By Jessica “JP” Protasio

The water rolls softly and the rhythmic splash of the paddle in my hands cuts the kayak through the calmness. The sun stretches my skin taut across my cheeks just as I smile; hearing my friends’ laughter a quarter-mile out from the pier where they’re dancing their feet in the cool water. The river moseys left toward more homes, boats, and piers and other places I’ve not traveled and down a ways to right, it opens to the Chesapeake. I splash my way equidistant to every pier in sight, rest the paddle across my lap and lean back to a clear sky, bobbing quietly in the remarkably tiny watercraft. This is a safe, happy place. A place that I remember being told I should “visualize,” “go to,” or “imagine,” in order to get some “rest” while I was going through treatment. I can’t say that it helped me much then, but being out on the water, certainly did.

Sometimes we need to excuse ourselves from the five-minute mile expectations of this life and just lay down in a quiet, safe, space. Too often I’ve neglected to give myself the time to be still. I’m absolutely convinced that rest is just as important a component of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as exercise and diet. Regardless of whether you’re in recovery, going through treatment, or just going about your day, rest should be a part of it. Paying attention to your body’†s needs on every level is important.

I’m learning that the cancer journey doesn’t end with a clean blood test or clear scan. Even in remission, the impact cancer’s had remains. I spoke recently with a fellow “not a wallower” survivor who shared with me an experience with handling life once in remission. She said, “It’s like people think that once you’re in remission you’re done. Life is normal again. Truth is, it’s not. It’s no where near normal. It takes months or years to get back to anything that resembles normalcy.

It’s embarrassing, frustrating, and often difficult to explain to friends or family who’ve known you prior to diagnosis that “I need to get home and sleep,” “I’m not feeling up for that,” or “I can’t eat at that buffet.” What’s worse is when some of us fail to say anything at all and ignore our friends to avoid that awkwardness- or we deny our fragility and try to live up to expectations and then, feel miserable! I’ve been on just about every side of this and have learned that being well is my priority. My friends and family will understand and when they don’t, it’s painful. It makes me wonder if they think cancer was my version of a vacation. Cancer isn’t an excuse, but maintaining my wellness is a reason to say, “I need to sit this one out.”

Unfortunately, some people just aren’t able to wrap their minds around the beating your body, mind, and soul take from cancer’s blow. Yet, no matter how far along you are in your cancer journey, your wellness must be a priority. Rest when you need to rest, play hard when you feel like moving, and do what your doctors tell you to do. When we move, eat well, and rest- our bodies thank us by getting stronger, leaner, and healthier. So, instead of running sprints everyday in everything that you do for the rest of your life, change your pace every now and then. Your life with thank you.

Follow up at the library with one of the following:

The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone Is Not Enough: A 30-Day Plan to Reset Your Body by Matthew Edlund

Feeling and Healing Effects of Stress and Support on Cancer Patients

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.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

2012 Calendar

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 for 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. Blossoms of Hope supports the Howard County General Hospital Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center.

April 28, 11:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Ellicott City’s Cherrybration Spring Celebration.  The whole town is thinking PINK!  Festivities throughout the day include children’s activities, street performers, and LIVE music. Hula Hooping contests, PINK scavenger hunts, Spring plant sales and more fun for the whole family presented by the Ellicott City Business Association and Blossoms of Hope.

April 29, 8:30 a.m.- 12 noon. Road Bike 101- presented by Bicycling Advocates of Howard County at the Howard County Health Department 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia. These free classes are intended for novice road riders- those who can safely ride a bike but want to learn basic skills and techniques for doing so safely and effectively on the road.  Local bike shops will do bike safety checks.  Register at bikehoco

April 21- 29. National Park Week.  Our friend, Jim Wang over at Bargaineering reminds us that this upcoming week is National Park WeekYou can enter any of the 397 National Parks absolutely free.  April 28 is National Junior Ranger Day! Parks will invite young visitors to “explore, learn, protect” and be sworn in as Junior Rangers.  Make a plan to visit the National Parks in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. or Pennsylvania this week!  Click on the map view or the list view to see the list of National Parks, Battlefields, and historic sites.

May 5-6. The 39th Annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. The largest sheep and wool show in the U.S. Shearing, spinning, weaving, working sheep dogs, and more!  Free fun for the whole family!

May 10-12. Preakness Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival. Turf Valley’s annual Hot Air Balloon Festival is perfect for young children and those young at heart. Family activities, handmade crafts and live entertainment.  Don’t miss the nightly Balloon Glow at dusk!  On Saturday May 12, the Balloon Festival will culminate with the launching of the balloons at 6:30 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

May 5, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Camp Day at Centennial Park. Come enjoy a free day of fun with your family at Centennial Park.  Enjoy making crafts, playing games, watching demonstrations and learning about Howard County Recreation and Parks many summer camps. Face painting, arts & crafts, prizes and giveaways galore!

May 10, 6:00- 7:00 p.m. Howard County General Hospital Presents: Advanced Directives. Review  what advance directives are, who needs them, and how you get them in this free seminar. You will have the opportunity to leave 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.

May 11, 2;00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmers Market!  Join us for the season opening of our farmers market.

May 20, 2:00- 4:00 p.m. River Watch Monitoring Event. Join the Robinson Nature Center for an afternoon in which you and your family can discover the wonders of the Middle Patuxent River and watershed. participants will help monitor the Patuxent by testing for chemicals and catching bugs and fish.  Enjoy a walk along the river.  Dress appropriately for the water; water, nets and equipment will be provided. Registration is required!  For more information call 410-313-0425


read more

Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) is an award program that recognizes schools participating in activities promoting healthy and environmentally friendly learning under the categories of Eco-Campus, Health & Fitness. Students can use their creativity to develop an online video game that teaches a healthy lesson for the chance to win AMD-powered computers for their team, their teacher, and their school. Best of all, teachers don’t need gaming experience and GRS will provide simple lesson plans. Tell the students and teachers you know to register now! The deadline for submissions is May 15th.


read more

Farm Spotlight

Howard County General Hospital Farmers’ Market Master Jamie Brown of TLV Tree Farm in Glenelg has a year-round job. In addition to growing a large variety of produce, his farm raises beef cattle, pork, lamb, broiler chickens and laying hens, which are raised cage-free and produce 175-180 eggs per day. He also grows Christmas trees, feed hay, straw and invites customers to “pick your own” throughout the growing season. A high tunnel growing system uses sunlight to extend the season and provide earlier and later favorite crops such as tomatoes and strawberries.

Triadelphia Lake View Farm

The farm, originally called Triadelphia Lake View, dates back five generations in the Brown family to approximately 1896. When his dad told him their business wasn’t large enough for more than one family, Brown found full-time work outside of the farm. Years later, his father had health issues that brought Brown back to the farm, which now supports both his parents and his own family.

Stop by the TLV stand on our market opening day, May 11, to check out their fresh produce, meats and eggs.

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.


read more

The Old Testament has more than a few stories about bullying, including the story about Joseph and his brothers who threw him into a well and later sold him into slavery. Though bullying has been with us since the very beginning, lately bullying has had a higher profile. The tragic death of local high school student Grace McComas on Easter Sunday has weighed heavy on our collective hearts. Howard County General Hospital is sponsoring  Ray Rice  for his “Ray of Hope” anti-bullying event in early May which will address the issue and the Baltimore Sun is featuring articles about the criminalization of bullying on its front page.  In a recent Sun article, Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, says that “the solution to the problem lies in shifting the way the community responds to cyber-bullying, not in school-based policies that strong-arm students. Children and teens won’t stop to read school manuals to research the consequences before jumping online and sending a mean message. Children must make the change themselves with support and guidance from the adults in their lives.”

In his blog, HoCoRising, Tom Coale follows up on this idea, “The conversation needs to turn from focusing on victims to focusing on the bullies. We need to open conversation that starts with the presumption that all of our kids are the bully-ers and not the bully-ed.”  Coale asks, “How do we intervene/ How do we stop the bullies we love?”

In an earlier post about bullying, Coale brought our attention to the essay, “Goofy” by local writer Rafael Alvarez.  This essay and similar ones found on Bully Stories give us pause for reflection as they expand our thinking beyond the concept of bullies as “them” and encourage us to consider bullies as “us”.  Coale says, “We all have our bully-side. Even your kids. You may be sitting in a room with a bully right now. They could be eating cereal, watching TV, or reading a book. The most dangerous fiction is that bullies are innately evil “things” wearing evil clothes with evil hair-cuts.”

If adults are bullies, too, are we the models of bullying?  If so, how can we teach our children compassion when our thundering actions overwhelm our eloquent words? It doesn’t take much to make an impact on a developing mind- making fun of someone’s appearance,  saying disparaging things about our neighbors, rolling our eyes about the people with whom we work- these seemingly small things are the thundering actions that send the loudest and longest lasting messages to our children.

Charity- the love of humanity- begins at home.  Have a conversation with your children tonight – around the dinner table, in the car on the way home from practice, as a prequel to the bedtime story – and define together what being a bully means.  Don’t stop there, though.  Together, make a plan to end it.

 

Mary Catherine Cochran is a big believer in communications and the critical role that it plays in community building.  (Although she is still adjusting to doing it in 140 characters or less!) When she isn’t busy truncating the message, she works as a Senior Communications Project Manager at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine where, among other things, she manages and writes for the Well & Wise blog.

read more

by Matthew Hall

In the world of supplements and vitamins, there are some that are beneficial to a select few and others that anyone could use to take care of their bodies. Vitamin D is one of those “everybody supplements.”  The benefits have been researched and studied by health professionals for several years, and there have been attempts made from several angles to try and increase the vitamin D intake of people in the U.S., especially children. One of the most well-known examples of this is the addition of vitamin D to milk, and there are various other foods that are fortified with vitamins and minerals that do not naturally occur in those foods. Although vitamin D does not naturally occur in a wide variety of foods,  many species of fish are good sources, as well as egg yolks.

The benefits of vitamin D cover a large spectrum, from protecting the body from cancer, reducing risk of certain types of arthritis, and even maintaining a healthy body weight. It also helps to regulate the immune system and keeps bones healthy by helping them to absorb calcium and phosphorus.

There are some people who probably do not need to take additional supplements for vitamin D, such as those who live nearer the equator. This is because our bodies naturally absorb vitamin D from sun exposure. The growing trend in America, however, is that people are spending less and less time outdoors due to work restrictions and recreation choices (e.g., watching TV). And so in order to keep a healthy level of vitamin D in the body, people need to use supplements.

So if you feel a vitamin D supplement could be beneficial for you, go to any local pharmacy or supplement shop and have a look at their selection. It would also always be a good idea to get outside now that spring is upon us and summer is approaching, perhaps through the Get Active program, and refuel your vitamin D supply the old fashioned way!

 

Matthew Hall is currently an Operations Specialist for Howard County Library System and a student at Liberty University.

He spends the majority of his free time with his wife and kids. His interests include religious studies, psychology, and fitness.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

The explosive growth in the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon and similar events a few years ago put many bicyclists on the road who, while maybe athletically fit, did not have the skills to ride safely or efficiently. Training rides addressed fitness, but not basic road riding skills such as how and when to shift, and how to communicate with cars and other riders. We saw dozens of riders going up Homewood Road and beyond riding unsafely because they simply did not know better. Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (BAHC) launched Road Bike 101 to fill the gap, to teach novice bicyclists how to ride efficiently and how to share the road safely.

Bicycling Advocates of Howard County Inc. is a coalition of Howard County bicycle clubs and organizations which represent over 1,000 member bicyclists. BAHC is a §501(c)(4) tax exempt organization. BAHC advocates for and promotes a vision of bicycling as part of an energy efficient transportation system to achieve a sustainable future for Howard County. One focal point is improving the visibility and safety of bicycling and other active transportation in Howard County.

BAHC will teach its fourth annual Road Biking 101 class on Sunday, April 29, 2012 from 8:30 a.m.- 12 noon at the Howard County Health Department. Classes are for novice road riders — those who can already ride a bicycle but want to learn basic skills and techniques for doing so safely and effectively on the road. Local bike shops will do bike safety checks.

Road Bike 101 has two bedrock principles: (1) It’s Supposed to Be Fun, and (2) It’s Supposed to Be Safe. The workshop will cover the following broad topics:

  • Bicycling Resources
  • Knowing Your Equipment
  • Riding Safety
  • Techniques for Riding Efficiently.

We limit the class to no more than 60 participants so please register early. The class is FREE but BAHC will greatly appreciate donations through the Paypal link on the BAHC web site.

REGISTER online at BAHC’s web site.

 

DATE Sunday, April 29, 2012
TIME 8:30 am – Noon

 

SCHEDULE

8:30 am – 9:00 am Sign In & Bike Safety Checks
9:15 am – 10:30 am Classroom
10:30 am – Noon On The Road Practice

 

LOCATION

Howard County Health Department
7178 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046-2147.

 

 

Chris Tsien first got serious about bicycling decades ago when he lived in Baltimore City without a car.  In his work life, Chris is a lawyer who focuses on commercial and corporate transactions. In his real life, he rides his bike(s). He has been on the Board of BAHC since its founding and chairs the Columbia Association Active Transportation Action Agenda Task Force. Chris believes in Sharing The Road.

 


read more

2012 CalendarApril 21- 29. National Park Week.  Our friend, Jim Wang over at Bargaineering reminds us that this upcoming week is National Park WeekYou can enter any of the 397 National Parks absolutely free.  April 28 is National Junior Ranger Day! Parks will invite young visitors to “explore, learn, protect” and be sworn in as Junior Rangers.  Make a plan to visit the National Parks in Maryland, Virginia, D.C. or Pennsylvania this week!  Click on the map view or the list view to see the list of National Parks, Battlefields, and historic sites.

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 21, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Dog Day Afternoon.  Hosted by the Columbia Association at Hopewell Park, 9200 Rustling Leaf in Columbia.  The event is free and promises a good time for dogs, owners and the general community. Contests, music, raffles and demonstrations that are focused on the the health, happiness and wellness of your dog.

April 22, 2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Free Community Lantern Building Workshop. Bring the family and create lanterns for the “Lanterns of Hope” luminary parade.  Howard Welcome Center, 8267 Main Street, Ellicott City.

April 23, 11:15 – 11:45am. Twist And Shout. Music and movement at the Elkridge Branch for little ones. Ages infant – age 4. No registration required.

April 23, 4:30pm. Food Detectives: What’s In It?. Examine the impact of unhealthy foods on the body at the Miller Branch through creative, hands-on methods with white vs. wheat bread, sugary beverages, and lard burgers. Learn to understand the food pyramid and how to read and understand food labels. Ages 9-12; 60 – 75 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.1955.

April 23, 6:30pm. Babysitting 101. Join an instructor from University of Maryland Extension-Howard County 4-H Program at the East Columbia Branch to learn about child safety, first aid, and transitioning a child to bed-time. Participants receive a certificate. Ages 13 and up. Please plan to attend all three sessions: Apr 16, 23 & 30. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

April 23, 7:00pm. Shake Your Soul. Exercise at your ideal level by adding creativity to dance movements. Presented at the Miller Branch by Marlene West, certified as a Shake Your Soul Teacher by the Leven Institute for Expressive Movement. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

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.

April 26, 3:00-3:45pm. Earth Day Every Day. Learn tips and tricks for being kind to Mother Earth at the East Columbia Branch. Share the importance of taking care of the environment through songs, stories, and crafts. Ages 5-7. (Ho. Co. schools closed.) Tickets available at Children’s Desk 30 minutes before program.

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.

April 28, 11:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Ellicott City’s Cherrybration Spring Celebration.  The whole town is thinking PINK!  Festivities throughout the day include children’s activities, street performers, and LIVE music. Hula Hooping contests, PINK scavenger hunts, Spring plant sales and more fun for the whole family presented by the Ellicott City Business Association and Blossoms of Hope.

April 29, 8:30 a.m.- 12 noon. Road Bike 101- presented by Bicycling Advocates of Howard County at the Howard County Health Department 7178 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia. These free classes are intended for novice road riders- those who can safely ride a bike but want to learn basic skills and techniques for doing so safely and effectively on the road.  Local bike shops will do bike safety checks.  Register at bikehoco

 

 

 

 


read more

The Office of Health and Physical Education is holding a free screening of the documentary Health Needs a Hero, an in-depth look at issues surrounding the childhood obesity epidemic. According to to the filmmakers, the film’s objective is to bring together thought leaders, policy makers, philanthropists, health advocates, corporate champions and citizens who have the authority to make a difference and open conversations about restoring America’s health – especially our children’s lives -  and  personalizes the conversation through real people’s stories. In addition, the film examines health and nutrition programs from across the country and helps showcase solutions. More information is available at healthneedsahero.com.

The documentary will be presented in the auditorium at Mt. Hebron High School, 9440 Rt. 99, Ellicott City, on Thursday, April 26 at 10:30 am. Contact Linda Rangos at 410-313-6752 with any questions.

hocoblogs@@@


read more

Dog Ownership and Health

Dog Day 2012

In a former life, I traveled up and down the east coast as a quality and compliance auditor for a health care and insurance organization. No one enjoys being audited, so more often than not, my visits were not received with the warmest welcome. After a week on the road, I always looked forward to getting home to my family and sitting on the floor to play with my three dogs: Molly, Cole and Lucy. This is how I decompress from stress.

Dog ownership is a lifetime commitment to the health and well-being of your canine companion. Over the years, I have learned that owning a dog can sometimes can be challenging, but more than anything, it’s rewarding. Aside from their cuteness and forgiving nature, dogs can positively affect the health of the owner. According to a WebMDarticle, a person’s decision to have a pet can have profound life-enhancing effects. Dogs are being used in therapy to help wounded soldiers who are returning from Iraq and battling severe stress, survivors of disasters and even college students, according to a CaesarsWayarticle. Both articles include information that states that spending time with dogs either as an owner or during a visit can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and be instrumental in helping patients overcome trauma, grief, loss, depression, abuse and anxiety. Last, but definitely not least, dog ownership can help increase the level of physical activity that an owner does through daily walks and outside play.

 

Columbia Association’s Dog Day Afternoon

The Columbia Association (CA) is hosting Dog Day Afternoon, which will be held on Saturday, April 21, from 11am-2pm at Hopewell Park (9200 Rustling Leaf in Columbia). This is event is free and promises a good time for dogs, owners and the general community. Attendees will enjoy contests, music, raffles and demonstrations while meeting and getting to know local businesses and organizations that are focused on the health, happiness and wellness of your dog. There will be off-leash play and treats galore leading to lots of fun for dogs and their human companions. For more information on this event, please visit dog-day-afternoon-2012.eventbrite.comor contact Kelly Cooper at Kelly.Cooper@ColumbiaAssociation.org or 410-715-3104.

Wanna see what Dog Day Afternoon is all about? Check out this cool video about this year’s doggy event.

This is the first in a series of guest posts by our Well & Wise friends at the Columbia Association! Anita Baxter is a group fitness instructor who teaches belly dancing for the Columbia Association fitness facilities. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in social and community service.

 


read more

Fresh produce from Clarkland

For the last two years Al Spoler has been working on a documentary about Maryland farmers and chefs and the “Eat Local” movement.  The hour-long film, “The Maryland Harvest”, follows chefs and farmers throughout the growing season in Maryland. The documentary introduces you to the farmers and food producers who work closely with chefs to put fresh local food on the table.  The show airs at 9:00 p.m. tonight, Tuesday April 17th  on Maryland Public Television. Tune in and whet your appetite for the upcoming season of farmers markets, CSA’s and local roadside stands.

The Eat Local trend is nothing new to many of us. I grew up in Clarksville when Clarksville was still farm country.  But even in developing Columbia, community gardens thrived. Growing your own fruits and vegetables was standard operating procedure and what you didn’t have room to grow- you bought from the local farmer, which in our case, often meant a trip to Senator Clark’s farm for fresh Silver Queen corn. (Don’t miss the Clark’s Corn Skillet recipe, below!)

Clarkland farm, now operated by Martha Clark and her daughter Nora, still provides fresh produce through their roadside stand.  “We’ve been selling produce at the roadside stand for about 30 years”, says Martha Clark. “And before that, I remember taking a red wagon around Beaverbrook with corn for 50 cents a dozen.” (Corn, of course, has gone up since then, but there was an excellent, recent article in The Atlantic, about the value of our produce.)

The Clark family has been farming since 1797- one of a handful of bicentennial farms in Howard County.  Clark says, “If local farms can sell to their “neighbors” they can keep the produce, meat and eggs in the community.”   This doesn’t just mean a savings for both the farmer and consumer in transportation costs, but fresh food that ripens naturally instead of food picked two weeks early and “gassed” to ripen as it is driven across country.

Content copyright 2010-2012. Bowling Green Farm LLC. All rights reserved.

Martha Clark is hopeful for the next generation of farmers. “There is a group of young farmers in Howard County that are working hard to make their farms viable enterprises that can support families, and it is a trend that is happening around the country.”

One of the farms operated by the younger generation is Bowling Green Farm in Sykesville.  Bowling Green Dairy Farm has been in continuous operation by the Jones family for nearly 250 years.  Tim and Mitzy Jones tapped into the Eat Local movement three years ago when they began to turn their fresh milk into cheese. Mitzy says, “That first year, we sold our local cheese at the Howard County Fair, but now it is available at the five local farmer’s markets, including the ones at Howard County General Hospital and the Howard County Library.”   Mitzy says that the best sellers have been Tomato Basil Cheddar, Pepper Colby and, of course, the Chesapeake Spread with Old Bay seasoning.  Last year, the Jones family added fresh churned butter to the list of local products- but Jones says you have to come early. “The butter sells out very quickly!”

.

 

Nora’s Corn Skillet- serves 4-6

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3 small (or two larger) yellow squash
  • 6 ears for fresh, local corn
  • Butter, olive oil, or other fat/oil
  • salt & pepper thyme & rosemary (or other spice of your choice)

Slice and sautee red onion in 2 TBSP butter/oil and a pinch of salt over medium heat. Slice yellow squash in to half circle shapes and add to skillet. Husk corn and slice the kernels off the using a very sharp knife. Stir onion and squash mixture so it doesn’t stick and cook until vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize. Add corn to skillet and stir well. Add 1 TBSP of butter/oil. Turn to low heat and let the moisture in the corn cook off. Stir occasionally as vegetables brown and caramelize. Finish with thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste! Serve warm or cold.

 


read more

by Barbara Cornell

Is it just me?  I’ve been noticing a lot of articles in magazines and newspapers lately about the new nutritional value of eggs, how they now have 14% less cholesterol than “before.” Now, how, I wondered, could “they” be so confident in this short-term evolutionary change in chickens, but the American Egg Board reports that, according to the USDA, “one large egg now contains 185 mg of cholesterol down from 215 mg.”  A quick detour to USDA.gov produced a 2007 article listing the cholesterol content of an egg yolk as 213 mg, so this change must have happened very quickly!

I decided to explore in Howard County Library System’s databases and learn some more.  The databases are organized broadly by subject.  I chose “Newspapers & magazines” and picked the largest periodical database, EBSCO’s MasterFILE Premier.  My search brought up “Eggstatic” from Organic Gardening, with advice and recipes, and “Hip Hop Hooray” from Early Parenting’s April 2012 issue, encouraging egg crafts with children.  From the periodical Chatelaine, I learned that research has shown that “a hen’s nutrition affects her egg composition which in turn impacts the health of the person eating that egg.”  They suggest you “aim for a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet…. Look for omega-3-enriched eggs at your grocery store.”  Aha―if farmers are feeding their hens better, then the eggs are more nutritious.  An article in Environmental Nutrition, March 2012, says the USDA  Dietary Guidelines now allow eating up to one egg a day, yolk and all, within a healthful eating plan.

In the “Health & medicine” section, I searched in MedlinePlus for “eggs” and found a link to the USDA’s food safety advice on handling eggs.  Other resources in “Health & Medicine,” included reference books with articles you can read on your computer.  I searched the Gale Virtual Reference Library and found the following in an article on “Functional Foods.” “By feeding their hens a modified diet, some farms have increased the amount of omega-3 in the eggs they sell. These eggs are considered to be functional food because their higher omega-3 content can improve the health of consumers whose diets are deficient in that fatty acid.”

Another article identifies eggs as a good source of the healthy carotenoids alpha- and beta-carotene. I could keep going, but suffice it to say I was feeling better and better about my daily egg.  According to the American Egg Board, one egg “has 13 essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts, high-quality protein, unsaturated fats and antioxidants, all for 70 calories. Eggs’ nutrients can help you with weight management, muscle strength, eye health, brain function and having a healthy pregnancy.”

All this is wonderful news to me.  I’ve always thought the “incredible, edible egg” was the most convenient packaging known to man.  And for my family it is “local food.”  We have only to go to the chicken coop to see what’s fresh for the day!  This of course means we sometimes have an over abundance of eggs and I need to try new recipes.

 Country Egg, City Egg by Gayle Pirie and John Clark, former chefs at San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe, is a charmingly illustrated little book.  The first half is devoted to simple, rustic-style recipes further broken into “Farmhouse Eggs,” “Summertime Eggs,” and “Eggs on the Go.”  The second half offers more theatrical “Uptown Eggs,” as well as desserts involving eggs, the “After-Dinner Egg.”  I can hardly wait to try them!

 The Farmstead Egg Cookbook by Terry Golson, is also well-illustrated but with appetizing photos of the recipes and of her own family of chickens.  The recipes are wide-ranging and complement the collection by Pirie and Clark.

And now it’s time to choose a recipe for a nutritious meal involving eggs!

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.

hcocoblogs@@@


read more

2012 CalendarApril 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.

 

 


read more

By Wendy Camassar

Have you noticed more and more people are “going vegan” these days?  I sure have!  I am seeing more and more vegan cookbooks circulate at the library every day.  Not only are people “going green,” they’re eating green—more plants that is.  This is a good thing, even if one isn’t entirely vegan.  Eating more veggies, fruits, legumes, and nuts is never wrong.  We know that eating this way is a good way to take in more vitamins and minerals that benefit our physical health, but what about our skin?  I wanted to find out more information about this, so I’ve decided to have a little chat with a plant-based Certified Health Coach, Sharon McRae:

WC: Hi Sharon! Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to answer a few questions for me!  So, you’ve said in a previous Well & Wise post that you and your family have gone completely vegan over the past two to three years, right?

SM: Yes, that’s correct.

WC: What impact has this new lifestyle had on you and your family?

SM: Well, since we’ve transitioned to a whole-food, plant-based diet, no one gets sick in our house anymore! We all have a new expanded palate, and we love to try new foods. We spend more time cooking together in the kitchen. We don’t eat out in restaurants as much anymore, which saves us money. My son used to have problems with reflux and would often vomit right after eating dairy. Well, he no longer has this problem.  My daughter Tess used to get a lot of phlegm in her throat in general, and no longer has this issue since we eliminated dairy.  My other daughter Marcie has issues with general anxiety, but is a lot calmer now since removing refined processed foods and dairy from her diet.  But I want to make the point that we are whole-food (not processed-food) vegans.

WC: Interesting. So is there such a thing as a “junk food vegan”?

 SM:  Yes there is. This is a person who avoids any food products that have ingredients derived from animals, but eats a diet rich in processed foods and very little in the way of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and nuts.
WC: What can you tell us about the effects of a plant-based diet on the entire body, both inside and out?

SM: There is an increased boost in energy, decrease in digestive issues, improved resistance to viral infections, and an improved complexion.

WC: I’ve read that the consumption of dairy can affect one’s skin.  Can you talk about that at all?

SM: I have been getting compliments on my skin for years. Since dairy is an animal byproduct, it has hormones in it, and it can exacerbate acne.  Many people who change to a healthy vegan diet say their skin takes on more of a healthy glow–likely due to the carotenoids found in green & orange fruits and veg.  However, in general I recommend talking to your doctor or registered dietician about taking vitamins B12 and D because those aren’t found in whole foods.

WC: How much water do you think we should be drinking a day? Can water consumption really make a positive impact on the complexion?

SM: If one is eating a plant-based diet, you don’t need to worry so much about how many ounces of water you drink daily because those foods are already rich in water to begin with. However, many people eat a diet rich in processed foods that contain a high amount of sodium, so it would be a good idea to stay hydrated in that case.  I recommend starting off the day with a warm mug of water with lemon.  Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day with lemon in it too; it can be very refreshing.  The amount of water you’ll need will increase depending on the amount of activity you do.  Many times we think we are hungry, but your body is really thirsty. I advise drinking a glass of water first before getting a snack. Also, many people are drinking caffeinated beverages, which act as a diuretic. This will increase one’s need to quench their thirst throughout the day.  As far as skin, water will help plump up the cells in the skin.  Lines and wrinkles will be more visible if you are dehydrated.

 WC: In your opinion, how beneficial is it to use organic skin care products?  Sometimes they can be more expensive.  Are they really worth the money in the long run?

SM: Skin is our largest organ, so what we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in. “Organic” is not the only thing I look for in a product.  I look at the ingredients to see if they are carcinogens, cause birth defects or other irritants.  A great site to check is the Environmental Working Group cosmetic safety database.  I do try to buy organic products when possible; however, the bigger issue for me is the ingredients themselves.  For example, the company Origins claims that they are “all natural.” However many of their products contain ingredients that are harmful to us, i.e., parabens and sodium lauryl sulfates.  There are a few “pure” cosmetic companies to look into like, 100% Pure, Rejuva Minerals, and Jane Iredale, with cosmetic products that are actually beneficial to the skin.  Whole Foods Market is a good place to shop; Roots Market and My Organic Market (MOM’s) have pure products to look into as well.  My message is not to just “go vegan.” I think getting animal products to a minimum is important; however, a big part of a healthy diet is about eating whole foods, and eliminating processed/refined foods. While I think it is important to eat a diet that has minimal animal products, people need to understand that being vegan doesn’t always mean it’s the healthiest way to eat.  Only a diet that is based on whole food consumption is one that is considered the most beneficial.

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.
Wendy Camassar is an Instruction and Research Specialist at the Central Branch of the Howard County Library System.  Prior to joining HCLS, she worked as a freelance makeup artist for several years.  She enjoys hiking with her family, exercising, reading, and organic foods and skin care products.

[/author_info] [/author]

hocoblogs@@@


read more

K2, Blaze, Bliss, Spice:  Risky, but Legal

K2 packets by Gresham

Recently, at Howard County General Hospital, a teenager was brought to the emergency room because he vomited every ten minutes for two hours after smoking legal “marijuana” in a high school bathroom. In a separate instance, a teenager threatened to kill himself after smoking synthetic marijuana. This prompted his parents to call the police, who brought him to the hospital.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Following a nationwide trend, children in Howard County and elsewhere in the State, are buying legal “marijuana” at gas station convenience stores and on the internet.  Local stores report a brisk business, selling thousands of dollars a month of the substance to teens.  The problem is, synthetic “marijuana” isn’t marijuana; It is much worse.

This fake weed is marketed as a natural and legal herb under many names, including Spice, K2 and Black Mamba.  While still legal in Maryland, it is not natural. It is a combination of various plants and unregulated chemicals manufactured in an attempt to mimic the effects of cannabis.  These chemicals are dangerous; they are untested and manufactured in basements and garages with no regulation.  The drugs are sold in condom-sized pouches and are used to make cigarettes costing as little as three dollars each.

Synthetic marijuana can cause serious medical problems, including heart attacks and death.  Fortunately, to date no teens in Howard County have died, but many have been treated in the Emergency Room for a variety of conditions including intractable vomiting, psychosis and the overwhelming desire to commit suicide.  Despite this, convenience stores keep selling it, and teens keep smoking it.

Although some states have made these substances illegal, and bills are currently making their way through legislatures in Maryland and D.C., making these substances illegal is challenging. Manufacturers continually make minor tweaks to the chemicals to skirt the law.

Ultimately, it is up to us, as physicians, parents, teachers, and teens to spread the word that synthetic “marijuana” is dangerous and that just because it is legal does not mean that it is safe.

 

 

David Monroe, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University and has served as the Director of the Children’s Care Center at Howard County General Hospital since 1996. He has been a member of the National Health Services Corps, providing pediatric care to underserved children, and a member of the executive committee of PECARN, a national pediatric emergency care research network. He has lived in Columbia for more than 20 years and enjoys the challenges and rewards of caring for children.

 

 


read more

Don’t laugh, well do because that has proven health benefits too—especially for children, but poetry may have healing properties. It has been linked to helping managing stress and anger, and even been employed  by the military to so; used to help stimulate memories in Alzheimer’s patients; and found useful for children coping with a parent who has Multiple Sclerosis.

The main health benefits associated with poetry seem in relation to how writing it can combat depression. In 2002,  Dr. Robin Philipp, a consultant in occupational and public health at Bristol Royal Infirmary stated he had “been inundated with people telling him how poetry had helped them after he and his colleagues sent a letter to the British Medical Journal asking whether poetry could benefit health.” Dr. Philipp said, “poetry worked as an ‘emotional catharsis’ allowing people to get their thoughts onto paper.” He even went on to say that some people had weaned themselves off anti-depressants or tranquillizers using poetry, and with a doctor’s help.

Though more research is needed, poetry certainly couldn’t hurt. And April just happens to be National Poetry Month, so why not consider a little poetry therapy. There are many web sites and books on poetry and writing poetry, and there are some interesting books that suggest a poetry-health connection, such as:

On Relationships: A Book for Teenagers by Kimberly Kirberger
One-breasted Woman: Poems by Susan Deborah King
The Body Broken: A Memoir by Lynne A. Greenberg
She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey through Poems, a collection of poems selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy

Or consider picking up some poetry to lift your spirits (it’s not all dirges and daffodils, you know). For example, check out this one from Billy Collins featured by the Poetry Foundation:

Introduction to Poetry
By Billy Collins
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


read more

2012 CalendarApril 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.

 

 

 


read more

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 April 19 from 7-8:30pm, at the Savage 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(http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/priority_partners). 

Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.880.5980.


read more

by Mary Catherine Cochran

 

Perhaps you’ve seen one of the cinnamon challenge videos making the internet rounds.  The challenge has been around for years, but the viral capability of internet video has created a new audience of kids who don’t understand the inherent danger. The Cinnamon Challenge, which appears harmless and fun- is a choking hazard and a health risk. The challenge begins with a teen or an adult being dared to swallow a spoonful of cinnamon without water and the ensuing consequences are difficult to watch.

Last week, the American Association of Poison Control Centers released a warning to parents and teens about the health risks associated with the intentional misuse or abuse of the spice cinnamon in the “cinnamon challenge”.  Alvin C. Bronstein, MD, FACEP, Medical Director of the Center explains; “Although cinnamon is a common flavoring, swallowing a spoonful may result in unpleasant effects that can pose a health risk.”

Dr. Marty Makary, a professor of public health at of Johns Hopkins University, further explains the effects of the challenge, “Cinnamon isn’t known to be toxic in any way but what happens to cinnamon, unique to other substances, is that it quickly dries out the lining of the mouth and the throat and it becomes aerosolized and you inhale it.”  Makary explains that at this point the cinnamon becomes caustic to the lung.

Howard County physician, Wendell McKay, M.D., F.A.A.P, expresses further concerns for children with asthma and other respiratory illness, “A child or adolescent with asthma, or any other chronic respiratory disease, can experience an acute exacerbation when exposed to any particulate matter. The lungs are not equipped to function normally when solid material invades the airways. Therefore, this type of behavior increases the risk of serious breathing problems that could, in some, be life threatening.”

Doctors are seeing cases of acute lung injury associated with this challenge.  According to data from the National Poison Data System, in the first three months of this year poison centers received 139 calls compared to 51 calls for all of 2011. Bronstein says “Unfortunately, videos on the Internet are helping to spread this risky activity among teens. We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences.”

Has your school sent home information about this?


read more

People have known for centuries that plants and herbs have wellness potential. Today, we are still aware of this, but somehow the “common knowledge” of these healing plants has been lost. Anne Roy comes to the Miller Branch on April 12 at 12:00 pm to present an overview of the historical use of plants with medical applications and other cultural uses. Discover books that explain the use of herbal plants for healing, perfume making, and cooking. During the class, you are welcome to discuss your own culture’s culinary use of herbs and spices.

Then stick around–at 1:00 pm, Ms. Roy discusses ways to enjoy a garden through smell, touch, and sight in her Multi-sensory Plants Class.

These are University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardener Classes. 

Registration is required for both classes.

Register online for Herbal Apothecary and/or Muti-sensory Plants or by calling 410.313.1950.


read more