By Cherise Tasker
By jchatoff from venice beach, usa (berries Uploaded by hike395) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A blackberry is a beautiful thing. In its own red-black, tiny, grape-like cluster, one blackberry delivers juice, crunch, and many health benefits. Like its fellow berries, straw, blue, ras and cran, to name a few, the blackberry is delicious and nutritious. While each type of berry is beautiful in its own way–the glorious color, lovely shape and unique taste–all berries provide us with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, electrolytes, dietary fiber, and even a small amount of protein.
Plants produce compounds called phytochemicals. Many phytochemicals are antioxidants. Anitoxidants are molecular substances that in some studies have been shown to protect cells from the negative effect of free radicals. Free radicals arise in the body as a byproduct of normal internal processes such as digestion or due to exposure to external toxins such as cigarette smoke and radiation. Free radicals’ effects on cells may contribute to the aging process and to the development of cancer. Berries are an excellent source of antioxidant phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals with antioxidant effects include vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins have other beneficial properties as well. Our bodies use vitamin A to produce pigments for the photoreceptor cells for night vision. Vitamin C is utilized in collagen production. As a component of connective tissues, collagen is important for wound healing and maintenance of strong bones. Vitamin C is also used in chemical pathways that synthesize molecules critical to brain function and energy production. Vitamin E plays an important role in maintaining normal platelet and immune cell function.
Carotenoids, the red, yellow, and orange pigments in plants, are also a type of phytochemical with antioxidant and health-supportive properties. Studies have shown that carotenoids may help reduce the incidence of heart attack and cancer. Carotenoid molecules are found in the lens and retina of the eye, making this nutrient important to eye health. Carotenoids’ antioxidant properties may lend some protection against acute macular degeneration. Because of its unique molecular structure, carotenoids absorb light and may also have a vision-protective effect, including the possible prevention of acute macular degeneration (AMD). Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A as well, helping to assure the ability to see in low lighting conditions. Carotenoids give berries their orange and gold color.
Polyphenols are a type of phytochemical that include the flavonoid subgroup. In addition to its antioxidant effects, flavonoids interact with various enzyme systems in the body, resulting in anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-allergic activity. Studies have shown that flavonoids may also be cardioprotective. One category of flavonoids, anthocyanins, has been linked to the prevention of memory loss. Anthocyanins give berries their blue, purple, and red color.
The Blackberry. The anthocyanins that give blackberries their rich color also lend this fruit its antioxidant capacity. In addition to their high-fiber content, blackberries also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help decrease cholesterol levels. Studies have been conducted on blackberry wine for its potential health benefits. Although data to date is inconclusive, studies on the health effect of the beautiful berries continue.
The Blueberry. High in vitamin C and anthocyanins, blueberries have a substantial amount of fiber as well. The fiber makes blueberries particularly filling and a good choice for those who are watching their calorie intake. Blueberries are also a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps optimize the conversion of carbohydrates and fat into energy. Blueberries contain the carotenoid lutein, which may help slow the progression of AMD.
The Cranberry. Traditionally, cranberry juice has been promoted as helpful in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). The thinking was that the berry juice acidified the urine, making it inhospitable to bacteria growth. More recent studies suggest that chemicals (possibly the anthocyanins) in the cranberries prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract, thus preventing UTIs. Cranberries also contain salicylic acid, an ingredient in aspirin, and may help prevent blood clots. Proanthocyanidine, a flavonoid found in cranberries, has been found to prevent dental plaque formation.
The Raspberry. Usually a pink-red color, raspberries are also available in white, gold, purple, and black varieties. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and anthocyanins. Raspberries are also high in potassium, an electrolyte important to maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
The Strawberry. Strawberries are high in vitamin C, polyphenols, fiber, potassium, and manganese. Just 8 strawberries provide more vitamin C than an orange. It is commonly noted that strawberries are both heart-shaped and heart-protective. Because they are high in fiber, they may help lower cholesterol levels. Their antioxidant components may offer anti-inflammatory protection and decrease the risks for blood clots.
Please, enjoy the spring with a bowl of beautiful berries.
Posted by hclibrary on May 16, 2013 in Cancer, Health | 0 comments
Cancer is a word heard far too often in our community.
That is why we are fighting back against this disease with our longtime friend and partner – the American Cancer Society – by encouraging you to consider taking part in one of their biggest research projects to date made possible in partnership with Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), Howard County Wellness Center, Roger Carter Recreation Center, St. Agnes Hospital and UnitedHealthcare.
During the week of June 9-15, 2013, the Howard County community will have the opportunity to enroll in Cancer Prevention Study (CPS-3), a nationwide effort of the American Cancer Society to help researchers better understand the lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors that may cause or prevent cancer. The study’s goal is to recruit a diverse group of 300,000 Americans across the U.S.
County Executive Ken Ulman is encouraging Howard County residents to set a record and enroll 1,000 participants in CPS-3.
If you are between 30 and 65 years old, are willing to make the commitment to the study, and have never been diagnosed with cancer (with the exception of basal and squamous cell skin cancer), you are eligible to enroll. If you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, your significant participation comes from telling everyone you know about the opportunity to help prevent cancer.
Enrollment takes place June 9-15 at these Howard County locations.
St. Agnes Hospital
900 South Caton Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21229: In Maryland Metabolic Institute (MMI) Conference Room
Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 8:30 am -12:00 pm
6095 Marshalee Drive, Suite 200, Elkridge, MD 21075: In Oriole Park/Ravens Roost Room
Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm
Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT)
6711 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia, MD 21046: In Sustainability Suite, 1st Floor
Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm
Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center
10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD 21044: In Suite 100, Ellicott Mills Room
Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Roger Carter Recreation Center
3676 Fels Lane, Ellicott City, MD 21043: In Multipurpose Room
Thursday, June 13, 2013, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm
If you are interested in enrolling, please follow these simple steps:
1. Visit www.CPS3HowardCounty.org or call 1-888-604-5888 to schedule an enrollment appointment. The appointment should take 20-30 minutes. You will be emailed a confirmation with instructions to complete your first, most comprehensive survey regarding medications you are taking, family history of cancer, etc.
2. At your appointment, you will sign an informed consent form, complete a brief survey, provide a waist circumference measurement, and give a small blood sample.
3. Once enrolled, you will be asked to complete mailed surveys from the American Cancer Society every few years over the next 20-30 years to update lifestyle, medical and behavioral information.
This is our chance to fight back against a disease that takes too much. We sincerely hope you will take part in this historic study and share this message with all those you know who want to join this fight and make cancer history in Howard County.
Learn more at cancer.org/cps3 or visit www.CPS3HowardCounty.org to join today.
Dear Well & Wise,
You’ve tried to sell us on the health benefits of gardening and poetry and even love stories, but what’s with all the math and science classes in your Friday’s events listings?
Dear SR (who is in no way imaginary),
One lesson many of us have learned from working on the blog is that there are a surprising number of things that can benefit your health if done right (the flipside, of course, being that even things that are supposed to be healthy, like exercise and sunshine, can hurt you if done wrong). But it is almost as if humans, at our basic core, are meant to engage in activities that are ultimately beneficial: little slakes thirst better than water; as kids we like to run and be active; most people do crave companionship and time spent in nature, etc.
That’s not to say many people are chomping at the bit to solve quadratic equations or bust out some quantum physics theories. Although, we have seen an increase in the interest in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), especially since the White House’s call to Educate to Innovate, through everything from Howard County Public School System’s increased focus on it to events such as the STEMtech Conference. And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention HiTech, HCLS’ STEM Digital Media Lab for teens and classes.
So yes, this new focus on S.T.E.M. is good for us as a nation, but what about as individuals. Well, we know that doctors and nurses depend very strongly on math and science for their jobs, which benefits us, and that innovations in S.T.E.M. have lead to everything from new medicines, to ergonomically designed tools and furniture, to robots that can do some of our more dangerous jobs for us, and many more life-saving and life-enhancing contributions. BUT that’s not all. There is evidence of links between good mental health and academic excellence (of which math and science play an important part). And many feel that studying math and science can improve critical/analytical-thinking skills and can also improve confidence, literacy, and overall levels of achievement. So S.T.E.M. studies are good for us; that’s our story, and we’re sticking with it.
Well & Wise
A good resource, but not the only resource.
The other day, a mom-to-be approached the Research Desk in a bit of a panic. “All of your copies of What to Expect When You’re Expecting are checked out!” Now it is true that What to Expect When You’re Expecting is one of the most requested titles by future moms, and with good reason. According to the book description it “is a perennial New York Times bestseller and one of USA Today’s 25 most influential books of the past 25 years. It’s read by more than 90% of pregnant women who read a pregnancy book–the most iconic, must-have book for parents-to-be, with over 14.5 million copies in print.”
High praise, indeed, but if it’s not on the shelf and you want it that day, there are other fish in the sea. Take, for example, the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Health Pregnancy. Publishers Weekly stated, “Would-be mothers looking for precise, accurate information from a reputable source will appreciate this mammoth pregnancy guide…most readers will find great reassurance this volume’s carefully vetted facts.” And The Joy of Pregnancy: The Complete, Candid, and Reassuring Guide for Parents to Be is another popular and trusted source.
There’s also The Pregnancy Bible: Your Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Early Parenthood and Your Pregnancy Week By Week. Both of which not only give you tips on a health pregnancy, but also gives you a weekly progress report on what’s going on in there.
Of course if you want a little humor to go with your advice, there’s always The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy or The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. And you can always put the future papa to work with The Expectant Father: Facts,Tips, and Advice for Dads-To-Be. But that’s just a small sampling. There are many more good pregnancy guides as well as many that deal with very specific areas of pregnancy such as diet or high-risk pregnancies. Be sure to stop by any branch of HCLS for even more options.
Posted by hclibrary on May 6, 2013 in Health, News | 0 comments
Happy National Nurses Day, everyone—in fact, happy National Nurses Week. Why everyone? I’m not a nurse, you are thinking. Well, frankly, most of us should be celebrating nurses because at some point or another our lives have probably been touched (quite literally) by a nurse. In fact, there are approximately 3.1 million licensed registered nurses (RNs) in the United States, of whom 2.6 million are actively employed in nursing. So that’s a lot of people we need to be thanking.
According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), National Nurses Week, founded in 1954, is celebrated annually from May 6, birthday of Florence Nightingale, through May 12. The theme for National Nurses Week 2013 is Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care. The theme is meant to call attention to “RNs and their contributions to the healthcare system–as expert clinicians in diverse care settings and as leaders who influence quality of care and overall performance of the system into the future.” The ANA wants to emphasize that:
…RNs are positioned to assume leadership roles in healthcare, provide primary care services to meet increased demand, implement strategies to improve the quality of care, and play a key role in innovative, patient-centered care delivery models. The nursing profession plays an essential role in improving patient outcomes, increasing access, coordinating care, and reducing healthcare costs. That is why both the Affordable Care Act and the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing report place nurses at the center of healthcare transformation in the United States.
The public wants leaders they can trust, and in 2012, Americans voted nurses the most trusted professionals in America for the 13th time in 14 years in the annual Gallup poll that ranks professions for their honesty and ethical standards. So overall, we have a good feeling about nurses, and we depend on them to lead us into what seems an often-frightening future of healthcare. Although there are concerns that as the demand for nurses grows, there will be a gap between supply and demand. As the ANA states, “Despite growth in the proportion of younger nurses for the first time since 1980, the nursing workforce still features a disproportionate number of nurses nearing retirement age.”
The ANA also gives a dynamite historical overview of National Nurses Week, if you want a true sense of how deeply felt our need and admiration of nurses goes. The ANA put it best when they said, “The public’s high regard for the profession, coupled with nurses’ education and skills, makes them well positioned to help transform the healthcare system into one that places more emphasis on prevention, wellness, and coordination of care.” And really, isn’t that the direction we all want to see healthcare go?
Check these out if you want …
…to learn more about the real-life experiences of nurses—Call the Nurse: True Stories of a Country Nurse on a Scottish Isle
I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse
…to teach your little one about nurses—Nurses
Nurses Help Us
…to learn more about a career in nursing—Mosby’s Comprehensive Review of Nursing for the NCLEX-RN Examination
Posted by hclibrary on May 2, 2013 in Health | 0 comments
By Cherise Tasker
by noir imp on Flickr
When finding your daughter under the covers reading with a flashlight, do you:
A. Remind her it’s past her bedtime.
B. Worry that her vision will be harmed by poor lighting.
C. Decide to buy her an e-reader for her birthday.
D. All of the above.
The lighting we use when reading affects our eye comfort. If the light is poor, we may experience eye fatigue. We may blink less often, leading to an increased feeling of dry eyes. We may hold the book closer or at an angle causing headache or neck pain. Reading in a dimly lit area, however, has not been found to impact eye health, according to expert sources including the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). So while we might decide to enforce bedtime, we do not have to ban reading by flashlight.
When we age, a normal condition called presbyobia occurs. Usually starting around age 40 and worsening until about age 60, the lens of the eye becomes less flexible. The ciliary muscles, which control the degree of curvature of the lens and allow our eyes to focus, become weaker. The changes result in presbyobia, a condition that causes difficulty focusing on nearby objects and inability to read well in low light. In this situation as well, increasing the amount of light used while reading adds to eye comfort. The AAO advises that it is the brightness of the light that is important and not whether the light is white or yellow.
As reading with e-readers, smart phones and tablets increases, the issue of lighting takes on additional technical considerations. Eye strain associated with computer use now becomes a concern when reading with an electronic device. Computer use has been associated with a decrease in the number of times we blink our eyes, leading to eye strain and discomfort. AAO recommendations include positioning the screen so that you are looking downward, reminding yourself to blink and taking regular breaks. It is important to rest your eyes and look up and out from the screen to allow your eyes to focus on objects that are in the distance. The so-called 20/20/20 rule encourages taking a 20-second break looking at an object 20 feet away for every 20 minutes of computer work.
If you are reading materials in an electronic format, there are several points to remember. Glare from a light pointing directly at the screen or streaming in from a window can make reading uncomfortable. Do not point a lamp directly at the device. If you read near a window, position yourself with the window off to the side or use a window shade to limit the glare. When choosing an e-reader or monitor, keep in mind that matte glass causes less eye strain. Consider features such as color contrast adjustment, font size options and background lighting. Crisp contrast between text and background makes reading easier. Of note, the eye must focus and refocus more often when looking at different colors or images, so reading text in a uniform font and traditional black and white contrast may allow you – and your daughter – to read comfortably for longer periods of time.
It’s been a long time since we talked about some the kid friendly, teaching tools on health in the HCLS collection. Today, we are going to highlight some new additions to our collection.
The first set of books is part of the “Your Healthy Plate” series, and features Grains, Fruits, and Proteins. According to Cherry Lake Publishing, the books are specifically designed to highlight the five five food groups as described in the new dietary guidelines launched in January 2011 by the FDA. “This leveled reader series helps the young child understand the importance of a balanced diet.” The books are informative without being overwhelming. Some of the topics covered include: What Are/Is Grains/Fruits/Protein? Why Do You Need Grains/Fruit/Protein? How Often Should You Eat Grains/Fruit/Protein? Find Out More, Glossary, and Home and School Connection. Simple text and lots of bright pictures make these books an excellent way to introduce young children to healthful eating.
A non-nutrition-related book that your inquiring, 6-to-9 year-old reader may find interesting is My Itchy Body. Part of the BODY WORKS series, the publisher, Tundra Books, describes it as “a fact-filled book about everything that itches: the causes, the cures, the myths, and the reality.” The book provides medically accurate information paired with very funny, often silly, illustrations. The book would work really well at home or in the classroom, and it includes fun facts, sidebars, and a glossary.
Don’t forget, learning about health and good habits can and should start at a young age. Plus, as John Locke stated: “Children should always be heard, and fairly and kindly answered, when they ask after anything they would know, and desire to be informed about. Curiosity should be as carefully cherished in children as other appetites suppressed.”
Picture by bottled_void via Flickr.
Oh, no! Oh cripes! Is it April 25 already? We didn’t mean to wait this late to let you know that April is National Stress Awareness Month.
We all have experienced stress, which MedlinePlus defines as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation; a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium .” But what are some of the common physical, chemical, and emotional factors?
Physical factors are exactly what you’d think they’d be. Anyone dealing with illness or chronic pain is prone to stress. A physical condition, even one that is temporary, that is inhibiting a person from something they want or need to do can be a great source of stress. For example, if you have a foot injury that is limiting your mobility and you have three small children at home, you are going to be stressed. Elderly people who find some of their physical abilities slipping, may experience greater amounts of stress. Additionally, poor diet and lack of sleep, excessive travel, noise and crowds, clutter, surgery, and seasonal changes can also be some common contributors to stress. And, annoyingly, stress can, in turn, exacerbate existing physical problems and/or lead to more.
Chemical factors of stress can crossover with the physical if you consider things such as hormonal changes due to factors like puberty, pregnancy, menopause, etc. One of the main chemical culprits appears to be an imbalance of neurotransmitters, and here’s where stress and depression and anxiety often intersect (a much larger topic for another day). And yes, external chemicals such as illegal drugs, or improper or overuse of prescription drugs (stress and anxiety are sometimes even side effects of some medications), smoking, alcohol abuse, too much caffeine, and poor diet are stressors too. Chemical factors may also include environmental elements such as pollution and toxins. As with physical stressors, the more chemical influences you have, the more your stress levels and internal chemicals can be affected.
Finally, emotional and mental stressors—the big ones. The easy answers to what are the greatest emotional/mental causes of stress are change and outlook. But it is waaaaaay more complicated than that. Concrete examples would include loss of a loved one, relationship troubles, overloaded work schedule, pessimistic outlook, low self-esteem… really the list goes on and on.
As mentioned before, a lot of these physical, chemical, and emotional factors of stress can often lead to the chicken or egg question as the conditions that cause stress can be increased or worsened by, well…stress. But the important thing seems to be to recognize when you are stressed and do something about it. Sometimes talking to someone (a doctor can be especially helpful) is all you need to get the stress relief rolling. There are also some simple things you can try to help alleviate stress. Most stress-relief methods involve reducing stressors in your life or finding activities that can calm you. Here are items that might help in your quest to do both:
A Calm Brain: Unlocking Your Natural Relaxation System
Element. Yoga for Stress Relief and Flexibility
Shakuhachi Flute Meditations: Zen Music to Calm the Mind
Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers
By Azcolvin429 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Happy Earth Day! What better day to think about personal well-being than a day devoted to the well-being of the entire planet? We’ve already given you a few hints on how being kind to Mother Earth can personally benefit you, say through gardening
, or protecting your soil
. But what else can you do to help Earth and, ultimately, yourself and those you love?
Well, of course, The Earth Day Network has several suggestions to be active, from helping the climate to recycling. They also have a place for donations if you don’t have time to get personally involved.
National Geographic has some very specific examples of the link between the health of the Earth and its population. “Our health is intimately connected with the world around us. Scientists are continually discovering new ways that ecosystems affect us. Destruction of natural wildlife habitats, for instance, can lead to humans being exposed to new diseases.” They offer such examples as how deforestation of the Amazon has led to more CO2 in the atmosphere and loss of clean drinking water; how air pollution can provoke heart attacks, stroke, and asthma; and how preserving wetlands protects both wildlife and natural filters that remove pollutants from water before they reach the ocean or tap water. National Geographic also offers some suggestions everyone can employ to stop the damage.
The Nature Conservancy has an All Hands on Earth campaign, “asking millions of people all over the world to spend the whole month of April— Earth Month— thinking about where their food comes from, and how their food choices impact our planet.” They are organizing Picnic for Earth to encourage everyone to come together and eat sustainably.
You may also want to link healthcare improvement and environmentalism directly by getting involved with Practice Greenhealth. They are the nation’s leading healthcare community, working toward empowering members to “increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care through tools, best practices, and knowledge.”
Finally, if you’re just looking for some simple changes you and your family can make to help keep the planet and its inhabitants a little healthier and happier, check out:
The Green Guide: The Complete Reference for Consuming Wisely
True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay
Do One Green Thing: Save the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices by Mindy Pennybacker
Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life by Linda & Tosh Silvertsen
And the DVD Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?
Posted by hclibrary on Apr 18, 2013 in Parenting | 0 comments
Has your lovely child every turned into a sulky mess or an angry beast right before your very eyes? Of course there could be a number of reasons for
By dalbera from Paris, France (Oeuvre de Gustav Vigeland) [CC-BY-2.0]
this Jekyll and Hyde scenario, but a very common cause is food, or the lack thereof. Really there might be two food-related explanations for junior’s southerly slide into crankytown: low blood sugar or low serotonin levels.
Let’s start with low blood sugar, or, at its extreme, hypoglycemia. According to MedlinePlus, hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) drops 70 mg/dL, a level that can harm you. Hypoglycemia is most common in diabetics and should be discussed with a physician. Some symptoms may include: “hunger pains,” blurry or double vision, cranky or aggressive behavior, feeling weak or tired, fuzzy thinking, headaches, trouble sleeping, nervousness or agitation, trembling or shaking, and sweating.
KidsHealth warns that skipping meals, not eating enough at a meal or snack, exercising longer or harder without eating a bit more, getting too much insulin or not timing an insulin dose properly, and taking a long bath or shower after an insulin shot can lead to lower blood sugar. But they also provide steps to helping prevent low blood sugar:
- Eat all meals and snacks on time; no skipping.
- Take the right amount of insulin.
- When exercising longer or more rigorously, have an extra snack.
- Don’t take a hot bath or shower right after an insulin shot.
- Stick to a diabetes management plan.
Low blood sugar is, obviously, a bigger problem for those with diabetes. However, that doesn’t mean food does not affect mood for those who are not daibetic. Health Magazine reported that “serotonin levels — a hormone that helps regulate behavior — fluctuate when people are stressed out or haven’t eaten, according to a new study…. The study revealed that low levels of serotonin made communications between certain parts of the brain weaker than normal. The researchers concluded that when this happens it may be harder for the brain to control emotional responses to anger.”
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic implicates food’s effect on behavior by stating that though there aren’t any diet changes that can cure anxiety, watching what you eat may help. In their contribution to the discussion on the food-mood connection, they suggest:
- Include some protein in your breakfast to help energize you throughout the day.
- Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain (see above).
- Avoid foods that contain simple carbohydrates (sugary foods and drinks).
- Drink lots of H2O because even mild dehydration can affect your mood.
- Limit or avoid alcohol.
- Limit or avoid caffeine.
- Be aware of food sensitivities since certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant reactions in some people.
- Eat healthy, balanced meals for overall physical and mental health.
There, now you have it. Your little angel may turn into a monster simply because of lack of food or lack of the right kinds of food. Of course if you suspect something serious like hypoglycemia, you should consult a doctor. However, if you’re just looking for some foods that may boost your family’s mood in general, you may want to check out The Food-Mood Solution or The Food & Mood Cookbook.
by Barbara Cornell
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Month than putting something in the earth and watching it grow. If it grows into something delicious and healthy, so much the better.
- You will know exactly how your food was raised—it will be organic if you want it to be.
- You will be the ultimate locavore —just pick it and bring it into the kitchen!
- Working in the garden is good exercise—a great way to work up an appetite for your homegrown veggies!
Are you unsure of how to get started? Howard County Library System has some excellent books full of advice for the beginner and the pro. Here are some of our newest.
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Own Food, 2011, by Monte Burch, promises you will “Save money, live better, and enjoy life with food from your garden or orchard.” Burch covers “why,” “where,” and lots of “how-tos.” with excellent photos and illustrations.
Another great general book is How to Grow Food, 2011, by Richard Gianfrancesco. His “Growing Directory” gives information on “how to grow, maintain, harvest and store” crops. He packs an immense amount of information into each page including “value for money” and a calendar with advice for each season. His “How to Grow” section covers soil prep, starting seeds, controlling pests, pruning, and more. He finishes with “Preserving Your Crop” and includes recipes.
Creative Homeowner’s Fast, Fresh Garden Edibles: Quick Crops for Small Spaces, 2011, by Jane Courtier, will appeal to the impatient gardener with little spare time. Courtier gives enough well-illustrated introduction to inspire and ground the beginner then presents a directory of food crops uniquely divided by speed: “Superfast,” “Faster than the average vegetable,” and “Worth the wait.”
The Food Lover’s Garden, 2010, by Mark Diacono, is full of tempting surprises. It has a decidedly British flavor—the author’s first book was named Practical Book of the Year by the UK’s Garden Media Guild—but it translates well to the U.S. I was delighted to find that my Carolina Allspice bush has a culinary use and to see a recipe included! Diacono is rather “evangelical” about nasturtiums and Jerusalem artichokes as well. He will have you converted!
I love the tiny book How to Grow Your Food: A Guide for Complete Beginners, 2011, by Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert. It is another British import that is very happy here in the U.S. I like that the section on each vegetable or fruit includes the following: “plant or seed,” “planting/sowing,” “how do they grow?”, “looking after your ___,” and “now what” (what to do after the harvest).
I hope these suggestions will get you started on the road to happy gardening. So it’s Earth Month! Go plant something!
Really, Well & Wise, again? First you you try to sell us on the health benefits of poetry, now gardening? Not buying it.
Dear, skeptical reader, do not scoff. Where poetry’s benefits may be harder to pinpoint, mostly improving mental health, gardening can make you feel better on the inside and look better on the outside. We all know that the “fruits” of one’s gardening labors can often be employed in healthful meals, but there is more to it than that.
Take for example the book, Garden Your Way to Health and Fitness: Exercise plans, Injury Prevention, Ergonomic Designs by Bunny Guinness.
By aussiegall [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
Guinness, a gardening designer, worked with physiotherapist Jacqueline Knox to create step-by-step movements based on Pilates and illustrate safe ways to perform strenuous garden-related tasks, such as pushing wheelbarrows, lifting pots, and picking crops/plants–ways that boost fitness while avoiding strain and injury. The book also provides real and effective gardening techniques requiring different exertion levels; planting designs for time-pressed gardeners; garden maintenance regimes to stay active; and, of course, a comprehensive guide to growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs to help maintain a healthful diet.
And, even without the book, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening. According to Next Avenue, “this hobby offers direct health benefits to avid and casual gardeners alike. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels gardening ‘moderate cardiovascular exercise.’ Former National Gardening Magazine editor Dan Hickey says that according to studies he has participated in, 45 minutes of gardening can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of heart-healthy aerobics.”
They go on to say that National Institute of Health recommends 30 to 45 minutes of gardening three to five times a week and you can even benefit by breaking up the time into smaller portions. “And the cherry on top: Research shows that gardeners have an increased zest for life, sleep better, have a lowered risk for osteoporosis and diabetes….” Next Avenue even references a study, that suggests gardening can improve your sex life.
Discovery Health emphasizes the practicality of gardening for health: “Local gardening, and the resulting local food communities, may hold even more answers to the economic and health care disasters we currently face. With obesity now seen as an epidemic in developed nations, gardening represents a good source of physical activity….” Discovery Health sites how gardening can encourage kids to try a greater range of fruits and veggies and promote mental health (through relaxation and satisfaction and better nutrition) as well as physical healthThey also discuss how gardening has been linked to preventing dementia in seniors; allows for more whole foods, in place of processed options; and provides extra food and savings for the family, as well as income if sold at local farmers markets.
If you still feel like you’re just not the gardening type, rest assured–you don’t have to go out and buy loads of fancy equipment and start ordering all the latest seed catalogs to take advantage of all gardening has to offer. You can start small. Maybe check out a book like Gardening In Your Nightie: What Every Passionate Gardener Should Know But Never Dared to Ask to get things explained in plain language and an entertaining fashion. Or you can stop by and chat with some experts at one of HCLS Master Gardener classes.
Posted by hclibrary on Apr 8, 2013 in Eating Right | 0 comments
Working in a library can be a little sedentary at times. And just like most offices, we tend to get our share of naughty goodies left in the lunchroom by some well-meaning souls. Plus, many of us work nights, and come home hungry as can be, having had dinner around 4:30 p.m. to prepare for the 5-9 p.m. shift. This has, on occasion, led to some of us being a little rounder in the middle than we care to be.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we have a wealth of dietary information at our disposal all the time, with more constantly being added as new books come in. (This, of course also means we have just as many tempting cookbooks crossing our paths.) Choosing what works and what doesn’t can be tricky; thankfully we have people like our Diet Detective to help out. And, on the plus side (that was “side,” not “size”), we can also pick and choose bits and pieces of what we come across.
For example, one may not be ready to commit to the full exercise and diet plans suggested in Walk Off Weight Quick & Easy Cookbook: 150 Delicious Recipes to Fill You Up and Slim You Down by Heidi McIndoo, MS, RD., but one may certainly feel free to try a post-late-shift snack, say in the Buffalo wing category (don’t be so shocked—librarians have been known to enjoy wings and even a brewski), that might be less damaging than the “real” thing. Where the Calorie Count website tells us that store-bought, bagged Buffalo wings contain about 220 calories per serving, Quick & Easy shows us how to make our own Buffalo Bites (fresher and tastier) at home for 159 calories (including a blue cheese dip and veggies on the side—yum).
Buffalo-Style Chicken Bites
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken tenders, cut into 2” pieces
3½ tablespoons hot sauce
¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup (1 oz) reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon trans-free spreadable/tub margarine
½ tablespoon Asian chili garlic sauce
Dash of garlic powder
½ teaspoon cornstarch
1½ teaspoon cold water
1 cup baby carrots
1. Combine the chicken and 1½ tablespoons of hot sauce in medium bowl. Toss to coat the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 45 to 60 minutes.
2. Combine the sour cream, blue cheese, and buttermilk in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drain the chicken and add to the hot pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on the outside and the juices run clear.
4. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine margarine, chili garlic sauce, garlic powder, and remaining 2 tablespoons hot sauce over medium heat until melted together. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour, whisking into the sauce mixture. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
5. Drain any excess oil from the cooked chicken. Pour the sauce on the chicken and toss. Serve with the blue cheese dip and carrots.
Posted by hclibrary on Apr 4, 2013 in Health | 0 comments
April…with Spring in the air, flowers starting to appear, and more sunshine, hopefully everyone’s energy levels are starting to pick up. So why not put that energy to good use by helping in the campaign to cure Parkinson’s Disease (PD)? Many of us became familiar with PD through the very public and very brave battle of Michael J. Fox, which you can read even more about in his 2002 memoir, Lucky Man.
But, for those of you who are not so familiar with PD, MedlinePlus explains that it is a disorder that affects nerve cells, or neurons, in the part of the brain responsible for controlling muscle movement. Symptoms may include trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; stiffness of the arms, legs, and trunk; and slowness of movement or poor balance and coordination. MedlinePlus goes on to say, “As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking or doing simple tasks. They may also have problems such as depression, sleep problems or trouble chewing, swallowing or speaking.”
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation indicates approximately a million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease, and about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year–this number does not reflect the thousands of undetected cases. Incidence of PD increases with age, but an estimated four percent of people are diagnosed before the age of 50, and men are one and a half times more likely to have it than women. Still think it’s not your concern? Well, the combined direct and indirect cost of PD, including treatment, social security payments, and lost income from inability to work, is estimated to be nearly $25 billion per year in the United States alone, that’s not even including medication costs.
So really PD is or should be everyone’s concern. And the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation even provides some simple ways, for anyone to get involved from voting in the T-Shirt Design Contest to writing a letter to the editor. So prove T. S. Eliot wrong; don’t make April the cruelest month, but one of action and caring.
Posted by hclibrary on Apr 1, 2013 in Eating Right | 2 comments
A couple of weeks ago, our Farmers’ Market Chef briefly mentioned some of the health properties and concerns about eggs. Since many folks are looking at a mound of leftover eggs today, thanks to the Easter Bunny, we thought we’d explore the topic a little further.
Let’s start with the bad news: eggs do have cholesterol, and egg allergies can be quite dangerous. According to the Mayo Clinic, one large egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol. As we all know cholesterol is a major contributing factor to heart disease. Additionally, egg allergy is quite common and can be quite dangerous. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) indicates that the egg is “one of the most common food allergens, affecting approximately 0.2% of Americans. This equates to more than 600,000 Americans.” Allergic reactions to egg often involve the skin. Egg allergy is the most common food allergy in babies and young children with eczema. Reactions to egg allergy can range from minor conditions such as hives to severe reactions such as anaphylaxis.
Now for the good news, the cholesterol levels in eggs don’t necessarily mean you need to cut them out of your diet completely. As with all things, moderation is the key. In fact, it is the yolks alone that contain all of the cholesterol. So if that is your fear, you can still enjoy the egg whites. Also, ScienceNews reported that, though ingesting several eggs a day does tend to increase blood concentrations of cholesterol, particularly the amount circulating in LDLs—the so-called “bad” cholesterol; a new study showed, eating eggs can also increase the amount of cholesterol in HDLs—the good cholesterol. In fact, data indicate that most people’s bodies handle the cholesterol from eggs in a way that is least likely to harm the heart.
Plus, we can’t forget the protein; one egg provides 6 grams of protein, 12% of the Recommended Daily Value. This is especially good news for vegetarians looking for versatile foods rich in proteins. And on the allergy front, the ACAAI indicates that about 70 percent of individuals outgrow egg allergy symptoms by age 16. But for those who still have egg allergy, it is better to play it safe with eggless recipes, such as those found in Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking: 30-Minute Meals without Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Eggs, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish, Shellfish, and Sesame.
If you’re not allergic and really psyched about adding more eggs to your diet, why not take it once step further with Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need to Know for a Happy, Healthy Flock. Sadly, we still have no good news about health with regard to chocolate Easter eggs.
Passover Seder Plate showing (clockwise from top): maror (romaine lettuce), z’roa, charoset, maror (chrein), karpas, beitzah.By [[User:Yoninah|Yon
It’s pretty much right in the middle of Passover today. But that doesn’t mean, for anyone who is observing it, that it is too late to add an element of wellness to it.
Take, for example, food; there are healthier takes on traditional food. In fact one of our regular bloggers gave us some pointers when she celebrated Rosh Hashanah with her family, vegan style. The books Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion by Robin Roberston, and The Healthy Hedonist Holidays: A Year of Multicultural, Vegetarian-Friendly Feasts by Myra Kornfeld, even have sections dedicated to Passover. There’s also a Huffington Post piece on celebrating Passover in a “more sustainable” way.
But probably the most sustaining aspect of Passover is that it is a celebration of liberation and tradition that you share with loved ones. So making it meaningful and inclusive for the whole family, perhaps through some ways suggested in Make Your Own Passover Seder by Alan A. Kay, will have the most positive impact. Making Passover special and memorable will provide you with opportunities to improve health, believe it or not. KidsHealth.org suggests that spirituality and family involvement can reduce stress and depression, boost confidence, and even lower blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. So however you may observe Passover, observing it with the people you’re closest to will benefit you and them.
By Angie Engles
Memory, moods, sleep, dreams, and learning are all things associated with the brain that absolutely fascinate me and, of course, ultimately all tie together. If there’s something natural (or safely herbal) that will help with any of those things, I will most likely ingest it.
I’m also a sucker for books with fetching covers and easy access to helpful information that’s not in fine print. That’s probably why I grabbed up a copy of the fascinating book Power Foods for the Brain, by Neal D. Barnard, a book dealing with how best to treat that part of our body that houses our mind and pretty much everything we need to function as a human being.
It’s a pretty great book, and if it has only one flaw it’s that there are just so darned many jam-packed facts found within. Just to give you an idea of some of the many useful, even lifesaving, offerings, here are some of the meatiest parts (though, please, consider more vegetables and less meat):
- When it comes to metals in one’s diet, iron and copper are not stable. They can, in fact, be harmful to your ealth. You can see this when you pour water into a cast iron pan and it doesn’t take long before it rusts because it’s oxidizing. Soda cans (aluminum) also have been considered harmful to the brain (forgetting, for one moment, the soda itself which is also not very healthy.)
- Cholesterol increases the build-up of something called amyloids, abnormal proteins often made by cells in your bone marrow that can be deposited in any tissue or organ. These amyloids can in turn build into a plaque that has been linked to Alzheimer’s.
- MRI scans have shown that exercising can actually reverse the shrinking of the brain that comes with age.
- The amount of caffeine in coffee (and this little fact may be enough to inspire you to give up that java juice magic, though probably not if you have coffee flowing through your veins) takes a lot longer to get out of your system than previously thought. For example, if you drink coffee at 8 in the morning, a quarter of that caffeine is still in your system twelve hours later.
- Special cholesterol-lowering foods include: oats, beans, barley, almonds, and walnuts.
And just in case you forgot:
- White (and wheat!) breads aren’t so great for your sugar levels. Rye and pumpernickel, however, are much better choices and perfect for achieving a low-glycemic index.
- White potatoes can raise your blood sugar levels considerably. Sweet potatoes are far healthier and less starchy.
Dr. Barnard certainly can’t solve all your health problems, but he can tackle the less serious ones like low energy, poor sleep patterns, irritability (who doesn’t want to let go of THAT?), and trouble concentrating. He offers a three-step plan which shows you which foods to add to your diet (foods rich in Vitamin E like spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes have been linked to protecting brain cells), which foods to most definitely eliminate or ease up on (his mention of fish as something less than positive may shock some people), and how exercise and (some) supplements can make a big difference in your life. It’s a given that we know what we eat affects our bodies, but sometimes we forget our brains are part of the deal too.
By Cherise Tasker
By Bruce from San Francisco (living hand to paw), via Wikimedia Commons (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)
I left half a tuna sandwich on the kitchen counter for my dog, Diego. He can easily reach the counter, and he loves tuna. Tuna just smells so good, almost as good as beef barbecue. I also poured kibble into Diego’s bowl so that he has all sorts of food choices that he enjoys.
That is the true story, according to Diego. My view is different. I would have eaten the rest of the tuna sandwich. If I had wanted him to eat the tuna sandwich, I would have placed it in his bowl.
I did not get angry. I had turned my back to answer the phone, and it was my fault that I did not push my plate back from the edge of the counter. I looked at my empty plate, looked at Diego, and stated a forceful, “No.” Since several seconds had passed since the wonderful treat, Diego had no idea what the “no” could possibly be about. He continued to look at me and happily wag his tail. Perhaps you have another treat, Mom? Or maybe it’s time for a walk? Would you like to snuggle on the couch with my head on your knee?
Why does Diego mean so much to me and my family? When we Skype with my son at college, why do we have to be sure that Diego is in the room to Skype too? My belief is that the bond is formed by the unconditional love we feel from Diego. Diego is always here for us. Diego doesn’t have a bad day. Even if he isn’t feeling well, he still nuzzles up, continuing to follow us around, even if only with his eyes. Diego enjoys life and he shares that with us every day. He always catches that patch of sun coming in through the skylight. He spends those extra few minutes lying outside on the first warm day. He walks a bit faster, sniffs more, wags his tale with extra energy when the crisp autumn air arrives. Diego finds activities that make him happy every day, and he shares that love and enthusiasm with everyone around him.
When interacting with Diego, I interpret his vocalizations and actions based on what I’ve learned about him during our life together. Each pet our family has had displayed a unique personality. The fact that I treat this as “personality” and react as if I understand Diego’s emotions is based mostly on my experience with other humans. Anthropomorphizing my dog increases our bond and causes me to believe I know what he is thinking and feeling.
Although I am happy to indulge my theories about why I love my dog and think he loves me in return, there are scientific investigations on the subject. One interesting fact studies have shown is that actual hormonal changes occur when humans interact with their dogs. A 2008 study conducted in Japan reported increased oxytocin levels in dog owners after sustained eye contact with their dogs. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter produced by the hypothalamus that increases during human-to-human attachment activities. Like the eye contact a mother shares with her child, the eye contact I share with Diego increases my feeling of connection to him. When oxytocin levels rise in humans, physiological responses can include the lowering of blood pressure and social responses can include decreased anxiety and increased calmness.
Several books about the science behind human and dog interactive behavior are available in the Howard County Library System. Dr. Patricia McConnell is a zoologist who has written extensively about animal behavior. In For the Love of a Dog, McConnell discusses the emotional link between dogs and their owners, oxytocin’s role in this interaction, and how we can use this understanding to improve our relationship with our beloved pets. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz is a psychology professor whose Inside of a Dog details the science behind dogs’ behavior. For example, Horowitz’s book explains that dog retinas process light differently than human retinas. This confirmed for me that Diego does not enjoy Skype in the same way I do. Whereas I am thrilled to see my son and my son is excited to see Diego, Diego is simply happy that I am petting him as a reward for sitting in front of the computer.
I never tire of guessing what goes on in Diego’s mind. Sometimes I wonder if he is thinking about anything at all. But about my next sandwich–I know Diego will be happy to share it with me.
Posted by hclibrary on Mar 18, 2013 in Classes | 0 comments
By Barbara Cornell
It won’t be long before you will again be able to buy eggs at the Farmers’ Markets around the county. In the meantime how about decorating some of the store-bought variety with some spring designs? Hobbies and socialization have been shown to reduce stress levels after all.
Saturday, March 23, the Glenwood Branch will host a class called Pysanky—the Ukrainian Art of Egg Decoration. This class will be similar to a demonstration we hosted last year, but this year our instructor has enough decorating tools to allow 10 students to design their own egg! With only 10 spots available, the class was fully registered over a week before the event, but if you would like to observe we won’t turn you away.
A pysanka is an egg decorated in the Ukrainian style using a wax resist technique. The egg is meticulously decorated with designs in beeswax—first only in the places that should remain white. After a dip in the first dye bath, usually yellow, the spots that should remain yellow are coated in beeswax. The next dye bath is darker and the wax decoration process is repeated until the darkest dye, usually black, covers everything not covered in wax. When the wax is carefully melted away, all the colored designs are revealed! The designs are not just fo
lk art but symbolize anything from ancient beliefs to Christian symbols of Easter.
Howard County Library System has some excellent books to introduce you to Pysanky. Ukrainian Easter Eggs and How We Make Them, 1979, by Anne Kmit et al. shows the extraordinary intricacy of these traditional designs.
You may also view a DVD to learn how to make these beautiful eggs: How to Decorate Beautiful Ukrainian Easter Eggs (Pysanky) with Luba. Or you may just enjoy the history of these eggs with another DVD: Pysanka: the Ukrainian Easter Egg.
If you’d like more variety, try Great Book of Egg Decorating, 1999, by Grazia Buttafuoco & Dede Varetto. Their step-by-step instructions will help you make wax-embossed, decal, and decoupage decorations as well as wax resist.
Maybe you would just like to see the fabulous Fabergé eggs. Try Fabergé: The Imperial Eggs, a feast for the eyes, by Christopher Forbes, 1989, or for the detailed history with few photos try Fabergé’s Eggs: The Extraordinary Story of the Masterpieces That Outlived an Empire by Toby Faber, 2008.
However you celebrate the coming of spring, enjoy your eggs, either decorated or broken into a frying pan! (Note: Eggs are commonly associated with cholesterol, but they are an excellent source of protein and recommended, especially for those following a vegetarian diet. Check here for everything you need to know about eggs, from safe handling to healthiest cooking methods.)
by Teresa Rhoades
What does The Dukan Diet have to do with the books Bossypants by Tina Fey and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand? These three books were on the top 15 non-fiction bestseller list in May 2011.(1)
Find The Dukan Diet at your local branch of HCLS.
A review of the diet by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD, provides a short synopsis of the diet plan. The Dukan is basically a four-phase, high-protein, low-calorie diet plan. There’s no weighing foods or counting calories. You eat as much as you want, at any time of day–as long as what you’re eating is lean protein. Protein is the centerpiece in all four phases, along with oat bran, lots of water, and a 20-minute daily walk. Vegetables are allowed in the second stage, followed by small amounts of fruit and whole grains.
You may have noticed that this sounds very much like the Atkins diet. One of the pros of the diet is that dieters lose weight rapidly–as much as 1-2 pounds a day during the first phase–some of the cons mentioned in the book are that dieters may suffer frombad breath, constipation, dry mouth, and fatigue.
The folks at WebMD provide stage-by-stage bullet points of the diet directions (in case you are not able to obtain a copy of the book):
During Phase 1 (the “Attack” phase), dieters focus on lean protein and can choose from 72 lean or low-fat meats (excluding pork and lamb), fish, poultry, eggs, soy, and nonfat dairy. They can also have that along with 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and 1.5 liters of water daily.
Phase 2 (the “Cruise” phase) allows unlimited amounts of 28 non-starchy vegetables every other day along with a core diet of unlimited lean/low-fat protein and 2 tablespoons of oat bran. As mentioned previously, starch vegetables such as carrots, peas, corn, and potatoes are not on the approved foods list.
Phase 3 (Consolidation) allows unlimited protein (now including pork and lamb) and vegetables every day, along with one piece of low-sugar fruit, 2 slices of whole-grain bread, and 1 portion of hard cheese. Dieters can also have 1-2 servings of starchy foods and 1-2 “celebration” meals (in which you can eat whatever you want) per week during this phase. In this phase, you begin the lifetime commitment of eating the core diet of pure protein one day each week, preferably the same day.
Phase 4 (Stabilization), according to Dukan, is when you can eat whatever you like without regain if you follow his rules–one day a week, follow the same all-protein diet as in Phase 1; eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day; and walk for 20 minutes daily and never take elevators or escalators. Sugar-free gum, artificial sweeteners, vinegars, and spices are allowed on The Dukan Diet. The book encourages dieters to take a daily multivitamin with minerals.
People who follow The Dukan Diet will lose weight because it cuts calories drastically. The lack of carbs also helps keep hunger at bay. But experts say this eating plan does not include all the nutrients you need for good health. “A once-daily multivitamin will not compensate for the nutritional goodness from fruits, whole grains and healthy fats that are inadequate in The Dukan Diet,” says Keri Gans, MS, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Gans also pointed out that losing more than 1-2 pounds per week can promotegallstones and muscle loss, she says: “It is unhealthy to lose weight so quickly because you not only lose fat and fluids but precious muscle mass…Constipation, bad breath, dry mouth, and fatigue should be a red flag that this is not a healthy diet,” she says. “Your body’s preferred fuel to energize and keep you going is smart carbs, and when you eat a healthy diet you should feel great–not have negative side effects,” Gans says.
Other articles, written by spokespersons of the American Dietetic Association also point out shortcomings of the diet. Andrea Giancoli, RD states that the Dukan diet lacks the produce and whole grains you need to ward off diseases, including cancer. Giancoli also wonders about the maintenance part of the plan because you can gain weight eating whatever you like 6 days each week. “The plan isn’t balanced enough to give you the nutrition you need, but it will probably give you constipation, low energy, brain fog, and bad breath,” says Giancoli.(2)
Based on another review by Karen Ansel, MS, RD, CDN of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the diet is not “all bad.” While her review does mention some of the concerns that the other reviewers posed, she points out that, “On the upside, the diet does recommend several healthful practices such as choosing leaner cuts of protein, encouraging daily exercise, moderating salt intake and striving for lifelong weight management. Because it is highly regimented, the Dukan diet can be a good fit for people who require a highly structured plan.”
The Dukan diet is extremely popular because as Ansel mentions, it is likely to help readers shed unwanted weight (including famous people such as Kate Middleton and others). Most medical reviewers, including Ansel, agree that the highly restrictive nature of the Attack and Cruise phases raise health concerns that make it difficult to recommend this diet.
So…before trying out this diet, please note the following: “People with diabetes are recommended to consult their health team before embarking on a significant change to their current diet.” And even for those without diabetes, it is always advisable to discuss how the diet could be best adapted to your own requirements with your health care provider.
(1) Publishers Weekly, 5/2/2011, Vol. 258 Issue 18, p13-13, 3/4p
(2) Prevention, Jul2011, Vol. 63 Issue 7, p70-70, 1p
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was yesterday. One hopes you remembered to reset any clocks that don’t rely on satellites, like your car, your watch, and your cellphone that’s so out of date it uses a rotary dial. If not, SURPRISE! You’re probably going to be late for work.
In addition to making you sleepy or awake at odd hours and confusing you by being sunny at 7pm, the time shift affects your health in a number of ways. Anyone’s sleep patterns can be disrupted by the switch, but “night owls” tend to be more affected by springing forward than early birds.
If your health is already compromised, the effect on your body is greater. If you’re stressed, depressed, have poor dietary or exercise habits, you are at a greater risk for and adverse reaction. The time changes can raise the levels of inflammatory chemicals and stress hormones, which can lead to serious side effects.
Because the start of DST can result in sleep deprivation for many, affecting heart health, there is a spike in heart attacks the first week after the time shift. The first week also sees a spike in car accidents due to sleepy drivers, but in general people are safer drivers during daylight hours, causing a drop in accidents during the rest of the period. U.S. News Health claims that DST can prevent hundreds of car accidents each year.
DST can keep you healthy by serving as a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Have you done that yet? Because seriously, you should do that even if the smoke detector is hard to reach and it makes an annoying sound when you change batteries.
If you find you are not adapting to DST, you can always try these tips from Dr. Praveen Rudraraju, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at Northern Westchester Hospital: get up five to 10 minutes earlier for the first two weeks of DST to accommodate any increased sluggishness; incorporate 30 to 40 minutes of exercise in bright daylight to your daily routine; space out your meals before you go to bed, at least 3-5 hours before hitting the hay; quit the caffeine before noon, limit drinking to one with dinner, and do not have any alcohol after dinner; don’t work on the computer at least an hour before bedtime; and stay out of the bedroom until bedtime. You can also try any of HCLS’s many resources on sleep, such as:
Posted by hclibrary on Mar 7, 2013 in Eating Right | 0 comments
By the time you read this post you may be recovering from the winter storm or reflecting upon what a nonevent it was. Who knows? This is getting written on Tuesday whilst many have flooded HCLS in search of emergency entertainment since the weather reports proclaim in hyperbolic enthusiasm that we will be seeing a lot of snow on Wednesday. But, alas, it is now Thursday, so only time will have told. Either way, it got a bunch of library folks talking about the dangers of cold-weather consuming.
Why do we feel the need to eat more when the temperature drops? One HCLS staffer explained that the cold weather makes her long to bake. Since she is trapped inside anyway, she fills up the time by filling the house with the lovely smells of baked goodies, as well as the added warmth of the oven. The problem is, she went on to report, she then fills herself with the goodies since they are there, in the house, calling her name. The comfort element does play a role. In Control Your Winter Appetite, Colette Bouchez gives evidence that our appetites, especially for comfort (read “high-carb”) foods does go up as the temp goes down.
But comfort isn’t the only part of it; there is science. The article Don’t Be Left Out In the Cold by Nancy Clark, from the November/December 2005 edition of American Fitness, goes on to explain “a drop in body temperature stimulates a sense of appetite, which, in turn, signals hunger.” It’s related to thermogenesis. That’s a pretty impressice, science-sounding word.
The NPR article Why Are We More Hungry In the Winter? indicated that lack of light in the winter months may also increase appetites. This is related, at its most extreme, to SAD. The article also sensibly points out that so many holidays and food-related events (such as the Super Bowl) happen in the colder months. Coincidence, probably not–what else is there to do?
Whether the weather or just a case of the munchies has led you down the path of excess, we are here to help. There are lots of sensible ways to help control the cravings. Just a few may be found in books such as The Volumetrica Eating Plan, Fill Up To Slim Down, and Hunger Free Forever, just to name a few.
Posted by hclibrary on Mar 3, 2013 in Health, Reviews | 0 comments
By Cristina Lozare
Get “Me Before You” at your branch of the Howard County Library.
My mother and I loved three-hankie, weepy movies. We’d get teary-eyed, no matter how many times we saw Deborah Kerr in a wheelchair telling Cary Grant in an Affair to Remember, ”If you can paint, I can walk.”
Me Before You by Jojo Moyeś did not only make me whip out the tissues, but it made me ponder life and the right to end it and the endless possibilities of love. Louisa Clark, 26-year-old working girl in a sleepy English village, is a caretaker of a very moody, suicidal quadriplegic 36-year-old, Will Traynor. Will, a former man about town, a lover of beautiful girls and a financial wizard, was hit by a motorcycle and has been in a wheelchair for two years. He has given his parents six months before he plans to end his life in a clinic in Switzerland. Unbeknownst to Louisa, she is hired to be on suicide watch for the duration.
Louisa and Will could not have come from more disparate backgrounds. Louisa wears blue sequined shorts, bumble bee tights and a mini dress made from her grandfather’s curtains. Will smells rich and acts privileged, even ensconced in a state-of-the-art wheelchair. Jojo Moyeś, has spot-on zingers in the interactions between Will and Louisa that are just witty and delightful. And she does not shy away from putting us behind the wheelchair and letting us see the unrelenting pain of Will Traynor. Nor do we escape unscathed when decisions have to be faced by Will and Louisa as the deadline looms.
The prose is not lofty, but realistic, funny and not sentimental. I found myself rooting for Louisa as she made plans to take Will to California, anything and anywhere to make him desire to live again. On the other hand, Will continuously encourages Louisa to stop limiting her horizons and to expand her experiences and start living life.
It is a unique love story, tender and eloquent in its desires. It opens up possibilities and more questions about life, and the right to end it. One thing I am sure of though, it is one love story my mother and I would have cried and cheered for for days.
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 28, 2013 in Health, Parenting | 0 comments
February is/was National Children’s Dental Health Month. We’ve seen some preschoolers and kindergarteners in HCLS walking around with materials from school promoting the importance of taking care of one’s choppers. But honestly, couldn’t we all use a little refresher? And, as Dr. Damian Blum, DMD discussed at the East Columbia Branch last month, dental health can affect overall health.
The Mayo Clinic reports that harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections; some dental procedures and medications can disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth and may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. They also report that “your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
- Endocarditis—gum disease and dental procedures that cut your gums may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream…. [which] can cause infection in other parts of the body—such as an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
- Cardiovascular disease—some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to…a severe form of gum disease.
- Pregnancy and birth—gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes–reduces the body’s resistance to infection—putting the gums at risk. In addition…[diabetics] may develop more-frequent and severe infections of the gums and the bone that holds teeth in place, and they may lose more teeth….
- HIV/AIDS—oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis—may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease–tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions—may be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome—an immune system disorder—and eating disorders.
That’s some pretty scary stuff. So it doesn’t hurt for all of us to take a step back and think about our oral healthcare, much like our little ones have been encouraged to do all February. Let’s review some pointers that all kids and adults should remember about maintaining good dental health. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Institute, here are the most basic steps, from MedlinePlus, to a healthy mouth and teeth:
- Brush your teeth every day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth every day with floss or another type of between-the-teeth cleaner
- Snack smart – limit sugary snacks
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
- See your dentist or oral health professional regularly
See, the steps are not really a big deal, and you don’t have to go alone. Did you know HCLS has books to help encourage/teach about oral healthcare, and databases(http://www.hclibrary.org/index.php?page=497#health) that can help you locate a doctor or dentist and evaluations of area practitioners?
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 25, 2013 in Cancer, Health, Safety | 0 comments
By Cherise Tasker
Check out the new Heath IT Cancer Resources Guide. The site takes an innovative approach to cataloging informative medical websites and apps. Many excellent websites offer wellness and health resources, but this site goes a step further by dividing the resources within a patient-supportive framework. The 76 digital tools are divided in five categories as follows: Decision Making, Education, Information and Treatment management, Social Support, and Lifestyle Management.
The eHealth Initiative is a unique nonprofit collaboration between nonprofit and commercial healthcare organizations; community and academic centers; and medical, clinical, and information technology professionals. The diverse influences and perspectives allow the organization to advocate for health information technology that meets the needs of patients, providers, payers, and quality monitors. For example, innovative technology will help care providers communicate electronically through health information exchanges (HIEs). Patients will have access to more efficient, state-of-the-art healthcare that is not limited by the patient’s area of residence. These cooperatives are being built specifically with healthcare in mind and with the privacy considerations unique to patient care. For example, many of Maryland’s hospitals and long-term care facilities are already members of CRISP (Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients), an HIE dedicated to data sharing for improved patient care. As HIEs evolve, patients will more easily be able to move between care providers who will all be able to access critical medical documentation in a secure electronic environment.
Not only are health technology experts taking on the challenge of interconnectivity within states, they are addressing the national challenge as well. Regional Health Information Exchanges (RHIOs) would connect hospitals in different states and between HIEs. The RHIO networks would allow community providers to share data with local hospitals and academic centers. Patients needing specialty care in other locations or patients experiencing health issues while traveling could be cared for more quickly and expertly when care providers have access to medical problem lists, prescription records, prior laboratory results, and existing diagnostic studies such as EKGs. The information would be available through secure, private portals accessible only after patient consent and staff access verification.
Each of us can go digital with our own health information. Creating an online personal health record (PHR) collects medical data in an automated environment that one can access from anywhere there is a computer with Internet. A PHR is a convenient way to keep track of one’s medications, for example. In case of a medical emergency, a trusted friend or family member could access the information and provide it to healthcare providers. Free online PHR programs are available on websites such as WebMD. Several of Maryland’s hospitals have PHR programs as part of their online tools for their patients. Howard County General Hospital has information on its website about creating a PHR, including a link to a free program created by the American Health Information Management Association.
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 21, 2013 in Eating Right | 0 comments
Did you take our advice and give yourself a break on Valentine’s Day last week? Whether you did or not, we’re not here to judge. In fact, there is one siren song of that ridiculous day that sometimes we all seem to have a little trouble resisting—sweets. Yes, the cheesy heart-shaped boxes full of deadly decadence are often as bad for your self-esteem as they are for your body. But a little sweet, especially chocolate… (need we say more?)! The temptation can be so strong. Fortunately, a lot of people are realizing that staying healthy and sane don’t have to be at odds.
Take for example the following healthier twist on a luscious treat from the If It Makes You Healthy cookbook by Sheryl Crow (yep, that Sheryl Crow) and Chuck White.
Chocolate-Avocado Mousse Martinis with Fresh Raspberries
- 2 large ripe avocados
- 1/2 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Green & Black’s organic fair trade cocoa powder)
- 1/2 cup agave nectar, plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1/2 pint fresh raspberries, for garnish
1. Halve and pit the avocados and scoop out the flesh. Transfer the avocado flesh to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Using a spoon, break up the avocado a little in the food processor.
2. Add the cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the processor and process for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then process again until the mousse is very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
3. Taste the mousse and if not sweet enough, add more nectar, 1 teaspoon at a time. Pulse to mix.
4. Spoon the mousse into martini glasses or similar serving vessels. Cover the glasses with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
5. Serve the mousse chilled and garnished with raspberries.
We hope this can quench the chocolate craving without sending you into a spiral of shame. We should have known that someone who has written as many songs about love and heartbreak as Ms. Crow would understand the need for a nice, rich treat.
By Barbara Cornell
Pack your kid a superhero’s lunch. Image by adonis hunter/ahptical
We’ve kind of hit the doldrums of winter at about mid-February and I’m guessin’–just guessin’– that the mini lunchbox crowd has gotten a little tired of their usual lunch fare as have the parents who pack the lunchboxes. It has been a long time since I have been responsible for anyone’s lunch but my own, but I do remember the days when I would rather just throw my hands up and give the kids lunch money rather than make another bagged lunch for school.
Howard County Library System has some books full of ideas that might save the day! One thoroughly organized and well-written book is The Healthy Lunchbox: How to Plan, Prepare & Pack Stress-Free Meals Kids Will Love by Marie McClendon and Cristy Shauck, 2005. Lots of helpful sidebars and chapter intros and “over 60 nutritious recipes” are included. The recipes alone make this worth a check-out for your own lunch as well as the kids’.
I have mixed feelings about Lunch Boxes and Snacks by Anabel Karmel, 2007. Some of the recipes look wonderful and I’d like to see them on my dinner table, but in spite of the beautifully staged color photos, I’m not sure the author grasps the realities of the school lunch box. For her sticky drumsticks, a little “extra foil around the ends” might not be enough to keep hands cleanable. That said, her home made bars and muffins look unimpeachable!
How about something for the vegan family? Vegan Lunch Box, by Jennifer McCann, 2008, may be just the ticket with 130 “amazing animal-free lunches.” If you are used to eating vegan, none of the ingredients will throw you. McCann is also the author of Vegan Lunch Box Around the World and can be found at Vegan Lunch Box.
If you have the time and the inclination to, shall we say, “play with your food,” there is the too cute for words Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches by Crystal Watanabe and Maki Ogawa, 2011. Here just about everything has a face and a name. A bento is a Japanese boxed lunch and since the Japanese say it is important to “eat with your eyes,” these are tiny little feasts for the eyes. Some of the ingredients may not be in your local market, but we have Lotte Plaza nearby and many small local stores that will have what you need.
My last suggestion is Chris Butterworth’s 2011 How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? This sounds like what your child might say if he just discovered that there is nothing in his box that he can trade away for a candy bar. It’s found in the children’s side of the library, aimed at 5-8 year-olds, and is actually subtitled “The Story of Food.” Its whimsical cartoon figures demonstrate how your apple juice, your carrot, and even your chocolate are grown and processed and finally make it into your lunch. Simple and sweet, this book ends with advice on a healthy plate (not exactly USDA’s “MyPlate” but close).
The recurring piece of advice in each of the books I researched was to make sure the child is involved in the choice and preparation of his or her meals—including lunch—and they will likely eat a more healthy diet with much less stress and drama.
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 14, 2013 in Safety | 0 comments
It’s Valentine’s Day. This means you’ve suffered through or will endure a number of ridiculous conversations about the holiday. Is it a conspiracy theory constructed by greeting card companies and the Knights Templar? Should feminism have destroyed it for supporting outdated and destructive stereotypes? Is it the pressure to find the right gift that destroys relationships or is it that you’re just really bad at gift giving and maybe don’t know your partner that well in the first place? And what on earth happens to the stuff that isn’t sold–is there a vast wasteland of tchotchkes covered in pink glitter and hearts? Can we go there?!
Oddly, the conversation we never seem to have at Valentine’s Day is about sex. So today we’re going to talk about sex! Specifically, about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), so that if your life choice is to have sex, you can do so with minimal risk to yourself and your partners.
FACT: Anyone can get an STI.
Let’s get something out of the way early. STIs don’t just happen to “those” girls or “those” guys, because there is no such thing as “those” people, there’s only us. People who get STIs include people who have sex with lots of people, and people who have sex with only one person their entire life. They happen to people the first time they have sex and the 50th time. Anyone can get one, so the important thing is safety.
Fact: You can still get an STI if you’re a “virgin.”
Because so many still define virginity as someone who hasn’t had penile-vaginal intercourse, there are a lot of ways to have sex while still technically remaining a “virgin” in the eyes of others. And all those ways can lead to STIs, including non-penetrative sex.
FACT: Lots of people have STIs and don’t know it.
You might have seen terrifying pictures or heard horror stories about the worst case scenarios when it comes to STIs. You might be picturing them right now. Stop that. Look at the adorable baby animal picture instead.
The thing is, many STIs have minimal indicators, and some like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are often asymptomatic, but can have severe consequences, especially for women.
FACT: Just because you see a doctor, doesn’t mean you don’t have, or can’t get an STI.
Things are real and happen, even if a medical professional hasn’t told you about them. Also, when you go in for your exam, do you know what STIs you’re being tested for? Is it all of them? Have you ever asked? Many doctors don’t conduct routine STI screenings, or only test for a few. And, unfortunately, some STIs don’t have definitive tests. So the only way you know you have them is if you develop the symptoms.
FACT: Condoms and dental dams aren’t foolproof.
You should still use them anyway. They don’t really make sex “safe,” but they do make it significantly safer and have decreased the spread of a number of STIs. However, even if prophylactics are used correctly, there are incurable STIs that are transmitted by skin contact, and so you need to make sure you’re talking with your partner and your doctor about risks.
So seriously, talk to your kids about the things they need to know, or to your partners if you have them. If you think it’s an awkward conversation to have before you have sex, it’s probably infinitely more awkward, sad, and frustrating to have after a visit to the doctors.
For more information you can find these at your local library:
The Book of Love: Every Couple’s Guide to Emotional and Sexual Intimacy
Sexpertise: Real Answers to Real Questions about Sex
It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health
Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person about Sex
Or you can read AP Sex Ed online here.
Don’t end up feeling like a sitting duck on Valentine’s Day. Photo by Marilyn Roxie.
At Well & Wise, when we do not have anything to post from one of our fantastic contributing bloggers, we, who are behind the scenes, try to put together some interesting or useful tidbits.
We, as a rule, do not like to draw attention to the man behind the curtain, but today we will step out long enough to admit that at least one of us is a happily married-type person and another is a happily single-type person. Yet both are in complete agreement that Valentine’s Day is for chumps. Does this attitude make us unromatic? Perhaps. Unsentimental? Definitely. Unkind? Certainly not. In fact, we hope to provide a little comfort to those of you not completely lost in a hazy vision of long-stemmed roses and candy hearts.
Miss/Mr. Lonely Hearts vs. Wonder Woman and Superman
For as enlightened as we are supposed to be, it is shocking how attached our society is to attachment. But good old Thoreau never found a “companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Even our married representative and partner wouldn’t even have considered the idea of marriage if they had not agreed early on that they should remain friends and individuals in their union—a merger rather than a buyout or hostile takeover. And our single representative refuses to engage in this conversation other than to say, “Books not boys.” So what is wrong with the idea of being alone and not lonely. Nothing. So don’t believe the Valentine propaganda. Instead, check out:
Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After by Bella M. DePaulo
I Didn’t Work this Hard Just to Get Married: Successful Single Black Women Speak Out by Nika C. Beamon
Love for Sale-Don’t Fall for the Propaganda
Another problem we have with this pink, fluffy “holiday” is its vast commercialization. Really, cash for romance smacks of something illegal. Valentine’s Day wasn’t really a moneymaker until the early 1900s, but now it is a multibillion-dollar-a-year venture (as discussed in a fantastic NPR piece The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day). Do not buy in to the hype.In fact, you may kill some hours during Valentine’s Day by reading up on how depressingly commercialized everything has become:
What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel
Consumer Culture by Heidi Watkins
Why Does My Candy Heart Say “Tilt,” or the Food Factor
Have you ever noticed the food factor to this holiday? Flowers and candy. Fancy dinners. Aphrodisiacal cocktails. And, yes, candy hearts. It would seem most folks’ need to sublimate a desire for love or sex with food is at the very core of Valentine’s Day. Don’t be a Valentine victim; fight the food fest with a true notion of love by caring for yourself or the ones you love with healthful choices:
The Food Lover’s Healthy Habits Cookbook by Janet Helm
Eating Mindfully:How to End Mindless Eating & Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Susan Albers, Psy.D.
True Romance, If You Insist
If you find yourself still a fool for love and romance, then at least skip the esteem-crushing, diet-busting, commercial aspects of this Hallmark holiday. Try your luck with true emotion rather than emotional substitutes:
On Kindness by Adam Phyllips and Barbara Taylor
This Emotional Life: Family, Friends & Lovers by NOVA
How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 7, 2013 in Health | 1 comment
By Wendy Camassar
Now that we are well into the winter season, your skin may be showing signs of the harshness of cold, dry weather. Even though good, old Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, it’s not too late to winter-proof your skin to get through the remaining weeks of winter. There are several skin-saving steps to take to combat winter itch, dry flakes, and redness around the nose. Here are some tips I’ve found that may help combat your skin’s common problems for this time of year:
Dry, Flakey Skin: Cold weather can cause skin to become overly dry and begin to flake. Try to use a mild exfoliant one to two times per week to avoid over drying and irritation. After showers and exfoliating, use a moisturizer that contains humectants (ingredients that will attract moisture to the skin) and one that is more emollient in texture to really seal in water. I recommend using an exfoliant for the body separate from one for the face. You want to go as gentle as possible here to avoid irritation.
Chapped lips: Our lips don’t have oil glands; therefore, they become dry easily. Using a good lip balm will help keep lips soft, healthy, and moist. I prefera natural brand, like Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, to use during the winter. Avoid licking your lips to keep them moist because doing so will only cause them to chap and dry out faster. I try to avoid lip balms that contain petrolatum. This ingredient is good at creating a barrier to protect the skin, but it doesn’t allow for additional moisture to come through. The end result can often be drier skin than before.
Chapped hands: Try an emollient moisturizer before going out, but don’t forget to put your gloves on! The skin on the back of our hands is thin, and cold weather will cause it to dry and crack quickly. Keep several tubes of hand cream in your car, desk, home, and purse and use it often during the winter.
Winter itch: Try to resist prolonged hot showers this time of year. Even though hot water warms us up, it can have a drying effect on the skin. Switch over to a mildly warm shower, pat dry with a towel, and then immediately apply your moisturizer. The more wet the skin is when doing this, the better. You want to trap as much moisture to the skin while applying lotion because this will keep the skin’s surface hydrated longer.
The key is hydration following exfoliation, and limiting the skin’s exposure to the elements as much as possible. Don’t forget sunscreen if you will be outside on a sunny winter day. Sunscreen in winter is just as important as in the summer; however, you can usually use a lower SPF during this time of year. I like to purchase foundations and moisturizers that have a sunscreen in them to take care of two things with one product.
Top Five Winter Skin Problems and How to Solve Them
10 Winter Skin Care Tips
The New Science of Perfect Skin: Understanding Skin-Care Myths and Miracles for Radiant Skin at Any Age by Daniel Yarosh
Skintervention: The Personalized Solution for Healthier, Younger, and Flawless-Looking Skin by Scott-Vincent Borba
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 4, 2013 in Cancer | 0 comments
Yep, according to the International Union Against Cancer, cancer is is still not a focus of global health agendas and urgent action is needed to raise awareness about cancer and develop practical strategies to address the disease or millions of people will continue to die. Yes, millions! The World Health Organization confirms that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and makes up about 13% of all around deaths. So why a day devoted to it?
The World Cancer Day Organization states that the day gives us a “chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease.” In fact, this year World Cancer Day will focus on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration: “Dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer, under the tagline ‘Cancer – Did you know?’”
So what should one do on World Cancer Day? Since this year is all about dispelling myths, communication is key. Here are some suggestions from the World Cancer Day Organization:
- Get the word out using Twitter / Facebook pages (global hashtags and key messages to share via social platforms are provided in the advocacy toolkit).
- Use the “Cancer Myths vs Facts” Facebook application. This application will be launched for World Cancer Day 2013 – be sure to use it and share it widely to spread the truth about cancer on this day.
- Use the World Cancer Day poster which has been designed specifically for the 2013 campaign. You can use it digitally or as a printed document to promote the day and the theme.
- Place the World Cancer Day logo on your website, link to www.worldcancerday.org, and upload an article about the day onto your site.
- Share the Declaration with the public, and encourage them to sign-up on World Cancer Day.
- Add to the World Cancer Day online map of events and activities.
- Translate: Help bring the messages and tools of the World Cancer Day campaign to a wider audience. It would be useful to have additional translations for the posters and fact sheets. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping.
- Adapt the World Cancer Day poster, by adding your organization’s logo before you disseminate it. Design files are available upon request.
- Help disseminate or display the four World Cancer Day Fact sheets and the World Cancer Day Evidence sheets, and Cancer infographics.
- Help by organizing fund-raising activities and/or sub-level campaigns using World Cancer Day messaging.
- Call on government to ensure that cancer interventions, across the entire continuum of care from prevention to early detection, treatment and palliation, are adequately addressed in the Global Action Plan. For more information and supporting documents, the UICC Advocacy toolkit may come in handy.
Posted by hclibrary on Feb 1, 2013 in Classes, Events | 0 comments
February 2, 11:00 a.m. I’m Going To Be A Big Brother Or Sister. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings offered at the Miller Branch. Enjoy stories and activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Ages 3 & up, with adult; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950. Offered again on 2/5 at 7:00 p.m.
February 4, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. Twist And Shout. Learn the moves and dance to some tunes at the Miller Branch. Ages 2-5 with adult; 30 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.
February 4, 10:15 a.m. Freeze! Warm-up at the Savage Branch with “The Freeze Dance,” get cozy while listening to winter stories, then cool off with a frozen treat! Ages 3-5; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
February 4, 11:30 a.m. Just For Me. Classes 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. Also offered 2/5 at 10:30 a.m. at the Glenwood Branch; Register online or by calling 410.313.5579. And 2/6 at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch; no registration required. Also on And again on 2/6 at 7 p.m at the Miller Branch; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
February 4, 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. No registration required.
February 5, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation. Guided meditation presented at the Miller Branch by Star Ferguson-Gooden, M.Ac., L.Ac. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Register online(http://host.evanced.info/hclibrary/lib/eventsignup.asp?ID=43727&ret=http://host.evanced.info/hclibrary/lib/eventcalendar.asp?ln=ALL) or by calling 410.313.1950.
February 6, 7:00 p.m. Holistic Vegetable Gardening. Kent Phillips comes to the Glenwood Branch to teach how to create a sustainable organic vegetable garden using plant nutrients and integrated pest management. Part of the Master Gardener series. Register online or by calling 410.313.5577.
February 6, 7:00 p.m. From Seeds To Seedlings. Discover how to jump start spring gardening. Presented by Jo Ann Russo at the Miller Branch. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.
February 7, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. The World Around Me. A class exploring simple social studies concepts inspired by children’s literature. Multi-week series. Ages 3-5; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class. Also on 2/8 at the East the Ast Columbia Branch at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m.
February 7, 10:30. Super Sports. Are you interested in learning about sports? Join i9 Sports staff at the Central Branch for stories, activities, and crafts relating to popular team sports. Ages 3-5; 30 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.7880.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 31, 2013 in Parenting, Safety | 0 comments
When some of us were younger, we had very specific and tried-and-true safety rules to follow:
• No swimming until at least a half hour after eating.
• Do not run with scissors, pencils, sticks, or anything else that can put your eye out.
• When the street lights come on, you come in.
• And, most importantly, do not talk to strangers, ever!
Well, it’s a new world. Science and society have changed, and the kids are so savvy and “meta” in so many ways. Science, for example, has proven you’re not going to die if you swim without waiting the 30 minutes, just maybe suffer from some cramps at worst. Society has shown us that a routine schedule is a little more dependable than streetlights with younger kids, and flexibility and discussion are important in setting curfews with older kids. Plus, we’re all a little more cautious/aware of where are kids are these days, especially with the help of cell phones and other innovations, including apps and gadgets.
Well, and as for the savvy kids themselves, they often know, at surprisingly young ages, not to run with pointed objects or to talk to strangers. And they even may counter with such chestnuts as: “I don’t need a pencil if I have an iPad,” “What if I’m lost?” or “Can’t I talk to a police officer?”
In fact, “Stranger Danger” as we might have once known it and talked about it has kind of fallen by the wayside. According to Kidpower “Stranger Danger” doesn’t really protect anyone as it should since most violence is caused by people the victims know rather than by strangers, and enforcing the idea that dangerous people called “strangers” are lying in wait everywhere can be emotionally unsafe for kids. They go on to suggest: “Instead of Stranger Danger, kids, teens, and adults need to know about Stranger Safety and to be prepared to use self-protection skills for avoiding and escaping an assault both from strangers and people they know.”
Kidpower says focusing on what to watch out for and preparing kids with skills before letting them go anywhere on their own, as well as ensuring they have skilled adult supervision while their own skills are still developing, is far more effective than just creating a sense of fear about all strangers. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) (you remember McGruff, right?) has good tips on teaching kids the difference between strangers and safe strangers and how to recognize and handle dangerous situations. They also offer some good, common sense pointers/reminders such as: know where your children are, show them examples of safe places to play, teach them to trust their instincts and be assertive, and always encourage them to play with others (hey, safety in numbers, that’s one from the good old days).
Kidpower goes on to say, “Practicing Stranger Safety and self-protection skills successfully helps to increase confidence, develop competence, and reduce anxiety.” This is especially good if it is done in a fun, not scary, way.
Kidpower and the NCPC have some great resources, as do many other Websites devoted to child safety, everyone from Scholastic Books to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And of course there are helpful items at HCLS, such as the book Stranger Safety, and the DVD I Am Not a Target!. So check out some resources and remember we want our kids not to be afraid of strangers but smart about them.
Introversion: it sounds like the name on an 80s pop band or some kind of condition you just need to get over already. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as: “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life.”
Sigmund Freud, in that way only he could, ascribed sexual meaning to the most non-sexual thing and considered being introverted a form of pathology, a way to deal with the outside world (and sex) by shutting in on oneself. Carl Jung was much kinder in how he saw introversion, seeing it more as an attitude toward life, an inner psychic kind of energy.
These days, thankfully, the introvert is enjoying a surge in popularity and is not only very functional, but quite capable of contributing to the world. Two exceptional books to have come out recently address the hidden wealth and beauty of being an introvert in a world that often screams extrovert.
“Introverts who are not shy,” Sophia Dembling, author of The Introvert’s Way, writes; “[they]are used to being told they could not possibly be introverts.” Many assumptions are made about introverts that are outright false or just the result of well-intentioned misunderstandings, including the misconception that an introvert is a snob.
“I have to admit, there were times over the course of my life…when even I wondered if maybe I were some kind of coldhearted snob. Why was I so reluctant to go to parties and why did I want to leave them shortly after arriving? Why? Because it’s not my nature. I’m an introvert. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with me.” So says Dembling who provides scientific and cultural background about introversion as well as helpful tips and an understanding of the introvert’s nature.
If you’re an introvert, it isn’t that you’re shy, but that you appreciate the benefits of quiet solitude. You’re not antisocial, instead, you find spending time alone a great way to recharge before moving on again in the world. It’s not that you dislike people, but that you find more meaning in one-on-one connections than in large get-togethers.
Another recent book (which appeared on The New York Times Best Seller list and at one point had almost 200 requests on it at HCLS) on introversion is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Susan Cain’s amazing book truly speaks to anyone who is introverted or understands what it’s like to be.
“Without introverts,” Cain tells the reader, “the world would be devoid of the theory of gravity, the theory of relativity, W. B. Yeats’s ‘The Second Coming,’ Chopin’s nocturnes, Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time,’Peter Pan, Orwell’s ’1984′ and ‘Animal Farm,’ The Cat in the Hat,Charlie Brown, ‘Schindler’s List,’ ‘E.T.,’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ Google and Harry Potter.”
As someone who is an introvert, I love that the author recognizes many introverts feel social pressure to be outgoing and talkative and that they can be quite good at disguising that little fact.
Full of lots of interesting insights and useful information, QUIET gives credit to some of the most innovate minds that just happen to be introverted. Praising the hidden strengths of introverts, Cain suggests that revealing the power of quietude will not only free introverts to be themselves, but will add to positive advancements in leadership, parenting, intimate partnerships, and the workforce.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 23, 2013 in Mental Health | 0 comments
Image by viZZZual.com
By Jason Pasquet
Good plans need good goals. It’s just that simple and straight forward. Yet goal setting will remain abstract when not given the proper attention and direction. Perhaps you really want to save enough money for the family boat vacation this summer. Or you may want to achieve and maintain a certain ideal weight. Whatever it may be, it’s a good start. Now, with a goal in mind, you cannot just hope that it will be realized with little effort. You can sow the seed in the earth of the mind, but when does it ever sprout on its own? Not with just a little water here and there, or maybe some sun and occasional fertilizer and weeding. Only with the right amount of attention and care can a goal, like a plant, ever be nourished and realized to full bloom.
If goal setting has been difficult, which is true for most of us, try out S.M.A.R.T. goal setting by Paul J. Meyer in his book Attitude is Everything! It is a very beneficial aid to a having a fresh new perspective on the goal-planning process. It may also change your life. So take out your planner and a pen, and let’s go into it.
S.M.A.R.T is the acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, and Timed. These terms will be the fundamental outline for the goal or goals you want to accomplish. Write these terms in order, going down the page, while leaving some spaces to write on.
Specific- There will be no more ambiguity. No more vague ideas. Find out specifically what you want and write a clear, concise statement of whatever it is you are aspiring to achieve. This is the “what” question concerning the goal. Now ask yourself the questions of: Where? Why? Who? Which? “Where” includes the place(s). “Why” are the various reasons for doing so. “Who” includes you and any others involved. And “Which” involves the resources and requirements you know are necessary. Take your time to answer these questions. They will help you to understand the rest of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym.
Measurable- How will you know that you have reached your goal? What does the outcome have to be? For example, I will know that I have taken the first step to overcoming my fear of public speaking, by talking to a group of my friends for 5 minutes straight on some potential hazards to the environment. This is was my first measurable step. Then you can design more specific goals that are measurable to help keep track of your progress. Ask yourself the right “how” questions to understand your desired outcome.
Attainable- Enquire on the practicality of the goal. Ask yourself which skills and capabilities would be necessary for its accomplishment–the “how to do” questions that will give you a reasonable understanding of how to go about putting them into action. This helps to know what resources are important to you for the achievement. And also give feedback on if it is reasonable and within your means.
Relevant/Realistic- Does the goal fit in with what is important to you? Is it the right time to start this goal? Investigate if the goal is relevant and in line with your priorities.
Timed- Set a specific time and date for the attainment. When would you like to see this goal realized? Would you like to measure the time in intervals? It’s up to you as to how you’d like to schedule the time limit.
Hopefully these S.M.A.R.T. tips will bring you closer to achieving your goals!
by Barbara Cornell
‘Tis the season—for the Farmers’ Market Chef to hunker down with a good book and wait out the season. The seed and flower catalogs promise that spring planting and summer harvest will again come, but for now we are looking for entertainment within the house.
It is a good season to enjoy cookbooks, and to enjoy fiction—how about a hybrid of the two! Fans of Patricia Cornwell’s character Kay Scarpetta have probably discovered her 1998 “novelette” Scarpetta’s Winter Table. It is a short little narrative (91 pages) of a week between Christmas and New Year’s when Scarpetta and her coworkers and friends spend some down time and feed each other. The “recipes” are really just descriptions of how they are preparing their food.
Susan Wittig Albert is a prolific writer of cozy mysteries, notably her China Bayles series. China is a refugee from the legal rat race pursuing her dream to run her herb shop, “Thyme & Seasons” in Pecan Springs, Texas. Albert’s 2003 book An Unthymely Death and Other Garden Mysteries is a “treasury of stories, herbal lore, recipes, and crafts from the world of Pecan Springs.” One could read the stories and skip the recipe sidebars—or read the recipes and skip the stories!
The rest of my reading suggestions make no pretense at fiction and are housed happily in the cookbook section of the library. For example, readers of Jan Karon will recognize the characters in Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader, 2004. Karon claims she can’t really cook, so she recruited cookbook editor Martha McIntosh to develop the recipes, each one in turn credited to one of her characters. Excerpts from her books are sprinkled liberally throughout and Karon adds notes and personal stories that indeed “give readers an extended family.”
Debbie Macomber, on the other hand, loves to cook and believes “sharing recipes can bind us with others…It’s about nurturing traditions.” Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Cookbook, 2009, follows a central character, Charlotte Jefferson Rhodes, around the town of Cedar Cove as she visits other characters at addresses which are titles for her books—breakfast at 16 Lighthouse Road, tea at 6 Rainier Drive. After dessert she follows with Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The dishes are lovingly photographed. No wonder some fans have told Macomber they gain weight just reading her books.
Joanne Fluke’s Lake Eden Cookbook: Hannah Swenson’s Recipes from the Cookie Jar, 2011, takes place in Swenson’s Lake Eden, Minnesota, bakery and coffee shop, “The Cookie Jar,” at her 4th Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange Luncheon. In addition to the many recipes from her mystery series that stars Hannah Swenson, Fluke has added many new recipes and layered them between slices of narrative. The language is homey and peppered with personal notes (“You’d better lock your freezer if you want them to last”).
So why are these homey recipes from fictional locales showing up in a “Wellness” blog? I believe the act of cooking for—and eating meals with—loved ones is its own kind of health food.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 18, 2013 in Classes, Events | 0 comments
January 19, 2:00 p.m. Food Allergies: Staying Safe And Having Fun Local teachers, authors, and parents Lang and Julie Wethington come to the Central Branch to discuss how to teach children with allergies to be food-safe in social settings. Parents encouraged to bring their children. Register online or by calling 410.313.7880.
January 14, 10:15 a.m. Healthy Kids. Class at the Savage Branch to explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Multi-week series. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.Classes offered on 1/15 at the Miller Branch at 2 & 7 p.m.
January 21, Howard County Library System Closed
January 22, 10:15 &11:15 a.m. Just For Me. Classes at the East Columbia 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. Also offered 1/22 at 10:30 a.m. At the Glenwood Branch; register online or by calling 410.313.5579. And 1/23 at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch; no registration required. And again on 1/23 at 7 p.m at the Miller Branch; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
January 22, 2:00 & 7:00 p.m. Healthy Kids. Come to the Miller Branch and explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Multi-week series. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
January 22, 2:30 p.m. Inkblot. Come to the East Columbia Branch and learn about Rorschach! Bring an unlined notebook and an apron to create unique designs. Ages 7-10; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
January 23, 11:30 a.m. The World Around Me. A class at the Central Branch exploring simple social studies concepts inspired by children’s literature. Multi-week series. Ages 3-5; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class. Offered again on 1/25 at 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. at the East Columbia Branch.
January 23, 7:00 p.m. Introduction To The College Experience. Come to the Central Branch to ask questions about campus life, social life, exams, and how best to prepare for your first year of college. Ages 16 & up; parents welcome. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.
January 23, 7:00 p.m. Career And Technology Education Expo. Come to the East Columbia Branch to learn how the Howard County Public School System’s Career Academies prepare high school students for college and careers in the 21st century. Academy students offer skills demonstrations. Ages 11-17. No registration required.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 16, 2013 in Health, Safety | 0 comments
National and international viral studies indicate that the predominant strain of flu this year is the subtype H3N2 of influenza A. Every year, scientists study which strains of flu predominate internationally and determine what the composition of the flu shot should be. Traditionally, the vaccine will include one of each of the following types of killed virus: H1N1 influenza A, and H3N2 influenza A and influenza B. The killed viruses in the vaccine generate an antibody response in the shot’s recipient. Two weeks after immunization, the recipient develops the antibodies needed to provide protection against the flu. Studies to date show that the predominant flu infections are those covered by this season’s vaccine.
Preventive measures in addition to the flu shot include frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, avoiding contact with sick people, and good nutrition. Try to avoid touching your nose, mouth, or face as this will help prevent contact exposure of your mucous membranes and respiratory system to the virus. Regular exercise and getting plenty of rest may help boost your immune system. If you exercise at a fitness facility, don’t forget to use cleaning wipes before and after using each piece of equipment.
Unfortunately, a person about to develop the flu may be contagious for a full day before any symptoms develop. The flu may be transmitted for as many as 7 days after symptoms first develop. A good rule of thumb is to stay home and limit your exposure to others until you have been fever-free for a full 24 hours.
To stay informed about the flu, there are several excellent websites that include verified scientific data and medically sound advice. A comprehensive webpage that includes links to information about multiple flu-related topics is this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) site. If you would like to track the progress of the flu each week, including number of cases, locations, and flu types and subtypes, check out this report. If you have not decided whether the flu shot is right for you, the CDC has a useful information page. The World Health Organization (WHO) also generates information for internet users across the globe.
Onions are gross. That may seem unfair, but a small group of Well & Wisers from HCLS were having a discussion one day, and, as it will when you work in a library and discuss almost everything, onions came up. And the consensus was, whether because of taste, texture, or both, onions are not a a crowd favorite. Now there was defense of this poor, maligned bulb. Some declared that onions are a necessity for mirepoix, others admitted that caramelizing made onions more palatable, and one person proclaimed that onions are beneficial to circulation. What? Wait a minute. You don’t make a claim like that in a library without citing your sources. So, we decided to take a closer look at the onion.
The LiveStrong Foundation seems to confirm the circulation claim. Red and yellow onions, as well as zucchini and grapes, contain quercetin, a bioflavonoid that has a wide array of properties, including the ability to strengthen and extend the capillaries and improve circulation.
But that’s not all the onion has going for it (sorry, onion haters). According to the George Mateljan Foundation for the World’s Healthiest Foods (WHF): onions are also high in polyphenol, and “for colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancer, between 1-7 servings of onion has been shown to provide risk reduction. But for decreased risk of oral and esophageal cancer, you’ll need to consume one onion serving per day (approximately 1/2 cup).” WHF also indicates that onions may provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and improving cell membrane function in red blood cells; help support bone and connective tissue, especially in menopausal and post-menopausal women; provide anti-inflammatory benefits; possibly help balance blood sugar; and help prevent bacterial infection.
Onions are part of allium vegetables, but haven’t gotten nearly the attention of that rock star garlic. There’s even some research evidence suggesting that one should include at least one serving of an allium vegetable—such as onions—in your diet every day.
But that’s not all, onion naysayers; onions have been a staple among home remedies for a long time. Organic Facts suggests that onions can provide relief for problems such as the asthma, respiratory problems, angina, cough, and even the common cold. They also indicate that onions can be used to prevent tooth decay and oral infections, may aid in thinning of the blood, and can improve anaemic conditions. Organic Facts even has recipes for treatments, all containing onions, that are said to relieve earaches, treat urinary tract infections, produce glowing skin, repel insects, and boost sex drive (typed with raised eyebrows).
So the onion creep factor may be something we just have to get over. There’s too much good stuff going on in those layers. You can certainly learn more about them through books such as Onions, Onions, Onions by Rosemay Moon. And they’re little wonders that you can easily grow, as detailed in Grow Your Own Vegetables Carol Klein. But if you just can’t get over the yuck factor, maybe you can get some of their benefits though other allium vegetables, so you may want to check out Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 10, 2013 in Eating Right | 0 comments
by Jean Pfefferkorn
Remember birthday parties–playing games, playing with friends, and eating the traditional cake and ice cream? Suppose your little one was excluded from this highlight of the kid calendar?
Many children are excluded, not because they don’t have enough friends, but rather because they can’t eat—or can’t be in the same room with—the foods, which their bodies may not tolerate.
Food allergies—a strong response to a food, triggered by an overzealous immune system—are common in children. Causes are unknown, and there is currently no cure beyond avoidance of the allergens. It’s serious: allergic food reactions can lead to anaphylaxis, other serious illness, and possible death.
For children, allergens usually include eggs, milk, peanuts, and soy. Tree nuts and peanuts are the usual culprit for the deadly allergic reactions called anaphylaxis.
Seven-year-old Jack lives in Columbia, with multiple food allergies. His parents—teachers/authors Lang and Julie Wethington—have worked to find ways to keep Jack safe in family life, social gatherings, and especially childhood birthday parties.
Lang and Julie have written a book for children with food allergies, Yes I Can: Have My Cake and Food Allergies Too, to encourage them to enjoy all of life, including allergy-safe food. The book, which is beautifully-illustrated by the authors, opens dialogue with family members and is an excellent teaching tool for children.
At the Central Branch on Saturday, January 19, the Wethington family, including Jack, are giving a talk about their experience. Parents and children are encouraged to come together to share in the discussion, which begins at 2 p.m. Please register online or by calling 410.313.7880.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 7, 2013 in Mental Health | 0 comments
by Cherise Tasker
When short on time but long on the need for beautiful language, I find a poem may be the perfect choice. Tired of weather and how its whims can change plans, if not lives, we can look to literature for motivation and empathy.
In his 1921 poem “January,” William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) refuses to be distracted by harsh conditions. He is staying on track and meeting challenges. A writer, family practitioner, husband, and father, Williams understood the pull of multiple responsibilities all too well. He wrote in his 1951 autobiography, “I had my typewriter in my office desk…. If a patient came in at the door while I was in the middle of a sentence, bang would go the machine? I was a physician. When the patient left, up would come the machine…. Finally, after eleven at night, when the last patient had been put to bed, I could always find the time to bang out ten or twelve pages.”
Again I reply to the triple winds
running chromatic fifths of derision
outside my window:
You will not succeed. I am
bound more to my sentences
the more you batter at me
to follow you.
And the wind,
as before, fingers perfectly
its derisive music.
- William Carlos Williams
Can his words help us focus our attention, make a resolution for 2013, exceed our goals? The poet has been in this place before, facing barriers to his tasks at hand. Likewise, we may find ourselves trying to finish a chore we’ve been putting off, make a healthy eating choice the doctor recommended, or take a walk when it’s 30 degrees outside. Williams pushes back against detractors. Can we?
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 4, 2013 in Classes, Events | 0 comments
January 5, 11:00 a.m. Rubber Duckie Twist & Shout!. Celebrate Rubber Duckie’s birthday with song, dance, and a story at the Glenwood Branch. Ages 2-5 with adult; 30 minutes. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579. Class is repeated at Glenwood Banch on 1/8 and 1/9 at 10:30 a.m. Classes also offered at the Miller Branch on 1/10 at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
January 7, 10:15 a.m. Healthy Kids. Class at the Savage Branch to explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Multi-week series. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class. Classes offered on 1/8 at the Miller Branch at 2 & 7 p.m.
January 7, 11:30 a.m. Just For Me. 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. No registration required. Also offered 1/8 at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. At the East Columbia branch; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class. Offered again on 1/9 at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch; no registration required. And 1/9 at 7 p.m. at Miller Branch; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.
January 7, 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. 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.
January 7, 7:00 p.m. Pruning. The bare branches of January and February present the ideal time to prune woody shrubs and trees. Joe DiGiovanni comes to the Miller Branch to discuss his pruning expertise through demonstrations and photos. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.
January 8, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation. Guided meditation presented by Star Ferguson-Gooden, M.Ac., L.Ac., at the Miller Branch. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. In addition to her Master’s degree in Acupuncture, Star Ferguson-Gooden holds a Professional Certificate in Energetic Healing and is faculty at Tai Sophia Institute. She and her husband co-own their practice, Sage Center for Wellness, in historic Ellicott City. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.
January 9, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. The World Around Me. Classes at the Central Branch exploring simple social studies concepts inspired by children’s literature.Multi-week series. Ages 3-5; 45 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class. Classes offered again on 1/11 at 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. At the East Columbia Branch.
January 9, 7:00 p.m. Healthy Teeth And Mouths Can Save Your Life. Gingivitis leads to tooth loss and contributes to strokes, miscarriages, and heart disease. Learn the key facts at the East Columbia Branch about dental and oral systemic health from Dr. Damian Blum, DMD. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.
January 10, 7:00 p.m. From Seeds To Seedlings. Discover how to jump start spring gardening. Presented at the Glenwood Branch by Jo Ann Russo. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners. Register online or by calling 410.313.5577.
Posted by hclibrary on Jan 3, 2013 in Classes | 0 comments
Now that 2013 is here, it is time to follow through with our healthy New Year’s Resolutions, and one of the first steps to a healthier body this year is a healthier mouth. To get you started, Howard County Library System invites you to attend Healthy Teeth and Mouths Can Save Your Life. Please join local dental health expert Dr. Damian Blum, DMD, at 7 pm on Wednesday, January 9, at our East Columbia Branch.
While most of us realize that gingivitis can lead to tooth loss, it can also contribute to strokes, miscarriages, and heart disease. Learn the importance of good oral health and how to prevent most dental problems. This promises to be a life-changing workshop on everything you wanted to know about dental and oral systemic health.
Register for this Well & Wise class online or by calling 410.313.7700.
Posted by hclibrary on Dec 31, 2012 in Fitness, Health | 1 comment
By Matthew Hall
Picture yourself on the top of a mountain. You look out at a vast landscape of nature and as you turn to leave, your feet slip. All of a sudden you are sliding down towards the edge of a cliff and at the last moment, you manage to grab on to a tree limb. You hang there with no one around to help you, so what do you do? Unfortunately, many people reading this wouldn’t possess the strength to pull themselves up (and in this story, you would die).
One pull up! If any of you, like me, have flashbacks to middle school gym class, then you know how frustrating it can be to realize that you cannot perform one repetition of this simple movement. Even people who regularly exercise, from tennis players to marathon runners, often do not posses the strength to perform a pullup.
I think that while performing bodyweight exercises can be extremely humbling, it is also a great measure of general strength and athletic ability. It is entirely possible to build a physique worthy of a magazine cover using only bodyweight movements, and they are a great, free resource that can be adjusted for any level of fitness.
Push ups are probably the easiest movement for most people to develop. Everyone has seen them done, so we know where to begin. For those looking to be able to do one push up properly, begin with your knees on the ground and your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Control your descent down, keep your back straight, and try to keep your elbows pointed inward toward your body, not outward. This puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders and elbows, and will cause pain in the future, if not immediately. Do an initial test of how many you can do in one set. Write this down as your benchmark for future workouts. A good beginning to a program would be three to five sets of as many as possible. You can do this every other day until your strength improves and you can perform 3 sets of 10 reps on your knees. Then move on to doing them with your feet on the ground. Again, control your descent and keep your back straight (don’t stick your behind in the air). Start with 3 sets of as many as you can until you can do 3 sets of 10 reps.
Pull ups are harder to develop without a gym membership. There are a number of exercises and machines, such as pulldowns and assisted pull-up machines that are the easiest way for a beginner to develop upper body strength, especially upper back and shoulders. If you have access to these machines, perform 3 sets of 10 reps 2 or 3 times a week, each week trying to add weight to the exercise. If you do not have access to these machines, you can purchase resistance bands and attach them to a chin-up bar (or monkey bar set at a playground) and place the band under your feet. This should assist you when attempting pull ups. Follow the same progression as with pull ups, until you can do one pull up unassisted.
So if you want to survive our cliffhanger scenario, get started on working to develop these movements. Your body can be a free gym once you have the ability to perform basic chin ups and push ups, as there are numerous modified versions of them to challenge yourself with. The new year is coming, so set your goal now and get started early!
By Wendy Camassar
Recently, I attended a tea tasting workshop sponsored by the Republic of Tea, a brand that manufactures a wide variety of all natural tea, including an organic line (for those who like that extra certification). The event was held at Great Sage (owned by Root’s Market in Clarksville) who put together a series of free workshops called “Roots Cares.” It was like a wine tasting seminar, only for “teetotalers” like me! The Republic of Tea brought out samples of the different “colors” of tea, from white to red, as well as herbal varieties. All types of tea begin with the Camellia Sinensis plant, and have health benefits including flavonoids. These are plant pigments that are beneficial to health (i.e., antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties).
Some categories of tea have higher concentrations of flavonoids, while others have lower levels of caffeine. This gives tea consumers plenty of options and choices depending on what you want your tea to do for you. If you want a bit more caffeine in the morning to start the day, you can try breakfast blends that are primarily black tea. Black tea is rolled after the leaf has withered, causing oxidation to occur, which makes it darker in color. Also, it is aged longer and has fermented. Black tea has the highest amount of caffeine, but only contains half the amount compared to a cup of coffee. It is recommended to steep black tea bags for three to five minutes in boiled water for best results.
If you are trying to minimize your caffeine intake, other varieties like white or green tea may be a better option. White tea is the downy bud of the leaf, mostly harvested in the Fujian Province of China. It is hand plucked and carefully dried without rolling to prevent oxidation. White tea has the highest content of flavonoids and is the lightest in color. It contains very little caffeine and should steep for only thirty to sixty seconds (in almost boiling water) for best results. Green tea, on the other hand, is harvested after the bud has bloomed where the leaves are pan-fired or steamed to keep them from oxidizing. It has slightly more caffeine than white with a clean, subtle taste. The Republic of Tea recommends steeping green tea bags for one to three minutes in water (just short of boiling) for best results.
For those of you who don’t want any caffeine at all in your tea, herbal blends and Rooibos would be your best choice. Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) is a caffeine-free herb from South Africa with a sweet flavor, and dark red color. Another caffeine-free tea is Hibiscus or the “Superflower” tea. It is known to keep the body cool in hot weather, helps lower high blood pressure, and assists in weight loss (you may want to consult your doctor before trying this). And, if you want to learn even more about tea, you can always read up on the subject. With so many choices in tea, it may seem hard to know which one to try, but at least we know there’s a tea for everyone!
Posted by hclibrary on Dec 20, 2012 in Mental Health | 0 comments
By Jean Pfefferkorn
If you feel your mood slipping towards the blue end of the spectrum at this time of year, you are in good company. Many of us feel blue during times of holiday stress, when expectations are high, money perhaps scarce, and too much activity is on everyone’s plates.
If your blue mood continues into the new year, or if it began in November, you may be one of millions who is dealing with SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder–a recurrent depression which coincides with the lack of sunlight in the winter months (tomorrow is the shortest day of the year). Usually mild to moderate, the SAD-ness can affect people of any age, from children to elders.
Symptoms include the “bearish” behavior that many feel to a lesser extent: increased appetite–with attendant weight gain, increased need for sleep, lack of energy, and social withdrawal. Additionally, more alarming symptoms may include hopelessness, unhappiness and irritability, lack of interest in normal activities, and suicidal thoughts.
Researchers believe that the cause for SAD is a neurochemical imbalance in the brain. It has been postulated that an overproduction of melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain during hours of darkness, is to blame.
Managing the symptoms at home may involve simple strategies, such as exercising, eating healthily, spending time with family and friends, and maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Monitor yourself for early signs that the depression may be getting worse, and if it does, contact your primary care doctor.
Primary care doctors are able to treat SAD with light therapy using a 10,000 lux (light intensity) light box, which may be purchased without a prescription. Its use should be monitored by a medical professional to watch for side effects. Treatment is often an early morning light bath for thirty minutes. Other treatments may involve anti-depressant medications or a combination of light and medication.
If you know others who may be living with seasonal affective disorder, encouraging them to look for guidance can help them to enjoy the beautiful winter.
Sources: Pub Med, Mayo Clinic, and National Alliance for Mental Illness
The other night I had visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. I had promised to bring some goodies to a concert reception on Sunday and a staff holiday party on Monday. What to bring? What to bring?
If I think well of the people who are going to eat these treats I should be making something healthy, right? …Right? Well, in my experience desserts and sweets are usually made with things like sugar and butter and chocolate and cream and are inherently unhealthy. What to do? What to do?
Well, things might not be as bad as they first seem. Sugar can be used in moderation (unless you have a tendency toward diabetes) and many recipes allow for the substitution of Splenda or other ingredients for half the sugar. (Full disclosure—I have not tried substitutions for my sugar, so I can’t give my take on what works well.) As for the butter, studies have shown that the transfats and polyunsaturated fats in margarine and “shortening” are more culpable than saturated fats in heart disease. This news makes me a little more relaxed about my dessert choices, but it is clear that portion control is necessary!
I tried to find some books at the library that would help me make my choices and I found some “gems,” that is, perfect little things that will satisfy! One could try Little Cakes by Susan Waggoner. She offers recipes for tea cakes and cupcakes as well as a wide variety of old-fashioned cakes—just smaller and just right for a small family or a couple. This isn’t quite what I’m looking for to feed a crowd on a healthy scale, and I do miss photographs.
How about Petite Sweets, Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth by Beatrice Ojakangas? Her beautifully photographed and creative recipes surely tempt both the eye and the appetite, but they seem more appropriate to an intimate dinner party than a buffet table.
It seems like cupcakes might fit the bill. There is a little book called, simply, Cupcakes by Joanna Farrow. Wonderful basic recipes but with creative twists to make them fun fill the 64 pages of this pretty little book. And Two-Bite Cupcakes by Viola Goren, offers beautiful presentation, wildly creative ideas, and in a size that lets you try more than one kind.
The Artful Cupcake by Marcianne Miller, 2004, is another gem. It is subtitled “Baking and Decorating Delicious Indulgences,” and it includes some truly gorgeous ideas. You will find crystallized flowers (with egg white and superfine sugar), a beautiful lacy chocolate dome (using a balloon), and, wait, I’m supposed to be finding something I can replicate on a grand scale. I got carried away!
Just for fun I checked out some books with endearing titles like Hello, Cupcake, and What’s New, Cupcake? both by Karen Tack; Hey there, Cupcake, by Clare Crespo; and Who You Callin’ Cupcake? 75 in-your-face Recipes that Reinvent the Cupcake by Michelle Garcia, 1010. The last will introduce you to “the infamous spinach and apple” cupcake and a “candied white bean with grapefruit” cupcake.
I was headed for serious sugar overload just from reading when I happened upon Carrots ‘N’ Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot and Cupcake at a Time by Tina Haupert. The difference between this book and the previous titles is that this is in the “Health” section of the library, not the “Cooking” section. I’m so happy to be introduced to Haupert’s blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake. She engagingly relates stories of her life as she tries to get a handle on her own exercise goals and healthy eating habits.
Oh, about my search for a recipe for goodies to share. I think Cookie Swap! by Lauren Chattman will help me find something. After all, it’s a holiday get-together and no one expects things to be healthy! Just practice portion control.
Posted by hclibrary on Dec 13, 2012 in Eating Right | 2 comments
by Wendy Camassar
As a vegan, I am constantly looking for recipes for my family that are high in fiber and protein. The problem is, not everyone in my house enjoys beans, in spite of the health perks they offer. I’ve learned that beans have several health benefits. For example they are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management. Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less.
I’m constantly worrying that my kids aren’t getting enough protein from the food they eat. So my dilemma is, how can I get my kids to eat more beans? The solution? Sneak the beans in the recipe! I am amazed at how easily they can be transformed. By pureeing them, you can create sauces, dips, dressings, or deserts. The possibilities are endless!
Recently, I came across a blog post that caught my eye called “Cookie Dough Dip” on the site Chocolate-Covered Katie. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I decided to give the dip a try, and I’m happy to say it was an enormous hit with my family. Believe it or not, the main ingredient is Garbanzo Beans! I have to admit, I was a bit wary to attempt to make it for fear of rejection from my family, but I’m so glad I did. My picky eaters scarfed this dip down without realizing they were eating Garbanzos beans! If you have a minute, check out this web site for dozens of healthy, plant-based recipes. You don’t have to be vegan to try these recipes, but if you’re looking to get more beans into your diet, the ideas on this site are creative and delicious!
By Cristina J. Lozare
“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”
-Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year
It was like falling in love all over again. Just as they said it would be. Lola, what Filipino grandmothers are called, is a title I am claiming for the first time in 60 years. I am struck with Isabela’s [ a.k.a. Izzy] pristine innocence and freshness. I come away from each visit amazed at how this little being changed our lives. It is like being in Indian summer in the midst of winter. I know that parenthood can at times feel like being lost in the vastness of wilderness. On the other hand, being a grandparent is like walking a straight line through the woods and skipping happily at that. I am bowled over by the purity of unconditional love that pours out of me when I think of Izzy.
Anne Lamott just became a grandmother too and published Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. It is a heart-warming memoir full of anxiety, doubt and love about her 19-year-old son, Sam, and his desire to provide for his family while still a student in college. Lamott discovered that she found her third great love, “along with Sam and Jesus,” in baby Jax. Sam Lamott writes about his love for his newborn son and his dreams of keeping his family together. His childhood was narrated by his mother in Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year in 1993. Both books can help you understand the impact that parenthood and grand parenthood can have on a person, not that anyone can ever truly be prepared for either.
When I take care of Izzy, vignettes of my children when they were babies run through my mind. I can feel a tangible, nostalgic link with my parents and of all the generations past. There is an intensity of emotion that I feel when I hold Izzy in my arms. I hope that I will be granted the gift of time, enough to dance at her wedding someday.
Posted by hclibrary on Dec 6, 2012 in Safety | 0 comments
Black Friday is over and, thankfully, all of you survived to fight another year. The remaining shopping days until the wintertime-gift-giving day of your choice (we prefer Boxing Day) will never reach the world-ending chaos of Black Friday, but they can still be a stressful and terrifying time, especially as the deadline nears and the best gifts begin to disappear.
So, assuming you didn’t accomplish all your shopping already, how can you best prepare for the days ahead? Well, that’s one of the many reasons you have a library.
Make sure you have lists of the items you want to get everyone, and where to find those items. Have back-up options ready in case of sell outs or price changes. You don’t want to have to go back out for something you forgot at the last minute.
Do your research to spot the best deals, and create a budget so you don’t get too far off track. It’s easy to go overboard in buying things for the people you love. Brush up on your math, and make sure you can afford your purchases!
This operation will take all of your skills and a lot of mental energy. Make sure you eat properly and also consume the necessary amount of caffeine.
You’re going to need to be in good shape to handle those crowds. Do some stretches and cardio, so you can get through buildings quickly. Add some strength training so you can carry all the things. And honestly, in this day and age, a little parkour wouldn’t hurt.
Okay, we’ve trained you to tackle the crowds, but there’s no reason to actually tackle anyone. It’s a season of love and happiness, even for that guy who just took the last sale item. Maintain your manners with the overworked staff and with the people in the same predicament as you.
This is a stressful season, and all that being polite takes effort! Whether you’re hunting in a crowd, standing in an endless line, or stuck in traffic or looking for a parking spot, you don’t want that stress to take over. Get a relaxing CD for the car, and practice breathing exercises for when you’re on your feet.
Don’t let your awesome gifts be ruined by inferior wrapping. Pick up some new paper and ribbon, or learn some crafty ways to put your gifts together.
Look at how easy it is now that you have a game plan! Now you just have to figure out what on earth to get your brother-in-law this year.
by Cherise Tasker
A study released in November 2012 by Johns Hopkins found that weight loss in those who are overweight or obese led to improved quality of sleep. Investigators found that decreasing belly fat, through diet or a combination of diet and exercise, led to a decrease in complaints such as daytime fatigue, insomnia, restless sleep and dream disorders. The study participants were 36 to 65 years of age and were prediabetic or currently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The study concluded that a reduction in abdominal subcutaneous fat was the factor most strongly associated with participants reporting improved sleep.
To understand weight lose in the abdominal area, it is important to know that there is fat below the skin (subcutaneous) and around vital internal organs (visceral). In working to decrease belly fat, one wants to decrease both subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat is the fat one can “see,” the so-called “pear-shaped” weight accumulation. Visceral fat is that which accumulates around the heart, lungs, digestive tract organs and pelvic organs, the “apple-shaped” areas of weight gain. Visceral fat is significant because increased amounts are associated with higher levels of total and LDL cholesterol, which contribute to cardiovascular disease. Visceral fat accumulations are also linked to increases in insulin resistance. When the body becomes more resistant to insulin, glucose cannot be handled properly and the risk for diabetes rises.
So what are some proven ways to lower the amount of belly fat? Both aerobic and strength-training exercise help decrease excess subcutaneous and visceral fat. Aerobic activities including walking, jogging, cycling and dance are especially effective in lowering body-fat percentage. Abdominal exercises such as situps and crunches are effective both in improving physical appearance and in increasing muscle mass. Multiple studies have shown that increasing the fiber in one’s diet corresponds to a decrease in visceral fat. Good high-fiber food choices include apples, raspberries, avocados, artichokes, broccoli, peas, beans, lentils, bran cereal and almonds. Limiting fat intake and increasing the amount of plant-based food in the diet is recommended.
The Howard County Library System has an outstanding collection of health, fitness, nutrition and weight loss books, audio books and DVDs. Our cookbook collection has numerous titles specifically aimed at eating well by eating healthy meals. Please check out our Health Education Center at the Central Branch with titles including The Lean Belly Prescription: The Fast and Foolproof Diet & Weight-Loss Plan From America’s Top Urgent-Care Doctor; The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Lose Weight and The New Abs Diet: The 6-Week Plan to Flatten Your Stomach and Keep You Lean for Life.
Posted by hclibrary on Nov 29, 2012 in Health | 3 comments
by Mio Higashimoto
Ever heard of no ‘poo? It’s really not what you think.
No ‘poo advocates ditching store-bought shampoo and conditioner for ethical, environmental, economic, and health reasons and replacing it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.
I had severe dandruff that none of the store-bought shampoos cured. Head and Shoulders made the dandruff and the itching worse. Neutrogena’s T/Gel worked a while, then it stopped working and the itchiness came back. Selsun Blue helps with the itching but the scent is completely intolerable to me. I couldn’t even watch those dandruff shampoo commercials on TV where the person can’t wear black because of embarrassing dandruff. Desperation led me to no ‘poo two years ago and I lasted a whole three months. In short, after going no ‘poo, I found that my hair was cleaner for a longer period of time and that my dandruff problem was cured (for the duration that I went no ‘poo).
So why should you try no ‘poo? No more harmful chemicals polluting our waterways. Looked at the ingredient list of shampoos and conditioners recently? I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not know what most of the ingredients are, let alone how to pronounce them. Take, for example, the ingredients in Pert Plus shampoo: Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Polymethacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-14M, Dihydrogenated Tallowamidoethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Blue No. 1. I probably should have paid better attention in chem class.
Going no ‘poo is also very animal friendly. I highly doubt baking soda and apple cider vinegar mix needs to be tested on animals. Companies that do not conduct animal testing proudly advertise that they do not conduct animal testing. For a list of companies that might conduct testing on animals, click on this PETA link. PETA has separate listings of cosmetics companies that do and do not conduct animal testing.
Another reason to try no ‘poo? Economic reasons. It is vastly cheaper to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar than it is to purchase shampoo and conditioner, even if it’s a two-in-one shampoo. After the initial shock of switching to no ‘poo, your scalp will begin to secrete less oil, and as a result, you’ll wash your hair less frequently. Fewer washings means that you’ll stretch your baking soda and apple cider vinegar supply much longer.
Initially, there may be no difference after switching. It took two weeks for me to notice that my hair was less oily, less itchy, and less flaky. My main problem with no ‘poo, however, was the inconvenience of it. There are no shampoo and conditioner-filled plastic bottles ready to go. With no ‘poo, you need to prepare your own baking soda and apple cider vinegar concoctions. It’s not complicated, but it is very inconvenient.
Here’s the recipe: For “shampoo,” mix together 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. For “conditioner,” mix together 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water. Warm water is very important because the one time I used regular room temperature water, it felt very cold once I dumped it onto my head.
Now for the inconvenient part. I keep my baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and measuring spoons/cups in the kitchen. I make the mix in the kitchen before I head to the shower and put it into two separate soda bottles. I use soda bottles because I have a lot of them (soda is my vice), and the smaller neck allows me greater control on how much I pour onto my head at once. I also mark with a permanent marker on the bottle itself how much water goes into the bottle so I need not constantly bring out the measuring cup. Finally, I keep handy a newspaper so I can funnel the baking soda directly into the soda bottle.
One more piece of advice: keep your mouth closed so the baking soda or apple cider vinegar mixtures don’t accidentally stream into your mouth. It’s all natural so it won’t kill you, but it might dampen your enthusiasm for going no ‘poo. The baking soda and apple cider vinegar mixes are not nearly as viscous as regular shampoo and conditioner, and hence, they do dribble all over your head no matter how careful you are.
Finally, does it work, you ask? I had my doubts about this, but I tried it anyway, reasoning I didn’t really have anything to lose and that I’ll be wiser for the experience. The apple cider vinegar especially worried me as well as I did not want to smell vinegary. I even took precautions for my first attempt to make sure I didn’t have to interact with anyone immediately following my first no ‘poo experience. But to my surprise, my hair did not have even a whiff of vinegar tainting it (with a thorough rinsing of the hair, of course) and my hair was very soft after my first no ‘poo experience. Now, I still do no ‘poo once a week to keep my dandruff in check and use small amounts of shampoo and condition during the week because I cannot resist the sweet smell of shampoo.
Posted by hclibrary on Nov 26, 2012 in Eating Right | 0 comments
By Angie Engles
Now that Thanksgiving is over, some of us may be breathing a huge sigh of relief right before we remember that Christmas is just around the corner. It’s not the family time or the shopping or the lists of everything that needs to be done that is on our minds so much (though all of that can be quite stressful) as much as the food that is constantly on parade pretty much anytime from Thanksgiving to the first few days of the New Year. Suddenly our favorite places (friends’ houses, home, workplace lounges) can be something out of a horror film.
People joke about “food comas,” unzipping their pants, wearing sweats to dinner to make room for more, but the sad truth is for many people nothing about holiday eating is funny. For anyone struggling with a diet, food issues, or eating disorders, this can be a particularly nightmarish situation, especially if food is forever present, whether it be in the workplace, on tv, or in other people’s homes. It’s no wonder that statistics show attendance at Over Eater’s Anonymous spikes in January when many members go to deal with their genuine anguish over having eaten so much during the holidays.
Last November, The New York Times featured an interesting article on holiday eating. Though writer Jesse McKinley was referring to Thanksgiving, his advice can easily apply to Christmas and New Year’s Eve as well.
First of all, he advises, forget fasting the day before the big holiday event. No matter how good your intentions or how strong your willpower, the next day you will just make up for what you missed the day before. There are ways to survive the gastronomical warfare, most of which, like any good contingency plan, involve getting ready beforehand, assessing the damage, and finding the strength to start over and stick to your regular diet.
Anticipating holiday events, of course, can fuel the fire, but there’s no doubt about it that once you actually get to that family dinner or friend’s party or workplace event that you can feel like a deer caught in the middle of dinner table headlights. Dealing with “food pushers” (we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt by calling them the polite and well-meaning host/hostess who is nevertheless insistent) can be also problematic around this time of year.
Cynthia Sass, who writes for Shape magazine, says you might want to say something like this: “I love you and your cooking, and I’m so happy to be spending the holiday with you, but I feel so much better when I don’t overeat, so please don’t be offended, but eating “my” way is the best way for me to really enjoy the holidays.” Another trick? Go discreetly with your health. Explain to your “food pusher” you’re following your doctor or dietitian’s advice; if need be, get specific and say you get bad heartburn or have trouble sleeping if your diet gets off track. “Fake-out” by having both hands full, one with a light drink, the other with, say, a plate of lean veggies.
The figures for remedying your overindulgence can be quite terrifying. Taking in the average Thanksgiving meal, for instance, Heather Mangieri, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who is also a sports nutritionist in Pittsburgh, says a 180-pound person would have to walk briskly for five hours (five hours!) to make up the damage. Eat slowly, savor the meal and, by all means, stop when you’re full, Mangieri adds.
Other tips? Have a seat, take in your meal, really take a look at the colors and size and shape and enjoy a moment of quiet so you’re not rushed or too caught up in all that’s going on around you to realize how much you’re eating.
Call this corny or overly sentimental or easier said than done, but during this food-crazed, stressful “Wasn’t it our turn to have Christmas here last year?” time, remember this saying I once heard: “Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips!” It’s important to keep in mind (though easy to forget in the commercial craze otherwise known as the holiday shopping season) that we gather at the table to celebrate our friends, family and love. Worries about being around food and overeating are legitimate and worthy of sincere attention, but they also shouldn’t kidnap the joy you’d feel otherwise at being around the people in your life.
Posted by hclibrary on Nov 22, 2012 in Cancer | 1 comment
By Jessica “JP” Protasio
As a child, Thanksgiving was a complicated holiday for my family. The days leading up to the “great feed” were usually wrought with my parents’ guilt–resulting from the pressure to replicate the gluttonous celebratory dinner that everyone else was having and being crazy enough to participate in Black Friday. Looking back, I think we had the finest Thanksgiving experiences anyway. I learned early on that I was just grateful for the treasure of family. We all need a family. Sometimes, our families are split apart for various reasons. One of those reasons is time. Specifically, “running out of time.”
Among my first experiences with cancer was my father’s passing; he ran out of time. The holidays remind me of how ruthless cancer is and how fortunate I am to be here despite cancer’s cruelty. It is extraordinarily special to celebrate the people and experiences that make our lives so fulfilling. Thanksgiving is a way of life–whether you’re in treatment, in remission, or involved with the fight against cancer. So, in the spirit of thankfulness, these women share their reasons and thanks as it relates to the “emperor of all maladies”, cancer.
…that my mom beat it [cancer] once again! -Katie, daughter of a two-time survivor
…that my mother didn’t suffer for long after–her diagnosis -Stephanie, daughter of a cancer fighter at rest
…for the blessing of time and healing. Our lives are precious and every extra second we receive is an extra step toward healing and hope. -Sheena, daughter of a survivor
…for each and every moment–that I have with my wonderful husband and best friend, Nate, who is seven years cancer free.–I am also thankful for my dear friend, Erin, who is three years cancer free. I’m thankful for the moments I have shared with Nate and Erin, and for the many more to come.-Krissy, UCF Program Director
…for all the new friends that cancer has brought my way and all the life lessons these friends have taught me. -Colleen, cancer awareness activist
…that cancer has taught [me] about priorities, friendship, strength, and–no matter what, cancer can’t kill the human spirit! -Sara, cancer awareness activist
…that I have learned to be proactive in my health –and try not to take anyone or anything for granted. –I learned to love running just because I can do it –and that dreams can be limitless. And to always remember those who haven’t been so lucky in the gift of time; life can be short so live it up! -Erin, cancer awareness activist
…for all the incredibly, amazingly, phenomenally inspirational people I have met who have gone through this [cancer] journey that I am just an outsider looking in on. They have enriched my life so much, and I cannot imagine a world without these wonderful people, or my life without them in it. -Nancy, cancer awareness activist
…for every awesome, positive moment my friends share with me–friends who continue living with so much joy and energy that you often forget they are in constant a battle for their lives. -Sarah, family/friend of survivors
…that Ellie & Janelle push me to be a better version of myself, that I will be able to visit my brother for the holidays for the first time in a decade, that I have an incredible network of friends who’ve become family via my journey with cancer, and that there are opportunities for me to give back and give thanks for a life that I wasn’t guaranteed. Plus, I got to meet my liver donor’s sister. -Jessica Protasio, 18 months in remission
by Barbara Cornell
Many of us in “Libraryland” like to think there must be a book out there that will fully answer a customer’s questions about any given topic. Take cooking! There must be something that thoroughly covers the subject, something with a title like “How to Cook Everything.” Wait! There is one! Mark Bittman, one of the country’s best-known food writers and a frequent guest on the Today Show, has written a whole series, beginning with How to Cook Everything (HtCE).
The original HtCE was published in 1998 and was revised (read “improved”) for its 10th anniversary in 2008. There’s also HtCE – Vegetarian, HtCE – Holiday Cooking, and the brand new (March 2012) How to Cook Everything –the Basics. I love the way he shows how your recipe should look at critical stages. As a litmus test I checked out the pie crust directions—good advice, great photos. He even shows us how to patch a crack in the crust before it gets its filling. Bittman also wrote Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating and followed with the companion The Food Matters Cookbook, advocating a “Lessmeatarian” diet.
Bittman is not the only cookbook author with high ambitions. Jane Hornby’s What to Cook and How to Cook It, 2010, is also an excellent step-by-step guide for any cook, not just a beginner. She makes her pie crust in a food processor—to each her own. But I’ll go to her for my chocolate cake recipe. The photography here is mostly shot from straight above, except for the presentation shots—very effective!
These books are great for learning techniques, but the authors try to cover so many subjects that there is little variety in specific dishes. There might be only two different pies shown, or one cake. For variety we need a series like My Cooking Class. Each title in this series (ten are listed in Amazon.com; eight are owned by Howard County Library System) is by a different expert. The editors chose not to number the pages but the recipes—I can see right away that there are 70 cake recipes in Cake Basics. There are 87 in Sauce Basics, including 5 pestos and 10 tomato sauces. Seafood Basics is great for someone intimidated by a whole fish on a cutting board. All the photos in this series are from above, a boon for the visual learner. In addition to Middle Eastern Basics and Indian Basics, HCLS has Vegetable Basics and Steaming Basics for the health-conscious cook.
Another encyclopedic cookbook is Joy of Cooking, first written by Irma Rombauer and her daughter Marion during the Depression in 1931, and in 2006 revised for its 75th anniversary by Erma’s grandson, Ethan Becker. You won’t find bird’s-eye view photos—or any photos, but clear and very sufficient line drawings. There is engaging and homey teaching text at the beginning of each section and a variety of recipes that defies imagination. If I were to gift a bride with a cookbook, I couldn’t do better than Joy of Cooking.
If you are going to get serious about French cooking you will need Ginette Mathiot’s I know How to Cook 2009, or Je Sais Cuisiner in the original 1932 edition. The photography is uneven, scattered throughout, but somehow giving the French name of a dish after the English gives it a …je ne sais quoi!
Now none of the above is particularly health-conscious except perhaps for Vegetable Basics and Steaming Basics, but we all know it’s all about portion control and judicious substitution of healthy ingredients, don’t we? Enjoy your holidays and consult the library for those tricky recipes!
Posted by hclibrary on Nov 14, 2012 in Mental Health | 0 comments
By Jason Pasquet
I recently just found out that I had a minor case of sciophobia, the fear of shadows, while I was enjoying a refreshing sunny afternoon outdoors on a reclining chair. It just hit me, that as a small shadow passed by me, that my physiological reaction was very abrupt to the point where I became extremely fearful, flailing my left arm frantically in a vain attempt stop whatever was causing the shadow. Needless to say, it was just a fragile autumn leaf sailing in the breeze that spooked me. Inadvertently, this instance has prompted a curiosity in me to discuss briefly this type of motivational response, known as phobia, and how NLP tackles the issue.
Phobias are defined in the Encyclopedia of NLP as “an irrational, obsessive, and intense fear that is focused on a specific circumstance, idea or thing”. The word “phobia” is derived from the Greek word “phobos,” meaning fear. There are quite a number of different and specific types of phobias that have been independently defined. See if you can scout out any that pertain to you.
Neuro linguistic programming identifies these phobic responses as verifiable experiences that are difficult to fully understand because of our conditioning from our past, distorted views in our maps, and basic cognitive processes. These as well as our belief systems about the world greatly influence the kind of choices we exercise as a result of the fear. We will focus on a specific technique on how to respond to a phobia, and to cope with the fearful feelings spawning from it.
It is crucial first to realize the impairment of communication between reality and our “maps” that NLP describes, and how the phobic fear is engendered within this relationship. I hope to help widen a person’s maps by sharing the awareness of the golden presupposition that the maps we hold are not the territory–meaning that the limitation fear imposes can be understood as a product of our map. And in this light we can broaden our choices to facilitate powerful change when dealing with these mind-racking phobias.
Previously, I spoke of, in NLP: On Motivation, the nature of representational systems, i.e. visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and the finer distinctions that elicit how we code our experiences known as submodalities. With regard to this knowledge, I want to share a special submodality that can greatly assist someone in overcoming phobias known as dissociation/association. Association basically involves the usual perspective of our everyday, firsthand reality that is experienced through the senses. When you’re associated with the stimulus of a phobia, it’s hard to analyze your behavior and to find a more resourceful state of mind. However, dissociation promotes a dispassionate view by distancing ourselves from the intensity of the emotions caused by the phobic incident. Allowing us to relax and have better clarity about the situation. Romilla Ready and Kate Burton in their book Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Dummies show an exercise involving this submodality principle to overcome the fear, known as the NLP Fast Phobia Cure. Using the V-K dissociation method in the exercise will give one a feeling of safety, and hopefully at least some respite from the phobia.
I’m happy to say that I’m cured of sciophobia from applying the instructions, and I know what to do if ever I find another bothersome phobia! Remember to have someone with you, a good friend or family member, to work this exercise out with you since phobias can range from simple to complex in terms of the emotional intensity experienced. Good luck!