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Archive for July, 2014

Grocery store shelfAre you being tricked at the grocery store? Are you sure products you are buying really are as healthy as they claim?

Many consumers are tricked by words on the label and ingredients in food into making choices which cost more money but may not be the healthiest choices. Watch out for these tricks of the trade by companies:

• Companies add vitamins and minerals to junk food or plain water. Thus, junk food appears healthier. Skip expensive waters and drink plain water. If you need vitamins and minerals take a daily vitamin pill.

• Companies use flavorings, colorings and other ingredients to create fake berries or other fruit. Check ingredients to make sure real fruit is in the product.
• Colorings and flavorings are also used in beverage drinks so you will pay more and not realize you are not getting fruit or very little fruit. Read labels to find and buy only 100% juices.

• Monosodiumglutate and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are used so companies can skimp on the real food. These usually help with meaty flavors. Check ingredients to avoid or limit these.

• Transglutaminase (enzyme) allows companies to put some pieces of meat together so it appears as a larger steak. Make sure your steak is one piece of meat.

• Companies want you to drink more soda so they add caffeine as it is mildly addictive. Drink water.

• Carotenoid Colorings such as canthaxanthin and astaxanthin are added to make farmed salmon pinker, so it looks more like expensive wild salmon. Check the ingredients or ask if “wild caught” or “farmed.”

Beware of some words such as “real, fresh, simple, premium and artisanal. “ These words do not have defined meanings in the food industry.

Real conveys the image of no fake or chemical ingredients. However, real doesn’t have to be chemical-free or not be processed food.

Fresh does not have a time period associated with it according to the Food and Drug Administration. Fresh means the food cannot have been frozen or preserved.

Simple can have multiple meanings. We think it means less processed and less ingredients. However, the food can include sugar and fat as part of the ingredients.

Premium is another word that does not have a meaning. It can trick you into thinking you are getting a better product or deal than you are.

Artisanal conveys the image of handcrafted baked goods and cheeses. Many grocery store products labeled “artisanal” are not produced by small-batch producers and may have many ingredients only used by larger producers. Check the ingredient lists.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Wood County

References:

Jacobson, M. [2014]. Food Safety: Learn More about Food Additives with this Helpful Infographic What are additives used for and which should you avoid? Downloaded from Nutrition Action.Com Downloaded at http://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/food-safety/food-safety-learn-more-about-food-additives-with-this-helpful-infographic/?mqsc=E3775989&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=Nutrition_Action_Daily_Tips+Nutrition%20Action%20Daily&utm_campaign=2014.07.19%20Daily%20Tip:%20Food%20Safety

Consumer Reports, [2014]. Consumer Reports: New food label gotchas, Downloaded at http://articles.courant.com/2014-07-12/business/hc-ls-consumer-reports-food-gotchas-20140712_1_new-food-label-consumer-reports-food-packaging

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west

Summer is a great time to travel with friends and family. Whether traveling domestically or internationally, here are a few tips to keep in mind for safe summer travels. The Center for Disease Control advises the 3 P’s for travelers. Be Proactive, Prepared and Protected.

BE PROACTIVE

Take steps to anticipate any issues that could arise during your trip.

BE PREPARED! (especially when travelling internationally)

No one wants to think about getting sick or hurt during a trip, but sometimes these things happen. You may not be able to prevent every illness or injury, but you can plan ahead to be able to deal with them.

Here are some ideas for a travel health kit:

Special note about prescription medicines

  • Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.
  • Pack copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
  • Pack a note on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for controlled substances and injectable medications.
  • Leave a copy of your prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
  • Check with the American Embassy or Consulate to make sure that your medicines will be allowed into the country you are visiting. Some countries do not let visitors bring certain medicines into the country.
  • Special prescriptions for the trip
    • Medicines to prevent malaria, if needed
    • Antibiotic prescribed by your doctor for self-treatment of moderate to severe diarrhea
  • Over the counter medicines
    • Antidiarrheal medication (for example, bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide)
    • Antihistamine
    • Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine                                                                           moutains
    • Anti-motion sickness medication
    • Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
    • Mild laxative
    • Cough suppressant/expectorant
    • Cough drops
    • Antacid
    • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
    • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • Supplies to prevent illness or injury
    • Insect repellent containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%)
    • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 15 or greater) that has both UVA and UVB protection
    • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
    • Lubricating eye drops
  • First-aid supplies
    • First aid quick reference card
    • Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
    • Moleskin for blisters
    • Aloe gel for sunburns
    • Digital thermometer
    • Oral rehydration solution packets
  • Health insurance card (either your regular plan or supplemental travel health insurance plan) and copies of claim forms
Other important items

Plan ahead for illnesses or injuries during your trip and know what to do if you become sick or injured

BE PROTECTED!

It is important to practice healthy behaviors during your trip

  • Use sunscreen and insect repellent as directed.
  • Be careful about food and water. Be mindful of foods that are rinsed with water
  • Try not to take risks with your health and safety.
  • Limit alcohol intake, and do not drink alcohol and drive.
  • Wear a seatbelt.
  • Wear protective gear when doing adventure activities.

For more information on safe travel information, check out the Center for Disease Control website: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/common-travel-health-topics

Source: Center for Disease Control

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/survival-guide

Prepared by: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, FCS, Wood County

Reviewed by: Daniel T. Remley, MSPH, PhD, Assistant Professor, Field Specialist.Food, Nutrition, and Wellness

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Muscle Meditation

walking1Meditation is currently “en vogue” for a very good reason. It facilitates the unity of mind and body. It helps us de-stress, quiet our mind, and find that point of stillness within ourselves. Most of us spend the day with one thought after another racing through our heads; encompassing everything from work–to family–to our “to do” list of chores and activities we need to accomplish by bedtime.

Unfortunately, we don’t always recognize we are being controlled by our incessant thoughts. What’s even more frustrating is realizing that much of the time we spent on those thoughts was unnecessary, especially time spent worrying. When you quiet your mind in meditation, you start to realize how many distractions compete for your attention. Distractions will never let up, but you can teach yourself to let them go.

Some people pray, some do yoga; others just spend time in quiet contemplation and solitude as a source of meditation. My favorite form of meditation is to walk outside. I call it muscle meditation in the outdoor “gym.” Exercise is as important for your head as it is for your heart. Regular exercise brings incredible changes to the mind and body. It is uniquely qualified to relax, to calm, and to dissipate stress. We know that both meditation and exercise are good for us. Why not combine the two?

Exercise provides opportunities to get away from it all and to enjoy some solitude. I find that outdoor movement reduces and minimizes life’s problems. If you are not currently an out-of-door exerciser, you may find that in the beginning you have to make yourself get up and go out. But as you get into shape, you’ll begin to tolerate exercise–segue into enjoying it–and finally get to the point where you depend on it every day for your sanity.

Almost any type of exercise helps, but many people find that using large muscle groups in a rhythmic, repetitive fashion works best. That’s what makes it “muscle meditation.” Walking and jogging are two primary examples; a simple 20-minute stroll can clear the mind and reduce stress. People who prefer running enjoy a more vigorous workout, but the end result is the same.

There are many different meditation traditions and techniques. Americans, accustomed to fast-paced living, may be more inclined to choose active meditation techniques. I know that walking works best for me. It helps me find balance in my life. To start your own muscle meditation:

• Choose a pleasant location, such as a park or pretty neighborhood.

• As you walk, try to avoid thinking too much. Set your conscious thoughts aside and focus instead on the joy of your legs working, and fresh, pure oxygen flowing in and out of your lungs.

• Tune into your surroundings, focusing on the perfection of landscape and sky.

• Get into the habit of stepping outside the flow of your conscious thoughts and allow yourself to settle into a state of calm, steady movement.

Guess what? You’re meditating!

Written by:Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu
Reviewed by:
Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D.
Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

Resources:http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression
http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/benefits-of-exercisereduces-stress-anxiety-and-helps-fight-depression
https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/exercise-stress.aspx
https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/stress.aspx
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

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smart goalsAre you one of the thousands of people that decide to make a New Year’s resolution each year? Do you always swear you are going to work out more, go on the latest diet craze, or lose weight?

Research has shown that after one month of making a New Year’s resolution, about 64% of people still stick with their goal. After 6 months, the number drops to 44%. Why do many people who vow to become more fit, eat better, or change another behavior have a hard time keeping their word?

Our society has adapted to performing behaviors that will produce quick results. Because of this, the planning and proper goal-setting get thrown to the wayside and goals become unrealistic and too difficult to reach. Now that we’re half-way through the year, it may be time to look at how your New Year’s Eve goal is coming along. Using a tool called the SMART objectives is an effective strategy to keep on track with your goals, no matter what they are related to (health, job, stress-relief, academics, etc.). The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-phased. Below gives a breakdown of the SMART objectives.

Specific: Who is the target population? In other words, who will be doing the behavior to reach this goal? What will the action, activity, or behavior be? What will you be doing?

Example: ‘I will exercise.’

Measurable: How much change is expected? Can you actually measure the results?

Example: ‘I will go for a brisk walk outside for 30 minutes twice a week and document it on a sheet of paper or in a log.’

Attainable: Is your goal practical? Are you able to carry out this behavior knowing your resources and constraints?

Example: Even if you don’t have the financial means to join a gym or fitness club, choose to walk outside somewhere close to home or in inclement weather have a back-up plan of using a DVD to work out at home.

Realistic: Is this goal something you can actually do, or is it too difficult to achieve?

Example: If you haven’t exercised in years or never at all, would you be able to walk for 30 minutes twice a week or would it be more realistic to start off doing 10 or 15 minutes twice a week?

Time-bound: Does your goal have a time-frame? When will you meet your goal?

Example: ‘I will go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes twice a week for two weeks and log it each time.’ Then you can build on this goal and increase the amount of time or days you walk – doing 30 minutes three times a week instead of twice.

I always like to say that it’s never too late to start over with your original goal or create a new mid-year resolution! Remember – positive behavior change should be a lifestyle change, not a quick-fix. Taking a little time to plan, set realistic goals, and have a strategy to overcome obstacles will ensure you’re set up for success. When creating goals related to living a healthier lifestyle, make sure to be SMART about it!

References:
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/evaluation/pdf/brief3b.pdf
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/new-years-resolutions-1-month-later
Photo reference: http://workablewealth.com/are-you-being-smart/

Written by: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic Intern/Liz Smith, OSU Extension
Reviewed by: Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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farmers market

So we’re in the heart of summer. What better way to spend your time than to take a trip to your local farmer’s market? As an experienced farmer’s market girl, I highly recommend buying your produce straight from the farm. Prior work experience on a farm allowed me to witness and appreciate all of the hard work and dedication that goes into producing the most delicious food. What could be better than fresh, nutritious, local fruits and vegetables?

In addition, the farmers or their staff will answer potential questions you may have. They constantly share great recommendations on how to select, store, and cook the produce they sell. The produce is truly fresh; vine or tree-ripened to give you the best tasting, highest quality, and nutrient-packed fruits and veggies you’ve ever had. You know exactly who is growing your food and where it’s coming from. This reinforces the farm to table concept – from purchasing produce where it is grown to taking it home for a delicious meal or snack.

To add to the excitement, you get to try new things that you may have never had before – and many farms display samples! Some farms may offer the ‘You-Pick’ option; this is where farmers let you pick your own fruits and veggies. For example, the farm I worked at had you-pick strawberries, raspberries, and peaches! So fun – and great to get the kids involved. Sometimes they host other fun activities and events such as hay rides and pumpkin carvings. Many farms also accept SNAP and WIC benefits. Not only are you supporting local businesses and the economy, but you’re getting the family involved in a fun, interactive and educational activity. So whether you’re a regular or a newbie, take some time this summer to search for farmer’s markets near you to enjoy the amazing, fresh foods they have to offer.
Check out some additional tips below to get started!

1. Find your local farmer’s market using the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map. You can simply type in your zip code and mile distance and find farmer’s markets near you! http://www.usda.gov/maps/maps/kyfcompassmap.htm
2. Explore different areas – some farms may have different foods to offer than others. This way you get a variety and have the chance to see plenty!
3. Develop a relationship with the farmer! Ask the farmer questions and make that connection. It’s always a great feeling to talk to the one who works so hard to bring you the freshest food!
4. Bring your own re-usable bag and return the containers or baskets the produce are stocked in. This cuts down on unneccesary waste and the farmers can always reuse the containers – money saver!
5. The farm season generally lasts from April until late October, early November, but many often stay open year round if they have meats, dairy, winter produce, and other home-grown items.
6. You could become a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This benefits both you and the farmer in many ways and ensures you’re getting fresh food year-round. Visit http://www.localharvest.org/csa/ to find out more information!
7. Visit some handy resources to find out more information and tips on farmer’s markets!
a. http://www.nutrition.gov
b. http://www.usda.gov

Written by: Shannon Erskine, Dietetic Intern/Liz Smith, OSU Extension

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Resources:
http://www.usda.gov
http://www.nutrition.gov

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water 2What do you, a tree and a hamster have in common?

You all need water! All living things need water to survive whether they get it from a water fountain, a rain cloud or a little bottle attached to the side of a hamster cage!

How many of you think of a nice, cold glass of water when you need to quench your thirst? Whether we are indoors or out – we need to remember to keep our bodies hydrated and water should be the first thing we reach for. Your body is about 60% water and constantly needs to be replenished. Every cell in your body needs water to function properly.

  • Why water? Well, water does a great job in helping to keep our bodies hydrated without adding any sugar, caffeine or other substances
  • How much? You’ve probably heard for years that we all need 8 glasses of water every day – for a total of 64 ounces. Researchers have pointed out that the need for fluid can vary widely among individuals.
  • Does it have to be “plain” water? No, there are many ways to dress up the taste of a glass of water. A fairly common way to flavor the water is to add fruit or vegetable slices – lemons, strawberries, cucumber, etc. You can also add herbs to the water for refreshing drinks. Try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of taste!
  • Can it help me lose weight? That is a possibility! If you drink a full glass of water before your meal, you may trick your brain into thinking that you are full sooner!       Also, if you substitute water for high calories drinks, you are helping control the number of calories your body is taking in each day.
  • Don’t always rely on your body to tell you that you need some water. When you are hot and sweaty, your thirst mechanism can shut off and you don’t know that you need some fluids. . If our bodies become dehydrated it can lead to physical and mental problems.
  • While water is the best source of fluids for your body, don’t forget that you can count all of the fluids you drink during the day. Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have high water contents – try watermelon, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, and celery.
  • Try to keep track of how much water you drink during a typical day. Aiming for the 8 glasses is not a bad thing – just remember that the amount your body needs will vary with your activity level, your body size and the temperature if you are outside and other factors.

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@sou.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, Treber.1@osu.edu

 

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/feel-your-best-with-water

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

How Much Water Do You Really Need? Health and Nutrition Newsletter: Tufts University. July 2014. Volume 32, No.5

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My Dad used to tease us, as children, with the famous line, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”  Well, now is the time to enjoy!  What’s YOUR favorite flavor?

I often wondered, where did that phrase come from, anyway?  According to Stanford University, “Ice Cream” or “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” is a popular song, first published in 1927, with words and music by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King. After initial success as a late 1920s novelty song, the tune became a traditional jazz standard, while the lyrics refrain “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream” has remained a part of popular culture even without the rest of the song.

I love making ice cream at home! It is delicious and I sometimes feel it is becoming a lost art and a lost pleasure.  But, every year homemade ice cream causes several outbreaks of Salmonella infection with up to several hundred victims at church picnics, family reunions, and other large gatherings. From 1996 to 2000 (the latest year for which surveillance was completed), 17 outbreaks resulting in more than 500 illnesses in the United States were traced to Salmonella bacteria in homemade ice cream, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The ingredient responsible for the outbreaks is raw or undercooked eggs.

FoodSafety.gov offers this advice:

Cooking the Egg BaseCorrect size

Start with a cooked egg base for ice cream. This is especially important if you’re serving people at high risk for foodborne infections: infants, older adults, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.

To make a cooked egg base (also known as a custard base):

  • Combine eggs and milk as indicated in the recipe. (Other ingredients, such as sugar, may be added at this step.)
  • Cook the mixture gently to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, stirring constantly. The cooking will destroy Salmonella, if present. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the mixture. At this temperature, the mixture will firmly coat a metal spoon (but please don’t lick the spoon if the custard is not fully cooked!).
  • After cooking, chill the mixture before adding other ingredients and freezing.

Other Options

You can also use egg substitute products or pasteurized eggs in your ice cream, or you can find a recipe without eggs.

  • With the egg substitute products, you might have to experiment a bit with the recipe to figure out the right amount to add for the best flavor.
  • Pasteurized eggs can be substituted in recipes that call for uncooked eggs.  Commercial pasteurization of eggs is a heat process at low temperatures that destroys any Salmonella that might be present, without having a noticeable effect on flavor or nutritional content. These are available at some supermarkets for a slightly higher cost per dozen. Even if you’re using pasteurized eggs for your ice cream, both the FDA and the USDA recommend starting with a cooked egg base for optimal safety.

So, by following these safe handling and proper cooking practices, you can enjoy refreshing, tasty homemade ice cream without worrying about making anyone sick!

Another option for a fun day with the family with children is to make Ice Cream in a Bag! The recipe and instructions are at: http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/momentum/k12/jul04/

Fun facts: Ice cream innovations from Ohio State University!

1921 – When chocolate sticks to ice cream…Melvin De Groote, an Ohio State chemical engineering alum, held 925 patents at the time of his death—second to only Thomas Edison. Among his many achievements is the invention of the chemical recipe that allows chocolate to stick to ice cream, leading to the Eskimo Pie.

1978 – The drumstick was perfected – Food science professors John Lindamood and Poul Hansen wanted to keep the ice cream in the frozen treat from making the cone soggy.  So they developed a way to coat the inside of the cone with chocolate.

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with your favorite flavor!

Written by: Kathryn K Dodrill, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Washington County.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, The Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Resources:

http://engineering.oregonstate.edu/momentum/k12/jul04/  http://www.osu.edu/features/2014/innovation.html#0

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/buystoreservesafefood/ucm332850.htm http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/homemadeicecream.html

http://rwj-b.stanford.edu/song/i-scream-you-scream-we-all-scream-ice-cream

 

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