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Archive for February, 2016

Does the thought of exercise, of sweating, of getting off of the couch and out of your pajamas fill you with dread? For most of us, we would rather make excuses than take small steps to get up and get moving. But who wouldn’t want to be healthier? Wouldn’t it be great to move with less pain, to be able to walk up the stairs without being winded, to be able to play more?

gym-1180054_1280

If you have been watching TV, scrolling through the internet, or reading a magazine in the checkout line, you already know that moving more is good for you. This is not a new concept. Don’t groan if you aren’t ready to compete on American Ninja Warrior or even walk to the end of the block! There is hope for you! Just get up and move!”

First, focus on the ways you are already moving!  Cleaning the house? Walking the dog? Playing the Wii? Dancing? Walking around the grocery? Swimming? Going to the basement to do laundry? Stretching? Shooting hoops? Standing up and then sitting down? Vacuuming? Catching a ball? Bicycling?  Give yourself credit – these movements all qualify for physical activity!

Next, whether you have 5 minutes or 45 minutes of movement in your day, find a way to add ten more minutes of movement.walking-690734_1920Consider purchasing an activity tracker  and work to increase your daily step count. Go slowly and work to increase your steps each day. Did you know that 2,000 steps per day is the equivalent of 1 mile?

Finally, set a short term (one month) and long term (6 month) goal and write it down and share it with others. By setting goals and recording/sharing them, you have accountability to follow through.

 

Written by:  Jami Dellifield, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences,  Ohio State University, Hardin County,  dellifield.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Hamilton County, even.2@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/weight-control/tips-help-get-active/Pages/tips-help-you-get-active.aspx

http://www.letsmove.gov/ 

Picture Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/shield-directory-forward-step-note-492991/

https://pixabay.com/en/gym-fitness-sport-instructor-1180054/

https://pixabay.com/en/walking-feet-people-shoes-footwear-690734/

 

 

 

 

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range

 

Recently I had to replace my beloved stove. It had served me well over the years with family dinners, parties and countless cooking experiments.  I researched the various models, features and recommendations and was prepared to make an educated, informed decision.

When I finally started making the rounds at the appliance stores to check out the new ranges, I wasn’t prepared for a specific feature I found on a majority of the ranges. Chicken Nugget and Pizza pre-set buttons. What’s this? Does our nation eat chicken nuggets and pizza to such an extent that we need to have those two specific foods singled out for pre-set buttons so we can heat them up in a moment’s notice?  Are we perceived by appliance manufacturers as consumers of convenience foods in massive quantities?

Other countries already see Americans as huge drive-thru/convenience food eaters; is it any wonder the appliance industry followed suit? What will be next? Refrigerators with high sugar beverage or energy drink dispensers? It’s no wonder the current dietary guidelines have started to shorten their estimates of life expectancy—we know our children won’t live as long as their grandparents.  Their diets are not health-supporting.

The 2015 dietary guidelines recommend that Americans start to shift their food choices from convenience foods to more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to improve overall health. In the next couple of years there will also be more health messages touting the danger of excessive sugar in beverages and energy drinks.

At a recent meeting with colleagues, I observed several co-workers pull yogurt, fresh fruit, vegetables with hummus, and various vegetables out of their lunch bags to consume during our working lunch. It struck me how easy these simple, healthy foods are to eat, yet so powerful. I am grateful to be part of a group of health-focused individuals that are not just “talking the talk,” but also “walking the walk.” Let’s all do our part to improve the American diet and get healthy along the way!

P.S. I ended up purchasing a range that has no pre-set nugget/pizza buttons, and look forward to future cooking adventures!

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

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

References: Am J Clin Nutr January 2015 vol.109 no.1 6-16

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OrganicCauliflower

Cauliflower

In the same way you used to roll your eyes and tune out your mother when she said “eat more vegetables and fruits,” your eyes will probably glaze over at yet another reminder. But of all the health messages we receive on a daily basis, this one really is one of the easiest to assimilate, and it can make a huge difference in whether or not you will develop a chronic disease.

Why should you eat more vegetables and fruits? Research shows that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease–and that includes both heart attack and stroke. It may also (1) provide protection against certain types of cancers; (2) help you maintain or lose weight; and (3) enable you to consume more fiber, which keeps you feeling full and aids in elimination.

Not sure how much to eat? Just fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits. Sound too simple?  That’s because it is! Just remember to select whole fruits (instead of juice) and vary your veggies.

To help you get there, one vegetable in particular you might want to reconsider is cauliflower. It is the flower of the plant; growing in tight, compact clusters. This mild white vegetable is available fresh or frozen. Most of us eat cauliflower raw with dip or steamed as part of a vegetable medley. I personally love it steamed with broccoli, carrots and onions. It is colorful and tasty, and steaming seems to bring out a mellower flavor.

Why should you eat cauliflower?

Want a new way to enjoy this vegetable from the cabbage family?

  • Make low-calorie “mashed potatoes” with cauliflower.
  • Roast it for a crunchy unique flavor. I added a dash of smoked paprika for more flavor.

    Roasted Cauliflower

    Roasted Cauliflower

  • Try cauliflower pizza crust – great if you eat gluten free or are watching your calories.
  • Make stir-fry using cauliflower as one of the vegetables. Stir-fry onion, garlic, and cauliflower, then add flavor with low sodium soy sauce. After the vegetables are crispy, add two beaten eggs. Heat until eggs are firm, and then serve with brown rice and quinoa.

    stirfry

    Stir -Fry

  • Enjoy Cauliflower-Cheese Soup on a cool winter day.
  • Try this kid friendly and cute idea, named “Hiding Rabbits”.
Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

One head of cauliflower can yield about 10 ½ cup servings.

So… I challenge you that next time you are at the grocery, pick up a head of cauliflower and find a new way to enjoy this healthy vegetable.

 

 

Sources:

https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2015/11/healthy-eating-getting-creative-cauliflower/

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html

http://choosemyplate.gov

Photo Credits: Doug Wilson

Michelle Treber

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

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

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The news that some communities have lead in their drinking water has led to confusion and fear that there may be other sources of potential lead exposure, especially to our children. Pchildarents need to become detectives and use their normal due diligence to prevent lead exposure from becoming a problem.Young children are most at risk because they tend to put everything in their mouth.

Why is lead such a danger to young children? It can cause lowered IQ, speech delays, hearing loss, learning disabilities, slowed or reduced growth, behavioral difficulties, brain damage, kidney damage, seizures, coma, and in some severe cases, even death.
Are your children in danger even if you know for certain you don’t have lead-based paint or water in your house or apartment? The short answer is–maybe. Many children’s products have been found to contain higher-than-safe levels of lead.

My one-year old granddaughter’s blood was tested recently and results showed a slightly elevated lead level. Her parents were sure they did not have lead-based paint in their home or lead in their water, so where was it coming from? Her doctor asked if she had been chewing on any sponge toys; unbeknownst to many of us some of them contain lead.

 
Since lead is invisible and has no smell, how can you tell if it’s in your home? Unfortunately, most home test kits are unreliable. Besides the sponge toy example, check out the following potential contaminants—you may find that you have some of these  in jewellery-1146720__180your home:
• Children’s jewelry
Children’s products made of vinyl or plastic, such as bibs, backpacks, car seats and lunch boxes, children’s caulk, or pool caulk
• Brightly painted toys (wooden, plastic or metal) imported from Pacific Rim countries (China in particular), especially non-name brand toys. Avoid if paint is peeliantique toyng or chipped.
Antique toys and lunch boxes with metal linings
Ceramic or pottery toys, dishes or cookware manufactured outside the U.S., especially if made in China, India, and Mexico
• Folk or home health remedies and certain cosmetics
• Candies from Mexico
• Artificial athletic fields made of nylon or a nylon and polyethylene blend can have unhealthy levels of lead dust

 
Items considered to be safe for children include:
• All toys manufactured in North American and European Union.
• Most plush toys
• Soy-based crayons or crayons made in the U.S.
• Books, DVDs and CDs.

 

What can you do?

• Check with your health care provider on whether your child should be tested for lead. Talk with your doctor about the results.
• Remove any possible lead containing items from your home. If you live in an older home (built before 1978) have the home inspected by a licensed lead inspector or check with the local health department on testing for lead paint.
• Clean up any lead dust if living in an older home.
• Remove items that may contain lead or lead-based paint, especially children’s jewelry and non-name brand toys made outside the U.S. Check the recall list for items that have been found to contain lead.
• Give your child healthy foods. Check out the OSU Chow Line article on “How Good Nutrition Can Combat Effects of Lead in Water”
• Practice good hygwash handsiene and wash your hands before eating and after playing outside or with pets.
• If you child plays on artificial athletic fields, check out this Mayo Clinic article on how to reduce exposure.
• Be cautious about items purchased at discount stores as most items are manufactured in China or other Pacific Rim countries.

 
Author: Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Lead Hazards in Some Holiday Toys and Toy Jewelry. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/features/leadintoys/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Lead Poisoning. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tools/5things.pdf

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Toys. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/toys.htm

Mayo Clinic Staff, (2015). Lead Poisoning, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/in-depth/lead-exposure/ART-20044627

Robertson, A. Lead in Toys: Could It Be Lurking in Your Home? Available at http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/lead-in-toys-could-it-be-lurking-in-your-home

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lemon tree

“Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet…”

Anyone remember those lyrics from the old Peter, Paul, and Mary song? I was humming it in my head as I typed up this column.  The reason I’ve got lemon trees on the brain is three-fold.

To begin with, I recently received a gardening catalog in the mail and was intrigued by a Meyer lemon tree that I decided to purchase. Meyer lemons are a little less sour than regular lemons, yield more juice, and as a rule have thinner skins. Meyer lemons make tasty lemonade and lemon bars (on my Top Ten list of favorite cookies).

Secondly, those of you who buy lemons on a regular basis know they can be a little pricey. I would love to be able to have my own “stash” of fresh lemons, so growing my own stock would help save money. I know I can keep an inexpensive bottle of lemon juice in the refrigerator, but bottled juice does not begin to compare to fresh juice in the flavor department. As well, you have the lemon skin for “zest” if you need it.

Health Benefits

The last reason I want my own tree is because the nutritional value of eating lemons is high. Lemons contain antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants in nature.

Compounds in lemons called limonoids help fight cancers of the mouth, skin, lung, breast, stomach and colon. Our bodies can readily absorb and utilize a very long-acting limonoid called limonin that is present in citrus fruits.

Limonin bioavailability stays in the body longer than other natural anti-carcinogens, and that even includes heavy hitters such as green tea and chocolate. Current research is also studying whether limonin may be able to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Last thoughts

The word lemon has always had a negative connotation, whether you’re talking about cars or life in general. However, lemon’s beauty is not just the fruit itself, but what it adds to other foods. Whether or not you grow your own, consider adding more lemons to your food and drink. Your body (and taste buds) will thank-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

 Sources:

http://www.medwelljournals.com/fulltext/?doi=javaa.2010.1099.1107

https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/d-limonene

 

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IMG_1153We have had a relatively mild winter so far, but it looks like we are going to be experiencing some cold, snowy weather for the next couple of weeks. As we try to keep our homes warm, we also need to think about keeping our families safe.

One thing we should be especially aware of is the danger from carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage, or even death.

The Mayo Clinic shares this list of symptoms of CO poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated. Unborn babies, young children and older adults may be particularly affected by CO. People may have irreversible brain damage or even be killed before anyone realizes there’s a problem. If you suspect a problem with CO, open windows, get outside if possible and call 911 for emergency assistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some information and guidance for us:

Every winter when the temperature drops, your furnace can become a silent killer. Gas- and oil-burning furnaces produce carbon monoxide (CO). CO is an invisible, odorless,

poison gas that kills hundreds every year and makes thousands more sick. Follow these steps to keep your family safe this winter.

Gas or Oil Burning Furnace

– Have your furnace inspected every year.

CO DETECTORS

– Install battery-operated or battery back-up CO detectors near every sleeping area in your home.

– Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reminds us that  CO is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO.

The sites listed here are great resources of additional information about CO and how we can avoid problems in our homes and keep our self  and our families safe and warm!

Author:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County.

Resources:

http://www.cdc.gov/co/pdfs/furnace.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/basics/symptoms/con-20025444

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Carbon-Monoxide-Information-Center/Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers-/

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brainThere’s no denying that as we age, our brains age along with our bodies. We have a growing population of aging adults interested in learning strategies to help reduce memory loss. The good news is that you can improve your chances of maintaining a healthy brain if you choose some of the following brain boosting tips:

  • Start your day with a good night’s sleep.
  •  Eat breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast improves short-term memory and attention. Good choices include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Don’t overeat: high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.
  •  Cinnamon helps boost activity in the brain by removing nervous tension and memory loss. Love the smell of cinnamon?  You might want to invest in some cinnamon-scented candles to boost cognitive function, memory, and increase alertness and concentration.
  • Eat two servings of fish weekly. Fish are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health. Fish consumption has been linked to lower risk for dementia, stroke, and mental decline.
  • Eat some nuts and chocolate. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E, which has been linked in studies to a lessening of cognitive decline. Dark chocolate in particular has powerful antioxidant properties and contains natural stimulants like caffeine, which can enhance focus.
  • Add avocados. Although avocados contain fat; it’s a good-for-you, monounsaturated fat that helps support healthy blood flow.
  • Research indicates that the antioxidants in tomatoes and blueberries may help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. This in turn may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Listen to music. Music promotes memory retention in older adults with dementia by helping the mind move.

Relationships between nutrients and brain health strategies are continually being explored. Eating a well-rounded diet may give your brain the best chance of avoiding disease.

Resources:

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

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

 

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