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Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

Posted by on 2:41 pm in Nutrition | Comments Off on Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

Root Vegetables: Old School Nutrition

If you are struggling to eat more vegetables and get more natural fiber in your diet, think about returning to your roots. Fifty years ago, many black families had gardens — even if they lived in urban areas. They grew staples from down home: turnips, carrots, beets and onions among other delicacies. Getting your hands in the earth was both financially and physically beneficial. Even if you are green thumb-challenged, getting these super vegetables on your table is as easy as hitting the local farmers market or the corner grocery. If you live in a food desert, where stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables are scarce, think about planting some of these root vegetables yourself. The health benefits are extraordinary. Carrots are high in beta-carotene and other anti-oxidants that help the body fight off disease. Beets are high in minerals and vitamins, including A, B, C and folic acid. Beets are also high fiber and rich in iron that strengthen the blood. They help to cleanse the body and can help with sex drive as well. Turnips can keep blood pressure low and help decrease the risk of diabetes, obesity and hearth disease. Onions are high in Vitamin C and they can also assist in regulating blood sugar. For centuries they’ve been used to heal infections and reduce inflammation. For middle-age people looking to maintain their health, adding these root vegetables can  lower the risk for so many disease that can plague you in your elder years. Keep your knees and heart healthier by incorporating root vegetables in your diet. These vegetables can also help with the very problems that are known to increase your risk of dementia – obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. Curious? Try this super simple recipe for roasted root vegetables, courstesy of the U.S. Agriculture department. Photo courtesy of Le Living and co and licensed under CC 2.0 Photo courtesy of Gunnar Magnusson – Root Vegetables and licensed under CC...

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ID Thieves Love Seniors

Posted by on 8:06 pm in News | 0 comments

ID Thieves Love Seniors

In February Health insurer Anthem, an independent Blue Cross Blue Shield service provider,  reported that at least 8.8 million people could be victims of a massive data breach in which the names, dates of birth, social security numbers and other sensitive material could have been harvested. That same month in Indianapolis, police busted an identity theft ring targeting elderly people in at least one nursing home. Police found more than $100,000 in money and merchandise stolen from victims. The culprits opened fraudulent credit cards in the seniors names and went on shopping sprees. The victims of the thieves ranged in age from 80 to 90.   And in California just this month, police arrested a woman who they said burglarized senior citizens living in a senior citizen apartment complex near Fresno. The woman was identified as an employee at the apartment complex who made off with jewelry and other items and who opened fraudulent credit cards in her victims’ names. Seniors are prime targets for identity thieves because they may not be actively monitoring their credit or may be too trusting of people looking to work scams on them to gain their identity or money. LockLife, a credit monitoring and identity protection company, say there are other reasons why seniors are often on ID thieves hit lists: they might not report the crime because they are embarrassed they were had; they might have a large nest egg that is tempting for con artists and increased use of Medicare might mean sensitive information – such as social security numbers and birthdates – are in the hands of more and more people at doctors offices or assisted living facilities. LifeLock has several suggestions for seniors or their care-givers to keep ID theft at bay: Don’t carry your social security card Never give out Medicare or Medicaid information over the phone or in answer to an email Pick up new checks at the bank rather than have them mailed For more tips, click here. If you or your loved one is an Anthem customer — as my own mother is — go online to sign up for free credit monitoring to make sure someone is not out shopping with credit cards created in their victims names. Credit cards by Sean MacEntee license under CC...

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Nursing Home Cheers and Jeers

Posted by on 10:26 pm in Care-Giver | 0 comments

Nursing Home Cheers and Jeers

The number of elderly in the United States is expected to jump 135 percent by the year 2050. Even more sobering is the number of elders who will need long-term care will go up by 350 percent in those 35 short years. You read the stories about abuse in nursing home and you see the reports of other nursing homes that have made a huge difference in the lives of seniors and families by providing a safe place where seniors with health problems can get the care and treatment they need. But how can you tell one from other? There are many resources that provide a kind of report card on states and on individual nursing homes or companies that might have facilities in several cities. One, Families for Better Care, allows you to search to see how well your state is monitoring the treatment and care of residents. Medicare.gov also has an online database where you can compare facilities that are certified by Medicaid or Medicare. Finding a place that is responsive to both resident and family needs, that is clean and employs people who care can be a challenge but it is not impossible. Do your homework first so you can minimize the number of times you have to relocate your loved...

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Elder Care Costs Skyrocket

Posted by on 3:35 pm in Care-Giver | 0 comments

Elder Care Costs Skyrocket

How much does it cost to take care of an aging parent or grandparent? A whopping $91,250 a year according to one group that tracks nursing home charges. One year in a nursing home costs nearly as much as three years of tuition at a private college, U.S. News & World Report said. Having in-home care from an agency runs about $45,760, the magazine estimates. Medicare does not pay for long-term care, whether that is in a nursing home or in-home care. Medicaid will pay for care if the person is very low income, but with the rising number of elders expected to hit the system over the next decade, it is unclear if Medicaid will be a long-term viable option when you might need it. Usually payment for in-home, assisted living or nursing home care will come out of pocket or from other sources, such as a long-term health insurance policy. Get those before you or a loved one hits their mid-80s. In the Black community, senior care for decades have been done in the home where a daughter or son will adjust their schedule or quit work altogether to take care of mom or dad. With fewer assets in general than White America, Black families today often struggle to come up with the extra dollars to pull in a home health care aide or to cover assisted living arrangements. If you haven’t already, look into buying long-term care health insurance for your loved ones so you can tap that resource when or if the time comes. Make a plan with siblings or other relatives if you are going to attempt in-home care. With the number of elderly expected to grow as the baby boom generation enters their twilight years, elder care economics are no longer a question of if, only a question of when you will be faced with that...

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What to Eat Before a Run

Posted by on 3:05 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

What to Eat Before a Run

If you are just starting out as a runner, one of the big questions might be what to eat before you hit the trail. Being too full can weigh you down and might cause you to get queasy. If you are hungry or running first thing in the morning, skipping breakfast might cause you to run out of steam or, worse yet, get dizzy. Black Girls Run, a fabulous sisterhood of sisters who run or who would like to run but don’t know how to get started, suggests the following: A banana and a scoop of nut butter Half a bagel with jam or honey A handful of strawberries or blueberries Get additional tips here. Remember, exercising and eating balanced meals with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables can help you age...

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Black Death Toll from Diabetes is Staggering

Posted by on 12:33 pm in News | 0 comments

Black Death Toll from Diabetes is Staggering

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are the primary reasons behind a disturbing increase in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases in the United States. The areas with significant increases were in the South, home to the largest concentration of African Americans. After heart disease, cancer and homicide, diabetes is the fourth most prevalent reason that Black Americans die earlier than White Americans. The states with the highest diabetes rates are Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Florida and Delaware. Of those 10 states, nine are in the South. Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that only 10 counties in the United States saw a decrease in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases between 2004 and 2012. The vast majority saw an increase. An interactive map created by The Data Dude tells the story of the march of diabetes across the country, county by county. Hover over your county to see the percentages there. In Henry County, Ala., for example, whose population is more than 32 percent black, the number of diabetes cases jumped to nearly 17 percent of the population. In Wilkinson County, Miss., which was founded as a center for cotton production based on slave labor and later sharecropping, more than 19 percent of the small population of less than 10,000 people have Type 2 diabetes. African Americans make up more than 68 percent of the population in Wilkinson County. The increase in Type 2 diabetes is alarming because of the damage that it does to the human body and brain and because it is avoidable. Untreated diabetes can result in loss of limbs and eyesight, cardiovascular disease and kidney failure. Obesity and lack of physical exercise are the biggest contributing factor to a person getting diabetes. More than two-thirds of the American population is overweight or obese, according to The Food Research and Action Center, a non-profit dedicated to eradicating hunger and undernutrition in the United States. Sadly, 82 percent of Black women and more than 77 percent of Hispanic women are overweight or obese. Hispanic men top out at more than 78 percent being overweight or obese as compared to 69 percent of Black men.  Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising can ward off diabetes and the damage to both mind and body. As people age, the stakes become even higher other than having to take a maintenance regime of meds and, perhaps, insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a top cause of cognitive decline that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have concluded that if diabetes were 10 percent lower, that 81,000 Alzheimer’s disease cases worldwide could be prevented and 17,000 cases just in the United States. If diabetes were 25 percent lower, 203,000 cases could be avoided worldwide and 42,000 cases in the U.S. Imagine, 42,000 fewer mothers and fathers, aunts and grandfathers who could live out their senior years without losing their most precious assets: their minds and...

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Elder Care? An App for That

Posted by on 2:01 pm in News | 0 comments

Elder Care? An App for That

Can the tech elite reinvent the way we care for people as they age? A new venture founded by some of Silicon Valley’s savviest tech folk want to create new ways of getting care to senior citizens in the same way that they used technology to make it easier to crowd source fundraising or hail a ride to the airport. According to Forbes Magazine, the founders of a new company called Honor want to do just that. “We are working to completely modernize in-home care for seniors,” Seth Sternberg, the co-founder and CEO of Honor, told the magazine. “Our goal is to keep our parents in their homes for as long as we possibly can.” Sternberg sold his last company, Meebo, to Google. Honor hopes to help match home health care workers to seniors and families in need. Caregivers will be able to list their skills, availability and how far they are willing to travel. Seniors or their families can list what type of provider they need, the hours and any special considerations, such as if they need a person who can speak Spanish. Honor will pay their contractors at least $15 an hour, which is higher than the average low wage. Besides the better wages, the company’s founders hope that the idea of better control over schedule and the ability to turn down assignments if, for example, the job is too away will help to recruit experienced in-home care workers. The company will pilot the program in San Francisco before expanding to other parts of the state and, eventually, other parts of the...

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Is it Alzheimer’s?

Posted by on 1:51 pm in News | 0 comments

Is it Alzheimer’s?

Does my mother have Alzheimer’s? Does your dad have it? How about granny? According to a new report by the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 50 percent of patients or their families have never been given a diagnosis. Years ago, the only way to say with certainty that a person had Alzheimer’s was through an autopsy. Today, there are other tests that can determine if someone has Alzheimer’s. Yet, many doctors don’t disclose the disease despite guidelines from a half dozen advocacy organizations that urge doctors to be forthright using “plain but sensitive language,” according to a study released March 24 by the Alzheimer’s Association. “It is still common for patients and their caregivers to not be made aware of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or to be left with insufficient understanding of the true nature of the diagnosis.” Why? In some cases, doctors are concerned about causing distress to the person hearing the diagnosis. In an analysis of Medicare records the Alzheimer’s Assocation found that only 45 percent of people with Alzheimer’s (or their caregiver) were told of their condition. By contrast, 93 percent of people with common cancers such as breast or colon cancer were told of their condition. If you suspect Alzheimer’s, have a frank conversation with your doctor or the doctor of the person for whom you are the caregiver. Then figure out a way to break the news for the person with the diagnosis. It might be hard but truth is the best way to set the ball in motion to getting a care plan figured...

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The Importance of Planning for Elder Care

Posted by on 11:30 am in Care-Giver | 0 comments

The Importance of Planning for Elder Care

Few expectant parents would dare wait until mom’s water breaks to start thinking about accommodations for the baby. Yet, when it comes to elder care planning, too many of us sit in denial about the needs of aging parents or other loved ones. The middle of a crisis – when it’s clear that mom or granddaddy or auntie needs help – is the worst time to try to put together a care plan. Everybody’s emotions are high. Maybe your loved one is unable because of physical, mental or emotional reasons to tell you where important documents are or if they have made a plan of their own. Yes, it is difficult to have those conversations with your parents or other elderly family members. Who wants to discuss home health care aids, nursing homes or giving up a cherished home to move in with one of the kids? So we put if off a few more times until decision time is a bullet train hurdling at you 350 miles an hour. For your own sanity, heed the advice of Dave Nesbit, founder and managing partner at Keystone Elder Law, and don’t put off difficult conversations or planning. If you are fortunate, your loved ones will be with you for a very long time to come. They just need for you to be as prepared as they were for you all those years...

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The High Blood Pressure Link to Potatoes

Posted by on 3:00 pm in News | 0 comments

The High Blood Pressure Link to Potatoes

Who doesn’t love a good potato? French fries. Baked potatoes. Greek-style potatoes. Hash Browns. Au gratin. A new study, however, has found that people who eat potatoes four or more times a week have an increased risk of hypertension. People who eat french fries have a 17 percent higher risk for high blood pressure. African Americans, who have a higher risk for high blood pressure especially as we age, need to particularly take note. As the New York Times reported, even after controlling for body mass index, physical activity, smoking and other factors, researchers found that compared to eating potatoes only once a month, having one potato — baked, boiled or mashed — four to six times a week increased the risk for hypertension by 11 percent. Eating four or more four-ounce servings of French fries a week increased the risk by 17 percent. Potatoes are a mainstay of traditional soul food. Hash browns for breakfast, baked potatoes or french fries at lunch, and mashed potatoes or potato salad for Sunday dinner or special occasions are commonplace. But researchers sorting through data from more than 187,000 women and men over 25 years found the potato link to hypertension. Potato consumption can cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, which can affect the vessels and create inflammation, which increase risk of hypertension. Cutting down on potato consumption to a couple times a month — and leaving out the extra butter, fat-laden gravy and salt — might lower risk of high blood pressure. Given that hypertension is a factor in increased risk for cognitive decline as we age, cutting back on tubers could help both the heart and the...

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Tech Watch: Could Radar Help to Prevent Falls Among the Elderly?

Posted by on 7:22 pm in News | 0 comments

Tech Watch: Could Radar Help to Prevent Falls Among the Elderly?

Researchers are working on a unique way of alerting first responders when an elderly person falls. Radar designed to distinguish a fall from other movement could be ready in a few years, says principle researcher Dr. Moeness Amin, director of Advanced Communications in the College of Engineering at Villanova. A local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia spoke to Dr. Amin about his research. Dr. Amin is working on a radar system that would work inside an assistant living facility (and eventually, perhaps, a person’s home) that could detect a fall and automatically alert first responders. Dr. Amin recently won a prestigious Humbolt Prize for his groundbreaking signal processing research projects. Those projects include indoor remote monitoring. Unlike other technologies that rely on a person who has fallen being able to press a button to signal for help, Dr. Amin’s technology could sound the alarm as soon as it detects a fall. The United States is aging at a rapid rate; 8,000 Americans turn 65 every month and a full 20 percent of the U.S. population will be older than 65. Falls become more common as people age and most happen at home, according to the National Institute of Health. Falls just don’t happen, according to federal researchers, and are usually because of underlying issues such as: • Muscle weakness in the legs • Problems with gait – how a person walks • A rapid drop in blood pressure when you  get up from sitting or lying down • Foot problems or wearing unsafe shoes • Vision issues, including glaucoma, cataracts or depth perception problems,  can contribute to falling • Sensory problems such as having foot dumbness can cause missteps. • Finally, general confusion can cause you to lose your balance, especially if you wake up in an unfamiliar place As people age, they (or a loved one) should elder-proof their home – such as removing small rugs, making sure there aren’t lose cords or other things in a footpath – and making sure that stairs are well-lit and free of any items that can cause a...

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Is an Aging Federal Workforce a Problem?

Posted by on 8:03 pm in News | 0 comments

Is an Aging Federal Workforce a Problem?

Are aging workers the problem for institutions looking for innovative thinking? That’s part of a debate that has been raging in recent days over the graying of the federal workforce. It started with a column arguing for a plan to increase the number of federal workers under 30 so a new crop of experts can start moving up and be prepared as the older federal workforce starts retiring en mass. That led to another columnist arguing that it was time the U.S. government got serious about showing a huge number of boomers the door by offering early retirement incentives. Alan Balutis, who is senior director and distinguished fellow with Cisco Systems’ U.S. Public Sector Group, argued that what is wrong with the U.S. government is a stagnation of new ideas: “[W]hen we are asked what the government needs in order to change, the answer is not new legislation, or regulation, better systems or another presidential initiative — although all are important. The common answer is, “We need to change the culture,” Balutis wrote. “And to change the culture, we need to change old thinking, old ways of doing business, old management styles. We need to change many of the senior people.” For many middle-class African American boomers, many of whom built comfortable lives through service in the federal workforce, a push toward early retirement might be too much too soon. How many are ready for retirement, even if it comes with a $25,000 incentive bonus? How many of us properly weathered the Great Recession? Statistics show that Black Americans were hit harder by the recession because home equity made up a greater portion of Black wealth. So when the home crisis hit, it decimated net worth in many Black households. Coupled with that, the recovery has been slower in predominantly Black neighborhoods. The talk about cleaning house in the federal work force – to usher in younger people with innovative ideas – should be noted and if you haven’t started to prepare, you need to, especially after this November’s presidential...

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B. Smith’s Story Before and After Alzheimer’s

Posted by on 10:04 pm in News | 0 comments

B. Smith’s Story Before and After Alzheimer’s

Restaurateur, magazine publisher, and celebrity chef, B. Smith is struggling at 64 with Alzheimer's Disease. She’s not alone. Every 67 seconds someone newly develops it, and millions of lives are affected by its aftershocks. - Crown Publishing Group...

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Alz Pioneer Dr. Solomon C. Fuller

Posted by on 8:58 pm in News | 0 comments

Alz Pioneer Dr. Solomon C. Fuller

Much of what the world came to know about dementia in the early part of the 20th Century was due to the work of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the particular type of dementia that bears his name. But it was Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, an African American, who made the connection between the disease and changes in the brains of those with it. Fuller also made sure that Dr. Alzheimer’s findings were translated into English and accessible to physicians and psychologists in England and the United States as they tried to figure out this memory-stealing disease. Dr. Fuller worked alongside Dr. Alzheimer’s and later practiced at Westborough State Mental Hospital in Massachusetts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it was at Westborough that Dr. Fuller pioneered “revolutionary research” on the physical changes in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Fuller was born in Liberia, the descendant of American slaves who had freed themselves then immigrated to Liberia to establish a home away from the United States. His grandfather had been enslaved in Virginia, but later bought his and wife’s freedom and took off for West Africa. His father was an official in the Liberian government and a coffee planter by trade and his mother, the daughter of physicians, ran a school where she taught young Fuller and other children. He studied at Livingstone College in North Carolina and the Long Island College Medical School before getting his medical degree from the Boston University Medical School, which was open to both Blacks and women. He did further study and research at the psychiatric clinic at the University of Munich in Germany, where he met and worked with Dr. Alzheimer and Emil Kraepelin, who is considered the founder of modern psychiatry because he believed that psychiatric disease was biological and a genetic malfunction. It was at Westborough State Mental Hospital where Fuller did his pioneering work establishing the changes in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, which undergirds the work being done now to understand the biological causes of those changes and how to derail them before they start destroying the brain. Dr. Fuller lived most of his life in Framingham, Mass., with his wife, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller. Meta Fuller was a multitalented artist who was considered one of the most imaginative African American artist of her generation and whose works in poetry, sculpture and painting helped create intense interest in Black art that foreshadowed the Harlem Renaissance. “Solomon Carter Fuller” by anonymous/unknown – NYPL. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons “Vauxwarrickfuller” by Benjamin Griffith Brawley – 1882-1939...

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Why You Need to Sleep Deeply

Posted by on 9:40 am in News | 0 comments

Why You Need to Sleep Deeply

Those of us in the middle of life know that our days are filled to the brink and our nights are often continuation of our days. Between work emails that keep coming past 6 p.m. and activities for our kids or community — not to mention all the distractions of social media or must-see TV — few of us are getting the quality sleep we need. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults age 26 to 64 should get 7-9 hours of sleep and our elders should get about the same, 7-8 hours. Besides benefits such as looking amazing, researchers have found that poor sleep patterns can cause depression, anxiety, diabetes and weight gain, disorders that impact African Americans excessively already. New research, however, show that poor sleep might also increase risk for Alzheimer’s. It’s not just that people with Alzheimer’s are poor sleepers, but the absence of quality sleep among younger and middle-age adults can result in a build up of toxins in the brain that are linked with Alzheimer’s. It works like this: during deep sleep the brain flushes out the toxins that can lead to a buildup of amyloid plaques – the sticky substance found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, according to brain scientists at the Oregon Health & Science University. People who are not getting enough sleep are robbed of that nightly cleansing. Jeffrey Iliff, one of the chief investigators of this theory, explained to NPR, that clean, clear cerebrospinal fluid normally on the outside of the brain recirculates into and through the brain along the outside of blood vessels. This process allows the brain to clear out toxins, including those ones linked to Alzheimer’s. “That suggests at least one possible way that disruption in sleep may predispose toward Alzheimer’s disease,” he told NPR. Iliff and his team have done studies on mice, but are about to launch a new study to clarify what is happening in humans. So what should a person with poor sleep do? Reaching for sleep aids is not the answer, scientists say, because they won’t help you achieve that deep sleep you need. It might take a few days to get it just right, but the Sleep Foundation recommends these tips to help you get into the right sleep routine: Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends so you aren’t constantly readjusting Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual (such as meditation or prayer) Exercise daily (which also help with keep obesity and other Alzheimer’s-causing cardio vascular issue at bay) Make sure your bedroom is a good temperature (cooler is better), is quiet and as dark as you can get it (hint: remove or cover up the lights from electronics, including alarm clocks) Avoid alcohol and caffeine and other hidden sleep stealers Turn off electronics before bed Because getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, the Sleep Foundation suggests giving yourself a few days to get into your new routine: “The most effective tactic is to make small changes slowly. If you’re trying to go to sleep at 10:00pm, rather than midnight, for example, try this: For the first three or four nights, go to bed at 11:45pm, and then go to bed at 11:30pm for the next few days. Keep adjusting your sleep schedule like this. By working in 15-minute...

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2016 Resolution: Eat Your Peas and Greens

Posted by on 10:39 am in Nutrition | 0 comments

2016 Resolution: Eat Your Peas and Greens

The traditional New Year’s Day soul food meal is loaded with nutritional benefits. So go ahead and indulge, but make sure you don’t kill the goodness with unnecessary fat, salt and calories. Throughout the South and in many black neighborhoods, families will sit down for a home-cooked meal of black-eyed peas, greens and pork. The humble peas are said to be a sign of humility but this simple bean is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate and iron. The greens symbolize the US dollar and prosperity. One cup of boiled or sauted greens  is a rich source of vitamin K and also contain folate, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, choline, phosphorus and potassium. The pork? Well, that’s just because it flavors everything so nicely but can add fat to an otherwise healthful dish. Considering that it is the 21st Century and not the 19th, we can skip the fatback and opt instead for a bit smoked turkey for meat eaters and liberal use of garlic, onions and seasons for those who don’t want the animal fat. Garlic, sesame oil, onions and red pepper flakes along with the use of a vegetable broth can give flavor to collard greens without the fat that comes with using pork. There are any number of ways to kick up black-eyed peas. You can combine collards and the peas as in this recipe from The New York Times Cooking site. Or spice them up in this heart-healthy curry recipe that many Indians traditionally cook. Sunny Anderson of the Food Network’s “Cooking for Real” show flavors her southern-style collard greens with tomatoes, red pepper flakes, garlic, onions and just a bit of butter. It can be done without rebellion at the dinner table. It’s a new year and with obesity rates going through the roof in our community, resolve to keep the flavor but just lose the fat. Black-eyed pea photo by Andrea Nguyen under the CC 2.0 license. Collard Greens photo by Bordecia34 under the CC 2.0...

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Prep for Doctor’s Appointment With These Tips

Posted by on 8:58 am in Care-Giver | 0 comments

Prep for Doctor’s Appointment With These Tips

Make a resolution to get your elderly loved one to the doctor early this year, but don’t go unprepared. The Mayo Clinic has great suggestions for how you can make the most of those appointments such as information you should provide to the doctor as well as questions you should take with you. Make sure you schedule appointments when your elder is generally at her or his best. Remember, many elders have a more difficult time as the day wears on so going to the doctor after work to avoid “sundowning” syndrome when they are likely to be more confused and irritable. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “as many as 20 percent of persons with Alzheimer’s will experience increased confusion, anxiety and agitation beginning late in the day,” usually around dusk. Write down the issues you want to discuss with the doctor. Take a few minutes to note any changes you have seen in your loved one. Has he been more confused lately? Has she been sporadic about eating? “Your insight might be the critical factor in determining what’s best for your loved one,” Mayo Clinic experts say. So don’t hold back; honesty about issues — even ones that might be embarrassing such as bedwetting or sexually acting out — will help physicians determine what is going on. Take a notepad so you can take notes on what the doctor says and any suggestions she might have for your senior. Many doctor’s appointments can be emotionally taxing because you might hear what is hard to reconcile — that your parent or spouse is getting worse instead of better — so take notes so you can go back to them later when your mind has quieted. Definitely ask for help and referrals. It might be time to make an appointment with a specialist or a memory center. Physicians with many elderly patients might have good information on community resources such as an Area Agency on Aging that can help you come up with an escalating care plan. Get additional tips from the Mayo Clinic here. Header photo courtesy of Dreamstime under the the Limited Royalty Free Licenses...

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New Year, New Obesity Rates

Posted by on 10:23 am in Nutrition | 0 comments

New Year, New Obesity Rates

Black women are collectively in bad shape, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Eighty percent — yep, 80% — are overweight or obese. That means sisters have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 25. Black men, sadly, are not far behind with 70% being overweight or obese. Nearly a quarter of Black children, 6-11, are overweight — 24.5 percent for girls and 23.3 percent for boys fall in this category. Another 25 percent of African American children are obese, according to Health and Human Services data. In this New Year, let us collectively resolve to lose the weight. Obesity can lead to a host of problems — from Type 2 diabetes to increased chance of stroke or heart attack to greatly increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia as we age. Walk, dance, run, cycle, swim or cross train. If you don’t know how to, learn to cook as the “soul food” that one gets at fast food restaurants is the nutritional equivalent of heroin and can kill you just as effectively. If you do know how to cook, try dishes that are low in fat and calories but still are familiar to you. For example, try this lower fat Mac and Cheese recipe from Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style): 2 cups macaroni 2 cups onions chopped 2 cups evaporated fat-free milk 1 medium egg, beaten ¼ teaspoon black pepper 1¼ cups low-fat cheddar cheese, finely shredded nonstick cooking spray, as needed Cook macaroni according to directions—but do not add salt to the cooking water. Drain and set aside. Spray casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 o F. Lightly spray saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add onions to saucepan and saute for about 3 minutes. In another bowl, combine macaroni, onions, and the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Transfer mixture into casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings Serving size: ½ cup Calories 200 Total Fat 4 g Saturated Fat 2 g Cholesterol 34 mg Sodium 120 mg Total Fiber 1 g Protein 11 g Carbohydrates 29 g Potassium 119 mg Download the entire cookbook here for ideas on reducing the fat and calories in cornbread, fish, chicken and more Play around with seasonings besides salt to get the dishes to your particular liking. Seriously, have a happy and healthful New...

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