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health

Apr 7 2014

Nose Notes

by Hope L

sneezingSpring has sprung and so have the faucets for hay fever sufferers–our noses are running, ears draining, eyes itching, throats rasping and heads throbbing.

As I lay awake the other night, hacking and sneezing sporadically, with my arsenal of tissues with aloe, cough drops, and a cabinet full of drugstore attempts at fighting my misery, I wondered why someone had  not yet invented a way to cover the nose to prevent allergies in the first place. I mean, we put a man on the moon, right? A person could get rich. Hey!!! Wait a minute…

That person could be me! I could go on Shark Tank and the sharks would all fight over little ol’ me with my nose filter. (I could call it NasaStop or Hay-Free, or Cry No More.)

Well, somebody has beaten me to the punch.

Look what I found at WebMD:  “Could ‘Nasal-Filter’ Device Help Ease Allergies?”

THURSDAY, March 20, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A new device that you wear in your nose — about the size of a contact lens and works like a miniature air filter for a furnace — might help filter out pollen and other allergens and keep them out of your sinuses.

A small study reports that this nasal filter could reduce daily sneezing by an average of 45 percent and daily runny nose by an average of 12 percent. The device, with the brand name Rhinix, is not yet commercially available.

“We found clinically relevant reductions in daily nasal symptoms with Rhinix compared to placebo, especially in sneezing, itching and runny nose symptoms,” said Peter Kenney, the study’s lead author.

Kenney, who’s a medical and doctoral student at Aarhus University in Denmark, is the inventor of the nasal filter. He’s the founder and CEO of the company that has filed an application for approval of the device by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Go to WebMD for the complete article.)

Shark Tank will just have to wait until my next great idea…

 

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Sep 16 2013

Inspirations for a healthier life

by Jesse M

Reading Glenda’s post from last month about losing weight got me thinking about books I’ve read over the years that have inspired me to alter my diet or exercise habits. These are not diet or exercise books though. Rather, these books inspire lifestyle changes by providing information that challenges the reader to think about their everyday behaviors in a different way.

Stuffed and starved coverStuffed and starved: markets, power, and the hidden battle for the world’s food system by Raj Patel

In this eye-opening book, author Raj Patel takes readers on a journey through the global food system, demonstrating how both the problems of malnourishment and obesity are both symptomatic of the worldwide corporate food monopoly. Well sourced and argued, this book may make you think twice about alternatives when considering your next trip to the supermarket.

Born to run coverBorn to run: a hidden tribe, superathletes, and the greatest race the world has never seen by Christopher McDougall

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? Part investigation of the biomechanics of running, part examination of ultra-marathons and their enthusiasts, McDougall takes readers into Mexico’s Copper Canyons to meet and learn from the Tarahumara Indians, who have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury utilizing only the simplest footwear. By the end of this book you’ll want to get up and go for a run yourself.

Hungry Planet coverHungry planet: what the world eats by Faith D’Aluisio

This award-winning book profiles 30 families from around the world and offers detailed descriptions of weekly food purchases; photographs of the families at home, at market, and in their communities; and a portrait of each family surrounded by a week’s worth of groceries. The photography is the real star of this book, especially the images of each family with one week of food. The disparity from country to country (and in some cases, across different regions of the same country) is often startling, and may cause readers to take a closer look at how much they themselves are consuming.

Stumbling on happiness coverStumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Written for a lay audience by Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert, the central thesis of this book is that, through perception and cognitive biases, people imagine the future poorly, in particular what will make them happy. Gilbert discusses these issues and suggests ways that we can more accurately predict our future feelings and motivations. A major takeaway for me from this book was that if I wasn’t feeling motivated to do something now, it isn’t likely I’ll be miraculously more motivated later. This applies to all sorts of things in my life I have a tendency to procrastinate on, such as exercising, doing laundry, or starting a diet.

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There is still time to register for the Literacy Alliance of Metro Atlanta’s 5K Run/Walk for Literacy! The Literacy Alliance of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) is a practical and innovative coalition that seeks to achieve 100% literacy among metro Atlanta’s adults and families. The 5K Run/Walk for literacy is an excellent way to get fit and promote literacy at the same time. Don’t miss out on this family-friendly event with prize giveaways! 100% of the proceeds support literacy programming and initiatives throughout Metro Atlanta.

To register, follow this link. Please select “DeKalb County Public Library Foundation” as the organization to benefit from your registration.

Online registration is $20 for individuals or $60 for a group (up to 4 individuals); day of registration is $25 for individuals and $70 for a group.

Online registration closes on Friday, September 28 at 6:49 PM. The race starts in Decatur Square on Saturday, September 29 at 8:00 AM.

For more information on the Literacy Alliance of Metro Atlanta, please click here.

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Sep 19 2011

It’s the Berries!

by Greg H

Several three to four foot tall bushes  with striking purple clusters of small berries grow just outside the staff room doors at the Hairston Crossing branch.  I’ve been told that they are called Beauty Berries, a  plant I’d never heard of before I saw these.   They look succulent enough to eat, and could be eaten, but their taste is such that even wildlife  will only feed on them as a last resort.  This started me thinking about the berries in my life, the ones outside of a supermarket,  that could be eaten as a first resort.

My grandmother first introduced me to the joys of berries, if only indirectly. When I’d visit her we would sometimes walk to the home of her friend Mrs. Gorski who had red raspberry plants growing along the edge of her back yard. Mrs. Gorski would give me a bowl of raspberries doctored with milk and sugar.  They were so good that I didn’t mind sitting there on the porch while two matronly women talked at length over my five year old head.

Those red raspberries became for me the standard against which other berries would be compared.  Black raspberries, for example. They grew like the weeds that I guess they were among the abandoned coke ovens across the railroad tracks at the bottom of our street.  In my eyes the only advantage the black raspberries had over their red cousins was this ability to grow everywhere.  They were tart where the red raspberries had a more pleasing flavor and their bushes were guarded with plenty of thorns.  Furthermore, picking them meant wearing long denim jeans in the middle of the stifling summer heat to protect us against sticks and scratches and poison ivy.  Once in a while we might find a blackberry that was big enough and ripe enough to taste almost as good as a red raspberry; if we collected enough of them in our empty Maxwell House coffee cans they could be turned into pies, possibly a la mode,  before the afternoon was over. That nearly instant reward made the heat and the thorns easier to endure.

Blueberries were next on my berry countdown. My Aunt Bib and Uncle Tony owned a cabin in north central Pennsylvania and we would sometimes visit for a weekend. On one such visit they took us to a wide field of nothing but blueberry bushes. I’d never seen them in the wild until then.  We were issued our containers but, before we were turned loose,  Uncle Tony advised us to be aware of snakes who just so happened to also like blueberries. While I’m sure that there was a kernel of fact to my uncle’s warning, I’m just as sure that he enjoyed watching our eyes get big as he issued it. Aunt Bib turned most of those berries into pies as well, saving enough for blueberry pancakes the next morning.

Those were the wild berries of my childhood. Yes, there was a brief dalliance with an elderberry bush that grew on some undeveloped property at the top of our street but, while it was interesting to know that they could be eaten, those berries were ultimately deemed too small and sour to hold our attention. And I know there are more out there.  Thanks to Ikea, I’ve tasted lingonberry jam but that doesn’t really count. Just where are the huckleberries, pokeberries and gooseberries of which I’ve heard tell?

The Library has the following books to aid the intrepid berry enthusiast:

The Berry Bible: with 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries by Jane Hibler

The Berry Growers Companion by Barbara L. Bowling

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May 13 2011

Strawberry Season

by Ardene W

It’s strawberry season! Strawberry shortcake, strawberry smoothies, angel food cake with strawberries . . . yum! I have fond memories of picking berries in my grandparents’ garden, and not-so-fond memories as an older child of picking them at home, where it became a chore to pick and freeze strawberries every day at the height of the season.

Strawberries grow wild in many places, but did you know that the ones we eat today are descendents of a cross between a flavorful North American native, Fragaria virginia, and a variety from Chile and Argentina, Fragaria chiloensis, with large fruit? And though it isn’t the reason I eat them, they are good sources of Vitamin C.

I eat strawberries, of course, because they taste good. And fresh ones taste better than the ones from the store. Every spring I wish I had planted some in my yard last fall. Luckily for me, there are pick-your -own farms nearby. Take a look at the Georgia Strawberry Growers web page to find a farm near you, or check out the list at this website. If your experience is like mine, it will take you longer to drive there and back than it will take to pick a bucket full.

And if you’re not sure what to do with the bounty, check out these resources at the library:

Although it’s late in the season for planting, you can find out more about growing strawberries at the library too.

Or check out the Georgia Extension Service’s guide to growing strawberries at home.

Finally, if you just don’t want to get out in the sun, here are a few books that feature strawberries:

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Mar 7 2011

Oh, I would never eat there. . .

by Patricia D

I spent years working in the food service industry and the one thing that never failed to put a kitchen into a tizzy was a visit from the health inspector.  I was generally lucky enough to work in places where the managers cared about hand washing, keeping foods at a proper temperature, keeping out the vermin—you know, the little things.  I’ll never forget the epic battle Dishwasher Dude waged in one kitchen to get the ancient equipment, affectionately referred to as Scum Queen, up to the right temperature.  Apparently she needed a lot of sweet talk and just the right amount of soap to reach the magic number of 160 degrees.  Dude finally managed it while the inspector was watching, but we were all holding our breaths.  Of course, the kitchen lost a perfect score anyway because there was a cracked tile in the salad prep area.  Still, a 98 isn’t the end of the world.  That would be anything below 80.

I can live with just about anything above a 92 but below that, it gets dicey.  Down into the 80s is someone not washing his hands, food prep happening too close to cleaning materials or chicken thawing in the cooler over a vat of salad greens.  I don’t even want to think about what goes on below 80.   I look for those lovely yellow inspection reports before I order anything and I’ve been known to walk out of a place after finding a low score.  This has made for some on the fly dining choices at times but now I can plan better because the DeKalb County Board of Health now has the reports available on-line.  Take a peek for yourself and choose “Restaurant and Facility Inspection Scores” from the menu on the left side of the screen.  It’s a little fun, a little terrifying and goes a long way to helping me relax about the food I order.

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Jan 26 2011

Stretching into the new year

by Dea Anne M

Despite this post’s title, I’ve never been a maker of New Year’s resolutions, but this year I have decided to rededicate myself to a regular yoga practice. I have practiced yoga on and off for years now and I truly love it and its wonderful effects. Are you interested? Classes are great, but not always practical for many of us. Luckily, DCPL has plenty of resources to help you start, or resurrect, a home practice.

When I was first starting out, I learned from books. Here are just a few of the useful titles that you’ll find on the shelves of DCPL.

For a solid guide to basic yoga practice, check out Yoga Journal’s Yoga Basics: the essential beginner’s guide to yoga for a lifetime of health and fitness by Mara Carrico and the editors of Yoga Journal. This well-illustrated book provides instructions for the basic postures, breathing tips, and sample routines. I particularly like the photos that illustrate correct and incorrect methods of performing each posture. Yoga Journal (carried at DCPL!) is itself a great resource for anyone interested in yoga and this book would be a good complement to both formal instruction and/or home practice.

I actually own a copy of Yoga the Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira, and Shyam Mehta and consult it often as a reference. The emphasis in Iyengar style yoga is on correct alignment and often employees props such as belts and blocks and modifications of the poses to prevent injury. It’s a terrific approach to yoga for beginners and makes a great discipline as an ongoing practice or as a launching point for exploring other forms. The Mehta’s book is both thorough and precise and I highly recommend it.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Sep 8 2010

Catching some zzzz’s..or maybe not

by Dea Anne M

Do you get enough sleep? Far from being a luxury for those without busy schedules (nobody I know) or something to catch up on during the weekend, sleep is a daily necessity and, according to the CDC a “vital sign” of good health. Experts now say that 7 hours a night is optimum for adults and I know that this is what I aim for yet don’t always achieve.  Well, I’ve yet to fall asleep at work so Morpheus and I must be on pretty good terms. In  the meantime, DCPL has resources for both the sleep deprived and the sleep curious alike.

If you need help learning how to get to sleep, check out:

Insomnia: 50 Essential things to do by Theresa Foy DiGeronimo with Frank Di Maria.  Or…

The Harvard Medical School guide to a good night’s sleep by Lawrence J. Epstein with Steven Mardon.

[read the rest of this post…]

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Jun 21 2010

You Have Such A Pretty Face

by Veronica W

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that “compliment” while growing up, I would be, at the very least, upper middle class.The well-intentioned (I think) speakers did not understand exactly what they were saying…or not saying. “You have such a pretty face but the rest of you is a mess!” I grew up with parents who would not let you leave the table until you had “cleaned” your plate. It didn’t matter if that plate held enough food to feed a longshoreman who was coming off a fast. “Waste not ,want not” was my mother’s mealtime mantra, along with the admonition to remember the starving children all over the world. (I couldn’t believe that even they wanted my Lima beans.)  My parents had lived through the Great Depression and there was a visceral satisfaction in being able to feed a family of nine. Consequently my six sisters and I have battled with weight for most of our lives, with varying degrees of success. Since society, explicitly or implicitly, condemns physical “abundance,” we have also battled with self image, once again with varying degrees of success.

While everyone wants to look good, young women are especially vulnerable to criticism of their appearance. They respond in different ways and their efforts to cope are chronicled in numerous books, both fiction and non-fiction. Some adopt a “take me or leave me” attitude, while others embark on a lose and gain and lose and gain and lose and gain cycle of frustration. Check out some of these books which deal, sometimes humorously, with the struggle. In the Young Adult fiction section, there’s Artichoke’s Heart by Suzanne Supplee, Accidental Love by Gary Soto and Vintage Veronica by Erica Perl, among many others. Positive image advice can be found in books such as You’d Be So Pretty Ifby Dara Chadwick and You Have to Say I’m Pretty, You’re My Mother by Stephanie Pierson. If you want to find fashion tips for those who are amply endowed and want to hide or embellish it, check out Does This Make me Look Fat by Leah Feldon or Pretty Plus by Babe Hope. For pudgy preschoolers, there’s I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell at one end and I Like Me by Nancy Carlson at the other end.

The campaign against obesity, especially in children, is necessary and laudable, as long as it’s about health and not appearance. “You’ve lost weight!! You look wonderful!! (now that you don’t have to walk sideways to get through the door) could be replaced by “I see that you’ve lost some weight. How do you feel?”  I know, I know. Reality check. However if some misguided person now dares to say “pretty face” to me, I smile politely and say “Thank you. And the rest of me is very nice too.” By the way, Miss Manners does not approve of  making personal comments. Oh, but that’s the January 25th blog.

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Jun 10 2010

Local, Organic, and Slow

by Jimmy L

Do you know where your food comes from?  Neither did I, until a couple of months ago; I used to buy food from the big supermarkets.  But, partially fueled by books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and movies like Food, Inc., there has been a recent surge of interest in this question of where our food comes from, and what chemicals have been put into it.  I’ve not read or seen these books or documentaries myself, as I have a huge fear of finding out all the horribly true facts that I’m totally happy ignoring.  However, I’ve started going to local organic farmers markets, which are cropping up all over the place.  Even if you didn’t care where your food comes from, it’s still a refreshing experience attending these markets.  Each farmer sells you his or her veggies, fruit, meat, milk, eggs, pastries and/or cheeses themselves.  I find it especially reassuring that each of my dozen eggs is of a different size and shape, which is the way it should be!  And they taste much better than grocery store bought eggs.  Also, I know that my vegetables are freshly harvested from Georgia clay often within the last 24 hours, instead of being trucked across the country from who knows where.  Here are some of the local organic farmers markets that I’m aware of.  If you know of any others in or around DeKalb County, please share with us in the comments section…

  • Decatur Farmers Market – there is one every Wednesday at the corner of Church and Commerce from 4pm to 7pm (Winter hours are 3pm to 6pm).  There’s also one run by the same people on Saturdays, from 9am to Noon across the street from Chic-Fil-A on N. McDonough.
  • East Lake Farmers Market – Saturdays from 9am to 1pm at the corner of Hosea L. Williams Dr SE & 2nd Ave SE.
  • East Atlanta Village Farmers Market – Thursdays 4pm to 8pm May thru November at 1231 Glenwood Ave (Village Hardware)

More books and movies about eating locally grown organic food that I haven’t read:

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