Posts Tagged ‘health’

cowsYou may have noticed lately there is more “chatter” about the benefit of eating meat and/or dairy products from cows that graze on grass rather than grain products.  That’s because more and more people are looking at grass feeding as an important component of an animal’s food composition.  The quality of any food you eat depends on where and how it was grown—and that pertains to plant foods as well as animal foods. If you care about where your food comes from, shouldn’t you also care about where your “food’s” food comes from?

So what is a cow’s natural diet?  When our parents and grandparents were growing up, they ate beef from animals that primarily “grazed” or “browsed” in a pasture.  Grazing means eating pasture grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass, Bermuda grass, fescue, and so forth.  Browsing is what a cow eats when it nibbles on leaves, twigs, and bark. Both of those food sources are compatible to ruminant animals.  Ruminant animals we eat include cattle, goats, sheep, deer, buffalo, and elk.  Their four-part stomachs allow them to slowly digest grasses, leaves, and bark. Basically they chew, swallow, partially digest the food in their first stomach, regurgitate it back into their mouth, and then chew again.

The majority of beef we eat today comes from cows fed a grain-based diet.  Their food sources consist of TMR’s (total mixed rations) and “concentrates.”  TMR’s may contain corn, silage, hay, soymeal, and other fillers. Concentrates include cereal grains, the by-products of milling or processing those grains, and the by-products of distiller grains. Today’s cows eat an amalgamation of many feeds mixed in the correct proportions to give the animal what it needs for its stage of growth or production.

usdaWhat’s the difference between grass-fed and pasture-raised?

Grass-fed –Animal is grass fed with little-to-no grain.

Pasture-raised – Animal is free range and eats primarily grass but may also may have been supplemented with grains in the winter when the pasture was snow covered.

How does grass-fed beef differ from grain-fed beef?

Saturated, poly-, and mono-unsaturated fat content in grass-fed beef tends to be a little less or about the same as grain-fed beef. Omega 3 fatty acids are higher in grass-fed beef, as well as CLA’s (conjugated linoleic acid). CLA is a type of fat that confers health benefits such as better blood sugar regulation, immune system support, heart health, and aids in weight loss.

Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences, after a thorough review of current research, found little evidence that grass-fed beef has any advantage for safety, human health, or impact on the environment over grain-fed beef. Both types of beef deliver the important factors of nutrition in the human diet of protein, iron, and zinc in equal proportions.

Cost and Convenience

Grass-fed beef, milk, and yogurt are more expensive than grain-fed beef, milk and yogurt. They are also a little harder to find.  Most franchise grocery stores carry both options, but smaller, independent grocers will probably defer to grain-fed. Some farm markets may specialize in grass-fed vendors, or, depending on where you live, you may be able to buy direct from the farm.  You’ll probably have to buy in bulk to decrease the price, and then will need a freezer to store the surplus.


I once worked with a woman who insisted she could tell what kind of grass a cow grazed on when she drank milk. She must have had a very refined palate, because all milk tastes the same to me.  But I was a kid who liked school cafeteria and hospital food, so what do I know? Both grain-fed and grass-fed food products can be really good or really bad, depending on your taste buds. Try out a grass-fed product for yourself (when you can get a good buy) and see how it tastes and if it is worth the extra expense to you.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu





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screen addiction
Has technology, or more specifically use of technology, become a concern for you? According to a recent study, most people spend five hours on their computer daily. They also spend four hours watching television and just over two hours on their smartphones or tablets. Those multiple viewings add up to over 11 hours spent every day in front of a screen.
Nearly 50% of the time spent on these electronic devices is dedicated to entertainment, such as listening to music or streaming television shows. The average American household has 2.9 televisions. Most of us have at least one computer and are connected to the internet. We go online to shop, pay bills, check the weather, watch videos, play games, download music, read, and connect.
In addition, Americans send more than a billion text messages each day. Last year, the average American cell phone user either sent or received nearly 400 texts per month.
Once a tranquil place to reflect and to look through books at the library, it’s most popular service is now the internet connection. The sound in the library is now the tapping of computer keys.
Do you easily succumb to a beep of a newly arrive email or text? If you do, then you are part of the increasing phenomenons in history – screen addiction.
Calculating Your Personal Usage
If you are sincere about reducing screen time, you need to take an honest look at your personal usage.
1. Count the number of screens in your life. Calculate how much time you spend on each screen. How was that time spent? Was a large percentage used for what you consider “important” (for example, paying bills), or “leisure” (just surfing the web)?
2. How many texts do you send and receive per day? How many of those texts make a valuable contribution to your life?
3. How much television do you watch?
4. How many times do you check your email?
Reducing the Addiction
On the weekend, consider implementing a day at home to unplug all gadgets. Imagine the increase in conversations and outdoor activities. Put a limit on your recreational internet use. Limit the number of texts you send each day. Check your email only once per hour or once a night. Enjoy your meals screen free.
Not only is spending too much time in front of a screen unhealthy, it also means we often miss out on the very real world that’s around us. Recently, a friend shared that her children have begun texting each other inside the house. If this is not the value system you envisioned for your family, start today to set boundaries to limit the amount of time everyone spends in front of a screen.

Written by: Beth Stefura, M Ed, RD,LD. Ohio State University Extension Educator, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

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Why should we be aware?

  • Agriculture is Ohio’s number one industry contributing jobs for one in seven Ohioans, and more than $107 billion to the state’s economy. (ohioproud.org)
  • Ohio offers a unique proximity of metropolitan and micropolitan areas, linking rural and urban consumers, growers and communities to food produced on small, medium and large-scale family-owned farms.
  • Ohio ranks in the top ten states for direct sales to consumers represented by a wide variety of food products including but not limited to eggs, milk, cheese, honey, maple syrup, beverages, bread and other artisan products, fresh, frozen canned and dried vegetables, fruits and meats. (USDA Ag Census, 2012.)
  • One in six Ohioans is food insecure and lacks access to fresh, local, healthy food.
  • All Ohioans are part of the food system just by making daily decisions about what food to eat.

There is not one definition for “local” food. When making food decisions, many people consider where their food was grown or raised and make an effort to develop personal connections with growers and producers to enjoy flavorful, safe, local food. Ohio Local Foods week is not only about enjoying the tastes of local foods but is also about becoming more aware and better informed about the nutritional, economic, and social benefits of local foods in Ohio.

Even during wintertime, Ohio local food is available, whether it is fresh produce grown with season extenders or crops that can be held for long periods of time in cold/cool storage as well as baked, canned, frozen and dried foods. August is a great time to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week because of the availability of direct-to-consumer marketing of all products including a wide variety of fresh produce.

The Ohio State University Extension Local Food Signature Program invites everyone to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week from August 9th – 15th, 2015. We encourage individuals, families, businesses and communities to grow, purchase, highlight and promote local food all the time but especially during this week. I personally have a CSA (community supported agriculture) share at a local farm that I pick up every Monday. I also try to shop at my local farmer’s markets or fruit and vegetable stands. I also enjoy freezing a lot of my local produce so I can enjoy it all year long. There is nothing better than homemade strawberry jam or a side of sweet corn in the middle of our long Ohio winters!

Just as there is no one definition for “local,” there is no one way to celebrate Ohio Local Foods Week. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week. You are invited to participate in the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge by committing to spend at least ten dollars (or more) on your favorite local foods during Ohio Local Foods Week. Look for regional community events, follow the event on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up at http://go.osu.edu/olfw10dollars for the $10 Ohio Local Foods Challenge. Even though I prepaid for my CSA, I still plan to spend more than $10 buying extra sweet corn and some blueberries at my Farmer’s Market this week.


Not sure where to find local foods or interested in finding new places? Here are some ideas to get started. You can also find an online summary of food directories. You can also check out events throughout the state. Let us know how you are celebrating Ohio Local Foods Week. Share your pictures and stories with us on Facebook or Twitter. #olfw15.

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, CFLE, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County, Maumee Valley EERA, powers-barker,1@osu.edu

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Did you know that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes?  More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is  the most common form of cancer in the USA. This is unfortunate because skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Youth are particularly at risk of overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation since a large amount of the average person’s UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. Even one severe sunburn in childhood can double the risk of developing skin cancer later in life. As parents, you can give your children a legacy of sun safety by helping them develop good sun protections habits early in their lives.  Here are a few tips to help reduce sun damage this summer and throughout their life:

  • Apply broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 before you and your family goes outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all parts of exposed skin.
  • Look for some “fun “colors such as blue, pink, red, etc. They look like skin paint which may be fun for kids to wear, and also you can see your kids in a crowd of other children. Many of these varieties are available online.
  • Be sure to reapply more sun screen if your children are playing in water or sweating.
  • Remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options to prevent UV damage.
  • Have children wear hats that have a brim to shade their eyes, sides of the faces and back of neck. Make sure they wear them when they are in the sun.
  • Also wear sunglasses to protect the eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
  • Have children wear shirts with sleeves, especially to cover the upper back and shoulders, where the sun hits most directly.
  • Limit outdoor play time during the 10am-4pm when ultraviolet rays are the most intense. When outdoors during midday, help children find shady spots to play.

Written by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Patrice Powers-Barker, MA, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County,powers-barker.1@osu.edu







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beach scene

Photo:  American Cancer Society

It’s almost summertime and that means backyard barbecues, pool parties, and lazy afternoons in the sun.  Before you head outdoors be sure to apply enough sunscreen to generously coat skin that will not be covered by clothing – at least an ounce (or the amount in a shot glass).  Most people only apply ¼ to ½ of the amount of sunscreen that they actually need.   It should be applied at least 15 minutes before going outside so your skin has time to absorb the lotion.  Be sure to use a broad spectrum water-resistant formula that protects against UVA and UVB rays with a minimum SPF of 30.  Reapply lotion at least every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily.

Some areas of the body can be particularly vulnerable to sun damage.  Here’s how to protect those danger-prone areas from head to toe:

Scalp:  Hair doesn’t protect your scalp much, especially as hair thins while we age.  Since you can’t really put sunscreen on your head, be sure to wear a broad-brimmed hat made of a tightly woven fabric.

Face:  Noses, tops of ears and lips are very vulnerable to sun damage.  Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily and apply generously to your ears and nose.  Apply lip balm with sunscreen.

Eyes:  Eyes can get sunburned when the sun is reflected off water or snow.  The damage is cumulative which increases the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration.  Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays with frames that contour your face.  Don’t forget the kids, too!

Back:  The skin on the back is the one of the most common spots for melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.  Have a family member or friend apply sunscreen and watch for changes (ragged edges, varying color and sizes larger than a pencil eraser) in moles or other skin lesions.

Hands:  The backs of our hands get exposed to the sun every day, resulting in thin crackled skin with dark spots.  Be sure to wear sunscreen on your hand every day of the year.

Legs:  Women’s legs are a common area for melanoma.  Be sure to wear sunscreen if legs aren’t covered with clothing.

Feet:  Sandals expose skin to the sun causing sunburned feet.  Be sure to reapply sunscreen to your feet if you’re swimming.  Although it is not a common, the soles of the feet can get skin cancer.



American Cancer Society, Protect Your Skin From the Sun, Stacy Simon, May 11, 2015.

Gannett News, USA Today, May 3, 2015,“Sunny days ahead, so don’t forget to cover up”. 

 Author:  Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewers:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., West Region Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed OSU Extension; Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA.


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Spring has arrived!  Imagine warmer days, flowers blooming and the smell of fresh cut lawns!  It’s also the perfect time to take inventory of our health.

  • Schedule appointments and health screenings.  Talk with your doctor to determine a health plan that works for you.
  • De-clutter your medicine cabinet.  Medication should be stored in a dry, cool cabinet.  Check the expiration dates of all medications.   Check with the drug stores or police departments to learn how to dispose safely of old medications.
  • Discard old makeup.  Most products have a one year shelf life.  Throw out products that have an odor or separation of ingredients.
  • Find your calm.  Learn to decrease stress instantly.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, envision a place that is peaceful.
  • Choose in-season, local produce.  Visit a farmers’ market and gain nutritional benefits with spring produce.
  • Go outside-talk a walk and benefit from physical activity and the wonders of the arrival of spring.
  •  Improve your happiness – get rid of clothes in your closet that don’t flatter you.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want.  Research reveals that helping out others improves our happiness.

Take these steps to help improve your overall health and enjoy spring!

Author:  Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD.  Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-clean

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After 21 years, I no longer resolve to be a morning exerciser. I have tried and failed numerous times. If others can do it, why can’t I? Simply because I AM NOT, nor ever will be a morning person.  Keeping New Year’s Resolutions realistic can be difficult for many people. We set goals to lose weight, start exercising, train for a marathon, stop smoking, have a cleaner house, pay off debt, spend more time with friends and family, sleep more, eat healthier….the list could go on and on, yet we achieve very few. New Year’s Day is a time to reflect back on our behaviors in the previous year and to take a look at small changes we would like to make. Promising yourself to overhaul your life will just result in frustration, disappointment and hopelessness by the end of January or February during the cold, grey winter months.

How can you prevent “failure” and achieve your goals? Consider these tips:

  • Start small. Aim for progress, not perfection. If you want to increase your exercise, start out with 3 times per week, not every day. Don’t punish yourself by taking goals to the extreme, this is not about deprivation. Saying you will never eat a cookie again is just not realistic!
  • Change one behavior at a time. This is not the time to seek out a total life transformation or overhaul. Choose one behavior to work on. Want to spend more quality time with your family? Agree to spend an hour 3 times a week in a tech-free zone.
  • Talk about it. Open up and share what your goal is. You might find others who want to achieve the same goal. Having others to share your struggles and success with makes achieving that goal easier.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. Minor missteps are part of the journey. The most important aspect is to get back on track. We all make mistakes!
  • Have specific, measurable, attainable goals. Set a deadline for yourself. Track your progress so you have a visual indicator of your achievements. review your goals periodically and adjust if necessary.


It’s ok if you choose not to have any resolutions surrounding January 1. It’s important to always be working on small goals at all times of the year, which will alleviate some of the stress and pressure.  Incorporating small changes in everyday life is much more manageable. Here’s to 2015-Happy New Year!


Writer: Melissa Welker, M.Ed., B.S., Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA , welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewer: Donna Green, MA, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu

Sources:               www.apa.org


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