Archive for March, 2013

Whether you are in the checkout line at the local supermarket, discount store or local library or listening to the radio or TV, you have seen or heard the “claims” . . .  “look slimmer without dieting”, “stay-slim secrets”, “drop 10 lbs. or more”, “boost energy”, “look and feel younger”, “10-minute tummy tighteners” and “new rules of healthy eating”.  The list goes on and on.

The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries is a conservative $20 billion according to an ABC News 20/20 report from May 2012.  The report continues citing 108 million individuals in the United States are dieting annually.

Unfortunately, there are no “quick fixes” to weight loss.  It requires lifestyle changes.  Ohio State University Extension wants to help you make those necessary lifestyle changes for improved health and well-being.

Live Healthy, Live Well is a free six-week online email challenge designed to help participants improve their health.

Each week participants will receive two e-communications containing research-based nutrition, health and fitness tips.  Additional a food and activity log will be available for download to help participants track their progress.  A pre-and post-assessment online survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.  All participant information will be kept confidential.

Interested in participating in this online challenge?  Send an e-mail to Cindy Shuster at shuster.24@osu.edu with Live Healthy, Live Well in the subject line and subscribe in the body of the email no later than Friday, April 4th.  You will be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting April 8th.   The Challenge runs from April 8 to May 20, 2013. Additional information is available on the Ohio State University Extension, Perry County website at http://perry.osu.edu.

Written by:  Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, OSU Extension

Reviewed by:  Jeannie Allen, Ohio State University Extension Office Assistant, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by:  Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA


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spring cleaning


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thermometerIt’s that time of year, when the sun comes out and we are ready to rid us from the winter blahs and make it all fresh and clean! How long has it been since you cleaned the refrigerator? This is a food safety issue that sometimes we overlook. Following are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start by checking the temperature. Make sure it is at 40° F or lower. Maybe it’s time to buy a new refrigerator thermometer to leave in the refrigerator.
  • Next, check the packages of food. Perishable foods should be wrapped or covered. Most foods will keep for 3-5 days. Notice the food that is found at the back of the refrigerator shelf has probably been there too long. Eggs should be stored in their original container and not on the door.
  • Wipe up any spills or dirt left on shelves. Don’t forget the door seals. Use clean, warm water. Avoid using detergents, abrasives or any chemical which could leave an odor.
  • Don’t forget to clean the front grill and condenser with a brush or vacuum cleaner. If it has a filtering system for water, now is the time to replace the filter.
  • Place an opened box of baking soda on one of the shelves to keep it fresh smelling. The baking soda will help to absorb odors left behind.
  • The outside surface of the refrigerator can be cleaned with a mild detergent or special surface cleaner depending on your refrigerator. And, don’t forget to clean the handle.

If food has spoiled and leaves a nasty odor, following these steps to clean:

  • Wash with equal parts of white vinegar and water.
  • Follow with a wash of baking soda and water, making sure to clean gaskets, shelves, drawers and doors.
  • For tough odors, place a cotton ball soaked with vanilla in a dish and set it on a shelf in the refrigerator. Keep it there for at least 24 hours. It will help to absorb lingering odors.

Source: homefoodsafety.org

Author: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.
Reviewed by: Melinda Hill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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Old_WomanIt has been proven that we can, indeed, age gracefully. Let’s look at some of the personal characteristics of healthy people approaching 100 years of age. We all have one thing in common; we grow older every day. Although there is not one specific thing we can do to stop the process, it might be possible to slow down our natural aging and eliminate some age related disorders.

Physically, healthy people are thin. This is achieved by leading a lifestyle that includes a nutritional diet and daily exercise. Consuming low-calorie, nutrient rich foods that consist of lean proteins, plentiful fruits and vegetables gives them a well-rounded diet. Diets of physically healthy people are also typically low in fat, sugars and sodium. In addition, physically healthy people are non-smokers; use only moderate amounts of alcohol; and sleep well. They are rarely ill, use preventative health services, and have a positive outlook about their health.

Intellectually, the healthiest people retired in their seventies and kept active both before and after retirement. They were interested in learning something new every day, had a passion for reading and discussing current events, and often reflected on the good things in life. Regardless of whether their continued education and acquiring of new skills was intentional or not; they benefited greatly from keeping their mind sharp.

Emotionally, those with the longest lifespan were optimistic. They were pleased with their lives, were rarely hostile to others, and adapted well to change in their lives. Having an outlet for relaxation and recreation were also important to them.

Relationships were very important. Most had successful marriages or had always been single. They maintained a large social network, attending social functions whenever possible.

Finally, spiritually, they had many things in their life that provided purpose and meaning for the appreciation of beauty in nature to prayer and meditation each day.

It is never too late to set in motion positive changes in our lives. We are not guaranteed a certain amount of time on earth, but we can surely enhance the quality of the time we are here. It only makes sense to enjoy the company of other people, to learn something new every day, to tell funny stories, and enjoy a good laugh. Cultivating a personal passion after retirement and helping those less fortunate than ourselves will add life to our years.

Source: WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/tc/healthy-aging-topic-overview?page=2.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, green.1405@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Terri Chatfield, Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, chatfield.25@osu.edu.

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ImageWe have waited patiently all winter long and spring is ALMOST here!  There is anticipation for the birds returning from the south to greet us with a song, a warm breeze through the green grass, and a positive feeling is in the air.  Along with spring comes the first holiday of the season – Easter.

If we were playing Family Feud and were asked to list our top five responses to things associated with Easter, eggs would definitely be one.  There are so many things we can do with eggs at Easter time.  They can be hard boiled or the center blown out.  They can be dyed, glittered, stenciled, and stickered.  They can be used as a decoration, put in baskets, or used in an Easter egg hunt. 

 What I am most interested in is egg safety at all stages of the Easter egg process.

We are going to buy a dozen eggs to get ready for decorating and want to be sure and keep them safe. How do we ensure egg safety during the holidays?  The USDA gives the following tips that should be used when purchasing and using eggs:

  • Always buy eggs from a refrigerated case. Choose eggs with clean, uncracked shells.
  • Buy eggs before the “Sell-By” or “EXP” (expiration) date on the carton.
  • Take eggs straight home from the grocery store and refrigerate them right away. Check to be sure your refrigerator is set at 40°F or below. Don’t take eggs out of the carton to put them in the refrigerator – the carton protects them. Keep the eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator – not on the door.
  • Raw shell eggs in the carton can stay in your refrigerator for three to five weeks from the purchase date. Although the “Sell-By” date might pass during that time, the eggs are still safe to use. (The date is not required by federal law, but some states may require it.)
  • Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling raw eggs. To avoid cross-contamination, you should also wash forks, knives, spoons and all counters and other surfaces that touch the eggs with hot water and soap.
  • Don’t keep raw or cooked eggs out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.

So now we have our eggs.  While there are a variety of ways they can be prepared before being decorated, the focus today will be on hard boiling the eggs.  Here are the steps from Alabama Cooperative Extension:

  1. Start with 6 raw eggs.  Make sure the eggs are clean and that none of them are cracked or broken.
  2. Place a single layer of eggs in the bottom of a pot.
  3. Fill the pot with water and make sure that the eggs have at least an inch of water above them.
  4. Cover the pot with a lid and place on the stove top with the heat on High.  Let it boil for four minutes and then turn off the heat.
  5. Take the pot off the stove.  With the lid still on, let the eggs sit for 15 – 17 minutes.
  6. Place the pot in the sink, take off lid, and fill with cold water.  Let the eggs sit in the cold water until completely cool.
  7. Take the eggs out of the water and dry them off.  They can now be decorated or peeled to eat.

Once all of the eggs are hardboiled, cooled, and dried, it is time for decorations.  Decorating eggs is a great time to bond with family and friends.  There are thousands of different ways to decorate eggs.  Personalize them for each person to make them feel special!

Now that the eggs are decorated, they are egg hunt ready.  If the eggs for the hunt are going to be eaten, keep the following points from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in mind:

  • Consider hiding places carefully. Avoid areas where the eggs might come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects or lawn chemicals.
  • Make sure all the hidden eggs are found and then refrigerate them. Discard cracked eggs.
  • As long as the eggs are NOT out of refrigeration over two hours, they will be safe to eat. Do not eat eggs that have been out of refrigeration more than two hours. Refrigerate hard-cooked eggs in their shells and use them within 1 week.
  • If you are planning to use colored eggs as decorations, (for centerpieces, etc.) where the eggs will be out of refrigeration for many hours or several days, discard them after they have served their decorative purpose.

Whatever you decide to do this Easter, make sure that you are using eggs safely.  If you are planning to eat the Easter eggs keep in mind that they should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours.  Follow the above suggestions and you’ll have egg-xactly the Easter you were hoping for!

Written by:  Dana Brown, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, brown.4643@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu


Egg Handling and Safety Tips for Easter: http://food.unl.edu/web/safety/egg-handling-safety

Safe Eggs for Easter:  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/E/EFNEP-0215/EFNEP-0215.pdf

USDA Gives Hard Boiled Tips for Easter and Passover Food Safety: If You Find a Hidden Easter Egg Three Days Later, Throw It Out! Leave That Egg On The Passover Seder Plate:  http://www.fsis.usda.gov/news/NR_032105_01/index.asp

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According to a January, 2013 online “Work and Well-Being Survey” conducted on behalf of the American Psychological Association, more than one-third of American workers experience chronic work stress. These workers report they don’t feel valued at work, lack opportunities for advancement, and have heavy workloads. Almost two-thirds of the workers surveyed cite work as a significant source of stress. While many of the survey results cited things that workers and their employers need to work on, a positive result was found in those reporting extreme stress. That level has dropped from 32% in 2007 to 20% in 2013. stress

What effect could all that stress be having on your health? WebMD cites that up to 75% of all doctor visits could be from stress related illnesses such as:

• Headaches
• Upset stomach
• Elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and other heart issues
• Problems with sleeping
• Diabetes
• Asthma
• Arthritis
• Depression and anxiety
• And even cancer

Did you know that your genes, personality and life experiences all influence the way you respond or cope with stress? In order to cope with all that stress that American workers are reporting it is a good idea to identify what your stress triggers are.

Let’s identify your stress triggers to help you cope with this excess stress. For a week keep a journal of the situations, events and even people who cause you stress. Write down these factors:

• Who was involved
• Where you were
• What happened?

At the end of the week, take a look at your journal – were there any things that stressed you out that you could control? Would it help if you got to work 5 minutes earlier and you weren’t rushed first thing in the morning? Look for changes that you can work on.

Strategies to reduce the impact of stress include:

• Regular exercise in our lives
• Strive to get at least 7 hours of sleep
• Have non-screen hobbies – like listening to music, or reading a book, or working on your hobby
• Making a priority list for work or home of tasks
• Spiritual endeavors – reading devotions, taking advantage of services and courses, meditating, or just reading poetry
• Taking a 10 minute break to relax – breathe deeply, take a mind vacation
• Hugging a family member or friend, or spending time with our pets
• Taking our lunch break – getting up from the desk and doing something else for at least 15 minutes
• Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, and fatty foods – these just make it more difficult to sleep

What is your favorite stress relaxation activity? I love to read – I take mind vacations to places all over the world through my books. We would love to hear your favorite tip or idea for managing the work stress that all employees are reporting. You can share your tips by commenting on this blog article.

American Psychological Association, http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/03/employee-needs.aspx.
WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/effects-of-stress-on-your-body.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

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Saturdays are an exciting day our house. My wife and I head out to run (separately) in the morning, each of us with a dog in step, and when we return sometime in the early afternoon, it’s time to EAT. And eat. And eat.

Saturday my wife cooked up a pot of homemade mac & cheese with a layer of spinach tucked inside. After being out in the cold all morning, this was the perfect meal to cozy up with… for her. Given that I do not eat animal products (cheese being one of them), she had the entire pan to herself. My silver platter was a brunch type skillet of potatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, and some baked tofu.

photo (1)

A vegan husband and a carnivorous wife. Can this last?! Well, I’m pretty confident we can manage. But the point is we both try to eat healthfully while including the foods we love, which tend to be different between the two of us. Our canine children are much less picky.

March 1st was the kick-off to the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics National Nutrition Month® and each year the Academy selects a different theme for the month. This year’s theme is “eat right, your way, and every day.” The goal is to encourage healthy eating while understanding that personal preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns all influence our food choices.

Often nutrition professionals neglect the fact that food is so much more than a substance ingested to sustain life. Food is love, food is celebration, food is culture, food is tradition, and food is different to everybody! Although “healthy eating” is defined by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (they’re not outdated, they just revise them every 5 years) and My Plate, these recommendations only provide direction on amounts and proportions of fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and vitamins and minerals; the choice in foods to meet those recommendations is up to you!

Celebrate National Nutrition Month® by thinking about what food means to you. Check out the Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate to see how you can develop your way of eating right, every day. Don’t be discouraged by television personalities demanding you eat certain exotic superfoods or encouraging you to give up your favorite foods. “Eat right, your way, and every day;” What does eating right mean to me? What are my favorite foods? How can I enjoy these foods within the recommendations? Take some time to think about these questions and be sure to spread the word about National Nutrition Month®.

I'm Blogging National Nutrition Month

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Written By: Ryan Leone, dietetic intern with Wood County Extension FCS Program, currently pursuing these advanced degrees- Master Food and Nutrition Program, School of Family and Consumer Sciences, Master of Education in Human Movement, Sports, and Leisure Studies, Focus in Kinesiology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.

Reviewed by Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences.

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