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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

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My teenage daughter lectures me from time to time about overusing plastics, especially those that can’t be recycled. We’ve bought reusable straws to use at home, and I get dirty looks if I take a straw at a restaurant. I’ve been wondering why using a plastic straw would be detrimental to my health and well-being. Turns out there is a dimension of wellness called Environmental Wellness. We may not think much about Environmental Wellness as part of an overall wellness plan that might include eating more fruits and vegetables, but our environment and how we feel about it can have a huge impact on the way we feel overall.

Environmental well-being includes trying to live in balance with the nature by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around you. Protecting yourself from environmental hazards and minimizing the negative impact of your behavior on the environment are also central elements.

According to University California- Riverside leading a lifestyle that is respectful to our environment and minimizes any harm done to it is a critical part of environmental wellness. Environmental wellness involves a number of different aspects of personal and societal responsibilities, but generally relates to being aware of earths natural resources (soil, water, clean air) and their limits, understanding how daily habits impact natural resources, and being accountable by taking actions to minimize our impact on natural resources. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I recycle?
  • If I see something damaging to the environment, do I take the steps to fix the problem?
  • Do I volunteer time to worthy causes to protect soil, water, air, or wildlife?
  • Do I take time to appreciate my environment (go hiking, fishing, meditate, swim in stream or lake)?

If you answered “No” to any of the questions, it may indicate an area where you need to improve the state of your environmental wellness.

Recycling– Recycling saves energy and natural resources. For example, recycling one ton of office paper can save the energy equivalent of consuming 322 gallons of gasoline! Some cities offer recycling programs that pick up your recycled products at your curb. In other communities, you may have to collect your recycles and drive them to a designated recycle bin. The EPA offers some good information about what can and can’t be recycled, and recycling centers are all different in terms of what they can and can’t accept. In general, glass, cardboard, paper, food and beverage cans, jugs, plastic bottles, food boxes can be recycled. Other items such as Styrofoam, and soiled products can’t. Follow the rules, otherwise recycling centers have to spend time, energy and resources to filter out products that can’t be recycled.

Hazardous materials and situations– Some materials such as oil, paint, cleaners chemicals, and other products can pollute soil and water. Oil from one oil change for example can pollute thousands of gallons of water. Many commercial garages will accept used oil, and other businesses might accept paint and other materials.

Volunteering- Consider volunteering at a national, state or local park. Maintaining trails, planting trees, cleaning up streams and rivers are all volunteer activities that might contribute to your environmental wellness. The AARP offers some ideas on volunteering to help the environment.

Appreciate the environment– Appreciating the environment and natural resources will help motivate you and your family to change habits. Set a goal to get outside and appreciate the soil, air and water. Hike, fish, hunt, camp, swim, garden and even meditate outdoors!

Getting back to straws- although straws are only a fraction of plastics waste, they have become a poster child for single use plastics that wind up consumed by wildlife and found on beaches. In fact each human on the planet consumes around 88 pounds of plastic a year! Cutting back on straws can be a gateway to making many other changes in your life to improve your environmental wellness!!

Sources:

University of California Riverside. Environmental Wellness at https://wellness.ucr.edu/environmental_wellness.html

Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling 101 at https://www.epa.gov/recycle/frequent-questions-recycling

American Association of Retired Persons. 5 ways you can help the environment. https://www.aarp.org/giving-back/info-09-2012/fun-ways-to-help-environment.html

Author: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Associate Professor, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

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Did that title spark your interest? As a mom of three small children, I find myself stressed at times because of my kids’ behaviors. The behaviors I am referring to are typical behaviors for their ages however when multiplied by three it is enough to make you want to pull your hair out at times. I know my children are not the only ones that struggle with the following:

  • Act overly silly or “out of control”
  • Have tantrums or meltdowns
  • Experience difficulty waiting or taking turns
  • Struggle being in close proximity to others
  • Move too quickly or with too much force
  • Act on impulse by grabbing, throwing, or touching things
  • Experience difficulty walking or waiting in line
  • Have problems during social interactions like talking too loudly or standing too close to others

If you have noticed some of those struggles with a child in your life then they may need help learning how to regulate. Self-regulation is “control [of oneself] by oneself. It is a skill that effects a person’s ability to handle disappointments, failures, and tolerate unmet wants or needs with the outcome being success. The key word is SKILL. Self-regulation is taught and then children need time to practice using this skill. The more they practice the better they become.

There are four types of games/activities you can do to teach children how to self-regulate. The purpose of the games is for children to practice managing their impulses and self-control.  

  1. Red light, green light- have a start line and a finish line, one child is the cop and says green light for the rest of the children to go and red light for them to freeze. If they move after red light has been said then they move back to the start line. First person across the finish line wins and gets to be the new cop. Reverse rules, stop when the cop says green light, and go when the cop says red light.
  2. The Freeze Game- dance to music and then freeze when the music stops. Dance fast to fast-paced songs, slow to slower-paced songs, and then reverse the rules.
  3. Wacky Relay- have children work with a partner to move an object from the start line to the finish line using elbow to elbow, palm to palm, hip to hip or forehead to forehead. The larger the object the easier it is.
  4. Self Control Bubbles- allow children to pop bubbles as you blow them, then tell children not to touch the bubbles at all, even if they land on their face. Praise children as they refrain from touching the bubbles.
blowing bubbles
Blowing Bubbles

Just a few minutes a day can really help improve their self-regulation.  Games and activities are great ways to help children reflect on their own ability to self-regulate in various situations. Children can learn self-awareness for handling stress and emotions that will carry them through their teenage and adult years while saving your sanity.

Sources:

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-regulation/

https://www.acesconnection.com/g/Parenting-with-ACEs/clip/5-incredibly-fun-games-to-teach-self-regulation-self-control-early-childhood-development-8-minutes-kreative-leadership

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

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One of my goals for this year is to explore mindfulness. In this blog, I want to share a few things that I’ve learned about this life changing topic.

According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in American mindfulness,
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

Path in forest I enjoy being outside in nature. I have often wondered why this is relaxing for me. Why is it that I breathe deeper and feel a sense of calmness come over me while enjoying the beauty of nature?

I have learned that it has to do with the focus on my surroundings and mental relaxation that I experience from being in nature. Moving mindfully provides us with several benefits and can help increase the awareness of our bodies and the surroundings around us. According to the American Heart Association, some benefits of mindful movement may include:

  • Manage stress, depression and insomnia
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve balance and stability
  • Relieve chronic pain
  • Improve quality of life and mood in people with heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses
  • Motivate you to exercise more and eat healthier

One reason that I enjoy exploring mindfulness in nature is that I am paying attention to my surroundings and experiencing several senses: sight, smell, touch, and hearing. Watching the way that a blade of grass blows in the wind, feeling wind in your face, hearing the rustle of leaves, watching clouds drift across the sky are all examples of ways that we can pay attention to the details in nature. You can also enjoy these visual cues while looking out your window.picture of woods with trees, wildflowers

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Integrative and Complementary Medicine website offers several Mindfulness practices for you to explore. Click on the link and check out their resources.

Take time during your busy life to check out nature as I did this past weekend. I visited one of my favorite spots in the town where I live. A 90-year-old man has 4 acres of paths and trails through his back yard. You can walk and explore the Hosta plants and wildflowers he has planted over the years. One year he shared with me he planted 3,000 daffodil bulbs!  Imagine all those beautiful flowers!

Share in the comments how you enjoy mindfulness in nature.

Sources:

Dreskin, M., Smith, S. & Kane, D., Kaiser Permanente Clinical Ambassadors. Retrieved from: https://m.kp.org/health-wellness/mental-health/tools-resources/mind-body-wellness/movement-benefits

Powers-Barker, P., 2106. Introduction to Mindfulness. Ohioline Factsheet number HYG-5243. Ohio State University. Retrieved from: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5243

Suttie, J., 2018. Five Ways Mindfulness Meditation is Good for your Health. Retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_mindfulness_meditation_is_good_for_your_health

Hostas courtesy of Cory’s Wildflower Gardens, Chillicothe, Ohio.

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

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

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Food looks different when you suffer from Celiac disease. Seemingly normal food can have frightening ingredients, causing serious pain for someone with Celiac.

"Scary" picture of pasta salad with thumbtacks

Photo credit: knowCeliac.org

A cupcake isn’t simply a cupcake. Neither is a piece of pizza or bread or pasta. It’s severe abdominal pain or 300 other symptoms. This video shows how “normal” food appears to those who suffer from Celiac disease.

May is Celiac Awareness month, and here are some facts from knowceliac.org to help us learn more:

Celiac disease is NOT the latest diet fad.

While some people eat a gluten free diet as a choice. Celiac disease isn’t a choice. It’s a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming even the smallest amounts of a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. The only treatment: a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Source: Celiac Disease Foundation

Celiac disease is more than watching what you eat. Far more.

Celiac disease can lead to a host of additional health problems like infertility, neurological disorders, heart disease, and some cancers.

Source: Celiac Disease Foundation

Social isolation is one of the most common issues for people with Celiac disease.

Food is at the heart of most social gatherings. Food that usually has gluten in it. That can make a person feel alone. You can read more about my daughter’s personal journey with Celiac on Nationwide Children’s Hospital Flutter page.

Source: Beyond Celiac

There are over 300 symptoms of Celiac disease which can make it difficult to diagnose.

It is estimated that 83% of Americans who have Celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Source: Beyond Celiac

There is no cure for Celiac disease.

It can only be effectively treated with a gluten-free diet.

Source: Celiac Disease Foundation

If you don’t suffer from Celiac disease, how can you help? Be supportive and compassionate.

What if everyone you know took 60 seconds to learn more about Celiac disease? And what if that 1 minute was enough to help others see that Celiac disease is real, even if its effects can’t always be seen on the surface? Watch this 1 minute video on Celiac Disease.

Many people simply don’t know about Celiac disease. You can help spread the word. Sufferers need our support and help to find a cure.

For more information, visit these sites:

Beyond Celiac, Canadian Celiac Association, Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance Group, National Celiac Association

This material was adapted from knowceliac.org by Shannon Carter, MS, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewer: Christine Kendle, MS, RDN, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Tuscarawas County

 

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traditional chickpea hummus

Hummus is a chickpea-based dip and spread that is a staple food and popular appetizer in many Middle Eastern nations such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Today, according to the USDA, hummus is growing in popularity in the United States, too! This trend is driven by consumer demand for healthier snacks and gluten-free products.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are naturally gluten-free; high in fiber, folate and protein; and they contain nutrients such as iron, calcium and magnesium.  Consequently, hummus provides more nutrients, more healthy fat and less unhealthy fat than many traditional American dips and spreads. The protein, healthy fat and fiber it contains can help you feel full, which can help with weight control. These nutrients can also help prevent heart disease and stabilize blood sugar. However, portion control is important with hummus, as the calories from the healthy fat it contains may add up quickly. A two-tablespoon portion of hummus contains about 70 calories. Hummus sold at the grocery store may contain large quantities of added sodium, too.

Luckily, hummus is not difficult to make at home. Classic hummus contains chickpeas, olive oil, tahini (a sesame paste), lemon juice and spices. For additional flavor or color, try including fresh herbs or vegetables such as roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, beets, edamame or artichoke hearts in your own personal recipe. Mash the ingredients with a fork or puree them in a food processor to obtain a dip-like or spreadable consistency. hummus plate with celery sticks and crackers

If you don’t have tahini at home, can’t find it in your local grocery store or simply don’t like its flavor, try this easy hummus recipe that utilizes plain, non-fat yogurt in its place.

Serve hummus with whole grain pita chips, wedges or crackers, or fresh cut vegetables like cucumber slices, carrot and celery sticks, bell pepper spears, grape tomatoes, or broccoli and cauliflower florets. You can also spread hummus on your favorite sandwich or wrap, or use it in place of mayonnaise in making a tasty tuna salad. Need more inspiration? Check out this list of 10 Ways to Enjoy Hummus!

Sources:

Fruits & Veggies More Matters. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans): Nutrition, Selection & Storage. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/chickpeas-garbanzo-beans

Fruits & Veggies More Matters. Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Hummus. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-ways-to-enjoy-hummus/

Goldstein, J. Hummus. The Nutrition Source, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/hummus/

Gottfried, S. (2018). Is Hummus Actually Healthy? Here’s What the Experts Say. Time Health. http://time.com/5331376/is-hummus-actually-healthy-heres-what-the-experts-say/

Spend Smart. Eat Smart. After-School Hummus. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/recipe/after-school-hummus/

USDA Economic Research Service (2017). Pulses Production Expanding as Consumers Cultivate a Taste for U.S. Lentils and Chickpeas. https://www.ers.usda.gov/amber-waves/2017/januaryfebruary/pulses-production-expanding-as-consumers-cultivate-a-taste-for-us-lentils-and-chickpeas/

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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Ohio AgrAbility is part of a national program dedicated to “cultivating accessible agriculture” by “helping injured or disabled famers.” Ohio AgrAbility and the OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences have partnered for many years at the Farm Science Review to show how Universal Design concepts from the home can also be used in the garage, shop, barn and garden. While farming is very different from gardening, the Ohio AgrAbility program generously shares relevant information and resources to make gardening easier and more accessible to all people. This article contains ideas of resources and information that can help may gardening and yard work easier for many of us.

red wooden table with herbs growing on the top

One of many benefits of raised beds and container gardens is that they can be easier to use for individuals who have a hard time reaching to the ground. A raised bed might be designed with a wide edge to allow someone to sit while they work. Another type of raised gardening space is a garden table.  The University of Maryland Extension shares instructions for building and growing a Salad Table.

garden gloves with velcro , holding a garden hand toolErgonomic tools are designed to help people work and live better and to prevent injury. An example of an ergonomic tool is a heavy-duty work glove that has a wide strip of Velcro to attach the handle of the tool to fit inside the grip of the gloved hand. This is helpful to those who might not have a strong grip or full use of their hand. Interested in more details about tips and tools for making the garden more accessible? Read the factsheet, Gardening with a Physical Limitation.

Safety is another important feature of Universal Design and can be addressed in many ways from bright enough lighting, handrails along steps and stairs and clear wide walkways.  In the yard and garden, make sure the edges between lawns, garden beds and walkways are level and easy to see. Here is one basic example of making a minor change in the yard in order to increase the level of safety.

garden hose on walk, dog running, child on stairs

Notice the long, heavy hose? It moved with the owner to this new home from a much, much larger yard. It is laying in the walkway because that is the location of the water spigot. Humans are probably at more risk than the dog at tripping over this hose. One simple, quick solution was to design a place to “store” the hose when not in use. It could have been a hose reel or hose cart but the owner already owned a large, blue empty planter. Not pictured here is that the owner eventually purchased a shorter, light-weight expandable hose that was not only easier to store when not in use but also easier and safer to use around the yard to reach the garden beds.

photo of porch and sidewalk and hose contained in a large blue planterOne description of the elements of universal design, “is a home that fits everyone’s needs, whether they are young or old, short or tall, with physical limitations or without”. In a similar way, gardens can be designed to meet the needs of all ages and physical differences to make it a safe and enjoyable hobby for all.

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

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

Sources:

Ohio AgrAbility, (2019) Ohio State University Extension https://agrability.osu.edu/universal-design/recommendations

Farm Science Review (2019), Ohio State University https://fsr.osu.edu/

Universal Design (2019) Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension https://fcs.osu.edu/programs/major-program-areas/healthy-relationships/universal-design

Salad Tables (2019), The University of Maryland Extension, https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/salad-tables%E2%84%A2

Jepsen, D. (2013) Gardening with a Physical Limitation, Ohio State University Extension https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/AEX-983.3

 

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telomere

When my sister-in-law turned 50, my family flew out to Arizona to help her celebrate. She warned us when we took our suitcases into the bedrooms to not leave our tennis shoes out in the open because her cat liked to chew on shoelaces. I forgot after the first couple of days and left my shoes on the floor. The next time I put them on, the laces snapped in half where they had been chewed and I had to tie my shoes with about one inch of shoelace.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because it’s a metaphor for what happens when we don’t follow exercise guideline advice. Have you heard the term “telomeres” before? Ten years ago, three American scientists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their discoveries about telomeres. Telomeres are caps on the ends of our DNA strands (chromosomes).

Chromosomes hold our DNA, and the ends of them, called telomeres, help keep the chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other. Chromosomes are like our shoelaces, and telomeres are like the plastic tips on the end. Every time one of your cells divides, the telomere gets shorter. When telomeres get too short and cannot be repaired (like my shoelaces), chromosomes fray and the cells can no longer divide.

This shortening process is associated with aging, cancer, and a higher risk of death. However, it turns out that we may have more control over our telomeres than we think. Lifestyle is an important determinant of telomere length and telomerase activity. The more exercise people get, the less their cells seem to age.

How to keep your telomeres lengthened.

Simple answer? Exercise regularly. Spring is the perfect time to refresh your exercise routine. You don’t have to worry about extreme cold, snow or ice. 30 minutes daily will provide you with younger looking telomeres. It’s still not clear what level of exercise intensity is required to yield the best results.

Recent studies show that higher levels of physical activity or exercise are related to longer telomere length. This relationship is particularly evident in older individuals, which suggests the role physical activity can play in combating the aging process.

Bottom line.

This complex field is still in its infancy, with more unknowns than knowns. So far, the findings reinforce commonsense advice about a healthy lifestyle— not smoking, exercising regularly, controlling stress, and having a healthy diet.

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:

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2013/09/108886/lifestyle-changes-may-lengthen-telomeres-measure-cell-aging

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/preventive-care/article/aging-what-telomeres-can-tell

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5546536/

https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/telomeres/

 

 

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