Honor a Veteran This Veterans Day

Covered Bridge: Honor and Comfort a Veteran

My aunt is a quilter. If you know a quilter or happen to be one yourself, you know that this is more of a way of life than a hobby.

Every important occasion in our family merits a quilt. Getting married? Quilt. Having a baby? Quilt. Everywhere you turn from in town to in the country, you see barn quilts on sheds, and those patterns inspire her.

November is an important month in our country because it’s the month we celebrate Veterans Day. How do you recognize Veterans Day? Of course my aunt would say, “I’ve got a quilt for that!”

The Quilts of Valor Foundation is an organization that seeks out veterans to honor by making and presenting them with a handmade quilt. Its motto is “Quilting to Honor and Comfort.” I like that. Here is a group of people with a passion for sewing something with their own two hands to make someone else feel better. To date, Quilts of Valor has given away more than 193,000 quilts.

Let’s go back to the question, “How do you recognize Veterans Day?” Or better yet, do you recognize a veteran?

We live in a time in our nation’s history when a veteran can look so many different ways. Our nation’s veterans are handsome 90-year-old WWII veterans, hardworking Korean War veterans, proud but quiet Vietnam veterans, or even the 25-year-old grandson or granddaughter of someone you know.

The men and women who serve our country have done so in my name, in your name. How can you recognize them today? How can you say, “I see you and understand what you mean to this country?” We can’t all make quilts. But we can buy cups of coffee. We can shake hands, or if appropriate, give a hug. We can all say thank you.

Here are some organizations that reach out to veterans. See if you can find one in your community and offer whatever special skill you have to their cause. If you bake, bake. If you woodwork, woodwork. Share yourself with a veteran so they know you care. It’s the very least any of us can do to honor and comfort the heroes around us.

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

An App for Better Dental Health

Long View: Dialing In to Better Dental Health

I have a confession to make. My toothbrush talks to my cellphone, and I’m pretty much OK with that. I’ve brushed my teeth well over 36,000 times in my time on this planet, and suddenly now, in my 50th year, I need my phone to tell me if I’ve been doing it correctly.

Having good teeth is a genetic gift I inherited from my grandmother. She grew up in an era before there was fluoride in the drinking water, and her father didn’t believe in traditional medicine. I wonder if she ever even went to the dentist as a child. And yet, when she passed away, well into her 90s, she didn’t have a single cavity.

I’m lucky to have inherited her teeth DNA. I’ve only had two cavities in my life and both came after a pregnancy and were so shallow I didn’t even need Novocain. So they don’t count.

This is good news because I have a very low gag threshold and can’t stand having any kind of metal dental instrument in my mouth. Just getting X-rays at the dentist once a year is traumatic for me. I have to give myself a pep talk while biting down. “Just breathe and don’t throw up, just breathe and don’t throw up.” If I had to withstand anything more exotic than a quick cleaning, the dentist would probably have to sedate me.

Getting back to my talking toothbrush, thanks to Bluetooth technology, an app on my phone tells me if I’m brushing long enough, too hard, too soft, or not long enough in a certain area. How my phone knows this is pure sorcery in my opinion, but I’m taking my phone’s advice and trying to do a better job of brushing. After all, good oral hygiene is a part of our overall health and well-being.

In my line of work, I get a lot of feedback from seniors on Medicare. Time and time again, one of their questions is, “How am I going to pay for my dental care?” This is a valid question because original Medicare does not pay for dental care. Without purchasing a separate dental insurance policy, the expenses of cleanings, X-rays, cavities, root canals, crowns, partials or even dentures must come out of your own pocket. (Whew, just typing those procedures made me queasy.)

Some people get to remain on their company’s dental insurance policy when they retire. Others will decide to purchase private dental insurance as part of their overall retirement health insurance expenses. Many people that don’t have these options are kind of left wondering what to do now.

There are many Medicare Advantage plans that offer members a set-amount dental benefit along with medical coverage to help offset some of the expense of dental care. It won’t provide as extensive of coverage as a private dental insurance policy does, but the benefit does help offset some (or all if you have teeth like my grandmother’s) expenses of good dental care.

If keeping your pearly whites in working order is a priority for you but the extra expense of full-blown dental insurance isn’t, a Medicare Advantage plan might be a solution. While you’re at it, you can consider looking into one of those high-tech toothbrushes like mine. As your mother always told you, the best dental care starts with good brushing habits.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Vegetarian Month

Vegetarian Month

It’s Vegetarian Month, and whether you’re a longtime vegetarian, interested in trying it for a week, or just looking for Meatless Monday meal ideas, these healthy vegetarian recipes will be perfect for adding to your rotation.

First up are Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce that make the most of eggs and potatoes.

Breakfast Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
Image and Recipe via Little Spice Jar

 

Game day cravings don’t have to be heavy with this Creamy Vegetarian White Chili.

Creamy Vegetarian White Chili

 

This beautiful Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake is so delicious, no one will guess it’s also healthy.

Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake

 

Looking to lighten up your burrito bowl craving? Try this Taco Grain Bowl with Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas.

Taco Grain Bowl With Crispy Chipotle Chickpeas

 

Save on your takeout budget with this homemade Chickpea and Potato Masala that’s just $1.72 per serving.

Chana Aloo Masala (Chickpea and Potato Masala)

 

These Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles are vegetarian but also protein-packed.

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

Sugar Snap Pea and Carrot Soba Noodles

 

Whip up Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms for an easy dinner that’s ready in just 25 minutes.

Enchilada Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Image and Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron

Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying Prevention Month

It’s Bullying Prevention Month, and it’s important to understand bullying, especially in the age of technology

Bullying is unwanted, repeated aggressive behavior, and it can be direct, happening in person, or indirect, like spreading rumors. It can also be physical, verbal, harming reputations or relationships, or damaging property.

What Is Bullying?

 

Bullying can happen in many locations, and sometimes that place is online or through phones. This cyberbullying can include social media and is usually verbal attacks or spreading rumors online.

The Reach of Cyberbullying

 

Bullying can affect any kids, but certain factors can increase the odds, like low self-esteem or traits that are perceived as different by their peers. Knowing these factors can help you prepare with your kids for possible bullying.

Most bullying takes place in middle school. Educating your kids about bullying can help them cope with being bullied and help prevent them from becoming bullied.

Coping with Bullying

 

Some kids are at risk of both being bullied and bullying, often taking it out on those younger or worse off than them. These youth are at the greatest risk for future behavioral, mental, and academic problems.

Youth Both Bullied and Bullies

 

Persistent bullying that leads to isolation can lead to suicidal behavior, but these kids also frequently have multiple risk factors, like anxiety. Knowing these problems can help you support and guide your children if bullying becomes a factor in the future.

The Risk of Suicide and Bullying

 

Bullying prevention isn’t simple, but when the community comes together to build support and respect, the results are better than strategies like zero tolerance.

Community and Bullying Prevention

Corn Month

Corn Month

It’s Corn Month, so make the most of the veggie with these healthy corn recipes.

First up is a simple and refreshing side that’s especially good with Mexican food, Fresh Cilantro Corn Salad.

Fresh Cilantro Corn Salad

 

This veggie-packed Southwest Chicken Skillet is the perfect, easy weeknight meal for the family.

Southwest Chicken Skillet
Image and Recipe via Barefeet in the Kitchen

 

This light Zucchini Corn Salad is the perfect fall replacement for heavy potluck sides.

Zucchini Corn Salad

 

Fish has never been easier with these refreshing Honey Lime Tilapia and Corn Foil Packs.

Honey Lime Tilapia and Corn Foil Packs
Image and Recipe via Delish

 

Substitute this delicious Basil Pesto & Roasted Corn Rice for your standard rice pilaf.

Basil Pesto & Roasted Corn Rice

 

Make the most of sweet corn with this tasty Fresh Sweet Corn Salad.

Fresh Sweet Corn Salad
Image and Recipe via Eating Well

 

Get your last taste of summer in with these Chicken, Tomatoes, and Corn Foil Packs.

Chicken, Tomatoes, and Corn Foil Packs
Image and Recipe via Delish

Contact Lens Safety Month

Contact Lens Safety Month

It’s Contact Lens Safety Month, and we’ll have tips to help protect your eyes each day this week.

Always make sure you get contact lens prescriptions from an eye doctor and get instructions on lens care when you first get contacts.

Lenses from Your Doctor

 

Don’t reuse contact lens solution. It loses its ability to disinfect them, so use fresh solution each time you take your lenses out.

Fresh Contact Solution

 

Don’t use saline solution for cleaning your lenses. Saline solution is best for rewetting your contacts, but it won’t clean or disinfect them.

When to Use Saline Solution

 

Never re-wet your contacts with saliva. Your mouth is not sterile, and it can easily cause eye infections.

Rewetting Your Contacts

 

If your contacts are bothering you, don’t ignore it. Irritation can be a sign of infections or other problems, so take them out as soon as possible.

Eye Irritation and Contacts

 

Take out your contacts before you shower or swim. Your lenses can trap bacteria from water against your eyes and cause serious infections.

Water and Your Contact Lenses

 

Unless your contacts are specifically designed to wear through the night, never sleep in your contacts. Your lenses can trap bacteria in your eyes, and it’s good to have oxygen flow.

Your Contacts and Sleeping

National Liver Awareness Month

National Liver Awareness Month

October is National Liver Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to learn more about liver disease and cancer.

Inflammation is an early sign of liver disease that points to the body fighting an infection or healing. Treatment at this stage can prevent worse problems.

Liver cancer is one of the deadliest kinds of cancer, and it’s one of the only cancers that’s on the rise. Hepatitis B or C virus (HBV or HCV) infections are the most common cause of liver cancer.

Fighting Hepatitis B and C Infections in the Liver

 

Liver cirrhosis has been tied to liver disease, cancer, and failure. Cirrhosis is when liver cells are damaged and replaced by scar tissue. It’s most often caused by alcohol abuse or HBV and HCV infections.

Causes of Liver Cirrhosis

 

Another cause of cirrhosis that damages the liver is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is when fat builds up in the liver. Obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure and cholesterol can all cause this issue.

Obesity-Related Diseases and Your Liver

 

If not properly treated, liver disease can lead to liver failure, which is life-threatening. Doctors have to try to save what they can of the liver, or else a liver transplant would be required.  

The Dangers of Liver Failure

 

Unfortunately, there’s no standard screening to catch liver cancer early, although for people at higher risk, doctors sometimes use ultrasound exams.

Diagnosis: Liver Cancer

 

Learn more about liver issues, find support, or help further research and treatment.

Make a Difference in Liver Health for All

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