Archive for July, 2012

filing systemIs the fact that you receive so much information everyday stressful to you? Does the information needed to make a decision or remain informed about a topic flood in from too many sources/places? Is too much information filling your time and making it impossible to digest it all? How can you de-stress and avoid information overload?
Below are a few ideas of ways to help you avoid being overloaded:
Set up a filing system using only topics that are important and of interest to you. These will be topics that you care about. You might find that once you have this set up, if articles, pamphlets or booklets don’t fit the categories you have you will not save them.
Select your subscriptions carefully. If you delete or set aside newsletters every time they come and never get around to reading them you may want to be taken off the subscription list.
Combine items with like content into one document. Attach a reference list to the document.
Go through the newspapers, magazines and journals when they arrive. Tear out articles of interest and throw out the remaining items.
Keep a file or envelope of points of interest. This can include new books, websites, social media sites etc.. Once a month go through this file and obtain anything useful. Bookmark useful websites for quick locating.
Sometimes calling or stopping in to talk to someone is quicker and less work than e-mailing them. When e-mailing we spend a lot of time clarifying our message costing us more time and energy.
Unless the information is not likely to change, discard it at the 5 year point.
Divide the reading or research by joining or starting a book or journal club.
When you do read an article or book write an abstract so you do not have to re-read it the next time. This will save you time later.
These tips may not save you from information overload all the time, but hopefully at least one tip or more will be useful while decreasing your stress of overload!
Source: RD411.com
Author: Liz Smith, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension.


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It is the year 2012 and our society has gradually slipped away from the concept of making and eating whole foods. When reading labels of common household food products, how many of those ingredients sound like they were made in a mad scientist’s lab?  The whole foods approach is much simpler than most people think, and can provide many benefits.

Processed foods contain several ingredients that may be detrimental to our health, while taking away the nutrients that it once contained. While you may not be able to pronounce the names of some of the ingredients on the label, some of the worst ones are most common, trans fat, saturated fat and salt. These all lead to multiple diseases inclduing heart disease. The typical American diet consumes way too much salt ( sodium) and processed foods only add more to the problem. It’s a double whammy since many processed foods remove the healthy nutrients during refinement.

Whole foods on the other hand have virtually nothing harmful to your body and high amounts of nutrients. Whole foods don’t have to be organic, free range or locally grown. They simply are just natural foods in their complete form. This can be fruits or vegetables. Which in the summer we can find at local farmer’s markets and may be locally grown and even more economical.  Natural foods also include meats. The difference is simple, a tomato or ketchup, chicken breast or chicken tenders, apple or apple juice. Most of the time the second option will have preservatives and sugar added. Neither of which we need more of.

Whole foods contain numerous amounts of nutrients in them. For example, antioxidants are common naturally occurring nutrients in most fruits and vegetables.  Antioxidants do not need to be added to already processed foods, but should be in it naturally. Research is constantly finding new nutrients that we don’t even know about that have positive health benefits in whole foods.

Remember, when you can, choose whole foods option, your body will thank you later.



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When the lights go out do Not open your refrigerator or freezer. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.  Plan ahead; keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer which can help you determine the safe zones! Make sure to look in at the zones of being safe for the freezer which is 0 °F or below and the refrigerator is at 40 °F or below before the power goes off. Freeze containers of water ahead of time for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers after the power is out. Place refrigerated items such a leftovers, milk and meats immediately into the freezer when the power goes out. Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

Steps to follow after to keep you SAFE!

  • The refrigerator will keep food safe for about 4 hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) and the door remains closed.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items after 4 hours without power.
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below when checked with a food thermometer. Partial thawing and refreezing may affect the quality of some food, but the food will be safe to eat.
  • If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer. If the appliance thermometer reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe to refreeze. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  •  Never taste a food to determine its safety!


USDA Food Safety and Inspection Services http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/Preparing_for_Weather_Emergency/index.asp

USDA Food Safety.gov –http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/frozen_food.html

Ohioline: Attention Freezer Owners: In case of power outage Do Not Open! http://ohioline.osu.edu/home/freezer.html

Author: Marie Economos, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Trumbull County, economos.2@osu.edu.

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We are now halfway through the year and summer is in full swing.  Looking at the calendar reminds us that there are still many celebrations and gatherings to come.  We also know that when people get together, food is almost always at the center of the event.h

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) has ten great tips to remind us to make healthy choices and use MyPlate while enjoying time with our friends and family.  When we take time to plan a menu, it does not take many more minutes or cost much more money to also plan some fun physical activity options as well.

Just as the appearance of food on our table makes a big difference in how we appreciate the meal, time spent in making the atmosphere colorful, engaging and fun can make an event much more enjoyable.

Many times we think the cake is the center of a birthday party, but a theme emphasizing what the guests will do, may be even more memorable.  An obstacle course for kids and adults alike will bring about smiles and laughter for all ages.

Providing sparkling water with a variety of fresh fruit add-ins or a pick your own fruit smoothie bar, will allow great taste-testing without complaints that there is no soda to be found.  Click here for a great recipe.  Healthy alternatives can be even more flavorful and fun if we make it a priority to plan ahead and focus on good health for the fun of it.

Check out USDA’s 10 Tips to Make Celebrations Fun, Healthy and Active, and then click on the link below to see the entire factsheet with added tips and ideas.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!

  1. Make healthy habits part of your celebrations.
  2. Make foods look festive.
  3. Offer thirst quenches that please.
  4. Savor the flavor.
  5. Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to include foods from the food groups for your party.
  6. Make moving part of every event.
  7. Try out some healthier recipes.
  8. Keep it simple.
  9. Shop smart to eat smart.
  10. Be a cheerleader for healthy habits.

Source:  United States Department of Agriculture (2012). 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, Make celebrations fun, healthy & active:  10 tips to creating healthy, active events.  http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet20MakeCelebrations.pdf

Written by: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D.  Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, spires.53@osu.edu

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Summer arrives and our dinner tables move outside, gardens overflow with an abundance of zucchini and our lunch rooms are filled with baskets of zucchini supplied by co-workers grown in their gardens with a sign that reads, Enjoy.

Zucchini has many health benefits.  Since zucchini has high water content, it’s very low in calories.  One cup of zucchini contains 36 calories and 10% of the RDI of dietary fiber.  This aids in digestion, maintains blood sugar levels, prevents constipation and curbs overeating.  Zucchini also contain Vitamins B6, C and riboflavin. This summer squash is especially rich in the minerals potassium and manganese.

Choose young tender squash, small to medium in size, with shiny, taut skin.  Avoid any with soft spots or scarring.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.  When ready to use, wash and trim the ends.  No need to peel if young and tender.  Sauté thin half-moons of zucchini and yellow squash in olive oil and garlic serve as a side dish or toss with pasta.   Use in salads, baked goods or stuffed as an entrée.  Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable and may be grilled, roasted or baked.  Here is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet, zucchini chips.  Give them a try!


Baked Zucchini Chips

1 zucchini

Olive oil

Sea Salt

Parmesan Cheese (optional)

  • Preheat your oven to 225  degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  • Slice your zucchini into thin slices (about the size of a quarter)
  • Arrange on baking sheet
  • Drizzle slices with olive oil
  • Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake 45 minutes, then rotate sheet and bake another 40 – 50 min. until desired crispness.
  • If you desire to put parmesan cheese on the zucchini slices, with 5 minutes left on the cooking time, lightly sprinkle zucchini with parmesan cheese and bake for the remaining 5 minutes.


Ohio State University Extension; Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Squash and Pumpkins: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5530.pdf


Written by:  Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator

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One of the best things about summer is the availability of fresh produce – especially fresh berries. July is the peak month for blackberries and raspberries to be available, while blueberries are in season from July to September. Often during these peak months berries will be available at great prices or maybe even free if you pick your own! To select the best berries look for: plump, firm berries that are free of mold. Check containers to avoid those with staining – a sign the berries might be damaged. Fresh raspberries are the most perishable lasting only 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator, blackberries will last a little longer – 3 to 6 days refrigerated, blueberries last the longest – up to almost 2 weeks refrigerated. Refrigerate berries without washing them, for the best shelf life – wash only before using.

If you can’t use your berries in a few days consider freezing them. Blueberries need not be washed before freezing – washing will make them tougher skinned. Blackberries and raspberries should be carefully washed and drained before freezing. To freeze place berries on a cookie sheet for a couple hours to quick freeze and then store in plastic containers or freezer bags. Berries will last up to 12 months in a freezer – mark the date on the container.

So what can you do with fresh berries? Most of us enjoy a fruit cup or parfait, but after a couple days that can get old.

Other ideas for fresh berries include:

  • Tossed on your lettuce salad.
  • Whipped with juice or milk, yogurt, and ice for a smoothie.
  • With your morning cereal.
  • In your pancake batter.
  • On a small cup of ice cream.
  • On top of angel food cake or pudding.
  • Baked into cobbler, scones, or muffins.
  • Check out Fruits and Veggies – More Matters for recipe ideas http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/main-recipes.

The best thing about berries is that they are low in calories – only 50 to 100 calories per cup, and are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. Remember antioxidants and fiber are linked to prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease.


Ohio State University Extension; Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5511.pdf

The University of Maine, Cooperative Extension; Vegetables and Fruits for Health: Raspberries and Blackberries: http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4267e/.

Produce for Better Health Foundation, Fruits and Veggies More Matters: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-nutrition-database.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross & Vinton Counties, barlage.7@osu.edu.

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Whether it’s a 3-day weekend, a week-long or a multi-week vacation, the time away from the daily grind can be beneficial to your health.  You’ll be amazed in the benefits of a little away time to recharge and retool. Even when you’re doing what you love, you can’t do it 24/7. Everyone needs a break.  Time awaycreates a healthier, more productive, recharged individual.

According to Karen Matthews of Mind Body Center at the University of Pittsburgh, taking time away from work and routine allows the body to replenish and repair itself, as quoted on npr.com. The center surveyed 1,399 participants recruited for studies on cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and other conditions, and found that leisure activities, including taking vacations, contributed to higher positive emotional levels and less depression among the participants. Other benefits include lower blood pressure and smaller waistlines, reports npr.com. Women especially seem to benefit from taking vacations, according to a 2005 study conducted by Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, published in the Wisconsin Medical Journal and reported on medicalnewstoday.com. Women who vacationed less often than once every two years were more likely to suffer from depression and increased stress than women who took vacations at least twice a year.

A vacation is a great time to relax, stop and reflect (clear your mind), gaze at scenery, read a good book and recharge.  A vacation gives you the freedom to have fun doing what you want.  You don’t have to wake up at a certain time or follow a strict schedule.

To maximize the value of your vacation, your time away should have a mental and physical effect to create an afterglow, it should inspire you to form healthful new habits or it should enable you to bolster ties with family or friends.  According to Expedia.com, 53 percent of people say they came back from a vacation feeling more reconnected with their family and friends.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to travel far for your vacation. Many people take a vacation in their own town. Check out some of the tourist attractions in your own city that you might have forgotten about.  If you pick the right vacation for you, you will be able to fully enjoy and look forward to a great time ahead.

Vacation days are a precious commodity on many levels.  They allow you to spend quality time with your family, give you a mental and physical break from the daily grind, and help you get back in touch with some of the basic tenets of a life well lived.


http://newsalescoach.com/2011/07/value-of-vacation-rest-read-recharge-retool/  http://finance.yahoo.com/news/true-value-staycation-214658652.html http://traveltips.usatoday.com/benefits-taking-vacation-1755.npr.com: Brenda Wilson, Relax! Vacations Are Good For Your Health http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/33386.php

Writer:  Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County or http://perry.osu.edu

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