Tag Archives: childhood

Hot Cocoa and Winter Health Risks

Long View: Cold Hands, Hot Cocoa

I always remember December from my childhood, when the weather got subzero, and the wind was playfully whipping snowflakes around. School was out for the holidays, and my sister and I always loved to play outdoors, despite the frigid temperatures.

We would come downstairs with our garb, and Mom would get us all bundled up to brave the weather. Snowsuits, scarves, hats, gloves, and boots were standard outerwear those days. My mom would secure the scarf so that it would stay put, and the hat would cover my ears and my forehead. When she was through, I could barely see and hardly move.

I remember stiffly walking out the door, hoping that with more movement, I would loosen up enough to enjoy some of the winter wonderland we called our yard. Hot cocoa would be waiting for us when we came in, and it was like magic what that cup of warmth could do!

Today, I run out of the house without a coat, hat, gloves, or scarf, thinking, I’m just going to the car, then running in to work. My days of bundling up are over. This is what happens when you go from 6 years old to 60. But honestly, what am I thinking?

Winter health risks should be a concern for our aging population. (Hey, that’s me too!) The most obvious risk is the weather itself. Midwestern winters can consist of ice and snow. Driving is a challenge. Walking is even more of a challenge. Slips on ice are a major risk, so it’s important to wear the right shoes or boots with good traction if you have to go out.  

Hypothermia is also a common winter weather health risk. Hypothermia means your body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees, and once it gets to that point for a prolonged period of time, you can’t produce enough energy to stay warm.

Symptoms include shivering, cold pale skin, lack of coordination, slowed reactions and breathing, and mental confusion. It’s good to pay attention to how cold it is where you are, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. Also, make sure you’re eating enough to keep up a healthy weight. Body fat helps you stay warm.

Frostbite is another health risk during the winter months. Frostbite means your skin has been over-exposed to cold temperatures, and it usually affects the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes. It can be severe and cause permanent damage to the skin, and even progress to the bone.

Frostbite can affect anyone who is exposed to below freezing temperatures, in particular, those who aren’t wearing the right clothing. It’s important to wear layers, preferably 2 to 3 layers of loose-fitting clothing, as well as a coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf. Covering up your nose and mouth will also protect your lungs from the cold air.

As for drinking a cup of hot cocoa, well, that is a winter weather health benefit! According to a study at Cornell University, hot cocoa has almost twice as many antioxidants as red wine, and 2 to 3 times more than green tea! This winter, enjoy the magic of the season by keeping yourself safe and warm.

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Healthy Frozen Pop Recipes

Healthy Frozen Pop Recipes

Summer’s winding down, but it’s never too late to stock your freezer with some refreshing and tasty treats with this week’s healthy frozen pop recipes.

First up is a colorful treat, Tropical Coconut Chia Pops.

Tropical coconut chia pops

 

Skip the iced latte with these Roasted Blueberries ‘n’ Cream Matcha Pops.

Roasted Blueberries n’ Cream Matcha Pops

 

Rehydrating Electrolyte Pops are the perfect treat after a day at the pool or working outside.

Rehydrating Eletrolyte Popsicles

 

 

Relive your childhood or excite your kids with these Healthy Fudge Pops.

Healthy Fudgesicles

Healthy Fudgesicles Recipe

 

Dress up your ice pop for adults with these easy Herb-Infused Fruit Pops.

Herb-Infused Fruit Popsicles

 

Have Coconut Lime Pops to feel like you spent the day at the beach.

Coconut Lime Popsicles

 

Ditch the ice cream pint with these Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Pops.

Mint Chocolate Chip Greek Yoghurt Popsicles

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School Lunches Done Right

Vantage Point: Eating Like a Grown-Up

With the holidays fast-approaching, I think fondly of my mother. She was a private and commercial cook for over 40 years and was very good about making our family eat balanced meals. Of course, she included my school lunches in that quest as well.

Like every kid, I wanted a lunch just like my friends’. Their menus consisted of:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Bags of chips
  • Carrots (only a few)
  • A Twinkie or Hostess cupcake

My mother had other ideas. Here’s an example of what my lunches consisted of:

  • Meatloaf sandwich
  • Cut-up celery
  • An apple or pear
  • A box of raisins

To a sixth-grader, this was so not cool. I pleaded and begged with my mom to change what she was putting in my lunches, to no avail. By high school, I was buying lunch, and she never knew what I ate.

Fast forward to my lunches as an adult. Most days, I eat leftovers from dinner the night before, which works out great because they are well-balanced meals. However, on those days when I am on-the-go out of the office, it’s a little bit more work to eat a balanced meal. I sometimes feel like I am channeling my mother, or she’s haunting me.

I think all of our tastes develop and get more complex as we get older. And with that, healthier eating gets easier, especially if we make the choice. I find myself making that choice by looking for places to eat where the food is served fresh, well-balanced, and healthy.

And every once in a while, I still find myself wanting a Twinkie or a Hostess cupcake, well…just because I can.

Joy Stanford is a community liaison with Health Alliance, serving Thurston County. She’s been involved with Medicare for 20+ years and truly enjoys it. She enjoys gospel, R&B, and country music, and she owns over 100 pairs of shoes.

Old School Lunching

Long View: What Food Group Includes Olive Loaf?

My childhood lunch menu:

Appetizer

  • Banana
  • In-season apple

Entrée

  • Olive loaf sandwich on soft white bread, with lavishly applied mayonnaise (The sandwich had to be cut on the diagonal, or I wouldn’t eat it.)
  • Fresh Fritos in an individual bag serving

Dessert

  • Hostess Ding Dong or Sno Balls

Beverages

  • Sweet tea, chocolate milk, or Kool-Aid

There was little variation in this menu when my brother and I were little kids, and our mom saw little reason to change it. She, and countless other mothers at that time, felt this was a nutritious, filling lunch for 2 growing boys. On the positive side, the Fritos were made from corn, so it counted as a vegetable.

After lunch, Mom expected us to lie down and take a nap. We never went to sleep for some reason, but at least she got a few moments of peace and quiet.

OK, so this was probably not the most nutritious meal we could have eaten, but our supper was usually a well-balanced meal. However, dessert was a nightly occurrence, and a spectacular Jell-O salad often graced the table. Neither my brother nor I seem to have suffered any ill effects. At least not yet.

Remember, this was a time when candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars were common treats for kids. Flavored sugar water in tiny wax bottles was a Halloween staple, for reasons that are still unclear to me now. SweeTARTS were an odd and unexplainable pleasure, and we ate them by the fistful.

In retrospect, my food preferences have certainly changed over the years. I refused anything with cheese in it, except for a grilled cheese sandwich. I guess in my head, the grilling made it acceptable. I wouldn’t eat a vegetable unless it was cooked to death. That is definitely not the case now. I needed all my seafood encased in a crispy, fried batter, and I remember hating beets. Wait, I still hate beets.

I think we all develop our palates over time and grow to have more complex taste preferences. Healthier eating seems a lot more attainable these days, at least if we make the choice.

But occasionally, I still grow nostalgic for the treats I enjoyed as a child. I recently bought some olive loaf and white bread so that I could recreate my childhood favorite.

It was disgusting.

Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. If you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, and he is known for his inability to parallel park.

Checkup for Thyroid Awareness Month

Thyroid Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Do you know how important your thyroid is?

The Importance of Your Thyroid

 

About 1% of Americans will develop enlarged thyroids, and it affects  5-10 times more women than men.

Women and Thyroid Problems

 

Most of the 30 million people with a thyroid condition don’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone.

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Thyroid cancer can be painless and without symptoms. Learn more to protect yourself.

Thyroid Cancer Danger

 

To find thyroid problems and cancer early, learn how to do this simple Neck Check self-exam.

It’s extremely important to take care of the thyroid during pregnancy and infancy. Why?

Your Thyroid During Pregnancy

 

Medication adherence is key for those with hypothyroidism. MyPillCheck can help.

Taking Your Thyroid Meds

 

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Healthy Summer Drinks

Healthy Summer Drinks

Looking for something cool, refreshing, and healthy to sip by the pool or for your kids to sell at their stand? We have the perfect healthy summer drinks for you!

First up was a Watermelon Agua Fresca that lets you drink your favorite summertime fruit.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Watermelon Agua Fresca

 

This Sugar-Free Lemonade also tastes great made with sparkling water, and it’s much better for you than soda.

Sugar Free Lemonades
Image and Recipe via Yummy Mummy Kitchen

 

Honeydew and Raspberry Agua Fresca is refreshing way to drink your fruit.

Honeydew Raspberry Agua Fresca
Image and Recipe via The Wanderlust Kitchen

 

This Homemade Strawberry Lemonade will be everyone’s favorite summer drink, so it’s a good thing it’s a big batch.

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

 

Sparkling Mint and Blackberry Agua Frescas are such a pretty drink that they’re sure to impress the guests at your next summer party.

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Aguas Frescas

 

Vanilla Berry Lemonade is a more sophisticated take on the classic childhood drink.

Vanilla Berry Lemonade

 

This Peach Agua Fresca is the perfect drink to enjoy beside the pool or on picnics, and the jalapeño garnish adds the perfect kick.

Peach Agua Fresca

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