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refrigerator

Did you know that November 15th is National Clean out Your Refrigerator Day?  Seems like there is a day for almost everything anymore, but this one does come at a good time! Many of us will soon be filling our refrigerators and freezers with more food than usual as the holidays approach so it is the perfect time to take a good look inside.

The first step may be to decide what is safe to keep or what you should toss.  Here is a quiz that might help you get started.  Also, Ohio State University Extension provides information on safe refrigerator and freezer storage on Ohioline.  Many people do not realize the dangers involved in eating food that has been kept too long or stored in a refrigerator or freezer that is not kept at a safe temperature – under 40⁰ for the refrigerator and under 0⁰ for the freezer.

strawberryRemember, when in doubt, throw it out!  Never taste food that looks or smells strange. There could be bacteria that are not visible to the human eye, but they could cause food poisoning.

Once you have decided what needs to be thrown out, you can start cleaning!

Follow the steps below to thoroughly clean the refrigerator:

  • Remove everything – place perishable food in a cooler while you are working
  • Any old or spoiled food should be discarded.
  • Take out shelves, drawers, etc. and wash with hot soapy water, rinse, and dry.
  • Wipe out the inside of the refrigerator – don’t forget the door seals. Some recommend using a mixture of 2 TBS. baking soda/1 qt. hot water.
  • Replace shelves and drawers.
  • Wipe off jars and containers as you return them to the refrigerator.
  • Check the interior temperature to be sure that it is below 40⁰.
  • Dust and wipe the exterior of the refrigerator.

Now that your refrigerator is sparkling clean, make it a habit to wipe up any spills as they occur to keep it fresh and clean. This might be a good time to invest in new refrigerator and freezer thermometers. Keep it in the body of the refrigerator – not on the door.

Get into the habit of storing your food and leftovers properly. Securely wrap foods or store in airtight containers. Check expiration dates on products – remember that once you open them, the expiration date on the item is no longer effective! In that case, follow the safe food storage charts mentioned above.

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

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County

References:

http://food.unl.edu/november-food-calendar#pb_love

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/clean-refrigerator

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/features/spring-clean-your-fridge-and-freezer#1

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Having a sandwich for lunch is so common that we tend to get in a rut when it comes to our choices. Ham and cheese, turkey, and/or peanut butter and jelly are staples for a reason—they taste good!  One of my personal favorites is unsalted peanut butter with sliced banana and a drizzle of honey on sprouted grain bread.  Sometimes I even skip the bread and just put my sandwich fillings like turkey and cheese in a large lettuce leaf for a lower carbohydrate “Turkey Wrap”.

sandwich

A sandwich can be a quick, portable, nutritious meal if thought out properly. The first suggestion I would make, however, is to check the nutrition facts label of your usual breads and wraps. Grains are the foundation of a healthy sandwich, and as the foundation, they should provide your body with the appropriate nutrients. Some may be high calorie and/or not the nutrient powerhouses we expect them to be.

In honor of National Sandwich Day on November 3rd, spend a little time this month to “up your game” when it comes to improving your sandwich choices.  This can be accomplished by incorporating some of the following suggestions:

  1. To add crunch and nutrition, try sliced red pepper, onions, snow peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, dill pickles, kimchi, apple or other fruit slices
  2. Instead of high calorie spreads, try hummus, salsa, light mayo, flavored mustards or a small avocado smashed
  3. For the protein source, use water packed tuna or chicken, nut butters (almond, peanut, cashew), diced or sliced hard boiled eggs, or leftovers like fried eggs, burgers, meatloaf, sliced chicken breast, and beans (whole or mashed)
  4. And for holding it all together, think outside the box with low calorie wraps, corn tortillas, flatbreads, whole grain or sprouted grain breads, pita, naan or large lettuce leaves

Feeling bold? Try this Chick Pea Sandwich or Pesto Grilled Cheese. Feeding a crowd? Easy BBQ Pork will be a snap!

Did you know you can freeze sandwiches? This makes prep time even easier. Just grab and go in the morning and enjoy!

Sources:

http://food.unl.edu/#sandwich

http://www.allrecipes.com

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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The dog days of summer are upon us. Heat and humidity can make it difficult to be comfortable, especially for those who don’t have air conditioning.  Extreme heat can even be deadly, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke if not treated in time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 600 people die from heat related complications each year.  This is more deaths than from all other natural disasters combined (flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes). Those who are most vulnerable include infants, children, the elderly, those who work outdoors, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats and can lead to heatstroke if the symptoms are not treated in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. These symptoms often occur when a person is participating in strenuous physical activity.  If a person is experiencing these symptoms, immediately have them rest, move to a cooler place and drink water or sports drinks.  Seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms don’t improve within an hour.

Heat exhaustion is preventable by taking some simple precautions. By planning ahead of time when a high heat index is predicted, you can stay as cool as a cucumber by following these simple tips:

summer heat

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Stay hydrated and drink more water than you usually do. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or high amounts of sugar. If you are physically active or sweating more than usual, try drinking a sport drink with electrolytes.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing in natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or hemp. These allow your body to breathe.
  • Cool off with water by soaking your feet in a tub of cold water. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and mist yourself throughout the day. Take it with you when you leave the house.
  • If your house isn’t air conditioned, head to your local library, mall or community building. If your house has a basement, create a comfortable area where you can sit when it’s hot outside.
  • Create a cross breeze by positioning a fan across the room from a window. To cool the room down even more, place a pan of ice in front of the fan to generate a cool breeze.
  • Cool off your house or apartment by turning of lights and using heat-generating appliances at night, such as washers, dryers, and irons.
  • Dampen a towel or small blanket with cool water and wrap it around your body.
  • Take a cool shower.

lemons and ice

One extra note – remember your four-legged friends especially during the heat. Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to sweat like humans, so they will be affected differently by heat.  Give your pet a haircut and keep them indoors on hot days, providing them with water.  Limit outdoor activity or exercise and don’t push them too hard.  When they are outside, be sure they have a shady spot to lie in and make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink.  Avoid hot surfaces since your pet is basically barefoot.  If your dog doesn’t have much fur, you can use a special pet sunblock with zinc oxide to prevent burns. Never leave a pet in a parked car, even on cooler days.  The inside temperature heats up very quickly!  If you think your pet is overheated, get them into shade or air conditioning immediately.  Don’t submerge them in cold water; cooling down too quickly can cause problems.  Wet them under a faucet or hose with lukewarm water and let the air flow around them.  Offer small amounts of water to drink and call your veterinarian immediately.

Enjoy summer and all the fun activities it brings – picnics, swimming, gardening, and long lazy days…

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat Related Illness, https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

WebMD, Green Tips for a Cool Summer, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/green-tips-for-a-cool-summer.

City of Cincinnati Health Department, http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/health/news/excessive-heat-warning-issued/

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D., Ohio State University Extension, SNAP-Ed.

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Have you heard the buzzing sound or felt the itchy bites? Mosquitoes armosquito-213805__180e around.  We used to think the itchy bite marks were just a pest.  Now, we hear more and more about diseases the mosquitoes are carrying.

Mosquitoes can carry serious diseases.  Some experts consider the mosquito the world’s most deadly animal.  Most mosquito-related illnesses occur in Africa.  In the United States the West Nile Virus is the most serious disease carried by the mosquitoes, but we may soon see Zika Virus, dengue fever and Chikungunya.  Thus, it’s important to take some precautions.

Most people have no symptoms with West Nile virus infections.  However, one in five people develop mild symptoms such as fever, headache, or nausea.  About one in 150 people get very ill.    Your dog also needs protection with monthly heartworm medication to prevent mosquito-borne illness.

How do you keep your family and yourself safe?  Following the three “D’s” are the best recommendation.

Drain:  With about 200 different species of mosquitoes in the U.S., the best way is to eliminate the breeding ground for mosquitoes.

  • Remove any stagnant water you have around your property such as potsbird-bath-179928_960_720, tools, trash cans, or other places where water has collected. Unclog roof gutters.
  • Empty water containers like flower pots, bird baths, wading pools or children’s toys, at least once a week.

Dress:  If you need to be outside sometime between dusk to dawn when mosquitoes may be active watch what you wear.   Mosquitoes are attracted to dark clothing and may bite through tight-fitting clothing.

  • Wear long sleeves and long pants in light-colors which are loose-fitting.

Defend:  Use a mosquito repellent when you feel it is needed.  Label directions should be followed on repellents containing the three active ingredients below approved by the EPA  to pose minimal risk for human safety.  These should not be used on children under two months.  Check with your health care provider before using on children.   Put sunscreen on first about 20 minutes before applying repellent.   The three approved active ingredients in repellents are:

  • DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
  • Picaridin (KBR 3023)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-methane 3,8-diol, or PMD)

Since we do not have vaccines for most mosquito related illnesses, following the three “D’s” will help reduce your risk of getting a mosquito-borne illness.

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

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu.

References:

American Mosquito Control Association. (2015). AMCA Tells Mosquitoes to “Buzz” Off During Mosquito Control Awareness Week, June 21-27.  Available at http://www.mosquito.org/assets/AwarenessWeek/amca%20mosquito%20control%20awareness%20week%202015_press%20release.pdf

American Mosquito Control Association. (2016). Mosquito Prevention and Protection.  Available at http://www.mosquito.org/assets/Resources/mosquito%20prevention%20fact%20sheet.pdf

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Mosquito Bites Prevention.   Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mosquito-bites/basics/prevention/con-20032350

NIH News in Health. (2016). Block the buzzing, bites, and bumps.  Available at   https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/issue/apr2016/feature2

 

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When my daughter was a toddler, she had a talking toy Bullwinkle Moose that said “walking is good for you!”  For years it was a bit of a family joke and every time we went for a walk, someone had to quote Bullwinkle.      walking_focus_destress

Now, science is firmly behind the concept that walking really is good for you!  Among others, the American Heart Association promotes the positive benefits of walking. The simple of activity of walking can:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and blood lipids profile.
  • Maintain your body weight and lower risk of obesity.
  • Reduce your risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer.
  • Reduce your risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes.

What do you need to start walking?  Basically you just need comfortable supportive shoes and a safe place to walk.

The Mayo Clinic gives some suggestions for starting and maintaining a walking habit.

  • Set yourself up for success! Have a simple, attainable goal. Maybe the first week you plan to walk 5 minutes at lunch time.  Once that becomes a habit, gradually add time to your walk.
  • Track your progress. It can be very motivating to see how many miles you have walked in a week, month or year. You can record this in a journal, a spreadsheet or an online app.
  • Make it enjoyable. Some people like to walk alone, listening to music or just enjoying some “me” time. Others prefer to walk with a friend or two. Find out what works for you.
  • Vary your routine. Plan a couple of different routes – walk outside when possible or join others walking at the gym or local mall. If you’re walking alone, let someone know where you will be walking. Keep your cell phone in your pocket for emergency calls! If you have a light or whistle, take it with you.
  • If you miss a day or two, don’t give up! Remind yourself how good you felt when you were walking regularly and ease back into it.

While walking is a relatively low risk activity, you still want to think of preventing injuries to yourself. If you haven’t been active, start slow and gradually add to your time, distance and speed.  To avoid blisters, some studies have shown that synthetic fiber socks can be better than cotton socks which absorb moisture and increase friction. Shin splints (pain on the front of your lower leg) and knee pain can be prevented or minimized by wearing proper, supportive footwear and stretching and strengthening the supportive muscles.

Remember, every step you take helps you lead a healthier life. So, get up, lace on your walking shoes and get going!

walking shoes

Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension, Franklin County rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, FCS, OSU Extension ,Pickaway County treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

The Mayo Clinic. Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261?pg=1
The American Heart Association.  Walking, Take the first step.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/Walking/Walking_UCM_460870_SubHomePage.jsp

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Want to stay in shape but don’t have a lot of time for your regular work-out routine? Then do a plank exercise!  Planks are one of the most effective exercises offering considerable results.  They take a short amount of time, no equipment, and offer many benefits including:

  • Not many exercises strengthen multiple muscles at the same time. There are movements that strengthen muscles in your arms or legs, but the plank exercise can help strengthen frontal upper and lower-body muscles and inner core strength, all at once.
  • Planks can also help improve mental strength. If you have a sedentary job, tension can build if you tend to slump forward. Doing planks can help stretch muscles that may become stiff during the day, contributing to stress. They may also help calm your brain, reducing stress.
  • Since plank exercises activate core muscles, they can help prevent swayback or flat back and improve your posture as a result.
  • Plank exercises can help increase flexibility in muscle groups, stretching and expanding your posterior muscles including the hamstrings and even the arches of your feet.

Plank Photo

Photo courtesy of Dana Dowling/Demand Media

How to do a Plank

A good plank requires proper alignment. Everything should be in a straight line, including your ears, shoulders, knees, hips, and ankles.  Here’s how to do a standard plank:

  1. Start on all fours, kneeling on your hands and knees. You can use a towel or blanket folded underneath your knees if you need padding. Make sure your hands align directly beneath your shoulders. Feet should be hip-width apart, toes can be curled under.
  2. Bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor. Your body weight should be on your forearms, not on your hands.
  3. Pull in your stomach, engaging your core muscles.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds, gradually adding time as you feel comfortable.

Sources: Women’s Health, 4 Secrets to the Perfect Plank, Roberts, A. October 28, 2014.

Huffington Post, Fix Your Form: How to do the Perfect Plank, June 5, 2012.

Livestrong.com, What Are the 4 Main Benefits of the Plank Exercise? March 21, 2016.

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by:  Cheryl Spires, Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

 

 

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I’m already late for work and now I’m in the middle of a traffic jam?  How am I going to get the kids to gymnastics, soccer and tee ball practices at the same time?  Everyone’s coming home at a different time tonight and we’re supposed to have supper together?  Make sure and schedule quality time for myself?  Really?  You’ve got to be kidding me!

Stress Management:  Rules for the Weary    stress taming

  • Stress is part of life.
  • Not all stress is bad.
  • Only you can prevent stress disorders.
  • Stress management is a lifestyle, not a technique.
  • As in life, success requires certain skills.
  • With practice and guidance, skills can be learned.

Coping with Minor Stressors

Research at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Ohio State’s internationally recognized center for the study of body-mind interaction, has resulted in key findings related to how stressors in marriage and care-giving impact health; how stress can lessen vaccine effectiveness; how stress can aggravate allergies and asthma; and the development of interventions that can lessen the effects of stress and promote health.

Try some of the following to help cope with stress:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Use meditation, relaxation exercises or breathing techniques.
  • Look at situations from a variety of perceptions.
  • Talk and share with friends.
  • Journal and clarify why things bother you.

Name it, Tame it and Bust that Stress!

  • List Priorities: Write down what is most important for you to do and then number from 1 to? With 1 being the most important for you to accomplish.
  • Plan Rest Periods: Schedule for “taking a break” in your daily activities.
  • Perfection: There is no perfect “anything”. Do the best you can and congratulate and reward yourself for it.
  • Exercise: (I think we talked about this earlier!) Try to exercise in your usual manner.  Or, start to exercise.
  • Childlike: Have FUN! Engage in playful activities.  Watch children play to remind yourself about “how to play”.
  • Spending: Be mindful of your spending.
  • Emotional Health: Talk with supportive people. Listen with empathy.  Use non-judgmental approaches.  Say “No” to avoid overdoing.
  • Gratitude: Be grateful for what you have and don’t dwell on what you don’t have.

One final thought about Taming Stress

In the words of Somerset Maugham, “It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”

Remember to always choose the “Best” for yourself!

stress taming 2

 

Written by:  Janet Wasko Myers, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, myers.31@osu.edu

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

Sources:

Lisa M. Borelli LISW-S, Counselor, Ohio State Employee Assistance Program, The Ohio State University Health Plan, Columbus, Ohio.  Stress Taming.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Improving Your Health Through Stress Reduction.  http://wexnermedical.osu.edu/patient-care/healthcare-services/improving-your-health-through-stress-reduction

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.  Mindfulness Practices – Mindfulness practices can reduce anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia and stress.  http://go.osu.edu/wexnermindful

onCampus.  February 11, 2016, 16th Annual Health and Wellness Guide, Wellness is a journey, Pages 7-18.  http://go.osu.edu/HealthWellnessGuide

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