The Dieticians of Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine want to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month all month long!  Check in each Saturday during March for tips to help you get your plate in shape!

TIP #1: Are You Vegetarian???

Go to this great dietary guidelines website and check appendices 8 and 9 of the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010″ for vegetarian adaptations of the USDA food patterns at 12 calorie levels.

 

TIP#2: Check the Label for Fiber

Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the fiber content of whole-grain foods.  Good sources of fiber contain 10% to 19% of the Daily Value; excellent sources contain 20% or more.

 

TIP#3:  Eat Plant Protein Foods More Often

Try beans and peas (kidney, pinto, black, or white beans; split peas; chickpeas; hummus), soy products (tofu, tempeh, veggie burgers), nuts, and seeds.  They are naturally low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

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2012 CalendarMarch 31, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Daffodil Day at Historic Whipps Garden Cemetery.  Enjoy the beauty of thousands of blossoming daffodils at this peaceful resorted cemetery.  Welcome spring with a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy many blooming flowers and trees. Take part in free horticultural presentations. Free refreshments and free admission.  After your visit to Whipps, drive down to the Ellicott City Historic District and see the daffodil display presented by the Ellicott City Restoration Foundation.

March 31, 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon. Free Community Lantern Building Workshop. Bring the family and create lanterns for the “Lanterns of Hope” luminary parade, hosted by Howard County Tourism at the new Welcome Center at 8267, Main Street Ellicott City.

March 31, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Money Matters Fair at the East Columbia Library. Kick-off Financial Education month with a fun-filled line-up of activities and classes to learn smart ways to stretch your money! The fair includes hands-on activities, information and resources for personal finance, financial aid for college, free credit reports, and tax advice.

April 1-4, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Free Community Lantern Building Workshop.  A great Spring Break activity! Bring the family and create lanterns forthe “Lanterns of Hope” luminary parade, hosted by Howard County Tourism at the new Welcome Center at 8267, Main Street Ellicott City. For more information, call (410) 313-1900.

April 2, 3:30- 5:30 p.m. Free Blood Pressure Screening, offered by the Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine at the Glenwood library. 1st and 3rd Mondays. No registration required.

April 7, 11:00 a.m. Think Spring Plant Sale. Stop by the new Welcome Center for your first taste of spring fever. Buy a flower for “Claudia.” Potted daffodils, tulips and more. Sales benefit Blossoms of Hope in support of the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. 8267 Main Street, Ellicott City. Call (410) 313-1900 for more information.

April 12, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Healthy. Learn how to choose healthy, age-appropriate snacks, meals, and beverages for children, and how to plan ahead. Discuss common eating concerns, such as picky eaters or children who refuse to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy shopping on a budget. Try out some nutritious, easy-to-make family recipes. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children physically active even when it’s cold and rainy! $5. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. WONDER WALK: Hike to the River: Signs of Spring – at the Howard County Conservancy with Conservancy naturalists, Woody Merkle & John Cookson. Look for Spring on this moderately  difficulty walk from the Conservancy across meadows, hillsides, and woods down to the Patapsco River. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   Greenfest 2012  at the Howard Community College.  Saving the environment one yard at a time!  Live reptiles and birds, Rain barrel workshops, free document shredding and more!  FREE

April 14,10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Children’s Discovery Fair at the East Columbia branch of the Howard County Library System. A celebration for young children and their families with hands-on activities that teach developmentally and age-appropriate education concepts, including interactive games, crafts, and stories. Ages 3-5 with adult; drop-in activity. 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia. (410) 313-7730 for more information.

April 21, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Earth Day: Make a Difference. Join us at the Howard County Conservancy for a day of service to the earth. Service projects include stream cleanup and invasive plant removal. Childrens crafts at 11:30, Bird walk at 8:00 am with Scott Burglund and Mike Kerwin of the Howard County Bird Club. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 26, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Safe. Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency; car seat safety; and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief. $5. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

Princess Cherrybella leads the Luminary Parade 2011. Losurdo.

April 27, 7:00 p.m. Lanterns of Hope Parade. Join Princess Cherrybella at the Patapsco Female Institute to celebrate spring and honor the beauty fo our blossoming cherry trees. Enjoy music and magical family playtime before the parade. Bring a luminary and light up the night! Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, 3655 Church Road, Ellicott City.  Call (410) 313-1900 for more information.


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By Jessica “JP” Protasio

March has proven to be a month of celebrations and remembrance filled with inspiration, aspirations, and hope–particularly, hopes being realized and dreams coming true. What do I mean? Well, for starters, a dear family friend and mother-figure, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, made it through a terribly dark time when we almost lost her in the process of trying to save her. “Mama Vickie” is stable and her new course of treatment is on the horizon. While she’s got many battles left to fight, she’s strong–and a reminder to us all just how resilient our bodies & spirits can be.

A couple of college friends and recent students of mine have recently had “cancer scares” of their own and after following up with their doctors, they are fine and do not have cancer. Both had procedures done and are recovering nicely. In fact, one is a man, initially diagnosed with breast cancer. Yes, even men can get breast cancer. And as I’ve said before, cancer doesn’t discriminate–it replicates. I take no joy in welcoming others into the “cancer club.” Though, when someone is diagnosed, other survivors embrace them wholly and provide support in their journey. If you have to be a part of the “club” we’ll take care of you best we can, but this is not a membership we’d wish on anyone.

Being part of a family is an essential part of our humanity. Truly, the support a family provides will impact your success in any kind of crisis. I’ve been fortunate to have such a “family,” a community populated with colleagues, survivors, athletes, and friends. Recently, I was assigned an official Iron Girl Triathlon mentor. Janelle happens to be one of the most prominent and well-awarded athletes in the area. Her family is a true inspiration of healthy living, amazing sportsmanship, and making a difference in the world around them in both big and small ways. I can’t help but be grateful to have been chosen by her. Truly, how humbling it is to have her, “sister” Sara, Kim, and “big sis” Ellie take me under their wings in this pursuit of living well.

The person who has my deepest thanks and utmost respect and gratitude is a person who gave me the opportunity to experience this new life and all the wonderful people in it. My liver donor. She was a strong, empathetic, and vibrant young woman who chose to be an organ donor when her time in this world expired. Thanks to her conscientiousness I, and several others, live today. March 13, 2012, was her one year memorial and my first transplant anniversary. I have an interesting and delicate relationship with my donor’s surviving family, her sister. Thanks to my donor’s sister, I have an idea of the person she was, and her sister knows the person that I am and growing to be. So, what do you say or do or give to someone who you can’t see or touch? My thanks. That was the only thing I could think of in living this life. So, with the help of my “family,” we collected pictures of thanks. Friends from Australia, Korea, Guam, Philippines, Canada, and all over the U.S. participated in this project.

This project turned into one of those “defining moments” my mother talked about. I was completely aware of the fervor and dedication of this network of people who’re all connected and have been brought together because of a cancer crisis. I was doubly blown away at my “liver-versary” party when Janelle, The Run4Chocolate Ladies, The Run4Beer Men, and Princeton Sports came together and awarded me the essential gear needed to complete the Iron Girl Triathlon. Janelle said, “That’s what family’s for.” I cried then, and it still moves me now. How can I adequately express the the depth of gratefulness I have after having lost nearly everything in this life and still being alive with so many people I look up to who love and support me?

I hate cancer–thoroughly. Yet, I am grateful for the people it brought into my life and proud of the life that I’m leading now as a result of that challenge. Cancer is a brutal obstacle course where you can lose your life. In my case, I found it and I’m going to share it with everyone.

JP is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library System. She is a Pajama Time storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, and a cancer survivor.

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Glutton for Gluten

by Mary Catherine Cochran

You’ve probably heard the saying…“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish…well then- you’re lucky enough.” Descended from Flanagans, O’Keefe’s, Lynches and Kelly’s I am unequivocally Irish. My genes give me an appreciation for salt air and green fields, for sad songs and joyful dancing. They also give me a predisposition to celiac disease. A little over a year ago my physician, who knew that one of my siblings had been diagnosed with celiac disease, ordered diagnostic tests as a part of my annual physical. The bad news is that I tested positive on all of the tests but the good news is that celiac disease can be successfully managed by eliminating gluten from your diet.


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by Angie Engles

Kate Moss once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I remember being outraged at the time, thinking (probably irrationally, now that I look back) it would be some kind of impetus for thousands of girls across the country to start drastically dieting, even (or worse, especially!) if they didn’t need to.

 Now, as my fortysomething metabolism slows down and I find eating half of what I used to eat barely helps with maintaining my within-range-of-normal weight, I wonder if she might not be right. Sure, luscious thoughts of a burger and fries from BGR makes my mouth salivate and my hungry wolf instincts kick in, but there really is something to be said for cutting back in this day and age of overdoing everything.

Last month I happened to catch the March 2012 cover of Harper’s. It was hard to not stop and stare since the cover article, complete with interesting drawings, almost shouted at me about “Starving Your Way To Vigor: The Benefits of an Empty Stomach.”

Immediately (and for some odd reason since my reading recall doesn’t always extend that far back) I thought of another article, one that ran in New York magazine back in 2006 on severe calorie restriction.  This article also explored and sometimes found favor in a new way of looking at eating (or not eating so much) though it advocated a lifestyle, not just a few days as Steve Hendricks does in Harper’s.

Harper’s witty essay mixes a modern history of fasting with the writer’s own experience of giving up food. Steve Hendricks writes: “Indeed, I was sharply alert, presumably because my body, not needing energy to digest food, was sending the surplus to my brain.”

Hendricks gives us a mini-history of fasting by beginning after the Civil War with a depressed doctor named Henry Tanner, who tried to commit suicide through starvation. Surprisingly, Tanner found that his depression and other problems went away soon after he started limiting his food intake. Rather than go through with his death wish, he became a vocal supporter of fasting in the Gilded Age. Other fans of fasting followed throughout the decades, along with some startling medical experiments that suggested fasting can cure obesity, alleviate or cure epilepsy, lower high blood pressure, extend longevity, and make chemotherapy more effective.

While I found this article absolutely mesmerizing and have discovered that there is a lot to be said for restricting your diet (ever since I got Invsialign braces in December I find snacking to be a major inconvenience and have cut down half my previous caloric intake). I really never thought I could do anything even remotely resembling calorie restriction. There was a time when I never thought twice about eating Ben and Jerry’s or a Snickers without internally debating the downside of so many bad calories. Now, I find there is a lot of energy to be found in a less-is-more approach.

In Welcome to Your Brain : Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life, Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang write: “Calorie restriction seems to work by affecting insulin signaling pathways, which are important regulators of energy storage in the body.”

Often books and articles on the topic of calorie restriction and fasting will rightfully caution readers about the dangers of eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa. It’s very important to distinguish between CR and anorexia and one website does a very nice job of this: Living the CR Way. It’s also important to distinguish the difference between eating right for your health and eating (or not eating) to crazily conform to society’s very distorted ideas of how women should look.

As with all diet plans (especially potentially drastic ones!), it’s critical to consult your doctor first. I’m not even sure I advocate this way of life, I’m just saying it reads like a fascinating one.

Angie Engles has been with the Howard County Library System for 17 years, 14 of which were at the Savage Branch. She currently works at the Central Branch primarily in the Fiction and Audio-visual departments. Her interests include music, books, and old movies.

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The Dieticians of Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine want to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month all month long!  Check in each Saturday during March for tips to help you get your plate in shape!

TIP #1: Make Half of Your Grains Whole Grains

To eat more whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined product-such as eating whole-wheat bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice.  Remember what Dr. Silverman said about the dangers of white bread!

 

TIP#2: Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables

Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals.  Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert.

 

TIP#3:  Eat a Variety of Seafood

Include some that are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel, herring, and sardines.

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2012 CalendarMarch 27, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Weighing the Benefits of Prostate Screening with Dr. Kevin Blumenthal.  What is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA)?  How does the PSA blood level become elevated? Who is most at risk for prostate cancer?  These questions and more will be discussed to inform us about this important issue facing men today. Free

March 29, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Choose Your Pediatrician and Promote Your Newborns Health.  Join us at the Wellness Center with Dr. Catherine Mailander to talk about the things parents should consider when choosing a  a pediatrician. Free.

March 29, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Positive Discipline: Expectations, Rewards, and Consequences. Consider what you’d like your child’s behavior to be like every day. Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use themselves. Establish rules and logical consequences for misbehavior that are developmentally appropriate. Learn about using behavior charts and rewards the right way to encourage what you want to see. $5. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

March 31, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Money Matters Fair at the East Columbia Library. Kick-off Financial Education month with a fun-filled line-up of activities and classes to learn smart ways to stretch your money! The fair includes hands-on activities, information and resources for personal finance, financial aid for college, free credit reports, and tax advice.

April 12, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Healthy. Learn how to choose healthy, age-appropriate snacks, meals, and beverages for children, and how to plan ahead. Discuss common eating concerns, such as picky eaters or children who refuse to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy shopping on a budget. Try out some nutritious, easy-to-make family recipes. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children physically active even when it’s cold and rainy! $5. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. WONDER WALK: Hike to the River: Signs of Spring – at the Howard County Conservancy with Conservancy naturalists, Woody Merkle & John Cookson. Look for Spring on this moderately  difficulty walk from the Conservancy across meadows, hillsides, and woods down to the Patapsco River. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   Greenfest 2012  at the Howard Community College.  Saving the environment one yard at a time!  Live reptiles and birds, Rain barrel workshops, free document shredding and more!  FREE

April 21, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Earth Day: Make a Difference. Join us at the Howard County Conservancy for a day of service to the earth. Service projects include stream cleanup and invasive plant removal. Childrens crafts at 11:30, Bird walk at 8:00 am with Scott Burglund and Mike Kerwin of the Howard County Bird Club. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 26, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Safe. Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency; car seat safety; and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief. $5. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.


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There is so much concern and information circulating about obesity and nutrition, that sometimes it’s difficult to know what information to trust or where to start implementing changes to lead you and your family toward a healthier lifestyle. That’s why the Healthy Living for Families class, on September 27 from 7-8:30pm, at the Elkridge Branch of the Howard County Library System may provide the perfect opportunity for you get the information necessary to put you and your family on a healthier path.

Gain a broad overview of nutrition basics, obesity prevention, and the benefits of activity in this interactive presentation. Define obesity and identify changes to help your family make better food, nutrition, and exercise choices. Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation and Priority Partners. 

Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.5088.


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by Mary Catherine Cochran

 

Annual Pap smears for most women will become a thing of the past as new guidelines released Wednesday recommend far less frequent screenings for cervical cancer.

Doctors had previously recommended that women should begin getting Pap smears at age 21 or three years after beginning sexual activity and should continue with screenings every year or two, thereafter.

Now, after reviewing scientific evidence, three groups including the American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology and the American Society for Clinical Pathology concluded that not only was annual screening unnecessary, it was potentially harmful.

Cervical cancer, rare in young women, progresses very slowly in women of any age, so slowly researchers say, it is equally effective to screen for cancer at longer intervals between Pap tests.  Frequent testing can cause its own set of problems including false positive test results and unnecessary biopsies and procedures, which can potentially damage the cervix and lead to pre-term labor and low birth weight infants.

The new guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine with an accompanying editorial, suggest that women begin screening no earlier than age 21; regardless of sexual activity and that screening should occur every three years. Additionally, when women turn 30, women should get a Pap test along with a test for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer. Guidelines suggest that negative results for both of these tests mean that a woman can wait at least five years to get the tests again.

While Margot Watson, M.D, Department Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine, agrees with the guidelines, she suggests that a conversation between physician and patient is always in order. “Whether Pap smears can be done every three years or every five years depends on whether or not a patient has a history of seriously abnormal Pap smears and so the decision should always be reached in consultation with your physician.” Dr. Watson points out that less frequent Pap smears does not mean less frequent visits to the doctor. “Women should still continue to get yearly gynecologic checkups.”

The new guidelines also recommend that women over the age of 65 should stop getting screened all together as long as they have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer.

The task force recommendations apply only to healthy women. They do not change the advice for women who have unusual symptoms, an unusual Pap test result or a history of dysplasia, cervical cancer, H.I.V. or other illnesses.

If you have questions, be sure to check with your doctor for more information about the new screening guidelines. If you don’t have a gynecologist, reach out to one of our Howard County General, Johns Hopkins Medicine gynecologists.


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by Barbara Cornell

Eat local!  I think that’s good advice.  It’s good for the Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farms and for the local growers who sell at our nearby farmers’ markets.  Buying local gets food to us while it’s fresher.  Less fuel is used to transport our food and that’s good for the environment.  But in the doldrums of February there was not much growing—in my garden or the farmers’ fields.

We took a trip south (always a good idea in February!) to Texas.  I thought I’d explore local food while we were there, but it seemed that along the interstate the only things sprouting were chain restaurants and malls.  While there weren’t any local farmers’ markets where I visited, when I dug a little deeper I discovered that grapefruit—a favorite of mine—was in season and pecans were just past their season but always available.  I learned that a good pecan tree in your yard can cause the same consternation as a too-successful tomato patch—what to do with them all?  Clever entrepreneurs offer the service of shelling your pecan harvest for you.  I found even avocados are imported to Texas, but the other ingredients of a good guacamole can be had locally, as can a good flour tortilla at a local taqueria.  In a nearby Czech-American enclave some really great sausages and kolache are made.

For real “local” food in Texas you just can’t beat Barbecue!  We drove over an hour to the Barbecue Capital of Texas, the small city of Lockhart, and sat ourselves down at Smitty’s.  It had the flavor of a big picnic or a Maryland crab feast at long communal tables.  Everything is weighed out onto brown paper. And forks?  Use what’s at the end of your arm!  I know, I know—it’s not a healthful diet, but it made us feel welcomed and sated—real comfort food.

For more books on being a locavore, put these on your library request list:

Locavore: Local Diet, Healthy Planet, a 2009 DVD from “Living Farm” that teaches “the rewards of a locavore lifestyle and how easy, tasty, and fun eating locally can be.”

Locavore Adventures, One Chef’s Slow Food Journey by Jim Weaver, 2012. “Locavore Adventures is a thoughtful memoir about growing a sustainable food culture and a guide to slowing down, savoring locally grown food, and celebrating life.” In Weaver’s own words: “People need to understand that family dinners are critical, and kids need to know that fresh food is good.”

The Feast Nearby: How I Lost My Job, Buried a Marriage, and Found My Way by Keeping Chickens, Foraging, Preserving, Bartering, and Dating Locally (All on Forty Dollars a Week)
by Robin Mather, 2009.  Whew! That’s a lot to tackle, but reviewers call this a “charming ode (with recipes) to eating well and locally.”  While it’s not the first book about “living la vida locavore…the recipes that accompany her earnest prose are lovely, simple, and just-gourmet-enough”–Publishers Weekly Review.

Did you know there’s actually an app for that?!?  Just use Google to search for “locavore app” and you’ll find apps for Apple and Android mobile devices.  Find what’s in season and where to buy it.

Don’t despair—only a few more months before Howard County’s Farmers’ Markets are up and running again

Barbara Cornell joined the Howard County Library System in 1993 as Assistant Branch Manager at the new Elkridge Branch.

Since 2000 she has enjoyed a shorter commute to the Glenwood Branch.

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The Dieticians of Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine want to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month all month long!  Check in each Saturday during March for tips to help you get your plate in shape!

 

TIP #1: Switch to Fat-Free or Low-Fat (1%) Milk

They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as while milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat.

TIP #2: Ingredient Switches

When recipes such as dips call for sour cream substitute plain yogurt.  Use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream, and try ricotta cheese as a substitute for cream cheese.

 

TIP #3:  Foods to Eat Less Often

Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt.  They include cakes, cookies, ice cream, candies, sweetened drinks, pizza, and fatty meats like ribs, sausages, bacon, and hot dogs.  Use these foods as occasional treats, not every day foods.

 

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2012 CalendarMarch 20, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. A Mind Body Approach to Pain. In her free seminar,  Hughes will explore some of the latest innovations in mind-body research for dealing with chronic pain.  Using guided imagery, feeling states, meditation, and visualization, Hughes teaches participants how to change their relationship with, and experience of, pain. Registration is required for this free event. Register online at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD 21044.

March 27, 7: oo p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Weighing the Benefits of Prostate Screening with Dr. Kevin Blumentahal.  What is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA)?  How does the PSA blood level become elevated? Who is most at risk for prostate cancer?  These questions and more will be discussed to inform us about this important issue facing men today. Free

March 29, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Choose Your Pediatrician and Promote Your Newborns
Health
Join us at the Wellness Center with Dr. Catherine Mailander to talk about how to choose a pediatrician. Free.

March 29, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Positive Discipline: Expectations, Rewards, and Consequences. Consider what you’d like your child’s behavior to be like every day. Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use themselves. Establish rules and logical consequences for misbehavior that are developmentally appropriate. Learn about using behavior charts and rewards the right way to encourage what you want to see. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

March 31, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Money Matters Fair at the East Columbia Library. Kick-off Financial Education month with a fun-filled line-up of activities and classes to learn smart ways to stretch
your money! The fair includes hands-on activities, information and resources for personal finance, financial aid for college, free credit reports, and tax advice.

April 12, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Healthy. Learn how to choose healthy, age-appropriate snacks, meals, and beverages for children, and how to plan ahead. Discuss common eating concerns, such as picky eaters or children who refuse to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy shopping on a budget. Try out some nutritious, easy-to-make family recipes. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children physically active even when it’s cold and rainy! $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. WONDER WALK: Hike to the River: Signs of Spring – at the Howard County Conservancy with Conservancy naturalists, Woody Merkle & John Cookson. Look for Spring on this moderately  difficulty walk from the Conservancy across meadows, hillsides, and woods down to the Patapsco River. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 14, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   Greenfest 2012  at the Howard Community College.  Saving the environment one yard at a time!  Live reptiles and birds, Rain barrel workshops, free document shredding and more!  FREE

April 21, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Earth Day: Make a Difference. Join us at the Howard County Conservancy for a day of service to the earth at the .Conservancy. Service projections include stream cleanup and invasive plant removal. Children’s craft at 11:30, Bird walk at 8 am with Scott Burglund and Mike Kerwin, Howard County Bird Club. In case of rain, check website. FREE.

April 26, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Safe. Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency; car seat safety; and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.


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The Ides of March is a good time to learn valuable life lessons, like don’t turn your back on Senators wielding knives.

But it’s also a time to address the medical superstitions that still hold sway over our culture.

Myth: Cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. There are several different forms of arthritis, none of which are caused by cracking your knuckles. That sound, however, is really annoying to the people around you.

Myth: Cold weather makes you sick. Your teenagers are right to sigh dramatically at you when you insist they put on a coat before going outside. Several studies have shown no difference between people who are chilled and those who are not in the likelihood of getting sick. Actually, the reason people seem to get sick more often in the winter is that we all stay indoors or in close quarters with others.

Myth: You lose most of your body heat through your head. Again with the dramatic sighs. You will lose heat through any uncovered body part. Hats are just often adorable.

Myth: It’s safe to eat food that’s been on the floor less than 5 seconds. Large amounts of bacteria come into contact with food that hits the floor. And that happens well within the mythical 5 seconds. Oddly, while food that hits the carpet may look worse than food that hits hardwood or tile, it actually picks up less bacteria.

Myth: Carrots can improve your eyesight. Carrots do contain a lot of vitamin A. It just turns out that a lot of vitamin A has almost nothing to do with improving your vision.

Myth: Eating turkey makes you sleepy. Turkey contains roughly the same amount of tryptophan as chicken, and less than pork. The sleepy feeling you get on Thanksgiving has less to do with the turkey itself and more with the amount of turkey you ate (and potatoes, and stuffing, and green beans, and pie, and rolls…).

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. You know how human beings contain a lot of water? Well that’s true of food and beverages you consume as well. Just by eating and drinking regularly, you already take in most of the water you need a day. So while it doesn’t hurt to drink more water, you probably don’t need to lug around a giant water bottle everywhere. (Although if you must, at least make it a reusable one.)

Myth: Reading in low light ruins your eyesight. While reading without adequate light can put strain on your eyes, drying them out and making it difficult to focus, it actually doesn’t cause any permanent damage.


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Or.. How Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi are good for what ails you!

Medical illness and recovery brings challenges beyond the everyday stresses of life. It can also bring opportunity. Sometimes, amidst our greatest challenges, we realize what is most precious and treasured in life, and have the opportunity to pare away things that no longer matter as much. For many, a serious illness brings a renewed desire to savor the people and things in life that bring the most meaning and improve quality of life. One of the best ways to increase “quality of life measures” such as increased well-being, peace, deep relaxation, improved mood and feeling states, ability to focus and meditate, improved sleep, stamina and reduced fatigue, and decreases in pain and discomfort are the ancient movement arts and longevity exercises such as yoga, and tai chi/qigong.

At Healing Point Acupuncture & Healing Arts in the Medical Pavilion at Howard County we have been running a program in restorative yoga for the last 2.5 years, and a new program in Tai Chi/Qigong since early 2012. We saw the need for this type of program among the cancer patients we see and treat through the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. We realized, if someone is in the midst of extreme nausea and fatigue from treatment, has limitations from recent surgeries, or a port protruding from their chest, walking into a regular community yoga or tai chi class may not only be uncomfortable, but may be unrealistic. And yet yoga, tai chi, and other movement arts are some of the most healing practices that exist. We wanted to create an environment that was both comfortable and appropriately physically engaging for a patient dealing with a medical illness.

Healing Point designed the Recovery Movement Arts program at the Medical Pavilion at Howard County in partnership with the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. It was the CMCRC who suggested opening the program to family and caregivers of patients. We realized the lives of the family and friends of someone experiencing medical illness are also touched deeply through that experience. An environment where those same families can experience recovery and healing together turned out to be perfect.

Participants in the Recovery Movement Arts classes not only benefit from the in-class experience, but learn practices that they can take with them and practice at home. People of all ability levels are welcome, and Healing Point instructors delight in creatively adapting movements to unique challenges. For more information visit Healing Point Acupuncture and Healing Arts. To register, call (410)964-9100 x3 Bridget Hughes M.Ac., L.Ac.

Upcoming classes:

  • Yoga Tuesdays 10:00-11:00 AM March 20th – May 29th (There will be no class April 3rd) (Rolling Enrollment) Registration is required. Fee is $100 for 10 weeks (partial subscription available) Instructor: Heather Thamer M.Ed., RYT 500 Tuesdays. Also offered: 7:30-8:30 PM April 10th – May 29th Registration is required. Fee is $80 for 8 weeks Instructor: Missy Radcliffe
  • Tai chi/Qigong March 20th – April 24th 2:00-3:00 PM and/or March 20th – April 24th 6:30-7:30 PM Registration is required. Fee is $60 for 6 weeks Instructor: Brandon Hughes M.Ac. L.Ac.

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Bridget Hughes is co-founder of Healing Point LLC in Severna Park, Maryland, and of Healing Point Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Columbia. She is a licensed acupuncturist and was named a 2010 and 2011 “Favorite Doc” in Chesapeake Family Magazine. Bridget is a certified Qigong instructor and has been interested for over 20 years in the intersection of health, wellness, brain science, energy arts, quantum physics, psychology, and peak performance. She speaks on a wide range of health topics including: Using Imagery, Visualization, Meditation, and Feeling States to Groove New Neural Pathways, Transitioning to Wellness of Body, Mind, and Spirit for Survivors, A Mind-Body Approach to Pain, and Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion. She considers time spent with patients to be a great blessing and takes a keen interest in each person and their unique situation and experience.

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by Mary Catherine Cochran

 

Day Light Savings Time- the clocks skip forward an hour, the days are getting longer and the cherry blossoms are already in bloom. A mild winter means more than just early cherry blossoms; it also signifies an early allergy season as trees start pollinating earlier, and pollen causes allergies. Dry, windy weather- like we’ve had in the past week, also contributes, as it spreads pollen quickly and produces a higher distribution of particles increasing your allergy symptoms.

According to the local Pollen forecast, trees, which produce the first pollens of the allergy season, are already working overtime pushing us into the red zone with cedar, maple and elm leading the way.

Pollen allergy (hay fever or allergic rhinitis) affects about 8 percent of adults in the United States and its onset is sometimes confused with the cold virus because they share similar symptoms including nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing and watery eyes.  Seasonal allergies, however, last more than just a few days and are usually accompanied by the additional symptom of itchy eyes and nose.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, here are five ways to minimize your exposure to pollen:

    1. Keep the windows closed in the car and at home, and use air conditioning if necessary.
    2. Use a humidifier and/or non-ionic air purifier to limit pollen in enclosed spaces
    3. Vacuum carpets, and wash the bed linens at least weekly
    4. Shower and change your clothes after being outside.  If you have pets that spend time outdoors, don’t forget to bathe them, as well, to reduce the pollen they bring into the home.
    5. Limit your outdoor activity to specific times. Pollen counts are highest between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and lowest right after it rains or at night so consider making your morning constitutional an evening stroll instead.

What about medications?  Several over-the-counter medications are available that help manage the symptoms and most do not cause sleepiness. (Name brands like Zyrtec, Allegra and Claritin and generics like cetitrizine, loratadine and fexofenadine).

If your allergies are not responding to your initial line of defense, consult a Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine Allergy and Immunology expert.  These physicians are able to treat severe allergies with more extensive tools including prescriptions, nasal steroids and/or a series of immunotherapy shots.


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Iron is important as illustrated by MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.  Our bodies need it to make the proteins hemoglobin, found in red blood cells, and myoglobin, found in muscles, both of which help carry and store oxygen in the body. And we have to be careful with iron: too little iron can lead to anemia; and too much is toxic.

However, “more people are affected by anemia and iron deficiency (ID) than by any other micronutrient deficiency, with an estimated 1.6 billion people worldwide being anemic and even more people currently having insufficient iron stores,” according to a 2011 article in Nutrition Reviews suggest that “Providing iron and folic acid during pregnancy could decrease early neonatal mortality, possibly by reducing the risk of preterm birth and birth asphyxia.” So a lack of iron is a very common and worrisome problem.

What can lead to it? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list two common causes: increased need, such as for growing children, pregnant women, and those who’ve experience blood lost; and decreased iron intake or absorption often due to dietary factors. But a doctor or a healthcare provider should be consulted to determine in there is a deficiency and, if so, how to correct.

One possible way to correct an iron deficiency is through dietary changes. Depending on one’s needs this may include consuming foods that contain heme iron such as meat, poultry, and fish, which enhance iron absorption, or foods that contain non-heme iron such as fortified cereals, some beans, and spinach. Foods containing vitamin C may also enhance non-heme iron absorption when eaten at the same meal.

Iron supplements may also be recommended by a doctor. The National Anemia Action Council  indicates Ferrous iron is the best-absorbed form of iron supplements, but different supplements contain different amounts of the form of iron used by the body, called “elemental iron.” They suggest, when choosing an iron supplement, to look at the amount of “elemental iron” in each tablet, instead of the size of the tablet. Iron supplements are available in regular tablets and capsules,the best-absorbed and most economical; liquid and drops, necessary for children and people with difficulty swallowing; and coated or extended-release tablets and capsules, which usually have the fewest side effects.
Side effects may include upset stomach and nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, dark-colored stools, and/or other abdominal distress.  If you cannot take an iron supplement by mouth, your doctor may recommend an iron injection. Iron is important, and many people do suffer from a deficiency, but it is important not to try to treat yourself or take iron pills without talking to your doctor.

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The Dieticians of Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine want to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month all month long!  Check in each Saturday during March for tips to help you get your plate in shape!

TIP#1: Balance Calories

Find out how many calories YOU need for a day as a first step in managing your weight.  Choose My Plate is a great website to determine your personal calorie level.  Don’t forget- being physically active also helps you balance calories

TIP#2: Enjoy Your Food, but Eat Less

Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it.  Eating too fast, or when your attention is elsewhere, may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals.  Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.

TIP#3:  Avoid oversized Portions

Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass.  Portion out foods before you eat. When dining out, choose a smaller size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.

 

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2012 CalendarMarch 12, noon – 1:00 p.m.  “What is Lymphadema?’  Join Jenn Hunt, a BOC Certified Fitter for this free Lunch and Learn seminar.  Call the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at 410 740-5858 to register.

March 12, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening.
Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring at the Savage Branch offered by Howard County General Hospital. 2nd Mondays.

March 13, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. Spring Into Science – Wild About Weather.
Build brain power with classes at the Central Branch exploring simple science concepts about weather using children’s literature, music, movement, activities, and discovery tools. Students will investigate rain, wind, heat and cold. A multi-week series. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March13, 7:00 p.m. Owl Outreach. 
Get up close and personal with nature. Join Tabby Fique, of Howard County Conservancy, at the Miller Branch to learn about the hunting techniques, habitat requirements, and adaptations that owls use to survive in Maryland. See Range the owl and participate by reading a book that includes owls in the story. Ages 5 & up; 45 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.1955.

March 14, 10:15 &11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch, and 7:00 p.m. at the Miller Branch. Just For Me. Classes for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min.  No registration required for the classes at the Elkridge Branch. Tickets available at Miller BranchChildren’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March 15, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m.  Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Discipline and Communication that Really Work. Mealtime, getting ready for school, doing homework, playtime, bedtime – it can be a challenge! Learn how to prevent misbehavior by being prepared and setting up your home and routine to encourage success. Discuss ways to successfully communicate with your child, and the importance of structure and consistency. Explore common challenges parents face in regards to discipline and communication with young children. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

March 15, 7:oo p.m.  Healthy Food in our Schools with Anthony Geraci,  at the Howard County Conservancy. National leader working with Michele Obama for healthy children in the classroom. $5/family.   Anthony Geraci is inspiring and energizing the nation’s school systems to provide fresh and local foods to our school children. What are our kids choosing to eat today? What’s happening to them as a result? How can we introduce and support healthy eating habits and menus? What does it take to change school cafeterias and home lunch boxes? Good food means Great Kids! Don’t miss this high energy presentation from the former Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City School System and nationwide childhood nutrition consultant whom the White House has tapped for first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts in combating childhood obesity. He is currently Executive Director of Nutrition Services for Memphis City Schools. $5 per family; students free.

March 15, 7:00 p.m. Cover Girl Culture: Awakening The Media Generation.
View excerpts from this eye-opening documentary at the Miller Branch. Filmmaker and former Elite International fashion model Nicole Clark explores how fashion, modeling, advertising, and the cult of celebrity affect teens and young women, and how to educate young girls to think critically about the media. Suggested for ages 14 and up. Followed by a discussion. Parents Television Council, Seal of Approval Award and Delray Beach Film Festival, Community Service Award. Cosponsored by the Women’s Giving Circle.  Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

March 16, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. My Body. 
A class at the East Columbia Branch to learn about your amazing body. Ages 3-5; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March 19th 6:30 p.m.  Look Good… Feel Better.  This American Cancer Society program provides a free workshop led by a licensed cosmetologist.  Women undergoing cancer treatment learn to manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment and receive a complimentary bag of cosmetics.  Register by call the ACS at 1 888 535-4555.

March 20, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. A Mind Body Approach to Pain. In her free seminar,  Hughes will explore some of the latest innovations in mind-body research for dealing with chronic pain.  Using guided imagery, feeling states, meditation, and visualization, Hughes teaches participants how to change their relationship with, and experience of, pain. Registration is required for this free event. Register online at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD 21044.

March 20, 6:00-7:00 p.mTeens Together.  A free student led group that connects teens who have either a family member or close friend with a diagnosis of cancer.  Adult facilitators provide support and encouragement. Call 410 740-5858 for more information.

March 21, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Breast Cancer Support Group.  This ongoing support group facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C meets every third Wednesday of the month at the Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center.  Call 410 740-5858 for more information and to register.

March 29, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Positive Discipline: Expectations, Rewards, and Consequences. Consider what you’d like your child’s behavior to be like every day. Learn how to teach children self-control and problem-solving techniques that they can use themselves. Establish rules and logical consequences for misbehavior that are developmentally appropriate. Learn about using behavior charts and rewards the right way to encourage what you want to see. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

April 12, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Healthy. Learn how to choose healthy, age-appropriate snacks, meals, and beverages for children, and how to plan ahead. Discuss common eating concerns, such as picky eaters or children who refuse to eat. Explore nutrition labels and healthy shopping on a budget. Try out some nutritious, easy-to-make family recipes. Learn more about the importance of exercise and how you can keep children physically active even when it’s cold and rainy! $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

April 14,  10:00 a.m.  WONDER WALK: Hike to the River: Signs of Spring – at the Howard County Conservancy with Conservancy naturalists, Woody Merkle & John Cookson. FREE  Moderate difficulty walk from the Conservancy across meadows, hillsides, and woods down to the Patapsco River with naturalists Woody Merkle and John Cookson. Look for signs of Spring!  In case of rain, check website.  FREE.

April 21,  8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m Earth Day: Make a Difference. Join us at the Howard County Conservancy for a day of service to the earth at the .Conservancy.  Service projections include stream cleanup and invasive plant removal.  Children’s craft at 11:30,  Bird walk at 8 am with Scott Burglund and Mike Kerwin, Howard County Bird Club.   In case of rain, check website.  FREE.

April 26, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Keeping Kids Safe. Discuss safety-proofing your home for different ages; who to contact in an emergency; car seat safety; and tips on how to protect your child from abuse. Learn ways to cope with your own stress and how to teach children relaxation techniques and stress relief. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.


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Are you concerned about the rise of childhood obesity in the United States? Your own family’s fitness and diet? Are you just a fan of The Biggest Loser?

Jackie  and Dan Evans who competed as a mother and son team on Season 5, will be leading a class at the Miller Branch of the Howard County Library System on March 18 from 2-3:30pm.

Learn the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits from Jackie and Dan. Since losing a combined 225 pounds, they have presented their story to thousands as national spokespeople for the Kids Fit Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds and awareness for youth programs incorporating health, fitness, and wellness. 

Jackie and Dan have registered to run in 19 half-marathons this year through Team Future, committing to run a total of 500 miles for the organization to build awareness about the importance of getting young people moving and helping them develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to be physically active for a lifetime.

Learn more about their involvement in these charitable endeavors as well as get some great tips on living a healthier, more active life. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.


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Sleepless in Columbia

Or… What to do When You Have Trouble Sleeping?

Tick, tock, tick, tock….the clock on the wall says 3:30 a.m.. . . 4:30 a.m. . . . can it really be 5:30?And you still can’t get back to sleep. You’ve counted sheep, counted to 100 in French, Spanish and Mandarin, done the alphabet game with girls’ names, boys’ names and fruits and vegetables. But after reciting all the way from artichokes to zucchini, you’re still wide awake!!

There’s a video in your head that keeps looping from the beginning, over and over. You try to turn it off, but the “to do” list is there in red lights, along with a litany of worries and concerns that, in the light of day, will be rendered unimportant if not ridiculous.

Now you’re getting panicky. Only one hour until the alarm will go offfzzzzzzzzzzz.  Beep, beep beep…wake-up call! Just as you fall into a comatose state and get involved in an intricate dream, it’s time to get up and face the day.

Sound familiar? Insomnia and sleep disorders can range from mild, causing only minor problems once or twice a week to a chronic severe condition that affects your life style and ability to function at 100 percent. Some sleep disorders, such as apnea – a disruption of breathing during sleep – can even be fatal. Other common sleep problems are restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy – sleep attacks that can occur at any time. Untreated, these disorders can result in high blood pressure, strokes, heart disease, and car and industrial accidents due to drowsiness.

There are a number of symptoms that should send up a red flag that your problems with sleep may be causing more serious health issues. If your sleep partner is constantly giving you the elbow to make you stop snoring or stop gasping for breath, you may have sleep apnea. If you often feel like you’re falling asleep at the wheel or at your desk, you’re not getting enough sleep. Morning headaches, high blood pressure and weight gain are also signs of poor sleep that may need attention.

The causes for sleeplessness range from stress, pain, overstimulation and certain medications, but regardless of the cause, The National Sleep Foundation suggests several things you can do to get a better night’s sleep:

At night:

  • Use the bedroom for sleep (and romance) only
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • Do not eat or drink too much close to bedtime
  • Create a sleep-promoting environment that is dark, cool and comfortable
  • Avoid disturbing noises – consider a bedside fan or white-noise machine to block out disturbing sounds

During the day:

  • Consume less or no caffeine, particularly late in the day
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine, especially close to bedtime
  • Exercise, but not within three hours before bedtime
  • Avoid naps, particularly in the late afternoon or evening
  • Keep a sleep diary to identify your sleep habits and patterns that you can share with your doctor

If you’re still struggling with sleep after a month or so, you may want to seek professional advice. There are many resources available that can help make you sleep like a baby again – or better yet, like the dog or cat snoring blissfully at your feet.

 

We want to hear from you…   what do YOU do when you are sleepless in Howard County?

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When not wearing her Marking and Communications project manager hat, find Diane painting in her home studio, trying new recipes in the kitchen or walking with her husband and two Jack Russels, Lily and Lucy – who both sleep very well indeed.

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By Sharon McRae

For the first 5 of 10 ways in which I helped to transition my family to a plant-strong diet, please see Part 1. Here are 6-10:

6.     Our motto:  Always be prepared.  I always make sure that we have hummus or some type of bean dip, nut butters, and plenty of fruits and vegetables in the fridge.  We never travel anywhere without snacks–for example, fresh or dried fruits, kale chips, hummus and sprouted grain bread, carrot and celery sticks–so we are never caught hungry without plant-strong and unprocessed options.

7.    Over the summer, I shared plant-strong snacks with the kids’ friends when they were here for play dates.  I never told other kids what was in the delicious snacks (everything from kale to black beans), but I shared the recipes with their parents and had them taste the food, too, if there were leftovers.  For my kids, having their friends enjoy the same dishes helped to reinforce that healthy food can taste great for everyone!   I also have made exclusively plant-strong meals when our extended family was over for holidays; these have been well received, even by the other kids in the family, which also made my kids feel great.

8.    I began sending the kids to parties and other social events with a plant-strong dish to share for everyone.  I call or email the host/hostess in advance and explain that we do not eat animal-based products, including dairy, and I offer to send the kids with a dish.  Almost every time, the dish has been a huge hit and the host/hostess has asked for the recipe!

9.    We have cut way back on eating in restaurants, which we used to do at least once per week.  I generally cook several times during the week and really vary the flavors by trying new beans/legumes, grains, vegetables, spices, and nuts and seeds.  This helps to keep it interesting for all of us.  We also have a lot of fun coming up with creative desserts, like various ice creams/sorbets/smoothies in the blender, chocolate mousse made with avocado, puddings made with chia seeds, raw chocolate/fruit pies, and different types of truffles made with dried fruits and nuts/seeds and cocoa powder.

10.    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I helped to develop a network with other like-minded people.  We began socializing with other plant-strong families, attending vegan potlucks and special events, such as health fairs and festivals, where we can indulge in the food without worrying about whether it’s plant-strong. We’ve met some amazing families this way, and the kids have loved meeting some of the plant-strong pioneers at special events.

All in all, this has been a very positive transition for all of us.  I am now feeling much more in control of our health destiny.  We rarely get sick anymore, even with colds, and when we do, it’s very brief and mild. And we don’t rely on medications unless it’s absolutely necessary (and it truly hasn’t been since we’ve all been plant-strong!).  We all have lots of energy and passion for sharing our experience and inspiring others to take control of their health.

My kids tell me that they never feel uncomfortable about eating differently than most people; in fact, they are proud of the way that we eat because they know it’s best for our health, for the animals, and for the planet.  I’m so proud of them and the way that they’ve adapted; while it is sometimes work to prepare these amazing dishes on a regular basis, it’s always done out of pure love.  I tell them that the reason the food that I give them tastes so good is because it always contains that ingredient.  I hope that this inspires you to consider transitioning your family to a plant-strong diet!

Sharon McRae is a Certified Health Coach and mother of three, who has been adopting and applying principles of health and nutrition in her own life for more than three decades. She became a health coach to fulfill her passion of helping others feel their best and achieve optimal health through adaptation of a plant-based, whole-foods diet, as well as other healthy lifestyle modifications. Sharon received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. See www.eatwell-staywell.com for more information.

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The Dieticians of Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine want to help you celebrate National Nutrition Month all month long!  Check in each Saturday during March for tips to help you get your plate in shape!

Tip#1: Foods to Eat More Often

Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products.  These foods have the nutrients you need for health, including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and fiber.  Make them the basis for meals and snacks.  Consider joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)  or visit the Farmer’s Markets this Spring and Summer at Howard County General Hospital or the East Columbia Library to stock up on fresh, locally grown produce (and support our local farmers in the process!)

Tip#2: Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks

Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages.  Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugar, and calories, in American diets.  Read Dr. McKay’s blog post about why kids- even athletes- should avoid these empty calories.


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2012 CalendarMarch 5, 10:15 a.m. Spring Into Science.
Build brain power with a class at the Savage Branch exploring simple science concepts and experiments inspired by children’s literature. A multi-week series. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March 5, 11:30am. Just For Me. 
A class at the Savage Branch for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March 5, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening.
Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring at the Glenwood Branch offered by Howard County General Hospital. 1st & 3rd Mondays.

March 5, 7:00 p.m. Bumblebee Awards Ceremony. The fifth annual BumbleBee Celebration takes place Monday, March 5 at the Miller Branch. A companion to the Howard County Library System Spelling Bee, the BumbleBee inspires first through third grade students to build vocabularies, learn spelling tips, and gain confidence in front of an audience.

March 5, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Age-Related Eye Disease and Conditions. Experts from the Wilmer Eye Institute will discuss the normal and abnormal changes that may impact your vision and what can be done to promote your eye health. FREE. Register online at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD 21044.


March 6, 10:15 & 11:30 a.mBaby Sign & Play. 
Have fun with your baby at the Central Branch while learning basic words in American Sign Language. Ages 6-23 months with adult; 30 min. Six-week series.

March 7, 10:15 &11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch, and 7pm at the Miller Branch. Just For Me. Classes for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min.  No registration required for the classes at the Elkridge Branch. Tickets available at Miller BranchChildren’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

March 7, 7:00 p.m.  Beginning Gardening. 
Are you ready for gardening season? Alex Dunbar walks beginning gardeners through their first steps at the Glenwood Branch. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardener. Register online or by calling 410.313.5577.

March 7, 7:00 p.m. Gardening In Small Spaces. 
Another opportunity to prepare your green thumb. Presented by Betty Ames at the Miller Branch. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardener. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

March 8, 6:00- 8:00 p.m. Advance Directives. Review what Advance Directives are for, who needs them, and how you can get them.  You will have the opportunity of leaving this class with a completed Advance Directive document. Also, learn what it means to appoint, or be appointed, a health care agent.  Registration is required for this free event. Register online at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD 21044.

March 9, 7:00 p.m. Spelling Bee. 
Cheer on Howard County’s top spellers as they compete for the county crown. Winners from public and private school bees will spell off in the annual Howard County Library System Bee. The champion speller advances to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. An HCLS Signature Event at Reservoir High School (11550 Scaggsville Road, Fulton)

March 15, 6:15 – 8:15 p.m.  Family First Positive and Practical Parenting Workshop. Discipline and Communication that Really Work. Mealtime, getting ready for school, doing homework, playtime, bedtime – it can be a challenge! Learn how to prevent misbehavior by being prepared and setting up your home and routine to encourage success. Discuss ways to successfully communicate with your child, and the importance of structure and consistency. Explore common challenges parents face in regards to discipline and communication with young children. $5. 5470 The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way. For more information: 410 313-1940.

March 15, 7:oo p.m.  Healthy Food in our Schools with Anthony Geraci,  at the Howard County Conservancy. National leader working with Michele Obama for healthy children in the classroom. $5/family.   Anthony Geraci is inspiring and energizing the nation’s school systems to provide fresh and local foods to our school children. What are our kids choosing to eat today? What’s happening to them as a result? How can we introduce and support healthy eating habits and menus? What does it take to change school cafeterias and home lunch boxes? Good food means Great Kids! Don’t miss this high energy presentation from the former Director of Food and Nutrition for Baltimore City School System and nationwide childhood nutrition consultant whom the White House has tapped for first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts in combating childhood obesity. He is currently Executive Director of Nutrition Services for Memphis City Schools. $5 per family; students free.

March 20, 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. A Mind Body Approach to Pain. In her free seminar,  Hughes will explore some of the latest innovations in mind-body research for dealing with chronic pain.  Using guided imagery, feeling states, meditation, and visualization, Hughes teaches participants how to change their relationship with, and experience of, pain. Registration is required for this free event. Register online at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD 21044.

 


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by Jean Pfefferkorn

Eat your fresh vegetables, Mom would say. As vegetables offered in grocery stores are shipped from distant California or Florida, the dutiful child wonders where fresh veggies can be found.

Enter the CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture cooperative, where smart consumers can buy vegetables via subscription. As the growing season begins, each veggie lover buys a “share” to help a local farmer with costs such as seeds, fertilizer, and staff. Then, from late spring to late fall, the farmer delivers fresh veggies weekly to a central location, to be picked up by subscribers—or subscribers may go to the farm for pickup.

I have belonged to three different CSA’s. Although there is great variety amongst them, this is consistent: produce is very fresh, of high quality, and plentiful, with some to spare for the freezer. CSA’s might specialize in organic vegetables or add extra local food items such as farm eggs, cheese, meats, and locally-baked breads. Subscribers are able to buy shares customized to their families.

Besides the high quality of the produce, other benefits abound. Food dollars spent at a CSA circulate in Maryland, which helps our local merchants. And because these veggies have not trekked thousands of miles to your dinner table, the gasoline savings helps the environment. And for frugal consumers, the cost of a subscription is no more expensive than the cost of purchasing food at a farmers’ market.

A CSA also offers a community of fellow vegetable lovers, including shared recipes and an opportunity to link with a local farmer. Some CSA’s also donate leftover food to families in need or to local shelters.

For details, google “CSA Howard County Maryland,” which will take you to sites that can give you names of CSA’s and how they operate. Also keep your eye on upcoming newspapers, this month and next, when CSA’s are getting started.

Mom would be proud.

Jean has been working at Howard County Library System’s Central Branch for nearly nine years.

She walks in the Benjamin Banneker Park whenever she gets a chance.

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