Thursday, March 23, 2017

March 23, National Puppy Day
Health Benefits

Studies have found that:
• Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.
• People with pets have lower blood pressure in stressful situations than those without pets.
• Playing with a pet can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax.
• Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without pets.
• Heart attack patients with pets survive longer than those without.
• Pet owners over age 65 make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors than those without pets.

Caring for a pet can help with those healthy lifestyle changes by:
• Increasing exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
• Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
• Helping meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
• Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
• Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood—depressed, anxious, or stressed—you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet.
• Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.

Pets and older adults
The key to aging well is to effectively handle life’s major changes, such as retirement, the loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. Pets can play an important role in healthy aging by:
• Helping you find meaning and joy in life. As you age, you’ll lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. You may retire from your career or your children may move far away. Caring for a pet can bring pleasure and help boost your morale and optimism. Taking care of an animal can also provide a sense of self-worth.
• Staying connected. Maintaining a social network isn’t always easy as you grow older. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And making new friends can get harder. Dogs especially are a great way for seniors to spark up conversations and meet new people.
• Boosting vitality. You can overcome many of the physical challenges associated with aging by taking good care of yourself. Pets encourage playfulness, laughter, and exercise, which can help boost your immune system and increase your energy.

Resources and References

5 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health
The Therapeutic Benefits of Pets

March 23, Chip and Dip Day - Looking for healthy alternatives for chips?

1. Cooking Light, Healthy Dips  
2. Lauren Swann, Pinterest: Healthy Chip Board on Pinterest
3. Lauren Swann, Pinterest: Healthy Dips board

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 22, United Nations World Water Day
'Why WasteWater'

Many UN entities work on water issues - distributing drinking water during disasters, protecting ecosystems, making sure that water is of sufficient quality, ensuring that our cities have enough water infrastructure, measuring progress of access to sanitation, looking at how we will have enough water to make food. The list is long. Many organizations around the world also work on these issues. To be as strong, as effective and to have as big of an impact as possible, these organizations come together to work through UN-Water.

UN-Water coordinates the UN's work on water and sanitation for a better world. Through UN-Water, UN entities and international partners work together to place water and sanitation as top issues and 21st Century essential knowledge. World Water Day is one of UN-Water's campaigns that aims to inform, engage and inspire action.

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March. The United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of water.

The 2017 theme for World Water Day is 'Why wastewater?'

The wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. 

Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it. In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. And we will help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 6 target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.

World Water Day 2017: Why Waste Water

Water, Energy, Food


World Water Day, In 2017, the theme is wastewater and the campaign, ‘Why waste water?
Twitter @UN_Water
Instagram @un_water
Facebook @UnitedNationsWater

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March 21, World Down Syndrome Day
Joan Guthrie Medlen, M.Ed, RD
the Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook

March 21, 2017 marks the 12th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) and was officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Down Syndrome International encourages people all over the World to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

On World Down Syndrome Day, Monday 21 March 2017, join us to encourage children and adults with Down syndrome to say “My Friends, My Community” and get the world talking about the benefits for everyone of inclusive environments.

People with Down syndrome, on an equal basis with other people, must be able to enjoy full and equal rights, both as children and adults with ‘opportunities’ and ‘choices’.

People with Down syndrome face many challenges as children and adults which may prevent them enjoying their basic human rights. Many people often fail to understand that people with Down syndrome are people first, who may require additional support, but should be recognised by society on an equal basis with others, without discrimination on the basis of disability. 

Families have a deep personal interest in the well-being of their members with Down syndrome. Empowering families to promote the equal status of their members in society and development is crucial, so that they can provide support, advocate for opportunities and choices and empower people with Down syndrome to express their own views and make their own decisions, as well as advocate for themselves.

Joan Guthrie Medlen, M.Ed, RD 

Down Syndrome Nutrition: Top Tips

Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, a mother of a child with Down syndrome, a registered dietitian, and the author of “The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook: A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles,” encourages parents to start teaching healthy habits early but stresses that it's never too late to start, no matter what age.

Joan became involved in issues related to people with Down syndrome after the birth of her son. “As we all know, parents of kids with disabilities are involved in the big picture immediately – like it or not! I chose to work in the field of nutrition/health promotion for people with Down syndrome over 16 years ago. It’s a choice I've not regretted.”

Introducing Cooking By Color: Recipes for Independence by Joan E. Guthrie Medlen, RD

Down syndrome often affects the muscles in the mouth, causing the tongue to stick out. This may interfere with feeding, including breast-feeding, bottle-feeding, and eating solid food. Most children overcome these types of problems, although they will likely master eating skills at a later age than other children.

HAPPY World Down Syndrome Day, Pharrell Williams

Meet a family who shares their
amazing story of love and living.


Visit the following link to learn more about 
World Down Syndrome Day.

National Ag Day

Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless other across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture. The Agriculture Council of America hosts the campaign on a national level.

2017 National Ag Day 

Ag Day is about recognizing - and celebrating - the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

*Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
*Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
*Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable product

Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, Great American Meatout Day

About Meatout
Meatout is an international event exposing the public to the benefits of plant-based foods, while promoting the availability and selection alternatives to meat and dairy in mainstream grocery stores, restaurants, and catering operations. Meatout was launched in 1985 and is coordinated each year by FARM, a national nonprofit, public interest organization. FARM advocates plant-based (vegan) diets to save animals, protect the environment, and improve health.

Meatout TV Ad

Meatout has grown to become the world's “largest annual grassroots diet education campaign”. Participants are asked to "kick the meat habit on March 20 (first day of spring) and explore a wholesome, diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Meatout Facts:
•Over 30 million Americans have explored a meat-free diet.
•One in five teens thinks vegetarianism is "cool."
•National beef and veal consumption have dropped by 25 and 70%, respectively.
•Major manufacturers and retailers are marketing meat-free and dairy-free meals.
•Several national fast food chains are offering veggie burgers and several major baseball parks are selling veggie dogs.

Meatout Mondays
To keep the spirit of Meatout alive throughout the year, Meatout Mondays were developed. Those who sign up for Meatout Mondays pledge to eat compassionate plant-based foods every Monday. To view past issues, click here.

Paul McCartney sings the "Meat Free Monday Song."
Not one of his best, but a great message.

The Benefits of Meatout
"Kicking the meat habit" holds lasting benefits for consumer health, world hunger, resource conservation, environmental quality, and animal protection.

Kicking the meat habit reduces our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases that cripple and kill nearly 1.4 million Americans annually.

Kicking the meat habit raises our energy level, lowers our food budget, and simplifies food preparation and cleanup.

Kicking the meat habit preserves our topsoil, water, and other food production resources vital to the survival of our children and their children.

Kicking the meat habit protects our forests, grasslands, and other wildlife habitats.

Kicking the meat habit saves animals from caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, manhandling, and agonizing slaughter. Each person who adopts a plant-based diet saves over 80 innocent animals each year. Over a lifetime, an individual can save more than 6,000 animals just by going vegan.

1. To learn more, visit the Meatout website.
2. A free Vegetarian Starter Kit is available at
3. The Vegan R.D.

4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics,Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group
5. The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 19, National Poultry Day
Cooking, Safety and Nutrition

Poultry is an excellent source of protein and lower in fats than red meat (especially if you remove the skin). There are about 3,200,000 poultry recipes on the Internet.

Cooking, Safety and Nutrition are key to enjoying poultry.
USDA Guidance on Cooking Poultry

USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline answers questions about safe storage, handling & preparation of meat, poultry & eggs. Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at: 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) Or send Email to:


Safety is important when handling poultry and meats. The USDA requires that safe handling instructions be posted on all packages of raw and not fully cooked meat and poultry.

Calorie Facts about Poultry

For additional information on Poultry visit the USDA

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward
Make Half your Plate Fruits and Vegetable

Keep your healthy eating simple by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at mealtime. Eat fruits and vegetables when you want to have a snack. The more colorful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body needs to be healthy.

Remember that all forms count: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or 100% juice. The next time you go shopping, choose veggies that may be new to you (try sweet potatoes, beets, or collard greens) and fruits too (try papaya, cantaloupe, or kiwi) to make your plate even more fun and exciting!

It’s easy to add fruits and vegetables to the meals that you’re already making:

Breakfast is the perfect time for fruit. Try topping your cereal or oatmeal with bananas or peaches. Add blueberries to your pancakes. Or add fruit to your fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Blend frozen fruit, 100% juice, and/or yogurt to make a healthy smoothie.
Lunchtime is a great time for a colorful salad. Add a variety of veggies, like corn, carrots, and spinach. A salad makes a healthy lunch if you don’t use too much dressing. Add a tangerine, banana, or grapes to your bagged lunch.
At dinner, try meat dishes that include fruits and veggies, like chicken with apricots or kebobs with peppers and pineapple. Or make a meal featuring vegetables, such as veggie pizza or vegetarian chili with lots of vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables make great snacks and desserts:
For a handy snack, keep cut-up fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, and cucumber or orange slices in the refrigerator.
Dried fruits are tasty and easy to carry.
Keep a bowl of fruit in the refrigerator or on a table or countertop. Your family can grab and go!
An apple is a perfect quick snack—and there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples to try!
Fruit smoothies, fruit salad, and frozen 100% juice bars are better for you than high-fat, sugary desserts.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward
Try Healthy Green Foods

Celebrating Green Foods

Ways to increase Green Food Intake:
•Add spinach or broccoli when cooking pasta, rice or soup.
•Freeze green grapes for a sweet snack.
•Add thin slices of green apples or zucchini on a sandwich.

About Green Fruits and Vegetables.
Green in plants signifies the presence of the plant pigment chlorophyll. The nutrients found in these fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risks, lower blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels, improve vision, enhance the immune system, and fight harmful free radicals.

Green fruits and vegetables are rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, folate, vitamin C, and beta-carotene (vitamin A). They contain phytochemicals such as luteins and indoles, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They are high in fiber and support a healthy digestive system.

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are found in plants. They are part of what gives fruits and vegetables their colors. Phytonutrients help protect plants from diseases found in the environment and protect us in a similar way. Studies have linked an increase of fruit and vegetable intake with lowering the risk of specific cancers and heart disease. The following list describes how phytonutrients may also help protect human health.
1. Act as an antioxidant.
2. Improves immune response.
3. Improves cell-to-cell communication.
4. Destroys cancer cells.
5. Repairs DNA damage caused by toxins in the environment.

Antioxidants. As the body uses oxygen, there are by-products (known as “free radicals”) that can cause damage to cells. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage caused by these free radicals and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants may also improve the immune defense and lower the risk of infection. Some examples of antioxidants include vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, lycopene and flavonoids.

Kermit Sings Being Green

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16, National Artichoke Heart Day

A study conducted by the USDA shows artichokes contain a large amount of antioxidants, in the form of phytonutrients. Among the most powerful phytonutrients are Cynarin and Silymarin, which have strong positive effects on the liver. 

Artichoke Harvest

Serving an Artichoke

Ocean Mist Farms. Since 1924, Ocean Mist Farms has provided multiple generations of customers with Artichokes and vegetables, and is still family owned. Called the California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers Corporation until 1995, Ocean Mist Farms is  headquartered in Castroville, California - “The Artichoke Capitol of the World” and home of the annual Castroville Artichoke Festival.

California Artichoke Advisory BoardThe California Artichoke Advisory Board (CAAB) was organized in 1960 by growers in response to three needs of the industry: 1) generic promotion of artichokes; 2) research into pest problems damaging artichoke crops; 3) fostering grower unity and cooperation for the benefit of the artichoke industry as a whole. Since 1999 the Board has chosen to focus its resources on a research program.

Artichoke Basics

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

National Nutrition Month:
Put Your Best Fork Forward for Food Safety

* Rinse and wash fruits before preparing or eating them. Under clean, running water, rub fruits briskly with your hands to remove dirt and surface microorganisms. Dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel after rinsing.
* Keep fruits separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood while shopping, preparing and storing.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

March 14, National Potato Chip Day - Don't Put Your Best Fork Forward

Potato chips are a major part of the snack food market. The global potato chip market generated total revenues of US $16.4 billion in 2005. This accounted for 35.5% of the total snacks market in that year (US $46.1 billion).  
How Potato Chips are Made

Potato chips were originally fried and seasoned. After the release of the Dietary Reference Intake guidelines in the US, Canada, and various countries concern regarding the amount of trans fats, sodium, and sugar became a major issue. The consumers, advocacy groups, and health associations focused on the nutritional value of junk foods, including potato chips. 

A recent study determined excessive consumption of potato chip may cause obesity,
which can produce a rise in blood pressure. 

Some potato chip companies have responded to the criticism by investing in research and development to modify existing recipes and create health-conscious products. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward
Try Healthy Red and Pink Foods

Red and Pink Foods

Food Sources
Apples, Beets, Cayenne, Cherries, Cranberries, Guava, Kidney Beans, Papaya, Pink Beans, Pink/Red Grapefruit, Pomegranates, Radicchio, Radishes, Raspberries, Red Bell Peppers, Red Cabbages, Red Chili Peppers, Red Corn, Red Currants, Red Grapes, Red Onions, Red Pears, Red Peppers, Red Plums, Red Potatoes, Red Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Strawberries, Watermelons

Do you know other foods that are Red or Pink?

About Red Fruits and Vegetables.

Red fruits and vegetables get their color from natural plant pigments called lycopene or anthocyanins. Both are
phytonutrients, which have health-promoting benefits, such as:
·         Reduces the risk of several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer
·         Reduces the risk of heart disease
·         Protects our bodies’ cells from environmental damage (harmful free-radicals)
·         Lowers blood pressure
·         Lowers LDL cholesterol
·         Aids in memory
·         Maintains the health of the urinary tract system

Lycopene is a carotenoid and antioxidant. Examples of food sources include tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, and papaya.  

Anthocyanins, an antioxidant found in cranberries, raspberries, red grapes, strawberries, and other red to purplish fruits and vegetables may help protect cells from damage.

In addition, red fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals and are rich in fiber. Fiber helps maintain the digestive system.

Ways to increase Red Food Intake:
Add strawberries or raspberries to cereal or low fat yogurt.
Freeze seedless red grapes for a sweet snack.
Add thin slices of red tomatoes or red apples to a sandwich.
Add red kidney beans to soup, salads or rice dishes.
Dice tomatoes and red apples and add to a salad.

A Special Tribute to the Tomato
Time is ripe 
 by Nutrition Information: 172 Calories; 8 g Protein; 18 g Carbohydrates; 3 g Dietary Fiber; 8 g Fat; 3.7 g Saturated Fat; 21 mg Cholesterol; 1229 IU Vitamin A; 24 mg Vitamin C; 97 IU Vitamin D ; 366 mg Potassium; 299 mg Sodium)

Phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are found in plants. They are part of what gives fruits and vegetables their colors. Phytonutrients help protect plants from diseases found in the environment and protect us in a similar way. Studies have linked an increase of fruit and vegetable intake with lowering the risk of specific cancers and heart disease. The following list describes how phytonutrients may also help protect human health.
1. Act as an antioxidant.
2. Improves immune response.
3. Improves cell-to-cell communication.
4. Destroys cancer cells.
5. Repairs DNA damage caused by toxins in the environment.

Antioxidants. As the body uses oxygen, there are by-products (known as “free radicals”) that can cause damage to cells. Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage caused by these free radicals and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants may also improve the immune defense and lower the risk of infection. Some examples of antioxidants include vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, lycopene and flavonoids.

Wellness News employs young adults with "Special Needs" (Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy). My staff started the project in September 2010. Over the next five months, we would take over 600 photographs of colorful foods in order to create the March presentation for NNM. Many of the photographs are available for purchase with the proceeds going to special need young adults. Contact Dr. Sandra Frank for additional information (

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