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Just about everyone I’ve talked to lately says how tired they are of our cold weather and that they are ready for spring.  We all look forward to the days of sunshine, warm breezes and fresh air.

We need to remember, though, that the spring season also brings the possibilities of severe weather and take some time to plan ahead to keep ourselves and our families safe.  This is Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week – March 18-24, 2018 and a perfect time to remind ourselves how to keep safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that severe thunder storms and tornadoes are much more prevalent at this time of the year and it is important to have a safety plan in place.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • If you are inside your house or other building:
    • Identify shelter locations well before the storm hits.
    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris.
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
  • If you are outside:
    • Try to seek shelter in a nearby building if you can.
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
    • If there is a low lying area such as a ditch nearby, you can lie down in that area and cover your head with your arms.
  • If you are in your workplace
    • It is a good idea to have a plan that everyone in the building has practiced.
    • Know who is in the office so that everyone can be accounted for before and after the storm.
  • Have an emergency contact plan for your family or coworkers. Designate one number that everyone should call to connect.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has created documents that can help us all better prepare for these severe weather occurrences.  They provide definitions to explain the difference between watches and warnings and appropriate measures to take with each level of warning.

Take the time to make a plan for your family and co-workers as we enter this time of the year when severe weather can strike at a moment’s notice.

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

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

Sources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.HTML

Federal Emergency Management Agency. How to Prepare for a Tornado. (https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211d041f7aea6b85d/how_to_prepare_tornado_033014_508.PDF

The American Red Cross . Be Red Cross Ready.

http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m4240190_Be_Red_Cross_Ready.pdf

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How did you start your day? I started mine with a visit to the dermatologist. Several months ago (you must plan at least 2-4 months in advance to see a specialist), I decided since it had been 10+ years since my first and only one, I should get an overall skin check. I called the doctor’s office. Since my insurance had changed, I had to verify the doctor was an approved provider. Sure enough he was, so long as the office bills the visit a certain way. As if trying to find a day and time that worked for the visit wasn’t hard enough, I also had to figure out how the office bills! I persisted and was able to confirm that they bill the way the insurance requires. At last, my visit was set! calendar-1763587_1280

You may be wondering why I decided I should go to the dermatologist. I admit, I have a few spots that were of slight concern, but I mainly wanted to get a complete skin check to make sure there were no suspicious areas. My grandpa and my dad both had pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions removed from the ears and the nose. I have always enjoyed being outside and I have not always been diligent about wearing sunscreen or protective clothing. I also have lots of small moles. These all put me at an increased risk for skin cancer.

Well, after meeting the new-to-me doctor, and getting my skin check, I am happy to report that I have no areas of concern. He did point out a few areas for me to be aware and to note if they start to change in color, size or shape. Overall, he confirmed what I already know. I have some spots that are most likely a combination of sun exposure and time. I need to wear sunscreen and protective clothing whenever I go outside. When I am near water, which I am as much as possible in the summer, reflective rays from the sun hit the water and bounce back up, increasing my sun exposure. I had not given much thought to this in the past, but I will definitely pay attention to it now. Overall, the visit was pleasant, informative and reassuring.sun

If you are someone who dreads going to the doctor for any reason, you may want to reconsider. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They can also catch issues earlier when they are easier to treat. The National Institute for Health (NIH) provides a list of screenings based on your age and gender. The list tells you what kinds of tests or exams you should have and how often. You should work with your physician(s) to decide how often you need to schedule a visit.

I know that after my experience, I will not wait 10+ years before I schedule my next appointment. I am relieved that I have no areas of concern right now. I feel empowered to take steps to care for my skin and to try to prevent further damage. I know which areas that I especially need to watch. So, if you have been putting off making an appointment for a routine visit, call your doctor’s office today. It may take several months before you can be seen.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Sources:

cdc.gov/cancer/skin/

 

medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002125.htm

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (November 13, 2017). Skin Cancer, cdc.gov

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (February 6, 2018). Physical exam frequency. . U.S. National Library of Medicine, medline.gov

Photo Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/calendar-date-month-day-week-1763587/

https://pixabay.com/en/sun-sunbeam-sky-clouds-light-1651316/

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Many of us today are trying to find away to lower cholesterol, lowering blood sugars, reducing arthritis pain and yes boosting our memory. If we open our cupboards looking to add flavor to our food we might just find a spice that is common in our households called Cinnamon. What does cinnamon look and taste like, and are they all the same?

Cinnamon is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder.

Are all Cinnamon’s the same? What is the Best?

Cinnamon is one of the oldest and most popular spices, and has been used for millennia both for its flavoring and medicinal qualities. Two major types of cinnamon used Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon”, Ceylon cinnamon is NOT the kind of cinnamon that is normally sold in the spice section at your local supermarket, Cassia is the one seen most. Cassia cinnamon contains coumarin, the parent compound of warfarin, a medication used to keep blood from clotting. Due to concerns about the possible effects of coumarin, in 2006, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warned against consuming large amounts of cassia cinnamon.

Let’s Get Using the Cinnamon!

Studies have shown that just ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon add to cereal, oatmeal, toast, tomato sauces or on an apple can have many health benefits. These are just a few ways of how you can add cinnamon to your meals. You might have your own special recipes!

Benefits of Cinnamon!

  • Lowers Cholesterol: Studies have shown may significantly lower LDL “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides and total cholesterol.
  • Reduces blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Heart Disease: Reducing blood pressure.
  • Fights Cancer: A study released by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. The combination of calcium and fiber found in Cinnamon can help to remove bile, which prevents damage to colon cells, thus prevents colon cancer.
  • Tooth decay and mouth freshener: Treat toothache and fight bad breath.
  • Brain Tonic: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Also, studies have shown that smelling cinnamon may boost cognitive function, memory, performance of certain tasks, and increases one’s alertness and concentration.
  • Reduces Arthritis Pain: Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which can be useful in reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. A study conducted at Copenhagen University, where patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • Itching: Paste of honey and cinnamon is often used to treat insect bites.

Share with us how you enjoy cinnamon!

Resources:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-cinnamon

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215

Source: George RC, Lew J, Graves DJ. Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implicationsof Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer’s disease Pathogenesis. The Journal of Alzheimer’s disease. 2013.

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

Reviewer: Candace Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County,  heer.7@osu.edu

 

 

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The holiday season is one of the most giving and positive times of the year. Many people have the ‘Spirit of Giving’ during this festive time. The students of Somerset Elementary School are no exception. A few of weeks ago the principal, and some of the students stopped by our office to deliver poinsettias. They were going to businesses and residences in the community to spread some positivity with the flowers and a little note. The students of Somerset Elementary; however, have been practicing positivity for a couple years. They piloted the Positivity Project for Northern Local School District last year. The district implemented the project in the other two grade schools this year due to the great results from Somerset Elementary.

The visit from the students inspired me to encourage others to be more positive. Overall, I tend to be a positive person, but positivity does not come naturally for everyone. Some people have to work harder at it, but we all can become more positive with some small changes. To become more positive, try some of these tips from the Mayo Clinic:

Identify areas to change.Positivity Project

Check yourself.

Be open to humor.

Follow a healthy lifestyle.

Surround yourself with positive people.

Practice positive self-talk.

With practice, you may be able to develop a more positive attitude and become less critical of things around you.

There are many health benefits  to having a positive outlook/attitude for you. These may include:

  • lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk for heart disease
  • healthier weight
  • better blood sugar levels
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress
  • greater resistance to the common cold
  • better psychological and physical well-being
  • better coping skills during stressful times
  • longer life span.

One study showed that the most optimistic group of women had a nearly 30% overall reduced mortality compared to the least optimistic group.

Gratitude can also help with developing a more positive outlook/attitude. People who are more grateful tend to have a more positive demeanor. If we can continue the practice of gratitude that many people seem to have during the holiday season all year long, it may help us to become more positive overall. The week after our office received the visit and the flowers from the students, I walked over to the school to deliver a Thank You note to the principal to share with the students. I wanted to make sure that the students understand that their gesture was appreciated and acknowledged. I will be sharing this blog with the principal as well so that he can show the students how they were my inspiration for writing it. The simple gesture of positivity by them, has already spread beyond their little school and town.

When you find yourself struggling to be or to remain positive (as we all do at times), remember Winston Churchill’s famous quote that “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sometimes just re-framing the situation can help us to see things in a more positive light.

Comment on your favorite tips to stay positive.

 

Written by:  Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension , Perry County.

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Photo Credit:  Debbie Goodrich, Office Associate, Perry County OSU Extension.

Sources:

https://posproject.org/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=2

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/08/positive-emotions-your-health

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/12/optistic-women-live-longer-are-healthier/

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/positive-thinking/

References:

Bryan, Jeff & Erwin, Mike (2017). #OtherPeopleMatter, The Positivity Project.

Mayo Clinic Staff (February 18, 2017). Positive thinking: Stop negative self-talk to reduce stress.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) News in Health (August 2015). Positive Emotions and Your Health Developing a Brighter Outlook.

Feldscher, Karen (December 7, 2016). How power of positive thinking works, Harvard Gazette.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking (2016). Pursuit of Happiness, Inc.

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dinnerTomorrow is Thanksgiving and many of us will be preparing traditional celebrations which usually include generous amounts of food.  I think that besides the time spent with family and friends, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast are the leftovers that can be enjoyed for the next day or two.

This is a good time to think about the potential leftovers you will have and how to handle them safely to prevent food borne illness.

The first step to ensuring safe leftovers is to make sure that you are handling the food safely from the time you purchase it until you have prepared it.  Keep the four basic food safety guidelines in mind:

  1. Clean. Begin by washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after handling food. Be sure that counter-tops are clean by washing with hot soapy water after preparing food, and keep cutting boards and utensils bacteria free by washing with hot soapy water or running through the dishwasher. Rinse fruits and vegetables that are not being cooked under cool running water.
  2. Separate. Help prevent cross contamination by keeping raw meat, poultry and seafood away from ready to eat foods in your shopping cart and your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for these raw foods and another for salads and ready to eat food.
  3. Cook. Use a food thermometer to tell if food is cooked to a safe temperature – just going by color is not sufficient. Always bring sauces, soups, etc. to a rolling boil when re-heating. If using a microwave oven, cover, stir and rotate the food to ensure even cooking.
  4. Chill. Remember the “danger zone” where bacteria can grow rapidly, 40° – 140°F. Keep the refrigerator below 40°, use an appliance thermometer to check the temperature. Chill leftover foods within 2 hours and put food into shallow containers to allow for quick cooling. Thaw meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator, not on the counter.

When you have prepared your dinner and are ready to serve, keep the time and temperature in mind for keeping the food safe for everyone. If an item that should be refrigerated inadvertently gets left out over two hours, throw it out!  No one likes to waste food but it is better than getting ill or even worse, making someone else ill.

Another thing to consider is how long you can safely keep leftovers.  Our colleagues at Illinois State University Extension have put together a list of safe times for keeping many holiday leftovers safely.

You might also be interested in trying some new recipes using your leftovers. The Illinois site lists several including this one for Turkey Posole (stew) that sounds great!

So, enjoy your Thanksgiving meal with your family and use good food safety practices to keep everyone healthy and happy!turkey-966496__480

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, Treber.1@osu.edu

Resources:

University of Illinois Extension. Turkey for the Holidays. Turkey Leftovers. http://extension.illinois.edu/turkey/leftovers.cfm

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service . Leftovers and food safety. (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: Author. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/leftovers-and-food-safety/ct_index

Michigan State University Extension. There are Limits to Leftovers http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/there_are_limits_to_leftovers

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. Check Your Steps: Food Safe Families   https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/teach-others/fsis-educational-campaigns/check-your-steps/check-your-steps

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Shop your way to health!

Most of us are aware of the benefits of healthy eating – plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and low fat dairy and lean protein. However it is easy to forget the “rules” as we hurry through the grocery store to purchase food for our family.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates that a large grocery store may carry over 79,000 different items.  That is a lot of choice! Fortunately there are some guidelines that we can follow to help us navigate through the bountiful offerings in today’s grocery stores.

Let’s start in the produce section. The US Dietary Guidelines recommend that ½ of our plate should be fruits and vegetables.  Look for a variety of colors and textures as you make your choices. Bright yellow peppers, red tomatoes and dark leafy greens provide valuable nutrients.  A dessert of ripe red strawberries and bright blueberries with just a dollop of whipping cream should satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.  Purchasing fruits and vegetables that are canned or frozen can also provide healthy meals for your family – just remember to watch for added salt or sugar.

Now, let’s move on to the grain aisle.  Remember to aim for at least 50% of your grains being whole grain.  When making your choices, don’t be fooled by items that are brown in color but do not have a whole grain as the first item on the ingredient list.  This can apply also to bread, rice, pasta and other grain products. Examples of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice. Since cereal is a staple in many households, look for those that are higher in fiber and lower in added sugars.

As you shop in the dairy aisle, think about the guidance of choosing low fat dairy. Fat free or 1% milk should be the staple for most adults and children over the age of 2.  Don’t forget that fat free milk provides the same amount of calcium and other important nutrients for our bodies as whole milk but without the fat! The same rules apply to cheeses and yogurt – the lower in fat the better.

As you make that final stop for protein foods, many think only of meat as the source of protein.  While lean cuts of meat can provide the protein that our bodies need, there are other sources that eliminate the fat that is associated with meats. ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends that we vary our choices for protein. Some good sources are eggs, dried beans and peas, fish, nuts, cheese, tofu, peanut butter, milk, and yogurt.

If you have noticed, we have shopped the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding many of the processed products that we encounter up and down some of the center aisles.  By choosing mostly fresh, whole foods, we are providing our bodies with the healthy foods we need for a healthy lifestyle.

 

Writer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Food Marketing Institute (2017). Supermarket Facts. https://www.fmi.org/our-research/supermarket-facts

US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2017). Dietary Guidelines. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2016). All About the Grains Group. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains?source=Patrick.net

USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov (2017). 10 Tips: Vary Your Protein Routine.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ten-tips-with-protein-foods-variety-is-key

 

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Gardening can help people stay active, provide plentiful food, and elevate mood gardenbut doing it incorrectly can lead to back pain, joint aches, and muscle strains.  Gardening can also be difficult for people with health conditions that limit movement (such as arthritis) or cause fatigue.  But with a few strategies, gardening can be a pleasurable and safe activity for all.

Each year, over 2 million people are injured during gardening or yard work activities, peaking in the spring and summer seasons.  Many of these injuries include low back pain and overuse injuries, which can be prevented or minimized.

Gardening is a year round “sport”!

The gardener must preserve in self care the year through, staying active in the dark winter months when we dreamily read seed catalogs, tending to our bodies so that when spring comes round again, we can prevent injury by cultivating our:

  • Flexibility for bending to harvest and reaching a trellis;
  • Strength for carrying buckets of compost and hoeing;
  • Endurance so you can spend entire days outside; and
  • Balance to prevent falls in precarious situations.

If exercising on its own does not call you, remember the higher vision:  garden 2

Find motivation in picturing yourself at peace in your garden.

Protecting Your Bones:  Gardening with Osteoporosis or Osteopenia (Excerpted from a newsletter of the Canadian Osteoporosis Patient Network (April 2014) & the International Osteoporosis Foundation)

Those of us with osteoporosis/-penia may worry that pain and fractures, or the fear of pain and fractures, will mean giving up our gardens.  Gardening involves walking, squatting, kneeling, digging, pulling and lifting, and all done in the fresh air.  As you hoe, plant, water and harvest, your body engages in effective weight-bearing and resistance activities that contribute to good bone health – as long as you start slowly and move safely.  For safe movement during gardening, follow guidelines and:

  • Do not participate in exercises or movement that flex or rotate the spine.
  • If you feel any new pain while gardening, stop immediately and consult with your health care provider.
  • You may need to rethink your garden to make it easier to maintain. Decide which tasks are difficult or painful. You may decide to remove or change aspects of your garden to make it safer and easier to maintain.
  • Break loads into smaller portions, carrying 2 light buckets instead of one.
  • If you need to reach down for something, try bending from the hips and keep your back straight.
  • Make sure you take regular breaks so as not to become tired and thereby increase the risk of injury.
  • Don’t hesitate to get help for specific tasks if required. Leave to others the tasks which may involve heavier lifting, or are too physically challenging. You might be surprised at how many neighbors or friends would be happy to help if asked!
  • Go slowly and don’t get frustrated – it doesn’t matter if you can’t do everything at once.

For more information, visit a Physical Therapist specializing in Bone Health.

Source:  Ohio State University Extension, 2017 Ohio Master Gardener Volunteer Conference, Growing Strong:  Self-Care & Fitness for the Gardener, Laura Ann Bergman, Physical Therapist Assistant, Ohio Health, laura.bergman@ohiohealth.com

Source:  Growing Strong:  Self Care and Fitness for the Gardener, OhioHealth Inc. 2013.  Special thanks to:  The Ohio Health Foundation for Grady Memorial Hospital for supporting the creation of this workshop and publication.

Books:
Gardener’s Fitness – Weeding out the Aches and Pains, Barbara Pearlman.
Gardener’s Yoga – 40 Yoga Poses to Help Your Garden Flow, Veronica D’Orazio.

Tools:
www.amleo.com
www.greenherontools.com

References:  The American Occupational Therapy Association at www.aota.org ; The American Physical Therapy Association at www.apta.org ; University of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Gardening and Your Health series at https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/426/426-065/426-065_pdf.pdf ; AgrAbility at https://agrability.osu.edu/  ; and Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety at www.ccohs.ca

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

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

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