Friday, July 19, 2013


How many times do you have to beg your kids to use sunscreen? I know that my teen agers nod their heads but hate my pestering them to apply it during the summer.  But the truth is it makes a difference! I am happy to have read that a new study can back this up with real research! In fact, daily use of sunscreen has been shown to significantly slow the aging of skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The study showed that when adults used broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects against both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays, they were less likely to show increased wrinkling over a four-and-a-half-year period than adults who used sunscreen less often.  So don’t give up on your kids, or on yourselves, it is really important to protect our skin with sunscreen! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Country Singer Randy Travis Suffers a Stroke

Country music star Randy Travis suffered a stroke Wednesday night following a viral heart infection he was first hospitalized for on Sunday. 
The singer underwent surgery late Wednesday night to relieve pressure on his brain, and remains in critical condition, according to his publicist.
Earlier Wednesday, Travis‘ doctors had implanted a device designed to help his heart pump properly.
The singer, who has congestive heart failure, received what is known as a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which helps the weakened left ventricle push blood through the aorta and throughout the body.
Sometimes the device can be removed if the patient makes a full recovery, but other times it serves as a temporary solution until a heart transplant can be performed. Former Vice President Dick Cheney had an LVAD before he had his heart transplant, USA Today reported.
Travis is being treated at The Heart Hospital at Baylor Plano in Texas. He was first hospitalized after he developed what he thought was a cold. The 54-year-old was later diagnosed with a serious condition known as viral cardiomyopathy, which can lead to congestive heart failure.
Viral cardiomyopathy occurs when a virus infects and attacks the heart, leading to inflammation and a reduced ability to pump blood throughout the body, according to the Heart and Vascular Institute at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. This particular form of cardiomyopathy can progress rapidly, and while it only accounts for 1 percent of all heart disease deaths in the United States, it is one of the most common causes of heart disease in younger people.
One expert explained how viral cardiomyopathy can quickly develop into a life-threatening condition.
"Myocarditis is an inflammatory condition which can occur when the heart is infected by a virus. The condition can range from a minor flu-like illness to critical cardiogenic shock," said Dr. Sean Pinney, director of the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
"Most patients will experience only minor degrees of heart dysfunction and will make a full recovery," Pinney continued. "For those patients in whom the virus produces greater degrees of heart dysfunction, full recovery is possible, but less likely. About half of these patients will develop chronic heart failure, and another 25 percent will need a heart transplant or a mechanical assist device," he noted.
"The cornerstone of treatment is to provide excellent supportive care," Pinney explained. "This may include the use of ventricular assist devices, which are surgically implanted pumps designed to support the circulation until the heart can recover or until a heart transplant is performed. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs have been used, but it is not clear whether they are helpful in aiding recovery."
Another expert outlined a similar prognosis.
"Viral myocarditis is an unfortunate condition where the virus attacks the heart muscle, causing heart damage similar to a heart attack," said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "In some situations the heart will recover and in others it will not, leading to heart failure. All we can do is give supportive care, careful monitoring and waiting."
Viral cardiomyopathy can be caused by more than 30 different viruses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These can include common flu viruses, cold viruses, Epstein Barr virus and hepatitis C.
Travis had been trying to get his life back on track following numerous public incidents last year that centered around his use of alcohol. The 11-time Grammy winner pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in January following his arrest last year when he was found naked after crashing his Pontiac Trans Am.
Some of his most celebrated songs include "Forever and Ever, Amen" and "Three Wooden Crosses." He had 18 singles top the music charts during the 1980s and 1990s.
More information

Friday, July 12, 2013

Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad

This perfect summer salad only uses a few simple ingredients, but packs a ton of flavor (and a fun, little kick thanks to some chili flakes) and makes a great addition to any picnic spread. 

This is one of those salads that just gets better with time.  If possible, it‘s best to prepare the day before you plan to serve it, giving all the flavors more time to blend and meld.

Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad

Easy Cucumber SaladServes 6-8 as a side
What You‘ll Need:
4 cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 pinch sea salt
What to Do:
  1. In a large bowl, combine vinegars, sugar, and chili flakes, and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Stir in cucumbers and red onion.  Season with a pinch of sea salt.
  3. Refrigerate until your ready to serve. Goes well as a side to burgers, grilled meat or fish, or any asian dish! 
What‘s your favorite simple side salad recipe? Share with us in the comments below!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Healthier Hash Browns with Scrambled Eggs

Aylin Erman
This recipe and photo were created by contributor Aylin Erman of Glow Kitchen. Learn more about Aylin and this recipe by checking out her accompanying post.
You don‘t have to take in a kingdom of calories to eat like a king, and this recipe is testament to just that. Here is a filling, protein and fiber- packed breakfast that doesn‘t weigh you down, mainly because potatoes are out of the picture. Instead of using white potato, I opted for diced celery root and fresh tomatoes with plenty of seasoning. After plating the celery root and tomato mixture, I use the leftover oil to cook the eggs, giving it just enough residual flavor such that additional salt and oil is unnecessary. The result is a big breakfast with little cleanup (and no bellyache). 


Celery Root & Tomato Hash Browns with Scrambled Eggs

Serves 2
What You‘ll Need:
Healthier Hash Browns and Eggs
1/2 a large celery root
1 large tomato
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 eggs
Red pepper flakes and fresh basil, for garnish
What To Do:
  1. Peel and chop the celery root into bite-sized pieces. Chop the tomato into equally sized pieces. Set aside, separately.
  2. Warm oil in a pan over medium heat. Once warm, add celery root to oil.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika and stir to combine.
  4. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the celery root begins to soften.
  5. Add the chopped tomato and mix, cooking until the tomato has broken down and created a thick sauce for the celery root, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Once the celery root is fully cooked through, transfer to a plate and set aside, keeping the pan over the heat.
  7. Crack the eggs in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth.
  8. Add the eggs to the same pan making sure they cover the entire surface evenly. Gradually stir, creating curds with the eggs and making sure all of the runny mixture gets cooked.
  9. Serve the scrambled eggs atop the celery root mixture and garnish with fresh basil and red pepper flakes. (Some freshly-grated parmesan would be great, too.) Enjoy!
What‘s your favorite weekend breakfast? Share with us in the comments below! or send your recipes to or post them at

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Struggles With Motor Skills Compound Social Problems in Autism

Problems with motor skills such as throwing and catching can add to the social struggles faced by children with autism, a new study says.
It included 35 children, aged 6 to 15, with autism who were considered high-functioning and attended typical school classes. The children underwent tests for two types of motor skills: object-control motor skills that involve precise action such as catching or throwing; and locomotion skills such as running and walking.
The children who struggled with object-control motor abilities were more likely to have more severe problems with social and communications skills that those with better object-control motor skills, according to the study in the July issue of the journal Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
"So much of the focus on autism has been on developing social skills, and that is very crucial," lead author Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, said in a university news release.
"Yet we also know there is a link between motor skills and autism, and how deficits in these physical skills play into this larger picture is not clearly understood," said MacDonald, an expert on the movement skills of children with autism.
She said the findings add to the growing body of research highlighting the link between autism and motor skill problems.
"Something which seems as simple as learning to ride a bike can be crucial for a child with autism," MacDonald said. "Being able to ride a bike means more independence and autonomy. They can ride to the corner store or ride to a friend‘s house. Those kind of small victories are huge."
Physical activity is linked not only to health, but to social skills and mental well-being, she noted.
The good news is that motor skills can be taught.
"We have programs and interventions that we know work, and have measurable impact on motor skill development," MacDonald said. "We need to make sure we identify the issue and get a child help as early as possible."
More information
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about autism.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Basic Fitness Movements

 The body makes a limited number of healthy movements. Some of the most important are represented below is these movements. Most solid fitness routines have some or all of these movements. Does yours? 


1. Squat

2. Lunge

3. Push

4. Pull

5. Trunk twist

6. Trunk flexion

7. Trunk extension

8. Self-myofascial release techniques

9. Cardiovascular exercises (spin, cardio core, intervals, etc.)

10. Boxing drills

Marc D. Thompson, owner of VirtuFitTM, is a prominent fitness trainer and personal coach with a background in medicine and exercise physiology. He has pioneered virtual training and teaches via Skype one-on-one and group classes. Approaching fitness holistically, Marc believes the fusion of creativity, analysis, intuition and practicality is essential in moving each individual toward their fitness goals. Along with over 25 years of experience, he draws from thousands of exercises, fitness disciplines, sports psychology techniques and nutritional principals to empower each individual client.


Marc D Thompson, VPT, Owner of

How to Make Body Language Work for You

Our body language can tell the world a lot about us. People draw conclusions about how confident or insecure we may be simply through our gestures and posture. But what does our body language say to us?

According to Amy Cuddy, psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, we can change our outcomes by simply adjusting the way we carry ourselves.

Through Cuddy’s research she has defined what she calls “power poses.” These poses involve making ourselves big, with outstretched arms and legs. This body language can actually change how we feel by increasing our testosterone production, a hormone that gives us energy and confidence, while decreasing our cortisol levels, which is a hormone associated with elevated stress levels.

Cuddy believes that by simply striking a power pose, you can infuse yourself with the confidence and self assurance you need to achieve your goals. She suggests trying these poses before job interviews, speeches or important meetings.

No, you don’t have to strut down the street with your hands in the air. But you can find a private space to strike a power pose that Cuddy suggests will inject you with the confidence boost that you need to carry yourself successfully through each day.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday, July 8, 2013

U.S. Women Delay Motherhood

As American women continue to delay parenthood, rates of teenage births and births for women in their early 20s are at all-time lows, federal health officials reported Friday.  
U.S. women have their first baby at age 25.6 on average, according to 2011 figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is up slightly from 2010 and significantly older than the 1970 average of 21.4 years.
Births to girls 15 to 19 declined 8 percent between 2010 and 2011, and births to women 20 to 24 years old dropped 3 percent to a record low, the CDC report stated.
"If this [trend] results in more births being planned and intended it is difficult to object to it," said Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, director of Obstetrical Clinical Research and Quality Assurance at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
"If we are talking about a shift from early 20s to late 20s or early 30s, the expectation is that outcomes would be safe and healthy. The message isn‘t that it‘s fine to wait until a woman is in her late 30s or 40s to think about becoming pregnant," added Ecker, who is also chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists‘ Committee on Obstetric Practice.
As women get older it is more difficult to become pregnant, Ecker said, adding that the likelihood of miscarriage and other complications also increases.
Overall, 3.9 million U.S. births were reported in 2011, representing the lowest general birth rate since 1998 -- 63.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 -- and 1 percent less than in 2010, the CDC reported.
Birth rates were unchanged for women aged 30 to 34 but rose for women 35 to 44.
Births to unmarried women declined in 2011 for the third year in a row -- down another 2 percent from 2010.
Experts found good news in the report.
In terms of health, highlights are a leveling off of cesarean births and the continued decline in the preterm birth rate, said lead author Joyce Martin, an epidemiologist at CDC‘s National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Reproductive Statistics.
In 2011 the rate of cesarean delivery remained about the same as the year before -- nearly 33 percent of all births. Previously, the number of women undergoing C-sections had increased steadily, jumping 60 percent from 1996 to 2009.
Meanwhile, the rate of preterm deliveries (before 37 weeks) dropped in 20
11 for the fifth straight year to 11.7 percent of all births, down 2 percent from 2010 and 8 percent from its high in 2006.
The rate of babies born at a low birth weight in 2011 was 8.10 percent -- down somewhat from 8.15 percent in 2010 and 2 percent lower than the 2006 peak of 8.26 percent.
Other notable findings: Multiple births were relatively unchanged in recent years. Twins accounted for 33.2 per 1,000 total births in 2011.
Births of triplets and more also remained unchanged at 137 per 100,000.
Dr. Mitchell Maiman, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said he expects that women will continue to postpone childbirth.
"More and more women are not only in the workforce, but more women are the primary breadwinner in the family," he said.
"So you are going to have more women who are delaying childbearing to enhance their careers. And you have amazing technology to enable them to accomplish that," Maiman said. "You are going to see older and older mothers."
More information
For more information on healthy mothers and babies, visit the March of Dimes.

Recipe: Thai Turkey Burgers

Angela Simpson

This recipe was contributed by Angela Simpson, the blogger behind Eat Spin Run Repeat and the author of "Living the Whole Foods Lifestyle: A Complete System for Fast (Clean!) Food". To learn more about Angela, check out her accompanying post and her bio on our Greatist Ambassador page!
Now that summer is finally here, I’ve been trying to cook as many meals as possible on the grill. Whether it’s veggies, marinated tofu steaks, salmon on a cedar plank, or pineapple drizzled in maple syrup, everything seems to taste better on the grill! When it comes to burgers, there are so many ways to add flavor without adding tons of calories and unhealthy fat. With only a few ingredients, these Thai turkey burgers are super easy and quick to make. Give them a try at your next barbecue and let me know what you think!

Recipe: Thai Turkey Burgers

Photo by Angela Simpson
What You’ll Need:
Thai Turkey Burgers1 pound (about 454g) extra-lean ground turkey
1 lime, zested
¼ cup whole-grain bread or cracker crumbs
½ cup grated carrot
1-2 tablespoons green curry paste (1 if you want a little heat, 2 if you want more!)
1 tablespoons fish sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
What to Do:
  1. Preheat grill, grill pan, or frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and use a burger press (or your hands) to form the mixture into four equal-sized patties. Put a small depression in the middle of each patty, which will help it to stay flat (rather than puff up) when cooking.
  3. Grill for 5-6 minutes per side over medium heat, or until no longer pink in the middle.
  4. Serve in whole-grain pitas or buns with Ginger-Lime Asian Slaw, sliced avocado, and fresh sprouts (if desired).
  5. If you want to prepare a quick sauce for your burger, combine 1 tablespoon plain fat-free yogurt with 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce. Add a few pinches of stevia for a sweet-and-spicy flavor.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Ice cream sandwiches recipes for Fourth of July

We could spend a lot of time fussing about who invented the ice-cream sandwich and when. Or we could get on with it and make some. For the Fourth of July _ and the rest of the summer.
You could use your ice-cream maker to make the cool stuff at home, with coaching from Tessa Arias‘ book "Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich" (Running Press, $18). Maybe her recipe for strawberry cream cheese or caramel chocolate swirl? Or a cookie from her dozens of recipes _ maybe salted macadamia nut or bacon chocolate chip?
Don‘t have an ice-cream maker? No problem. Just sub premium ice cream for the homemade, as Donna Egan does in "Ice Cream Sandwiches: 65 Recipes for Incredibly Cool Treats" (Ten Speed Press, $16.99). Her book offers lots of ice-cream recipes but also ideas for doctoring purchased ice cream, such as swirling butterscotch sauce into vanilla for smooshing between snickerdoodles.
So get creative. Mix and match cookies with ice creams. Maybe customize plain ice cream with mix-ins. Scoop ice cream on a cookie. Top with another. Enjoy. We‘ve got a cookie recipe to get you started, plus plenty of ice-cream-sandwich-making tips.
Pick a favorite cookie recipe. Drop cookies are easy to work with, says Arias, who uses a 2-tablespoon, spring-loaded ice-cream scoop, then rolls the scooped dough in her hands to smooth before flattening slightly and baking. Try: chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter or gingersnap cookies.
Egan uses brownies (chocolate or butterscotch baked in larger pans so they‘re thinner), plus madeleines, meringues and coconut macaroons.
Or purchase good-quality cookies.
Choose a premium ice cream or gelato (Haagen-Dazs Limoncello, Ben & Jerry‘s Chocolate Peppermint Crunch _ you get the idea).
Choose a flavor that complements the cookie. A few ideas: coffee-flavored ice cream with cinnamon cookies; lemon with shortbread cookies.
Use two small scoops of different, but complementary flavors of ice cream, says Arias.
Choose a plain premium ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, coffee). Then soften 1 quart in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Turn into a bowl, then use a knife to swirl in about 1/2 cup of mix-ins. Maybe coffee ice cream plus caramel sauce and mini-chocolate chips. Or vanilla ice cream with seedless raspberry preserves and chopped toasted almonds.
Choose one or two mix-ins from these categories:
Sauces: Caramel, fudge, seedless fruit preserves
Crunch: Toasted nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, walnuts)
Sweet: Chocolate chips, coconut, coarsely chopped candies
Dip edge of finished sandwiches in melted chocolate. Roll in decorating sprinkles, crushed candies, tiny chips (chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter), coconut, chopped nuts. Arias suggests: crushed pretzels, crumbled bacon.
Wrap frozen sandwiches in cooking parchment or food-safe decorative paper, says Arias, and tie with raffia or ribbon.
Freeze prepared sandwiches an hour or two to firm.
For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap. Store up to a week.
To serve, let stand at room temperature 5 to 10 minutes to soften slightly.
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 9 to 10 minutes per batch
Freeze: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Makes: About 18 cookies, enough for 9 sandwiches
Adapted from "Cookies & Cream," by Tessa Arias. The dough is somewhat sticky; we found it easier to handle after chilling it for 30 minutes.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Refrigerate, 30 minutes.
Drop 2 tablespoon-size balls of dough onto parchment-paper lined baking sheets. Slightly flatten each. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely. Freeze cookies until firm, at least 1 hour.
To assemble, top 1 cookie with a scoop of slightly softened ice cream. Top with another cookie. Gently press down to form a sandwich. Wrap the sandwich in parchment or wax paper; freeze immediately. Repeat with remaining cookies. Freeze at least 1 hour before serving.