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What do the grapefruit, tapeworm, cotton ball, and baby food diets all have in common? They do not work long-term and some of these diets can be extremely dangerous.  With fad diets quick and hefty weight loss may be experienced, but the pounds tend to come back and lead to greater gain.  A healthy lifestyle need not be difficult and not cause additional stress.  One healthy eating pattern that is not a “diet,” is the Mediterranean diet, and it can become a positive lifestyle.

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May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, a promotional campaign since 2009, and was started by the Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance. Unlike fad diets, the Mediterranean diet is good for you, and it can help reduce the risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.medppyramid

The image shows that being physically active is an important part of this diet.  In addition, the base of the pyramid includes: fruits, vegetables, grains (mostly whole), beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices and olive oil. Every meal should include foods from this section.

Fish and seafood have heart healthy benefits and are an important part of the Mediterranean diet as well.  The diet calls for fish and seafood at least twice a week.  Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt can be consumed anywhere from daily to weekly.  Red meats and poultry are at the top of the pyramid indicating they should be consumed less often.  Water and wine are also a part of the diet.  Wine can be consumed in moderation; however, it is not recommended that a person who does not currently consume alcohol start.  Wine can have some health benefits that include heart health and cancer prevention.  Foods at the top of the pyramid should be eaten less, because they may have higher fat, sugar, and sodium. med3

Healthy fats from fish, seafood, and oils are a big part of the Mediterranean diet.  Opinions on the consumption of fats and oils are always changing. We hear, “Saturated fat is good. Saturated fat is bad. Coconut oil is the perfect fat.”  The science changes so often it is hard to keep up with recommendations.  While recent research shows that saturated fat, including coconut oil, may not be strongly linked to heart disease, it is still suggested that we do not overconsume it.  It does not have any health benefits, and it is low in nutrients. The Mediterranean diet’s recommendation of olive oil relates to its low saturated fat level and being high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats we need.

As with any eating pattern, it is best to start slow. If this healthy plan sounds good, start by making small changes.  Make Monday meatless and consume smaller portions of the meat you do eat.  Choose healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts or seeds.  Eat more fruits and vegetables, and add other healthy options each day or week. After all, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Sources:

Oldways: Inspiring Good Health through Cultural Food Traditions. International Mediterranean Diet Month. https://oldwayspt.org/programs/mediterranean-foods-alliance/international-mediterranean-diet-month

Today’s Dietitian. Heart-Healthy Oils: They’re Not All Created Equal. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/021115p24.shtml

Image: flickr.com

Written by: Jessica Wright, Intern with Wood County Extension FCS, BGSU Graduate Student in Food and Nutrition, and Susan Zies, FCS Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Wood County.

Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D. L.D, Program Specialist, SNAP- Ed , OSU Extension Northwest Region Office

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thunder stormDo you know what to do in a tornado, thunderstorm, fire or flood?  How about your children?  What if you are not home?  Do you have an emergency plan?  These are some difficult questions.  Now is a good time to start teaching your children how to be prepared.

The first step in developing a severe weather safety plan for your family is to determine the potential weather risks for your area. Once the potential hazards are identified, you can begin your plan. This should include:

  • Where to meet. Select a place in your home and practice with the children before a storm comes. If your family is forced from your home, determine an alternate meeting place, such as a school, community center or fire station. Share this information with caregivers as well.
  • Put together a safety and survival kit. You will want to include such things as water, nonperishable food, battery operated radio, flashlight, batteries, and blankets. The National Weather Service provides a detailed list of items you need.
  • Make a “safe place bag” with some items that can console a worried child. Things such as a toy or two, coloring books, a favorite stuffed animal, a couple books, and a battery operated radio/CD player.
  • Determine how you receive weather warnings and track the storm. Purchasing a battery operated weather radio will allow you to monitor the storm.
  • Establish some form of communication. While cell phones are the most likely way to reach loved ones, you also need to consider what to do if cell phone towers are damaged and not functioning.

 

Research tells us children that come from secure homes and families will be more prepared to tolerate any stressors, including severe weather.  Knowledge and understanding reduces fear, so empowering your children with a plan to react will help help them in a stressful time.  Begin at an early age to talk to children about weather.  Educate them about storms, dispel myths, and discuss reasonable safety measures.  Develop a family weather plan.  It will help them feel more in control and less helpless.

 

 

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

 

Reviewed by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Program Assistant, Horticulture, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

 

 

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February is American Heart Month sponsored by The American Heart Association. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. What may surprise a few, is that it’s the number one killer in women, claiming nearly 500,000 lives. Most people believed that it affects more men so many women did not pay much attention to the disease. National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women. Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the 1st National Wear Red Day was observed. National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February.

Since raising awareness many women have been making changes in their lives to be more heart conscience. Some of the strides they’ve made have included losing weight, increasing their exercise, making a healthy behavior change and checking cholesterol levels. Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day, and deaths in women have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years! Even though all of this progress has been made, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke each year.

 

So what can you do besides wear RED tomorrow? Know your heart healthy numbers.

  1. Risk factors you can* and cannot control
    1. High blood pressure*
    2. Diabetes*
    3. Lack of regular activity*
    4. Age
    5. Gender
    6. Heredity
  2. Know your numbers
    1. Total cholesterol
    2. HDL cholesterol
    3. Blood Pressure
    4. Blood Sugar
    5. Body Mass Index
  3. Take Action
    1. Manage blood pressure
    2. Control cholesterol
    3. Reduce blood sugar
    4. Get active
    5. Eat better
    6. Lose weight
    7. Stop smoking

If you would like to find out more information on each of the areas above, you can visit GoRedforWomen.org  On their site you can take a risk factors quiz and learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

I hope to see lots of RED tomorrow.

 

Sources:

https://www.goredforwomen.org/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/national-wear-red-day/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/know-your-risk/

https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/FebruaryToolkit.aspx

 

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

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

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Stethoscope on cashIf you are lucky enough to have elderly parents, you know what a precious gift it is to have them. However, with this precious gift of time, there are some challenges that occur as they age and need your help. It is difficult when the roles of parent and child begin to shift and the children become the caregivers. One of the most complicated issues is when there is a need to take over your parents’ finances. Taking control can be awkward and complicated, but putting it off too long can make it very difficult to sort out all of their accounts and make the necessary legal steps to ensure your ability to successfully manage your parent’s money.

How do you know when it is time to step in? Watch for early signs that your parent’s cognitive ability is declining, and there is a need to step in and take control. If you wait too long, there’s a good chance that significant financial losses have occurred. Some of the signs to look for are:

  • They become forgetful about cash
  • They start getting calls from creditors
  • Their house is filled with expensive new purchases
  • They have difficulty with simple tasks like balancing their checkbook
  • Bills have been paid repeatedly or not paid at all
  • Bills that seem much higher than they should be and cannot be explained
  • Donations to charity that do not match your parents priorities

 

Raising the topic might be difficult. Older adults may be resistant to relinquishing control of their finances. They may see this as the first step of losing their independence, which is one of the top two concerns for older adults. Prepare to Care: A Planning Guide for Families from AARP gives helpful insight on how to start the conversation. They suggest:

  1. Look for an opening: You might use an article you read about or something you saw in the news to raise the topic.
  2. Respect your loved one’s wishes: Your plan must be centered on the person receiving care.
  3. Size up the situation: Figuring out your loved one’s priorities help determine your next steps
  4. Counter resistance: Your loved one might say, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” Some people are private by nature. If your first conversation does not go well, try again.

Managing your own finances can be challenging enough, and you aren’t excited about taking on the task of managing your parents finances as well. Addressing the topic can be awkward, but if no one steps in to help, the assets that your parents spent a lifetime accumulating could be lost.

 

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County

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For many people, the cold winter months bring an onset of what is described as the winter blues.  The colder, darker winter months can cause a change in our moods and our behaviors.  Some examples are sleeping more, becoming more irritable, eating more, and avoiding friends or social situations.

Dr. Emma Seppala, Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at Yale University, offers these tips for beating the winter blues:

  • CONNECT
    • One great way to connect to others in the winter months is to volunteer, at a shelter, a food bank, a nursing home, or at an after school program.
    • Another way is to stay active.  Join a fitness class.  Invite some friends to go on a walk or meet at a gym to shoot some hoops.
  • BREATHE
    • Practice mindfulness activities, like yoga or meditation, to help center your thoughts and help you to relax.
  • SAVOR
    • Be present in whatever activity you are engaged in. Turn off the cell phones and focus on where you are and who are you are with.
    • Curl up with your loved ones (spouse, childen, grandchildren) under a warm and cozy, blanket and read a book or watch a funny movie.
    • Eat healthier meals and take time to eat at a leisurely pace.

If you find that the winter blues are interfering with your daily activities for a period longer than two weeks, please consult your family physician or a mental health professional.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that is categorized as a type of depression and occurs during months where individuals have less exposure to natural sunlight that can be treated with appropriate medical help.

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

Reviewed By:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fayette County, Ohio State University Extension, brinkman.93@osu.edu

SOURCES:

Sepalla, Emma M. PhD, “3 Definitive Ways to Beat The Winter Blues”, Psychology Today. Web January 20, 2016 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-it/201601/3-definitive-ways-beat-winter-blues

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/mood-disorders/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.html

REFERENCES:

Roecklein, Kathryn A., Rohan, Kelly J., PhD, “Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview and Update”, Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2005 Jan; 2(1): 20–26. Published online 2005 Jan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3004726/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad.aspx

“Information from Your Doctor: Seasonal Affective Disorder”, American Family Physician. 2000 Mar 1;61(5):1531-1532. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0301/p1531.html

PHOTO CREDIT:

https://pixabay.com/en/post-light-lamp-outside-95090/

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Did you know that today is National Raspberry Cream Pie Day?  Raspberries are abundant at this time of year.  Raspberries- like many other fruits- are an excellent source of Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They also contain the phytonutrient ellagic acid, a potential anti-cancer agent.   They are an excellent source of soluble fiber and may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Raspberries also provide a slow release of carbohydrates into the blood stream.  This fruit is very low in calories, providing just 64 calories per cup serving. Raspberries also provide 8 grams of fiber and 54% of the daily need for Vitamin C.

If you are looking for raspberries on this eventful day you may be surprised to find that a variety of colors from red to black to purple to yellow are all available. Raspberries should be bright, shiny, and uniform in color. Avoid ones that are dull and appear to have surface moisture, as moisture promotes decay.  Handle this produce very gently to avoid bruising. Bruising shortens the life of the fruit and contributes to low quality. Berries are highly perishable; therefore, store fresh raspberries uncovered in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Gently rinse berries in cold water prior to use.  Never soak berries in water.  Be aware that raspberry shelf life is short so only buy what you can use. Plan to eat your berries within one to two days after purchase.

Try this quick and easy Raspberry Cream Pie Recipe:raspberry-925190_640

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared reduced fat graham cracker pie crust

Directions

  1. Whisk sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice together in a bowl; gently fold 1 pint of raspberries.
  2. Spread filling evenly within the crust.
  3. Refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.
  4. Top pie with remaining fresh raspberries when ready to serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes http://allrecipes.com/recipe/229009/fresh-red-raspberry-cream-pie/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=16

 

Not enough time to make a pie today? Try these quick and easy ways to add raspberries to your National Raspberry Cream Pie Day:

  • Add fresh raspberries to hot and cold cereals
  • Top nonfat yogurt with fresh raspberries and some granola for a great breakfast, snack or dessert.
  • Combine raspberries into a fresh lettuce salad and top with a low fat vinaigrette dressing
  • Lastly, just enjoy fresh berries as a snack. They are delicious, sweet and juicy!

WRITTEN BY: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County and Marcia Jess, Program Coordinator, Wood County.

REVIEWED BY: Shawna Hite, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Family & Consumer Sciences

Sources:

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5511

http://extension.illinois.edu/raspberries/

http://www.msuextension.org/nutrition/documents/RaspberryFFS.pdf

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This time of year is always magical from a gardening perspective. Perennials and bulbs are blooming, greenhouses are open and neighbors are planting their annuals. Nothing brings us out of our winter blahs faster than the scent of hyacinths and lilacs or the beauty of daffodils and tulips. Did you know that flowers serve more than just an aesthetic purpose? They also can improve our overall well-being.

Lilacs

Planting or keeping flowers around the home and in the workplace greatly reduces a person’s stress levels. Natural aesthetic beauty is soothing to people, and planting ornamental flowers around the home environment is an excellent way to lower levels of stress and anxiety. People who keep flowers in and around their home feel happier, less stressed, and more relaxed. As a result of the positive energy they derive from the environment, the chances of suffering from stress-related depression are decreased as well. Overall, adding flowers to your home or work environment reduces your perceived stress levels and makes you feel more relaxed, secure, and happy. Flowers can help you achieve a more optimistic outlook on your life; bringing you both pleasing visual stimulation and an increase in your perceived happiness.

Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster can produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration. Flowers cut from the garden add a pop of color to the living areas in the home. Bringing potted plants into your work space helps improve productivity, as well as an increase in creativity and job satisfaction.

Flowers

Don’t have a green thumb, struggling with some plants, or just beginning to plant?  Want some creative tips for new projects? The National Gardening Association has tons of information to help you out.  Allow the outdoors to bring out your natural beauty. Behold the powers of flowers!

Sources:

http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.VzyCdrgrK70

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/urban-mindfulness/200903/plants-make-you-feel-better

www.garden.org

www.onegreenplanet.org

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

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

 

 

 

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