built

Competing with EMRs is tough, it’s like a local, organic farmer trying to collaborate with Albertson’s. Not to say it’s impossible, just not the easiest thing to do. We needed to work with the EMR, but creating a competitive solution, for something in their pipeline would not have been smart. So, we decided to keep our application simple, and also recognize things we could not accomplish, such as bi-directional communications. More simply: we knew we would not be able to post data back into the EMR systematically.

Knowing our limitations, and knowing that our users would still need to work in the EMR, we were able to build workflows that were simple to follow, meaningful, but not redundant. We always asked, “will the user have to do this in the EMR, and if so, do we have to have them do it in our app, too?” This mindset has allowed us to build applications that the users actually enjoy using, and do not find terribly intrusive to their daily work.

The second concern we dealt with was ensuring our design process would be open-ended enough to potentially solve other problems, too. Leveraging our industry knowledge from SME’s we asked what other types of problems could our application potentially solve? We didn’t obviously get an exhaustive list, but we did identify several, and we are now incorporating four other alternative payment models into the application we’ve built.

So, what have we done?

This is what we’ve accomplished, so far.

What you see above is a work queue of (fake) patients who are scheduled to come in for an appointment, who have a chronic disease, and who are “at risk” for certain HEDIS health indicators.

All of this information is from the EMR, and we are just re-organizing it, to focus on case management concerns. It provides a case manager with the important information, to conduct their work, to ensure that patients are given quality care, in accordance to our alternative payment model.

This, is the patient profile:

What you see in this screen are action items. Such as the ability to assign a patient to me, so I can work with them, even after the appointment, to keep them engaged with their health.

You can also see the option on the ‘At Risk Quality Indicators’, to allow me to create a checklist, and give that to the nurse and/or doctor, to let them know in advance of the appointment what patient Sam needs.

Lessons learned

This all took us about 6-months to build, to get us to the version we’re at now. Since this application has been in production, we have had 5 case managers, in two departments, facilitate thousands of patients’ care with their provider.

Without this tool, we would have either needed to hire 15 or more case managers, or, we would have just crossed our fingers and hope that we are successful.

Here is the moral of the story: With the right mind-set, and the willingness to try something different, even in health IT you can achieve great success without millions in investment, and without having to wait years for features to come out of the “pipeline.”

If in 2020, our EMR comes out with a solution that kills our app, guess what, no harm done. This has been a nominal sunk-cost, and our ROI expectation is exponential, based on the value of the alternative payment models we’re already working on, and the several we’re going to incorporate over the next few weeks.

Corey Shank is Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, in Lubbock Texas.


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These Vegetarian Traybakes Are Tasty, Healthy And Unbelievably Easy To Make


I was brought up in a vegetarian household – often vegan, as southern Indian food tends to be. Other than on pizza night, my mother rarely failed to put at least three different types of dish on the table – whether it was rice, spiced potatoes and aubergines, sambhar (a lentil and tamarind stew), carrots and beans in mustard seeds and a peppery tomato rasam, or home-made mushroom quiche, roasted vegetables and a Caprese salad. Given that she worked full-time as a GP, I have no idea how she managed, unless I’m blocking out the memory of a lot of potato waffles and buttery macaroni with grated Cheddar (still up there on my list of favourite dinners).

Food for dinner parties or birthdays was even better: home-made paneer cheese, blitzed with spices, then formed into koftas, deep-fried and cooked in a rich Mughal tomato and cream sauce, tiny stuffed aubergines, cauliflower cooked with ginger and chilli, and my favourite, pulao rice with cashews and saffron.

Weeknight cooking rarely affords the time for so many dishes, so I’ve taken the principles of vegetarian cooking learned from home, and applied them to the traybakes in my book The Green Roasting Tin, from which these two recipes are taken. The dishes are packed with flavour, through spices or fresh herbs and almost always lemon or lime juice (I am considering shares in a citrus farm) and there’s a variety of colours and textures in each dish.

Crisp Cauliflower Steaks With Harissa And Goat’s Cheese

Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 25-30 minutes

This is one of the most visually beautiful dishes in the book, and it tastes as good as it looks. Serve with Greek yogurt and some couscous on the side.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 1 very large cauliflower
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 4tsp harissa
  • 125g soft goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 30g pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 20g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

To make

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas 6. Remove the greens from the cauliflower and pop them into the roasting tin along with the red onion. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt.
  2. Slice the cauliflower from top to bottom into four thick steaks and lay these in the tin along with the greens and red onion. Rub each steak on both sides with ½tsp harissa. Season with sea salt, then press goat’s cheese on to each steak.
  3. Mix the pine nuts, breadcrumbs and parsley with a pinch of sea salt, then scatter a quarter of this over each cauliflower steak, pressing down lightly.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, then transfer to the oven to roast for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the cauliflower is just cooked through.
  5. Serve the steaks with couscous and Greek yogurt, with the crispy leaves and onions alongside.

Slow Roasted Peppers, Aubergines And Tomatoes With A Basil And Almond Dressing

Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 60 minutes

This dish, known as escalivada in Spanish, can make even the dullest supermarket produce sing. The quantities given are to serve two generously, since that’s what’ll fit comfortably into a standard roasting tin, but you can easily double this up for a veggie feast – and even bring the vegetables to the table whole before “carving” and dressing them.

Ingredients (serves two to three)

  • 2 whole aubergines, pricked all over with a fork
  • 3 red pointy peppers
  • 6 large vine tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • Handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2tsp sea salt
  • 50g whole almonds
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g fresh basil, roughly torn or chopped

To make

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas 6.
  2. Tip the whole aubergines, red peppers, vine tomatoes, onion, thyme, garlic, olive oil and 1tsp salt into a large roasting tin, then use your hands to mix and coat everything in the oil and salt.
  3. Transfer to the oven and roast for an hour, chucking the almonds in for the final ten minutes to toast.
  4. Remove the tin from the oven – the veg should be charred all over and very soft when prodded. Retrieve the garlic, and leave the rest of the veg to sit while you whisk the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and another 1tsp sea salt with the squeezed-out and mashed roasted garlic. Using a knife and fork, remove the inedible tops and stems, then roughly tear the softened vegetables apart.
  5. Scatter over the basil and the dressing, then mix everything thoroughly. Serve warm, with good crusty bread.

The Green Roasting Tin: Vegan And Vegetarian One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer (£16.99, Square Peg) is out now

Buy from Amazon | £11.89


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Express Scripts to expand network offerings to mail-order pharmacies in nod to changing consumer trends


pills, drugs

One of the country’s largest Pharmacy Benefit Managers, St. Louis, Missouri-based Express Scrips has sent an alert to pharmacies that they will start to expand their network offerings to “pharmacies predominately engaged in mail-order practice.”

The network expansion represents a willingness to engage with online pharmacy businesses in order to “evolve with industry trends,” according to the company’s letter.

The news comes as the company moves towards closing its $52 billion acquisition by health insurer Cigna as part of an effort to modernize and insulate itself from the threat of new entrants to the healthcare industry.

The move, which was first reported by Axios, represents a bit of a reversal for the company which had previously gotten into legal trouble for attempting to kick online pharmacies off of its network.

In 2016, the company threatened to boot mail-order pharmacy startup PillPackcare from its network for “misrepresenting itself” as a retail pharmacy when it was acting as a mail-order pharmacy.

While the initial dispute was resolved, the two companies found themselves in the midst of another disagreement earlier this year after Express Scripts said its PillPack contract was set to expire without an agreement on payment rates going forward. As of now, PillPack still lists Express Scripts as one of its PBM partners on its website.

Earlier this year the company was sued by another online pharmacy startup, San Francisco-based Carezone, which alleged Express Scripts was engaging in anti-competitive practices by planning on barring the company from the PBM’s network.

The startup accused Express Scripts of using its market position to unfairly bolster its own mail-order business, which represents a little less than half of its revenue.

With this most recent network expansion, Express Scripts opens up the ability to less acrimoniously partner with pharmacy startups like CareZone and PillPack, which was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion.

The terms through which mail order pharmacies can contract with Express Scripts has not yet been released, but the détente represents the need to be flexible in an industry bracing itself for disruption from new entrants like Amazon.

Photo: Stas_V, Getty Images


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Interval Walking Workout on a Treadmill


Getting fit can sometimes feel impossible, especially if you have never worked out or used to and are struggling to build back endurance and get back into a routine. We get that! But what if we told you that you could walk your way into a healthier, toner body and weight loss? A short interval walking routine can do that for you, while also improving your health.

Before you say, “No way; I can’t run,” we’re not referring to a walk-run interval plan. Our interval walking plan features steady state walking on a flat incline and interval walking on an incline to get your heart rate up. “Using a heart rate monitor, I found that my heart rate would get just as high walking on an incline as it did when I was steady state jogging without incline,” said certified personal trainer Sarah Chadwell, NASM, who has used the technique in her own training.

Here’s everything you need to know about interval walking and its benefits, and a 34-minute plan that’ll get you started.


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What Will Prince Harry and Meghan’s Baby’s Last Name Be?


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are going to be parents! The Duchess of Sussex is pregnant with her first child, and Harry really hopes it’s a girl. We already have some idea of what Meghan and Harry could name the tiny tot, but what about the royal baby’s last name? Since Prince William and Harry are brothers, will the baby’s last name be Cambridge? Actually, no.

Since Harry and Meghan were given the royal titles of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth II when they tied the knot back in May, the baby’s last name will most likely be Sussex.

However, Harry and Meghan also have the option of going with Mountbatten-Windsor. “In 1952, after Queen Elizabeth II succeeded, she issued a Letters Patent (LP) that stated the House family and the family name will be Windsor,” royal expert Marlene Koenig recently told Town & Country. “In 1960, she issued a new LP that stated the House name would remain Windsor, but the family name would be Mountbatten Windsor.” Mountbatten comes from Prince Philip’s surname, while Windsor is the name the queen’s grandfather George V took on in 1917.


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Madeline Stuart Interview About Modelling With Down Syndrome


NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07:  Designer Madeline Stuart walks the runway during the MADELINE STUART 21 REASONS WHY Show At New York Fashion Week Powered By Art Hearts Fashion NYFW at The Angel Orensanz Foundation on September 7, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion)

At just 21 years old (and only a few years into her modelling career), Madeline Stuart has accomplished more than most people hope for in a lifetime. In addition to being the first model with Down syndrome to participate in New York Fashion Week, the Australian native has also walked in over 60 runway shows and has become a huge advocate for people with disabilities in the modelling world. “In the beginning, [a lot of] designers expected I would be happy to walk for free or for the ‘experience,’ which was very disheartening,” she told POPSUGAR when we recently chatted with her about Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is this October. “I worked very hard to break down barriers to get where I am.”

And Madeline isn’t stopping anytime soon. In addition to two upcoming social media campaigns with large brands, she’s also gearing up to travel the globe as Carnival Cruise’s Fashion at Sea ambassador. “I will have a very busy year!” she told POPSUGAR. “I have some very exciting things happening at the moment.”

And as for the people in the industry who still doubt her, she’s determined to prove them wrong. “There has never been a second when I thought I couldn’t do it,” she said. “I love modelling and that alone makes me work hard to overcome any obstacles that I’m faced with.” To see what else she had to say about her impressive career and advice for other people with disabilities following their dreams, keep reading.

POPSUGAR: When did you first realise that modelling was what you wanted to do?
Madeline Stuart: It’s funny because when I was growing up, I was never very interested in fashion or clothes and never pictured myself modelling! It all started when my mum took me to a fashion show in my hometown of Brisbane, Australia, and I fell in love with it. I was watching the models on the catwalk and they were having so much fun. They looked confident and beautiful; I knew right away I wanted to have a career on the catwalk.

PS: Growing up, did people tell you that you wouldn’t be able to model? If so, how did you respond to that?
MS: When I was growing up, I actually always wanted to be a waitress at a café. I didn’t know that I wanted to model until I was 18, so thankfully, I didn’t receive any criticism or judgement in regards to modelling because I wasn’t involved with the industry back then.

PS: What were the first few steps you took to make your dreams come true?
MS: After the initial fashion show I watched with my mum, she booked me in for my first photo shoot. I had recently lost a lot of weight in the pursuit of become a fitter and healthier version of myself, so I was in great shape. I had so much fun and the photos turned out amazing! My mum thought they were stunning and she wanted to share them with the world, so that’s exactly what she did! She posted them to a public Facebook page and they went viral overnight. They were seen by millions of people, and from that point, my career took off. I started receiving offers from around the globe to come and model and attend amazing events. It’s been a very exciting few years and I can’t wait for what’s to come!

PS: What’s one obstacle that you’ve overcome in your career that you’re really proud of?
MS: In the beginning, it was sometimes difficult for designers to see me as a professional and they expected that I would be happy to walk for free or for the “experience,” which was very disheartening. I worked very hard to break down barriers to get where I am and felt I deserved to be treated the same as other models. My mum and I worked hard to educate people and make some serious changes in the industry for myself and other models with a disability. I can proudly say that I am now treated like the other professional models and I do not get asked to walk for the “experience” anymore. It’s real changes like this that make my job even more rewarding.

PS: Something you still struggle with?
MS: I am still not signed with a modelling agency; this is something we have been working hard to achieve from the beginning. It’s been 3-and-a-half years that my mum has managed my career and done my bookings, because we can’t find a suitable agency. We would really love for this to change!

PS: Was there ever a moment you thought you couldn’t do it? If so, how did you push through that?
MS: There has never been a second when I thought I couldn’t do it. I love modelling and that alone makes me work hard to overcome any obstacles that I’m faced with. From a very young age, my mum has always shown me that I’m able to do anything I want. She tells me every day that I’m capable of anything if I work hard.

PS: What advice do you have for someone else with a disability who wants to have a career and follow their dreams?
MS: The best advice I have is to believe in yourself and work hard at the things you want to achieve. I know a lot of people who give up when things get hard, but if you can push through, things are always better on the other side and you’ll be so proud of what you’ve achieved.

PS: What advice would you give your younger self who was just starting out in her career?
MS: To enjoy the ride! I have loved every moment of my journey, but I know it can be easy to forget sometimes. I would say to anyone starting out in the industry to work hard but also make sure to have fun at the same time, because what is life without fun?

PS: What do you want employers to know about people with Down syndrome applying for jobs?
MS: I would like them to know that we are very capable of doing everything you ask. You might need to explain or show us in a different way than you’re used to, but I promise we can work hard! I, for example, find it easier when designers show me what I need to do rather than tell me. I always get it right, I just learn in a different way.

PS: What is your favourite part about your job?
MS: The modelling! I love walking the catwalks — it makes me feel at home and it’s a feeling I’ll never be able to truly describe. I also love all the travelling I’ve been able to do with my job. I’ve seen some incredible parts of the world and I’m thankful for that every day.

PS: What’s your dream modelling gig?
MS: I think every model’s dream is to walk for Victoria’s Secret, and mine is no different! It would be a life changing experience.

PS: What is the best career advice you’ve ever gotten?
MS: I think the best career advice I’ve ever gotten is to remember my worth. There was a time I felt being included was enough as I had longed to feel that way, but now I know that I’m a benefit to any commercial company, I bring exposure, and create a more inclusive environment. And just like any other professional person, I am commercially viable.

PS: Who is your favourite supermodel?
MS: Karlie Kloss. She is amazing and beautiful, and she advocates for some very prevalent and important issues, which I love. She also empowers young women, which is so important!

PS: Who are your biggest role models? Why?
MS: My mum is my biggest role model in so many different ways. She’s my best friend and none of this would be possible without her. She’s not only the strongest woman I know, but she’s also the most loving person in the world. She has taught me everything I know and shown me how to be the best person I can be. She taught me that kindness is beauty, and that if I’m kind, I’m the most beautiful girl in the world. She reminds me every day that I am strong, loved, and beautiful. I love her more than anything.

PS: What projects are you working on now?
MS: I have some very exciting things happening at the moment! I’ve just finished two social media campaigns with Aldo and Diesel. I’m the ambassador for Carnival Cruise lines P&O cruises for Fashion at Sea, where I’ll be doing fashion shows and meet and greets on two of their ships. And I’m also starting a huge campaign with Popsockets. Next year we have some huge projects that are just being finalized, so it looks like I’ll have a very busy year of travelling the globe again. Stay tuned on my social media to keep up to date with any announcements.


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Vegan Halloween Candy Corn In Sugar Cookie Form


A Halloween treat that pleases everyone is easier than you think! For vegans and those with dietary restrictions, looking out for frightening ingredients can sometimes add caution to events that should be full of fun! Luckily, for those who want to join in on the sweet, celebratory fun of Halloween treats, Follow Your Heart, in partnership with chef ambassadors Spork Foods, have created a spooky Candy Corn Cookie recipe that is sure to haunt, not harm!

Spork Food’s Candy Corn Cookies can be prepared within 30 minutes and will be gone in 30 seconds. Create different faces on each Candy Corn Cookie using sprinkles, vegan chocolate frosting or black icing that can be used as a decoration and dessert.

Vegan Halloween Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Vegan Halloween Candy Corn Sugar Cookies


  • 2 level tablespoons Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, plus ½ cup ice-cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon natural orange dye
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour, plus for rolling dough
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, softened
  • 2-4 teaspoons soymilk creamer
  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Dash sea salt
  • Dash natural yellow dye
  • Black gel icing pen (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together VeganEgg and ice-cold water until slightly thick, about 1 minute. Add orange dye and whisk. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a pastry whisk by hand, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add prepared VeganEgg and whisk.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, sea salt, baking powder. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix until uniform. Do not over mix.
  5. Divide dough into 2 discs and wrap each disc in wax paper. Refrigerate for a half hour.
  6. Roll dough on floured board to an even ¼ inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch triangles with a cookie cutter. Place cookies on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden around edges. Cool completely.
  8. For the icing, add butter, creamer, powdered sugar, vanilla, and sea salt to bowl and whisk until smooth. Remove half of icing and place in separate bowl. Add a few drops of yellow dye in one bowl and whisk.
  9. To frost cookies, dip top third of cookie in white icing. Dip lower third in yellow icing, leaving center exposed. Add eyes and mouth with black icing pen, if desired. Let icing set completely before serving.


This recipe is published with permission from on behalf of Follow Your Heart.
Image Credit: © Spork Foods, 2018

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Spinach Benefits and Recipes: Why and what you need to be eating!


Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that can significantly reduce oxidative stress. Known as palak in India, it can also fight cancer growth, regulate blood pressure levels and maintain eye health too. Scientifically known as Spinacia Oletacea, it is one such vegetable that fosters good health as it’s loaded with antioxidants and minerals. What originated in Persia is now readily grown in almost every part of the world, prominently in the United States and China. There are three varieties of the vegetable namely semi-savoy, crinkly savoy, and smooth-leaf spinach.

Benefits of adding Palak to your diet

Interestingly, in every 100 grams of the vegetable, one can find 91.4% water, 2.9% protein, 3.6% carbs and only 23 calories. Moreover, fresh spinach is a rich source of magnesium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, beta-carotene, folic acid or Vitamin B6, and calcium. In addition to that, it contains several other vitamins and minerals like potassium, Vitamin B9, and Vitamin E. It is also a good source of significant plant compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, nitrates lutein, and zeaxanthin. The antioxidants present in the leaves of this vegetable helps to fight free radicals in one’s body. Eventually, this prevents chronic disease and premature aging. Being an insoluble fiber, it also aids digestion.

Raw vs. cooked spinach – What’s better?

If cooked the right way, one can obtain several benefits from this green, leafy vegetable. Raw spinach contains oxalic acid which can interfere with the absorption of specific nutrients like iron and calcium. In addition to this, oxalic acid also attaches itself to other vital nutrients. Therefore, the long-term consumption of food rich in this organic compound can lead to a large scale deficiency of nutrients. However, when one heats this vegetable, oxalic acid is broken down. Hence there isn’t any loss of nutrients in sautéed or steamed spinach. Although, this doesn’t mean the vegetable in its raw form is entirely harmful so let’s consider the advantages of both.

Raw spinach benefits

Raw spinach has many essential nutrients that are present in higher portions when compared to the cooked version. On consuming it raw, one can get more folate, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C, and potassium. If you’re aiming to specifically obtain these nutrients, then you can consume this vegetable in its raw form to some extent. However, one must consume it in moderate amounts.

Cooked spinach

Cooked spinach benefits

The cooked version of these vegetables is definitely better as oxalic acid evaporates on heating. Moreover, one can absorb higher levels of protein, zinc, thiamin, iron, Vitamins A and E, calcium, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin on eating cooked spinach.

Spinach Recipes

Including this dark green leafy vegetable in your diet can provide you with several health benefits. While spinach may not be a favourite amongst the general public, preparing it the right way can make it a lot more enjoyable. We have put together a few lip-smacking recipes that will make your mouth water.

Spinach and Chickpea Stew

In addition to being delicious, this dish is also packed with several nutrients. Both spinach and chickpeas are good sources of calcium and iron whereas tomatoes contain powerful antioxidants, potassium, folate and Vitamin K.

  • One can prepare this lip-smacking stew by frying chopped onion and garlic in a flavoursome mix of pepper, hot chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, and cloves.
  • Once the mix is stirred properly, just add tangy tomato paste until the sauce thickens.
  • When the ideal texture is obtained, add cooked chickpeas and fresh spinach. Fry this mixture gently in a little oil and a fantastic stew is now ready.
  • You can even sprinkle toasted almonds or parsley and serve this spinach and chickpea stew with brown rice.

Baked Spinach Chicken Breast

Almost all green leafy vegetables taste good with chicken, but cooked spinach is by far the best of the lot. This tasty dish is amazingly easy and quick to prepare. All one needs are basic spices (salt, red chili or paprika), chopped garlic, creamy cheese (preferably mozzarella or provolone), olive oil, boneless skinless chicken breast and fresh spinach.

  • Just preheat the oven to 425 degrees, sauté the green leafy vegetable in olive oil and garlic.
  • Then place the cheese and freshly cooked vegetable lengthwise on the chicken breast.
  • Do remember to fold the chicken in half before finally baking it.
  • The final dish is truly mouthwatering and full of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron.

Baked spinach chicken breast

Spinach Patties

Aloo Tikki or meat-based patties used in burgers are a definite welcome to one’s taste buds, but spinach burgers are a must try too! For those with a busy work schedule, these burgers are an even better option, since the preparation of this dish does not take too long.

  • Mix egg whites (optional), diced onion, cheese, whole egg (optional), breadcrumbs, chili flakes, garlic powder, salt and fresh spinach in a bowl.
  • After mixing them thoroughly, make patties.
  • Fry them as required and eat them raw or with a sandwich.

Rich in iron, Vitamin A, and potassium, these patties can readily fulfill your daily requirements of several nutrients.

Spinach salad

The best way to include spinach in one’s diet is through a salad. Eating it in its raw form can help you consume most of the nutrients that the vegetable contains. In addition to its health benefits, this salad is also easy to prepare.

  • You’ll require thinly sliced apples, onions, olive oil, garlic and freshly ground black pepper.
  • In a bowl, mix all these ingredients and just season with a dressing of your choice.
  • The best aspect is that you can alter this recipe to your liking, add more veggies or even fruits if you wish.

For those aiming for weight loss or those suffering from iron deficiency or high blood pressure, this is an ideal way to boost the intake of the vegetable.

Palak Paratha

Paratha is an extremely popular form of bread in India. One of the tastiest parathas includes the Palak Paratha which is a favourite for supper and breakfast in the country, and also very easy to prepare.

  • All one requires is to add chopped fresh spinach in the dough mix along with one’s preferred spices such as red chili, salt or pepper.
  • Once added, knead the dough well and prepare small balls out of it.
  • Roll out these balls and bake them, ideally using an Indian stove.
  • Once cooked, serve with green chutney or achaar or curd.

Palak paratha

Cheesy Spinach Hot Pockets

Though time-consuming, this dish is the most satisfying item you can prepare using spinach.

  • Make the dough using dry yeast, all-purpose flour, salt, milk, egg, virgin oil, and sugar.
  • For the filling use block cream cheese, chopped fresh spinach, garlic cloves, shredded mozzarella, and salt.
  • Once both these are ready, prepare pockets out of the dough and generously add the filling.
  • Bake in a preheated oven of 400° and get ready to experience goodness through its scrumptious taste!

Spinach and Corn Fritters

If you’re someone who loves fritters, then this delicious recipe is a must-try.

  • Just add fresh spinach, corn, red chili, cumin, turmeric, salt, gram flour and chaat masala in the fritter mix.
  • Ensure that the batter is thick enough to hold a ball-like shape.
  • Once mixed as required, carefully fry them in oil until golden brown.
  • To maximize the taste, do serve with ketchup or green chutney.

This antioxidant-rich green vegetable is an excellent source of numerous vitamins along with being effective to cure and prevent many diseases. Try these delicious recipes to truly experience the benefits of this nutrient-rich vegetable, and let us know what you think of them in the comments.

Written by Team HealthifyMe

Team HealthifyMe

Team HealthifyMe is a collection of qualified health professionals, nutritionists, trainers and fitness coaches that work tirelessly to ensure a healthier and fitter future for all our clients. Trusted by the best hospitals in the country and guided by some of the best Medical Practitioners, combines technology and the latest in medical knowledge to deliver the best health and fitness solution for our clients. Sign up today at and take the first step towards a healthier tomorrow.

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Talks, Demos and Q&As for Our Book Tour!


I’ll be coming around the UK and Ireland in August and September for demos, talks, signings and Q&A’s and I’m so looking forward to meeting everyone. I’ll be coming to all the cities that were most requested by you guys a few months ago: Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Bristol and Cardiff, plus a few smaller towns around the country. All the details and ticket info is below, except for the Irish events which I hope to have in the next few weeks and will let you know about as soon as I have the info. Can’t wait to see you then!


Monday 20th August. A Talk About My Journey From Blog to Business at the Ham Yard Hotel, London. 

  • 6.30pm | Ham Yard Hotel
  • Tickets are available here and include a copy of the book, which I can sign for you

This event is now sold out


Tuesday 21st August. Female Founders and How we Built Deliciously Ella. Group Panel at We Work, London. 

  • 6.30pm | WeWork Waterhouse Square
  • Tickets are available here 
  • Books will be available to buy at the event, or you can bring your own

This event is now sold out


Thursday 23rd August. Lunchtime Book Signing. Whole Foods Piccadilly 

  • 12.30 – 1.30 | Whole Foods Piccadilly
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include a Whole Foods goody bag of treats and a copy of the book (which I’ll personalise for you), or you can just drop in and get the book on the day


Thursday 23rd August. A Talk & Q&A at Lululemon. Regents Street 

  • 7.30pm | Lululemon, Regents Street
  • Tickets are available here – we’ll have books there for you to buy and I can personalise them for you


Thursday 30th August. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Hertford 

  • 7.30pm | Hertford Theatre
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Friday 31st August. Business breakfast on Women in Food. Woking 

  • 8am to 9.30am | WWF-UK The Living Planet Centre
  • Tickets are available here


Saturday 1st September. Cookery Demo, Q&A and Book Signing. Whole Foods High St Kensington 

  • 10-12 | Whole Foods High St Kensington
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include breakfast and a signed copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you

This event is now sold out


Tuesday 4 September. A Talk & Q&A and Book Signing. Dublin

  • 6:30 to 8:30pm | Medley Dublin
  • Tickets are available here


Wednesday 5th September. Drop in book signing. Dublin 

  • 1pm | Eason O’Connell St


Tuesday 11th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Birmingham

  • 7.30pm | The Glee Club Theatre
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Wednesday 12th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Leeds

  • 1pm – 2pm | The Little Bookshop, Harrogate Roa
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Wednesday 12th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Manchester 

  • 6.30pm | Manchester Central Library
  • Tickets are available here
  • Tickets include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you

This event is now sold out


Thursday 13th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Oswestry, Shropshire 

  • 12 – 1.30pm | The Wynnstay Hotel
  • Tickets are available here and the price of the ticket is redeemable against the book


Thursday 13th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Heswall, Merseyside 

  • 7 – 9pm Linghams Book Shop
  • Tickets are available here and the price of the ticket is redeemable against the book


Saturday 15th September. 11am. Chiswick, London

  • 11am
  • Tickets are available here


Tuesday 18th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Cardiff 

  • 6.30pm |  Reardon Smith Theatre
  • Tickets are available here and include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Wednesday 19th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Bristol 

  • 7pm |  Bristol Galleries
  • Tickets are available here and include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Monday 24th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Edinburgh 

  • 7pm |  The Roxy Assembly Rooms with Blackwell Bookshop
  • Tickets are available here and include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you


Tuesday 25th September. Talk, Q&A and Book Signing. Glasgow  

  • 6.30pm | Sauchiehall Street
  • Tickets are available here and include a copy of the book, which I’ll personalise for you



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Royds Withy King Chooses Zylpha For Bundling And Electronic Signatures


Royds Withy King has chosen Zylpha’s digital document bundling for Visualfiles across its practice, including: family law, personal injury and other litigation teams. Also included is Adobe Sign, the widely acclaimed electronic signature solution and a renewed licence for Zylpha’s MoJ (Ministry of Justice) EL/PL and RTA Portal Integration. There is also Zylpha’s standalone bundling option for those not using Visualfiles.

An ambitious and growing UK Top 100 law firm, Royds Withy King prides itself as being a practice that is ‘ahead of the curve’, with its clients very much to the fore. Efficient systems are an important element of maintaining and developing this approach and in particular document bundling and electronic signatures.

Royds Withy King Chooses Zylpha

Royds Withy King Chooses Zylpha

Zylpha’s digital document technology streamlines and simplifies even the largest, most complex bundles. It is also widely acclaimed for its security and its seamless integration with Adobe electronic signature functionality. By using Zylpha’s widely acclaimed digital document bundling in conjunction with LexisNexis’ Visualfiles case management software, users can produce bundles at a fraction of the cost, time and effort associated with manual processes. Typical time savings of 70% are commonplace when compared to manual alternatives. Additionally, Zylpha’s bundling system eliminates costs such as: stationery, photocopying, paper file-storage, maintenance and courier charges.

Commenting on the news David Eagle, Head of Client Solutions and Innovation IT Manager at Royds Withy King, noted; “We already had a good working relationship with Zylpha so were very aware of the quality of the company’s work and products. Add to this the compelling benefits of Zylpha’s widely acclaimed Visualfiles bundling and the business case was complete. We are looking forward to the very real impact that this technology can make across our business.”

Zylpha’s CEO Tim Long welcomes David Eagles’ comments adding, “In challenging times you need lawyers that are ahead of the curve. Royds Withy King epitomises this principle and recognises the role technology can play in supporting the expertise and high client service levels that the practice provides. We are delighted then, that after building a good working relationship with us through using our MoJ Portal solution, that Royds Withy King has chosen our Visualfiles bundling software across the practice. We look forward to working closely with the team there on this and other projects where technology can make a difference.”


About Zylpha
Headquartered in Southampton, Zylpha is an innovative specialist offering tools for the legal profession including:

  • Secure electronic document production and delivery.
  • Court Bundling.
  • Integration with the MOJ Portal and Land Registry Business Gateway.
  • Links to agencies for AML and Identity Verification.

The company, which was founded by Tim Long its CEO, has won widespread acclaim in both the legal and local government sectors for its systems, which transform secure communications for court and case management bundles.

For more information, please contact:
Tim Long
Zylpha Ltd.
T: 01962 658881


Leigh Richards
The Right Image
T: 0844 / 561 7586
M: 07758 372527


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